Best Air Compressor for Home Garage – Full Buyers guide

Whether you have air tools sitting around at home or you have finally decided to do your own detailing, an air compressor is an excellent device to own. It’s an investment, truly, but it will make your life easier.

Compressed air can be very useful, whether you are a self-proclaimed handyman or a housewife. Now and then everyone has a job for an air compressor like this, and you do not want to have to go knocking on your neighbors door every time.

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Kobalt Portable Air Compressor

Quincy Air Compressor

Puma Industries PD1006 Air  Compressor

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

Central Pneumatic Vertical Air Compressor

Husky Air Compressor 

Puma Air Compressors PUK-5508G

What is an air compressor?

A compressor is a machine that pressurizes air or gas into a small or much lesser space. It converts power into potential energy in compressed air through the use of an electric motor or an engine powered by either diesel or gasoline.

This potential energy is possessed by an object due to its position relative to other objects. When released, this compressed air can be used for quite a few purposes such as air transfer and cleaning. The compressed air is stored in a sort of tank and it is held there until it is ready for use.

The Anatomy

There are a lot of technical words to learn about when buying an air compressor. No matter the purpose of your purchase may be, knowing about these terms are of utmost importance. After all, you are going to need to know what you are buying.

First, let’s discuss some of the names and abbreviations that are featured in an air compressor.

Pounds Per Square Inch - PSI

PSI stands for “pounds per square inch” of air which is a unit of pressure or stress. This is the force of air being delivered to the pneumatic tool.

Cubic Feet Per Minute - CFM

CFM stands for “cubic feet per minute” of air which is a general term for the unit of volumetric flow. It is used when measuring the volume of air that goes into a compressed air device.

Receiver Tank

This is the tank that stores the compressed air and is measured in gallons. Depending on your purpose, you can choose a gallon size that suits best. It’s recommended that you choose an air compressor with a receiver tank has been certified to ensure that it has been individually tested and was able to pass the safety standards.

Horsepower - HP

This stands for horsepower on an air compressor. Larger HP capacity air compressors are usually for industrial purposes only and it’s not as valuable compared to CFM rating.

These are just some of the basics that would prove to be very useful once you go looking for that ideal air compressor. Of course, some features may vary depending on the brand and type of air compressor.

Speaking of types, it would also be beneficial to learn about the different types of air compressors that are out there.

Types of Air Compressors

Air compressors come in various shapes and forms which equally serve its unique purpose. But more than that, they vary internally, which means the difference is how the compressor was made. Other differences include the number of compression stages and the method used to cool the device. Here we will be talking about 4 air compressors and what their exact differences are.

Reciprocating Air Compressor

This type is an example of a positive displacement machine which means it focuses on increasing the pressure of air by reducing its volume. This air compressor consists of a piston within a cylinder which acts as a compressing and displacing element.

Rotary Screw Compressor

This is another example of a positive displacement compressor that uses two rotors in a casing to compress the air internally. Valves are absent in this type of compressor. The rotary screw compressor is air cooled or water cooled therefore you never have to worry about operating it under extreme temperatures.

Centrifugal Compressor

This one has a unique way of compressing air by transferring energy from a rotating device. It produces high-pressure air and has a continuous flow.

Additionally, it’s either a single or a dual stage compressor. There isn’t really much of a difference between the two, but it’s good to know at least for the sake of knowing. This can also contribute to your final decision, anyway, so let’s jump right into it.

A single stage compressor, also known as a piston compressor, follows a process where the air is sucked into a cylinder, it’s then compressed in a single stroke and that compressed air moves to the storage tank. That single stroke is normally measured at 120 PSI.

On the other hand, a dual stage compressor differs in one part of the single stage process. Instead of moving the compressed air to a storage tank, it’s sent for a second stroke to a smaller piston. This is roughly measured at 175 PSI. After this part of the process, it is then cooled and delivered to the storage tank. That double-pressurized air will now serve as energy for the use of high-powered equipment.

The Importance of Air Compressors

Having any kind of device entails for basic knowledge about it and what it can do. It’s not enough that you are going to buy a product just for the sake of owning it or just for one specific use.

An equipment, such as an air compressor, is an investment. Investments are not simply decided upon overnight, isn’t it? That’s because a large sum of money will be put in one place, and that can easily be a “do or die” moment. It’s important to have a general understanding first when it comes to any kind of investment, and that is exactly what I am going to tell you.

With a lot of things in this world, PROs and CONs are expected. Not everyone, nor everything, is perfect, and that’s why you really need to do some studying before doing any buying. Luckily for you, these next few phrases are here to do just that.

Here are 3 things you will get when you buy an air compressor:


Air compressors are, in some ways, a substitute for power sources. Instead of the typical plug-in or battery powered tool, it uses pressurized air. One of the top advantages of using an air compressor is its safety. I’m not saying that all of them are completely safe, but at least you can rule out electrical shock as a potential issue in the future. An air compressor device also will not contaminate an area if ever there’s leakage.


Another great thing about air compressors is the fact that they can be mobile. It is more flexible than electrical tools and you can move it to your working area. Any man and woman can use air compressor. Not to mention, it’s ergonomic and it weighs a lot less compared to power tools.


When it comes to a general idea, pneumatic tools cost less than electric or hydraulic machines. There’s also a less demanding fee with regards installation of air distribution systems compared to installing electrical grids and hydraulic system lines. The maintenance of an air tool is also less.

Disadvantages of air compressors are very minimal since they are such useful devices after all. Basically, there are two things that most people consider as downsides to having a compressor: NOISE and SPACE.

Most compressors are very loud and noisy. It can easily disturb your family and even your neighbors. If you live in an apartment or in a closely-spaced neighborhood, your air compressor will surely cause some problems. However, there are a few units nowadays that have been brilliantly designed to make minimal noise when operating. For this, I suggest you head to a physical store and ask to try and operate the air compressor and then decide for yourself.

The other disadvantage is that it takes up quite a space in your home or garage. If you have the area to place it in, then congratulations. But if you have a small living space and no extra storage, this may be a problem. Fortunately, there is an increase in portable air compressors in the market. If you only need the compressor for lightweight projects, opt for a small unit instead.

Buyer's Checklist

There are a lot of things to consider when you are in need of compressed air. The first question you need to answer before considering the other tips in this article is “What do I need compressed air for?”. If your answer is to simply power up some of your pneumatic tools and inflate objects from time to time, then you’re likely to choose a consumer-grade air compressor. If you need to run big tools, then you’ll need a more powerful compressor. Contractor-grade air compressors are designed to handle more heavy duty work.

Once you have decided on what you need compressed air for, it will be easier for you to tick off this list. Today, we will focus on finding you the best air compressors for your home garage.

I’ve already mentioned above, in The Anatomy of an Air Compressor, the language you should be familiar with when dealing with the very subject. So for this part of our air compressor buyer’s guide, I’m going to share with you the things you need to consider as well as the different features that prove to be very important to have in an air compressor.

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    Considering the size and portability of the device is important. Depending on your specific needs, it can be as small or as big as it gets. A portable one is good, that way you can bring it anywhere anytime. A larger one, however, may be quite heavy and could end up sitting in the corner of your garage but it will give you a higher capacity compressor. With a larger, more industrial air compressor, you may want to consider getting a longer hose to be able to do the job you need without having to move the heavy equipment.
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    Do not be confused about whether to get a vertical compressor or a horizontal one. There’s not much of a difference, to be honest, especially with its performance. The main question here is if you would be okay for the unit to take up space more than it should. Vertical air compressors are the most popular choice because of its portability, but that doesn’t mean horizontal ones are portable at all. Horizontal ones just take up more floor space because of its build.
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    Powering the air compressor can either be by electricity or through an oiled engine. If you plan on using compressed air for home garage projects, then an electric powered one would be okay. Make sure to check the voltage your compressor will run on before making a purchase.
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    The tank size matters depending on the projects you would want to do. A smaller tank is good for short periods of work while a larger tank can be used for longer periods of time. If you can’t decide on this one, search the Internet for different projects you’ll need the air compressor for and see the recommended size of tank for each.
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    Air compressors are equipped with control panels and gauges. Check whether these controls are well-protected and located in a convenient place just in case you need adjusting in the middle of work.
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    If you decide to go electric, confirm that it’s heavy duty and has a manual reset so that you will be safe from power overload.
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    Using multiple tools for a project can be easier since there are air compressors that have two air outlets, which means you can attach two different tools at the same time.
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    Oil-free or oil-less compressors are great for light to general projects and are virtually maintenance-free.
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    Tanks that are ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) certified ensures top quality that’s best for the money.
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    Take note of the operation speed. Some operate at 100% continuous speed while others run in Auto mode. Auto mode operations start and stop automatically as air is needed while the continuous one is constantly running 100% of the time. If you can’t decide between the two, there are dual control compressors that are equipped with both operations.

These aren’t always the same as what you can purchase off of stores, but it will at least give you a good idea. Consider the checklist as your friendly advisor when it comes to checking out air compressors.

Air Compressors for Home Garage 2018 review:

Puma Industries PD1006 Air Compressor

The Puma Industries carry a variety of compressors for a wide range of needs. Fortunately for you, this specific product is one of the best air compressors for sale. It has ranked Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank in Industrial and Scientific as well as in Tools and Home Improvement for both Portable Air Compressors and Power Tools.

Let me introduce to you the PD1006 Air Compressor from Puma.

This particular compressor is an electric, oil-less design which is perfect for those who plan on doing light to moderate projects at home. An air compressor that is oil-free means it’s cheaper and would require a lot less maintenance. It runs at 0.75 horsepower with a maximum PSI of 135. This device has a tank with the capacity of 1.5 gallons, so it’s clear to say that it is best for home or garage use.

The PD1006 Air Compressor allows you to mount the unit in any orientation. Its pump design was patented for the provision of lowered noise and improved cooling. It’s electric powered, so you can run it continuously and let the device adjust the pressure depending on what is needed.

It also has an oversized motor cooling fan to prevent the motor from overheating. It’s efficient to use on off-road vehicles, agriculture, motorsports, construction and other moderate load applications.

You can get this unit with free shipping and gift-wrapping, if ever you want to give this as a present. It ships from the US and has a one year warranty.


If you’re looking for durability, however, this isn’t the one for you. The next product on our list might be just that.

Quincy Air Compressor

The Quincy Compressor single-stage air compressor is a gas-powered compressor with a 20-gallon horizontal tank. It made it to Amazon’s TOP 100 Stationary Air Compressors and has a good standing with its customers.

Manufactured in the US, the Q12120PQ model from Quincy has an extra quiet pump made out of cast iron ensuring its durability. This unit is able to produce a significantly higher CFM per horsepower which means it delivers more air.

It gets the job done a lot faster than most other compressors in the market. There’s hardly any vibration when the unit is in use and the gauge ratings are accurate.


The warranty that comes with the product is limited, but it covers both consumer and commercial applications. However, if you want, you can buy an extended warranty kit together with your Quincy Air Compressor purchase to double your package warranty. It also offers free shipping which is a great deal for quite a heavy-duty product.

Kobalt Portable Air Compressor

With convenience as one of the top priorities in purchasing a air compressor, it’s no wonder that portable ones are always good choices. It allows you to move the unit from one place to another without the hassle or the need to have someone else’s help.

I know what you’re thinking.

Help is nice. But there are times when we want, or need, to work on a project alone. What’s worse is sometimes we just don’t have anyone around to help us drag a heavy equipment around. That’s why the portable air compressor from Kobalt is a great choice.

Kobalt’s electric air compressor is oil-free and has an 8-gallon tank. It runs on 1.8 HP which is pretty powerful for a portable unit. Gauges are accurate and customers are enjoying their units.


If you want an air compressor to make your life convenient, this Kobalt one is for you.

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

Another great unit in the world of air compressors is the PXCMLC1623066 from PORTER-CABLE. It’s a heavy duty machine carrying a 30 gallon tank but remains to be classified as portable. It's a single stage compressor, also known as a piston compressor, which doesn’t really deliver fast results. The large sized tank, however, can make up for that.

It’s also important to know that choosing between a single stage and a dual stage type of air compressor just boils down to work preference. Dual stage ones produce higher air power making them more suitable for large-scale operations such as in factories and workshops. If you are simply going to utilize the compressor unit at home, then a single stage one is good enough.


The PORTER-CABLE compressor runs at 1.6 HP with a heavy duty twin-V cast iron pump. The maximum pressure you can operate with is 135 PSI, which is pretty standard for a portable unit. It is equipped with a quick-set regulator, tank and tool pressure gauges, quick connect air outlet and and on/off switch for ultimate convenience. The 30 gallon tank is also ASME certified making this particular compressor such a good choice. This is certainly one of the best portable air compressors you can have.

Central Pneumatic Vertical Air Compressor

Here’s another vertical air compressor that’s sure to challenge its competition. The Central Pneumatic Air Compressor is a powerful unit running at 2.5 HP with a 21 gallon tank. It was designed for convenience by having rubber foot stabilizers to reduce vibrations while it runs. Maintenance with this unit is a breeze due to its built-in oil level indicator window.


This electric powered air compressor is also very portable by having two 6-inch wheels so you could roll it anywhere at anytime. It’s also very useful thanks to a built-in universal quick-connect coupler that allows you to connect a variety of air hoses. Just imagine, this particular unit can power your tools and inflate tires in a snap. It’s a solid air compressor that’s worth it for the price.

Husky Air Compressor

If you’re searching for a portable, home and garage air compressor, look no further than the Husky 0100211A. It’s an electric hotdog air compressor that’s perfect for hobbyists. It’s great for small projects at home such as inflating and running small air tools like air brushes and staplers. This Husky unit is oil-less and has no belts meaning it takes little to no maintenance at all. The negative thing about this type of compressor though is that it gets quite loud.

It has a 2 gallon tank that holds a good amount of compressed air for short-term jobs. 


This product, overall, has been refurbished, tested and certified to be as good as brand new. It’s certainly not perfect, but it gets the job done.

Puma Air Compressors PUK-5508G

With a very technical review this has all been, of course I would be saving the best for last. If you’re all about the power and you want the best bang for your buck, this is the unit for you.

The PUK-5508G Air Compressor is a wheelbarrow style of air compressor that’s all about the heavy duty work. It has an amazing 5.5 HP Honda GX engine so you will be sure that it will deliver the power you need. It’s oil-lubricated with cast-iron cylinders that’s designed for long lasting use. It has a maximum of 135 PSI thanks to its twin 4 gallon tanks.

The power it carries does not compromise it’s portability. It has handles that will help you move the unit from place to place.

The Puma PUK-5508G air compressor is a serious winner that will exceed anyone’s expectations.

Now, here’s the deal.

You’ve got a ton of information that came your way and now you’re feeling overwhelmed. I understand and that is totally normal. There are lots of other things you can come across in the Internet and it’s difficult to know whether it’s credible or not.

Hopefully, this article has been able to help you to think deeper about your choices. Again, an air compressor is quite an investment especially if you want only the best air compressor for your home. Use the facts stated in this article to help you achieve a decision.

While ordering online is great because of all the ease and convenience as well as other freebies, it won’t hurt to visit a hardware store to check the unit yourself. This way, you can ask to test a unit and check for anything you don’t like. Listen to the noise that the unit makes and decide if it’s bearable, not just for you, but for the people around you.

Don’t forget to ask about warranties as well. It’s important to understand a product’s warranty just in case anything turns out bad, especially when you buy online. This is the only way to protect yourself and your money after a purchase.


In conclusion, make sure to answer the possible questions before swiping your card. Imagine the opportunities you will get when you have your dream air compressor without compromising yourself because of the disadvantages. Weigh your options thoroughly and sleep on it. Good luck!

How to Use an Air Compressor for Power Tools

DIY projects and being able to use your pneumatic tools can be a breeze once you have your own air compressor. Using a compressor can be fairly easy, even for beginners. However, there are a few things you need to take note of before actually using the device. Sure, a user’s manual is readily available with your purchase, but this guide will be of good help even before you buy one.

Knowing how to prepare any kind of machine should definitely be on the top of anyone’s list. It’s like cooking a new recipe, you take a good look at the ingredients and the steps before chopping anything and heating up a pan. If your compressor is an old model or is quite large, chances are it needs to be filled with oil. Check the level of oil that needs to be in the pump. Most new compressors, however, doesn’t require to be oiled. So check carefully before turning it on. You’re going to attach a hose to the valve next. Check both ends of the hose to see which end goes with what. Now you can plug your tool into the hose and slide it in place so it locks.

Although air compressors are pretty much safe nowadays, it’s still the best idea to protect yourself from any danger, and that means wearing safety goggles and closed-toe shoes or boots. Test the pressure before actually putting it into use by pulling on the safety valve. You would likely hear a hiss of air that’s escaping, and that’s a sign that it works fine. Now turn on the compressor and wait for the tank to pressurize. Check for the specific amount of pressure your tool needs. Different tools have different pressure ratings, so take note of this whenever you switch tools. Watch the pressure gauge whenever you adjust.

Maintenance and Safety Precautions

When you think about safety, an air compressor is a far better device than electric power tools. Granted, accidents may still happen even when you are being careful, so here are a few tips to secure yourself, your family, and your home whenever you use an air compressor.

Each machine designed for producing compressed air will include its own manual. Before even putting together the device, make sure to carefully read the instructions. "To each, its own" is the case here, so you better absorb all the information that’s written in that manual. Manuals are often overlooked since the Internet is readily available. But you will be surprised to know that the manufacturer’s user manual has the more essential information compared with those you can look up online especially when it comes to the machine’s limitations.

Dealing with any kind of machinery needs precaution. That precautionary measure is to wear safety goggles or glasses, closed shoes as well as earplugs. Compressing air can produce a loud hissing sound, so if your ears are quite sensitive, it’s good to prepare for exactly that.

Tanks need to be drained regularly since it accumulates moisture from the air that’s being compressed, especially when you live or work in a humid environment.

The air compressor needs to intake clean air through a filter. That filter should be cleaned regularly since a contaminated filter will only push your compressor to work harder which may cost you a short-lived compressor.

Keep grease and oil away from the air hoses that attach to the compressor so that it doesn’t deteriorate early. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to air hoses is to secure it at all times to prevent any accidental cut or break.

And remember that before doing any maintenance work, disconnect an electric compressor from the power supply.

Take note that the tips I shared are just a general overview of what you should practice in order to maintain a good quality air compressor. Still, I strongly recommend that you always look into your device’s manual or contact the manufacturer whenever you need further help.

Now that I’ve laid down the information you’ll need when choosing the right air compressor for you, it’s best to have a look at the best and top rated air compressors out in the market. I’ve listed down 7 units from different brands to help you narrow down your search even further.

Congratulations! You made it through! 🙂 

That's it for this buyers guide. Until next time!

Last update on 2019-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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