Top 10 Best Small Air Compressors For Different Uses – 2020 Update

Are you looking for a hand for some light to medium tasks around the house? What you need is the best small air compressor.

Below is a list of most reliable, durable small air compressors for you. Enjoy!

  • Senco PC1010 Air Compressor – Most lightweight
  • DEWALT D55140 Air Compressor – Best for finishing carpenters and woodworkers
  • California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Portable Air Compressor – Ultra Quiet
  • PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor – Best for small DIY projects
  • Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor – Best for job sites
  • DEWALT D55146 Hand Carry Compressor – Best for framing guns
  • Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor – best for roofing guns
  • Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor – Best for truck tires
  • DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor – High PSI
  • California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor – Best for quick projects

Top 10 Best Small Air Compressors For Different Uses

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor – Most lightweight

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor,Gray/Red

  • Handle various light-duty tasks
  • Quiet
  • Great price and great value
  • Small and compact


  • The small tank empties quickly

This small and lightweight air compressor is made of sturdy material. The aluminum storage tank and pipe fittings resist to rust and stand through time test. This machine weighs over 20 lbs. Together with a handle, you can certainly hoist it around.

It delivers 1 HP at peak and 0.5 rated HP. That gives enough power for the compressor to work. The model needs only 2 minutes to fill a 1-gallon air tank from 0 to 120 PSI. It requires 35 seconds to recover, which is quick in my opinion. The only downside is that the tank empties quickly.

The Senco PC1010 operates quietly at only 65 dBA. This small compressor is oil-free, thus requiring little maintenance.

Product Specifications

Horsepower1/2 HP
Cut-out Pressure125 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI0.4
SCFM @ 90 PSI0.7
Tank Size1 gallon
Amp Draw4
Pump Speed3400 RPM
Weight23 lbs
Noise Level65 dbA
Highlight FeaturesUltra-quiet and ultra-light lubeless pump compressor, direct drive induction motor/pump for efficient operation

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor – the most lightweight model – will provide great support for light-duty tasks such as airbrushing, nailing and tire inflating.

DEWALT D55140 Air Compressor – Best for finishing carpenters and woodworkers

DEWALT D55140 Air Compressor
DEWALT Air Compressor, 135-PSI Max, 1 Gallon (D55140)

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy storage
  • Sturdy design
  • Stable leg supports


  • No accessories include

Another lightweight and compact air compressor for home use, the DEWALT D55140 is a well-rounded choice for various jobs around the house. The roll cage design adds a layer of protection.

I completely fall in love with the four-leg supports as well since they provide balance and stability for the compressor to stand on any surface.

Thanks to the compactness, this small compressor is easy to store. It is also very energy-efficient and offers quick recovery.

The downside? You will be disappointed to know that no accessories are included, not even the air hose.

Product Specifications

Cut-in Pressure105 PSI
Cut-out Pressure135 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI1.0
SCFM @ 90 PSI0.75 SCFM
Tank Size1 Gallon
Amp Draw 2.6
Noise Level71 dBA
Highlight FeaturesHeavy-duty 1-gallon trim compressor with protective roll cage, efficient and unique design, high-surge performance and quick recovery

DEWALT D55140 Air Compressor, enabling more nails and quick recovery time, is a perfect option for woodworkers and finishing carpenters.

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S – Ultra Quiet

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver

  • Ultra-quiet
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Less heat more efficient
  • Durable pump life
  • Low vibration


  • The pressure regulator is made of flimsy plastic.

The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S offers a few features that would make your DIY tasks around the house easily achieved. This compressor is exceptionally quiet. Producing only 56 dBA, less than a normal conversation, you can certainly use it inside the house.

It weighs roughly 30 lbs, super light to carry around. Plus, the California Air Tool doesn’t generate heat during the compression, thus is more energy-efficient. It has next to zero vibration, making the working process smooth and effortless.

The only thing I have to complain about is the pressure regulator. It seems that it is made of flimsy and easy-to-break plastic. You need to be extra careful when handling this regulator.

Product Specifications

Horsepower0.6 HP (Rated)/ 1.2 HP (Peak)
Cut-in Pressure80 PSI
Cut-out Pressure120 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI1.60 CFM
SCFM @ 90 PSI1.20 CFM
Tank Size1.0 gallon
Amp Draw4.5 Amp
Pump Speed1680 RPM
Weight29.5 lbs
Noise Level 56 dB
Highlight FeaturesOil-Free pump, Thermal Overload Protector, one universal 1/4″ quick connector

Love working with an ultra-quiet, low-vibration compressor? The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Portable Air Compressor is your answer.

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 – Best for small DIY projects

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

  • Portable
  • Decent basic compressor
  • Highly reliable
  • 5-gallon tank gives you plenty of time to work


  • No accessories included.
  • Quite noisy

Don’t be misguided by the size of this small compressor. This is a decent basic compressor that can be very helpful when it comes to inflating tires and various small tasks around the house.

This compressor is also compatible with various pneumatic hand tools and can even handle die grinder for a short while. Porter-Cable recommends not to run this machine continuously for 45 minutes. You should stop every 30 minutes.

The Porter-Cable is indeed lightweight. It is suitable to use both indoor and RVs or boats.

There are two things I don’t like about this compressor. It is quite noisy, producing over 80 dBA. Also, the compressor comes without any accessories, which can be a bit annoying since you have to buy air hoses separately.

Product Specifications

Horsepower0.8 HP
Cut-in Pressure105 PSI
Cut-out Pressure135 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI3.0 CFM
SCFM @ 90 PSI2.0 CFM
Tank Size3.5 Gallon
Amp Draw10
Noise Level82 dBA
Highlight Features3.5 gallon tank and 135 max PSI for longer run time and quicker recovery, durable oil-free pump, easy portability

This versatile and portable Porter Cable PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor is a must-have item for your home workshop.

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore – Best for job sites

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

  • Roll-cage for additional protection
  • Vibration-free
  • Compact and portable
  • Well-built


  • Quite heavy

I’m a big fan of roll-cage design because not only it looks cool but also it adds another layer of protection to the machine. This Makita MAC2400, adopting the roll-cage design, looks completely sturdy and durable.

This compressor is not necessary lightweight, but it is certainly compact and portable. Featuring a handle with grip and four supporting legs, the Makita compressor makes working hassle-free.

With massive tank size and powerful horsepower, this compressor can work for a long time and handle various air tools.  This model comes with Big Bore™ engineered pump cylinder and piston, famous for being durable and vibration-free.

Product Specifications

Horsepower2.5 HP
Cut-in Pressure100 PSI
Cut-out Pressure130 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI4.8
SCFM @ 90 PSI4.2
Tank Size4.2 gallons
Amp Draw12.3
Pump Speed1720 RPM
Noise Level79 dBA
Highlight FeaturesBuilt-in thermal overload, lever handle ball valve-tank drain valve, Durable cast iron cylinder, large automotive style industrial air filter

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor with the rugged design and high efficiency is a powerful machine for job sites.

DEWALT D55146 Hand Carry – Best for framing guns

DEWALT D55146 Hand Carry
DEWALT Air Compressor, 225-PSI Max, Hand Carry with Wheels, 4-1/2 Gallon (D55146)

  • Wheels and handles make transport easier
  • Durable steel tank
  • Great for Framing & Roofing
  • Low maintenance


  • The power cord is quite short

This DeWalt model is designed vertically, saving plenty of space for storing. It also features 10-inch non-flat wheels and collapsible handles for easy transportation.

The compressor produces 225 max PSI and features a massive 4.5 gallons, which supplies 80% more usable air than conventional counterparts. The D55146 offers high flow coupler for the best nailer performance.

It also comes with EHP® technology which extends the longevity of the pump and motor pump. Plus durable steel tank just makes the whole machine a reliable long-term helper. This oil-free compressor requires minimum maintenance.

Some people complain that the power cord is a bit short, but you can always fix it with an extended cord.

Product Specifications

Horsepower1.6 HP
Cut-in Pressure150 PSI
Cut-out Pressure225 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI6.5 CFM
Tank Size4.5 GAL
Pump Speed1,750 RPM
Noise Level78 dBA
Highlight FeaturesRecover quickly, vertical stand feature and collapsible handle, quiet operation, 10-inch non-flat foam tires

DEWALT D55146 Hand Carry Compressor, powerful and reliable, provides you with enough usable air for your pneumatic tools. It is just perfect for framing and roofing tasks.

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore – best for roofing guns

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor

  • Rugged wheels and handle for easy transport
  • Versatile Design
  • Solid construction
  • Affordable price with great value


  • Quite noisy

Another versatile compressor from Makita, the MAC5200 offers easy-to-use and convenient features to handle different jobs. The 5.2-gallon tank delivers enough compressed air for two nailers at single-use.

This oil-free compressor runs cool and dissipates heat effectually. The roll-cage construction with durable Big Bore™ cylinder and piston allows the compressor to withstand different job site conditions.

It comes with handle and wheels to make transport less hassle.

What to complain? The MAC5200 is indeed heavy. Its noise level is nowhere near my comfortable line.

Product Specifications

Horsepower3 HP
Cut-in Pressure110 PSI
Cut-out Pressure140 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI6.9
SCFM @ 90 PSI 6.5 CFM
Tank Size5.2
Amp Draw13.8
Pump Speed3420 RPM
Noise Level90 dBA
Highlight FeaturesCast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston, oil-lubricated pump, built-in thermal overload, roll-cage construction, large automotive style industrial air filter

I highly recommend Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor for garage and outdoor tasks. It can accommodate most light and medium-duty pneumatic air tools.

Bostitch BTFP02012 – Best for truck tires

Bostitch BTFP02012
BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)

  • Large tank size
  • Easy to carry
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Builds up pressure pretty quick
  • Solid built


  • A bit loud

If you are looking for a reliable compressor for small tasks such as inflating truck tires, you probably want to have a look at Bostitch BTFP02012. This model features a 6-gallon tank that provides enough for various car tires.

From 120 PSI to 150 PSI, this model requires only 30 seconds to reach the maximum pressure. At 90 PSI, it delivers 2.6 SCFM, which is adequate to handle two air tools at the same time. The powerful motor can function well in cold weather too.

The Bostitch BTFP02012 offers two universal couplers that allow you to work with two air tools at a time. For example, you can run two hoses and two air guns concurrently while doing some trimming works.

The only disappointment is that it produces 78.5 dBA of noise level, which is considered loud to some people.

Product Specifications

Horsepower0.8 HP
Cut-in Pressure120 PSI
Cut-out Pressure150 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI3.7
SCFM @ 90 PSI2.6
Tank Size6.0 gallon
Amp Draw10
Weight29 lb
Noise Level78.5 dBA
Highlight FeaturesHigh flow regulator and couplers, long-life oil-free, maintenance-free pump for convenient use, High efficiency motor

Small, compact, solid built, the Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor covers a great area of small to medium tasks. It is a great handy assistant you want in your house.


DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)

  • Easy to store
  • Work well in cold weather
  • Lightweight
  • Heavy-duty


  • Quite noisy
  • The ball bearings are small.

This DeWALT pancake model is a great option for those who require a powerful operation. It delivers 165 maximum PSI for a 6-gallon air tank. This allows the machine to run two air tools simultaneously and also enable quick recovery.

I like the round body shape of this pancake compressor. The design helps upgrade the storage capacity as well as the visual look. It is quite compact and lightweight, so you can carry it around and find a good spot to store it in your garage.

With the powerful motor and maximum PSI, this little guy can complete different jobs such as nail gun handling, air painting, and some construction sealing. The pressure gauge offers a wide variety of pressure so that you don’t have to reach maximum PSI all the time.

The ball bearings are quite small. Sometimes it can leak air out.

Product Specifications

Horsepower0.9 HP
Cut-in Pressure135 PSI
Cut-out Pressure165 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI 3.7 SCFM
Tank Size6.0 gallon
Amp Draw10 amps
Weight30 lbs
Noise Level75.5 dBA
Highlight FeaturesHigh efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application, high flow regulator and couplers, convenient cord wrap for easy storage

The DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor is a convenient and powerful air compressor that can cover various home-based tasks.

California Air Tools 8010 – Best for quick projects

California Air Tools 8010
California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp Steel Tank Air Compressor, 8 gal, Silver

  • Super quiet
  • Hold air well
  • The price is affordable
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Short recovery time


  • Assembly is a bit tricky.

The silver California Air Tools 8010 is exceptionally quiet, producing only 60 dBA of noise. Within 165 seconds, it can fill up an 8-gallon empty tank to full. The amperage draw is quite low, so frequent users don’t have to pay a fortune for this compressor to function.

The oil-free pump means less maintenance. It weighs only 48 lbs, and with wheels and handle, you can easily maneuver it to job sites. You can purchase this compressor at a very affordable price. Some people find the assembling process is a bit tricky, so if you aren’t confident you may want to ask for help or watch instruction videos on YouTube before giving it a go.

Product Specifications

Horsepower1 HP (Rated), 2 HP (Peak)
Cut-in Pressure100 PSI
Cut-out Pressure120 PSI
SCFM @ 40 PSI3
SCFM @ 90 PSI2.20
Tank Size8 gallon
Amp Draw8.5 Amps
Pump SpeedFill tank from empty to full: 130 seconds

Recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI: 30 seconds

Weight48 lbs
Noise Level60 dBA
Highlight FeaturesOil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs; Comes complete with Wheel Kit & Air Filter

California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor is your go-to option for general quick jobs, DIY projects or any personal use.

How to choose the best small air compressor (buying guide)

small air compressor

Looking at the product specifications, most of us find it confusing to read and understand all the numbers. If you just want to find a small air compressor for simple tasks at home, focus on some key elements.

Certainly, small air compressors aren’t for heavy-duty tools. You should keep your tiny machine away from pneumatic paint sprayers or sanders.

So what are the key elements to choose the best-for-your-buck air compressor? Here are they.

CFM is important

CFM stands for cubic feet per minutes, indicating the speed (fast/slow) a small air compressor can provide air. When you use an air compressor on a tool that requires much faster air supply, you will have to stop your tool and wait for your compressor to accumulate air.

Small air compressors are no match for air-hungry tools. Take a look at the CFM rating to make sure you buy a suitable compressor.

Tank size

Small air compressors offer tank sizes from 1 to 8 gallons. Typically, compressors with large tank size can hold air longer, meaning longer working time before the tank needs to be refilled again. However, don’t mistake tank size for CFM rating.

If your project requires a large volume of air, a big tank isn’t helpful if the CFM rating is low.


Most people think portability is all about weight. Weight isn’t the only element in making a compressor portable. The design and shape are essential too. Compact design with thin shape will make it easier to move around.

Plus, a handle and sometimes wheels can be helpful too.

Noise level

The noise level of small air compressor ranges from 60 to 87 dBA. While 60 dBA is equivalent to the sound of normal conversation. The noise level of 70 dBA is already twice as loud. So an 80-dBA air compressor could be 4 times louder than a 60-dBA one.

When shopping for a small air compressor, maybe you want to make sure your air compressor isn’t too loud, especially if you want to work indoor.

Who makes the best small air compressor?

small air compressor


DeWALT with its signature yellow color always brings satisfaction with sturdily built and reliable air compressors.

California Air Tools

One of the best manufacturers in the market, California Air Tools offers top-quality, innovative air compressors for both home and commercial uses.


Durable, reliable and powerful, you can easily find these traits in any of Bostitch products. They offer a wide range of air compressors with different types and price ranges.


With over 100 years of experience, Makita knows exactly what you need. They are the leading in innovation and best-in-class air compressors.


Porter-Cable offers affordable power tools and accessories. Their air compressors are portable and highly efficient.


This U.S. company provides best-for-for-the-buck air compressors, infused with advanced technology and robust designs.


best small air compressor

Do compressors increase temperature?

Compressing air can sometimes generate heat. Adiabatic compression describes the situation in which air is heated up too fast or in a perfectly insulated container. That could happen inside your air compressor when it is compressing air.

However, in most case, the machine will cool off very quickly when it comes to the endpoint. In case the air becomes too hot, then it indicates some internal problems of your air compressor.

Which is better oil or oilless air compressor?

The difference between oil and oilless air compressor is the usage of oil to lubricate the piston. While oilless compressors coat and lubricate the cylinder with permanent Teflon, oiled counterparts require regular oil changes to make sure the piston chamber up and running.

In term of maintenance, oil-free compressors require less of your attention. What’s more, oil-free compressors aren’t very bulky because they accommodate fewer parts. The cost of oil-free machines is generally cheaper.

However, when it comes to durability, oiled counterparts win. Without constant maintenance, regardless of oiled or oil-free, air compressors can get dry easily.

Oilless compressors are a sound option for home use, while oiled models are often used for commercial purposes.

Do air compressors use a lot of electricity?

It depends on many factors to determine whether air compressors use a lot of electricity. How long you operate your air compressor is one of them. Technical specifications of a compressor can also affect the volume of electricity it requires.

Energy-efficient air compressors tend to consume less electricity than conventional ones.

Do you have to refill air compressors?

Air compressors need adequate air inside the tank to function properly. Typically, your air compressor will refill the tank automatically. If you are in the middle of a project, you may need to wait for the air compressor to do the work.

Does psi matter air compressor?

For small air compressors, PSI rating isn’t a big deal compared to CFM. Most air compressors supply adequate pressure for most tools and tasks, that’s why PSI rating usually doesn’t matter much.

However, a high max psi can bring a benefit since it helps compressors with a small tank to hold a big volume of air.

How much psi do I need to fill tires?

Most cars provide tire pressure on a sticker inside the driver’s door. Otherwise, you can find the information on the owner’s manual. The common PSI for car ranges from 32 to 32 PSI. If you aren’t sure, check the tire gauge. When setting the PSI to fill tires, you just set your regulator a bit more than what the tires need.

The bottom line

A small air compressor could be a handy assistant since it can handle most light-duty tasks around the house. Choosing the best small air compressors aren’t an easy task, but my recommendations and instruction are clear and simple. Follow them then your comfort will be secured.

Related reviews

Best Air Compressors For Air Tools

Best Air Compressors For Home Garage

Best Air Compressors For Painting Cars

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Leave a Comment