Best Air Compressor Reviews 2021

Best Air Compressor Reviews 2020


Looking for the Best Air Compressor Reviews of 2021? Great news, you have found a excellent resource that offers unbiased reviews of the top air compressors available today. 

​Whether you need a large stationary compressor for your garage or shop or ​prefer an ultra-portable, super-quiet air compressor ​that you can operate inside your home without waking the dead, we can help. You'll find roundup comparison reviews of popular styles of compressors including pancake and twin stack models​, ultra-quiet compressors, 12 Volt portable inflators, and more. Each top pick includes a detailed review which not only lists the best features of the product but also describes its major weaknesses.  

​Finding the best unit for your specific needs and budget can be greatly simplified by using our detailed Air Compressor Buying Guide. If you already know the type and size of compressor you need then you can skip to our top 3 picks from the most popular categories listed below. For more detailed reviews and a larger selection of choices go to the specific category detail page.

Our most popular air compressor review categories are:

Top 3 Quiet Air Compressors






California Air Tools



60 dB

CFM @ 90 PSI

2.2 CFM

Tank Size

8 Gallon

Good Combination of Power and Low Noise.

​Great Amazon Reviews!

DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor




​71.5 dB

CFM @ 90 PSI

​3.0 CFM

Tank Size

​2.5 Gallon

200 PSI -​ Highest Pressure of the Top 5 Quiet Air Compressors We Reviewed.

​Heavy Duty, Multiple, ​Simultaneous Air ​Nailer Support.

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

California Air Tools



56 dB

CFM @ 90 PSI

​1.2 CFM

Tank Size

​1 Gallon

The Quietest ​We  Reviewed, Only 56 dB.

Portable, Small & Light Weight, Only 29 Lbs.

​​​Excellent Compressor for Tire Inflation​.

Portable Air Compressors - Top 3





Porter Cable C2002 150 psi 6-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Compressor

​Porter Cable

​C2002 Portable Pancake Air Compressor


​82 dBA

CFM @ 90 PSI

2.6 CFM

Tank Size

​6 Gallon


Only 30 Lbs. Very Portable

​​Integrated Cord Wrap

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

​​​Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor


​7​9 dB

CFM @ 90 PSI

​​4.2 CFM

Tank Size

​​4.2 Gallon

​Rugged Design

Heavy Duty- ​Cast Iron Pump

​Good Power vs Portability

DEWALT D55146 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels

DeWALT D55146 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels


​78 dBA

CFM @ 90 PSI

​​5 CFM

Tank Size

​4.5 Gallon

​Powerful 5 CFM​​ - 225 PSI

Portable, ​Hand Carry or Wheel Around

Top 3 Tire Inflators





VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor

​VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor


​12-V 15-A


​1.26 CFM

Max T​ire Size


​Plugs Into 12 V Power Outlet

​Great Amazon Reviews!

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

​V​IAIR 88P Portable Air Compressor


​​12-V ​20-A


​​1.47 CFM

Max T​ire Size


​Direct 12 Volt Battery Clamps

Inflate 33" Tires

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Tire Inflator


​12V 15A


​1.​06 CFM

Max T​ire Size

​Midsize SUV

​Least Expensive Reviewed

​Thousands of 5 Star Reviews


2021 Best Quiet Compressor

California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet Review

California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet Review

CAT-8010 Best Quiet Compressor 2021

​The California Air Tools ​8010 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0-HP ​8Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor is our top pick in the 2021 Best Quiet Air Compressor category.

We picked this unit because it had the best combination of quality, power, low noise level and of course price. You can read our full CAT-8010 review here.

​CAT-​8010 air compressors use the new California Air Tools SP series motor/pump, which is easily repairable. The new one horsepower SP-9413 pump increases the compressor's duty cycle allowing for longer continuous run times without overheating. The thermally protected AC motor spins at a lower 1680 RPM which creates less noise and increases life of the unit. ​The oil-free, dual piston pump provides high performance with minimal routine maintenance requirements and features a 3000 hour life cycle before repair rating.

​It takes only 165 seconds to fill the ​8-gallon air tank from empty to 120 PSI, then the recovery time from 90 PSI back to a full 120 PSI is around 60 seconds. 

The unit is rated at 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI or 3.1 CFM @ 40 PSI, which is great for inflating car or truck tires and provides enough ​capacity to enough to run most air nailers and some small air ratchets and impact wrenches. If you need to run large air tools that require high CFM, such as air sanders and grinders, then you should opt for a considerably larger compressor.

California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor Owners Manual - PDF 

California Air Tools 8010 Specifications

  • 60 dB Quiet
  • 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 8 Gallon Tank
  • 3000 Hour Life
  • 8.5 Amps
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • 1 HP Dual Piston
  • ​1680 RPM
  • Length 26"
  • Width 14"
  • Height 23"
  • 48 Lbs.

Our CAT-8010 Ratings


60 decibel is an excellent sound rating for a 1 horsepower unit. One of the quietest compressors in this comparison.


California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the 8010 is no exception. 


The 8010 pricing is competitive for a 1 HP quiet 8-gallon compressor and usually retails between $150 to $180.

Overall Rating :  4.5

This is great ultra quiet portable air compressor that still produces ample power. If 2.2 CFM of airflow is sufficient for your needs, this is a compressor you should seriously consider. If you are looking for a good quiet air compressor that won't break the bank or your eardrums, then the CAT 8010 is an excellent choice. We gave the California Air Tools 8010 an overall rating of 4.5 stars.


  • Ultra-Quiet- 60 dB
  • 8 Gallon Steel Air Tank
  • 48 Lbs - Portable 
  • Excellent Buyer Reviews


  • Not for High CFM Applications
  • Only 2.2 CFM

California Air Tools CAT-8010

2021 Best Portable Compressor

Porter Cable C2002 Portable Pancake Review

Porter Cable C2002 Portable Pancake Review

2021 Best Portable Compressor - Porter Cable C2002

The Porter Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor is our top pick in the 2021 Top Portable Air Compressor category.

The Porter Cable C2002 pancake compressor has been a best seller for years, primarily due to high performance per dollar that this model offers. The 0.8 HP motor coupled with a low maintenance oil free pump provides 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI for faster recovery. The pancake style 6 gallon air tank is pressurized to 150 PSI which allows for longer usage periods between compressor cycles.

The C2002 features a robust design with shrouding protecting the compressor's vital components and controls, while still maintaining good portability weighing only 34 lbs. Other notable features include an integrated power cord wrap and dual factory installed quick-connect air couplings allowing you to operate two air nailers at the same time.

One item we think could be improved upon is the noise level. The Porter Cable C2002 emits 82 dBA using the ISO3744 standard, which is somewhat louder than many competitive models, however given the lower cost of the C2002 this is a trade-off that many are willing to take.

Currently, we don't recommend that you buy the Porter-Cable C2002-WK combo package which adds a 13-piece accessory kit to the deal. The low quality accessory kit combo adds around $50 to the price and in our opinion is a poor value. Many of the negative reviews that this compressor receives are regarding the cheap accessories such as the air chuck which fails to fully depress the tire's valve preventing you from inflating the tire.  We feel your money would be better spent buying the C2002 compressor only deal and spending the $50 or so that you'll save on a good quality air hose and accessories.

Porter Cable C2002 Pancake Compressor Owners Manual - PDF

Porter Cable C2002 Specifications

  • 82 dB Quiet
  • 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 6 Gallon Tank
  • 0.8 HP
  • 10 Amps
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • Dual Quick Connects
  • Pancake Design
  • Length 19"
  • Width 19"
  • Height 18"
  • 30 Lbs.

Our PC C2002 Ratings


82 dB is not quiet by any stretch, however it is not deafening either.


This is a good quality compressor considering the low price tag. 


The C2002 is priced competitively, usually retails around $100

Overall Rating :  4.5

If you are looking for a budget portable compressor, then the Porter Cable C2002 is an excellent choice. We gave the Porter Cable C2002 an overall rating of 4.5 stars.


  • Highly Portable
  • Low Current, 10 Amps
  • Low Price, About $100
  • Excellent Buyer Reviews


  • Louder 82 dBA
  • Cheap Accessory  Kit

Porter Cable C2002 Pancake

2021 Best Tire Inflator

VIAIR 85P 12V Inflator Review 

VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor Review

VIAIR 85P Best Tire Inflator 2021

The VIAIR 85P is our top pick in the 2021 Best Tire Inflator category. If you would like to see the full line of inflator reviews. take a look at this page, Best 12V Portable Air Compressors For Inflating Tires.

​​The Viair 85P portable 12V tire inflator is a best seller with thousands of positive reviews. It is a powerful little compressor capable of inflating tires up to 31"​ and features a built-in LED work light.

The 3 foot long air hose features a twist-on tire chuck constructed of solid brass and a 10' power cord makes it easy to reach any of your vehicle's tires. The 85P outputs 1.26 CFM in free air and can inflate a 225/60R18 tire from 0 to 30 PSI in only 3 minutes. 

You'll want to make sure your vehicle is equipped with a suitable 12 volt DC power jack or cigarette lighter plug with at least a 15 amp capacity. If you lack this, you'll want to get the VIAIR 88P, reviewed below, that offers direct battery clamp connectors. Also note that this model has a 60 PSI air pressure limit, which is plenty for most cars and SUV's that use 32 - 35 PSI recommended tire pressure.

VIAIR 00085 Air Compressor Owners Manual - PDF 

VIAIR 85P Specifications

  • 100 PSI Gauge
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • Deluxe Carry Bag
  • 3 Inflation Tips
  • 15 Amps
  • 60 Max. PSI
  • 1.28 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • LED Work Light
  • Length 9.1"
  • Width 3.1"
  • Height 5.6"
  • 4.3 Lbs.

Our VIAIR 85P Ratings


1.28 CFM airflow in free air with 60 PSI maximum pressure.


Good quality tire inflation compressor considering low price.


The 85P is competitively priced and usually retails under $50

Overall Rating :  4.5

The VIAIR 85P is an excellent choice for average users. It's inexpensive and connects easily to a 12V accessory jack. We gave the VIAIR 85P an overall rating of 4.5 stars.


  • Highly Portable
  • Easy Connection
  • Low Price, Under $50
  • Excellent Buyer Reviews


  • DC Jack Only
  • 60 PSI Limit

VIAIR 85P 12V Inflator

Air Compressor Types

Compressors can basically be separated into two broad categories:

1. Stationary Air Compressors

2. Portable Air Compressors

Stationary air compressors are typically permanently installed in a fixed location such as a garage or shop. They usually have higher CFM ratings, larger air storage tanks and higher duty cycles then portable models. A stationary compressor is a good option if you need a substantial volume of compressed air in one location,

Portable Compressor Styles

  • Pancake Compressors ​- Called “Pancake” due to their flat rounded air tank style, the design offers stability, takes up little space, and is popular for powering small air tools such as nailers.
  • Hot Dog Compressors - Referred to as “Hot Dog” due to their slim elongated tank design. These compressors are usually small and very portable which makes them ideal for a variety of small air volume tasks such as auto tire inflation.
  • Twin-Stack Compressors – Shares a similar design to the hot dog compressor except utilizes two round cylindrical tanks instead of one. The unit’s twin air tanks are stacked, thus the name “Twin Stack”. This design keeps the compressor’s footprint small while increasing overall air capacity.
  • Wheelbarrow Compressors – These are generally larger gas or electric powered air compressors that provide higher capacity and volume for air power applications such as a construction site. The design features two rear handles and a front wheel, resembling a “Wheelbarrow”
  • Air Inflators – Inflators are small, typically tank-less air compressors that are primarily used for inflation of tires, sports equipment, etc. Ultra-portable air inflators are available in AC or DC powered models, some are even cordless battery-operated designs

Compressor Power

​Air compressors can be powered by either electricity or gasoline, with electric being the most common source of power.

  • Gasoline Compressors – Are convenient for situations where electricity is not readily available such as construction sites and other outdoor job locations. The downside to gas powered air compressors is that they can't be used indoors or in areas with poor ventilation due to carbon monoxide hazards.
  • Electric Compressors – Electricity powers the vast majority of compressors, Industrial air compressors may operate on three phase 480 or 240/208 volts. Commercial and larger home compressors are generally 240-volt single phase and most 2 HP and under units are powered by 120 volts AC. Some small specialty compressors and inflators may run on 12 or 24 volts DC or battery power.


  • CFM ​- Cubic Feet per Minute - Arguably the most crucial factor to consider when choosing the proper size air compressor. CFM is the volume of air that the compressor’s pump can produce. Higher CFM is better and will support the operation of a greater variety of air tools and equipment.
  • PSI ​- Pounds per Square Inch – Indicates the pressure of the compressed air in the tank. Higher PSI means more air can be used before the pump needs to restart for a given size tank
  • HP ​- Horse Power – The raw power produced by the compressor’s motor. Higher HP generally equates to greater CFM that a given compressor pump can output.
  • dB ​- Decibel - Linear measurement of sound produced. A 70 dB compressor is twice as loud as a 60 dB one and a 80 dB model is four times louder. There are differing standards for measuring dB, so make sure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing the quietness of various brands of air compressors.
  • Tank Type & Size ​- Compressor air tanks can be constructed of aluminum or steel and have either horizontal or vertical orientation. Tanks can be as small as less than one gallon or larger than 80 gallons. Larger tanks hold more air and can power high CFM tools and paint guns that need a continuous volume of air to operate properly.
  • ​Pump TypePumps are either single or multi-stage, and can be rotary screw, reciprocating piston, diaphragm or scroll. The most common type is the reciprocating piston. Compressor pumps can also be oiled or oil-free and manufactured from various materials like steel, cast iron or aluminum. Heavy duty piston pumps are usually dual stage, cast iron models which use oil for lubrication, noise control and cooling.
  • Size & WeightFor stationary air compressors size and weight are not much of a factor, however for portable compressors it can make a dramatic difference when comparing ​various brands and models.
  • Volts & AmpsYou need to be able to provide power to your compressor at the location that you are going to use it. Air compressors that can operate on standard 120-volt 15-amp household electrical circuits are the most convenient and portable. For larger 240-volt or high current compressors you’ll need a special dedicated electrical circuit installed for the unit.
  • Duty Cycle​ - Air compressors have a duty cycle, which is the amount of time it can run in a given period at 100 PSI, with a 72° ambient temperature. Meaning the stated duty cycle of a compressor will vary with the operating environment and temperature.  Duty cycle is expressed as a percentage. An air compressor with a 50% duty cycle can run for 5 minutes and then needs to rest and cool for 5 minutes. Inexpensive compressors may have a low 20% duty cycle meaning it needs to be off and cooling 80% of the time, however heavy duty industrial compressors have a 100% duty cycle meaning they are specially designed to be run continuously.

Now That I Understand the Lingo,

Which Compressor Should I Choose?

​The best air compressor for your unique situation depends on a couple of factors.

What is your budget? ​ - Obviously if your budget is under $100 then your choices will be limited to the smaller portable models and inflators, however if your budget is $1000 then you will have many more options including stationary and larger portable air compressors to select from.

What tasks or tools do you want your compressor to operate? - If you just need to maintain the air pressure in your car’s tires than virtually any compressor will be adequate, however if you want to operate a variety of air tools then you’ll need a compressor with more capacity than the highest CFM tools that you want to use.

​We've provided a handy table that lists the average CFM requirements of several common air tools and devices, however be forewarned that air tool CFM consumption varies considerably among specific brands and models. You’ll want to locate the specific CFM requirements of the actual air tools that you currently own or are planning to purchase.

Air Tool CFM Requirements

Air Tool​​​​

​Min​. CFM

3" Cut-Off Tool


Air Blow Gun


Air Drill 3/8"


Air Hammer, Small


Brad Nailer


​Finish Nailer


Framing Nailer



Orbital Palm Sander


Paint, Airbrush


Paint, Auto


Paint, HVLP


Pin Nailer


Ratchet Wrench 3/8"


Reciprocating Saw


Sandblaster, Small


Tire Inflator


Use the table to add up the total CFM of all the air tools that you want to use simultaneously. If you are only going to use one tool at a time take the highest CFM requirement.  Now multiply the CFM value by 1.5. This will insure that the compressor you choose will have adequate air to power your pneumatic tools properly.

Note:  These are the average minimum CFM requirements for standard household air tools with a 25% duty cycle. For simultaneous operation of multiple air tools or heavy duty professional use you'll need a larger capacity air compressor with higher CFM ratings.

Where Will You Use Your Compressor?

You need to answer the previous question to determine the proper size compressor that you will need. Then you’ll need to decide where you are going to use the compressor. For example, you might opt to permanently install a stationary air compressor in your garage or shop or you may need to get a portable gas wheelbarrow compressor for your construction business. Determine how portable the unit needs to be and then select based on features such as size and weight, power source, etc.

If you are going to use the compressor indoors then gas powered models are obviously out. Depending on the indoor environment, you may also need to consider how quiet the air compressor will be?  For instance, you wouldn't want to use a loud, noisy compressor in a occupied home. For a few extra dollars you can purchase practically any style compressor in a low noise model. Take a look at our best quiet pancake compressor reviews to see what we are talking about.

Bottom Line

To quickly sum it up, all the air compressors, pneumatic tools and accessories featured here are top selling models with great consumer reports and scores of positive 4 and 5-star Amazon customer reviews, so you won't go wrong by choosing the products that offer the capacity and features that you have determined are most important to you. Just remember, select the proper size and type of tool for the job at hand and you will be successful and happy with the results. Hopefully our 2021 reviews will help you make an informed decision and your new air compressor or air tools will serve you well for many years to come.