Pneumatic tools are a great addition to your workshop, home, or any job site. The tools only work as well as the air compressor you use, which is why you need the best.
Choosing the best air compressor for your needs was as simple as comparing the CFM and PSI of the air compressor to that of the tools you plan to use a few years back. Now you need to examine every detail of the air compressor because manufacturers and marketers tend to lie and exaggerate.
Choosing your best air compressor has become even harder because of the large number of air compressors. You are safer buying one from a reliable manufacturer.
Makita, Rolair, and California air tools are top manufacturers of consumer-grade air compressors, which is why these three are bestsellers.
Choosing one of these three depends on three major factors — higher horsepower like Makita or a standard power motor with more convenience from Rolair.
You can also go for a small but powerful compressor from California air tools. They are all designed to run the pneumatic tools you have at home with optimal performance.
Makita MAC700 is the most famous featuring a 2.0HP rating and a CFM rating of 3.3 at 90PSI. It is designed to handle any range of pneumatic tools at home, including wrenches, nail guns, and blowguns. It is a very powerful compressor suitable for continuous use in any location.
Rolair comes in as the best value for a budget purchase. It has 1.0HP motor rated at 2.3CFM at 90 PSI. It is designed for heavy-duty service with a high-pressure rating of 130PSI and a short recovery time.
The best cheap compressor in this class is California Air 1P1060S with a .6HP rating and 1.2CFM at 90 PSI. It is very light and silent, competing with any hotdog compressor in terms of convenience. It is, however, more powerful, giving you more runtime and better service.
Here is an in-depth review of each compressor
1. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0HP Air compressor
This is a giant horsepower air compressor with friendly features of any consumer range air compressor. It will run more pneumatic tools, including the most demanding for longer than any compressor in this range.
Its most significant advantage is the large-diameter piston that compresses more air with fewer strokes allowing the pump to recover quickly. It has a sizeable automotive-style air filter to support the needs at the piston. Moreover, it is fitted with a sturdy iron cast pump rated at 1725RPM.
It is fitted with Makita`s 2.0HP four-pole induction motor with over 3,000 hours of work life. MAC700 is designed for a durable service aided by the low RPM pump and regulated amperage that protects the pump from burning out.
The protective features don’t affect performance either. This air compressor delivers 3.3CFM of air at 90PSI, which can run multiple tools for a long.
This air compressor is power efficient, having an amperage of 12.4 at 120V. It has a 2.6-gallon tank, which takes in more air allowing time for proper cooling.
It is fitted with a transparent oil gauge for tracking the quality of the oil. It has a finned tubbing that also allows for quick discharge and cooling, reducing moisture in the tubbing.
MAC700 has a regulated noise level of 80db, which is quite manageable considering its powerful motor.
It is an oil-based air compressor that also helps regulate noise levels and increase motor life. It can be used in a workshop, at home, or on any worksite without affecting the comfort of the users.
Makita fitted this air compressor with a balanced easy-grip handle for portability. It weighs 52lbs allowing you to move it around conveniently.
Its stable stand also allows it to remain firm on any terrain for convenience and safety. It is covered by a 1-year warranty. All parts are removable and replaceable, making this a one-time purchase.
- Tank: 2.6 gallons
- Horsepower: 2.0HP
- Performance: 3.3 at 90PSI and 3.8 at 40PSI
- maximum pressure: 135PSI
- Power: 120V, 12.4Amps
- Powerful 2.0HP motor
- Durable cast iron pump and tank
- Large air filter and piston
- Easy to operate and maintain
- Quick Recovery
- It is heavy, weighs 52lbs
- The tank takes time to fill up.
Q: Can I use an LVLP sprayer on this compressor?
Q: Can this compressor run my impact wrench?
A: It will run an impact for a short time; you will have to stop frequently for refill and recovery.
Q: Is the compressor too loud?
A: Not really. This is an oil-based compressor so you can use it indoors.
2. Rolair JC10 Plus Oil-less Air Compressor
Rolair optimized this compressor for more value delivering a 70 percent duty cycle. It is a 1.0HP air compressor rated at 2.3CFM at 90PSI.
It is suitable for any range of projects a DIYer may have, including nail guns, small impact wrenches, staplers, and sprayers. Its quick recovery time allows you to use the tank continuously for 7 out of 10 minutes without overheating.
It consumes 8Amps 120V plug so you can use it comfortably at home. This is an oil-less air compressor meaning there is little or no maintenance needed.
As opposed to other oil-less models that tend to be noisy, Rolair JC10 only releases 60DB max, allowing you to use it comfortably indoors.
It has a four-pole motor rated at 1750RPM, which reduces wear and tear while compressing more air with each stroke.
This unit is compact and designed for lifetime service. It has an iron cast pump with an induction motor that gives you over 2500 hours of service. It has a wide, stable frame fitted with rubber padding at the bottom to prevent damage when bumped.
JC10 plus air compressor is a one-stage air compressor. It is fitted with a large air filter that allows it to build up 125 PSI maximum pressure, which is sufficient for most pneumatic tools.
It has a 2.5-gallon aluminum cast tank that allows your air to cool, reducing moisture that goes through the piping. It weighs just 38lbs, which makes it very easy to carry and move around.
- 2.5-gallon tank
- 1.0HP horsepower
- Maximum pressure: 125PSI
- Performance: 2.3CFM at 90PSI
- Power: 120V, 8Amps
- It runs quietly (60 DB)
- Short recovery time
- Durable aluminum cylinder tank
- The oil-less pump needs less maintenance
- It takes up little space.
- You have to bend down to see the pressure gauge readings
- 2.5 gallons is too small to run multiple tools
Q: How long will this compressor last on a large sander?
A: No more than 10 seconds. It is better suited for intermittent use tools.
Q: Can I use this to spray-wash my car?
Q: What is the Amperage on a 120V?
Q: Does it come with a quick coupler?
No. But you can use a universal ¼-inch quick coupler.
3. California Air Tools CAT1P1060S Portable air compressor
California air tools specialize in quiet and light compressors. This one is near as light as a hot dog compressor weighing only 29lbs. It has a sound rating of 56DB, which is no louder than a typical group conversation.
CAT1P1060S is a single-stage oil-less air compressor with a durable four-pole motor rated at 1680RPM. The low RPM rating helps reduce the noise and also increases the lifespan of the pump. It has a life rating of 3000hrs, which is longer than other standard oil-less models.
This compressor is built with a premium iron-cast motor and a steel-cast tank for durable, heavy-duty performance. It is suitable for finishing jobs with blowguns, airbrushes, and nail guns.
Its Steel tank is durable. It can deliver 1.2CFM of air at 90 PSI, which can support most regular bow guns, brad guns, and sprayers. The pump is rated at 0.6HP when working at full load, allowing you to load multiple intermittent-use tools at a time.
California air focused on a home user making the compressor design, size, and performance comfortable for any location.
Its power consumption is minimized at just 4.5Amps on a 120V plug, which allows you to use it comfortably on your home power source. It has a 1gallon steel-cast tank that fills up in 50 seconds, supporting the short recovery time.
This package comes complete with the air filters plus a universal ¼-Inch connector reducing the cost of overheads. It is also fitted with an automatic overload protector and current regulator to protect both the compressor and the tank. This package includes a 1-year warranty cover from the manufacturer.
1-gallon steel-cast tank
Performance: 1.2CFMat 90PSI
Maximum pressure: 125PSI
Power: 4.5Amps at 120V
- It is oil-free, clean and low maintenance cost
- It has a short recovery time
- Low power consumption
- It is very quiet (56DB)
- Light and easy to carry around
- Doesn`t support continuous heavy-load needs
- Gets hot quickly
Q: Does this air compressor have wheels?
A: No. It has a static stand. It is still light, though, weighs only 29lbs.
Q: Does it come with the tubbing?
Q: Is this an oiled air compressor?
A: No. It is oil-less
The CFM at 90PSI is the most important indicator of the ability of your air compressor. The higher your CFM, the more tools you can load onto it without compromising the power.
Makita comes top in this regard because of their improved motor power. MAC700 is rated at 3.3CFM at 90 PSI. It can handle heavier-load pneumatic tools such as wrench impacts and sanders for longer.
Rolair JC10 is also powerful, delivering 2.3CFM at90 PSI. This is all the power you will need to operate any blowgun, brad gun, or sprayer.
It may not sustain long runtimes like the MAC700, although the punch is strong enough to get tough jobs done. CAT1P1060S Is the smallest of the three rated at 1.2CFP at 90 PSI. It is meant to handle small tools that use air intermittently, such as brad guns and blowguns.
Motor and pump
The motor and the pump are essential because they determine the duration of service your air compressor will deliver. All the compressors in this review have durable iron-cast four-pole motors.
Makita is oil-based, so it needs regular maintenance, although the oil makes it more durable. Rolair JC10 and CAT1P1060S are oil-less, meaning they wear out faster than the oil-based Makita.
Two-stage compressors build up pressure faster than single-stage compressors. Larger pistons, however, help single-stage compressors also build up pressure quickly.
This is why MAC700 is very famous for its Big bore pistons, which compress more air in one stroke than smaller piston pumps. Rolair JC10 and CAT1P1060S have standard size pistons that compress less air per stroke than the Makita.
Some people will tell you that the size of your tank doesn`t matter, which is not true. The tank size determines how long it takes to achieve your required pressure level.
Pressure builds up faster in small tanks, which means you get to resume work faster than when filling a larger tank. This means California Air Tools CAT1P1060S, which has the a1-gallon capacity.
Small tanks, however, tend to get hot quickly as they don’t give air enough room to condense. This leaves the tank and the pump vulnerable.
The tubbing also gets clogged with moisture as the air condenses after leaving the dispatch. This is why MAC700, with its 2.6-gallon and JC10 with 2.5-gallon tanks, are better for continuous projects.
Everyone wants a silent air compressor, especially when you intend to use it in small spaces such as a garage. The noise levels stated by the manufacturer are based on the DB reading at 1 meter from the air compressor.
CAT1P1060S Is the quietest of the three rated at just 56DB, which is a great advantage considering it is an oil-less compressor. It won’t interfere with communication or force you to wear head protection.
MAC700 is the loudest because of its boosted piston size. It produces 80DB of the sound, which can be very disturbing in a closed space. JC10 produces 60DB, which is standard and comfortable.
Consumer-based air compressors are an invaluable asset that every home or workshop needs to have to utilize the maximum power of pneumatic tools. Getting the best air compressor means you have to evaluate your tools and match them to the CFM you need from your compressor.
We have reviewed the three best-seller air compressors recommended for homes and workshops. They are equipped for most 90 PSI pneumatic tools with any pressure needs.
We recommend MAC700 for the most demanding projects, especially when you intend to employ multiple tools that use air continuously.
JC10 will handle most of the tasks you have at home or in the workshop if you stick to short-run projects when employing large sanders and wrenches. CAT1P1060S is your last resort air compressor when you want to handle tougher projects that a hotdog compressor won’t do.