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Best Air Compressor for Home Shop

Best air compressor for home shop

Home shops are a great way to be able to work on your projects in your own time and at your own pace. Whether you are someone who just loves to tinker around or whether your home shop looks almost like a professional one, there are some tools you should consider necessities. One of these is an air compressor. An air compressor has so many uses, but it acts as the power source for pneumatic tools.

Finding the best air compressor for home shop that meets your specific needs can be tricky, given the vast range of models that are on the market. We have tried to make the process a little easier for you, by giving you some great suggestions.

Our Favorite Best Air Compressor for Home Shop

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank Capacity:
8 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.4 (125 max psi)
Weight: 67 pounds

For those who don’t actually need a large air compressor, the Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 might provide you with just enough power and air capacity without feeling excessive. With just an 8-gallon tank this is certainly one of the smaller models available, but it is still perfectly fine for use with tools such as nail guns and fasteners. Its light weight also makes it easy to transport around.

What really sets this model apart is the noise level. If your home shop is close to your neighbors, you want to make sure that you are not disrupting them in any way. This air compressor is only 68 dBA, which is quieter than up to 50% of the air compressors on the market.

California Air Tools CAT-4610AC

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 110 volts
Tank Capacity:
9.2 gallons (2 x 4.6-gallon tanks)
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.2 (120 max psi)
Weight: 45.5 pounds

This dual tank air compressor offers a unique design that can handle a wide range of air tools. It is comprised of 2 4.6-gallon tanks and offers a motor that is capable of running at up to 2.0 HP (the standard running power is 1.0 HP). This model only makes around 60 decibels of noise, so it’s perfect for inside jobs or if your home shop is not soundproof. If you find 10 gallon air compressor then it is best. 

We also like the fact that this air compressor is built to last. The oil-free pump requires little to no maintenance, allowing it to stay fully functioning for longer. The tanks are lightweight (perfect for transporting) and made from rust-free aluminum, and the engine has a predicted lifespan of over 3,000 hours, much greater than similar models that can only last around 500 hours.

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank Capacity:
20 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.3 (135 max psi)
Weight: 159 pounds

The Industrial Air IL1682066.MN is a great air compressor for almost every job you might complete in a home shop. The 20 gallon air compressor is the perfect size for larger tasks, but it is also convenient enough for smaller tools as well. Whether you are spray painting or just using a nail gun, this versatile model works for everything.

You may also be drawn to its convenience. This air compressor has a 120-volt power source which is compatible with any outlet you have at home, without needing to convert it. Some of the larger air compressor models require 240 volts, which are not as easy to plug in at home. Although this air compressor is not the lightest model, it is still easy enough to transport around, so you do still have a lot of flexibility in terms of where you are using it.

DEWALT DXCM271

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank Capacity:
27 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.1 (200 max psi)
Weight: 136 pounds

We like DEWALT DXCM271 air compressor because it is the perfect combination of powerful, yet still small enough to fit conveniently in a home shop, where space might be limited. Its 136-pound weight can be easily maneuvered thanks to its durable wheels, allowing you to take it wherever needed. This air compressor also works when connected to an extension cord, giving you extra space to work with it.

This air compressor is capable of handling just about any task you might be completed at home. From spray painting to grinding, this model has the tank capacity and power to achieve success. The 27-gallon tank is large enough to handle tasks that require a constant flow of air, and the 1.7 HP engine allows you to run larger tools with no worries.

Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 230 volts
Tank Capacity:
60 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 14.3 (175max psi)
Weight: 430 pounds

If you are looking for Best 60 gallon air compressor that can really handle everything, then you might want to consider this model. This Ingersoll Rand air compressor is designed for larger, commercial tasks, making it perfect for those who have a home shop that could even be considered up to professional scale. This is certainly an investment, but it will last for years to come.

You should note that this air compressor requires a 230-volt power supply. This will not work when plugged into a regular outlet, but you can easily convert one of these to provide the required voltage. If you already have a converted outlet and you’re looking for extra power from your air compressor, then this option will suit you fine.

NorthStar 459392

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Gas-powered
Voltage: Not applicable
Tank Capacity:
20 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 13.7 (130 max psi)
Weight: 196 pounds

We understand that not everyone is looking for an electric-powered air compressor. Although they are the most popular, there is nothing wrong with preferring gas-powered alternatives. These kinds of air compressors do require a little more maintenance but can work just as well as electric ones. And in some cases, they are also better, as gas-powered air compressors can be used wherever you want because you are not constrained by a power cord.

This air compressor has a Honda 163 cc OHV engine, which is perfect for delivering the power you need in a semi-professional setting. This NorthStar model is perfect for those who need a lot of power, but don’t necessarily want a large air compressor taking up too much space. The 20 gallon air compressor tank is the perfect compromise.

Industrial Air ILA1883054

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts/ Can be converted to 240 volts
Tank Capacity:
30 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.7 (155 max psi)
Weight: 185 pounds

This model aims to be convenient to all users, and easy to maneuver. The heavy-duty wheels are perfect for moving the air compressor around, no matter what surface you are on. It requires a 120-volt power outlet which should be easy enough to find in your home shop, but it can also be converted into 240-volts if that is what you have available to you.

The 30-gallon vertical tank is perfect for larger jobs, but still small enough that you can store the compressor easily when it’s not in use. If space is at a premium in your home shop this model will take up a minimal amount of room while still being accessible, so you can still achieve everything you want to.

Ford FCE6150QV

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 Volts
Tank Capacity: 15 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.9 (125 max psi)
Weight: 88 pounds

Just because you have a home shop, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are using large power tools! This air compressor by Ford is designed to support those who only need a little bit of power for smaller tasks. This model has a 15-gallon tank and provides 2.9 CFM @ 90 psi, which might not make it the best air compressor for spray painting, but it will surely suffice for powering smaller fastening tools.

Another great draw to this model is that it is relatively quiet. This is actually a part of the Ford Silent Series, creating less than 59 decibels of noise when turned on. This makes it the perfect choice for those who need to be mindful of neighbors or small children in close proximity.

Craftsman CMXECXA0200141A

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Product Specifications:

Power Source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank Capacity:
1.5 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.9 (135 max psi)
Weight: 24 pounds

This air compressor is the perfect option for those who need something small and easily transportable. Perhaps you do not actually use many large pneumatic tools in your home shop, but you want to keep an air compressor on hand for smaller jobs such as pumping up tires. At only 24 pounds, you can easily move this around by yourself, and the 1.5-gallon tank still holds enough compressed air to help with tasks such as drilling or nailing.

We also really like this model because it comes equipped with all of the basic fittings that you need to get started. You don’t need to worry about purchasing anything extra, you can just take it and get straight to work!

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Air Compressor for Home Shop

There is a wide range of high-quality air compressors available on the market, aimed at providing support for different needs. The best air compressor for your home shop is going to be one that matches your specific requirements and tools, but this might be totally different from someone else’s. This is why it’s so important to know what you should be looking for so that you can easily narrow down your search to models that you know are right for you.

Here is a list of things to consider before you purchase an air compressor so that you get one that works best for you.

Where are you going to use it

If you know that you require an air compressor that is only for use in your home shop and nowhere else, you can purchase almost any air compressor that meets all your other requirements. But if you want to transport it anywhere, you need to consider how convenient this is. Look for models that have durable wheels, so you can move it around yourself over any terrain necessary.

If you want an air compressor that is easily transportable and can be used anywhere, you should consider a model that can function while connected to an extension cord, or a gas-powered alternative. These options offer you so much more flexibility in terms of where you use the air compressor, as you are not limited to where the power cord can reach an outlet.

If you do choose to go for a gas air compressor, we highly recommend that you do not use it in a closed space. Gas-powered air compressors tend to be louder than electric alternatives, and they emit fumes. This can be potentially very dangerous if your home shop is not properly ventilated. Therefore, we recommend that if you are going to use a gas-powered air compressor, that you do so outside, where it is safer.

What are you using it for?

We recommend that you buy an air compressor model that will suit your specific current/future needs. For example, you may search for the best air compressor for automotive painting or the best air compressor fittings. There is no point buying an extremely powerful and large air compressor if you know you are never going to use tools that require that level of power. Consider air compressors that match your needs, without feeling as though you have to extend beyond this.

But remember that an air compressor is going to last for years, so you should still be thinking ahead when you buy it. If you think that you want to move into larger and more powerful pneumatic tools, it definitely makes sense to buy an air compressor that can handle this, so you are ready when the time comes.

If you already have the tools and you are just looking for an air compressor to use, you can calculate the minimum CFM requirements that you will need.

Each air tool has a CFM requirement, and we recommend that you purchase an air compressor that not only matches these requirements but can provide slightly more CFM if necessary, to ensure that everything runs smoothly. If you intend to run multiple tools at the same time, you need to make sure that the air compressor can meet the sum of their CFM requirements.

You should also check the maximum psi rating on air compressors, so it can meet the requirements of your tools. The psi (Pounds per Square Inch) rating refers to how tightly air can be packed into the compressor – two compressors with the same-sized tank may not have the same psi, and therefore will offer differing levels of power.

Do you want to buy an electric or gas-powered model?

There are two main kinds of air compressors available – electric and gas-powered, each with their own pros and cons. Do your research thoroughly to determine what kind is going to work best for you and your projects.

Electric models are more common so you are bound to find more of them when buying yours, but just remember that gas-powered options do exist if you prefer them.

What size do you want?

Larger tanks are generally going to be more expensive, and they are going to take up more room in your home shop. If you know that you require a large air compressor for large jobs, then you need to invest in a bigger model. But don’t buy a big tank just because you think it will be more powerful – these two components of an air compressor are not totally related.

Larger tanks are certainly more convenient when undertaking longer jobs because you do not have to fill up as much. However, if you only need an air compressor for use with smaller tools, focus more on the CFM levels and not the tank size.

Is noise going to be an issue?

It is no secret that air compressors are noisy. This is an unfortunate reality and one that you must accept when looking to purchase your own air compressor.

Some people do not care about the noise levels that an air compressor can reach, but it is still important to be mindful of those around you. This could be a matter of prime concern in case of choosing the best home use air compressor.

If your home shop is sound-proof or completely isolated, then you don’t have to worry about disrupting others. However, if your shop is in close proximity to your neighbors or you have small children, you may wish to actively look for a quieter option that will cause minimal disturbance.

There are some models that are as quiet as 60 decibels, which is around the noise level of a conversation. Unfortunately, these are certainly not the most powerful models available, so you may need to compromise when it comes to noise and capabilities.

What style of air compressor do you prefer?

Although this element has nothing to do with the actual abilities of the air compressor, it is still good to purchase a model that is convenient to use and store.

Most air compressors are either vertical or horizontal in their design, which may be relevant if you have limited storage space in your home shop. Many people find it easier to store vertical compressors, as they take up less floor space.

Horizontal models also have their own benefits, as many people also find them more stable than vertical ones, which may be helpful if you intend to use yours on an uneven or unstable surface.

Frequently Asked Questions about Air Compressors for Home Shops

What are air compressors used for?

Air compressors have a wide range of uses but in the context of home shops, they are used to provide power to any kind of pneumatic tool. This can range from nail guns to automotive spray painters. If you have any kind of tool that requires pressurized air to work, an air compressor is needed.

The air compressor draws air into its tank, which is then compressed, creating pressure. When connected to a power tool, the air is released, creating enough energy for the tool to function. When the tank is empty the air compressor can no longer provide power, and the tank must be refilled, so you can continue.

How do I know what voltage air compressor to buy for my home shop?

Most air compressors have a voltage of 120 volts. This is a standard voltage for any outlet, and it means that you can plug your air compressor into any outlet that you have. This is perfect for a home shop because it means that you do not have to convert any existing outlets, you can begin using your compressor immediately.

However, if you are looking for a larger air compressor, you may find models that require a higher-voltage power source, making them incompatible with regular outlets. You can still purchase and use one of these air compressors in your home shop, but you may need to adjust a power outlet first.

What is the right size tank for an air compressor?

Air compressors come in a range of different sizes, for different needs. The size of the tank of your air compressor will not actually affect the power output it can provide, but it may affect the convenience of your task.

A small tank is going to run out of air a lot faster and will need to be refilled more frequently. A larger tank will be able to provide constant power for longer, but the air compressor will be heavier and it will take longer to fill.

Purchase an air compressor with a tank that matches your needs. If you are only using tools that require short bursts of air such as drills, you do not actually need a large tank.

But if you need an air compressor for a large task that requires a constant flow of air over longer periods of time (like for spray painting), you may want a tank with a greater capacity. If you are going to make prudent selection of the best air compressor for automotive air tools, you would certainly consider these facts.

What fittings do I need for my air compressor?

Almost all air compressors are made for standard-sized fittings, so you do not need to worry about a certain brand being incompatible with what is readily available.

As long as you know the size of the fittings that you need, you will be fine. Hardware stores stock a wide range of fittings and couplers, so you can easily get the parts that are right for your specific air compressor.

You may also need to invest in a high-quality hose to attach to your air compressor. Some air compressors do come with hoses but these tend to be lower quality, so you should look for a better alternative either way.

Which is better?

  • An electric air compressor
  • A gas-powered air compressor

There are pros and cons to both of these air compressors. Electric options are more popular, and they require less maintenance, however, you are limited in terms of where you can use them because they must always be plugged into an outlet.

Gas-powered air compressors can be used literally anywhere, making them more convenient, but they are more expensive in the long run to upkeep.

Final Thoughts

Do your research thoroughly to decide what kind of air compressor is going to work best for you in your home shop. There are so many great options that are all objectively similar in terms of quality and power, but it really just depends on how you intend to use it.

We have provided a range of excellent air compressors that we personally believe are some of the best. But we also understand that some models might not work for you. We have tried to cater to all needs by suggesting a wide range of excellent models.

It may be clear to you that some of these will not work for your needs. Even if you don’t like the models we have suggested, you may want to consider looking further into the brand and seeing what their specific range looks like, in case they offer something else that is more suitable.

Regardless of what you choose, make sure that it fits your needs, and that you are happy with it. Home shops can be so versatile, and there will never be a one-size-fits-all air compressor that works for everyone.

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