Whether a small contractor or spray painter, a small air compressor is your need of the hour.
It will help you for small projects or take a mighty compressor to your job site. In fact, you can use it to inflate tires, pool toys, and sports equipment.
And, if you fret seeing a range of air compressors in the market, we have got your back.
Today, we will review the best small air compressor with versatile use
We have picked the best budget-friendly to quiet, and low-maintenance units.
So, you can choose one that fits in your shoe. Let’s get into reviewing.
Comparing the Best Small Air Compressor
1. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor
Best all-around Small Air Compressor
Craftsman air compressor is the best small air compressor for small projects, or inflating your vehicle’s tire. It offers versatile uses thanks to its maximum pressure of 150. With a 71 decibels sound, it isn’t as quiet as Makita air compressors, but still a reliable unit on the market.
Thanks to its 32.5 pounds and compact size of 16.5 x 16.5 x 17.88 inches, you can trade it with ease. In fact, it is easy to store and occupies a little space due to its pancake design. We tested its reliability by leaving the air in the tank for a few days (we don’t suggest it, though), and it held the air tight.
The 6-gallon tank is more than enough to perform several tasks and pair with a number of air tools, including an impact wrench. Despite the tool, you can adjust its pressure instantly. So, your subject is safe from overfilling.
At 90 PSI, it provides 2.6 CFM, which is fair enough for inflating tires in the garage or at home. It is an easy-to-use model, but we’d suggest checking out the manual once to understand the operation better. Remember to close the valve at the bottom to keep the air inside once the package arrives.
Out of the box, it comes as a package and includes 13 accessory pieces. These accessories include an air hose with coupler and plug, blow gun with safety nozzle, blow gun with plug, tire gauge, three inflator adaptors, tire chuck with plug, and rubber tip. So, you can plug an adaptor and get your desired job done.
- Best for multiple purposes
- Large tank
- Low noise and easy to use
- High CFM portable air compressor
- A bit noisy
2. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor
Best Small Air Compressor for Air Tools
If you cannot manage to maintain an air compressor weekly, the Bostitch air compressor is what you need handy. It is an oil-free pancake compressor. With that said, the durable aluminum tank requires no regular maintenance.
The two-coupler design allows for pairing with two air tools simultaneously. As a result, you can save effort and time and finish the job quickly. However, you can connect one at a time and close the other if minimal work is required.
It’s great for working around the house. With the 150 maximum pressure, it agrees to do roofing, finishing, and trimming jobs. Although it produces 78 decibels of sound, we found it loud for the ears. So, better put on ear portectors when using it.
As a compact design with 17 x 17 x 19.25 inches and a weight of 29 pounds, it is easy to transport with the handle on top. It is ideal for slopped terrain as the legs have rubber tips to keep the unit stable. Since it comes with a 60 inches power cord, we noticed that it needs an extension cord.
Powered by electricity, the 6-gallon tank is quite durable and stealing for the price. Not only this, it comes with a warranty of 1 year. You can also have a combo kit with a framing nailer for this air compressor. Check out the price and availability of the compressor on this date.
- Reasonable price
- Fills quickly
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Two universal couplers
- Short power cord
3. DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator
Best Small Air Compressor for Home Shop
Despite being one of the best small air compressors for tires, it also gets the job done around the home. You can use it to inflate your camping mattress, pillow, cushion, pool rings, or sports equipment. It is a multifunctional device.
From SUVs and bicycles to truck tires, you can use this air compressor to inflating every tire. As per the manufacturers, it takes 4 min and 38 seconds to inflate a car tire from 0 to 35 PSI. In contrast, the truck tires inflate within 8 min, and 15 seconds from 0 to 35 PSI. We find these readings spot on.
It is a small-size air compressor with a mighty weight of 2.94 pounds. While the black handle on top is helpful for transporting it to the job site.
Running on three power sources of 20 Volt battery, 12 Volt DC, or 110 volts, it allows you to inflate anything, anytime, anywhere. As it doesn’t come with a cord and battery to operate, buying one falls on your part.
There is also a digital meter on the side of the unit. So, you can reset the pressure for every next vehicle you are about to operate it on. It has to offer a maximum pressure of 160 PSI. Its auto shut-off feature sets it apart from traditional air compressors that demand manual handling.
- Two ways operable
- Lighted digital meter
- Auto shut off and LED light
- Quick refilling
- Doesn’t includes a battery
4. California Air Tools 8010
Best Small Air Compressor for Woodworking
Since this California air tools air compressor is 8 gallons, you can use it for woodworking. That means it has better efficiency, and run for an extended period. While it has a maximum pressure of 120, it gives off 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI.
The low-maintenance air compressor frees you from oiling the unit daily. Although heavy with 48 pounds, this unit stays up to the mark for a long time. As a hotdog air compressor, it has wheels on the bottom to transport it from point A to point B.
Use it on an impact wrench or a brad nailer to get your finishing, framing, and trimming job done. Of all the compressor listed, it is one of the quietest air compressors, with 60 dB noise. It is as quiet as the Makita air compressor, so there’s no need to put the ear protectors on.
It’s pretty easy to use, especially the pressure regulator. You need to pull the knob and rotate clockwise to increase the pressure. While turning the knob anti-clockwise reduces the pressure. Besides, it takes 130 seconds in total to refill the empty tank.
- Very low noise
- Oil-free design
- Great for home around chores
- Large tank
- Pretty expensive
5. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit
Best Small Air Compressor for RV Tires
While this Porter Cable air compressor is best for small jobs, it’s ideal for RVs. You can also inflate your car and truck tires easily, making it perfect for the home garage. With it, you get 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.
Coming with an accessory kit of 8 pieces, it gives you the freedom to inflate a range of vehicle’s tire. While the 25 feet hos allow reaching all tires of your car seamlessly. We find it a little noisy at 79 dB, so wear your ear protectors to keep your ears safe.
The Porter-Cable air compressor is easy to travel with. At 20 pounds, you can easily stahs in and out the car. Add in here its compact size of 15.5 x 13.25 x 20.5 inches that will easily fit in the trunk of your vehicle. In fact, you can store it in a packed space of your home or garage.
Take note that it has a 1.5 gallon tank size. That means the air compressor can do all the small projects. It’s one of the best small air compressors with low maintenance and one year of warranty.
- Compact and durable
- Includes accessories
- Not too noisy
- Falls over, sometimes
6. Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator
Best 110V Small Air Compressor
If you are looking for one of the best 110V air compressors, Kensun has got you covered. This air compressor is versatile and allows you to use it on AC and DC power. It comes with two types of plugs for the two power sources. That said, you can connect it to the car cigarette lighter or outlet in your home.
As it has a digital meter, it allows you to preset the pressure required for your task. However, it shuts down automatically once the set pressure is reached. The auto shut-off feature makes your life easier and permits you to stay hands free while inflation.
The smartly designed unit consists of an LED light. This LED light backs you up to inflate tires after the sun has gone down. One thing more is its storage. The manufacturer includes a carrying bag to keep the compressor from dirt and dust. Know that its power cord is a little short.
Whether bike, car, truck, or bicycle, you can inflate any vehicle’s tires. It is also made to fill the air in small household objects like balls and mattresses. Including two attachments for inflation sets it apart from other air compressors.
- High quality built
- Emergency light
- Carriage bag
- Two years warranty
- DC cable is short
7. Ryobi Portable Power Inflator
Best Small Budget-Friendly Air Compressor
Ryobi inflator is one of the best small air compressors for buyers on a budget. It fits the bills and has a small footprint to sit easily in the trunk of your vehicle. Know that it is a battery-operated unit but lacks one. So, you have to get one for it.
It has enough power to do all light-duty tasks easily. Lightweight at 2.96 ounces and compact with a dimension of 9.33 x 7.52 x 3.15 inches, it is a portable unit that you must have in your car for emergencies.
The noise it produces is easy on the ears. One of the foremost benefits is that it’s easy to use. All you have to do is insert the batteries to get it started. You get a 20 inches long hose with it, and we noticed that it’s on the stiff side.
It takes a little while to get the inflation job done but it is reliable unit. We used it on a soft automobile tire, and it took 2 minutes to inflate from 26 PSI to 32 PSI. However, you can also use it at home for inflating pool toys and sports equipment.
- Easy on wallet
- Digital gauge
- Lightweight and simple usage
- Handy and quiet
- Takes a little while to inflate
8. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
Best Small Air Compressor for Roofing
California Air is best at manufacturing air compressors with an extremely low voice. Here’s another instance from their exquisite models, CAT-1P1060S. It produces 56 dB sound, so no more you have to bear the deafening sound while inflation.
Thanks to its compact size of 12.5 x 17.4 x 14.75 inches and lightweight of 29 pounds, you can easily transport it from one job site to another. Being oil-free, it keeps you from spending extra time and money on its maintenance. We didn’t find its finishes good, though.
While it needs electric power to run, it has a maximum of 120 PSI with 1.20 CFM at 90 PSI and a motor of 0.6 HP. Due to its heavy-duty motor, and good maximum pressure, you can use it for inflating bikes, cars, SUVs, RVs, and truck tires.
Not only this, but you can also pair it with finish nails, brad nail guns, staple guns, and airbrushes to perform around-the-house tasks. In fact, we used it at home for refilling air in the pool rings and toys of kids. Keep in mind that it is featured with 1 gallon.
- Quiet and lightweight
- Comes with two gauges
- Low maintenance product
- Fit and finishes are great
- Finishes are not good
9. Master Airbrush Mini Air Compressor
Best Small Air Compressor for Painting
Whether you are a weekend DIY painter or a professional artist, the Master Airbrush air compressor kit is the best way to get your painting job done. It costs you reasonably for a built-in airbrush, AC adapter, compressor, and hose.
It is a small-sized portable air compressor of 9.21 x 8.39 x 5.08 inches and has a tankless design. You can easily carry it for spray painting tasks from one place to another. It is a very lightweight model with only 2.3 pounds weight.
Featured with an automatic shut-off mechanism, it turns off once reaching the pressure you set. You can also adjust its pressure with the help of a knob located on the top.
Both acrylic and oil paint is usable with this air compressor. It includes a large hose of 6 feet so you can get started with the paint job right after the delivery.
Acetone, water soap, or nail thinner, you can use any of these three options to clean it up. To clean, pour one of these 3 elements in some water, and spray it out. Remember to clean the needle as well. It’s important to mention that the cleaning part is a bit challenging.
- Adjustable pressure
- Best for every painter
- Easy to handle
- Lenient price
- Tricky to clean
10. Makita DMP180ZX
Best Easy to Maneuver Air Compressor
Makita DMP180ZX is a battery-powered unit and one of the best air compressors if you move here and there for projects. It has premium quality materials and needs a 1/4 inches air hose to couple with.
At 2.65 pounds, it’s pretty lightweight and adds to its portability. This compact design compressor of 14.5 x 15.3 x 12.2 inches is easy to tote around and fits in tight places.
Other than inflating tires, it’s also best for refilling pool toys and sports equipment. Although a battery-operated model, one doesn’t come along. The positive here is that you can operate it anywhere, just with a single click.
The unit consists of a 120 maximum PSI that you can adjust according to your demand. It turns off once your prescribed level is attained to prevent any overfill.
One main concern we have with this air compressor is the lack of a trigger lock. Ultimately, you have to hold it for the time it is in working. However, the rubber pads make the job easier, giving you a tight grip.
- Durable and powerful
- Adjustable pressure
- Three years warranty
- Digital display and auto shut off
- Lacks trigger lock
11. Makita MAC100Q
Best Smallest AC Compressor
Makita MAC100Q comes from the ‘Quiet Series’ of Makita. With 58 dB sound, it produces a noise that you and your neighbors can tolerate. The 1-gallon unit runs on an electric source that is backed by a motor of 0.5 HP.
Although labeled as 29.2 pounds, we find it so lightweight and easy to handle with a single hand. One nice feature of the Makita compressor is its pressure control through the knob. Use it to set the pressure according to what you want to inflate.
While it gives off 0.7 CFM on 90 PSI, it has a maximum pressure of 150. It is usable for multiple chores like DIY, interior installation, airbrushing, and framing. You can also use it to inflate car tires. However, its recovery time is slow.
The oil-free piston pumps get things handy for you. Not only does it have a small footprint, but the gauge provides you with accurate readings. As it doesn’t require regular maintenance, operating it is pretty convenient.
- Just a little hum noise
- Sturdy built and excellent finishes
- Lightweight and portable
- Best for multiple purposes
- Slower recovery time
12. VIAIR – 40045
Best Small Air Compressor with Carrying Case
VIAIR 40045 is a must-have in the vehicle if you are an off-roader. Coming with a storage bag, it protects the machine from dust and grime to stay in good shape for long years to come.
It is one of the small, powerful air compressors with an adjustable pressure setting. Since it has an automatic shut-off feature, it turns off once a preset pressure is reached and keeps you from eyeing every time you inflate an object. It produces 74 dB sound and is safe for your ears.
The maximum power it delivers is 150 PSI. We’d say it performs quickly as it inflated our car tire from 20 to 37 within 90 seconds. Besides, it comes with an anti-vibration tray. Keep this tray under the tray to prevent your unit from vibrations.
Both inflation gun and air hose come along with this air compressor. Howevrer, it falls on the expensive side compared to other air compressors here.
- Easy to use
- Heavy-duty design
- Comes with an anti-vibration tray
- Portable and auto shut off
- Falls on the expensive side
How to Buy The Best Small Air Compressor?
There are tons of choices in the best small air compressor list. This buying guide will be helpful in shortlisting a couple of units for your needs. So, make sure to check it out.
Purpose of Air Compressor
Before buying an air compressor, ask yourself, why are you buying it? Is it for inflating car tires, around the house porjects, or simply inflating the pool toys and mattresses you have at home? Pick a specific type for your need. However, the better would be to have a unit with versatile use as we listed above.
To be specific, there are two types of air compressors that is electric and battery-powered. Keep in mind where and why you’ll need one when choosing an air compressor.
While battery-powered air compressors are quite rare and cordless, they are best to keep in your car to inflate tires. When it comes to electric corded air compressors, they are powerful enough for around the house job, refilling toys, and inflating tires.
A lightweight air compressor will always be easy on your arm and allow you to easily travel from one job to another. Prioritize having an air compressor with minimal weight.
Number of Gallons
The larger the tank, the larger and diversified usage it promises. For cars, mattresses, sports equipment, and DIY projects, 2-6 gallon tanks are more than enough. It will also make the tire inflation job handy.
PSI is the unit of pressure an air compressor gives off. The higher it’ll be, the better it’ll be. 150 is the maximum and ideal PSI in a small air compressor since most air tools and projects would demand less than 90 PSI.
A small air compressor with an automatic shut-off is always a plus. It promises freedom when inflating a tire and helps avoid human error. So, try to have an air compressor with this feature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an oil-free small air compressor worthy?
Oil-free air compressors are worth enough units. However, you cannot compare its lifetime to high maintenance air compressor since oil keeps them in good condition for long years to come.
Why is a small air compressor used?
Small air compressors are handy and easy to travel with. Depending on their size, they are usable for refilling air in tires (cars, bikes, trucks, and bicycles), mattresses, balls, air tools, and toys.
Does a pancake air compressor fill tires?
Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t use a pancake air compressor for tire inflation. Be it a truck, car, SUV, or RV; you can use a pancake air compressor to fill the tires of every vehicle.
Which air compressors are quiet?
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, Makita MAC100Q, California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S, California Air Tools 8010, Ryobi Portable Power Inflator, and VIAIR 400P Portable Compressors are the quietest air compressor. Not only are these air compressors quiet, but they are excellent in performance.
What oil is best for a small air compressor?
It all depends on your manufacturer’s recommendation. Use the type of oil your manufacturer refers to. However, most of them suggest a 20-30 weight oil. In contrast, they advice avoiding mineral oil.
These were the best small air compressor with versatile use. They are all lightweight, handy to carry with a small footprint, offer inflating a wide range of tires and around-the-house projects, and are fairly priced.
We believe the Craftsman Air compressor is the most versatile unit here and worth the pennies. It comes with an accessory kit that helps inflate vehicle tires and large tank size of 6 gallons for around-the-house jobs. As a pancake design, it occupies a small room in the home or garage.
Check out its price and availability on this date.