They rely on compressed air to get the job done. This requires an air compressor. Of course, air compressors are good for other things than just powering pneumatic tools. Airing tires, blowing work areas and more, are all part of the workload for the air compressor. Starting from large static units to the now more portable units, air compressors are a vital part of any tool kit, workshop or job site equipment list.
Getting to Know the Compressor
Many people are familiar with the small compact, compressors that plug into the lighter socket in their car. Primarily used to air tires for a flat these small compressors do not produce enough power or compressed air to use larger tools and they take a while to get the air pressure up in the tire. Larger compressors use either a rotary device called an impeller or a piston to compress the air and store this air under pressure in a small storage tank. Compressors use the fact that energy is stored in air by compressing it and that when the air transitions to normal pressures it transfers this kinetic energy allowing it to do work.
This is how it relates to pneumatic tools. This transition causes the tool to function. One of the more common examples is the jackhammer. However, many workshops, autoshops and more use pneumatic tools because they are less expensive to use over the life of the tool and can handle a wide range of different tasks depending on the tool. Regardless of any specific tool, air compressors are an important appliance to have in the home or job site , as it has many different uses.
Five Top Air Compressors in the Sub $200 Market
Top Portable Compressor to Buy
This compressor – Campbell Hausfeld Model #FP209499 Air Compressor is designed to eliminate pulses by the piston, making this one of the quieter compressors. It uses a three gallon tank and it has a user friendly control panel and motor. It has two mounted gauges for precise control and it comes with a full accessory kit to fit a variety of connections.
This is an electric power compressor and as such it has a cooler running motor. Designed for home or workshop use, this is a great compressor for handling light to medium duty tasks including pneumatic tool use.
Best Portable Air Compressor on the Market
This pancake style compressor is compact and portable weighing less than 27 pounds. The PORTER-CABLE Model #PCFP02003 Air Compressor has a 3.5 gallon tank and produces a maximum pressure of 135 psi. It has a quick recovery and uses an oil free pump, thereby requiring less maintenance over other models. Air delivery is 2 square cubic feet per minute at 90 psi. It has two gauges for precise monitoring and it comes with a dual quick connect rig.
It produces 82 db of sound and uses an electric connection. It is also designed for quick starting even in cold weather. Overall, a great compressor for home or construction work.
Best Trim Compressor to Buy
This super portable air compressor has a 1.2 gallon tank weighs less than 24 pounds. The BOSTITCH Model #CAP1512-OF Air Compressor has a roll cage to prevent workplace damage and uses a high output compression system for high pressure tools. Max operating pressure is 150 psi and has 2.8 cubic feet per minute at 90 psi. It is designed with a max 12 amp motor to prevent breaker tripping and it is easy to start in cold weather.
It has dual gauges for precise air monitoring and it uses a LED switch to indicate on and off to prevent low pressure misfires. This is a great workplace or workshop air compressor that would be equally at place in the home garage. The oil free pump means longer life and that translates into longer tool life.
Top Rated Affordable Air Compressor
DeWalt is a leading tool manufacturer and this compressor is designed to handle all pneumatic tools. Portable, coming in at 30 pounds, this pancake style compressor has a 6 gallon tank for longer work time per charge. The DEWALT Model #DWFP55126 Air Compressor has a maximum operating pressure of 165 pounds and produces 2.6 cubic feet of air per minute at 90 psi.
Designed to easily start in cold weather, it is also relatively quiet running with less than 76db. It has dual gauges and has a high pressure regulator for maximum tool work. This is a great compressor for the construction site, ranch or even the home workshop.
Best Air Compressor under $200
Makita is a leading tool manufacturer and it is a recognized leader in that field. This compressor – Makita Model #MAC700 Air Compressor has a 2.0 horsepower motor with a big bore piston to produce excellent results in both longevity and compression. The cast iron pump has a longer stroke for maximum performance. The pump is oil lubricated which translates to a cooler running pump and thus less wear on the overall unit.
The pump strokes are 1,720 RPM and it has a significantly less noise generation than other compressors at the same size. It uses a low amp draw to protect breakers from tripping and it uses a 2.6 gallon tank for storage. It is heavier than other portable compressors with a weight of less than 57 pounds and it is roll bar protected from damage at a construction site.
It has two gauges for precise monitoring of both the hose and tank pressures. It has a maximum operating pressure of 135 psi. This is an excellent compressor that offers both good pressure and longevity in terms of the pump and use. Great for either home use, in the workshop or on the job site.