Top 6 Air Compressors for your Money

With all the great air compressors available, getting the most value for your money is even harder when you’re overwhelmed with options. Going through this list will help to decipher which of these units share similar features, and which few killer features are unique to a certain model. Take your time and you’ll be sure to come up with the best air compressor for your money.

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BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit

BOSTITCH BTFP72665

This unit is compatible with 5/8 to 2-inch brad nail sizes and includes a tool-free depth adjustment, easy jam clearing, 360-degree exhaust, and molded no-mar pad.
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003135

Maintenance is hassle-free since the pump is oil-free and requires little manual intervention. At 26 pounds you get great portability without losing too much power.
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

The lack of power is almost criminal in some cases, so be wary of what tools you attach to it, especially if not using for just a house project.
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit (icludes 25' Hose)

PORTER-CABLE CMB15

The unit sits upright and has rubber feet with an easy-to-use handle on the top for carrying. The water drain valve is a convenient and easy-to-use feature, and with a max PSI of 150.
BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor

BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF

The tank is about 1.2 gallons with the total weight of the unit topping out at 23.5 pounds. It’s still ultra-portable and protected.
BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit

BOSTITCH BTFP72665

This unit is compatible with 5/8 to 2-inch brad nail sizes and includes a tool-free depth adjustment, easy jam clearing, 360-degree exhaust, and molded no-mar pad.
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003135

Maintenance is hassle-free since the pump is oil-free and requires little manual intervention. At 26 pounds you get great portability without losing too much power.
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

The lack of power is almost criminal in some cases, so be wary of what tools you attach to it, especially if not using for just a house project.
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit (icludes 25' Hose)

PORTER-CABLE CMB15

The unit sits upright and has rubber feet with an easy-to-use handle on the top for carrying. The water drain valve is a convenient and easy-to-use feature, and with a max PSI of 150.
BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor

BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF

The tank is about 1.2 gallons with the total weight of the unit topping out at 23.5 pounds. It’s still ultra-portable and protected.

Top 6 Air Compressors for your Money

BOSTITCH BTFP72665 1-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit

With a noise level of 80 dBA this isn’t the quietest air compressor on the market, but it’s also not the noisiest. This unit is compatible with 5/8 to 2-inch brad nail sizes and includes a tool-free depth adjustment, easy jam clearing, 360-degree exhaust, and molded no-mar pad. As for the compressor, it has an impact-resistant shroud that is also removable if you need to make adjustments, a maintenance-free pump, and a motor that is capable of starting up in cold weather. For the first unit on the list this is a very good choice from a brand named provider, and is well worth purchasing.

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PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003135 PSI Pancake Compressor

The first mid-priced item on the list is this brand named Porter-Cable unit that promises 2.0 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI with a nice 3.5-gallon tank and a max PSI of 135. That’s a lower PSI than the first item, but it is still comparable on other features and lasts just as long on the low-amp 120-V motor. Maintenance is hassle-free since the pump is oil-free and requires little manual intervention. At 26 pounds you get great portability without losing too much power.

Starting this air compressor in cold weather is no problem — it was built for cold weather starts and won’t stall. The regulated air is handled by the quick coupler, which is beyond easy to use. Unfortunately, it’s one of the noisiest units on the list easily topping 82 dBA, and it doesn’t come with any extra accessories. It works well with jobs involving inflation, blowing, and framing and roofing work. If using an SCFM air tool then it will be fine for a smaller one, but be wary of any tool that may be too power hungry. This is a great unit, albeit a bit noisy compared to the others on the list.

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Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

Another mid-priced item is this Senco that is not only portable but lightweight with considerable usage depending on the job. The horsepower peaks at 1, while running it’s 0.5, but there is a lot of wait time with only a 1-gallon tank. This particular model works best around the house for home improvement, renovations, and inflating toys and tires. Per minute it delivers 20 to 44 drives and is backed by a solid 1-year warranty.

The weight tops out at 20 pounds, so it’s only 6 pounds less than the previous item on the list, yet it is significantly less powerful. What you do get for the loss of power is one of the quietest air compressors on the list, if not the best at noise suppression. The lack of power is almost criminal in some cases, so be wary of what tools you attach to it, especially if not using for just a house project. You’re not going to find many compressors this size that are entirely useful for minor to medium projects, so that’s a positive for this little unit. Depending on what you need, this is a solid compressor that makes up for its minor shortcomings by being extremely portable.

Read Also: 7 Guaranteed Air Compressors for Home Use

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PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSIOil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor

This little medium-priced beast from Porter-Cable has a 1.5 gallon tank capable of 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI to let you work rather than wait around for it to recover. The unit sits upright and has rubber feet with an easy-to-use handle on the top for carrying. The water drain valve is a convenient and easy-to-use feature, and with a max PSI of 150, you’ll get every bit of power out of this unit during each cycle. The pump on the inside requires little maintenance since it’s oil-free, a feature of most air compressors today.

The motor is quite impressive on this unit even though it is the standard portable 120 V that starts in cold weather without problems. This is another 20-pound unit but it works better as a portable unit than the previous one, even with some lapses in power. Because the design is fully enclosed the parts are protected from damage, and with a 1-year warranty on compressor components, you’re covered just in case something gets damaged. Included accessories are a 25-foot coil hose and 8-piece accessory kit to keep you from having to run to the store for extra adapters. This isn’t the best air compressor on the list but it’s the best value air compressor by a mile.

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BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor

An interesting unit on the list is this one from Bostitch that can handle 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI with a max of 150 PSI and the ability to handle multiple finishing tools. At peak the HP is 2, while running it’s 1.5, and the motor only draws 12 amps. It’ll start up easily and keep on humming without messing with the circuit breakers. The tank is about 1.2 gallons with the total weight of the unit topping out at 23.5 pounds. It’s still ultra-portable and protected, with the entire control panel being able to withstand damage due to the roll cage.
A clear and easy-to-see LED on/off switch allows you to eliminate low-pressure misfires due to the compressor not being ready. Another unique design implementation is the on-board tool and hose storage, and if that wasn’t enough bang for your buck, Bostitch even threw in a storage pocket for fittings, fasteners, and hand tools. It really is a nice all-in-one unit that simplifies lots of aspects of your job. This is well worth the money and one of the best on the list for getting your money’s worth.

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BOSTITCH Factory-Reconditioned Pancake Compressor

Last on the list is a brand name that registers at 80 dBA — not really as quiet as some of the others on the list. It makes up for it with 2.6 SCFM at 150 PSI and has enough power to handle trim and finish applications. This model has one of the best motors on the list and it’s also one of the lowest priced. It’s marketed as portable but is the heaviest portable unit listed at 33 pounds, so you might want to keep that in mind when considering your purchase. The integrated control panel is protected to work well in harsh conditions.

This is a multi-user unit with two couplers that has enough power to handle cabinetry, windows/door casings, molding, and even filling up tires. You’ll get a nifty 1-year warranty with your purchase so expect to be protected for a while. The tank is a nice tough steel that will take a couple of bumps and bruises, so no worries about it breaking while on the job. For your money you get a tough, durable unit that can handle the worst you can throw at it. But to call this unit portable is a stretch when comparing to the others on the list. Even if a couple of pounds may not mean much to others, it makes a difference when you’re lugging it around during a long workday. This is a good air compressor but make sure that when you purchase it you take the portable claim lightly.

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Summary

There were some interesting choices on this list with a couple of standouts. The last item in particular might seem like a bad choice, but weight aside, it’s pretty awesome value for money. The specs for most of these compressors are pretty similar, so pay close attention to the features. The best air compressor for your money is staring you right in the face, you just have to choose from one of these 6.

Last update on 2018-12-14 at 09:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API