10 Best Shop Air Compressors in 2021

Stuart Wellbert
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If you want to know which are the best shop air compressors on the market today, then you’ve come to the right place.

Shop air compressors vary greatly in terms of size, starting capacity, tip sizes, electrical input power, regulator and pressure switch.

If you are looking for an air compressor for light-duty applications, such as your home shop, garage, or even for the job site, then the first thing you’ll want to look for is the minimum pressure for the compressor.

It makes no sense to have a high-cost air compressor that doesn’t meet the needs of what you’re using it for. You want to make sure that it has enough pressure to do the job you’re planning on doing.

For maximum versatility, consider using a multi-stage (different volume) compressor. That way you will be able to switch between multiple air tools without having to stop and re-pressurise the tank. If you’re a professional and have a few air tools, investing in a multi-stage compressor makes a lot of sense.

If your budget is flexible, go ahead and look at the higher-end shop air compressors. They are typically quieter, more reliable, powerful and come with a long guarantee.

NameCategoryProduct
California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air CompressorBest OverallCalifornia Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor
California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air CompressorBudget PickCalifornia Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air Compressor
2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage CompressorUpgrade Pick2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor

1. California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor

Our rating: 9 / 10

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor

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1.5 Gal Max tank capacity, NPT 3/8

This air compressor delivers 120 PSI with a tank capacity of 1.5 gallons. It comes with a 1.5 HP and 60 lbs. per square inch.

This air compressor is oil-free.

2. Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor

Our rating: 8 / 10

Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Quiet to operate
  • Comes with handles
  • Starts up with little effort
  • Built-in LED light works as a power indicator

This portable air compressor from Campble Hausfeld is a must-have for all kinds of small projects around home or the shop. Since it’s a portable model, this air compressor is quick and easy to set up for those times when you find you need to use it right now.

Small, lightweight, and easy to handle, this compressor offers all of the abilities you’d expect from a portable model, like various air outlets for your tools. It’s also built with an extendable handle for increased portability.

This portable air compressor included a filter to keep your air free from dirt. It also comes with handles, so this compressor is easy to carry around. It includes a travel bag that keeps everything neatly in one place. The air compressor sits comfortably and firmly on the ground so it doesn’t tip over, and it can be used both inside and outside. Just remember to empty the tank before storing it for any period of time.

3. DEWALT DXCM271.COM 27 Gal. 200 PSI Portable Air Compressor

Our rating: 8 / 10

DEWALT DXCM271.COM 27 Gal. 200 PSI Portable Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Easy assembly
  • High pressure
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Affordable
  • Large tank

4. Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

Our rating: 7 / 10

Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Quiet enough for most home use
  • Included air regulator
  • In-line filter, electrical outlet and safety switcher
  • Easy to roll around
  • Cooling system included

Cons:

  • Relatively high price point
  • Longer than usual air hose

When it comes to residential air compressors, few models come close to the mighty ILA1883054 from Industrial Air. This incredible air compressor will deliver the amount of air you need for all your home projects!

This model is pretty lightweight. This is obviously an essential characteristic if you intend on moving it around. The compressor features a 2.7-horsepower motor, and up to a 30-gallon tank.

5. ROLAIR 9 HP Honda

Our rating: 7 / 10

ROLAIR 9 HP Honda

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Pros:

  • A durable motor designed to sustain long hours of work
  • Super quiet

Air Compressor

ROLAiro offers the best portable air compressor for professional use. This compact air compressor is among the most versatile compressors out there, and a very powerful addition to any garage. You can even get more out of more out of it by connecting it to a small air compressor hose. The 9 HP engine means you can use the ROLAIR compressor at maximum capacity for longer periods of time. It can run continuously for up to 12 hours, 2.8 hours more than the standard air compressor.

As worried as you might be about the noise created be the compressor, the truth is, the ROLAIR is very quiet. You won’t have to yell over the engine, which is usually the case with most air compressors. The 9 HP Honda engine runs at 4,000 revolutions, yet quietly.

6. California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air Compressor

Our rating: 6 / 10

California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • This particular air compressor is lightweight, weighing in at 51 pounds.
  • The manufacturing company will include a one-year labor warranty along with a thirty-day customer satisfaction warranty.

One of the more unique aspects of this product is that it comes with vibration dampeners. This feature can help your air compressor run smoother.

Customers had lots of great things to say about how quiet this product is and that it runs efficiently.

If you compress a lot of air for your tools in a single day, this may not be the product for you, as the tank holds about 120 PSI.

7. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

Our rating: 6 / 10

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Hefty and durable
  • V-twin cylinder
  • Oil-free pump design
  • Plenty of safety features
  • Powerful enough to as well as 5-inch portable inflation
  • Mobile base included for easy and space-saving mobility
  • Large enough for both work and play

Oil-Free Pump, and Mobile Base.

Brooks Air Compressor is also a best seller on most of the online shopping sites, especially the Amazon. There are lots of things which you can do with this air compressor. Apart from these, you can also buy a lot of accessories and vehicle add-ons from the same company.

Whether you need it for your job or at home, the air compressor of Brooks is going to be your best companion.

8. Ford Silent Series 15 Gallon Vertical Tank 2 HP

Our rating: 5 / 10

Ford Silent Series 15 Gallon Vertical Tank 2 HP

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Pros:

  • Efficient noise reduction
  • Quiet (52 decibels)
  • Plenty of power
  • Portable and easy to move and transport
  • Great air flow
  • Relatively high max PSI
  • Made from durable materials
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty
  • Extended drain valve

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not ideal for contractors

Designed for homeowners, the Quiet Series 125 max PSI (pounds per square inch), 2 horsepower air compressor by Ford should absolutely be an option to consider if you're in the market for one.

Not only does it come at a great value, but the Ford FCE6150QV compressor also features an efficient, noise reduction system to ensure the compressor output is almost silent. In fact, decibel tests have shown this compressor to be just 52 decibels, which is almost as silent as an electric iron!

The AirLift drain valve is also a nice addition to the FCE6150QV, as it ensures that the tank empties and drains quickly. One concern we have for this compressor is the weight (128 pounds), which could be a bit of an issue if you're going to move it from one place to another quite often.

9. 2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor

Our rating: 5 / 10

2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor

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Pros:

  • The 60-gallon tank gives the compressor extended run times
  • It has a cast iron pump
  • It is ENERGY STAR certified
  • It has a two-stage design that offers enhanced efficiency

If your business involves working with pneumatic tools, then having a reliable shop air compressor will help you save time and money.

For carpentry, construction, finish, furniture, flooring, and HVAC contractors, compressed air is a necessity that promotes efficient workflow.

This model is capable of delivering 5 HP with 60 GPM of free air at 90 PSI. The unit is ENERGY STAR certified and features a cast iron pump.

10. 20 Gal. 175 psi Quiet Portable Air Compressor

Our rating: 4 / 10

20 Gal. 175 psi Quiet Portable Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Little to no maintenance
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • 1-year warranty
  • May come with defects

This is a portable air compressor and a part of PORTER-CABLE CMB15 air compressor units. It has a lot of features that might make it perfect for your workshop.

This unit is just 20-gauge. However, it is still capable of delivering 175 pounds per square inch of pressure. It is also fitted with a long hose and comes with two quick couplers.

This air compressor features a handy pressure regulator that ensures that the unit delivers the right amount of pressure. However, it goes off if the pressure in the line reaches 175 psi. The regulator also allows for consistent pressure to be maintained without any sudden drops.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best air compressor for a shop?

When purchasing an air compressor for your shop, consider having a dual-line set up. Using a dual-line set up will allow you to run two tools at once.

First, read:

This awesome article includes details on choosing a compressor, setting up dual-line connections, and learning how to properly operate and care for your air compressor.

Second, remember that air compressors are very loud! So loud, in fact, that many manufacturers rate their products at a minimum of 80 decibels. You may need to converse through a phone or with earplugs to protect your hearing.

Finally, always make sure to use proper safety equipment when operating your air compressor.

Listed below are ten of the best shop air compressors in 2021.

How big of a compressor do I need to run air tools?

It will depend a lot on your usage and how many air tools you intend on running. If you like to do a combination of carpentry and maintenance work, then you may want a larger compressor.

In a perfect world, you will have a dedicated air compressor exclusively for air tools. This will ensure that you use the right sized compressor and that you don't run your tools dry while also stating up your house.

If this isnʼt possible for your tool usage, then it is important to consider how much pressurized air you need on each of your tools. A compressor that puts out just enough air to run your nailer isn't ideal.

What is the best vertical air compressor?

There are a few main differences between vertical and horizontal air compressors.

Vertical air compressors dry their air out. Horizontal ones do not.

Dry air is warmer air, and warm air reduces the risk of freezing and increases efficiency.

Vertical air compressors are more energy-efficient.

Vertical air compressors are typically cheaper.

What is the best 20 gallon air compressor?

Compressors come in all shapes and sizes. But, in reality, bigger (and heavier) doesn't always mean better; this only holds true when it comes to some compressors.

When it comes to shopping for an air compressor, things can get very confusing very quickly. There are dozens of different compressors that are available in a broad range of sizes, prices, and performance. You're bound to be baffled by their features and specifications. We've seen it all.

In an effort to help those who want clarity on what to look for in an air compressor, we've written this little guide. Based on our collective experiences, we've tried our best to provide you'll the general information that will hopefully help you make your decision easier.

Conclusion

We have examined and carefully reviewed the 10 best shop air compressors for you and present in a detailed manner the reasons for considering them as your top choice for your business or company. We have scoured the market to bring you the best option that you may consider and decide upon. We believe our review will help you make an informed decision so that you are not wasting your precious time and money.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air CompressorBest OverallCalifornia Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor
California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air CompressorBudget PickCalifornia Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp 4.6 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air Compressor
2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage CompressorUpgrade Pick2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor