May 13, 2023

The 9 Best Air Compressors of 2023

Air compressors can help with a variety of DIY projects around the house.

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Better Homes & Gardens / Marcus Millan

Air compressors are useful tools to have around, especially if you do DIY home renovations or work with pneumatic tools like sanders or air drills on a regular basis. Before you write an air compressor off as not necessary for your lifestyle, take into account how many uses they have.

"An air compressor is a great addition to most homes because it allows homeowners to inflate tires, always have pressurized air on hand, and use all kinds of pneumatic tools," says Matas Buzelis, auto expert and president of the Association of Automotive at carVertical.

"Traditional oil compressors are relatively cheap and very durable, but oil-free air compressors are quieter, don't require any maintenance, and don't contaminate the air, so they're great for spraying paint or even supplying medical equipment. Even a portable 12-volt air compressor could also do the trick for the most basic needs."

We researched the best air compressors for both home and industrial use and looked at technicalities such as type, tank size, maximum PSI (pounds per square inch), and noise levels. We also asked Buzelis for deeper insight so shoppers can choose the model that's right for them.


This air compressor can function in cold weather, unlike many other models which tend to become damaged in low temperatures.

It's a heavyweight option that doesn't have wheels.

The DeWalt 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor is our top recommendation for the best air compressor because it has useful features for homeowners and professionals alike. It offers a high 165 PSI rate of 2.6 CFM which should provide the power you need for tasks like drilling, airbrushing, or driving nails into a wall.

In addition, this DeWalt has a strong 120V motor that can run smoothly for hours at a time. A flow regulator located on the body directs airflow from the tank to your equipment. Plus, it's specially designed to work in cold weather, which is beneficial—many air compressors become damaged when temperatures dip.

We appreciate that it comes with two universal couplers on its body, so you can use it with multiple tools at the same time. In terms of noise level, it sounds off at 75.5 decibels (about the same noise level as a dryer) which is tolerable and shouldn't be too loud if you’re working indoors.

Keep in mind that although the company claims it's portable, it weighs 30 pounds and has no wheels, so it can be quite heavy to move around.

Price at the time of publish: $159

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: 6 gallons | Maximum PSI: 165 PSI | Sound Level: 75.5 decibels


This is the best air compressor for small tasks like inflating car and bicycle tires, pool toys, and basketballs.

The PSI rate is low, so it's not great for heavier-duty jobs.

Overall, the Kensun's compact size makes it the best air compressor to whip out when you need to inflate vehicle and bicycle tires before you hit the road. It's also the cheapest air compressor on this list.

Double motors offer a power burst so you can speedily blow up pool toys, basketballs, volleyballs, and more. Plus, it easily fits in your car trunk or RV. We appreciate that it's easy to use and does not need a lot of technical know-how to get started. It comes with extra adapters for balls, bikes, and tires.

The Kensun comes with a built-in LED light, which is handy in the event you have to change your tires in the dark. Since it's not cordless, it has to be plugged into either a 110V wall outlet or a 12V car cigarette lighter plug for it to work. This isn't unusual for an air compressor, but it does make it less portable.

To use, program the amount of pressure you need and the air compressor will automatically shut itself off when it reaches that limit. There is also a digital LED gauge that helps you track how much air is expended. Obviously, because it's mini, it has a lower PSI rate. This model has a two-year warranty.

Price at the time of publish: $120

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: No tank | Maximum PSI: 35 PSI | Sound Level: Not listed.


User-friendly features like an ergonomic handle, on/off switch, and easy-to-read gauge, make this heavy-duty pick manageable for home use.

It needs to be oiled with one of the brand's compatible lubricants for optimal use.

Ingersoll Rand is known for making industrial air compressors, which is why this pick is a good choice to take your DIY projects to another level. If you want to treat yourself to a premium air compressor, this is the way to go.

Made out of cast iron, it is a two-horsepower, single-stage air compressor that's suitable for a variety of tasks. At 80 decibels, its output is similar to many home air compressors. It's also extremely heavy—it weighs 200 pounds with a 30-gallon capacity. But it does come with semi-pneumatic wheels at the bottom and an ergonomic handle, so you can roll it around.

Despite its heavy-duty appearance, it's actually quite user-friendly and is designed with an easy-to-read pressure gauge, air valves, and on/off switches to let you monitor everything while it's in use. There is also a thermal protection system for the motor so it won't burn out while you use it. The belt drive is completely enclosed for added safety.

It is an oiled compressor so you’ll have to lubricate it yourself with a special lubricant from the brand (sold separately). Once oiled up, it can run for up to 2000 hours at a time.

Price at the time of publish: $870

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: 30 gallons | Maximum PSI: 135 PSI | Sound Level: 80 decibels


Built-in storage on the bottom lets you carry various nozzle accessories on the go.

There is no automatic shut-off.

This 18V Ryobi air compressor is extremely portable, cordless, and lightweight—you can take it anywhere and not have to fuss with finding an outlet. It also has built-in storage at the base to hold nozzle accessories, which we think is pretty handy if you’re on the go. Another standout feature is that it uses the same battery that powers over 280 Ryobi tools.

It has a max pressure of 120 PSI, making it good to use with small pneumatic tools like drills or sanders, and for inflating tires and toys. For industrial use, you probably need a more powerful option, but it's a great choice for general use.

The air compressor is designed to be extremely compact and features a pistol grip handle that can conveniently be strapped to your bike or comfortably held in your hand. A 20-inch high-air pressure hose and two pressure gauges track the amount of pressure you use.

Overall, this tool saves money for Ryobi fans, because they don't have to spend on extra batteries. Just be aware there is no automatic shut-off (which is a little inconvenient), so you’ll have to keep checking its onboard pressure gear to make sure it stays within the limit.

Price at the time of publish: $154

Product Details: Type: Battery-operated | Tank Size: 1 Gallon | Maximum PSI: 120 PSI | Sound Level: 78 decibels


This option runs on gas and therefore operates without an electrical hook-up, making it a good fit for use outside.

This is not the one you want for heavy-duty tasks like air drilling.

The Stark USA 65151 runs on gas, so you don't have to scramble and find a power source when you’re ready to use it. If you need to use an air compressor somewhere without any electrical hook-ups available (like a construction site), this is a suitable alternative to corded models.

Even though it's designed for home use, it comes with an industrial-level filter for better efficiency. Additionally, it has a maximum PSI of 125; this means it's capable of inflating tires as well as completing other tasks like stapling or nailing.

With a noise level of only 65 decibels, it makes less noise than other a lot of other air compressors—making it a great option to use indoors. Other beneficial features include an automatic shut-off that stops the motor when it's finished pumping air and a three-horsepower motor with thermal protection to prevent the machine from overheating.

Mobility is not an issue with this air compressor, because it has wheels for maneuvering. While it offers plenty of value for light tasks like inflating tires, it's not the best air compressor for heavy-duty work like air drilling.

Price at the time of publish: $210

Product Details: Type: Gas | Tank Size: 10 gallons | Maximum PSI: 125 PSI | Sound Level: 65 decibels


This pick is oil-free and simply plugs in to operate, so it doesn't need regular maintenance.

Though it's small, it still weighs 30 pounds.

If you’re looking for a lightweight air compressor that's easy to use, an electric model like this one from Craftsman could be a viable option. There is no need to worry about constantly refilling the tank with gas or charging a battery, just plug it in and let it go.

It has a manageable pancake shape and is oil-free, meaning it won't need regular maintenance. And while it's not exactly portable (it weighs 30 pounds), it is one of the smaller air compressors you can find on the market. It holds up to six gallons of stored air and features a 150 PSI which is strong enough to blow away dust and metal shards when cleaning.

It also includes a 13-piece accessory set with a PVC hose, inflator adaptors, and assorted blowgun types with plugs, although there are options to buy other tools with it as well. There are two couplers on the body, so more than one person can use it at a time. Also, like most oil-free compressors, it's easy to start in cold weather.

While this is not the best air compressor for commercial use, it's still a solid option for small garage projects and DIY work. Just be conscious that at 78.5 decibels, the Craftsman is loud—which tends to come with the territory when using an air compressor.

Price at the time of publish: $169

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: 6 gallons | Maximum PSI: 150 PSI | Sound Level: 78.5 decibels

The Home Depot

Nail gun equipment is included with this air compressor, and it can hammer up to 1600 brad nails on one charge.

It's only 2 gallons so you may have to stop and refill while working.

Although air compressors have a reputation for being noisy, the Milwaukee M18 won't give you a headache. We appreciate that it is relatively quiet, with a 68-decibel noise output which means that you can use it indoors or have a conversation even when it's running. For perspective, the M18 is less noisy than an average vacuum or lawn mower when it's on.

You’ll like that it's battery-powered and doesn't need long extension cords or gas to use. Like many tools in the Milwaukee line, it is portable and has a small 2-gallon capacity, so you can move it around where you need to use it. This does mean you might have to refill it more often, though.

The machine has a brushless motor, which provides more torque and reduces noise levels. Additionally, the M18 comes with nail gun equipment that lets you hammer 1600 brad nails per charge. You can use its lithium battery to power other Milwaukee tools, so you don't have to spend money on extra batteries if you’re a fan of the brand.

Keep in mind that, since its tank holds 2 gallons, it might not be the best air compressor for bigger jobs. While the manufacturer says it's lightweight and easy to carry, we think this is subjective, as the body weighs about 50 pounds and there are no wheels.

Price at the time of publish: $325

Product Details: Type: Battery-powered | Tank Size: 2 gallons | Maximum PSI: 135 PSI | Sound Level: 68 decibels


The 1.8 horsepower motor fills air tanks in three minutes or less, making it super efficient.

It is extremely loud.

If you’re looking for an air compressor that's easy to use with an array of air tools consider this vertical Craftsman air compressor. With this model, you get industrial-strength power even for small jobs. It has a 1.8 horsepower induction motor that fills air tanks in under three minutes.

The air compressor has a 10-gallon capacity which should be enough to complete your work without needing to recharge it in the middle of your project. It features an airflow rate of 4 CFM at 90 PSI which means it can easily inflate large tires, plus works well with nail guns, paint sprayers, and other air tools.

We like that it is oil-free, and hardly requires any maintenance. The reason for this is that oil-free air compressors are coated with chemicals that lubricate the machine on its own. Additionally, it's designed for portability and features rubber wheels and a handle with a rubber grip to pull it along.

This Craftsman has pressure gauges for both the tank and the outlet plus an auto-safe valve that has a manual function as well. Additionally, there are dual couplers on the tank so you can use multiple tools at the same time. Keep in mind, though, that the compressor is super loud—the loudest on this list in terms of decibels.

Price at the time of publish: $425

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: 10 gallons | Maximum PSI: 90 PSI | Sound Level: 80 decibels


This option has the lowest decibel level on this list when running, making it a great option for indoor projects.

It has a pretty small tank.

Besides having the reputation of being one of the quietest models (it's only 60 decibels), the California Air Compressor 8010 is one of the best air compressors because it's designed for industrial use.

It features a 1-horsepower running motor that functions at 1680 RPM. This basically means that you’ll get less wear and tear on the motor because it's efficient and powerful. It's also good for cleaning metal and wood shavings from tools like chainsaws, and mowers. You can also use it to inflate tires of all sizes.

What makes this model different from your average home air compressor is a dual-piston pump system with a life cycle of over 3000 hours. This is an oil-free air compressor so it's able to work efficiently in both hot and cold temperatures.

The tank has an 8-gallon capacity and weighs about 48 pounds. It also comes with wheels to quickly move it around. The airflow rate is 3 CFM at 120 PSI which is the maximum pressure rate you’ll find in most air compressors. It is on the small side, so you might find yourself refilling it frequently. It comes with a limited one-year warranty.

Price at the time of publish: $235

Product Details: Type: Electric | Tank Size: 8 gallons | Maximum PSI: 120 PSI | Sound Level: 60 decibels

If you’re looking for a versatile pick that you can use for home renovation and DIY projects (plus put air in your tires), the Dewalt 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor is the best air compressor. For a cheap and portable option that's specially designed to pump up car and bike tires, consider the Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator and Air Compressor Pump.

Air compressors are categorized as either for home or industrial use. "For home use, reciprocating oil, oil-free, and 12-volt portable air compressors are the ones to go for. Traditional reciprocating oil and oil-free models can handle all kinds of tasks and pneumatic tools, while a 12-volt portable compressor is a great addition to any car in case of an emergency," says Buzelis. "Scroll, rotary screw, and centrifugal compressors are the compressor types used in industrial operations."

"The larger the air receiver tank, the better an air tool will work at a more consistent CFM," Buzelis says. "If you’re going to use pneumatic tools, make sure an air compressor has at least 3 gallons of air storage for each CFM (cubic feet per minute)," Buzelis says. "However, if you want a compressor for filling up tires and cleaning dust, even a 2-gallon receiver tank can be enough."

"A useful rule of thumb is that you should choose an air compressor that can produce 20% more PSI (pounds per square inch) than you actually need," says Buzelis. "Most pneumatic tools operate at 70-90 PSI, so if you use them, choose an air compressor that could provide at least 108 PSI. Also, make sure to check what CFM is provided at a certain PSI."

You’ll find that smaller air compressors tend to be less noisy than larger models. Also, oilless compressors are known to be quieter than oiled compressors. "A portable 5 CFM air compressors operate at around 50 dB, which is equivalent to a quiet refrigerator," Buzelis explains. "However, powerful reciprocating oil air compressors can easily reach 100 dB, which is similar to a lawn mower." Most of the best air compressors on our list operate between 60 and 80 decibels.

"The physical size doesn't reveal the actual efficiency of an air compressor," Buzelis says. "First, focus on CFM (cubic feet per minute). It shows how much air a compressor can deliver at a certain pressure. Pneumatic nailers need at least 2-3 CFM, impact wrenches and drills 5 CFM, sanders, and large impact wrenches 10-12 CFM."

He adds that "each CFM needs at least 3 gallons of air storage, so if you decide to buy a 5 CFM air compressor, you should go for an air tank of at least 15 gallons. However, if you’re only going to occasionally inflate tires and dust off vacuum cleaner filters, the size and power of an air compressor aren't that important."

This depends on the type of compressor you’re using. While oil-free compressors do not need oil for lubrication, oil compressors need oil to lubricate their parts and keep them running smoothly.

Air compressors can cost as little as $100 for small, portable options to $1000 or more for heavy-duty industrial types. However, if you’re looking for an air compressor to use at home, expect to pay between $200 to $500 on average.

Nor'Adila Hepburn is a freelance writer who specializes in writing in-depth buying guides for Better Homes & Gardens. She specializes in commerce, home, and lifestyle niches.

To find the best air compressors she researched many types of air compressor models including home and industrial options. She also received tips from Matas Buzelis, auto expert and President of the Association of Automotive at carVertical.

Price at the time of publish: $159 Product Details: Type: Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $120 Product Details: Type Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $870 Product Details: Type Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $154 Product Details: Type: Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $210 Product Details: Type Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $169 Product Details: Type: Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $325 Product Details: Type Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $425 Product Details: Type Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: Price at the time of publish: $235 Product Details: Type: Tank Size: Maximum PSI: Sound Level: