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Air compressors

My car and I are lucky that it lives in a garage. I’m seeking recommendations for an air compressor that will last, can be plugged into an electrical outlet and will be used for nothing else. Thanks!

I guess it depends heavily on how you’re going to use it.
Do you have pneumatic tools at home ?
Just tires ?
Air brush or other painting devices ?

Comeman has a couple nice small ones I saw on for $200 and less.
the price goes up as the capacity increases.

i have this one in my garage: It’s too small for my needs, but is about the best bang for the buck as far as 120 volt air compressors. It runs a 1/2" drive impact wrench just fine, but doesn’t like air ratchets or die grinders/sanders too much. If I’m trying to cut or grind, the tool will only work for a couple minutes, then I have to stop and wait for the tank to refill. If you are only going to be filling tires and air mattresses or things like that, this one will be bigger than you will ever need. If you will be using it a lot and running power hungry tools like me, you need to get 220 in your garage and get something with a 60 or 80 gallon tank. Rural King (if you have one nearby) has the best deals on high quality large compressors (about $800 for a 5 horse, 80 gallon, 155 psi unit), but they still cost too much for me to buy one at this point in my life.

You need to define what your needs are? If you just want to pump up tires there are 120V dedicated tire pumps. If you want a compressor with a storage tank, I have a round “Porter Cable” unit that I see in Home Depot for about $100. It is great for filling tires and powering nail guns. If you want to use air tools such as power drivers, they use more air and you’ll need a bigger compressor and larger storage tank. First figure out what you want to do now, then what will you want to do 5 years from now. If in doubt buy more capacity than the think you need.

I have an ASI300 air pump from Black and Decker. It works well. It has an integrated pressure gauge that lights up; it’s easy to see the pressure gain in the dark. While this feature is nice, it is not a substitute for a good manual pressure gauge. The retail price is $100 but I’m sure that you can do better at a large retail outlet. BTW, it can be powered by your car’s accessory outlet if you need to pump up balls or air mattresses at the campsite.

+1 with @UncleTurbo.
For something small yet usable, I highly recommend the Porter Cable pancake model. It’ll blow up tires but will also run an airgun and shoot a framing nailer. It is highly portable.
Stay away from the Husky home depot brand. They are very noisy while hardly ever shutting off.

I’ve just got a Cambell Hauseman. You can spend anything you want on a compressor from a couple hundred to a couple thousand for a commercial grade. Just decide if you want 110Volt vs. 220V, verticle or horizontal, size you want for any air tools, painting, etc., and then if you want the belt drive type or sealed unit. I’m not sure longevity is that important if you aren’t into a lot of air tools and just replace mine every ten years or so when it goes kaput. Technology changes so having a 30-40 year old one around that still works may not be the best choice.

When buying an air compressor, first buy the pneumatic tools you’ll use with the compressor. Each tool has an air consumption rating. For example, a whizzy wheel may use 5.5 Cubic Feet per Minute of air at 90 PSI. Where an impact gun may use only 2.5 Cubic Feet per Minute at 90 PSI.

So buy the tools you’re going to use with the compressor first. And then buy a compressor that can handle the air requirement of the tool that hogs the most air.


That’s a sensible approach Tester. However I’d suggest just buying the highest capacity compressor you can afford. No matter what size you think you will ever need now, guaranteed once you have it you’ll be wishing it was bigger. Just like boating, you’ll have 2 (cubic) foot-itis shortly…