2
Best Small Air Compressors review

Best Small Air Compressors 2017 - Buyer's Guide and Reviews

For most of us, air is something that we take for granted. Even though we rely on things that use air, many of us don’t have an air compressor to refill those things when they get low. Car tires, sports balls, and certain power tools all can be fixed with a simple attachment to a compressor, and yet so many people don’t have one.

Fortunately, these devices are not only relegated to those who need professional-quality air compression. If you thought that buying a compressor meant that you had to operate pneumatic machinery, you thought wrong. The fact is that there are plenty of smaller options that you can use around the house or in your car. If you’re ever stuck with a flat tire on the side of the road, you will wish that you had some way to inflate it.

So, if you’re interested in being extra prepared in case of an emergency, then check out what small air compressors can do for you.

Best small air compressors comparison

PRODUCT IMAGE

PRODUCT

NAME

WEIGHT

EDITOR RATTING

PRODUCT​

PRICE

PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK REVIEW

PORTER-CABLE-C2002

34 pounds

Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews and intense guide

PORTER-CABLE CMB15

20 pounds

DEWALT-DWFP5512

32.2 pounds

Master-Flow-MF-1040

6.2 pounds

PowRyte 500146

PowRyte 500146

35.4 pounds

Industries-MV50-SuperFlow

Industries-MV50-SuperFlow

1 pound

How to Choose a Best Small Air Compressor for the money

If you’ve never taken a look at these machines, you will probably be wondering how you can determine which one is best. For this article, I’ll be showing you mini air compressor , which means that they are not designed for big jobs, such as airbrushing, cleaning, or operating power tools.

Thus, these factors only relate to compressors that could be considered “inflators,” which I’ll describe in a minute. Once you know what to look for you can be sure that you’re getting the best model asi.

Model

When looking at air compressors, you will notice that they are classified in different ways. Usually, they are sorted by size, which will be determined by the style and design of the unit. For small compressors, they are known as inflators because that is primarily what they are used to do. Inflators can come in a variety of designs, but the most common are pancake (so named because of the shape) or hot dog (same thing). Other models may simply look like a box with a hose sticking out.

​If you only want to inflate tires, then you will want to get a model that is smaller and will be easier to carry. If you think that you’ll need something more powerful for other jobs, then get one that has a bigger tank. Many inflators don’t have a reservoir of air because it isn’t necessary. Those that do are generally used for other things like operating tools or cleaning.

​Output

​When you look at the specifications of an air compressor, you will want to pay attention to two ratings. First, you will need to see how much psi it can generate. PSI stands for pounds per square inch, and it refers to the amount of pressure that is generated by the air coming out of the device. Most inflators and small compressors operate at 90 psi, which is standard for most inflation needs. However, if you need an extra boost, they will have what’s called Peak Performance, which means that it can create more pressure for a short period, such as 150 psi. For the most part, however, you will only need to know the operating pressure level.

​The second thing that you will see is SCFM, which stands for Standard Cubic Feet per Minute, which shows you how much air is pushed through the machine at once. For many compressors, the SCFM rating is between two and three, which means that you can inflate a car tire in a few minutes time. Unless you are operating heavy machinery, you won’t need anything over three SCFM, as that means that the compressor will most likely be too big and cumbersome for your needs.

​Power Source

​If you need a compressor to refill a flat tire, then you will probably want to keep it in your car. That way, you can fix your flat while out on the road instead of waiting to get towed back to your house. If you do keep it in your car, then you will have to have a power source to operate the compressor. Fortunately, most small units can run on your vehicle’s A/C adapter (cigarette lighter) which means that you won’t have to worry about having a charged battery or anything like that.

​All of the machines that I’ll be showing you today have a low amp draw, which means that they can plug into your car battery without draining it or shorting it out. Some compressors, however, require an outlet to work, so be aware if that is the case, as that means that you have to get an adapter to plug into your car or you won’t be able to carry it in your trunk.

Top 6 best small air compressors at home depot ​Recommended

1. PORTER-CABLE-C2002 air compressor

​Our first stop is the Porter-Cable C2002. This is a modest device, but it can still pack quite a punch. If you need an inflator for your car, the C2002 will be a bit too large and too powerful for your needs. However, if you require something that is slightly more versatile, then this is a great machine.

​What makes the C2002 so robust for its size is that it comes with a six-gallon reserve tank. This means that it can maintain a higher pressure level when needed, and can produce more air if necessary. With a peak psi of 150, you can do a full range of small jobs with this machine. Output levels are also higher than most other small compressors, with a standard SCFM rating of 2.6. It also gives you the option of cranking it all the way up to 3.7 SCFM if you need more air.

​The other thing that I like about this compressor is that it is built to last. It already comes with a one-year limited warranty, but the parts are well made, and it feels a lot sturdier than other compressors in its class.

Pros

  • Pancake design
  • Durable construction
  • ​Six-gallon capacity
  • ​Peak pressure of 150 psi
  • ​Operating pressure of 90 psi
  • 2.6 SCFM output
  • ​Can work at 3.7 SCFM at 40 psi
  • ​Quick recovery time
  • ​Rubber feet for stability
  • ​Water drain to keep clean air
  • Oil-free operation
  • Low maintenance
  • ​120-volt motor
  • ​Low amps means it can start in cold weather
  • ​One-horsepower motor
  • One-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Does not include a hose
  • Not ideal for big jobs
  • ​In rare cases, the compressor may come with missing parts
  • Water valve may fill up quickly depending on the circumstances

2. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Air compressor

Our next model is another winner from Porter-Cable. While this unit is not quite as powerful as the C2002, it is much more portable and lightweight, meaning that it is better for inflation jobs such as refilling sports balls or car tires.

With a 1.5-gallon reserve tank, the CMB15 won’t provide as much of a punch as the C2002, but it is better than a model without any kind of tank at all. Having a reservoir also means that you can generate a peak pressure of 150 psi for longer, making it ideal for all inflation purposes.

The other thing that I like about this model is that it comes with a twenty-five-foot hose. That, coupled with the relatively lightweight size means that you can work from almost anywhere. This unit also comes with a one-year warranty on parts, meaning that you can rely on it to stay in shape.

Pros

  • Highly portable and lightweight
  • Weighs only twenty pounds
  • ​1.5-gallon capacity
  • ​Peak pressure of 150 psi
  • Operating pressure of 90 psi
  • ​2.0 SCFM output
  • ​Oil-free pump
  • ​Quiet operation (79 dB)
  • ​Low maintenance
  • Rubber feet included for stability
  • ​120-volt amp
  • ​Draws only ten amps when starting
  • Starts in cold weather easily
  • ​Comes with inflation accessories
  • Water drain valve included
  • ​25-foot coil hose attached
  • One-year limited warranty

Cons

  • In rare cases, the hose may leak internally
  • Some components are not as durable as others
  • Accessory kit is somewhat flimsy

3. DEWALT-DWFP55126- Air compressor

When it comes to power tools, no brand is quite as well respected as DeWalt. I personally am a huge fan, and that’s why I love the DWFP55126 Air Compressor. Despite the fact that this unit doesn’t come with its own hose, I still think that this is one of the better machines on this list, provided that you need something that has a bit more punch than a standard inflator.

First of all, the construction of this device is top-notch, meaning that it is built to last a long time. Second, it has a decent six-gallon tank which means that it has a high level of performance for its size. The operating psi of this compressor is 90, but it can generate a peak of 165 if you need extra power. The output level is also 2.6 SCFM, which is more than enough for most small jobs.

Best of all, this compressor is super quiet, operating at a decibel level of 75. That is less than human speech, meaning that you can run this device continuously without it becoming a nuisance.

Pros

  • Compact pancake design
  • Weighs only thirty pounds
  • ​Durable metal housing
  • ​Six-gallon tank
  • ​Max PSI of 165
  • ​Operating PSI of 90
  • ​2.6 SCFM output
  • ​Quiet operation (75 dB)
  • Rubber feet included for stability
  • ​Oil-free pump
  • ​Low maintenance
  • Drain valve included
  • ​Cord wrap station
  • One-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Hose not included
  • In rare cases, couplings may develop a leak
  • In some instances, it may not reach peak PSI setting of 165

4. Master-Flow-MF-1040-Portable-Compressor

Next, we move from small compressors that can work for power tools to units that are designed for inflation only. Unlike the ones we’ve seen thus far, the Master Flow MF 1040 is smaller and more compact, meaning that it doesn’t have a reserve tank. Also, it doesn’t plug into an outlet, instead drawing its power from your car’s A/C adapter.

So, that means that if you are in the market for a device that can help you fix your flat tire, the MF 1040 is a great choice. It weighs less than ten pounds, which means that it can store in your trunk easily and almost anyone can operate it without any hassle. This compressor also comes with a carrying case for your convenience.

As far as performance, it has a standard operating psi of 90 with a peak level of 150. The SCFM rating is somewhat low, but it is still enough to get a tire filled within several minutes.

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Works with your car’s A/C adapter
  • ​Weighs less than ten pounds
  • ​Can be modified for permanent placement
  • ​Max PSI of 150
  • ​Operating PSI of 90
  • ​Delivers 30 liters of air per minute
  • ​Twelve-foot recoil hose attached
  • ​Comes with nozzle accessories for inflation
  • ​Carrying case included
  • Ideal for tire inflation and small jobs

Cons

  • Limited output
  • Some components are less durable than others
  • Connector is screw-on instead of quick-release

5. PowRyte Oil-Free Portable Compressor

Next, we have the PowRyte Portable Compressor. This is another unit that can be used as an inflator or as a device to power small tools, as it comes with a large six-gallon capacity tank. The size and weight of it mean that it’s not as portable as an inflator, but it’s still small enough that you can tote it around your garage with ease.

The thing that I like about this particular model is that it comes with a twenty-piece accessory kit. That means that you can use it for a wide variety of purposes, as it comes with adapters and connection points for different jobs. It also has its own hose, which is a nice touch. The other thing that I like is that it comes with a carry handle so you can transport it much easier.

Pros

  • Compact pancake style compressor
  • Six-gallon capacity
  • ​Max PSI of 150
  • ​Operating PSI of 90
  • ​Delivers 2.6 SCFM
  • ​Oil-free pumping
  • ​Low maintenance model
  • ​Carry handle included for easy transportation
  • Rubber feet attached for stability
  • ​Comes with two connection points for better versatility
  • ​Twenty-piece accessory kit included
  • Twenty-foot coil hose included
  • Low amp draw means it starts in cold weather

Cons

  • In rare cases, the compressor may arrive damaged
  • In some instances, it may not generate a max of 150 psi

6. Industries-MV50-SuperFlow Air Compressor

Our last compressor is the Industries MV50. This is a standard inflation unit, much like the Master Flow above. That means that it plugs into your car’s A/C adapter and is designed for filling car tires and not much else. The MV50 only weighs about ten pounds, which makes it ideal for keeping inside your trunk for emergencies.

As far as performance goes, this unit has a bit more of a punch than the Master Flow. With an output of 2.54 SCFM, you can fill a tire within two minutes, rather than five. Also, the operating psi is 120, which is perfect for most inflation needs.See detailed review of this product.

Pros

  • Highly portable air compressor
  • Weighs less than ten pounds
  • ​Operating PSI of 120
  • ​Delivers 2.54 SCFM
  • ​Comes with sixteen-foot coil hose
  • Ten-foot power cord included
  • ​Carrying case provided
  • ​Ideal for filling car tires
  • Handle attached for easy transportation
  • ​Low maintenance
  • 12 amp draw means it can connect to almost any power source

Cons

  • In rare cases, the fuse box may melt
  • Some components are more durable than others
  • In rare instances, there may be a leak at the connection point

Final Verdict

Overall, when deciding on the best air compressor, you first have to look at what you need to do with it. If you are looking for something that can be used for inflation only, then I would highly recommend the Master Flow or the Industries models as they are much more portable and easy to use. However, if you think that you need something with more power, then I would suggest the DeWalt model as that has the best specs out of all of them.

Mary T. White
 

Hello all, this is Mary White, a trained AC service technician who also doubles up as a blogger. On my website, I majorly discuss issues related to the working, specifications, pros and cons of the various tools that are needed for home and professional use. I understand many homeowners and commercial operators need essential tips and professional advice before they can invest in any tools such as air compressors, socket sets and many others. As a result, I have dedicated my time to provide insightful information about these devices and at the same time provide a platform where users can share their experience. I update my website from time to time and you can follow me for the latest news and trends regarding different tools.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Andrew Steve - September 11, 2017

I have been looking for such a comparison for a long time and I’m happy I found one here. As a person who moves a lot, I’m going to try Industries-MV50-SuperFlow because of its weight and some of its specs that I like so much, I hope it will be of help. I will surely be back and share my experiences once I have used it.

Reply
    Mary T. White - September 11, 2017

    Welcome Andrew, We are to know that we were helpful to you. We wish you luck with the product that you have decided to choose. We look forward to hearing from you soon. thank you once more.

    Reply

Leave a Reply: