5 Best Air Compressors for 2019 – used & reviewed by trade pro’s

Why buy an Air Compressor?

Many, if not all trades will testify this truly wonderful apparatus is a vital addition to any workshop or shed they’ve worked in.
The air compressor boasts power, versatility and portability that makes it more efficient, cheaper to run, safer and consistently reliable, adding excessive value in more ways than you think.

Air compressors do more than the stereotypical spray-painting, bench cleaning or tyre-inflating. With the right air tools your air compressor becomes a super hero, taking on a whole host of duties including drilling, sanding, sawing, hammering, grinding and much more! 

I can’t operate efficiently without one and this should be seriously considered as a vital organ in any workshop.

Oh yeah, and remember to release unused air after you’d done as it will oxide the tank more rapidly due the moisture :)

Tools We Use

We’ve got some stationary and portable air compressors in our workshop.

In our spray booth we’re hooked up to a large, upright compressor used for painting. Its also channeled to the edge-bander regulator for removing debris from the blades.
There also are a couple of portable air compressors in our workshop, mainly used for pinning or framing.
A DeWalt twin gallon and an Senco 5 gallon hotdog.

Recently Used On

Booth seating frame work – we built 4 lots of 10-person booth seating frames for a large client.
Used the air compressed framing gun to fix several sections of curved 5mm MDF to a frame making the process very efficient. With 2 of us working on the seats we managed to deliver an excellent finish without working late into the night.

Also used the SGS 5 gallon hotdog to complete a studio frame with a nail gun and hang sheets with a pin gun

SGS ready for the roof!

I love air compressors!

Why am I waxing lyrical about them? Find out here

Please refer to our Air Compressor Glossary for definitions

Best Air Compressors for home and professional

Weight

Power

Tank Size

Noise rating

Makita MAC2400

77 lbs

2.5 HP

4.2 twin gallon

79 dBA

Bostitch BTFP02012

33 lbs

0.9 HP

6 gallons

78 dBA

California Air Tools 5510SE

50 lbs

1 HP

5.5 gallons

60 dBA

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

24 lbs

1 HP

4.2 twin gallon

-

Campbell Hausfeld DC040500

38 lbs

1 HP

4.6 gallons

68 dBA

#1 Best Pancake Air Compressor - Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor

The Bostitch BTFP02012 is a light duty, portable compressor with a small foot print.
Well made and very stable. Nice long handle and well balanced. Easy to carry around with two hands if necessary.   

Key Features

  • Electric 
  • 2.6 SCFM of air @ 90 PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • 0.9 horsepower @ 15 amps
  • Weight – 33 lbs
  • Tank – 6 gallons
  • Life span – 450 hours
  • Noise – 78 dBA

Whats in the box?

  • 1 x compressor
  • instructions

Who’ll use this compressor? Best for Light-Duty jobs

Anyone finishing and spray painting will enjoy using this compressor.
It will deliver if framing smaller items though you may want a larger capacity tank for heavy-duty jobs.

Summary

Durable and portable air compressor that’s the best in its range.
Simple controls and solid fittings allow quick access and regulation.
Takes approximately 2 minutes to fill the tank, which auto-starts when it falls below a preset pressure.
A very good air compressor thats portable and affordable.

#2 Campbell Hausfeld DC040500

Campbell Hausfeld have been making compression equipment forever so you can rely on them for build and reliability.
The DC040500 twin-stack air compressor is solid and one of the quietest in its class, unlike my 6 year old daughter.

Key Features

  • Electric 
  • 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 125 Max PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • Weight – 38 lbs
  • Tank – 4.6 gallons
  • Noise – 68 dBA
  • 1 HP

Whats in the box?

  • 1 x compressor
  • instructions

Who’ll use this compressor? Best for Light-Duty jobs

Ideal for jobs around the house or work in the garage. Smaller professional jobs will have no problems with this compressor.

Summary

A great compressor for operating where noise is an issue. Well-balanced and compact. The improved manufacturing also produces 25 percent more air compared to other 1.0 horsepower air compressor motors according to the manufacturer so thats a bonus!
Trusted brand and will last you a good few years.

#3 Best Quiet Air Compressor - California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor

California Air Tools have been around for just under 20 years though have made a positive impact on the air compressor market with their solid models and commitment to making quiet, refined air compressors.

Key Features

  • Electric 
  • 120 Max PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • Weight – 50 lbs
  • Tank – 5.5 gallons
  • Noise – 60 dBA
  • 1 HP

Whats in the box?

  • 1 x compressor
  • instructions

Who’ll use this drill? Best for Light/Mid-Duty jobs

Have wheels will travel. 
Suitable for jobs around the house or garage. Smaller professional jobs will have no problems with this compressor.

Summary

Quiet, robust and portable it will suit many purposes including heavier tasks. At 50 lbs its not hard to get moving and can be dragged around site with ease.
Its well laid out and is generally a no-frills item thats entirely fit for purpose.
And thats why we like it.

#4 Lightest Air Compressor - Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

The finishing tools we use are made by Senco. Ever reliable and extremely well made, the Senco air compressors are no different. Lovely big cushioned handle across the top is very helpful when carrying it just nudging it out of the way.
Yeah, very well made and ergonomically thoughtful. And its very quiet.

Key Features

  • Electric 
  • 4.2 twin gallon tank
  • 125 Max PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • Weight – 24 lbs
  • 1 HP

Whats in the box?

  • 1 x compressor
  • instructions

Who’ll use this drill? Best for Light/Mid-Duty jobs

Ideal for jobs around the house or work in the garage. Smaller professional jobs will have no problems with this compressor.

Summary

This is a well made, well balanced compressor thats very light. The compressor also has rubber feet which reduces some of the vibration and keeps your floor scratch-free at the same time. Hoorah! Approximately 2 mins to fill the tank.
As I briefly mentioned, Senco make robust and durable stuff. Aluminum tank is lighter, weighing a lot less than others in this range and importantly, corrosion-free! In for the long haul? Then it’s the one for you.

#5 Best Air Compressor - Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

Last but by no means least is Makita’s MAC2400 Big Bore compressor. Big Bore meaning its cylinders are bigger thus compressing more air for better performance. 2.5 HP – yeah, thats right.
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll gather quite quickly that I’m a huge fan of Makita products.
Well made, well engineered and reliable. Not had a bad tool from them and if this compressor is anything to go by, it will be another hit. Its a case when and not if, for this one entering the workshop next year. 

Key Features

  • Electric 
  • 130 Max PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • Weight – 77 lbs
  • 2.5 HP
  • 79 dBA
  • 4.2 gallon twin tanks

Whats in the box?

  • 1 x compressor
  • instructions

Who’ll use this compressor? Professional

This little beast is designed to be lugged around left to do what it does best.
Would no doubt perform around with jobs around the house but is overkill and would go for something that requires less power, less noise and cheaper. Any of the other compressors in the list will more than suffice.
Professional jobs will have no problems with this compressor.

Summary

Ergonomically its my top choice for this twin gallon design
Everything is housed snugly and is very well balanced. Gauges are clear and fit tightly in the housing – its constructed of cast iron don’t you know!
Its a beast and designed as such with features such as Big Bore cylinders, 2.5 HP and a rugged casing.
Great product. Great product indeed.