Air power tools have several advantages over gas or electric ones - they are more powerful, more affordable, and not overheating. However, you’ll need an air compressor for them. A good air compressor and air power tools would be a good investment in the long run.
Here are the best air compressors for air tools you can buy in 2021:
- Best for Brad Nailer & Small Stapler: CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor
- Best for Framing Nailer: DEWALT Air Compressor
- Best for ½ Inch Impact Wrench: Makita MAC5200 Big Bore
- Best for ¾ Inch Impact Wrench: Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor
- Best for Sanding & Grinding: Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
- Best for Spray Gun & Hammer: Industrial Air Air Compressor
|6 Best Air Compressors for Air Tools|
Best for Brad Nailer & Small Stapler
|CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor|
Best for Framing Nailer
|DEWALT Air Compressor|
Best for ½ Inch Impact Wrench
|Makita MAC5200 Big Bore|
Best for ¾ Inch Impact Wrench
|Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor|
Best for Sanding & Grinding
|Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor|
Best for Spray Gun & Hammer
|Industrial Air Air Compressor|
Best for Brad Nailer & Small Stapler: CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor
Quick compressor recovery time
High tank capacity for light to medium tasks
Light weight & Great portability
No maintenance required
13 piece accessory kit includes
Loud sound before shutting off
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor is my choice for woodworking and other light to medium tasks. It features a pancake tank, which is both portable and high capacity (6 gallons). It weighs about 32.5 pounds - quite lightweight for an air compressor. The maximum pressure is 150 PSI. The compressor produces 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and 3.5 SCFM at 40 PSI. The horsepower of the compressor is 0.8 HP, enough for fast recovery time.
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor an oil-free pump for little to no maintenance required. Moreover, it comes with 13 pieces of accessory, including an air hose, a tire chuck, a blowgun, a tire gauge, nozzles, and tips. The only drawback of the compressor is that it sounds quite loud before turning off, which may cause some annoyance.
|CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor Specifications|
2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI / 3.5 SCFM @ 40 PSI
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor is a great choice for light to medium tasks.
Best for Framing Nailer: DEWALT Air Compressor
80% more usable air than other compressors
10-inch non-flat foam tires for easier maneuver
Space-saving vertical design
Longer pump and motor life
Quiet operation (78 dBA)
DEWALT Air Compressor has the maximum pressure level of 225 PSI - it is designed to handle heavier tasks than CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor. It produces 80% more usable air than other compressors. So it would be a good choice for framing nailer, which is the process of wood framing in heavy construction.
DEWALT Air Compressor features a vertical stand with a collapsible handle for easy storage. Plus, two 10-inch non-flat wheels make it easier for transportation. However, this compressor is pretty heavy compared with other compressors at the same power level. It weighs about 80 lbs.
Durability and quiet operation are also advantages of DEWALT Air Compressor. It features Ehp efficient high-pressure technology to enhance the pump and motor life. The noise level during operating of the compressor is about 78 dBA, which is just louder than a normal conversation and not too loud.
|DEWALT Air Compressor Specifications|
5.0 SCFM @ 90 PSI
10-inch non-flat foam tires; vertical stand with a collapsible handle; Ehp efficient high-pressure technology
DEWALT Air Compressor is space-saving and durable, powerful enough for heavy tasks.
Best for ½ Inch Impact Wrench: Makita MAC5200 Big Bore
Powerful 3.0 HP motor
Cast iron pump - Big Bore cylinder and piston
Low profile design & Folding handle
High air capacity
The pump requires oil lubricating
Air impact wrenches have several advantages over battery or corded impact wrenches, such as they are more powerful, more affordable, and not overheating. However, they require a powerful air compressor. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore is my pick for a ½-inch impact wrench. It features a powerful 3.0 HP motor that produces 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI, providing enough air pressure to turn any type of nut and bolt.
The pump of Makita MAC5200 Big Bore is iron cast with a cylinder that is big in diameter. A big bore means a big valve, which means the pump can take in and push out more air, as a result, produce more power. The pump requires oil lubricating, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Lubricating helps cool down the temperature while operating and reduce wear; however, you’ll need to lubricate it regularly.
In terms of design, Makita MAC5200 Big Bore has a low profile design with a folding handle. This design, along with two rugged wheels, helps you to move this compressor in the site construction easily.
|Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Specifications|
6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI
Cast iron pump
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore is powerful yet easy-to-maneuver, perfect for job sites.
Best for ¾ Inch Impact Wrench: Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor
Super powerful and super-high capacity
155-PSI Maximum Pressure
Cast iron, three cylinder pump
Enclosed metal belt guard
Comes with synthetic oil
Only for serious purposes
Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor is really a monster. It features an 80-gallon air tank and a 4.7 HP motor - the maximum pressure is 155 PSI and the airflow at 90 PSI is 14 CFM. This power is enough for all types of ratchets, impacts, spray guns, and hammers.
All parts of Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor are well designed and made. The pump has three cylinders, all are iron cast; the head and valve plate are made of aluminum for better heat dissipation. The enclosed metal belt guard protects the moving parts, as well as helps to dissipate the heat. The pump needs lubrication, so the package includes synthetic oil for you to lubricate the pump regularly.
This super heavy and very expensive compressor is only for serious industrial purposes, otherwise, it will become a big waste.
|Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor Specifications|
14 CFM @ 90 PSI
Cast iron, three cylinder pump
Powermate Vx Electric is powerful enough for all types of ratchets, impacts, and hammers.
Best for Sanding & Grinding: Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
Suitable for small to heavy-duty tasks
Compatible with 120V and 240V
Oil-Lubricated, two stage pump
Fully enclosed metal belt guard
- It vibrates too much
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor is an all-purpose choice for contractors. It is compatible with both 120V and 240V, and is suitable for from small to heavy-duty jobs. High power, quick recovery, longer life, and runs cooler are four words to describe the compressor.
It features a 2.0HP motor and an oil-lubricated, two-stage pump to produce an airflow of 4.1 SCFM at 90 PSI, or 3.8 SCFM at 175 PSI. The tank is capable of containing 30 gallons of air for longer runtime. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor is rated 5,000 hours of product life for great longevity. Besides, the fully enclosed metal belt guard helps protects the moving parts.
The only drawback of Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor is that it vibrates too much. Anything else is just perfect.
|Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Specifications|
4.1 SCFM @ 90 PSI / 3.9 SCFM @ 175 PSI
120V and 240V
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor is an all-purpose choice for contractors.
Best for Spray Gun & Hammer: Industrial Air Air Compressor
Ideal for heavy-duty needs
Splash type lubrication
Cast iron, twin cyclinder
Features pressure gauge and on/off switch
UL & CSA listed
Does not have enclosed belt guard
Industrial Air Air Compressor is UL & CSA listed, so you don’t have to worry about its quality. It is designed especially for the heavy-duty needs of mechanic shops. It features a 3.0HP motor with a 60-gallon air tank. It produces 11.5 CFM of output air at 90 PSI or 13.4 CFM at 40 PSI.
Most of the mechanic parts are iron cast for durability. The pump requires oil lubricated, which is splash-type lubrication for a better cooling effect. The compressor also features pressure gauge and on/off switch for easier usage. However, it does not come with an enclosed belt guard to protect the moving parts.
|Industrial Air Air Compressor Specifications|
11.5 CFM @ 90 PSI / 13.4 CFM @ 40 PSI
Pressure gauge and on/off switch
Industrial Air Air Compressor is designed especially for heavy-duty needs.
How To Choose The Best Air Compressor for Air Tools?
First, you'll need to evaluate your needs. Whether you need an air compressor for your DIY woodworking or for your mechanic shops or for construction sites? Depending on your needs and tools, here are something to consider:
Horsepower and CFM/PSI
For small to medium tasks, a 1HP motor that can produce less than 3 SCFM at 90 PSI would be both efficient and economical. For car impact wrenches or hammers, you'll need a 3.0+ HP motor that can produce more than 10 CFM at 90 PSI.
The higher the tank capacity is, the longer runtime you'll get. Depending on your nature of tasks, you may need an 80-gallon air tank or just a 5-gallon tank. For personal uses, a 5-gallon tank would be enough. For mechanic shops or construction sites, larger is better as you won't need to stop working to recharge the tank.
Other Things to Consider
Portability, noise, maintenance required, safety features, and warranty.
Which Brands Make The Best Air Compressor for Air Tools?
Craftsman is an authentic American icon. With about 100 years of experience of making power tools and hand tools for homeowners, DIY enthusiasts, and master mechanics. Their tools are well-known for their superior quality, high performance, and historical reliability. Every tool of Craftsman, before arriving in the store, is tested carefully to make sure only the best ones reach your hand. This is a trust-worthy brand when you are in need of an air compressor.
DEWALT is another American brand that was founded in 1923. Up to now, DEWALT has successfully built a world-wide brand on outstanding power tools. Their tools are famous for their innovative technology, great quality, great portability, and great durability. DEWALT’s portfolio ranges from angle grinders, polishing machines, woodworking machines to chainsaws, blade saws, dynamo drills, hammer drills, concrete chisels, blowers, and air compressors.
Makita is a Japanese manufacturer of motors. Since being founded in 1915; they have been dedicated to making the best power tools for customers. With more than 100 years of experience, Makita’s quality and services are somethings you can trust. Besides, air compressors, Makita is also well-known for their cordless drill, impact wrenches, impact drivers, cutters and all kinds of saws.
How do I increase the PSI in my air compressor?
I recommend having a look at the manual to known the upper limit before doing this. To increase the PSI, you can adjust the limiter switch. Remove the cover of the switch. Inside the switch, there will be two large nuts and two smaller nuts. Take a small wrench to turn clockwise to increase the pressure range setting and counterclockwise to decrease it. However, you'll also need to know what is cut-in pressure, cut-out pressure, and pressure differential before adjusting anything.
Why is my compressor not filling up with air?
It is usually because of issues in the reed valve.
How do you know if your air compressor pump is bad?
When the compressor does not fill up with air, when it does not build pressure, or when it operates so loudly.
How long should it take for a 60 gallon air compressor to fill up?
It also depends on the pump's capability. On average, a typical compressor will get a 60-gallon tank to 150 PSI within 7 minutes.
Does tank size matter air compressor?
Yes, of course. The higher the air tank capacity is, the longer runtime you'll get. If your job demands consecutive hours of using an air compressor, you'd better get a larger tank. If not, for personal uses, a 1-gallon tank would also be sufficient.
A good air compressor and air power tools would be a good investment in the long run. I hope this review can help you find the best air compressors for your air tools.