What is the Best Small Air Compressor 2024 [Buying Guide]

Our Top Picks

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Best Rated

  • 4.2 Gallon
  • 2.5 HP Motor
  • 80.8 lbs
  • Oil-Lubricated
  • 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • ‎1 Year Parts And Labor Warranty
Porter Cable C2002 Small Pancake Air Compressor

Best For Money

  • 6 Gallon
  • 120V Motor
  • 30 lbs
  • Oil-Free
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI
  • 1 Year Compressor Components Warranty


Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Best For Garage, Home, Shop

  • 2.6 Gallon
  • 2.0 HP Motor
  • ‎59.6 lbs
  • Oil-Lubricated
  • 3.3 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 1 Year Parts & Labor Warranty

Air compressors play an extremely important role in your DIY, woodworking, and other projects. Whether you’re in your garage, home, or shop doing painting, framing, inflating, etc.

Personally, in my garage, I usually do the inflating and painting work with my compressor. I say this is the easy part because of my work experience. But, a bit rigorous part is choosing what suits your needs.

There are a lot of brands, with a lot of variations, and with different types just in small air compressors. So, going out in the market what I have learned is to must have a hawk eye when you’re trying to get these types of air compressors.

Whether you’re out in the market or in front of your PC there are many things running on your mind. Like choosing and comparing the products with each other to get the best small air compressor for your work.

List of Best Small Air Compressors

Here is a list of the best small air compressors. I selected them based on the overall score, budget, functionality, and lastly for which environment they are best suited.

Best Small Air Compressor Comparison

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Brand Makita Porter Cable Makita Senco DeWalt
Best For Highly Rated Money Garage / Shop Quietest Portability
Model MAC2400 C2002 MAC700 PC1010 DWFP55130
Motor HP 2.5 HP 0.2 HP 2.0 HP 1.0 HP 1.1 HP
CFM / SCFM 4.2 CFM 2.6 SCFM 3.3 CFM 0.7 SCFM 3.0 SCFM
PSI 130 PSI 150 PSI 130 PSI 135 PSI 200 Max PSI
Noise Level ‎79 dB 78.5 dB 80 dB 68 dB 71.5 dB
Tank Size 4.2 Gallon 6 Gallon ‎2.6 Gallons ‎1 Gallon 2.5 Gallon
Oil Vs Oil-Free Oil-Lubricated Oil-Free Oil-Lubricated Oil-Free Oil-Free
Weight (lb / Pounds) 77 lb 31.2 lb 52 lb 20 lb 36 lb
Power 9.5 / 10 7.0 / 10 9.0 / 10 8.0 / 10 8.2 / 10
Performance 9.5 / 10 8.0 / 10 9.0 / 10 7.0 / 10 9.3 / 10
Noise Rating 8.1 / 10 8.2 / 10 8.0 / 10 9.5 / 10 9.0 / 10
Lightweight 7.0 / 10 9.5 / 10 9.0 / 10 9.8 / 10 9.6 / 10
Design / Durability 9.8 / 10 9.0 / 10 9.8 / 10 8.0 / 10 9.5 / 10
Space / Portability 7.8 / 10 9.0 / 10 8.4 / 10 9.8 / 10 9.6 / 10
Accessories Makita 181122-A Compressor Oil, 2 Makita 1/4" Universal Quick Coupler, Male (447013-E) Only Compressor Makita Compressor Oil, 2 ea. 1/4" Universal Quick Coupler Only Compressor ‎DeWalt 2 Universal Air Couplers (Attached), Instruction Manual
Warranty 1 Year Parts And Labor Warranty 1 Year Compressor Components Warranty 1 Year Parts & Labor Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty
Our Recommendation For ‎Spraying, Cutting & Grinding For Drilling, Nailing, Spraying & Air Brushing For ‎Spraying, Cutting, & Grinding For Drilling, Nailing, Spraying & Air Brushing For Drilling, Nailing, Spraying & Air Brushing
Our Overall Rating 9.8 / 10 9.4 / 10 9.6 / 10 9.3 / 10 9.0 / 10

Best Small Air Compressor Reviews 2024

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor [Best Rated Small Air Compressor Overall]

0 / 10

Makita has a robust 4-pole 2.5 HP motor. Which allows 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI and 4.8 CFM @ 40 PSI. Thus, it provides you with industrial-grade power for difficult job sites.

Combined with a Big Bore cast-iron pump with a cylinder and piston. This type of output power is enough to run two nailers for small projects.

It has a large automotive-style industrial air filter that promotes air intake. Thus, magnifies your air tool’s performance and extends its working time.

Makita 2.5 is built with 4.2-gallon twin stacked tanks. These tanks have the potential to sustain 130 PSI operating pressure. This means, constant airflow for your air tools to work uninterrupted. That gives you a sense of peace while you are in action.

The Big Bore pump runs at a minimal RMP of 1,730 which cuts off noise 79 DBS. It is modestly quiet and provides the comfort you need.

Makita dimensions are 20 x 18 x 18.75 inches a quite dandy choice for storage. And weighs about 77 lbs. The Makita 2.5 has a signature roll bar with a grip. The grip eliminates the slippage problem. The roll bar itself helps in smoother lifting.

The roll cage skeleton intensifies the durability of the compressor. It provides protection to bear extreme job site conditions. 1/4 inches universal quick-connect coupler. Built-in thermal overload for increased motor protection.

Another great aspect of Makita 2.5 is the durable cast iron cylinder. It diminishes the compressor wear and heightens the pump life.

Copper-finned discharge tubing magnifies heat dissipation. This reduces the water in the tank. Additionally, there is also a lever handle ball valve tank drain valve. That is also the main supporter of eliminating rust-causing water.

Electrically powered with a lower AMP draw. Saves you from breaker tripping and voltage drops which cause premature motor failure.

As for the pump, it has oil lubrication which makes the components run smoother. The oil pump keeps the running temperatures cooler and minimizes wear out.

The compressor also has a convenient oil drain valve and oil sight glass. They give you the pure bliss of easy maintenance and oil replacement.

Well. if I have to say about the price. I would say it’s pricey. But, given all the features that has various benefits. It’s a fair deal for folks with tough jobs on their hands.

  • Highest CFM
  • 1-year parts and labor warranty
  • Supports heavy tools and big jobs
  • Twin stacked tanks for a longer duration of work
  • Quieter than other industrial-grade compressors
  • Superior industrial-grade power for demanding job sites
  • Low AMP draw eliminates tripping & motor failure issues
  • A compact roll-cage skeleton enhances durability and longevity
  • Oil-lubed pump for cooler temperature and smooth running
  • A bit on the heavier side
  • Product damage incidents due to poor shipping
  • The motor & pump are not covered by the frame from the sides

PORTER CABLE C2002 Small Pancake Air compressor [Best Small Air Compressor For The Money]

PORTER has a powerful pump that grants 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. Perfect for common folks who want to do DIY, garage work, and small projects.

Another great feature is the dual-user couplers. You and your friend can work at the same time without any hiccups. High-flow regulators maximize your air tool’s performance.

What I admire about Porter is the 6-gallon tank. That gives a storage capacity with 150 PSI operating pressure. A continuous airflow for tools longer runtime and eliminates the stops in your work.

It comes with a 78.5 dB noise level. This gives a quiet working environment and comfort to your ears and neighbors.

It uses less space because of its smaller size. The framework is lighter and weighs about only 29 lbs. Thus, it gives you efficient portability.

The top carry handle gives a compact and balanced grip. Thus, making it an easy carriable choice.

The durability of Porter is off the charts. Its body is steel constructed and the main components are shielded heavily. Which maximizes its protection.

Additionally, it has tri-step legs with rubber feet. That reduces vibration to ensure the compressor’s longer lifespan.

Another benefit of rubber feet is to protect the floor surface from any damage. Such as on wooden floors, eliminates scratch problems.

The Porter is a corded air compressor that uses electricity as its power source. It has a 0.8 HP motor with a low AMP (120 volts).

Enhanced with a high-efficiency induction motor. That gives a quick and easy start on harsh winter days. There is also an extension cord with replaceable brushes.

Combined with a pump that is maintenance and oil-free. This means you don’t need to do any maintenance.

No oil leakage problem. No need to suffer from extra oil replacement costs. No oil stain cleaning and keep your environment clean.

There is a water drain valve at the bottom. This valve drains out the condensed water that remains at the base of the compressor tank. Otherwise, that water can cause rust to the tank and destroy it from the inside.

There is a 1-year limited warranty for the compressor parts. The compressor comes with an instruction manual to make your work a breeze.

  • It doesn’t need any maintenance
  • Two hoses for simultaneous dual-user work
  • It perfectly works with vast types of air tools
  • Affordable compared to other compressors
  • Heightened portability due to Lightweight frame
  • Best budget compressor for crafters & hobbyists
  • A 6-gallon tank gives you massive air tool runtime
  • No oil leakage or cleaning hassle and nor any extra replacement costs
  • The compressor is Noisier
  • Needs break-in-procedure
  • Shows some vibration on smooth surfaces like concrete

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor [Best Small Air Compressor For garage And Shop]

Makita has a powerful 4-pole motor of 2.0 HP. Which delivers 3.3 CFM @ 90 PSI and 3.8 CFM @ 40 PSI industrial power.

Reliable best buddy not only for home improvement jobs, small projects, DIYers, and professionals. But also, for tough job sites.

Equipped with a Big Bore cast-iron pump with a cylinder and piston. Which grants greater stroke for elevated compression and speed recovery while working.

It has a large industrial-style air filter that boosts air intake. Which also maximizes your air tool’s performance for smooth work.

Another great aspect is the hot dog tank. That has a storage capacity of 2.6 Gallons that maintains an operating pressure of 130 PSI. This means continuous airflow for longer tool runtime.

Big bore designed pump of lower RMP of 1,730 that reduces noise (80 DBS). Makes the environment noise-free and provides comfort to your ears.

Moderate size with dimensions of 18 x 22 x 10 in and weighs about 52 lbs. A quite dandy choice for storage. Rollbar handle with a grip for efficient portability and increased protection.

The well-engineered cast iron structure increases the durability of the compressor. Which makes it a tough opponent against harsh job site conditions.

The discharge tubing is copper-finned which enhances heat dissipation and reduces water in the tank.

Additionally, there is also a tank drain valve installed at the base of the compressor. It helps eliminate all the condensed water in the tank to completely stop internal rust.

This handsome buddy is electrically powered. It has a lower AMP range that saves you from excruciating air compressor problems. Such as breaker tripping and voltage drops that can cause premature motor failure.

Plus, it has an oil-lubricated pump that makes the components run smoother. Another benefit of the oil-lubed pump I would like to mention is the coolant effect. The running temperatures are cooler because of oil lubrication to avoid quick wearing out.

Makita compressor also has a convenient oil drain valve and oil sight glass. Both of them help in quicker maintenance and oil replacement.

  • Brilliant customer support
  • Best Beast for heavy-duty projects
  • 1-year limited manufacturer warranty
  • Robust power flow for uninterrupted work
  • Powerful induction motor for a wider tool range
  • Big Bore piston & cylinder for durability & longer lifespan
  • Oil-lubricated pump grants cooler running temperatures
  • Rubber feet eradicate the vibration threat & protect wood floors
  • It’s moderately expensive
  • The oil-lubricated pump needs maintenance
  • Product damage incidents due to poor shipping

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor [Best Quiet Small Air Compressor]

The Senco dear here is the one with 0.7 SCFM @ 90 PSI. An ideal homeowner’s choice just like myself. But, it’s not going to give you the industrial power you are thinking of.

Serves 1 horsepower peak and ½ running horsepower. Direct drive induction motor with a pump of 3400 RMP for speedy efficient work. A beneficial choice for tools like Nailers, Pinners, and Air Brush.

The regulators ensure the desired pressure according to tool requirements. It can deliver up to 20 - 44 drives per minute depending on the tool application.

The tank size comes with a normal storage capacity of 1 gallon. This type of storage capacity is brilliant for light-duty work. Jobs like renovation projects and home improvement. Other activities include hobbies and crafts.

The Senco needs 2 minutes to fill a 1-gallon tank from 0 to 125 PSI. The recovery time of the compressor is 35 seconds. Thus, it is reliable for a faster workflow.

The fantastic thing about this little beast is its silent nature. It has 68 dB. That means no irritation to your ears as well as a comfort for the neighbors.

Amazingly, it’s from the lightweight air compressor class and weighs only about 20 pounds. This gives quick maneuvering during your work and makes it an easy carriable choice.

For enhanced portability, there is a roll bar with a foam grip. That adds protection as well for the user.

The cylinder is crafted with aluminum which is stronger and more reliable. This increases its longevity.

There are rubber feet clamps on which the compressor stands. These rubber feet eradicate the risk of scratches on wooden floors.

Another important part that this quiet air compressor has is the drain and relief valve. The relief valve is for safety measures. The drain valve is for draining water from the tank to stop erosion incidents.

The Senco power source is electricity. Geared up with a 6-foot-long electric power cord of 115 Volt. Draws only 4 Amps.

No need to worry about the oil. The pump is maintenance and oil-free. Plus point to those who don’t want any oil leakage cases, cleaning duties, or oil change costs.

Senco has a lovely affordable price. Plus, they are also giving a 1-year warranty for your heart’s satisfaction.

  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Quietest member of your family
  • No oil leakage, cleaning, & extra costs
  • No hassle of component maintenance
  • Lightweight and well-built aluminum frame
  • Best for nailers, airbrushes, staplers, pinners
  • Great for renovation, home improvement, trim work & other small jobs
  • The CFM is low
  • Storage capacity is low
  • The tank empties quickly
  • Not designed for tough jobs

DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor [Best Small Portable Air Compressor]

It is a powerful compressor engineered with a 1.1 HP motor operated at 120V. The low 8-amp current consumption ensures an easy and fast start-up. Plus, it also minimizes breaker tripping frequency.

Pump throughput of 3.0 SCFM at the rate of 90 PSI for prolonged tool usage. With a 200 max PSI pump in, it can be used for multiple inflated and air tool purposes. The extra benefit is the recovery in a very short time.

The impressive tank capacity of 2.5 gallons plus max PSI delivers a higher runtime. Time-saving with no pauses in the work for frequent refilling.

A solid concern is about unpleasant and unwanted sounds. These are generated by the compressor during routine operations. Greater noise levels can irritate the individuals nearby.

Yet, with a moderate noise level of 71 dB, one should be worry-less about the rowdy environment.

Sometimes, you have to drain the tank thoroughly, the ball drain valve helps you here. Furthermore, there is a high flow regulator to boost performance.

The single compressor can do two different tasks at once with the help of two universal couplers. Dual user type with no loss of pressure.

With a lightweight of 36 lbs. and sturdy roll-cage design, it allows convenient transportability. Convenient to move around any site or within the workplace.

Space-saver and easy to operate, as it can be operated and kept in both vertical and horizontal positions at any job site.

The oil-free pump ensures hassle-free maintenance. The efficiency and durability are enhanced with the oil-free pump. Also, there is no extra cost of oil refilling.

  • Low-temperature start-up
  • Oil-less and efficient pump
  • Higher CFM and PSI rating
  • A double outlet for dual-use
  • Portable and easy to transport
  • Oil-free and prolonged durability
  • Can be operated & stored in both vertical & horizontal positions
  • Build pressure slowly
  • Pressure loss after usage
  • Leakage occurs at the regulator
  • The thermal switch may get faulty

Best Small Air Compressor 2024 [Buying Guide]

Below are the crucial points that’ll help you choose your desired best small air compressor.

CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

The CFM is the crucial element of a small air compressor. It informs you about how fast a small air compressor can supply air.

Let's just say you attached a tool with your small compressor. That specific tool uses air with a speed that is more than the compressor can supply.

The result will not be in your favor. You’ll have to stop your work and wait for the compressor to catch up with you. It has to refill itself to attain the same pressure again.

My advice to you is to choose a compressor that has a high CFM. So, you can perform your work quickly and precisely.

PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch)

PSI refers to as “Pounds Per Square Inch”. It's the amount of force applied to a square inch of space. In simple words, another benefit it has is that a small air compressor with greater PSI can carry more compressed air and perform the same as a large tank.

Let me give you an example. A 2-gallon tank at 200 PSI can accommodate air equal to a 3-gallon tank at 150 PSI.

Tool Requirements

You also need to consider your tool requirements. Are they a good fit for your new handy-dandy air compressor?

Well, let's suppose you got the top-notch compressor that you wanted. But, on the other side, your tool's requirements are higher than your little air compressor can handle. Either there will be a malfunction or the compressor will not work at all.

Tank Size

The tank size is also an important factor. If you are going for heavy work. Then you should also be looking at the tank size. Because heavy machines demand more air.

A larger tank will provide more air storage thus, it'll give you more workflow. Before the pressure decreases you have to wait for the motor to kick back in to refill the tank.

Keep in mind that if your work has a massive air volume demand. Then a large tank can’t be a replacement for moderate CFM.


Another key player you should watch out for is the noise. Many moments when you’re working with your air compressor. Your neighbors acknowledge your work and send you angry salutes.

Because of the voice of your compressor echoing in their ears. It’s not an easy situation. You're thinking about who I should be dealing with first. Either the neighbor with a viper stare or my work that's hanging like an Axe on my neck.

To tell you the truth, my uncle has an air compressor for paint that is as loud as a truck. And the fascinating thing is his work cabin is close to my room.

Yep, I always had these noisy moments in my house until he applied noise reduction tips. Now, let's come to the task at hand for now.

The small air compressors are in the 40 to 90 decibels range. The higher the dB, the noisier the compressor will be. So, also consider dB when you are purchasing a small air compressor.

Space And Portability

Another fantastic thing about portable air compressors is space coverage. They’re small and give you a lot of room and space to store these little buddies anywhere.

On that note, the loudmouth (tiny air compressor) in my house is of mid-range size. It’s a hot dog air compressor, not too big not too small. A bit heavier but works fine. We use it for spraying metal frames.

Now when it comes to portability, it’s not only about the weight of an air compressor. Also, consider the air compressor shape, and the place you're working in, does it have wheels or rubber feet?

Well, what I found out was the pancake air compressor is a perfect fit for covering all these aspects. Plus, they are affordable too, you know :).


Portability and durability go side by side. Because the air compressor has to go through different conditions. Such as various temperatures, traveling levels, or different types of terrains.

The compressor must be durable enough to bear these situations. There will be no point if your compressor cannot hold its ground even to the first blow.

The good news is that now the market is bustling with many amazing small air compressors. Despite their smaller size, they are huge helpers and their performance is outclassing.

Oil-Free Vs Oil-Lubricated

There are some major differences and crucial keynotes in this oil vs oil-lubricated air compressor debate.

The majority of DIYers, professionals, and home and garage owners use oil-free compressors for small DIY projects around the house. These buds technically don't need oil.

On the other side, due to higher CFM, PSI, Horsepower, and other aspects, oil-lubricated air compressors are used for heavy-duty tools and jobs. No doubt, they use oil for cooler running temperatures to withstand the heat and stress.

The question here is what type of oil you are going to use? i.e., special compressor oil or going beyond and using a synthetic air compressor oil. It depends on the type and brand of your air compressor and what your brand manufacturer says.

It's a bit of a complicated situation. So, I have left our debate about oil vs oil-free air compressors into another session. But, no worries we have in our buying guide both types of compressors.

My Personal Recommendation

Naturally, whichever small compressor you are going to choose. It will depend on the situation and the type of work you will do. If I had to select... the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor gets the top position in my book.

I do agree that it has a big price tag, but that comes with power, performance, durability, high CFM, and PSI.

It is an excellent choice for all types of jobs ranging from lightweight to heavier jobs. It's an all-around best small air compressor for air tools.

Best Small Air Compressor FAQs

What can I do with a small air compressor?

With our above list of best small air compressors, you can easily do woodworking, DIY projects, automotive, and other heavy to light-duty work in your shop, home, or garage. The tools you can run with these small air compressors include framing nailers, finish nailers, pneumatic impact wrenches, air guns, LVLP sprayers, and other tools as well.

How much is a small air compressor?

Since we're talking about the small air compressors. Based on the CFM, PSI, HP, voltage, power source, tank capacity, and other factors they cost between $100 to $500.

Who makes the best small air compressor?

The brands that make the best small air compressors:
1. Makita
California Air Tools
Metabo HPT [Previously Hitachi]

What is the best small air compressor?

List of best small air compressors:
1. Makita MAC2400 - Best Rated Small Air Compressor Overall
2. Porter-Cable C2002 - Best Small Air Compressor For The Money
3. Makita MAC700 - Best Small Air Compressor For Garage, Home & Shop
4. Senco PC1010 - Best Quiet Small Air Compressor
5. Dewalt DWFP55130 - Best Small Portable Air Compressor

Where to buy small air compressor?

Well, below are the most recommended places to buy small air compressors:
1. Amazon
Home Deport
Acme Tools

How many watts does a small air compressor use?

A small air compressor with 110 Volts drawing up 15A (Amps) consumes up to 1650W (Watts). While a similar small air compressor with 220 Volts drawing 15A (Amps) uses up to 3300W (Watts). You can determine Watts by just multiplying the "Volts" compressor uses with the "Amps" it is drawing up. For example (110V x 15A = 1650W).

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