Home Home & Patio Best Shop Air Compressors [Buying Guide] in 2020

Best Shop Air Compressors [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Jonathan Logtenberg
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Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor (DC060500)
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Hitachi EC28M Ultra Quiet (59 DB) Oil-Free Portable 1 gallon Air Compressor
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Campbell Hausfeld DC060500
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
Hitachi EC28M
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Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor (DC060500)
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Campbell Hausfeld DC060500
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California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
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California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
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Hitachi EC28M Ultra Quiet (59 DB) Oil-Free Portable 1 gallon Air Compressor
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Hitachi EC28M
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Looking to expand the kinds of projects and jobs that your shop can do with some new tools?  You might be considering spray painting or pneumatic tools but no matter what you’re planning to add to your repertoire, you are probably thinking that an air compressor is the best new addition to your shop to get the job done.   These machines help to power the most complex of tools so that you can do more with your shop and provide a great range of different services to keep your customers happy.

Air compressors pull air into the tank and compress it as it is pushed out of a nozzle to provide power for pneumatic tools, nail guns or they can even help you fix flat tires.  They are incredibly versatile and the perfect addition to a commercial shop so that you can take on a variety of tasks.

There are many kinds of air compressors out there of all different shapes and sizes and this can make it difficult to find the right option for your shop.  If this is your first air compressor, you may be wondering what you might use an air compressor for.  You may also be wondering what exactly you should be looking for in a shop air compressor.  Well, not to worry, because we have all of the information you need to answer those burning questions and get everything you need from your brand new shop air compressor.

Keep reading to find out all of the answers to your questions and find three of the best shop air compressors on the market currently so that you can find the right one for your needs.  Each of these models is high quality and hand picked by the Surf’n’Buy team to assure quality and reliability for you.

Top 3 Shop Air Compressors

1. Campbell Hausfeld DC060500

FEATURES

The Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 is a portable pancake air compressor with a six gallon capacity to offer you all of the air that you need for any project.  The durable design includes a soft grip steel handle and weighs around 62 pounds.  This makes transporting the air compressor a little more comfortable so that you can move around the work room as and when you need to.

The Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 offers half the noise of a standard air compressor, working at only 68 decibels and still offering the same level of power.  With a four times longer life than other models, you can be sure that this is an air compressor that is built to last.

The oil free design is low maintenance and reduces wear and tear due to permanent lubrication which reduces energy loss to heat and noise, giving you maximum efficiency every time.  With a huge maximum PSI of 125, you can power almost any tool and perform any task you need to with this air compressor.  The dual piston pump reduces the time you need to wait between refills to ensure that you can keep working as fast as possible.

PROS

  • The pancake design is low profile, making it easy to store when not in use.
  • The soft grip handle makes moving and transporting this air compressor much more comfortable.
  • The low noise level allows you to concentrate while using the air compressor and reduces energy loss to noise so that you get all the power.
  • With a longer life than most standard air compressors, you get the most out of your air compressor, making it incredibly reliable.
  • The oil free design is low maintenance and keeps the air compressor working at its best without the need for messy oil changes.
  • The high maximum PSI allows you to power any tool with ease so that you can do almost anything with this air compressor.
  • With six gallons of air, you are unlikely to run out of air when using standard tools.
  • The dual piston pump gives you a low refill speed to keep you working at your best speed.

CONS

  • At 68 pounds, this air compressor is rather heavy and may be difficult to move around the work room as needed, especially for smaller users.
  • Air can leak from the regulator fittings which can be irritating and may need fixing with tape to keep the air compressor running smoothly.
  • The time to rebuild pressure is a little longer than other standard models so you may need to take pauses during a task as the air compressor refills.
  • The Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 does not come with attachments and hoses which will need to be purchased at an extra cost in order to actually use the air compressor.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you are looking for a high quality, low maintenance air compressor, the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 is an excellent option.  This air compressor gives you a great deal of power and air capacity so that you can perform any task you need to without running out of air.  Perfect as a starter air compressor, you can use this for tires and standard tools to expand the tasks your shop can perform.   Although a little heavy, the soft grip handle makes moving and transporting the air compressor that much more comfortable.  If you are looking for an air compressor to get you started, the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 is  the one for you.

2. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

FEATURES

The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S offers low profile, one gallon air compressor for those who are considering their first air compressor for their shop.  Running at only 56 decibels, this air compressor is ultra quiet so as not to lose energy efficiency through noise and vibration.  The oil free pump reduces the need for maintenance and saves money in the long run. 

The lightweight design is only 29.5 pounds do that you can move it around the shop as you need to with the comfortable soft grip handle. This makes it ideal for those who want to perform lots of little jobs with their air compressor. Suitable for use in cold temperatures, you can use this air compressor at any time of year to ensure that you can get the job done no matter the weather.  With a 120 PSI maximum pressure, you can take on almost any task and power almost any tool without worrying about running out of air or losing power.

The steel tank is durable enough to withstand the knocks and bumps which come from life in the shop so you know this air compressor will last. The single piston pump reduces refill time and gives the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S a lifespan of over 3000 hours, so you can keep working without needing to replace this air compressor in the near future.

PROS

  • The lightweight design weighs less than 30 pounds, making this one of the easiest air compressors to transport.
  • The attached handle makes movement quick and easy.
  • The low profile design makes storage easy when the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is not in use.
  • The oil free pump reduces the need for maintenance and cuts long term costs.
  • The low decibel running noise ensures that you can concentrate while using the air compressor and that energy is not lost and makes it the perfect model for use indoors.
  • The high maximum PSI gives you the power to use any tool and perform almost any job you need.
  • The steel body of the tank is durable and can take all the knocks and bumps that come with life in a commercial shop.
  • The incredibly high lifespan of this air compressor eliminates the need to purchase a new one in the near future provided it receives proper maintenance.
  • The low refill time keeps you working quickly and efficiently.

CONS

  • With only one gallon of air, you may run out of air very quickly on longer projects which can be irritating.
  • This air compressor requires an industrial outlet which means it is not suitable for a standard outlet and will need an adapter.
  • The waiting time for a refill can be irritating as it is longer than other standard models.
  • The handle is made of plastic rather than rubber which can be uncomfortable when transporting the air compressor as it may be painful.
  • Some customers have reported that they find the air compressor a little louder than reported which can be irritating.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you are looking for an air compressor for basic jobs around the shop, the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is the perfect option for you.  Low profile, low weight and low maintenance, you will barely notice this air compressor except for when you need it most.  It offers a high maximum PSI and a durable body so it can withstand life in the shop while ensuring that you can power any tool you need.  Although lower capacity than most other options, the lack of required maintenance and the ease of use make this air compressor the perfect starter air compressor for most shops.

3. Hitachi EC28M

FEATURES

Designed with a steel roll cage and rubber grips, the keeps the internal workings of the air compressor safe and secure whilst reducing the energy lost to vibration and noise.  The one gallon capacity allows you to perform all the basic jobs you need while the oil free pump requires little maintenance, saving you time and money.  This air compress also runs at an incredibly low volume so that you can concentrate and even hold a conversation as you work with the Hitachi EC28M.

The factory installed quick coupler allows you to work with a colleague to get the job done faster, which is incredibly efficient.  The stainless steel braided hose is highly durable without sacrificing flexibility.  The integrated control panel is simple to use and keeps all gauges and controls at your finger tips for easy use. At a little over 25 pounds and designed with a comfort handle, moving, transporting and storing is incredibly easy with the Hitachi EC28M.

PROS

  • Designed for durability, the steel roll cage keeps all important elements away from the user and from any falling debris in the work room so that you can ensure safety and security.
  • The rubber feet reduce energy loss to vibration and noise by keeping the air compressor in place during use.
  • The oil free pump reduces the need for maintenance and keeps costs low in the future, making this a great investment.
  • The low volume allows you to concentrate on what you’re doing without having to use ear protectors.
  • The coupler function allows you to work with a friend if you want to so that you can get the job done faster.
  • The integrated control panel has everything you need in the one place so that you can monitor air pressure and change the settings as you need to.
  • The lightweight design and comfort handle makes moving and storing this air compressor quick and easy, perfect for crowded shop floors.

CONS

  • The low capacity makes it difficult to perform longer or more complex tasks as you will run out of air and need to wait for the air compressor to refill.
  • The gauges are not always completely accurate and this can be annoying if you need to reach a specific pressure on a tire or a tool.
  • Some customers have reported this air compressor can sometimes leak air which will need to be repaired with tape to ensure no pressure is lost.
  • The refill time is relatively long and this can make simple jobs take a lot longer as you will be waiting for the machine to refill.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you are looking for a great, lightweight air compressor to help you get little jobs done around the shop, the Hitachi EC28M is the one for you.  This one gallon air compressor is incredibly lightweight and quiet so that you can simply get started on a job with no need for ear protectors or shouting over the air compressor.  With rubber feet to increase stability and reduce vibration, this air compressor offers all the efficiency you need from your air compressor. 

Designed to be highly durable, this air compressor has a roll cage to keep the moving parts safe and secure and an integrated control system to put all of the controls you need at your fingertips so that you can monitor and control the air compressor as you need to.  With a coupler function, you can even work with a friend on odd jobs to get it done faster, which is perfect for busy days and longer tasks.  If you are looking for a starter air compressor, the Hitachi EC28M is the one for you.

What Can Shop Air Compressors be Used for?

Shop air compressors can be used for a huge range of tasks but it really depends on the task you want to perform as to the air compressor that will suit you best.  There are a wide range of tasks an air compressor can perform and each will need a different capacity and range of PSI to be able to do the job well.  If you are considering an air compressor for you shop, you probably already have some ideas in mind as to the jobs you want it to perform.

Air compressors work by pulling air into a tank and forcing it out at a high speed.  This can then power a great range of tools such as nail guns, paint guns and many other tools such as pneumatic drills. Air compressors are most commonly used for pumping tires, which makes them ideal for garages, however there is a lot more you can do with an air compressor.  You can also power a nail gun and many other pneumatic tools to give you a range of possibilities for both commercial use and DIY. 

The jobs that your air compressor can perform will depend on what you need it to perform and the kind of shop you own.  Make sure yo look at the capacity and required PSI of the tools you are looking to power to make sure that you get the right model as you don’t want something too weak as it won’t be able to cope.  However, you also don’t want something too powerful as you won’t be using all of the power that you paid for unless you are looking to upgrade your tools in the future.


What Should You Look for When Buying an Shop Air Compressor?

When you’re looking for a new air compressor for your shop, there are a few things you need to consider before purchasing to make sure you get the right option for you needs.

Air Pressure (PSI)

The first thing you need to consider is air pressure.  Air pressure will change the kinds of tools you can run.  Most air compressors run at 90 PSI as standard, which is ideal for most tools but more demanding tools will need a higher air pressure.  Make sure to check the tool you want to power against the PSI capability before you buy the air compressor.

Tank Sizes

Tank size will change the capacity of the air compressor and how long it can run.  The higher the capacity, the longer you can run the air compressor.  However, the longer it will take to fill back up once it has emptied, also.  If you want to ensure you can use the air compressor for a long project, go for a larger tank capacity to make sure you get everything you need.  For those who are simply looking to power short projects and smaller tools, a smaller capacity will be fine as these models generally take less time to refill.

Maintenance

Maintenance is essential when it comes to keeping your air compressor in working order.  Make sure to consult your users’ manual and note down what is needed to keep your air compressor working properly.  All models on this guide are oil-free and therefore much more low maintenance, which is ideal for a beginner air compressor user.

Life Expectancy

You don’t want to spend money on an air compressor that won’t last.  Check to see how long the air compressor is expected to last should it receive proper maintenance to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your purchase.


Conclusion

That’s all we have for shop air compressors.  These air compressors are a great way to get started with pneumatic tools, nail guns or even pumping tires if that’s what you need.  They offer the power you need to get started with an air compressor for the first time.  If you are looking for something that’s suited to longer jobs, the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 has a high capacity and offers a high 150 maximum PSI which makes it better suited to a wider range of projects.  However, if you simply want something to get you started and see if an air compressor is the right purchase for you, the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S  and the Hitachi EC28M offer a great deal of power with the added bonus of being lightweight and portable as needed.

We hope that this guide has helped you find the ideal air compressor for your shop so that you can get started into any task and any project you need to expand your business.  An air compressor is a great addition to any shop as it is incredibly versatile and allows you to open your shop up to a range of different tasks to expand your business. 

We here at Surf’n’Buy know how confusing it can be to find the right make and model when it comes to air compressors.  There are so many options out there that finding the right one for your needs can feel impossible.  That is why we design these guides to help walk you through the process and make it as quick and painless as possible.  We hope you enjoy your new shop air compressor and we hope to see you in our next guide, whatever it is you may be looking for, we have the information for you!

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