Best Garage Air Compressor 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Best garage air compressor

The best garage air compressor is heavy duty enough to inflate your car tires in just a few minutes. The best garage air compressor also handles your bicycles, inflatables for the kids, soccer balls and any of your regular-duty tools.

Garage air compressors are small enough to fit in the corner of your space rather than taking up a huge side of your garage. If you only use your garage air compressor occasionally, then you should keep it in an out-of-the-way place yet within reach of your car’s tires.

The best garage air compressor allows you to attach various tools and extensions to the initial hose. You might consider getting a longer air hose so you don’t have to move the compressor around very much.

I recommend you find the best garage air compressor that fits your needs. If you have a lot of items that need air, go for a larger model. Otherwise, a smaller compressor works just fine if you only use it once per month.

Your outdoor activities may play a role in how you choose the best garage air compressor. If your family is active or you live in a warmer climate, you probably spend more time outdoors on bicycles, playing football or swimming in a pool

Read the basics on what to look for in a garage air compressor.

10 best garage air compressor Comparison Chart







Makita MAC2400

81 pounds

Rolair JC10 

42.9 pounds

PORTER-CA​​​​BL​​​​E​​​​ PCFP02003

20 pounds

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra

82.5 pounds

Campbell Two Stage 14CFM 5HP

417 pounds


32.2 pounds

Eagle EA-3000

39.1 pounds


20 pounds

Senco PC1131 Compresso

60 pounds

Makita MAC5200

104.4 pounds

How to Choose The best air compressor for home use

Consider several things when choosing the best garage air compressor. After reading this section, determine the type of garage air compressor to purchase.

What tools do you use?

What kinds of tools do you plan to run with your air compressor? Do you want to inflate items, or do you need the compressor for airbrushing, power washing or moving heavy-duty jacks? Do you need an air compressor for air nailers or staple guns? What about powering drills, wrenches or industrial-sized tire inflation? Chances are, if you need the best garage air compressor, you only need this for a couple of applications rather than an entire shop’s worth of heavy-duty tools. In this review, I go over medium-duty air compressors for a small, in-home garage.

What’s difference between piston and portable air compressors?

Piston-type air compressors rely on the action of pistons to build up air pressure. As such, piston-based air compressors might need oil or gas to run. That adds more expenses, fumes and working parts to deal with in your best garage air compressor. Piston-type compressors generally create around 150 to 200 pounds per square inch (psi) of air pressure. Single-stage piston compressors, with just one piston, are excellent for home use if you want a model with more capabilities.

A portable garage air compressor works best for your home if you need simple tools such as glue guns, power caulkers or simply for inflating. Portable air compressors usually have wheels to move them.

What ratings do I need?

Look at the ratings of the best garage air compressor to see what you get. The horsepower measures the power of the motor that creates the air pressure. When you have a higher horsepower, you generally get more air pressure and you need more energy to run the air compressor. Lower horsepower ratings mean less of everything. Most air compressors have 1.5 to 6.5 horsepower.

The cubic feet per minute, or CFM, measures how much air goes through the air hose and into your tool in one minute. HIgher CFMs usually take more horsepower and have higher pressures. The CFM may change based on atmospheric conditions, temperature, elevation above sea level and other factors surrounding the air compressor.

Of course, you must also take into account the pounds per square inch of the best garage air compressor. The higher the psi rating of the compressor, the heavier-duty tools you can run with the machine.

How much space does my compressor require?

Space is a major consideration for your home. Can the best garage air compressor sit in on corner until you need it? Do you need to haul this air compressor on the roof for when you need a nail gun or staple gun for roofing tiles? If you need to move your garage air compressor around to do different tasks, then find one that’s smaller and with wheels. Two people can lift lighter-weight garage air compressors to the roof of a house if they need to do so for construction projects or repairs on a house.

What power source do I need?

The best garage air compressor runs on either gasoline or electricity. Gasoline is more portable because you don’t need an electrical outlet. However, for most garage applications you can find a portable electric air compressor.

What about tank size?

A larger tank works best if you need the compressor to work for several minutes at a time. Otherwise, a garage air compressor works best when you stop and start the appliance between smaller jobs.

A larger tank works best if you need the compressor to work for several minutes at a time. Otherwise, a garage air compressor works best when you stop and start the appliance between smaller jobs.

Top10 Best Home Garage Air Compressor Reviews

Now I will go over the top 10 best garage air compressor reviews one at a time. Each review gets into the top features of each compressor.

01. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Compressor Review

Makita is one of the top names in construction tools and heavy-duty machinery. The MAC 2400 big bore compressor is a great machine for when you need to do a little more than just inflate your bicycle tires or car tires.

This piston-type compressor is made of iron and it has a roll-cage type construction to prevent damage from jostling and movement. This appliance has two tanks and two nozzles so you can run two machines at the same time. This is perfect for a shop where you have an air-powered nailer and a grease gun going at the same time.

This air compressor features a 2.5-horsepower motor, so it has a mid-range capability when it comes to a power rating. This compressor runs on gasoline, and you need oil to maintain it. There’s an easy-to-read glass part that lets you see the oil’s color and level without a dipstick. That means this air compressor is relatively easy to maintain.



● Solidly built with iron

● Roll cage-type construction

● Steady air pressure for regular duty

● Runs at half the RPMs of comparable units

● No wheels and it’s not portable

​● Don’t use indoors due to gasoline fumes

Highlighted Features

  • Two nozzles
  • Two air tanks
  • Automotive-style filter for good air flow
  • 4.2-gallon capacity generates 130 psi
  • Low amps so it doesn’t trip circuit breakers

02. Rolair JC10 Compressor Protection Operation Review

Rolair’s JC 10 home garage air compressor has a similar construction to the Makita model. This one is easier to move. The roll cage sits up higher from the rest of the apparatus. Instead of iron, this piston-type air compressor uses aluminum in its basic construction. That makes this lighter in weight compare to the Makita.

This air compressor generates 90 psi at 2.35 CFM with a 2.5-gallon tank capacity. This gives you less psi and less CFM compared to the Makita model. However, if you just need this for a few applications a week, then this air compressor is a valid choice for you. The Makita model works for everyday use.

This cylinder-based model doesn’t have any oil, so the maintenance needs for this model are less than that of Makita’s stout air compressor. If you want a smaller air compressor that’s easier to move around, this Rolair compressor works perfectly.



● No oil

● Lighter in weight

● Good, basic air compressor

● Not as strong psi or CFM as Makita’s model

● Not good for heavy-duty jobs

● Just a 1 horsepower motor

Highlighted Features

  • Cast aluminum cylinder
  • Easy to carry with roll cage design
  • Quiet air compressor

03. PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor Review

Porter-Cable’s PCFP02003 model features a 3.5-gallon reserve tank, which forms the base of this air compressor, and the extra air can take this compressor up to 135 psi at its maximum for a longer run time and quicker recovery. Like Rolair, this has an oil-free pump for less maintenance. At 26 pounds, this Porter-Cable model goes places even without any wheels.

The compact design makes it easier to lift from underneath even though there is a way to grab this from the top. However, the plastic design makes it hard to grip this with one hand. The roll bar-type of designs of Makita or Rolair models are easier to move from site to site.

The knobs, gauges and heads are all within easy reach on top of the tank. Meanwhile, rubber feet keep this from moving along the floor or work space. Porter-Cable has a good model with no fuss and not many extra features for heavy-duty use.



● Lightweight

● Compact

● Basic design without many features

● Rubber feet keeps it from moving

● No roll cage bars to help people lift it

● Hard to get a hold of to lift

Highlighted Features

  • Large reserve tank
  • Better-than-average PSI
  • Oil-free design

04.California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor, 2 hp Review

The 10020C model from California Air Tools has plenty of great features as a possible best garage air compressor. This appliance operates at 70 decibels, which is about 5 decibels less than average models and certainly quieter than many of the air compressors in this review article. At 40 psi, this compressor produces 6.40 CFM versus 5.30 CFM at 90 psi.

There are two major features to take into account with this air compressor. One is the very large tank, at 10 gallons, that is the biggest of the models in this review. You have plenty of backup when you’ve got major jobs to finish. The next major advantage of this home garage air compressor is the portability. Although this isn’t light weight at all, there are two wheels at the bottom and a handle on top. This air compressor is a vertical configuration that stands taller above the floor compared to the other models here that are lower, squatter and harder to move.



● High CFM

● Very quiet operation at 70 psi

● Portable with two wheels

● Large tank at 10 gallons

● Hard to lift if you need it on a roof

● Price, but well worth it

Highlighted Features

  • Oil-free piston
  • Easy start with low voltage
  • Starts in any temperature, hot or cold

05. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor, 80 Gallon Vertical Two Stage 14CFM 5HP Review

The Campbell Hausfield air compressor is a great compressor for heavy-duty applications within your garage. The 80-gallon tank keeps the compressor going for a long time when you need a lot of air with a lot of tools. The manufacturer rates this air compressor as a great choice for running up to 20 different high-demand tools.

This air compressor is fantastic for painting cars, sheet metal grinding, sanding and tons of other applications. If you have a big garage or a job that requires a lot of air tools, this air compressor is for you.

The belt is huge on this machine, but it’s fully enclosed in a cage for safety so the belt doesn’t break accidentally. This two-stage pump needs oil to keep it cool, and the two-stage pump has two pistons. This air compressor maxes out at 170 psi, which is higher than average. If you need an air compressor for a lot of tools or you work in your garage, this model is for you.



● Heavy duty

● 80-gallon reserve tank

● Enclosed belt system helps prevent breaking

● Runs up to 20 high-demand tools

● Not portable at all

● Price, but worth every penny if you want high-demand applications

Highlighted Features

  • Two-stage pump with two pistons
  • PSI rating and extra air gives you enough power to finish jobs faster
  • Perfect for painting cars, sheet metal grinding and other heavy-duty jobs

06. DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon Pancake Compressor Review

DeWalt is one of the top names in tools in the entire world. Much like Makita, DeWalt prides itself on creating the best tools for the best jobs. This pancake compressor sits squat to the ground, much like the Porter-Cable model. The controls sit on top, and this one has a plastic bar to lift that makes this model better than Porter-Cable’s listing in this review.

You get 165 max psi from this model, and the 6-gallon tank, are both bigger than most portable models. Surprisingly, this air compressor operates at just 75.5 decibels. High-flow regulators and couplers maximize the performance of this air compressor.



● Easier to lift thanks to handle

● Larger tank than others on this review

● 165 max psi

● Price

● Heavier than other portable models

Highlighted Features

  • High-tech flow regulators keep the air pressure coming
  • Quiet operation as just 75.5 decibels

07. Eagle EA-3000 Silent Series 3000 Air Compressor Review

The EA-3000 silent series air compressor from Eagle touts a lifespan four times longer than comparable models because there is no oil and low amperage. This air compressor averages 100 psi during normal operation, and it maxes out at 125 psi for more strenuous activities. The downside is that the motor is just 1 horsepower and the compressor puts out just 2 CFM.

There are two pistons in this air compressor, so it works harder than other compressors of this size and caliber. The best part about this best air compressor for home garage is the operating noise. This model creates just 46 decibels at its peak operation thanks to low RPMs. The low RPMs also lengthen the life of this air compressor. If you want a model that just does the basics, this is the one.



● Very quiet operation

● Portable, even without wheels

● Just a 1-gallon tank

● Price

● Small motor as just 1 horsepower

Highlighted Features

  • Two pistons for even performance
  • 125 psi for medium-duty tools
  • Handle makes it easy to carry

08. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor Review

Makita has another great product in the MAC5200 big-bore air compressor. This one has a 3-horsepower motor and it has wheels to move around. Like the other Makita model, there are two ports for hoses to use two tools simultaneously. The piston uses oil for lubrication to prevent wear and extend the product’s life.

This air compressor puts out 6.5 CFM at 90 psi. The handle folds down when you use the air compressor, and you extend it when you pull it along the ground or floor. The heavy-duty wheels let you pull this along to any job site.



● Portable

● High-quality construction

● Storage compartment for accessories

● Cast iron pump

● Price, but worth every penny

● Oil requires changing

Highlighted Features

  • Folding handle for portability
  • Iron construction for rugged durability
  • Runs at cooler temperatures

09. PORTER-CABLE-CMB15-Oil-Free-Shrouded-Compressor Review

This Porter-Cable model is great because everything is internalized within a plastic shell. The tank, fans and belts all stay protected within the outer covering so your appliance stays safe at job sites. The 1.5-gallon tank has a water drain valve and rubber feet.

Meanwhile, the oil-free pump has a longer life and lower temperature operation. Even with the oil, the low-amp motor starts easily in low temperatures. The motor operates as 79 decibels, and you get eight pieces of accessories depending on the tools you use, plus the coil hose is 25 feet long.



● Easy to carry

● Lightweight

● Easily starts

● Not a lot of power

● Only 90 psi

Highlighted Features

  • Eight-piece accessory kit
  • 25-foot hose

10. Senco PC1131 Compressor, 2.5-Horsepower Review

The Senco PC1131 compressor packs 2.5 horsepower into a compact frame. The handle above the compressor lets you carry this compressor into your truck and around the job area and the garage. The two tanks make this weigh 60 pounds, so it’s hard to move around once you do get a hold of this. You get 100 psi at 4.3 CFM.

Senco’s model is short and stout. The cast iron construction means this stands up to most working conditions you throw at the PC1131. For your garage, this is a good piece as long as you don’t want to move it around much.



● Durable construction

● 100 psi

● 4.3 CFM

● Hard to carry

● Heavy

Highlighted Features

  • Two tanks
  • Direct drive motor for easy operation

Final Verdict

I recommend the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Compressor simply because it lasts a long time. It also comes from a long line of high-quality equipment that backs Makita’s decades of engineering prowess. This compressor is the best on the list because you can run two tools at once in your garage. The only downside is the lack of portability, but the machine is a tough one that lasts through just about any job you need.

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Mary T. White

Hi everyone, I'm a trained AC service technician who uses several tools in my profession. I created this interactive platform to share experiences and vital information. Feel free to share your views and ask any question.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Arwin Nicole - August 10, 2017

Great info. Thank you for posting this article. It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.

What type of air – compressor do you suggest for the amateur technician, I want to use it in my home garage actually?

I’d like to do general stuff like spray stuff clean, fill up tires etc.,

    Mary T. White - August 11, 2017

    I think you can go for California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free . This air much better than from other for beginner technician.Price is little bit high but if your your thinking about something long lasting then you can go for this.


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