Best Portable Air Compressors

Having an air compressor at your disposal is something that you need because there are a variety of situations in which these products come in handy. For example, they are mandatory for car owners as they can get the people out of an unpleasant situation like a tire going flat, this situation leading to the abrupt end of a vacation if it’s not dealt with fast. This is where portable air compressors come in, allowing you to keep them in the trunk of your car or in your garage and to use them with ease, thus ensuring that a flat tire or any other item that is deflating will be dealt with on the spot.

Top 5 Portable Air Compressors Comparison

1. Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M 2. Mi-T-M AM1-PE02-20M 3. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 4. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK 5. Viair 00073 70P
Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Product Specifications

Manufacturer Mi-T-M Mi-T-M Makita PORTER-CABLE Viair
Dimensions (L x W x H) 46″ x 26″ x 39.5″ 40″ x 24″ x 32″ 20″ x 18.8″ x 18″ 17″ x 17″ x 20.5″ 6.5″ x 3.6″ x 6.2″
Weight 306 Lbs 203 Lbs 77 Lbs 30 Lbs 5.05 Lbs
Material Powder Coated Steel Powder Coated Steel Cast Iron Cast Iron N/A
Connector Type Quick Connect/Disconnect Quick Connect/Disconnect Quick Connect/Disconnect Quick Connect/Disconnect Quick Connect/Disconnect


Motor 270cc Honda GX270 OHV Industrial UL-Listed Electric 4-Pole Model Low Amp 120V Permanent Magnetic
Horsepower 9.00 2.00 2.5 0.8 N/A
Compressor Type Two-Stage Single Stage Framing & Roofing Trim Single Stage
Cylinder Cast Iron Cast Iron Cast Iron N/A Anonized Aluminum Alloy
Power Source Gas Electric Electric Electric Electric
Capacity 20 Gallons 20 Gallons 4.2 Gallons 6 Gallons N/A
Air Flow Capacity 17.2 CFM 9.2 CFM 4.2 CFM 2.6 CFM 1.27 CFM
Maximum Working Pressure 175 PSI 90 PSI 130 PSI 150 PSI 100 PSI
Maximum AMP Draw 20 18.8 12.3 10 15
Motor RPM Rating 1750 1750 1720 1730 N/A
Noise Level 90 dB 80 dB 79 dB 82 dB 65 dB

Features & Accessories

Industrial Filter N/A
Manual Drain Valve
Oil Level Sight Indicator
Lifting Handle
Thermal Overload Protection N/A
Automatic Shut-Off N/A
Other Features Venting System Venting System Oil Lubricated Pump Oil-Less Design Vibration Isolators
Stainless Steel Braided Discharge Hose Stainless Steel Braided Discharge Hose Copper Finned Discharge Tubing High-Flo Air Regulator Nozzle Adapters
3/16″ Base Plate 3/16″ Base Plate 25-Foot Long Air Hose 30-Minute Duty Cycle at 30 PSI
Belt Tightening System Belt Tightening System 13-Piece Accessory Kit l-Less Design
Quick Access to Belts Quick Access to Belts 4-Foot Long Air Hose
16.5″ Fly Wheel 10″ Fly Wheel 16-Foot Long Power Cord
Pneumatic Idle Control Carry Bag


Product Warranty 2 Years for Pump Exchange; 3 Years for Engine 2 Years for Pump; 1 Year for Motor 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
Customer Support
User Manual

Top Rated 2018 Portable Air Compressors Reviews

As you have probably already noticed, we have rounded up the best portable air compressors on the market in the comparison table above, giving you the chance to analyze each and every one of them in detail to establish what is the best choice for you easily. Also, in the rest of the article, we will explain more about these compressors, from their use to the advantages that they bring, even covering aspects like what are the best brands out there. Therefore, stick with us for the rest of the article to learn more about these products.

1. Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M

Despite the fact that it’s not the easiest to move compressor in our top, the Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M still had to get the first place because it has an incomparable performance. In addition, it’s not impossible to move it, but rather difficult to do it on your own considering that it weighs a little over 300 pounds. But the operation of moving it around as you like is made easy due to the fact that it features wheels and a convenient handle that allow you to do this with ease. This top of the line compressor features an impressive Honda GX270 OHV motor that has a fierce 270cc displacement, ensuring a great performance at all times. The 20-gallon capacity that its tank boasts assures you of the fact that you won’t find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you will be forced to stop inflating the tires due to the pressure of the compressor dropping. The splash lubricated cast iron crankcase that it features ensures that you will enjoy extended hours of top performance if you go with it. Also, the durability is shown by other specs like the cast iron head and cylinder. Another aspect that will make you fall in love with it is the fact that it features a 14-gauge two-piece belt guard that has a 1/4-turn release, allowing for a quick access to the belts when maintenance work is due.



Convenient pneumatic engine idle control There are no downsides to this product
Discharge hose is made from durable stainless steel
It features a regulator and two gauges for outlet and tank pressure
Superior quality pilot valve unloader
Features manual drain valve that allow proper maintenance

2. Mi-T-M AM1-PE02-20M

Obviously, the Mi-T-M AM1-PE02-20M as to take the number two spot on our top, being very similar in performance to the first ranked portable air compressor that comes from Mi-T-M. It might come at a spicy price, but it’s worth the investment, being a reliable compressor that will be by your side for years to come. Also, considering its versatility, you will be able to use it in a variety of situation, thus making back the money that you spend on it in a couple of years. It comes with a 2.0 HP, 18.8A, 120V motor that provides it enough power to handle all the tasks that you want to do with it. The 20-gallon capacity of the tank ensures that the pressure won’t drop as you’re using it. It produces 80 dB while operating, so it won’t be too bothersome for you or those around you to inflate tires with it. It features both thermal overload protection and an automatic shut-off, ensuring complete safety in use. The high-quality venting system that it comes with reduces crankcase temperature and pressure. It features a 3/16-inch base plate that has the role of reducing vibration, allowing a more convenient operation. It provides quick access to the belts due to the 16-gauge powder coated two-piece belt guard with 1/4-turn release that it features. Also, it comes with a lifting handle that makes it easier to move around this 203-pound heavy item as you like.



Thermal overload feature ensures the motor’s protection There are no downsides to this product
Vibration is dramatically decreased by the 3/16-inch base plate it features
Maintenance work is made easy by the manual drain valves it features
20-gallon receiver tank is powder coated
Convenient handle makes lifting the compressor easy

3. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore

Makita really took the market by storm when producing the MAC2400 Big Bore due to the fact that it boasts both a great performance and an approachable price. It weighs a mere 77 pounds, and it measures only 20 inches in length, 18.8 inches in width, and 18 inches in height. Therefore, you will have an easy time moving it around and storing it once you’re done using it. The 4-pole motor that provides it enormous power has an impressive 2.5 HP, ensuring that you will love working with this compressor. It produces only 79 dB while operating, so you can rest assured that it won’t inconvenience anyone who happens to be in your vicinity when you’re using it, not even you. The heavy duty industrial air filter ensures a great air intake and an increased efficiency, offering a reliable overall performance. Maintenance work won’t be hard at all with this compressor due to the fact that it features a manual drain valve. For your safety as a user and to ensure that it will be reliable for years to come, it features an automatic shut-off and thermal overload protection. It comes with a convenient lifting handle that makes it even easier to move it around. Unfortunately, the tank capacity is only 4.2 gallons, which is a lot less than what the first two ranked models have to offer. Nonetheless, this capacity is enough to ensure that you can use it for various tasks without the pressure dropping.


As mentioned earlier, when we talked about the leading brands on this market, it’s impossible for you to not have already heard about PORTER-CABLE. This top brand is responsible for the release of the C2002-WK, a compressor that is both affordable and effective. What you will surely appreciate when buying it is the fact that it comes with a 13-piece accessory kit that allows you to use it for a variety of inflating tasks. Another element that will surely delight you is the High-Flo air regulator feature that it comes with, ensuring protection against large pressure drops. It has an oil-less design that makes it ideal for those who don’t want to do maintenance work on the tools and appliances that they own, eliminating the need for you to care for the compressor. It measures 17 inches in length, 17 inches in width, 20.5 inches in height, and it weighs 30 pounds, being a dream come true for those who want a truly portable compressor. It has a 6-gallon capacity tank that makes it perfect for household use and for doing various auto repair tasks. It produces 82 dB while it operates, thus ensuring that your neighbors won’t hear you when you use it. Also, it’s accompanied by a 1-year warranty, a period of time during which all the defects will be repaired by the manufacturer free of charge.

5. Viair 00073 70P

The Viair 00073 70P perfectly combines high performance with affordable pricing, being a fan favorite due to these two elements. It measures 6.5 inches in length, 3.6 inches in width, 6.2 inches in height, and it weighs only 5.05 pounds, allowing handheld use and ensuring an impressive portability. From this point of view, it is superior to all the other models in our top, allowing you to store it with ease and use it without tiring your hands at all despite the fact that you’re literally carrying it. The 1.27 CFM rating that it boasts is reached when the working pressure is at 0 PSI, the compressor having a maximum working pressure of 100 PSI. It produces only 65 dB when it operates, being the quietest compressor in our top. The power cord measures 16 feet and the air hose measures 4 feet, allowing a convenient use. It has an oil-less design that shows this is a maintenance free compressor. The vibration isolators that it boasts ensure that it won’t inconvenience you in any way while using it. It’s backed up by the manufacturer for defects for 1 year. Also, it comes with a carry bag in which you can place it to ensure a safe and convenient storage.


With an efficient 12 amps motor that enables an easy start-up, this air compressor is definitely a great choice if you want to buy a high-quality unit. The 2.5-gallon tank, as well as the 200 max PSI, make the unit very powerful, but quite silent at the same time, the operating noise level being 71.5 dB. In comparison to the traditional models, the pump recharges up to 15% faster at 3.0 SCFM. Furthermore, whenever the pressure drops below 165 PSI, the compressor automatically begins to recharge the tank in order to make sure your work won’t be interrupted. Additionally, even if the temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit will start with absolutely no inconvenience. Here we also have to mention the fact that the pump it comes with doesn’t use oil and it doesn’t require maintenance, so it’s very convenient. Another interesting aspect of this compressor is the fact that the roll cage and the control panel were specially made to protect the components. Also, the unit features a lightweight and compact design, weighing 36 lbs, and it can be operated both in a vertical or horizontal position. All in all, this portable air compressor is a great option because it comes with many features at a reasonable price. Besides the main unit, you will also receive 2 universal air couplers and a 1-year warranty to enjoy the unit free from manufacturing defects.

Everything You Need to Know About These Useful Tools

These machines have many uses, ranging from fixing a flat tire by pumping air into it to supplying a large amount of moderate-pressure air for industrial processes like oxidation for petroleum cooking. Fortunately for us, the consumers, due to the fact that these compressors are used in a wide range of situations, it means that this market has blossomed in an ideal way, having plenty of choices to pick from. Just be aware of the fact that it’s highly important to inform yourself about everything related to them before making a choice. For example, you should be aware of the fact that there is a multitude of types to choose from, as you have probably already noticed from the comparison table.

The most popular types are the positive-displacement compressors, being the favorites of contractors, homeowners, woodworkers, and mechanics. But they’re not the only types out there, existing models that use rotating impellers to generate the air pressure as well. Of course, it’s all a matter of choice and preference, but we still recommend that you listen to the majority in this case as these products are used in too many situations, and they’re not all cheap either. Therefore, it’s best to spend your money wisely and understand why a certain compressor is seen as being the best instead of taking an expensive decision that you will regret later.

How You Can Benefit From Owning One

These tools come at different prices, some being affordable for most people while the top compressors coming at more expensive prices that make them a tough choice to go with. But quality is of an utter importance when it comes to this type of machines, being important that you spend some extra dollars to make sure that you’re fully benefiting from what these products have to offer. If you’re not aware of the many benefits of owning a top of the line compressor, then make sure that you check out this section of the article to better understand why you need a quality compressor.

  • Portability

  • The portability benefit of these items is obvious when you spell out their name and it’s by far the most important advantage that comes with owning them. This significant advantage allows you, the owner, to take it with you wherever you go in order to use it for a wide variety of applications. It will be easy to move the compressor where it’s needed, the task not requiring you to put in too much effort. It’s precisely their high portability that makes them both very easy to work with and highly effective as well.

  • Compact Size

  • These items are available in many different sizes, but they are generally pretty compact. This can be noticed better when you compare them to stationary models that are impossible to move, having a fixed location. It’s the compact size that they boast that makes them portable, ensuring that you will be able to take them with you wherever you want. Also, the compact size of these items makes them more flexible to work with, being easy to find a storage place for them when they’re not in use.

  • Versatility

  • The versatility and cost-effectiveness of portable air compressors are impossible to beat, these items being used in a wide range of situations. There are many air tools that can be used with them, making these compressors great for use when doing countless jobs around the house, for example. No matter if you want to clean up sawdust, or change the look of a room with new crown moldings, you can use the motor of the compressor to make these tasks possible and easy.

  • Fast and Easy Auto Repairs

  • Let’s face it, none of us like paying exorbitant sums of money to the mechanic whenever something goes wrong with a car. Having the item at your disposal changes the situation, allowing you to do various auto repairs on your own in a fast and easy manner, thus helping you save a lot of money in the long run. For example, owning it will help you when it comes to inflating flat tires, tuning up PCV valves, and removing bolts that have rusted from tight places.

  • Quiet Operation

  • If you have ever seen a stationary machine of this type, you know how noisy it actually gets. But this isn’t the case with portable compressors as they produce significantly less noise. This makes them more convenient to use as they won’t bother you while operating with them. Also, they won’t make a lot of ruckuses, thus not bothering your neighbors or the people that are around you at that moment, being ideal for both indoor and outdoor tasks.

Safety Tips for Properly Handling Air Compressors

To make sure that you’re out of harm’s way when using the portable air compressor, you must be aware of how to properly and safely handle the tool. In the following, we will tell you what these safety considerations are. To simplify matters for you, we have structured the tips into three categories, more precisely general safety tips, pre-operational safety checks, and operational safety checks.

  • General safety tips:

  • These are the general safety aspects to take into consideration whenever you’re handling the tool:

    • Wear safety glasses to ensure that your eyes are protected in case any mishap occurs;
    • Take off all types of jewelry before operating the air compressor;
    • In case you have long or loose hair, contain it before you start using the tool;
    • Don’t use the compressor next to flammable materials;
    • Wear protective or close fitting clothing to protect your body.
  • Pre-operational safety checks:

  • The safety checks that you must perform prior to using the tool:

    • Clear the workspace of all tripping hazards;
    • Place the portable compressor in a suitable location;
    • In case it features wheels, lock them to prevent the tool from moving while in use;
    • Check to make sure that the fittings and connections are in a good condition;
    • Read the instruction manual thoroughly in case it’s your first time using the tool.
  • Operational safety checks:

  • Safety checks that must be performed during the operation of the tool:

    • Check if any of the flexible airlines have any air leaks;
    • Adjust the pressure regulator according to the requirements of the project that you’re working on;
    • At regular intervals while using it, check for any type of operational issue.

Air Compressor Maintenance Tips

Just like any tool, the portable air compressor requires your attention in order to function properly for a long time. This means that some maintenance work must be done on the air compressor once in a while. With this machine, there are maintenance tasks that must be done on a daily basis, some on a monthly basis, while other tasks must be done after a long period since using it, more precisely after at least 500 hours. To make sure that you will protect your investment and keep it running perfectly for a long time, read this section of the article to find out what maintenance work you must perform.

  • Daily Checks

  • With air compressors, the most critical maintenance work that you must perform is the daily one. More precisely, you have to take 10 minutes out of your time to ensure that the tool performs well, without disruption. What you must do is to check the machine for leaks, check the oil, the radiator coolant levels, make sure that the gauges and lamps work, that there is no debris in the pre-cleaner, and that the radiator cap is secured in its place.

  • Monthly Checks

  • Now that you know what are the daily checks that you must perform, let’s move on to the monthly ones. Once per month, you should check to see if there are any parts that need to be replaced, clean the cleaner system and the engine radiator, and ensure that the automatic shutdown system works well. By doing this, you can prevent any real damage from occurring, thus keeping the tool in a top-notch shape.

  • Checks that You Must Perform in Time

  • When the 500-hour mark is reached, don’t forget to replace all the filters that the compressor features. However, in case you use it in a dirty environment, you should check more often to see if the filters need to be replaced and do so when it’s necessary. When the 2000-hour mark is reached, you have to replace the separator element of the compressor. This is basically everything that you need to do to keep it up and running perfectly for as long as possible.

A Useful Buying Guide

Making sure that the compressor you buy is indeed of a great quality is extremely important, being a shame to waste your money on an item that will break down easily or that won’t perform as expected. This is the reason why we have done the proper research and written this detailed buying guide, offering you the help that you need when you go shopping for a new tool of this type.

  • Pay Attention to the Horsepower

  • Generally, the horsepower of these tools ranges between 1.5 and 6.5, but there are models that exceed these values. An example is the top of the line Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M that boasts no less than 9.0 HP. Of course, this isn’t the only spec that you should focus on, but it’s among the top stats that you have to look into.

  • Take the Cubic Feet per Minute into Consideration

  • CFM or cubic feet per minute is another stat that you have to pay attention when purchasing the compressor. As expected, the higher the CFM rating is, the better when it comes to the performance of the compressor. Just keep in mind that this spec is correlated to the PSI, meaning that it will vary depending on the value of the PSI.

  • Check the Power Source

  • Another important thing that you have to take into consideration when you go shopping is the power source that it requires to operate. If you know that you won’t always have an electric source at your disposal, for example, it’s best for you to go with a gas-powered compressor like the Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M. If not, then you can turn to a model like the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore that requires electricity to run. This choice solely depends on you, so think it through well before you go shopping.

  • Don’t Forget About Tank Size

  • To avoid stopping in the middle of the task that you’re doing with the portable air compressor, then you have to make sure that the tank has a large enough capacity for the pressure to not drop fast. Therefore, look for compressors that have a big capacity, like the Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M and the Mi-T-M AM1-PE02-20M, both of which boast a great 20-gallon capacity.

  • Look at the Compressor’s Noise Level

  • How much noise it produces is important because you wouldn’t want to end up bothering everyone around you when you use it. Generally, they produce between 60 and 90 dB. It might not seem like the difference between a 60 dB and a 90 dB model is huge, but it actually is because the decibel scale is very different from other types of scales that we are used to. On this scale, even 10 dB makes a huge difference. Therefore, go for a compressor that produces as little noise as possible, a great example being the Viair 00073 70P that makes only 65 dB while operating.

  • Consider how Compact the Compressor Actually is

  • If you want to buy an air compressor, it’s clear that you care about its portability. But seeing that portability is tightly linked to the size of the unit, you have to make sure that you buy one that is as compact as possible for it to be portable and easy to use. The smaller the footprint and weight of the compressor are, the better, as you will have an easier time not only using it but carrying it with you and storing it as well.

Top Brands to Choose From

On each market, there are certain brands that have managed to take the spotlight and become household names through the high-quality portable air compressors that they deliver to customers. You will find reliable brands like Mi-T-M, Makita, PORTER-CABLE, and Viair. To learn more about these amazing brands that get worldwide recognition from consumers for their work, read this section of the article.

  • Mi-T-M

  • Mi-T-M is a great example of excellence, being the brand that we have to thank for the production of the AM2-PH09-20M and the AM1-PE02-20M, 2 excellent machines that exceed all expectations when it comes to high performance and durability. This company has been around since 1971 and it prides on manufacturing only high-quality products. In fact, this is the reason why the company was able to make it in this competitive market, being considered as one of the best for many years.

  • Makita

  • A company that has a long and beautiful history behind it is Makita, the manufacturer of the MAC2400 Big Bore. This great company has been founded back in 1915, having over 100 years of experience in the production of power tools. Their experience alone shows how much passion goes into the products that they deliver, this being the secret of their immense success.


  • PORTER-CABLE is a brand that you have surely already heard of, existing since 1906. Since this company has been founded, it has managed to innovate the market for professional woodworking power tools, becoming the top choice for many people. If you’re looking for unique, high-quality compressors, they are certainly the brand that you should opt for. To get a better idea of how great they work, know that they are the ones that released the great C20002-WK.

  • Viair

  • We end our discussion regarding the best brands that produce portable air compressors by talking about Viair, another leading brand that has become a household name due to delivering top quality compressors. Viair is a young and responsible company that does everything in its power to meet and even exceed the standards of this industry. One of their best compressors is the Viair 00073 70P, a compressor that is affordable but that doesn’t sacrifice quality despite the low price.

What’s Behind our Ratings

If you have trouble understanding our ranking of the best portable air compressors on the market, it probably means that you don’t fully understand what the specs and features that they come with stand for. To help you better understand what makes a product of this kind be truly great and to help you see why we have chosen these specific models, we have written this section of the article where you will find comprehensive explanations for our ratings.

  • Weight and Dimensions

  • Considering the fact that these items are supposed to be highly portable, it was obvious that we had to rate them according to their weight and dimensions as well. Of course, this wasn’t the most important rating as the performance is much more important, but the weight and dimensions still affected our decisions. The Viair 00073 70P got extra points when it came to its compact size as this model measures only 6.5 inches in length, 3.6 inches in width, 6.2 inches in height, and it weighs a mere 5.05 pounds, allowing you to move with ease when using it. The same can’t be said about our top 2 choices as they are very heavy and a lot bigger. Nonetheless, they can be moved around where it’s needed as they come with wheels and handles that make the action possible.

  • Motor

  • A powerful motor automatically spells a powerful performance, this being the reason why we put so much accent on the quality of the motor when rating and ranking these products. This is one of the many reasons why the Mi-T-M AM2-PH09-20M got the first place, featuring an impressive Honda GX270 OHV motor that has a 270cc displacement. What you will notice if you buy this model is the fact that it’s incredibly powerful and that it’s up for any task that you can think of, and it’s all due to the motor that it comes with.

  • Thermal Overload Protection

  • The presence of thermal overload protection is crucial for the compressor to have, ensuring safety and durability. This protection ensures that where there is a spike, the motor will stop, thus preventing damage to the air compressor. A complete shut-down will occur as this happens, the compressor not working again until the situation is addressed.

  • High-Flo Air Regulator

  • Pressure drops are completely unwanted. This is the reason why we had to give extra points to the PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK model as it comes with the useful and innovative High-Flo air regulator feature. What this feature does is that it protects against large pressure drops, thus ensuring that you will work in a very efficient manner with the compressor.

Comments are closed.