12 Best Shop Air Compressors Reviews 2021 | Portable & Lightweight

Whether it’s nailing, fencing, painting, or automobile-related projects, they all have one thing in common: an air compressor.

This device can be a game-changer for your business, especially if you utilize pneumatic tools or are involved with heavy-duty mechanics.

A high-functioning air compressor is what can set you apart from your competitors in terms of efficiency and revenue.

Given the wide variety of air compressors available in the market, it can be confusing to find your perfect match.

Here’s a list of the best shop air compressors in terms of versatility, performance, and comfort.

Buyer’s Guide

The buyer’s guide is designed to assist you in making the most suitable decision as there are a lot of different options available.

The intention is to give you some key pointers that can help you make a better analysis of each product and eventually spot what you’re looking for.

CFM Capacity

CFM capacity should be one of the chief points of consideration when buying an air compressor.

It refers to the quantity of air that can be produced per minute by the air compressor at a certain pressure.

Cubic feet per minute can help you get an idea if the air compressor takes up more air than it supplies.

Depending on the duration of your projects, you may have to wait for the air compressor to catch up.

If it’s required for painting jobs, make sure the CFM rating is higher than the spray guns you intend to use.

Maximum Air Pressure Capacity

It represents the amount of pressure of the air that is being pumped out.

A higher maximum air pressure capacity means that the air compressor can produce more.

90 PSI is sufficient for a shop air compressor to work well.

Horse Power

The engine of an air compressor needs to pack a punch of power. The horsepower will determine how much work you can get out of your air compressor.

Usually, well-functioning air compressors come with a horsepower ranging from 1 and can go as high as 3.

Take into account how much do you intend to use the air compressor and then decide accordingly since you may not need to use it on heavy-duty projects.

Tank Capacity

This is regarding the amount of produced air that can be stored by the air compressor.

Take into account whether you would prefer an air compressor that is the mobile or on-hand supply of air.

Larger tank capacity is preferred for jobs like spray painting or more industrial work, whereas smaller tanks can give you the advantage of being transferable.

Noise

Often overlooked, but it is especially important if you’re planning on using it in the shop.

The noise level that an air compressor operates on should be kept in mind because it may hinder communication between employees or worst chase away customers.

Top 12 Shop Air Compressors Reviews

Time to jump into the world of air compressors, these top 12 recommendations will help you figure out potential problems to avoid and what to look forward to in each product.

Hopefully, you will find something you like.

1. Eagle EA-3000 Air Compressor

EA-3000 is ideal for your shop if you don’t require a large tank capacity and need something that is so silent you can barely hear it running.

Wood industries are surely one of the market leaders when it comes to providing ultra-silent air compressors as this one just runs at 40-45 dB.

The air compressor comes with 1Hp, 125 max PSI, and 2 CFM, which is adequate for work of mediocre intensity.

The greatest thing for me, however, was how energy efficient the air compressor is due to its low amp draw, which will significantly reduce monthly electricity costs but also more durability.

The design helps with making the device lightweight and easy to carry despite not having any wheels.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Oil-less thus easy to maintain
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Low Amp draw
  • Silent (40-45 dB)

Cons

  • Small tank Capacity

2. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

If storage is a problem and you prefer an air compressor that is powerful yet easy to hurl around, Dewalt’s 6-gallon pancake air compressor can be a great addition to your workspace.

Offering 2.56 CFM and a max air pressure capacity of 165 PSI, this air compressor gives you more air storage than the Eagle EA 3000 series due to its 6-gallon tank capacity.

In terms of design, it’s a stable oil-less air compressor that is lightweight and does not need much maintenance.

However, it is a bit louder (75.5dB).

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Portable
  • Takes little space
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Slightly louder

3. PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 Pancake Air Compressor

The pancake-style air compressor is functional but also mobile.

For a small unit, it works at 2CFM and 165 PSI max similar to Dewalt’s pancake air compressor; however, it does come with a smaller tank capacity (3 gallons).

Maintenance and durability are not an issue, thanks to the oil-less pump present. The product can be hooked up with any 120V standard outlet.

It can perform jobs such as inflation and can support smaller pneumatic tools as well.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Easy to maintain
  • Portable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Small tank capacity

4. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

Durability, performance, and portability Makita MAC2400 have it all.

One of the first air compressors with a cast iron 2.5 Hp motor that I have reviewed so far, this product comes with a twin stacked tank that is protected by rib cage design.

This product will not fail you in terms of versatility as it offers high output and industrial level power, which can support up to two nailers at a time.

The only downside is that it has an oil-lubricated pump, which may require maintenance.

Another factor to consider is the tank size, which has a capacity of 4.2 gallons, so if your work doesn’t require continuous usage, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Even though it’s a bit on the heavier side, the roll bar handle and ribcage design can prove to be great assets if there is a danger of exposure to harsh environments due to your work.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • High power Engine

Cons 

  • Oil-lubricated

5. Quincy QT-54 Reciprocating Air Compressor

High efficiency is the game’s new name when it comes to Quincy; it seems to be among the most favored air compressors among professionals.

The product steals the show in terms of both productivity and storage capacity since it comes with a 5Hp motor and Rotary compressors, which makes it ideal for heavy-duty work—considering the size of the product it is considered to be quiet especially with a powerhouse of a motor and can power multiple tools simultaneously.

Shop owners will not be disappointed as this product can last a lifetime while producing great volumes at the same time.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Industrial usage
  • High powered engine
  • Quiet 80dB
  • High capacity tank

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not Portable

6. Ford Silent Series 15 Gallon Vertical Tank

Are you looking for an air compressor that’s equally portable as a pancake air compressor yet offers a larger tank capacity?

Consider your problem solved by Ford Silent Series as it comes with a 15-gallon tank but doesn’t compromise in terms of performance and mobility.

Similar to most pancake designs, the air compressor offers 2 Hp, 125 max psi 2.9 Cfm.

It’s designed to make your life much easier as the tank is wider, which gives it more stability.

The wheels attached are also a blessing in disguise as you can easily drag them around from place to place.

Let’s not forget how silent this air compressor can be for its size. It functions at 59dB only, which is equivalent to talking in a normal tone.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Medium tank capacity
  • Silent
  • Mobile

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

7. 2340L5-V 5hp Compressor

Ingersol’s 2340L5-V comes in a heavy-duty industrial-level air compressor that will get the job done no matter how hard it is.

It’s functional with a plethora of tools and can go on for days.

This is a must-have if you’re working in an auto body or crafting industry as its quiet and overheating does not seem to be a problem despite continuous use.

The 60-gallon tank capacity of this 5 HP air compressor will get all your work done at lightning speed.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Quiet
  • Industrial usage
  • Maximum Power
  • Durable

Cons 

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to move around

8. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Air Compressor with V-Twin Cylinder

This air compressor has a lot of potentials, as it’s just the right size.

The 20-gallon tank capacity, along with all the features of an industrial usage air compressor and high-quality tires to support the air compressor is one of its most distinguishing features.

It checks all the ticks for us in terms of portability, tank size, and power.

The only issue is the placement of the drain, as it’s a bit difficult to access.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Quiet

Cons 

  • Drain difficult to access

9. DEWALT DXCM271.COM

The feature that stands out the most has to do with durability. The air compressor possesses a handle that protects the interior of the device, making it well-balanced and reliable.

The addition of wheels is also very useful for transportability.

In terms of performance, the air compressor owns a 27-gallon tank capacity and has 200 max PSI.

On top of that, it’s fairly noise-less and can support more than a tool because of double air couplers.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Quiet
  • Durable
  • Portable

Cons 

  • Does not function with a 240V outlet

10. Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Another great addition by Industrial Air, the air compressor offers a larger capacity.

You won’t have to worry about wear and tear since the air compressor has cast-iron cylinders.

Another thing I love about this air compressor is that its high-efficiency motor is also dual voltage.

As the compressor provides 155 Psi, all your tools will work at their optimal performance.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Durable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Quiet
  • User friendly

Cons

  • None 

11. Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Quiet Air Compressor

One of the more well-known names in the industry, Campbell Hausfeld, offers an 8-gallon option that supports a 1Hp motor and functions at 68dB sound level.

The product doesn’t impress as much, especially for high-intensity usage. The air compressor is, however, most suitable for lighter work.

Hence if you expect to work an air compressor intermittently, it can offer 5000 hours of work.

Another advantage is that it requires minimal maintenance.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Oil-less
  • Easy Maintenance

Cons 

  • Not enough capacity for heavy usage

12. California Air Tools CAT-4610AC

Storage and space are often a problem for shop owners; however, with the CAT-4610AC consider this problem gone.

The air compressor comes in a twin stacked tank design, adding extra capacity while being efficient.

However, one of the lower hp motors as compared to others; however it’s super light in weight since it’s built-in aluminum.

As for the sound level, it basically purrs like a kitten.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Quiet
  • Space efficient

Cons

  • Insufficient for heavy usage

Frequently Asked Questions

How big of a compressor do I need to run air tools?

An air compressor ranging from 1-5 CFM and 90 psi can support the majority of the air tools.

Does tank size matter air compressor?

Yes, as it determines the amount of air that can be stored.

How can I make my shop air compressor quieter?

A silencer can be installed or cover with sound blankets.

How much is a good air compressor?

The price varies according to the type and capacity of the air compressor you want to buy.

Which is a better piston or rotary compressor?

Rotary compressors tend to be better as they use less power, are premium quality, and more durable.

How much electricity does an air compressor use?

That depends on the size of an air compressor. A 110V can take about 1650 watts.

Conclusion

I hope my top 12 picks for the best shop air compressors have helped you with finding a suitable air compressor.

In case you’re still undecided, referring to the buyer’s guide might provide some clarity.

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