Air compressors have many uses, such as assistance in some tools or pumping a flat tire. The device is exceptionally handy when it comes to home as well as shop usage. If you are looking for the best shop air compressor, it can be tough to choose.
Several options are found in the market, and sometimes you could end up buying the wrong product. For shop usage, you need to look for heavy-duty air compressors that can carry out different tasks.
When choosing the best shop air compressor, you need to keep certain factors in mind as well. The article contains the top 10 best shop air compressors along with a buying guide to help you make the right decision.
Below mentioned are the three top picks for the best shop air compressors.
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Best Overall Pick
California Air Tools 10020C Shop Air Compressor
- 10 Gallon tank
- 6.4 CFM
- 40 PSI
- Compressor is oil-free
Best Premium Pick
Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V Shop Air Compressor
- 5 HP
- 175 PSI
- Air compressor is two-stage
- Pump life of 15,000 hours
Best Budget Pick
Bostitch BTFP02012 Shop Air Compressor
- 0.8 HP
- 2700 RPM
- 150 PSI
- Compressor is oil-free
- Noise level 78.5 decibel
The Best Shop Air Compressors in 2021
Apart from the above-mentioned shop air compressors, there are others which can be perfect for you.
1. California Air Tools 10020C Shop Air Compressor
The California Air Tools 10020C shop air compressor is great in every way. Whether it the budget or the features present in it. That is why this has been our pick for nest overall shop air compressor. It has a 10-gallon capacity and comes with an oil-free compressor. The device has a 40 PSI standard pressure and put out about 6.4 CFM.
The run-time for the shop air compressor is around 3000 hours. There is also a system for preventing any kind of damage because of overheating. When the machine’s temperature reaches above 275° F, the circuit is opened by thermal overload. Along with that, the machine is oil-free, which ensures less maintenance of the system.
The best thing is that the system can start easily, even when the weather is intensely cold.
- Thermal overload prevention system that stops accidental damage
- Oil-free system
- High performance
- Can be used easily even during the intense cold weather
2. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V Shop Air Compressor
Our top premium pick is the Ingersoll Rand shop air compressor equipped with durable features and longevity. The device has a pump made from cast iron that provides a run-time of 15,000 hours. A synthetic lubricant can also be used for all seasons to extend the run-time by another 2000 hours.
The motor runs at 5 HP with a maximum pressure of 175 PSI. This air compressor is best for all kinds of tasks, both small and large. You can use this in woodworking shops, body shops, dry cleaners, car washes, and other tasks. It is equipped with a tank of 60 gallons that makes it capable of handling extensive jobs.
Another great thing about the machine is that there is no overheating due to a 360-degree cooling system.
- Suitable for heavy-duty tasks
- Runs with no noise
- The machine will not overheat
- Long service hours
- Not easily portable
3. Bostitch BTFP02012 Shop Air Compressor
The Bostitch shop air compressor is a very budget-friendly tank that is also noise-free. If you like working in a quiet environment, then this would be a great option for you. The noise level of the tank is at 78.5 decibels, which is relatively quiet. Along with that, the motor speed is about 2700 RPM with an air pressure of 150 PSI.
The standard pressure delivered by the tank is 90 PSI at 2.6 SCFM. Equipped with an easy to start the motor, the tank can operate well even in cold weather. Moreover, there are dual couplers that enable two users to work on the tank at one time. However, for this, both the tools should not intake too much power.
- Two people can use the tank at one time
- The pump is leak-free
- Design of the device is in a pancake style
- Can be used in cold weather
- Extended use can overheat the product
4. California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Shop Air Compressor
If you are looking for a shop air compressor that can survive for a long time, then the California Air Tools CAT-4610AC is a good option. Equipped with a dual tank, the system’s capacity is much bigger than most compressors on the list. The motor of the system is very powerful and runs at 1HP.
The noise level of the machine is to a maximum of 60 decibels. This makes the operation of the machine quite silent. You do not have to bear the loud sound of the compressor and can work in silence. The air pressure of the system is at a maximum of 120 PSI. With a weight of 45.5 pounds, the system is portable due to the lightweight.
- Very quiet during operation
- Current usage is very less as compared to other compressors
- The model is very lightweight and portable
- The device recharges very quickly
- Instruction manual is not as clear
5. Stealth Ultra Quiet Shop Air Compressor
The Stealth Ultra Quiet shop air compressor has an air pressure of 90 PSI at about 5 CFM. Even though the system is ultra-quiet, there might be a slight humming sound when the motor runs. Along with that, the recovery time of the air compressor is very fast.
The induction motor is high induction and runs at a horsepower of 1.8. The noise level of the compressor is at 68 decibels. The high-quality steel composition of the compressor provides the user with high durability and longevity.
Since the compressor is heavyweight, it might be hard for some people to carry around. However, the wheels in the compressor can make portability easy.
- Steel body is corrosion-resistant and perfect for heavy-duty tasks
- Is suitable to be used in cold weather conditions
- Recovery time is very fast
- Cycle lasts for a long time for over 1000 hours
- Size is large
- Humming sound when the motor runs
6. California Air Tools 8010 Shop Air Compressor
The 8010 is another great model of the California Air Tools brand. This shop air compressor is best for light-tasks in your garage or shop. The compressor’s design is extremely energy efficient and does not burn a hole in your pocket while paying the electricity bill. With an air pressure of 120 PSI at 1400 RPM, the motor is quite strong and good for all tasks.
The construction of the tank is done with high-quality steel that makes it quite strong. Additionally, the tank is oil-free, and the pump system is dual-piston. It is said that the life cycle of the compressor is more than 3000 hours. The noise level of the compressor is 60 decibels, which means that the functioning will be quiet.
- Operation is ultra-quiet
- Energy-efficient model
- Recovery time of the model is fast
- Airflow is good
- The handle is not long
- Rubber tires are of poor quality
7. Dewalt DWFP55126 Shop Air Compressor
For people who want to carry out small DIY projects in their shop, the Dewalt DWFP55126 shop air compressor is the one that you should opt for. Many people have no requirement for large compressors; hence the 6 gallon is enough to take care of your needs.
The range of air pressure is between 90 PSI and 165 PSI and delivers 2.6 SCFM. This compressor is very lightweight and can be carried around very easily. In addition to that, the base of the compressor is wide, which keeps the machine stable. There is a drain valve in the shape of a ball that drains out any excess air emitted from the tank.
- The compressor is portable and lightweight
- Perfect for all kinds of DIY projects
- Cleanup is easy due to the presence of a drain valve
- Motor is extremely efficient
- Hose fittings are not of good quality
- May be slightly noisy
8. Industrial Air IPA1882054 Shop Air Compressor
In your search for a model that is versatile, you can look into the Industrial Air IPA1882054 shop air compressor. This compressor comes in modern design and is possible to be used vertically as well as horizontally. The performance of the compressor is great with a 3450 RPM and 155 PSI maximum pressure.
One of the best things about the compressor is its durable construction done from high quality cast iron. This is a long-term investment that can be used for all kinds of tasks in your shop. The pump comes with dual cylinders that also have amazing properties to dissipate heat.
The compressor controls are very easy, and you will not get confused while operating the system. You will not have to waste much time maintaining the compressor.
- Refill rate of the compressor is fast
- Does not require much maintenance
- Efficient motor
- High speed
- Overheating problems
- Can tip over easily
9. Industrial Air ILA 1883054 Shop Air Compressor
Another model of the Industrial Air brand is the ILA 1883054 shop air compressor. The initial thing that you would notice about the compressor is its 30-gallon capacity. Equipped with wheels, the portability of the compressor is made very easy. However, the heavyweight of the compressor can make moving the system very difficult.
Another great thing about the compressor is its small size. Despite its size, the maximum air pressure is about 155 PSI, which is quite good. It is a very quiet functioning air compressor that will not disturb you or the customers coming into your shop. The Industrial Air brand offers a limited warranty of two years for all the models.
- Wheels make the compressor very portable
- Maximum pressure of 155 PSI
- The electricity outlet is 120V
- Certified with CSA and UL
- Heavyweight makes it hard to lift the compressor
- The rate of air delivery is very low
10. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Shop Air Compressor
The IL1682066.MN is another great shop air compressor of the Industrial Air brand. With sturdy and durable metal construction, this compressor is perfect for industrial use. The pump consists of a twin-cylinders and an extra valve plate. This makes the system of heat dissipation much faster.
The onboard control of the compressor is easy to use and access. There are handles in front of the compressor that makes transportation quite easy. The pneumatic wheels that the compressor is equipped with reduce the footprint and make mobility exceptional. You will not face any problems while moving the compressor from one place to another.
The only drawback of the compressor is that the tank may overheat with extensive use. However, this may not occur in all of the models and can be simply a manufacturing defect.
- Perfect for industrial tasks with sturdy metal construction
- Front handles make transportation easy
- Easily operable controls
- Pneumatic wheels
- Pump has twin cylinders
- Issue with overheating
Shop Air Compressors Buying Guide
Before choosing your shop air compressor, you need to ensure that you are opting for the right product. Depending on the kind of tasks that you need the air compressor for, there are many factors that you will have to look into. Whether it is the tank’s size or the air pressure, you cannot make this decision without giving it a proper thought.
Below are some of the necessary factors that you have to pay attention to when choosing an air compressor for your shop. This ensures that you do not make the wrong decision and waste your money on any unwanted product.
The first thing you need to notice in the air compressor you choose for your shop is the tank size. Some compressors are suitable for only light tasks, whereas some can handle both light and heavy tasks. Based on the work that you would be doing, the tank size would matter.
A typical shop air compressor can have 6 to 30 gallons of tank size. While choosing this, you cannot just think about your immediate tasks. You need to think long-term and determine if this is the tank size that would help in all the future jobs you would be doing.
Portability is determined by how easily you can move the tank from one place to another. When you are using the air compressor in your shop, you may need to carry it around for different tasks. Weight is one crucial factor that can determine the portability of the tank. However, there are other things as well that will show if it is easy to carry the tank around.
Factors such as handle design, the bulkiness of the tank, presence, or absence of wheels will also be essential for portability. Even if your tank is lightweight, it will be hard to move it if the device does not have a handle or is bulky.
The full form of CFM is Cubic Feet per Minute, using which the air volume that is delivered by the air compressor is one minute is measured. The tank’s CFM will help you understand how powerful the compressor is and whether it can reach its optimum operating capacity. Your requirement for the CFM will depend on the kinds of tools that you use in your shop.
Small air tools can be used in compressors between 0 and 5 SCFM, whereas larger tools may require 10 or even more SCFM to operate. If you choose a compressor that provides multiple tools usage, then the SCFM should be enough to handle all the tools combined.
PSI or Pounder per Square Inch is another important rating used to measure the tank’s air pressure. The PSI of each product is different since the amount of released air pressure is different. The larger the PSI, the more is the released air. Tanks that have higher PSI are more powerful than the ones with lower PSI.
You also need to check the PSI of the air tool that you will be using. The PSI of the tool should be lower than the PSI of the tank that you are choosing. If this happens the other way round, then the tool will not operate correctly, and buying the tank would be a huge waste.
The noise level of a shop air compressor plays a crucial role during its purchase. Some people love working in a quiet environment, while some are not bothered by the sound. The kind of person you are will decide the kind of machine you will choose. Normally, the noise level of the shop air compressor range between 60 and 80 decibels.
The lower the decibel, the quieter the machine and the more peacefully you can work. Even 10-decibel points will make a huge difference. It is better to choose machines that have a low decibel since it will make the surrounding noiseless.
Oil-Free / Oil-Based
Shop air compressors are available in two types – oil-free and oil-based. As is clear from the name, oil-free tanks do not require oil to operate while oil-based require oil. It is always better to choose an oil-free model since they need much less maintenance. Along with that, the noise level of oil-free tanks is lesser than oil-based tanks.
Oil-free tanks are also very environment friendly and have better adaptability. The only drawback of oil-free tanks is that they are not as powerful as oil-based ones.
When choosing the best shop air compressor, you must be cautious that you have opted for the right product. This can be determined from the important factors that have been mentioned in the buying guide. Even if you are thinking of choosing a product from our top picks, you need to see that they have the necessary features.
Without the right features and necessary considerations, you may not be satisfied with the product you bought. Since this is quite an extensive investment, you should buy a shop air compressor worth the money you pay.
Choose the best shop air compressor and carry out all your tasks efficiently!