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10 Best Air Compressors for Your Home Garage in 2021 – Reviews & Guide

using Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

using Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

Air compressors are incredibly versatile tools. They are used in professional situations as well as in home garages. However, air compressors designed for professional shops and contractors are not the same compressors you need to have in your home garage.

Most people don’t need a vast, expensive compressor. If you’re planning on doing small jobs around the house, a smaller air compressor is all you need.

We’ll review some of these suitable air compressors in this article so that you choose the best one for your home garage.

We also wrote a complete buyer’s guide, which should help you choose the exact air compressor for your needs.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor
  • Large capacity
  • 120 max PSI
  • Runs for 30-60 minutes
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor
  • 150 max PSI
  • Pancake-style
  • High-efficiency motor
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Makita 2.5 Air Compressor Makita 2.5 Air Compressor
  • Oil-lubricated
  • Roll cage construction
  • Oil sight
  • PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor
  • 150 PSI max
  • 6-gallon capacity
  • Pancake-style
  • Makita MAC700 Air Compressor Makita MAC700 Air Compressor
  • 120 PSI
  • Powerful pump
  • 2 HP
  • The 10 Best Air Compressors for Home Garages – Reviews 2021

    1. California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor – Best Overall

    California Air Tools 8010

    The California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor is one of the better air compressors out there that is also suitable for consumers. It is quite large and powerful, though, so you will need to find an appropriate place to put it. It isn’t exactly suitable for small garages. It comes with a complete wheel kit and air filter, which is everything you need to start using the compressor right away. You will need a connector for your hose, however.

    It can run continuously for 30-60 minutes. The max pressure is 120 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is a bit more than many competing machines. It is oil-free, which means it doesn’t require nearly as much maintenance as some of the other air compressors, but it also doesn’t last nearly as long. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on your personal preference.

    It has a large 8-gallon steel air tank that is also decently lightweight. It is only 48 pounds, and it comes with wheels. Because of these reasons, it is relatively easy to move around. You can use it in a variety of temperatures. It isn’t nearly as affected as other air compressors by temperature.

    Pros
    • Large capacity
    • 120 max PSI
    • Runs for 30-60 minutes
    • 8-gallon steel air tank
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Somewhat large

    2. Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor – Best Value

    BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor

    Not everyone needs a large compressor! If you can get away with a smaller compressor, you can save quite a bit of money. Out of all the budget options on the list, the Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor is the best option. It is pancake-style, so it is much smaller than many other compressors. It is much easier to store in general, as it can fit more easily underneath tables and that sort of thing.

    Despite its smaller size, this compressor has a maximum of 150 PSI max. It is 6 gallons, so it can hold quite a bit. It is the perfect size for most household jobs, like filling up tires and running small tools. It has a high-efficiency motor that runs perfectly fine in cold weather. It can even start up quickly with an extension cord. It is a bit louder than some other options at 78.5 decibels (dB). But it still isn’t the loudest option out there.

    The high flow regulator allows it to maximize air transfer, which helps run tools and refill things. It is completely oil-free. You won’t have to perform maintenance on it for this reason. However, it also likely won’t last as long as some other options. Despite this, it is still the best air compressor for home garages for the money.

    Pros
    • Small
    • 150 max PSI
    • Pancake-style
    • High-efficiency motor
    • Little maintenance required
    Cons
    • Short lifespan

    3. Makita 2.5 Air Compressor – Premium Choice

    Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

    As far as premium air compressors go, the Makita 2.5 Air Compressor is not expensive. However, compared to the other compressors we reviewed, it is one of the more expensive options. This is mostly because it comes with extra design features. Some people may find these extra features helpful, but it will cost you a bit extra.

    This air compressor has a 4.2-gallon twin tank. It sustains enough air for 2 nail guns. It is oil-lubricated, which means it will need some maintenance. However, it does have a cooler running temperature and will last longer than other models – which is excellent considering how much this unit costs. It also has a built-in thermal overload for additional protection. The oil sight makes it very easy to tell when the machine needs more oil, though. So, it isn’t tricky to figure out.

    It has a roll cage construction, which protects it from wear and tear. The durable cast-iron cylinder reduces damage as well. It features a massive air filter and helps increase airflow and make the machine work more efficiently.

    Pros
    • Oil-lubricated
    • Roll cage construction
    • Oil sight
    • 2-gallon twin tank
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor

    PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor

    The PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor is another pancake-style compressor. It is easier to store underneath tables for this reason and is far more portable than the competition. It is very stable as well, so you don’t have to worry about knocking it over nearly as much. This unit is quite durable and should last you for a while. It includes 13 different accessories, which is all you need to get started right away. Most homeowners probably won’t have to purchase separate accessories with this kit.

    With a 6-gallon capacity, this compressor is also the perfect size for most home garages. It isn’t so big that you’ll have trouble storing it, but it is still big enough for most purposes. It has 150 max PSI, which is plenty for most homeowners. It is more potent than most other options on the market. It runs at 2.6 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) at 90 PSI, allowing quick air compressor recovery time and less waiting. The air coupler and plug are factory installed, so the setup is very minimal. The air hose is 25-feet.

    According to users, the main problem with this compressor is that it is deafening. This can be a significant problem for some people. The user manual is also quite confusing.

    Pros
    • 13 different accessories included
    • 150 PSI max
    • 6-gallon capacity
    • Pancake-style
    Cons
    • Confusing user manual
    • Very loud according to users

    5. Makita MAC700 Air Compressor

    man using Makita MAC700 Air Compressor

    The Makita MAC700 Air Compressor has a cast iron pump. It has a greater bore and stroke, allowing it to perform much better than some of the other options on the market. It is not as loud as some other air compressors have. It has a large 1,720 pump, so some loudness is to be expected. According to the company, it is rated at 80 dB. We did like that it came with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. This warranty is decently good and covers most defects.

    The 2 horsepower (HP) motor produces 3.3 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 90 PSI. We found this surprisingly high. It even has a roll-bar handle for portability and additional protection. If you drop it, it shouldn’t be as prone to damage as some other units on the list.

    This compressor does not stand up to normal wear-and-tear, though. It tends to leak air over time. This isn’t a huge issue, but it can be a problem over a more extended period. It is also decently heavy. You will not be able to carry it up a ladder or anything of that sort. If you plan on using pneumatic tools that require some mobility, this is not the air compressor for you.

    Pros
    • 120 PSI
    • Powerful pump
    • 2 HP
    • 1-year warranty
    Cons
    • Loud
    • Heavy

    6. DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Air Compressor

    DEWALT DWFP55126

    While the DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Air Compressor isn’t our favorite, it is suitable for some homeowners. It has 165 max PSI and a 6-gallon tank. This allows it to perform most household jobs, especially if you aren’t doing any severe DIYing.

    It has a 75.5 dB noise level, according to the manufacturer. If you’ve read our other reviews, you’ll recognize that this is about in the middle. However, we found it to be closer to 80 dB. For this reason, it does seem to be louder than many of the others we reviewed.

    It also has a high flow regulator and a coupler, which improves the performance by a bit.

    The fittings on the hose do tend to leak a little bit. The problem seems to be the undersized ball bearings inside the fitting. This allows the fitting to play a bit too much as you use the air compressor, causing the air to leak. You can replace this fitting to get rid of this problem, though. Everyone pretty much reported this air compressor. There seems to be a problem with defects in general as well.

    Pros
    • 165 max PSI
    • Quality performance
    • 6-gallon tank
    Cons
    • Loud
    • Fittings are not correctly implemented
    • Defects common

    7. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

    Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 Portable Quiet Air Compressor

    The Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor is designed for the average household. It is made to be used with small pneumatic tools or small household tasks, like cleaning electronics or filling up tires. It is decently quiet at only 68 dB. This is because it is made for residential use. Most homeowners consider noise level an essential factor, especially if you live in a residential neighborhood.

    It is oil-free, so it doesn’t require any maintenance. You don’t have to change the oil. But it won’t last as long due to the lower level of lubrication.

    This air compressor does not come with any accessories. You have to purchase the air hose separately, as well as all the other accessories you need. Be sure to bundle these in with the price. In the end, those things not being included bumps the price up on this air compressor considerably more.

    We did like the large wheels on this machine. It has a durable, rubber-grip handle that makes the unit easy to transport from project to project. The handle and wheels work quite well together.

    Pros
    • No maintenance
    • Easy to transport
    • Quiet
    Cons
    • No accessories included
    • Expensive

    8. Stark Portable Quiet Air Compressor

    Stark 65151 Portable Quiet Air Compressor

    The Stark Portable Quiet Air Compressor has a max PSI of 125. This is enough for most household purposes. It can be used for nailing, bolting, stapling, fastening, and spray painting. If you’re an average homeowner, this air compressor is designed for you. It has an automatic shutoff to prevent over inflating objects, which is excellent for those that don’t have much experience with these machines. According to the company, it is decently quiet, but they have not listed the exact noise level.

    This compressor is a bit larger than most others. It has a 10-gallon tank that is made portable through the use of wheels. It has a large air tank, which improves the overall efficiency of the machine.

    The main problems with this compressor come with poor quality control. There are many defects due to the poor manufacturing process. The package quality also isn’t right, which can cause damage to the air compressor during shipping. This compressor has potential, but it just isn’t worth the risk of defects.

    Pros
    • 125 PSI
    • Quiet
    Cons
    • Poor quality control
    • Poor shipping

    9. Industrial Air Belt Driven Air Compressor

    Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Belt Driven Air Compressor

    Despite its name, Industrial Air Belt Driven Air Compressor is designed as an air compressor for home garages. It isn’t useful in most industrial situations, so it is only significant for homeowners. However, it is enormous for most home garages. It has a 30-gallon capacity, which is enormous when compared to other air compressors. It is on tires, so it is somewhat portable.

    This air compressor has a max pressure of 155 PSI. This is plenty for most homeowners. It is probably more than hardly any other air compressor available. It has a dual-voltage motor so that it can be used with standard 120-volt outlets and 240-volt outlets.

    The recovery time for this air compressor is very long. You may find yourself doing a lot of waiting in between uses. Shipping damage is also quite common. It also tends to accumulate a lot of moisture, which is a problem. You have to drain it often.

    Pros
    • 10-gallon capacity
    • 155 PSI
    Cons
    • Shipping damage is common
    • Expensive
    • Accumulates moisture

    10. Porter-Cable Portable Air Compressor

    Porter Cable PXCMF220VW Portable Air Compressor

    The Porter-Cable Portable Air Compressor is also a bit bigger than most of the air compressors we reviewed. It has a 20-gallon tank, which is plenty large enough for nearly everything a homeowner will be using it for. It is large enough to run more pneumatic tools, though it may be a bit too large for the portability most tools need.

    It has a 150 max PSI as well. This is plenty powerful for most purposes. It is oil-free, so you don’t have to maintain it much in the least. However, it won’t last as long as some other air compressors because of this. It just doesn’t have the lubrication necessary to avoid constant wear-and-tear.

    This air compressor has a problem with air leaks, though. It also has some quality control problems. Many users reported not receiving all the parts for this machine. This is a significant problem. Defects are also common. Defective welds and that sort of thing can ruin this unit.

    Pros
    • 150 max PSI
    • 20-gallon tank
    Cons
    • Air leaks are common
    • Quality control problems
    • Defects are common

    Buyer’s Guide

    When you’re purchasing an air compressor, there are many things you need to keep in mind. No air compressor is perfect for all home garages out there. Instead, which one is best for you depends on various factors, including your budget and what you plan on using the air compressor for.

    In this section, we’ll take a look at all the features you need to be aware of when choosing an air compressor for your home garage.

    man using Makita MAC700 Air Compressor

    Specifications

    There are a lot of specifications often listed on each air compressor. If an air compressor doesn’t have any specifications listed or only has a few, you should be suspicious. Any air compressor with good specifications should be proud to advertise, though. If an air compressor doesn’t have specifications listed, it probably is high-quality enough for the company to be proud of them.

    These specifications are essential for figuring out how powerful an air compressor is. However, they can be a bit complicated to understand. This is essential knowledge that you need to pick out a suitable air compressor. Here are some of the most important specifications and what you mean:

    • HP: The horsepower is one of the more important specifications you need to keep aware of. The HP indicates the power output of the engine. The higher the horsepower, the higher the PSI. However, HP translates to PSI at different rates depending on the overall quality of the machine. Because of this, HP isn’t always the best indicator of how great a compressor functions.
    • PSI: The pounds per square inch (PSI) is an indication of how much air a machine can hold. The higher a unit’s PSI, the more air they can hold in their tank. This also indicates the pressure they can release the air at, as more air equals higher pressure. More air also means you’ll be able to store more air in the tank overall – no matter the actual gallon size.
    • CFM and SCFM: These are two indicators of practically the same specification. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, while SCFM stands for standard cubic feet per minute. They’re the same indicator for the same specification; it just depends on which company you’re ordering from. The CFM value changes as the PSI changes. The lower the PSI output, the higher the CFM. An air compressor with a higher CFM can push out more air faster, making it more suitable for industrial applications.
    • Gallons: Most compressor companies label the capacity of their compressor in gallons. Smaller air compressors are better suited for running pneumatic tools that don’t require much air, like brad nailers and airbrushes. Larger tanks can store more air and are useful for industrial tasks. Sometimes, you can even run multiple tools with a large air compressor. The gallon size indicates how long an air compressor will be able to deliver sustained air.

    HP is the raw indicator for a machine’s “power,” but translates into PSI and CFM depending on the machine. For this reason, while you should look at the HP, the other specifications we discussed are typically more important.

    If you’re planning on running simple tools, you need to look at the CFM rating at certain PSI levels. Be sure to check the tool for the rating it needs, and then find an air compressor that can produce this pressure level.

    Types of Air Compressors

    There are quite a few types of air compressors. Many of these are available as residential models. There isn’t just one type of air compressor that is suitable for home garages. Instead, there are many different options. One is likely more suitable for your needs than others.

    Pancake Compressors

    Pancake compressors look similar to pancakes. They are a bit squished and have flat storage tanks. They are incredibly stable and very short, which makes them easier to store in some situations. They are also slightly more portable since you don’t have to worry about them knocking over as quickly.

    Hot Dog Compressors

    These compressors are designed horizontally with one cylindrical tank. They are called hot dog compressors because that is precisely what they look like – hot dogs.

    Twin Compressors

    A twin compressor has two horizontal tanks. They are basically like a hot dog tank times two. They add significant air capacity without increasing the floor space required for the unit. They do add weight to the unit, though.

    Wheelbarrow Compressors

    These air compressors have twin cylindrical tanks with a wheel and a handle. This allows you to move them around like a wheelbarrow. These are exactly like the twin compressors, but they are much more portable. If you need to move your air compressor around, this is a reliable option.

    There are also inflators, which are extremely small air compressors. These don’t have a storage tank, so they have to run to produce air continuously. However, they aren’t air compressors, so we didn’t include any in this list.

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    Conclusion

    Hopefully, this article helped you figure out precisely what air compressor you need for your home garage. There are many options out there, so feel free to be picky until you find the best option for you.

    For most homeowners, we recommend the California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor. It has a decently large capacity and a suitable maximum PSI. It should be able to perform just about everything a homeowner needs it to. Plus, it isn’t costly, either!

    If you’re on a budget, you may be able to save a bit of money by choosing the Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor. It is much cheaper than other options out there. It has 150 max PSI, which is plenty for most homeowners.

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