If you want to use pneumatic tools, you’re going to need to get your hands on an air compressor.
An air compressor is a must-have for your garage because of how versatile it is. It provides power to your air-powered tools without you having to use different sources – one air compressor can power up lots of different tools you need, so it will save you energy and time.
Do you need to maintain an air compressor?
While you might think you need to maintain it, such as with regular oil checks and refills, this isn’t the case with many of the best air compressors on the market.
It’s clear that air compressors will make your work so much faster and less of a hassle! Here’s the best air compressor for your garage, along with four alternatives.
Best Air Compressor For Your Garage – Reviews & Buying Guide For 2021
Best Overall: CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor
Pancake air compressors are ideal if you want an easy-to-maintain compressor that works well for a variety of tasks. Let’s check out this Craftsman air compressor and why it’s the best home air compressor.
- Household circuit compatible
- 13 accessories included
- This oil-free compressor is durable and doesn’t require any maintenance, so that’s one less thing you need to worry about. No more oil checks and refills!
- With a maximum PSI of 150, it provides you with the ability to use it for many different applications.
- With its 2.6 SCFM used at 90 PSI, the compressor has a quick recovery time. This is important because it makes it an ideal compressor for filling up your car or bike tires.
- It can start up easily and has a 120v motor that won’t struggle to start, even during the cold months.
- It runs easily and can be connected to your household circuit because it has a low-amp motor.
- It comes with 13 accessories, which include a tire chuck with a plug, a blow gun with plug, three inflator adaptors, and more.
- Some people have reported that this air compressor is a little noisy.
- Others have said that they received an incomplete kit, with reports of the accessories not being included with their purchase.
- The instruction manual that comes with this air compressor is unclear.
- This air compressor is portable and easy to carry, weighing 32.5 pounds.
- It’s easy to set up and start using within minutes of unpacking it!
This air compressor is perfect for you if you have small jobs to do around the home or if you’re using an air compressor for the first time. You can take it with you wherever you need to go because it’s so versatile and portable. It costs $164.00.
Runner Up: DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor
This is another pancake air compressor, but it’s by DEWALT, a renowned name in the power tool industry that’s known for its high level of quality. Let’s see what it has to offer.
- Low noise
- High-flow regulator
- This air compressor has six-gallon capacity and a max PSI of 165.
- It’s really low on noise, coming in at 75.7 dBA, so you don’t have to worry about waking up the neighbors when using this in your garage on early mornings.
- It makes use of a high-flow regulator as well as couplers so that air tool performance is increased.
- It has rubber legs to protect it and your floors from scuffs and scratches, which is a nice touch.
- It comes with a console cover. This helps to protect its controls, making it more durable.
- Some people who have purchased this pancake air compressor have reported that it sometimes leaks air.
- It doesn’t come with an accessory pack. This means you’ll have to purchase your own hoses and connectors separately.
- As with the previous product we reviewed, this pancake air compressor doesn’t need any oil checks or maintenance.
- It comes with a cord wrap so you can store it easily after use.
- It only weighs 30 pounds so you can easily transport it to wherever you need it.
This DEWALT pancake air compressor is up for whatever job you need it to achieve, and it’s built to last. It costs $169.00.
Alternative: BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit
If you’re looking for an air compressor kit, filled with everything you need to work faster, this Bostitch kit is the one for you. Let’s see what it has to offer.
- 15-foot hose included
- Brad nailer and finish nailer
- This air compressor comes with a 15-foot hose and two fasteners.
- The kit contains a brad nailer (this drives 18-gauge nails that are between 5/8 to 2 inches in size) and a finish nailer that can be used for 16-gauge nails that are between 11/4 and 21/2 inches in size.
- It also contains a crown stapler, otherwise known as a staple gun.
- The compressor fills up with air quickly and keeps its pressure.
- The 15-foot hose is a great way to make your job much easier because it provides you with an excellent range when working on various tasks.
- Although you can use it when it’s not plugged into a power source, doing so does ensure that it can maintain pressure at its best.
- You might find yourself wishing that this air compressor came with other, more basic, tools included, such as adapters for other tools or a blower gun.
- Some people who purchased this air compressor reported quality issues with the tools, such as the brad nailer.
- With just 80dBA, it’s low on noise.
This air compressor is focused on user-friendliness while giving you some extra perks and accessories you’ll be glad you have when you need them. It costs $267.99.
Alternative: Makita MAC2400 Big Bore
This Makita air compressor is something a little different from what we’ve already featured in our list of air compressor reviews. It’s strong and ready for whatever job you throw at it. Here’s why.
- Built-in thermal overload protector
- Industrial air filter
- This is a cast-iron pump with a Big Bore cylinder that offers faster recovery time so you don’t have to be delayed when wanting to finish a job.
- It reduces the chance of tripped breakers when starting up.
- It’s built with 4.2 gallon capacity, which enables it to maintain an operating pressure of 130 PSI.
- The pump is lubricated with oil to maintain a cooler temperature when in use. This also prevents it from experiencing wear and tear.
- It has a built-in thermal overload protector to keep your motor safe.
- It’s been designed with roll-cage construction. This protects it so you can use it in the outdoors and even in harsh conditions.
- This air compressor is built with an automotive style industrial air filter. This means it can take in more air and it works more efficiently.
- People who have purchased this air compressor have complained that the tank rusts, even if they drain it every day.
- A common complaint about this product is that the air filter cover is made out of very thin metal that breaks easily, even just when handling it.
- It has a sight glass so you can check the oil, and this makes the device much easier to maintain seeing as though you will need to maintain it.
While this air compressor does require a bit of maintenance, the manufacturer of this product has ensured that it’s easy to do. This air compressor costs $359.00, so it’s one of the most affordable air compressors on the market.
Alternative: Campbell Hausfeld Portable Air Compressor
This is another very affordable air compressor that’s built with user-friendly features in mind. Let’s check it out why it’s the best home air compressor.
- Easy-to-read gauges
- Blow gun included
- This is an air compressor with 125 PSI and a three-gallon tank capacity so it’s perfect for doing smaller jobs around the house, such as if you want to inflate your car or bike’s tires, sports balls, or even air mattresses.
- It comes with easy-to-read gauges so you can ensure it contains the correct amount of pressure.
- It’s an oil-free pump so you don’t have to worry about maintaining it.
- It only weighs 22 pounds so you’ll be able to carry it around, which makes it the best portable air compressor on the market.
- Some people who have purchased this compressor have stated that it’s quite noisy.
- The hose that’s supplied is very stiff and experiences many kinks, which makes it difficult to use.
- Others have reported that it does take a bit longer to perform tasks that more powerful air compressors would do faster.
- It comes with an accessory kit. This includes a 25-foot recoil air hose, a blow gun, two inflation needles, an OSHA safety blow gun tip, two industrial plugs, an industrial coupler, a PTFE thread sealant tape, a tapered nozzle and a tire chuck.
This portable air compressor costs $96.98. It’s got everything you need to be able to do small jobs around the home, and it won’t let you down.
Air Compressor For Your Garage FAQ
After reading about five of the best air compressors for your garage in our air compressor reviews, you might have some questions about these products, such as if you really need one and how much capacity they need in order to work really well.
Let’s look at these, and other, common questions about air compressors.
What size air compressor do I need for my garage?
While it really depends on what you’ll use it for and how many air tools you want to power up, generally it’s been said that you should have an air compressor for your garage that has between 2.6 gallons and 20 gallons of capacity.
On the topic of tools that you’ll want to use in your workshop garage, it’s good to know that tools that require a constant flow of air, like sandblasters, will need to be powered by an air compressor with a large capacity. On the other hand, smaller tools, such as a brad nailer, will be adequately powered up with a smaller-capacity air compressor.
When it comes to the air compressor size, it’s important to consider the space you have in your garage so that you’ll be able to house it.
Generally, a six-gallon pancake compressor will be small enough to fit into almost any garage. A larger unit, with 30-gallon capacity or more which is not a portable device, might not, so always consider the actual dimensions of the air compressor before purchasing it.
How do I install an air compressor in my garage?
Ready to install an air compressor in your garage?
Great! Here’s how to do it.
- First, you’ll need to find a suitable area in which the compressor can stand. Bear in mind that it needs to have enough space around it so that you can work with the compressor and your tools.
- Make sure the compressor is in an area of the garage where you can use the required hose lengths and fittings.
- You should put the compressor on isolator pads. This will help to keep it stabilized during use and will prevent noise that can be produced from vibrations.
- Power the compressor by keeping it close to a nearby outlet.
- Once you’ve done the above, you’re ready to connect the air compressor to your pneumatic tools.
Here is how you should do that:
- Find the compressor’s regulator valve (it’s usually next to the smaller pressure gauge on one end of the unit) and push the pointed end of the hose into the valve so that they can be connected.
- Next, you’ll want to hold the hose with one hand and the pneumatic tool you want to connect it to with the other.
- Carefully slide the tool’s plug into the hose’s end and make sure you turn them well so that they’re fastened together. The tool should lock into place.
- Plug your air compressor into a grounded three-prong outlet.
- You need to check that its power switch is turned off before you plug it in.
- Once you’re all set up and ready to use your air compressor, make sure you adjust the pressure regulator knob that’s located on the hose so that it will be the same as the tool’s PSI. You should turn it counter-clockwise to increase how much air flows into the hose.
- Keep an eye on the smaller pressure gauge that’s also found on the hose so that you can see when the correct pressure has been reached (via WikiHow).
What kind of pipe does an air compressor use?
The question of what type of pipe you should use for your air compressor is a common one. Some people think that they can use a PVC pipe for their air compressor, but this is not recommended for the simple fact that it can crack over time and even shatter.
It’s not durable enough for use, even though it is easy to install and doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Another type of material that you might consider using for your air compressor is galvanized piping. This could be good because it resists moisture, right?
But, its coating will chip and flake off and this can cause damage to your pneumatic tools. It can also cause injury to you when used with some tools, such as blow guns!
So, what pipes are meant for use with air compressors?
Here are good choices:
- Black pipe. This is recommended for air compressors because it’s durable and easy to install. It’s important to know that it can cause rust which can damage your tools over time, and this is as a result of the fact that black pipe is uncoated. You can try to reduce the moisture in black pipe with the use of a cooler or dryer.
- Copper pipe. Although copper pipe is expensive, it is ideal for use in air compressors. This is because of how it isn’t susceptible to rust or corrosion. It allows clean air to reach your pneumatic tools, so it maintains their durability. Copper pipe is also visually appealing, which is a bonus.
- Stainless steel. Another highly durable material, stainless steel can be used for your air compressor. It doesn’t corrode or rust, and it’s easy to install. That said, its pipe threads can freeze up and this can cause obstacles when you disassemble the pipes.
- Plastic. While you might think all plastic pipes aren’t strong enough for use with an air compressor, there are some types that you can safely use. These include Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polyethylene (PE) which is produced for compressed air systems.
Is a 6 gallon air compressor good?
If you’re looking to purchase a new air compressor, you might wonder if you can choose a six-gallon air compressor and be able to use it for a variety of applications.
You certainly can, which makes them ideal for many types of use. For example, you can use this air compressor to inflate your car and bike tires, and some are even ideal for inflating an air mattress. One of the biggest benefits of six-gallon air compressors is that they are small in size. This makes them portable.
Air compressors with smaller tanks, such as six gallons, are meant for projects for which you don’t need to use them continuously, like when you need to use an air nailer. If you want continuous use and air flow, like sanding, then you’ll need a larger tank.
It’s worth bearing in mind that an air compressor which has greater capacity will maintain more air and this will enable you to be able to use the air before its pressure drops and requires refilling.
However, as we’ve seen in our air compressor rating reviews, some six-gallon-capacity air compressors have quick recovery times. An example is the Craftsman air compressor.
It’s also important to remember that tank capacity is only one feature to consider. You need to look at other important features of air compressors before you purchase them to ensure they will work well. Air compressor PSI is highly crucial.
Generally, most pneumatic tools will need between 70 and 90 PSI, and the good news is that light-and medium-duty air compressors will meet these requirements without a hassle.
A good tip to follow when purchasing an air compressor is to choose one that has greater PSI than 90 to ensure that enough air will flow to the tool. All the air compressors we’ve reviewed in this guide have larger PSIs – they range from 125 to 150.
If you have air-powered tools, you’ll need to purchase an air compressor so that you can power them up when you need to use them.
In this article, we’ve featured five of the best air compressor units for your garage workshop, looking at their most important features so that you can find the one that’ll give you the most power!
We’ve also answered some common and important questions about air compressors and how they work, so you can find the one that best suits your needs.