Before we can get into the nitty-gritty of what you should be looking for in an air compressor, let’s take a look at how exactly an air compressor works. To put it in simple terms, it converts any kind of power into potential energy with the help of a motor or engine, which is usually powered by electricity or diesel.

Now that you have some idea of how this device works, let us get into the reason for you visiting this page. If you are thinking about buying an air compressor, you would be better off getting one that is portable. This allows you to carry the device anywhere you go and that is a big reason for people going after portable air compressors. What we have decided to do is take a look around the market and find the top picks for you. Going through our selections, you will get a sense of what the market has to offer when it comes to the best portable air compressors. If by some chance you are not well versed with what to look for in a portable air compressor, we have you covered.

One of the most important attributes of a portable compressor is the weight of it. After all, if the portable air compressor is difficult to carry around, then it loses the whole purpose of being portable. You will have to find a balance between weight and functionality. Another aspect of the compressor that we will be looking at is the price that you will have to pay. Remember that you do not have to burn a hole in your pocket to get the compressor that you are looking for. We have spoken about a couple of factors that you should be paying attention to, but it will ultimately come down to what you want. When making a decision about what has to be bought, there are a lot of permutations that will be going on in your mind. For many of you, a decision cannot be made until all the criterion is taken care of. There is nothing wrong with being indecisive here! It is okay to take some time and check out the different options that are at your disposal. All the products that we talk about are good in many, different aspects. What may be good in one area may not be that good in another so it is up to you to find the best choice for you.

Now, come take a look at the best of the best as far as portable air compressors are concerned. We have a table of contents below so you can easily navigate throughout the post.

Best Portable Air Compressors

ProductGallon SizeCFMRatingPrice
NA2.3 CFM @ 0 PSI9.5 Check Price
1 gallon1.2 CFM @ 90 PSI9 Check Price
Smittybilt 2781
NA5.65 CFM9.5 Check Price
Makita MAC700
2.6 gallon3.3 CFM @ 90 PSI10 Check Price
1.2 gallon2.8 CFM @ 90 PSI9.5 Check Price


This powerhouse from VIAIR is super lightweight but that shouldn’t put you off. What it lacks in terms of weight, it more than makes up for in terms of performance. With the 12 Volt and 150 PSI powering it, you will be genuinely surprised by how much air you can generate with this product. This factor alone puts it up there with some of the best portable air compressors. The price is a little bit on the higher side but when you see what it can do, this is understandable. Sometimes when you want a product that is performing at a premium level, you might have to pay more.

If you are okay with spending a little more and are willing to stretch your budget, this is the compressor for you. This product isn’t just known for its performance, it has also become famous for how user-friendly it is. The one thing you will have to be careful about is not letting the compressor overheat. After you have used it once to its full capacity, give it about half an hour to cool down. If you fail to do this, you will in all likelihood end up damaging the compressor. VIAIR also ensures that you are provided with a carry bag so that you can easily carry the compressor everywhere you go. The bag is quite durable and is strong enough to handle the weight of the air compressor. Though there are multiple uses for this product, VIAIR specializes in tire inflation and this is the perfect tool for you to have. You can keep track of the pressure so that it is the right kind and does not end up being higher or lower than what it is supposed to. If you have any doubts, it would be a good idea to check out the reviews for this compressor and you will know what VIAIR is all about.


If you are worried about your compressor making too much noise, then the California Air Tools (CAT) compressor is the one you should be looking at. With a range of only 56 decibels, it ensures that you do not disturb yourself or those around you. Though the weight of this compressor is a bit on the higher side, it is still considered to be lightweight by most calculations. The handle that has been placed on the compressor makes it easy for anyone to carry it and the rubber padding ensures that you will be comfortable when using this product. The 1-gallon steel tank that has been placed in the compressor ensures that there is sufficient power for anything that you use it for. Added to this is the fact that the pump is oil-free. This reduces the amount of maintenance that you will have to do by quite a big amount.

All of this combines to create a product that is long-lasting and durable. Given the price that you will be paying for the CAT compressor, it is clear to see why many people consider this to be among the best portable air compressors. You can use all sorts of devices along with the compressor such as a nail gun, staple gun, etc. And if you are wondering where this will be useful, it can be used to inflate toys, beds and even balls. Having such a low decibel level makes this the perfect compressor for home use. You can keep it stored in your home and the amount of noise it generates would not even disturb a baby. Given the number of features the CAT compressor packs into a compact body, it is clear to see why so many like it and want to use it.

Smittybilt 2781

Though this is one of the pricier options that you will find in the market, there is a reason why this is the case. When you are trying to make a product that is premium in all aspects, it will involve making use of parts that will increase the cost of production. But to the credit of Smittybilt, they have ensured that not too much of this will be transferred to the customer. What some may consider being a higher price is still reasonable by most standards and given the quality that this compressor offers, you wouldn’t regret paying the asking price.

They give a bag along with the compressor so that it is easy to store, and you can protect it from getting any damage done externally. The inclusion of a cut-off switch will make sure that the motor does not get too hot. If this happens, then there is every chance that the compressor will get damaged and you will not be able to use the device again. When you are moving into a higher price range, it is only natural that you will be expecting a little bit more in terms of performance. You will be happy to know that this is where the Smittybilt delivers big-time, a 30-amp inline fuse powers it to fulfill all your needs. For a company that has been active for more than 50 years, reliability is one of their hallmarks and this compressor is a testament to that. They are specialists in the off-road industry, and they take it upon themselves to be the leaders in their field when it comes to innovation. This comes through in all of their products and, this is why this compressor is one of the best you can buy.

Makita MAC700

To be fair this is the most expensive option that will be found on this list but that should not put you off it. With that being said, let’s get right into the details and why this is such an awesome product. This is truly a high-quality and durable product from Makita, the company has taken it upon themselves to ensure that the wear and tear that is inevitable with these kinds of compressors is delayed. They do this with the help of oil lubrication, which keeps the running temperature of the pump at a lower level. It is very efficient in the way it uses the power at your home because it draws a lower amp level. When the amp level is too high, there are chances that the motor will fail.

This compressor is made mainly to be used in industrial conditions and the increased durability that they offer is one of the reasons for the higher price that they charge. The automotive-style air filter is designed to increase the air intake thus automatically leading to a greater level of efficiency. Though the chance of the product being faulty is very rare, Makita makes it a point to offer customers a warranty so that you can feel safer buying their product. And of course, if within the warranty period should any problem occur, they will take care of it. A cocktail of winning factors helps push this compressor into the category we like to think of as being the best portable air compressors. Take a look at your budget and see if you can afford the Makita MAC700, if you can, you should definitely go for it. When you think about it, we are always trying to pinch a penny here and there but sometimes this does not have to be the case. You deserve to get the best products to make your life easier and there is no doubt that the MC700 is in that category.


The first thing that you will be noticing about the Bostitch CAP1512 is the bright yellow-gold color that adorns it. This eye-catching quality is not just restricted to its appearance as the performance of the compressor is sure to catch your attention as well. This oil-free air compressor is made in such a manner that it packs a real punch when it comes to performance. Bostitch has also included an on/off switch that will let you know when the pressure is at a low level. This will prevent you from encountering any sort of pressure-related misfire. The Bostitch is perfect for all industries and this is what makes it such a great choice. When you first use this product, you will immediately realize that this is a quality product which is made to last. This is amplified with the inclusion of an integrated control panel. And the roll cage that is kept on the outside is made to protect the gauges from damages that may occur on a job site.

The power cord used for the compressor is integrated into the device. This gives the Bostitch an added level of portability that is not easily found in other devices of the same class. It also comes with an onboard storage facility that is perfect for hand tools. What makes this inclusion here necessary is the price at which it is being sold. It is tough to find so many features packed into a deal that is so affordable but that is what you are getting here.


Now that you have taken a look at what the market has to offer, it is up to you to make the decision. Think about what kind of budget you have and what product you can afford. You do not have to buy a compressor just because it happens to be expensive. It is essential to see what your needs and find a product that will fit those requirements. What we have done here is just provide you with a range of options that you can choose from. It is important to scour the market and see all that is available before coming to a conclusion. We hope that our efforts will benefit you in your pursuit of buying a portable air compressor. At the end of the day, all that matters is if you get the best deal that you are looking for. If you have any doubts about the choices that we have made, take some time to research and you will know what is right and what is wrong. You can go through all the user reviews to know what real customers think about the compressors that we have talked about. And we can confidently say that you will find that there is a reason why we have included these particular products. Our team of experts has taken some time and put in a lot of effort to analyze all the best portable air compressors and report our findings.

We highly recommend double-checking all of our information. We have done our best to bring you accurate information but products are sometimes updated.  Also, it is important to check all the details of a product before you think about purchasing it. Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance in our minds, and it is our duty to give you data that will help you make the best purchasing decisions. What makes this very tricky is the fact people have different tastes and it is not possible to make everyone happy. That is why our choices reflect the variety that is available in the air compressor market. We reviewed all the manufacturers to give you a fair, objective viewpoint. Very often, we tend to have preconceptions that prevent us from choosing what the right product may be. In times such as this, it is good to have an open mind and be willing to listen to suggestions. If you are unwilling to do this, then there is a good chance that you will end up getting a portable air compressor that will not make you happy. This will end up defeating the whole objective of what you are trying to do. The end result would ideally be one where you feel happy after you have made a purchase. This should always be the consumer’s ultimate aim and one that you should be looking out for as well. Try to be a smart customer and the chances are that you will end up being a happy customer as well.

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