How to Choose a Small Air Compressor


You’ll be able to see the specifications on small air compressors when you shop for one, get on this page to have more knowledge about them. They’re 2 hp and 3 gal., with 2.8 cfm, 130 PSI, 73dB. But don’t let that confuse you. We will explain what these specs mean and tell you which ones are important.

We tested more than 20 compressors and chose eight we felt were the best for DIYers. Because they are small and portable, but powerful enough to handle most DIY projects, we focused on mid-sized models.

We found that none of the small compressors tested were good companions for air-hungry tools such as paint sprayers, sanders, and pneumatic wrenches. You will need a larger compressor to power these tools. Our air compressor reviews will help you choose the right air compressor. CFM (cubic feet per hour) is the key CFM. It tells how quickly the small compressor can deliver air. It’s often the most important number. If your compressor cannot supply the required amount of air, the compressor will stop you from using the tool and allow the compressor to catch up. Each manufacturer tests their compressors at 90 PSI-a standard setting for a nailer-so it is easy to compare apples with apples when you examine air compressor cfm numbers. We tested a range of compressors from 0.6 to 2.28 cfm. The compressors that we selected had tanks ranging in size from 1 to 6 Gallons. A larger tank will hold more air, which will enable you to use more air before your pressure drops and the motor starts to refill the tank. This could allow you to continue work even though the compressor is refilling the tank. Remember this: A large tank will not suffice if your work requires a lot more air volume. Many compressors can provide enough pressure to power DIY tools and other tasks. The psi (pounds per square inch) is not an issue in this sense. A higher maximum psi has one benefit: It allows smaller tanks to hold more air and perform as well as larger tanks. For example, a 2-gallon tank with 150 psi holds the same amount of air as a 3-gallon tank with 100 psi. We chose small air compressors that ranged from 60 to 87 decibels. Although it may not seem like much, it really is. The decibel scale doesn’t look like the scales you are used to. The noise level is doubled if you increase it by 10 dB. The machWeight of a compressor doesn’t determine its ease of transport. It’s also important to consider the shape of the compressor. It’s easier to carry a small, lightweight air compressor unit than a larger one. In our reviews, we’ve highlighted the best and worst air compressors.


Nearly all small air compressors can be described as ‘oilless’. This means that you don’t have to worry about changing or checking oil. Although small compressors that are oil-less tend to wear out quicker than those with oil-lubricated motors, this is not likely to cause any problems for DIY users. You don’t need to know how powerful a small compressor is. Instead, you can look at the cfm and not the horsepower. For example, a line rated at 70 decibels is twice as loud than one rated 60 decibels. A machine rated at 80 dB is four times louder. A small decrease in decibels can make a machine easier to use.

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