10 Best Small Air Compressors – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Small Air Compressor

An air compressor is one of those things that every person that is into home improvement and the DIY projects should have. And in many instances, just a small air compressor is often more than enough.

Small air compressors are lightweight, portable and most importantly more affordable than the large or full-size compressor. But, to get the best small air compressor you need to understand what it is all about.

These air compressors are the types that come with a tank capacity of between 1 and 6 gallons but there are few that will come with even smaller tanks. Also, small air compressors are the types that produce between 0.5 and 5 CFM.

With a good small air compressor, jobs like stapling, inflating and trim nailing will always be faster and easier.

Choosing one can seem like a daunting task but it should not be as you only need to consider factors like power, CFM, and weight. And in this piece, we explain them in detail, and also review 10 best rated small air compressors.

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Product Name

Power

CFM

Weight

Rating

Current Price

Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Compressor

1. Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free Air Compressor

Gas, 1.0 HP

2.6

34.0 lbs

4.4

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2HP Running 1-Gallon Compressor

2. Senco PC1010 Small Air Compressor

Gas, 0.5 HP

N/A

20.0 lbs

4.3

California Air Tools 101060S Small Air Compressor​

3. California Air Tools 1O1060S Small Air Compressor

Gas, 0.6 HP

1.2

29.5 lbs

4.5

Dewalt D55140 Max Trim Compressor

4. DeWalt D55140 Small Air Compressor

Electric, 2.6 Amps

0.75

24.0 lbs

4.1

Porter-Cable PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

5. Porter-Cable PCFP02003 Small Air Compressor

Electric, 10 Amps

2.0

26.0 lbs

4.5

Dewalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

6. DeWalt DWFP55126 Small Air Compressor

Electric, 10 Amps

2.6

30.0 lbs

4.3

Porter-Cable CMB15 Small Air Compressor

7. Porter-Cable CMB15 Small Air Compressor

Electric, 10 Amps

2.0

20.0 lbs

4.5

Bostitch CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor

8. Bostitch CAP1512-OF Small Air Compressor

Gas, 1.5 HP

2.8

23.5 lbs

4.3

Black & Decker ASI300 Small Air Compressor

9. Black & Decker ASI300 Small Air Compressor

N/A

N/A

6.1 lbs

3.5

Kensun D1001 Small Air Compressor

10. Kensun D1001 Small Air Compressor

Electric, 10 Amps

N/A

4.45 lbs

3.5

#1. Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free Air Compressor
  • Power: Gas, 1.0 HP
  • CFM: 2.6 CFM
  • Dimensions: 19 x19 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 34 lbs

Porter-Cable C2002 is one of the priciest items on our small air compressor reviews but it is also one of the most powerful and best performing.

It uses 150 PSI max tank that will store more air to ensure that you always get longer run times and with a powerful 1.0 HP easy start motor that supplies more than enough power to the air compressor.

The pancake-style tank is designed to be more stable, and it also includes rubber feet to keep it sturdy and a water drain valve.

With the 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, this air compressor will also allow for relatively quick recovery time which translates to minimal downtimes when using it for longer projects.

Also, it uses a durable and zero maintenance oil-free pump for more convenience and longer overall tool life.

Pros:

  • More stable pancake style tank
  • Rubber feet to keep it sturdy
  • Easy start motor
  • Quick compressor recovery time
  • Durable no maintenance oil-free pump

Cons:

  • Bare compressor with accessory kit
  • Quite loud

#2. Senco PC1010 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

Senco PC1010 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Gas, 0.5 HP
  • Dimensions: 14 x 13 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 20 lbs

If you are looking for a lightweight small air compressor for use when doing various home improvement and renovation projects or for your crafts, the Senco PC1010 will be a good buy.

At a total weight of just 20 pounds, it is one of the lightest on our list and it is also designed with a convenient handle for easy carrying.

The small air compressor runs on a highly efficient 0.5 HP (running) direct drive motor. Also, it is oil-free to ensure that you never have to deal with the mess that comes with oil.

With the Senco PC1010, you can also be confident of finishing your jobs fast and without ever wasting a lot of time. And this is because it will only take 128 seconds to pump up and has an impressive recovery time of just 38 seconds.

When compared to the popular pancake style air compressors, this is also relatively quieter, and so it will be ideal for both indoor and outdoor use as it will not produce a lot of distracting noise.

And with the tough aluminum cylinder and other high-quality components, you can also be confident this small air compressor will last long enough.

Pros:

  • Relatively lightweight and portable
  • Fast recovery rime
  • Significantly quieter operation
  • Durable aluminum cylinder

Cons:

  • Relatively smaller tank capacity

#3. California Air Tools 101060S Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

California Air Tools 101060S Small Air Compressor​
  • Power: Gas, 0.6 HP
  • CFM: 1.2 CFM
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 13.6 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 29.5 lbs

If you are going to use your small air compressor indoors and anywhere else where noise is a major concern, this one will be a perfect choice. With a noise rating of 56 decibels, it is one of the quietest small air compressors out there.

Its 0.6 HP motor is also quite powerful and it will be enough for your small and medium jobs around the house. Also, you will get up to 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI when using this air compressor.

Fill up and recovery times are also quite impressive as the tank will take just 50 seconds to fill up from empty, and just 15 seconds to recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI.

The oil-free pump is also a great addition to the air compressor as it ensures less maintenance and also minimizes the cost of operation.

This small air compressor also comes with a highly durable 1-gallon capacity steel tank and its oil-free pump will allow it to be used in a variety of temperatures and uneven terrains.

Pros:

  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Long-lasting oil-free pump
  • Good recovery time
  • Durable steel air tank
  • Great for use in cold temperatures and uneven terrain

Cons:

  • A little larger and heavier than other small air compressors

#4. DeWalt D55140 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)

DeWalt D55140 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Electric, 2.6 Amps
  • CFM: 0.75 CFM
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 15.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Weight: 24 lbs

Dewalt D55140 is a good small air compressor from a highly reputable company and it features a heavy-duty tank with a protective roll cage for enhanced durability.

This top-rated small air compressor will operate at 0.75 CFM at 90 PSI and with a maximum PSI of 135 to ensure you get to fire more nails and for fast recovery.

The durable oil-free pump will provide a long life and maintenance-free operation to make this a more convenient tool. This pump design eliminates the need to keep checking and refilling the pump, and also helps to keep the job site clean.

With a noise rating of 69 decibels this is also a relatively quiet air compressor when compared to many others. To make it a more efficient and convenient air compressor it is equipped with a ball drain valve for fast and thorough tank draining. And there is also a convenient cord wrap that makes storage easy.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction with a protective roll cage
  • Easy start-up motor
  • Relatively quieter operation
  • Durable oil-free pump
  • Efficient ball drain valve included

Cons:

  • Regulator seems to have issues that need improvement

#5. Porter-Cable PCFP02003 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Porter-Cable PCFP02003 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Electric, 10 Amps
  • CFM: 2.0 CFM
  • Dimensions: 18.13 x 17.25 x 18.5 inches
  • Weight: 26 lbs

Porter Cable designs their PCFP02003 small air compressor to be highly useful around the home. And they make it with an air delivery of 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI and with a maximum of 135 PSI.

This air compressor uses a 3.5-gallon tank and you can be sure of getting longer run times and faster recovery to speed up your jobs.

Like many other high-performing small air compressors, it uses a durable oil-free pump that delivers a longer life and with zero maintenance requirements.

The low amp motor on this air compressor is easy to start even in cold weather or when you are using an extension cord. And it also comes with a quick-connect coupler for quick and easy access to the regulated air.

Pros:

  • Longer run times
  • Quick compressor recovery
  • Durable oil-free pump
  • Easy start low amp motor

Cons:

  • Relatively noisier

#6. DeWalt DWFP55126 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

DeWalt DWFP55126 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Electric, 10 Amps
  • CFM: 2.6 CFM
  • Dimensions: 17.2 x 16.6 x 20.1 inches
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Although the DeWalt DWFP55126 is the priciest item on our list, it is also one of the most powerful small air compressors out there, and so it is worth the extra cost.

The relatively larger 6-gallon tank and maximum PSI of 165 ensure that you will always get longer tool run times and faster recovery to minimize downtimes.

This air compressor also uses the long life and maintenance-free pump that is always very convenient. The highly efficient 10-Amp motor provides easy starting even in cold weather or when using an extension cord.

There are also high-flow regulators and couplers that will help to maximize the performance of your air tools.

The well-built console cover helps to protect the controls from the elements but it is also removable for easy repairs.

Tank draining is also fast and thorough thanks to the ball drain valve, and there are also some protective rubber leg covers that will help to prevent marring.

Pros:

  • Larger tank capacity
  • Highly efficient and easy startup motor
  • Can support two users
  • Ball drain valve included
  • Convenient cord storage

Cons:

  • Relatively heavier
  • Pricier

#7. Porter-Cable CMB15 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Porter-Cable CMB15 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Electric, 10 Amps
  • CFM: 2.0 CFM
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 13.25 x 20.5 inches
  • Weight: 20 lbs

There are several things that define the best small air compressors but portability and convenience are probably on top of most people’s lists. And so the fact that the Porter-Cable CMB15 seems to fulfill both makes it a great buy.

This handy air compressor has an air delivery of 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI to allow for quick recovery and hence speed up your tasks.

And it uses a 1.5-gallon tank that is fully shrouded to provide protection from hot and moving parts, and it also has a comfortable top handle to make it easy to carry.

The tank also includes a water drain valve for fast and thorough water draining and some rubber feet to prevent marring and to help keep it stable on different surfaces,

The 120-Volt low amp motor that powers this compressor is also designed for easy startups in cold weather or when using extension cords.

At a total weight of 20 pounds this is also a relatively lightweight small air compressor and it has a noise rating of 79 decibels for a significantly quieter operation.

This small air compressor will come with a 25-foot coil hose and an 8-piece accessory kit to make it ideal for a variety of applications.

Pros:

  • Relatively quicker recovery time
  • Durable oil-free pump
  • Easy start low-amp motor
  • Rubber feet and water drain valve included
  • Easy to carry design

Cons:

  • Shorter coiled hose

#8. Bostitch CAP1512-OF Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

Bostitch CAP1512-OF Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Gas, 1.5 HP
  • CFM: 2.8 CFM
  • Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 23.5 lbs

Given the powerful 1.5 HP (running) motor and relatively higher 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI, the Bostitch CAP1512-OF is the best small air compressor for the money on our list as it is hard to get anything better without spending more.

The high-output pump is also oil-free to eliminate the need for maintenance and ensure that you never have to deal with the annoying mess that comes with oil.

Its highly efficient motor will draw just 12 Amps to ensure that it starts up easily and without tripping the circuit breaker which is a common and annoying problem with many other air compressors.

The relatively smaller 1.2-gallon tank is quite compact and only weighs 23.5 pounds which makes this a highly portable air compressor. And there is also a comfortable handle to make it even more convenient to carry.

Because the small air compressor will have to face the regular abuse that comes with a typical job site, it has an integrated control panel with a protective roll cage that will minimize the risk of damaging the gauges.

Low-pressure misfires should also not worry you when using this small air compressor as it comes with an LED on/off to let you know when the compressor is on.

Pros:

  • High output oil-free pump
  • More powerful motor
  • Integrated control panel with a protective roll cage
  • Convenient LED on/off switch
  • On-board tool and hose storage

Cons:

  • Smaller tank capacity

#9. Black & Decker ASI300 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Black & Decker ASI300 Small Air Compressor
  • Dimensions: 12.1 x 8.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Weight: 6.1 lbs

The Black & Decker ASI300 does not cost much to buy but it is still a highly useful air compressor to have at home.

Whether you want to inflate your bike, lawnmower, vehicle tires or just a bike, this air compressor will be up to the task and it does the job fast and efficiently.

It is also a highly affordable model and given the impressive performance, you will get great value for your money. And it only weighs 6.1 pounds which also makes it a highly portable air compressor.

The compact and space-saving design means that it will take up little space in your workshop. Also, it is quite convenient to use thanks to the EZ air dial that ensures it will shut-off instantly once it attains the correct pressure.

Despite its relatively small size, the Black & Decker ASI300 is capable of delivering an inflation power of up to an impressive 160 PSI.

You will also never have to remove the hose to take readings when using this affordable small air compressor as it comes with an easy-to-use gauge that keeps tabs of the pressure. And the gauge is also illuminated for convenient night use.

When you buy this air compressor you will also get a needle inflator, standard tire nozzle and an extension nozzle to make it ready for immediate use.

Pros:

  • Space-saving and portable design
  • Highly affordable
  • Easy to read and illuminated gauge
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Comes with basic accessories for immediate use

Cons:

  • Significantly shorter air hose

#10. Kensun D1001 Small Air Compressor

Editor's Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Kensun D1001 Small Air Compressor
  • Power: Electric, 10 Amps
  • Dimensions: 11.69 x 4.8 x 6.81 inches
  • Weight: 4.45 lbs

Despite its small and compact size, the Kensun D1001 is still a very useful and multifunction air compressor for a variety of inflation tasks at home.

It comes with 3 different nozzle adapters that make it not only ideal for inflation of different tire types but also for inflating various ball types and camping equipment.

This small air compressor is also quite convenient to use as it can operate both at 12V DC and 110V AC which means that you can connect it to the cigarette plug in your car or standard home power outlet.

The high-quality rubber air hose helps to ensure that you get to use this small air compressor for long. And it will also come with a long-reach cord for both the cigarette and AC plugs.

When it comes to the performance, it will pump up to 40 PSI and with the air flow rate at 11 liters per minute.

This lightweight small air compressor only weighs 4.45 pounds and is also designed to be highly portable and easy to use even for those without prior experience with similar equipment.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and highly portable
  • Easy to use design
  • Multifunctional with different nozzle adapters
  • Long-reaching cords
  • Highly affordable

Cons:

  • Shorter run times due to overheating

How to Buy the Best Small Air Compressor

How to Buy the Best Small Air Compressor

While going for a small air compressor can help to narrow down your options, there are still many models from different companies in the market that fall in this category.

Hence, to make sure that whatever you pick is ideal for your projects and intended use you should consider the following things.

#1. Power

Power is always the first thing to consider whether you are buying a large or small air compressor as it is what determines what you can use it for.

Generally, the more powerful the air compressor is the better. But, also note that more power means that it will be pricier and heavier. Sometimes you might not even need all that power, and so the wise idea is to go for something that is powerful enough for your particular projects.

When it comes to power you will need to decide how much power you actually need from your small air compressor and whether you intend to use it as your primary air compressor or a backup for small projects.

#2. Size and Weight

Size and weight might not be a major determinant of how the air compressor performs but will affect its convenience.

Small air compressors are generally more compact and lightweight but this will vary from one model to the other. 

How you intend to use the air compressor should also guide you when it comes to choosing the best small air compressor. If you have a large workshop with enough space and intend to use it from there, then weight and size might not be important.

But, for those that want a small air compressor for carrying around for different projects in different sites something compact and lightweight is the best.

#3. Performance

Performance is a broad term and for many air compressors users, it can mean different things. But, there are still some universal things you can use to measure or judge the performance of any small air compressor.

The PSI and CFM should always be the first things to watch out for when trying to judge the performance of the air compressor. And this is because they will help you determine how fast the unit works and what you can do with one tank.

Also watch out for other things like the charging speed, lapse times and recovery time as they will also give you a good indication of the small air compressor's performance.

#4. Additional Features

What you are getting when buying a small air compressor matters a lot as it will have a huge impact on its usefulness, effectiveness and convenience.

Most top-rated small air compressors will come with several additional accessories to help you accomplish more. And they will include long hoses, various nozzle adapter types, and many other things depending on the brand.

Going for a model with many additional features will always ensure that you are getting much more than just a basic small air compressor.

#5. Warranty

The warranty should never be an afterthought when buying a small air compressor or any other tool as it will help protect your investment as a consumer.

Go for small air compressors that not only come with long warranties but also with good warranty terms and conditions.

Also, it is always a great idea to buy from a brand that has a reputation for honoring their warranties.

#6. Price

While small air compressors are more affordable, their price varies a lot between brands. And so before you settle on any model, you should make sure that you are getting the best value for your money.

Most small air compressors will retail for under $200, and so you only need to choose one that suits your projects and is within your budget.

Conclusion

A small air compressor can be quite handy to have in the workshop whether you are a DIYer or one of the many people fascinated with home improvement projects.

But, choosing the best one from the many models out there is even more important. And it should now be easy if you consider factors like the power, weight and size and overall performance.

It is also important to know some of the best brands and models in the market as this will help narrow down your options. Our top 10 best small air compressor reviews above will be very helpful with this.