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

Best Small Air Compressors [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Jonathan Logtenberg
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PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit with 25' Hose
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
California Air Tools 2010A Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 HP 2.0-Gallon Aluminum Tank Air Compressor,Silver
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PORTER-CABLE CMB15
Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor
California Air Tools 2010A
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PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit with 25' Hose
Title
PORTER-CABLE CMB15
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Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
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Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor
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California Air Tools 2010A Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 HP 2.0-Gallon Aluminum Tank Air Compressor,Silver
Title
California Air Tools 2010A

Have you ever been out on the road and suffered with a leaky tire? Sure, you can try to pump it by hand or try to find a gas station with a pump, but what if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere? A portable air compressor is one of the best purchases you can make both for home use and if you’re the kind of person who loves a good road trip. They can be kept in the trunk and brought out if and when you need them so that you are never caught out by a troublesome tire again. There is no need to buy a larger air compressor because these smaller versions have been specially designed to service all of the same uses whilst also being optimized for transport and storage.

Surf’n’Buy have gathered together some of the best options on the market so that you can get out on the road and keep your tires pumped and ready to go. These small air compressors offer a great range of uses and power so that they can offer you everything you need in terms of performance. 

Top 3 Small Air Compressors

1. PORTER-CABLE CMB15

FEATURES

The PORTER-CABLE CMB15 has an impressive 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI, allowing for quick recovery of the compressor every time you use it.  This allows you to fill up all four tires without having to wait between uses to get back out on the road. The 1.5 gallon tank gives you all the capacity you need to fill tires or use small tools, whilst also being lightweight and easy to carry, weighing only 20 pounds so that you can keep it in the trunk and take it with you wherever you need to go. 

With a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 is capable of handling even the largest tires to make sure that you never get caught short by a flat or a leak, and runs much longer to make sure you can use all of the tools you need. The 120V low amp motor starts quickly and easily in cold weather to make sure that you are always safe in the knowledge this air compressor will power up, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. With a low sound level of 79 decibels, using this air compressor won’t cause a headache and you can concentrate on other things.

PROS

  • The quick recovery features makes sure that the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 always delivers so that you can keep using it as and when you need to.  Fill up all four tires or power a tool, you won’t be let down.
  • With a high capacity for a small air compressor, you can take this model with you out on the road to fill a tire without worrying about weight or transport.
  • The high PSI makes this air compressor capable of handling even the largest of tire and most small power tools so there is no need for a large model when you’re out and about.
  • The low decibels reduce annoyance from the air compressor when in use so that you can maintain concentration.
  • Able to start up in cold weather, this air compressor is capable of working wherever you go and will keep you safe from a flat or a puncture.

CONS

  • The hose included with your purchase is not of the highest quality, so you may want to consider buying a higher quality hose as well as the air compressor to ensure everything functions correctly.
  • This model is slightly louder than other models on the market which may be annoying for some users.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you want a great value air compressor for odd jobs or to give you peace of mind on the road, the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 is an excellent option for your needs.  With everything you need to get started and a high capacity for what you buy, you won’t be disappointed with this model. The quick recovery and high PSI capacity makes this air compressor capable of functioning in all weathers and with all tires and tanks.  The lightweight body makes it perfect to throw in the trunk to keep you secure on a long road trip, you won’t even notice it unless you need it.

2. Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor

FEATURES

The Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor is incredibly lightweight, coming in at only 20 pounds and comes with a built in handle to make carrying and transport quick and easy.  You can take this air compressor with you wherever you go without a fuss. The one horsepower peak and one gallon capacity combine to make this one of the high performing air compressors on the market so that you get a machine that is capable of doing all the jobs you need it to.  From blowing up a paddling pool to keeping tires well maintained, this air compressor can do it all.

The Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor delivers up to 44 drives per minute depending on the tire or tool you are connecting it to, giving you the perfect range for all of your home projects, small construction jobs, or even just for hobbies.

PROS

  • The lightweight and easy to carry design makes moving and transporting the Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor quick and easy.  You can simply throw it in the trunk and forget about it, or tuck it into a corner of the garage for the next time you need it.
  • The built in handle is comfortable and makes trying to lift the air compressor much easier than models without.
  • The rubber footings keep the air compressor in place during use to enhance security and safety.
  • The high capacity and horsepower promise to provide you with the PSI that you need to get the job done. 
  • With a low voltage of 115 volts, this air compressor is much less likely to suffer malfunction or tripped breakers so that you can be sure it is as reliable as possible. 
  • With between 20 to 44 drives per minute, this air compressor recovers quickly and gives you all of the power that you need to get the job done.

CONS

  • The compressor shuts off at 125 PSI, so it is not as suitable as other models for large jobs or for high powered tools.
  •  Some consumers have noted that the internal parts such as the cooling fan have a habit of coming loose so it is important to ensure that you keep up to date with maintenance and check all of the moving parts to keep the air compressor working and keep you safe.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor is one of the best value and best performing, lightweight air compressors on the market in 2020.  Not only does it have a high PSI for its size, it is also incredibly lightweight and portable, offering you everything you need in terms of power and reliability. The low voltage reduces the risk of failure and the high number of drives per minute ensures that this little air compressor will get the job done. If you are looking for your first portable air compressor, look no further than the Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor, as you definitely will not be disappointed.

3. California Air Tools 2010A

FEATURES

The California Air Tools 2010A is an entirely oil free model so that you can save time and money on costly oil changes and replacement, keeping the upkeep of this air compressor much simpler than other models available. The 2 gallon, rust free aluminum pump has a motor capable of a 2 horsepower peak is both hard wearing and high capacity so that you can power most small tools and fill any tire or tank without a problem.

Capable of between 40 and 90 PSI, you can power most small tools, making this one of the most versatile options on the market right now, allowing you the freedom to use this air compressor for any job. The motor and pump run at only 60 decibels, which is much quieter than many available air compressors on the market.  So, if you are working in a quiet area or need to concentrate on using a tool, you won’t be annoyed by the California Air Tools 2010A.

PROS

  • The oil free design keeps maintenance requirements and overall upkeep costs low, making it a very reliable and very easy to use air compressor.
  • A two gallon pump contains plenty of air to power high powered tools when needed, so you won’t run out of air.
  • The high PSI capability is able to cope with larger tires and a range of tools so you are not limited by the California Air Tools 2010A.
  • At only 60 decibels, you won’t even notice the air compressor as it pumps so that you can concentrate on what you’re doing.
  • The 2 horsepower peak gives you greater speed when filling a tire or using a tool so that you can get the job done as soon as possible.

CONS

  • The tank and line air gauges are on different sides of the tank body which can make observation a little tricky
  • The recovery with this model is not very quick, especially if it shuts off due to an overload.  This can leave you having to wait until the system entirely resets before you can use it again.
  • The pump can take a little while to get to maximum pressure, which may leave you waiting to use the pump, which can slow down a project if the air compressor is not prepared beforehand.
  • The regulator cannot be adjusted, which limits you slightly in the range of uses with this model as you cannot go any lower than the factory setting.
  • Some consumers have said that the California Air Tools 2010A is not as quiet as it is advertised to be and may go up to 70 decibels, which might be annoying for those who need quiet in order to concentrate.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you are looking for one of the highest quality air compressors on the market, the California Air Tools 2010A will not disappoint.  Built for durability and versatile enough to offer a range of uses, this is one of the best options on the market for a small air compressor. At 35 pounds and capable of offering up to 90 PSY with a two gallon tank, this is one of the most powerful options available so that you can carry out almost any task without fear of mechanical failure.

The oil free design ensures that you don’t have to constantly be checking and replacing oil and the cost of maintenance is much lower than standard, oil requiring models. Although it may be slightly louder than advertised, the pump will still only hit a maximum of 70 decibels, which is much lower than the larger air compressors on the market.  If you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to small air compressors, you have found it.  The California Air Tools 2010A will offer you everything you need and then some.

What are the Benefits of Using Small Air Compressor?

Due to the advancements in certain technologies, manufacturers have been able to pack all of the power of a standard sized air compressor into a smaller version.  These small versions are capable of services all of the same consumer need without the weight or size of a standard model.  This means there are several benefits to purchasing a small air compressor as opposed to a large one.  There are so many reasons why a portable air compressor is a good purchase, but we will talk to you about three of the key benefits a smaller air compressor has in comparison to a large one. 

Portability

Smaller air compressors are incredibly portable because they are smaller and lighter than other models.  This means you can take it with you in the car or in the truck so that you constantly have a supply of air on hand whenever you need it.
Small air compressors have the same functionality as a standard model, so being able to use them for all of your air pumping needs whilst also being able to carry them around can be a huge benefit for users.
Many options also have wheels attached so that you can move it around the workroom or around the car to make sure that it is easy to get it to where you need it to be without having to carry around a heavy body.

Versatility

Small air compressors are capable of serving almost all of the same purposes as their larger counterparts, which makes them incredibly versatile and perfect for use in many different areas. Smaller air compressors are good for a great range of projects, but can also be used for hobbies at home or for fun in the garden.  Whatever you need an air compressor for, these smaller models are more than likely to be able to get the job done.

No Additional Air Hose Needed

Most smaller air compressors do not need an additional hose because they usually come with one attached.  This only needs maintenance if it requires a replacement but, otherwise, this keeps the overall cost of the whole system lower than if you were to need a larger model without any additions.


Strength and Tank Size

Small air compressors come with a range of tank sizes which will guide just how small the air compressor actually is.  In general, the larger the tank the more strength and power of the air supply coming from it will be, so this is important to keep in mind when purchasing your air compressor. If you need a lot of power, a small air compressor may not be for you. However, if you are looking for an air compressor for general use and to make sure that you can do many of the things a standard sized model can achieve, you may not need to go for a larger model to get what you need.

Make sure that you know what you need from your air compressor before purchasing, as you don’t want too little power, but you also don’t want to spend too much on power you won’t be using.  Try to align the tank and power of the air compressor with the most demanding task you need it to perform so that you are sure you get everything you need.


Additional Features

Due to their size and versatility, small air compressors can come with a range of additional features which may be useful for those with a home hobby or for general use around the home

Ball Valve Dra

All air compressors will have a valve train but there are two different kinds: a cock, which works like a cork, and a ball valve drain, which works like a tap.  These drains allow the water which builds up in the air compressor to be released so as to remain a good level of pressure within the tank.  A cock drain is tricky to use and many need pliers in order to remove.  A ball vale drain, on the other hand, can simply be opened and closed like a faucet and makes remiving the built up water incredibly easy.

A Cord Wrap

If you are going to be storing the air compressor in a garage or workspace, safety is a very important consideration.  You need to make sure that there are no tripping hazards, especially if you are working around sharp tools and powerful machines. A cord wrap means that you can keep the cord tucked away underneath the machine so that it doesn’t pose a danger to you or those around you and keeps your work area safe from trips and accidents.

Two Outlets

Most compressors only have one outlet for a hose, which is fine if you are going to only use the air compressor individually.  However, in a workspace, it may be beneficial to have two outlets so that two people can work with the compressor to maximize efficiency.  This is not as common in smaller air compressors, but some models still have this option available so that you can be working on multiple projects with the same air compressor.  The only down side is that you may need to purchase an extra cord to allow for the use of both outlets.

Kits and Accessories

Different tools will need different kinds of nozzles and hoses, so if you’re looking to maximize the use of your air compressor, it is a good idea to get an accessory kit or some extra hoses.  These kits can offer you a whole range of different nozzles to save you time trying to adapt the one you have to different outlets or inputs.  Longer hoses also allow you to work in higher spaces without having to lift the air compressor, which is also important to increase safety.  Longer hoses also come in a coil design which reduce the amount of space they take up when stored.


Conclusion

So, that’s it from us on small air compressors.  These machines are an excellent addition to your garage or workspace because they offer the same versatility as a standard sized model without the heavy or cumbersome size of the larger tanks.  With a great range of powers and features, you are sure to be able to find the perfect small air compressor to suit your needs. Our firm favorites are the Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor and the California Air Tools 2010A, which offer great value and great quality with every use. 

However, if you’re just getting started and are looking for something of higher value to dip your toes in, the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 is also a fantastic option for hobbies, small projects and road trips. We understand that there are a multitude of reasons why you may want to buy a small air compressor, so we hope that we have helped you find the one that suits your needs.


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