7 Best Small Air Compressor For DIY

small home compressor

Having a small air compressor in your garage or workshop is a tool that can be useful in many ways. First, you don’t have to mess about with hand or foot-powered air pumps to pump air into your car, bike, or wheelbarrow tires anymore. Never stress any more from the demands of the kids and family wanting balls, bike tires, air mattresses, and pool toys pumped up, even balloons, well, with buying an air compressor you’ve got it covered. For the DIYers, a small air compressor is ideal for using nailers, staple guns, and brad nailers.

In this article, we are looking at the best air compressors for home use and DIY. Our focus is on compressors that are a reasonable price, portable, and fall into the 1 to 6-gallon tank range.

So you how can determine which of these small air compressors are a good fit for you, it may help to get a good understanding of tome technical terms first.

What size tank do I need?

The tank size relates to the amount of air that the tank will hold. For example, a 1-gallon tank will hold about .137 cubic feet of air, a 6-gallon tank holds about .822 cubic feet. Basically the bigger your tank the longer you can use the air inside before the compressor reactivates to top up the air inside.

Porter Cable 6-gallon

The more the compressor works it’s slowly reducing the lifespan of the machine. Look at it this way, If you’re filling a large balloon with a 1-gallon tank, a small air compressor is likely to run continuously for an hour or so to fill it, whereas if you had a 20-gallon tank it would likely fill in several minutes.

California air tools 1 gallon

For general purpose use such as tire pumping and all the other inflatables is good size for the home garage is around the 6-gallon mark. If you are using something like an air nailer or spale gun then a good quality 1-gallon tank would suffice.

Typically there are different profiles for compressor tanks, pancake and tube-like are the most common, however the type of tank as no impact what so ever on the compressed air or function itself.

CFM, SCFM and PSI Is Doing My Head In!

CFM is an important number, meaning Cubic Feet per Minute or the volume of air that the compressor sends to out. Compressor manufacturers test their compressors at the same rate of 90 PSI. Now we can get a good handle on the CFM, which is the best measure of airpower a compressor delivers

SCFM means Standard cubic feet per minute and is the same by way of measuring the volume of air to the tool but is measured in a controlled environment where we know the temperature, pressure, and relative air humidity. SCFM is a realistic form of measurement whereas CFM is an idealist form. Look for CFM or SCFM on the buyer’s guides.

PSI is Pounds per Square Inch and is the amount of force that an air compressor delivers. Low-pressure compressors typically run at under 150 PSI

It’s important to note that most of the small air compressors listed would likely struggle to power large air tools like auto sanders or paint sprayers as they simply don’t hold enough air. For example, A pneumatic stapler could just need 0.3 CFM, a framing nailer may require 2.2 CFM and would be ok with a small compressor, but a disc sander could need 20 CFM or more, so air compressors used for powering bigger air tools would usually fall in the 30 to 140 CFM range.

Related: Mini Air Compressor

Check Out Our Top Rated Small Air Compressors

# 1. Bostitch Pancake Air Compressor

Bostitch 6 gallon
BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

See Customer Reviews Here

Buyers Guide And Specifications

  • 6 .0 Gallon Tank
  • 150 max PSI – 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
  • Noise level 78.5 dBA
  • long-life pump, Cold weather start-up.
  • 0.8 Hp Moter at 120volts.
  • General Diy use
  • Nailers and Staple guns
  • Pump car tyres, bicycle tyres, pool toys
  • Air blower for dust, hobbies and workshop.

The Bostitch air compressor is light and portable, features include a high flow regulator that maximizes performance is oil-free so no need for daily maintenance plus no oil drips to deal with. Other features are a maintenance-free pump that will deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90-PSI with tank storage of 150 PSI to give longer tool run time. The compressor works at a reasonably quiet level of 78.5 dBA.

Additional features include dual couplers to maximise tool use plus 15 foot power extension cord. Weighing in at 29 pounds this small air compressor punches ubove its weight.

The Verdict

A great addition to the workshop, this compressor is easy to move about and store and is a reputable brand. Note; The unit doesn’t ship with a hose or air gun, these are extras. There is however a Bostitch Air compressor combo kit available that includes the hose plus two nailers and a stapler.

There are smaller options for those who wish to inflate their vehicle tires along with sports balls and balloons, and there are industrial options favored by the experts which offer you additional features at a higher price. We have tested ten of the best portable air compressors on the market, helping you to decide what type of portable air compressor and what type of budget is right for you.

RelatedBest mini air compressor.


# 2. Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor (C2002)

Porter Cable 6-gallon
Porter Cable Pancake Air Compressor

Buyers Guide And Specifications

  • 150 PSI
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
  • 6 Gallon Tank
  • 0.8 HP 120v motor
  • Easy startup in cold weather
  • Oil-Free
  • General Diy use
  • Nailers and Staple guns
  • Fill car tyres, bicycle tyres, pool toys
  • Light and Portable
  •  For workshop, job sites, and around the home

The C2002 Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor is easy to use and practically maintenance-free. Great for use with nailers and filling all types of tires. Running at 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI gives good recovery times plus a 0.8 120 volt induction motor this is designed for performance and long life. A 6-gallon pancake tank capable of 150psi stores plenty of air when longer run times are required.

See Other Customer Reviews Here

The Verdict

Our first two compressors are somewhat identical and would seem to both have the same tank size and specifications. I would say that from the reviews they also perform the same, so it stands to reason either one of these compressors could have taken the top spot.

The takeaway here seems to be that either one will do the job for a DIY or small workshop. We do like Bostitch for their reputation however at the time of writing the Bostitch appears to cost a little more at the base model, whereas the Porter-Cable offers more options at varying prices.


# 3. California Air Tools 1 Gallon Air Compressor -1P1060S

California air tools 1 gallon
California air tools 1 Gallon Air Compressor

Buyers Guide And Specifications

  • Super quiet, only 56 DB
  • 1 Gallon steel Tank
  • Only weighs 29 Lbs
  • Oil-free low maintenance
  • Motor = 0.6 HP
  • 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Best Value for the money
  • Recovery time 15 seconds
  • Life expected at 3000 hours
  • Great for brad and finish nailers
  • Staplers, blowguns, air brushes
  • General inflation

California air tools are renowned for their quiet air compressors. The California air tools 1 Gallon small Air Compressor is no exception coming in at a super quiet 56 decibels, that’s about normal conversation levels! The unit is super portable coming in at 29 pounds. A 1-gallon steel tank produces 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI with a max of 118 PSI.

Additional features include a 0.6 HP motor that runs at 1680 rpm. This lower speed than most ensures a quiet air compressor with less wear than most. The Oil free single piston design is engeneered for durability and high performance.

This compressor is well priced and is a great value for the money compressor. Ideal for the home garage and DIY jobs, use with nailers and brad guns, air blowing, cleaning, and tire inflation for cars, bikes, and inflatables like mattresses and toys.

See Other Customer Reviews Here

Our Verdict

This compressor is well priced and is a great value for the money compressor. Ideal for the home garage and DIY jobs, use with nailers and brad guns, air blowing, cleaning, and tire inflation for cars, bikes, and inflatables like mattresses and toys.


# 4.Makita Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor – MAC2400

Makita big bore air compressor
Makita Air Compressor

Buyers Guide And Specifications

  • Twin tanks holds 4.2 Gallons
  • Sustained pressure of 130 PSI – 4.8 CFM at 90 PSI.
  • 78.5 dBA
  • Oil Lubrication For cooler running
  • Rugged Roll cage construction.
  • Thermal overload protection
  • 2.5 HP motor
  • Oil sight glass
  • Industrial power
  • Jobsite ready

We had to include the Makita Mac Big Bore, as small air compressors go this has plenty of grunt for the Jobsite or serious DIY home workshop. With an operating pressure of 130 PSI, the 2.5 HP motor puts out 4.2 CFM at 90PSI to give better efficiency and productivity. This is enough power to operate two nailers at once.

Other features include an industrial type air filter that allows improved air intake for better efficiency. Maintenance is eaisy with the oil sight glass, oil drain and tank drain valve.

See Other Customer Reviews Here


# 5. California Air-tools Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

California Air Tools Air Compressor

Buyers Guide And Specifications

  • Super quiet, only 56 DB
  • 1 Gallon steel Tank
  • Only weighs 29 Lbs
  • Oil free low maintenance
  • Motor = 0.6 HP
  • 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Best Value for the money
  • Recovery time 15 seconds
  • Life expected at 3000 hours
  • Great for brad and finish nailers
  • Staplers, blowguns, air brushes
  • General inflation

The product name features easy to use and maintenance free. It features a in addition to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. The works at a quiet level of 78.5 dBA, enabling you to work efficiently while ensuring that noise pollution is kept to a minimum.

Additional features include a which enables the Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor to start-up even in cold weather. Furthermore, high flow regulators along with couplers are featured to maximize air tool performance.

The Verdict

Gre


# 6. Bostitch Pancake Air Compressor

Rolair small air compressor
Rollair Small
Air Compressor

See Customer Reviews Here

Buyers Guide

  • long life pump
  • 50 max PSI 6.0-gallon tank and 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
  • 78.5 dBA
  • Cold weather start-up.
  • High flow regulators.
  • General Diy use
  • Nailers and Staple guns
  • Pump car tyres, bicycle tyres, pool toys

The product name features easy to use and maintenance free. It features a in addition to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. The works at a quiet level of 78.5 dBA, enabling you to work efficiently while ensuring that noise pollution is kept to a minimum.

Additional features include a which enables the Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor to start-up even in cold weather. Furthermore, high flow regulators along with couplers are featured to maximize air tool performance.

The Verdict

Gre


# 5. Porter Cable Pancake Air Compressor

porter cable pancake compressor
Porter Cable Pancake Air Compressor

See Customer Reviews Here

Buyers Guide

  • long life pump
  • 50 max PSI 6.0-gallon tank and 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
  • 78.5 dBA
  • Cold weather start-up.
  • High flow regulators.
  • General Diy use
  • Nailers and Staple guns
  • Pump car tyres, bicycle tyres, pool toys

The product name features easy to use and maintenance free. It features a in addition to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. The works at a quiet level of 78.5 dBA, enabling you to work efficiently while ensuring that noise pollution is kept to a minimum.

Additional features include a which enables the Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor to start-up even in cold weather. Furthermore, high flow regulators along with couplers are featured to maximize air tool performance.

The Verdict

Gre


# 7. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

See Customer Reviews Here

Buyers Guide

  • long life pump
  • 50 max PSI 6.0-gallon tank and 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
  • 78.5 dBA
  • Cold weather start-up.
  • High flow regulators.
  • General Diy use
  • Nailers and Staple guns
  • Pump car tyres, bicycle tyres, pool toys

The product name features easy to use and maintenance free. It features a in addition to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. The works at a quiet level of 78.5 dBA, enabling you to work efficiently while ensuring that noise pollution is kept to a minimum.

Additional features include a which enables the Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor to start-up even in cold weather. Furthermore, high flow regulators along with couplers are featured to maximize air tool performance.

The Verdict

Gre


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