There are a lot of great air compressors on the market, but having a smaller one for strictly home use is a nice turnaround. Most of the units on the list aren’t going to give you insane power, but rather a faster refill time and steady power. Even with a high PSI, when dealing with a home air compressor the max PSI is nothing compared to the standing around waiting for the unit to be ready again. A good portion of the machines on the list have at least average refill time, so that’s more time for you to get what you need done. They are also for the most part acceptable for house projects, and filling up tires. Always check the manual and make sure that it can handle what you need it to. For the air compressors that come with a built in gauge, there may be some issues with them being off by a bit.
Luckily trial and error resolves this, and if you have a smartphone you can use a free app to see just how off it is. Using a smartphone app to get the real PSI will give you a good idea of how to adjust the air compressor unit so that you don’t have to do any future guesswork. The power that these units need are not at all bad, and won’t blow any fuses in your house like a larger air compressor would. Also don’t mistake these smaller units for providing less noise, as more often than not they are louder than machines twice their size due to the stress being put on the smaller form factor. By going through this list carefully you can easily choose the best air compressor for your home, price and all.
- BOSTITCH BTFP72665
- Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 16.4 x 20.5 inches
- Power Source: Not specified
- Batteries Required? No
- Warranty: 1 year limited manufacturers warranty
- Campbell Hausfeld 120 Volt
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.2 x 5.8 inches
- Power Source: Not specified
- Batteries Required? No
- Warranty: Not specified
- PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003
- Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 17.2 x 18.5 inches
- Power Source: electric-powered
- Batteries Required? No
- Warranty: 1yr limited warranty on compressor components
- PORTER-CABLE CMB15
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 13.2 x 20.5 inches
- Power Source: gas-powered
- Batteries Required? No
- Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
- 1 BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit
- 2 Campbell Hausfeld 120 Volt Home Inflation System
- 3 PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
- 4 PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor
- 5 VIAIR – 00093 – Viair 90P 12 Volt Portable Air Compressor Kit
- 6 Primefit CM00301 125 PSI Home Workshop Air Compressor
- 7 Motor Trend (CPM-0610) 120V AC Home Air Compressor With Gauge
BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo KitIf looking for a premium high priced air compressor for home use then the BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit is a perfect fit for the first time buyer. PSI is a max of 150 with the 6 gallon tank while 2.6 SCFM is delivered at 90 PSI. The unit is built for quick recovery and has an extremely long running tool time. It’s one of the quietest on the list at only 80 dBA, so if looking for something that’s powerful yet quiet then this should be one of your first picks. A high quality brad nailer gun is included with the package so you can get right to work on your project. The included nailer handles 18GA nails ranging in size from 5/8 to 2 inches in length. To keep you worry free the exhaust is 360 degrees, with features such as tool-free depth adjustment.
Other notable features are an over molded no-mar pad, tool-free jam cleaning feature and for safety reasons a trigger lock-off. This has everything that you would need right out of the box and is made from high quality materials. The unit can be used for interior trim, crown molding, base trim, shoe molding and even cabinetry. Weight of the product is 41 pounds as it’s a solid and sturdy beast. There aren’t any extra attachments or universal attachments, so for anything other than the brad nailer an extra purchase is required. All of the controls are in a place that makes them easy to get to, so in tough jobs there won’t be a lot of stopping in order to get through the simple process of changing a setting. The unit itself is a bit on the bulky side, but still adequate for storing. The first air compressor on the list is also one of the best, this is a well-made unit and very much worth the money.
Campbell Hausfeld 120 Volt Home Inflation SystemOn the lower end of the price range is the less complicated Campbell Hausfeld 120 Volt Home Inflation System, suitable for either the home or a workshop. Whether inside or outside of the home, it works well with in home projects and cars and trucks. There is a tire pressure gauge built into the unit itself, and for power you can plug it into a standard 120-volt outlet. This is a portable unit, and even has a carrying handle built into it. The best way to describe it would be an all in one system that will fit every job you need it to, or a basic jack of all trades air compressor. A unique feature is the cooling fan that was implemented to extend the life of the unit and keep it going strong through heavy loads. Unlike the last item the inflation accessories include are the regular needle and a Pfresta-to-Schrader adapter for users that have anything with Presta valves attached to them.
As a portable unit is extremely light, only weighing 6 pounds total. Length of the air hose is 3 feet while the power cord is about 10 ft. This is plenty long for most projects, and even inflating 4 tires. For such a small unit it is very powerful, and you can expect long usage out of it. When removing the connector you also don’t have to worry about losing a lot of excess air, a problem that plagues other units. The built in gauge is a bit on the inaccurate side, so some manual adjusting on the users end is required. For storage purposes, was built to be tucked away quit easily, especially with being able to wrap the cord around the base for storage. For the price this is a decent air compressor for home use, but there is definitely better. If anything, look elsewhere on the list if you want a unit that will last for more than 2 years with heavy use.
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake CompressorThis mid-priced air compressor from brand name Porter-Cable is a nice little portable unit that has a max of 135 PSI. Like a lot of portable units it is built for a quick recovery time and longer running sessions, and doesn’t disappoint with the 2.0 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump. It’s a bit on the smaller side at 3.5 gallons, but that factors in to its 26 pound weight, which is the perfect middle ground between function and portability. The pump is oil free so lasts for years without failure and little maintenance. The motor is pretty heavy duty and is rated as 120V, starting easily in all weather conditions. A built in quick coupler gives access to regulated air, and is easy to identify and use even without looking at the manual.
Decibel levels are pretty good at 82 dBA, and won’t be any louder than bigger units of the same power. Other features would be 2 gauges and the ability to support multiple trim finish nailers. For those without any type of accessories be wary that none are included with this unit, so that’s an automatic extra purchase. Although the average noise level is not high, when it is under heavy periods of stress it does tend to go a bit above the range of 82 dBA. It also doesn’t stay steady on smooth surfaces, a problem that gets compounded when it’s under heavy stress. There are a lot of jobs this portable air compressor can do, and a couple that you shouldn’t even attempt. For general home use it fits the bill, and is a pretty good buy for the current price.
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded CompressorHovering just below mid-price is the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor with quick recovery time. It’s 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI is decent for a compressor of its size, and the small 1.5 gallon tank in the housing also has a water drain valve. The rubber feet is a great addition, meaning that it stays steady on smooth surfaces even under high load. There is a 150 PSI max limit so you can expect this little unit to last for a considerable amount of time. Like most models of its type, it has oil free mechanics which require little to no maintenance over the life of the unit. Motor runs smooth at 120v is does well in all weather conditions, even from a cold start.
This is one of the lightest on the list at only 20 pounds, but it does so without sacrificing too much power. The hose length is a plentiful 25 feet, so can work in many parts of the house without being moved too much from its position. And amazing the sound level is only 79 dBA, one of the lowest on the list. For some limited defects parts are covered through the warranty, and the entire process from Porter-Cable is hassle free and easy to manage. The extra attachments you may need are not in the original package, so be prepared to dig into your pocket to buy them. One thing to pick up would be a trigger nozzle, as that can make a big difference in the unit doing an okay job and the unit doing a spectacular job. This is a good buy and well worth a look if you’re using it for the home.
VIAIR – 00093 – Viair 90P 12 Volt Portable Air Compressor KitThe second to last unit on the list is the VIAIR – 00093 – Viair 90P 12 Volt Portable Air Compressor Kit, a mid-priced 12 volt option with a permanent magnetic motor. It functions well at 100 PSI with a max of 150 PSI while only drawing 14 amps. The entire kit is nice and very professional made, coming in at only 5.3 pounds total with the included carrying bag. The beauty of this compressor kit is that it gets its power from clamping to the leads on your battery. The air delivery hose included is an open-ended type that works well with the included pressure gauge, giving nearly accurate readings. To give you an idea of the type of mechanics in this system it’s the standard oil-less design with a PTFE piston ring, stainless steel valves, gearless direct drive motor and anodized alloy cylinder making the system moisture and dust resistant.
Key features and accessories include an automatic reset thermal overload protector, dual battery clamps with 30-amp inline fuse holder, 3 piece inflation tips kit, and a tire chuck with built-in bleeder valve. This is one of the most full featured air compressors on the list, and will last you years of use. It even contains features and accessories that the other products on this list don’t have in combination. The manual can be a bit confusing, but if you’ve ever dealt with an air compressor before, this one will be a breeze. The carrying bag is very good when it comes to quality, and mirrors the excellent product it is tasked to carry around. This is easily one of the best you can get, and comes highly recommended. The only downside would be that it doesn’t use a traditional connection method, so please be wary that you can’t just plug this into a wall.
Primefit CM00301 125 PSI Home Workshop Air Compressor
Last on the list is the definition of portable, with a mid-range price that should make most people happy. It has an innovative pump design to output higher pressure at 125 PSI, which is mighty impressive considering its size.
And despite being one of the smallest on the list, it’s still acceptable to use with brad nailers, blow guns and other tools of comparable size. Storing this unit is easy not only because of the size, but how light it is. An easy to use control panel with the built-in air regulator and gauges is one of the best on the market, and quite easy to use. The 1 gallon tank may be a bit small for some, but the output more than makes up for it.
A one year limited warranty is included with the purchase, and should cover the most important parts. The 11 pounds the unit weighs is so low that it can be safely placed on a sturdy shelf for storage. With a self-coiling air hose, this is surprisingly one of the better air compressors on the list for home use. With all of the extra features and praise, this is still one of the loudest units on the list. You will definitely hear it if you’re in another room, and the speed that it fills the tank is only average. There is still a lot to love about this package, and other than a slow refill time it’s more than capable for home use. It’s highly recommended, and the price is the icing on the cake.
Motor Trend (CPM-0610) 120V AC Home Air Compressor With Gauge
Meant specifically for home use, the Motor Trend (CPM-0610) 120V AC Home Air Compressor With Gauge is a low priced solution for those that don’t need heavy power. In 4.5 minutes it can inflate a 195/70/r14 tire from 0-32. It has a three pronged power plug with a UL approved motor running at 120v. Though a digital gauge would’ve been preferred, the analog does a decent enough job of determining pressure. The power cord is 6 foot and is coupled with a 26.7 foot air hose with quick lock connector. There’s no need to go shopping for extra parts, as the unit comes with ball and raft adapters that also fit neatly into the unit itself when not in use. All of this comes in at under 6 pounds, so it’s a real bargain if you don’t want a lot of power.
Some things to keep in mind about the specs, with some things that are buried deep in the manual. The release valve in the unit limits it to 72 PSI, so once again this is not a powerhouse machine. It is not meant to handle heavier loads, and will fail when trying to. This is possibly the weakest unit on the list when it comes to power even if some of its specs match up with the others. The included parts are also very cheap and flimsy, but that type of plastic should be expected with the price they’re asking. The compact size also doesn’t help with noise, as it’s one of the nosiest air compressors on the list. If you’re not looking for a lot of power this is a good unit, but for general household use it will be lacking.
PSI, or pounds per square inch gives you great insight into how powerful the compressor you’re purchasing is. But with home compressors, try not to focus too much on that number, and instead look at included accessories, features, and size. A strong compressor for the home isn’t meant to take the place of a bigger project air compressor, so by not getting wrapped up in the PSI battle you will come out better off. You’ll also notice that most of the units on the list are in the same range between 120-150, so not that big of a difference. Even when you get one on the list that is rated 150, you may pay for it in another feature, like refill time.
Indeed all of the units on the list are portable. Portability isn’t just about weight and if it has handles, but how well it can be carried from one location to the next and if it’s easy to store. Some of the units on the list have such a great form factor that they can be stored on a shelf without worry of dropping, while other smaller units are either too heavy or too bulky to comfortably put on a shelf.
What you decide to purchase should take into consideration where you will store it, and how big the location you want to use it with is. The length of the hose isn’t going to be that much different from one unit to the next. But just be wary that some units have a hose that is only 11ft, while others have a 20ft and longer range. Anything under 20 should be considered average, especially when dealing with home air compressors.
There is a lot of marketing going on for quiet air compressors, and it’s best just to ignore it. Air compressors are loud, very loud. There are some that aren’t that loud, but they still emit enough sound to disturb whatever is within a room of it. While it’s true you can talk on a phone and be near it while it’s running, the fact is you don’t want to actually do that. The only silent air compressor for the home is one that doesn’t work anymore-keep that in mind.
Choosing the correct air compressor for the home doesn’t have to be a hard thing, you just have to know what you want. A good portable unit with a good warranty and low refill time should be the aim, without a focus on maxing out the PSI. All of the units are acceptably priced, and as the home compressor market goes those prices won’t ever be on the outrageous end of the spectrum. The home compressor market is still young and very strong, so why not take advantage of it while it’s still blooming?
A home air compressor is not only useful for the home, but around the house as well. If you get a good enough home air compressor, it could possibly serve universal uses for you, even on trips. Don’t forget that they are portable and very easy to setup and use. The deal gets even better if you’re already an air compressor owner, as you will already have a tip for when you decide to get a home air compressor. The extra accessories add up, and in the end you’ll get an even better deal than first time air compressor owners.