Category Archives: Portable Air Compressors

Portable Air Compressor Reviews

Which Portable Air Compressor is the Best?

Portable Compressors

Portable air compressors are medium-sized machines that have been designed for maximum versatility and to be useful in a wide variety of applications. In addition to being capable of running many types of tools you can expect larger than usual air storage tanks and higher-powered compressors that enable them to double as light duty shop compressors.

If you don’t run tools with high sustained airflow requirements like die grinders, hammers, sanders, and air chisels a portable compressor will be perfect for you, especially if you are working in a smaller space or have a low budget otherwise you’ll want a larger, more powerful shop compressor or portable contractor compressor to give you the best performance for your tools.

You can think of some portables small shop compressors with wheels, while you can think of some others as larger heavier trim compressors that can also work in the shop.

A lot has changed in the compressor market in the last 10 years, and there are a lot of light, portable, efficient, and even quiet portable compressors available.

Best Quiet Portable Compressors

In this group we have a couple fantastic units and you really can’t go wrong with either.  It all depends on what your preferences are.

DeWALT D55146

Makita MAC5200

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Makita MAC2400 Big-Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 Summary

Best in class compressor at a price even your cheapskate father-in-law won’t cry about

Product Description

Makita’s MAC2400 big bore compressor is probably the best choice of compressor for a wide variety of applications that homeowners and contractors will run up against. A lot of compressors run often but this one holds air forever and unless you’re running high-speed tools that suck down air like a guy drowning in the river it rarely even runs the pump. The MAC2400 is heavier and larger than you would expect for a compressor with it’s specs but the fact that it’s almost silent, rarely runs, and can keep up with whatever you throw at it I can forgive it that “flaw.”

Makita MAC2400 Specifications

  • quiet operation
  • low maintenance design
  • professional-grade power for the jobsite
  • built to last
  • easy to remove pump makes maintenance a breeze
  • excellent 1-year manufacturer warranty

The Consensus

A definite best buy at its price point. Overengineered but in a good way; provides lots of air and barely needs to run for routine jobs. The MAC2400 provides a professional-quality jobsite compressor that homeowners and do it yourselfers can still afford without dipping into your kid’s college fund. Unless you are running heavy duty tools this Makita will blow you away and leave you with money to buy more tools and materials.

List Price: $299.99 USD
New From: $299.99 In Stock

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Dewalt D55151 14 Amp 2.5HP 4-Gallon Oiled Twin Hot Dog Compressor

Dewalt D55151 Summary

Requires your own female connector and an occasional lube

Product Description

The Dewalt D55151 compressor provides the features and power of larger, more expensive compressors in a smaller package and with a lower price. Compressor pumps that use an oil reservoir require a tiny bit of maintenance but generally outlast oil-free compressors. Ideal for nailers, staplers, sprayers, and light grinders. The D55151 is both portable and versatile enough for use on the job site and yet still within the budget of home owners and the DIY crowd.

Dewalt D55151 Details

  • quick recovery
  • good for cold weather use
  • high-flow air regulator increases performance
  • minimal maintenance required

The Conclusion

It comes without a female hose connector which is only a minor inconvenience. The oil-lubricated pump doesn’t freeze up when used infrequently but can be a hassle for people who tend not to change the oil in their tools/cars/etc. Compressors such as the Makita MAC2400 provide a better compressor with less noise, better performance, and less noise but if noise isn’t a huge concern the D55151 is a great addition to any small shop or garage so grab one of those instead.

List Price: $229.99 USD
New From: $229.99 In Stock

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Hitachi EC12 14.5 Amp 2HP 4-Gallon Oiled Twin Hot Dog Compressor

Hitachi EC12 Summary

Hitachi: Japanese for good deal

Product Description

The Hitachi EC12 is another great portable air compressor offering from a company known for good products at low prices. The EC12 is perfect for staplers, nailers, and more but not well suited for painting. Beware that with oil-lubricated compressor pumps you will want to add an oil/water filter to keep your tools safe from moisture and oil. The intake filter and thermal guard adds additional value and helps keep your compressor running like the Energizer bunny without adding a bunch of additional cost to the unit.

EC12 Features

  • 1-year warranty
  • requires oil and light maintenance
  • 4 gallon air tank
  • robust motor with quick recovery times
  • consistent airflow
  • built to last
  • Hitachi quality engineering and construction

My Recommendation

Hitachi is a trusted tool maker and has provided yet another solid compressor with the EC12. It packs a lot of power and versatility into a compact package. If you’ve had problems in the past with tripping your circuit breakers the EC12 has built-in protection against overloads. For home use and light job site work you can count on the Hitachi EC12 to keep up with you throughout your work day and without interruptions and downtime.  If you don’t grab an EC12 now you’ll regret it when Sears won’t honor the warranty on your Craftsmen compressor so snag one now.

New From: $555.86 In Stock

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Dewalt D55167 1.6 HP 200 PSI Oil-Free High Pressure Low-Noise Horizontal Portable Compressor

Dewalt D55167 Summary

Stow-able in your overhead compartment — well almost

Product Description

Expect a standard Dewalt compressor here at twice the price you would expect. The D55167 delivers high-pressure and reasonable recovery times all in a compact package that you can stuff under your workbench. Extension cord friendly so you don’t have to worry about catching your garage on fire. The handle is conveniently located for wrapping the hose around when not in use but a bit too low to the ground for moving the compressor around much; hence why I leave it under my workbench most of the time.

The D55167 compressor is well-suited for most light and medium tasks such as painting your fence, working on the car, and light grinding but don’t expect this to be useful if you’re a garage metal fabricator or a contractor that requires running heavy duty tools.

Dewalt D55167 Features

  • 200 PSI maximum pressure with quick recovery time after use
  • virtually no pump maintenance required
  • quieter than many other compressors in its class
  • efficient air pressure delivery system
  • extension cord friendly

The Consensus

The D55167 isn’t the cheapest 200 PSI compressor on the market but it’s quiet, portable, and fits under my workbench. It recovers quicker than most other compressors with the same tank size and can do quite a few small tasks without even running the pump. The handles and tank are super durable and are perfect for wrapping your hoses around to keep your shop floor from becoming cluttered. A solid all around purchase but kinda pricy for a compressor of this size.

List Price: $389.99 USD
New From: $389.99 In Stock

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Dewalt D55141 8-Amp 0.5HP 2-Gallon Oil-Free Single Hot Dog Compressor

Dewalt DEWD55141 Summary

Some assembly required: $15 worth of plumbing supplies and you have a compressor that’ll do in a pinch

Dewalt DEWD55141 Details

The DEWD55141 is a great purchase for the budget-minded do-it-yourselfer but requires some modifications to prevent water from destroying your tools. A trip to Lowes and $15 later you have a decent compressor to runs your tools. As far as budget compressors go this isn’t all that bad of a deal but there’s quite a few other compressors out there that are cheaper and actually designed better. I would definitely consider one of the cheaper Craftsmen compressors or even one of Dewalt’s other cheaper offerings before buying this one.

  • fairly quiet
  • roll cage to protect the tank from being damaged if knocked over
  • durable and low-maintenance
  • lightweight
  • designed to NOT trip your breakers

The Recommendation

The DEWD55141 is a quality and portable compressor but tends to dump water into your tools through the header. If you’re not afraid to modify the thing with a few bucks worth of plumbing supplies this is a good purchase but otherwise go with one of Dewalt’s other offerings that has more sensible plumbing out of the box.

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Campbell Hausfeld FP2048 2-Gallon Air Compressor and 8-Piece Accessory Kit

Campbell Hausfeld FP2048 Summary

The “go anywhere” compressor — anywhere with ear plugs that is!

Product Description

The Campbell Hausfeld FP2048 is a small, noisy air compressor perfect for light-duty work around the house and in the shed but don’t expect to be using it late at night or you’ll raise the dead. It’s got a pretty small air tank by comparison but really what do you expect for so cheap? The FP2048 is a decent choice if you just need a cheap compressor for the kids to use, for filling tires, and using your stapler but don’t plan on using this for serious work.

In the box you’ll get:

  • a 25-foot recoiling hose
  • an air chuck
  • an inflation needle, needle adapter, and two nozzles

Campbell Hausfeld FP2048 Features

  • 2 gallon tank holds plenty of air
  • no oil, no muss, no fuss
  • pump motor that runs cool as ice
  • accessory kit included

The Conclusion

A cheap compressor for the handyman we all know who isn’t all that handy. It’s a decent purchase if you have minimal needs such as airbrushing models for the kids, pumping up footballs and bike tires, and blowing out your air filter for your lawn mower but if you need something for more involved work or to run air tools like auto paint sprayers and grinders look for a more heavy-duty compressor such as the Hitachi EC12 which provides a bit more versatility for around the same price point.

Posted in Mini Air Compressors, Portable Air Compressors | Comments Off

GMC Syclone 6310 Ultra-Quiet and Oil-Free Air Compressor

GMC Power Equipment Summary

Ugly duckling provides power while being whisper quiet

Product Description

The GMC Syclone 6310 is a small, portable ugly little machine that provides solid performance for small air tools while making nearly no noise. Don’t expect this machine to handle heavy duty tools but if all you need is to run an air brush, small spray painting gear, or nailers it’ll do just fine.

GMC Power Equipment Features Details Specifications

  • very quiet operation @ less than 60 db
  • 6.3 gallon tank
  • oil-free, low maintenance pump
  • quick connect system so you can easily switch tools

The Consensus Conclusion Recommendation

This GMC compressor is probably the ugliest air compressor that you’ll ever lay eyes on with it’s garish paint scheme but it’s quite a workhorse for running small tools, sprayers, etc. GMC cut a lot of corners in the manufacture of the Syclone as far as the paint and not grinding down the welds nicely but didn’t skimp where it counts. This is a perfect compressor for inflating car tires, running light tools, home-use painting gear, and blowing the cobwebs out of your shop. It’s a great bargain compressor that you can run at midnight without irritating your wife or neighbors.

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Dewalt D55168 200 PSI 15-Gallon 120V Electric Wheeled Portable Workshop Compressor Review

Dewalt D55168 Summary

Lightweight, portable, and works harder than your boss

Product Description

With 200 PSI of pressure and a pump that can keep up with your tools without missing a breath you can get anything done in your home, garage or small shop without breaking the bank. The D55168 is a great choice for roofing, cleanup, and maintenance on your cars while still being powerful enough to run small grinders and painting gear. This is a definite top 5 for small, light and medium duty home compressors but not well suited for commercial use or when you need to do heavy duty work or use industrial-grade tools.

Dewalt D55168 Features

  • recovers quickly between uses so you can get more work done in less time
  • run your tools longer thanks to a high-pressure storage tank
  • less than 75 db to keep your shop quiet
  • oil-less, low-maintenance pump that can even be used with an extension cord due to low amp usage

The Consensus

The D55168 compressor from Dewalt is one of their best low-price offerings for home and small shop use. If you’re in need of a quality replacement for your aging Craftsmen pancake compressor or need to upgrade to run tools with higher pressure and air volume requirements you should definitely short-list this one.

This is by no means a top-end commercial shop compressor but for most home and small shop use it will be more than enough and unlike many compressors the D55168 can be used with extension cords without worrying about fire hazards due to excessive amperage draw; this is a must-have for me when choosing a compressor as I have a small shop and am always moving things around as I work to make room for my projects.

The only thing wanting is it’s wheel system and the fact that the drain is close too close to the floor. Most people from what I’ve see just build a small stand/ramp to keep it off the ground and so far it’s worked well for me this way. If you want a great value in a portable compressor this is it, order one before you regret it.

List Price: $710.42 USD
New From: $389.00 In Stock

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Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3HP Air Compressor Review

Makita MAC5200 Summary

This contractor grade field compressor serves double duty in the workshop too.

Makita MAC5200 Product Description

Makita’s “Big Bore” compressor isn’t just marketing drivel. The oversize bore pump is driven at > 3000 rpm and is able to produce big air without making big noise. The cast iron pump is solid, but hefty and durable. For a tool that gets daily job site use, that’s tradeoff you should make every time. You only have to move it twice a day, but it delivers air all day long.

It has the legs to run 2 full size framing or roofing nailers continuously, and you can probably run 3 or 4 under normal “nail a little, cut a little” work conditions. It provides a continuous 6.9 CFM @40 psi… not enough for heavy grinding, drilling or paint spraying, but more than enough for intermittent bursts of grinding and spraying.

Even though (or perhaps because) the MAC5200 is a contractor grade compressor, it’s also perfect for any home workshop. It can be installed under a workbench or in a corner, and with the wheeled chassis it can be easily pulled out and moved to where the work is. Plus, at 14 AMPS you can power it on a normal circuit and extension cord. However, for home workshop use, it’s not as quiet as the DeWALT D55146, but it’s still reasonably quiet, running at 90db.

Makita MAC5200 Specifications

  • 3HP Pump
  • 5.2 gal Tank
  • 6.5cfm @90psi, 6.9cfm @40psi
  • 140psi Maximum Pressure
  • Folding handle for easy storage
  • Built-in storage compartment for fittings and accessories
  • Air hose wrap for 50 ft hose

The Consensus Conclusion Recommendation

You really can’t go wrong with the Makita MAC5200. Both it, and the DeWALT are at the absolute top of our recommendation list.

The general preference seems to be for the DeWALT D55146 over the Makita MAC5200 when ergonomics were more important. The DeWALT D55146 is rated for quieter operation, and the sano ergo design of the DeWALT D55146 looks good in any workshop, and professional at any job site.

But when raw performance is the deciding factor, you just can’t beat the Makita MC5200. The Makita may be slightly louder (90db vs 78db), but it makes big big air. 6.5CFM at 90psi, vs 5.2cfm @ 90psi for the DeWALT. That’s a significant difference when your using tools with high continuous draw.

So buy the Makita MAC5200 with confidence. You won’t be sorry.

List Price: $349.00 USD
New From: $349.00 In Stock

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Review: DeWALT D55146 200psi Portable Compressor with Wheels and 4-1/2-Gallon Tank

DeWALT D55146 Summary

See Long Term Update Below

An amazing compressor that serves shop duty as well as field duty, proving against all odds that one really can almost have it all.

DeWALT D55146 Details

  • 200 PSI max pressure provides 80% more usable air
  • 5.2 SCFM @90psi provides surprising continuous air volume
  • allows the compressor to recover quickly after its initial tank charge is exhausted
  • Unit can be placed vertical or horizontal for maximum flexibility in transport or in use
  • 78 dBA means quiet quiet quiet
  • Even the 10-inch flat proof foam tires strike a great balance between durability and utility.

So Should You Buy The DeWALT D55146?

DeWALT designed the D55146 to be portable, but also built it to be a truly heavy duty air compressor. While it’s a hefty guy (at ~80 lbs), it’s 4.5 gallon tank, 200psi capacity, and cleverly designed chassis w/ wheels and a protective full metal cage and shrouds helps it strike an excellent balance between utility and the ease of hauling and handling. The only downside will be getting it into your truck, but once it’s time to ge to work, you’ll be glad you brought this unit rather than a trim compressor. However, but if ultra portability is more important to you, and you mostly just run nail guns or impact tools, then may want to consider a smaller trim compressor as they are more portable.

It’s also very quiet (for an air compressor, that is) at 78db, meaning your customers won’t complain about the noise in their house and your wife won’t complain about the noise in your garage.

On the power side, it’s a very capable unit, powering several full size nailers or a full range of impact and ratchet tools. With a 200psi capacity, it’s set to cycle on at around 160 meaning you never end up finishing half driven nails by hand. You can spray texture and do some grinding and drilling, although if you do a lot of grinding, drilling or continuous paint spraying you should still consider a full size shop compressor. But for nailer and impact tools this is the best unit in its class.

But for everyone else, homeowner, handyman, and professional alike, this little gem is all you need.

JAN 2015 Long Term Update:

There are two glaring design flaws with this compressor which have become annoying to the extent that we are changing our recommendation.

  • The compressor is connected to the tank with a rubber hose that has to bend and wind in such a way that you can’t get a hose clamp to seal, and you can’t get in to it in order to use a crimp clamp instead. A stupid 50 cent part causes the compressor to hiss, leak, and cycle constantly.
  • The chassis of the compressor has a horizontal support brace that extends below the frame itself causing it to catch on steps when moving the unit up or down stairs. This has resulted in significant damage to stair treads and also to one truck tail gate. Another very stupid design decision.

This unit should be avoided.

Get a Makita MAC5200 if you want something mobile, or Quincy QT-54 for the shop.

List Price: Too Low to Display
New From: Check Amazon For Pricing In Stock

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