Category Archives: Shop Compressors

Workshop Air Compressor Reviews

Which Workshop Air Compressor is the Best?

Shop Compressors

Shop compressors generally have larger air storage tanks that allow you to draw consistent large air volumes for tools such as sprayers, grinders, chisels, and hammers without emptying the tank. When you use these types of tools you need the larger sustained air volumes and pressures which workshop compressors supply.

Workshop compressors come in one of two air cylinder configurations; vertical and horizontal.

Horizontal shop compressor air storage tanks lie flat and are shorter in height, but take up more shop floor space.  There are also space-saving models that can fit beneath your work bench which can be necessary in small shops, garages, and sheds.

Vertical compressors are designed to stand straight up and down.  They usually take up less floor space than horizontal compressors, but will rather take up more vertical space. Shop compressors with larger air storage volumes tend to have vertical tanks and are designed to save shop floor space.

Some shop compressors are designed to be moved around your work area and will have wheels while others may not have wheels and opt instead to have extra circuitry that allows extension cords to be used.

Recommendations for the Best Shop Compressors

Horizontal Shop Compressor with Wheels: GMC SYCLONE 6310

Vertical Shop Compressor with Wheels: DeWALT D55168

Heavy Duty Vertical Shop Compressor:  Quincy #2V41C60VC

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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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Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 15 Amp 3.2-Horsepower 60-Gallon Oiled Vertical Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 Summary

Campbell Hausfeld trumps their usual cheap Chinese compressors for a change

Product Description

This is a serious compressor for those of us that need to use grinders, air chisels, sanders, and other tools which require higher air pressures and volumes. If you’re only using your compressor for light-duty tasks like roofing work, using ratchets, inflating tires, and such you can get by with a cheaper compressor with less power and a smaller tank.

Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 Specifications

  • sufficient air flow for more air-hungry tools
  • durable 60 gallon air tank
  • 5000+ hour operating life
  • very quiet
  • vertical tank style won’t take over your workspace

The Recommendation

The Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 is truly suprising as they have a reputation for making cheap Chinese junk compressors. It’s dead quiet during operation, of very durable construction, and built with steel rather than aluminum components which is uncommon at this price point. If you’ve been unhappy with Campbell Hausfeld air compressors in the past you might want to give this one a try and reconsider. The only real downside to this model is unlike other compressors that have oil-free pumps that barely ever require maintenance the VT6275 has an oiled pump and does require periodic maintenance but the benefits and features definitely outweight this one small downside.  This small drawback not withstanding it’s a solid purchase that you should make  today or better yet, buy one for yourself and give one to your buddy!

List Price: $851.52 USD
New From: $851.52 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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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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Quincy QT-54 Reciprocating Air Compressor Review 5 HP 230V Single Phase

Quincy Compressor Summary

More hot air than a senator but without the noise

Product Description

Quincy air compressors have been designed to be a staple of your garage for the long haul. This compressor is built to be super efficient and have a low cost of operation/ownership while producing more compressed air even with a lower horsepower rating. Quincy compressors run cooler than the competition, operate at lower RPM, and have a best-of-industry pump life of over 50,000 hours. Also, for cramped spaces the Quincy’s vertical 60 gallon tank holds plenty of air for running your must used tools without dominating your workspace. Couple all of this with a solid 5-year pump warranty (when you use the recommended maintenance kit) and a 2-year limited warranty otherwise you just can’t go wrong.

With 15.2 CFM of air @ 175 PSI to work with you can run you medium and heavy-duty grinders, painting gear, die grinders, and pretty much any other pneumatic tools that you have in your shop. Although it’s not a super large compressor it’s meant for stationary use and would not be a good buy if you need something portable; go with something like the Makita 5200.

Quincy Compressor Specifications

  • 230v, single phase, 5HP, 21 amp motor made in the USA to exacting standards
  • 175 PSI output to power those heavier tools
  • 15.4 cubic feet/min of air to keep your tools running longer
  • compact vertical tank saves space in your garage while still holding 60 gallons of air
  • cast iron pump with 50,000+ hour life

The Recommendation

This Quincy compressor provides almost all of my must-have features in a compact, low-cost package; quiet, high-pressure output to make my tools run longer, stronger, and more efficiently. After trying other compressors with a three-stage process the two-stage Quincy provides plenty of pressure without taking over my garage and annoying my neighbors with vibrations and noise. When you need a reliable compressor that won’t cost a fortune to maintain and will last a close to forever as a tool possibly can buy the Quincy reciprocating compressor and keep working while your buddies keep having to repair theirs so be the envy of your culdesac and buy the Quincy compressor right now.

List Price: $1,399.99 USD
New From: $1,399.99 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: $329.00 In Stock

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