Electric Tools

Best Portable Air Compressor

Why Would I Need This Best Portable Air Compressor, What Benefits Would I Get From This

makita air compressor - best portable air compressor
(click this image to see full specification details at the Amazon store)

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned DIY-er chances are you will gonna be needing the service of this air compressor. It will help you make your DIY jobs easier. It will save you time and energy when doing your household projects and repairs. Air compressor is not a thing only for pros nowadays. Every household should have at least the compact type of this one. This best portable air compressor review I’m going to present to you today perfectly suited for light to mid-range air compressor tools that you will going to use for your DIY projects. So hang on as I digest to you my reasons why I chose to recommend this Makita MAC700 air compressor to you.

There are wide range of air compressor to choose from defending on your applications or your personal choice of air tools to use. Small air compressors or compact air compressors are good for light applications like inflating your car tires, bike, toys, and other inflatable objects. Industrial air compressors best fit for mid to high powered tools and heavy duty applications. So for your household applications, I think small portable air compressor with good CFM(Cubic Feet per Minute) or air volume is enough for your general needs.


I Don’t Like Noisy Air Compressor; I Don’t Want To Wake Up My Whole Neighborhood

Noise level is also another deciding factor in choosing your air compressor; you don’t want to wake up your whole neighborhood when you were just inflating your bike using your compressor.

Motor size or horse power rating affects the sound level of a compressor. The bigger the motor the noisier it gets. Also, oil-free compressors have higher noise level compared to those oil-lubricated compressors with the same horse power rating, because oil lubricated  pump runs cooler and smoother thereby resulting to lower noise level.

But, lubricated compressor weights heavier compared to the oil-less; you are torn here between noise and weight. Would you prefer the lighter one but noisy or the silent one but heavy? I would still go for the silent one if weight disparity is really not that huge.


Should I Choose the Heavier or the Lighter One

Weight also plays role in choosing compressor. Let’s say you need it for your framing nailer at the second floor of your house; would it be easier for you to carry your 100 pounds compressor there? Why not just opt for the 26 pounds compressor which can also do the job?

For me heavier compressor is really not a discouraging factor, as long as I can carry it I’m okay with it. Added weight adds stability to the motor while running. Heavier compressor has bigger motor and thicker tank, and I think, most of the time, it can handle heavy duty jobs better compared to the lighter built compressors.


Should I Go for the Oil-Less or the Oil-Lubricated Type

Small to mid- compressors has oil-lubricated pump motor type and the oil-free or maintenance-free type. Why would I choose the one over the other? what are the pros and cons?

This is one of my determining feature in choosing air compressor. Oil-lubricated type has longer life span, it will last a decade or more,  it runs smoothly, and less noisy compared to oil-free type of compressor.

I don’t mind changing the oil every 300 hours of use or every three months. The advantages of oil-lubricated compressors really negates the hassle of doing the maintenance routine. If you want a compressor that will last for years opt for the oil-lubricated one. But if you want the lighter built and you don’t like the hassle of doing the maintenance routine, the go for the oil-free type of compressor.

It is still your choice. If you can’t still decide whether to go oil-free or oil-lubricated, read the reviews and feedback of those people who have already owned those type of compressors. See what are their regrets or satisfactions in choosing one over the other.


How Much Gallon of Tank Do I Need

How much Gallon of tank should I choose? Should I choose the 1 gallon or the 80 gallon? Larger tank holds more air, and it allows you to use more air before the tank pressure drops to its low psi threshold. Then, the power turns on again to refill the tank.

Of course, I would go for the larger tank for lesser refill cycle. Two to six gallon tank is already good for your household DIY jobs. But, tank size will still not be a deciding feature for me; it can easily be negated by the refill time of the tank. For example, see the table below, the 2.6 gallon Makita can fill the tank in 60 seconds while the 5.5 gallon Air California Tools can fill the tank in 130 seconds. That means the 2.6 gallon tank Makita can still catch for the job due to its faster refill time.


How Much Power or CFM Should I choose

How much power or CFM(cubic feet per minute) do I need ? This is the biggest deciding factor in choosing your compressor. It is directly proportional to the price of a compressor because the higher the CFM the more type of air tools you can use in it. It is not in the strength of horse power rating but in the CFM volume power lies the true power of a compressor.

Let’s say for example you want to know if your nail gun can be use on your compressor. Look for the CFM rating of your nail gun, if it is lower than the CFM rating of your compressor then you are good to go. That means, the higher the CFM your compressor has, the more air tools you can use in it. But the higher the CFM of a compressor, the higher its price will be.

Make a list of the air tools you want to use or probably you will going to use frequently. Then, check their CFM rating; now look for the compressor that has higher CFM than the CFM of tools you have listed. That is the first important step you should do before choosing your compressor—finding the CFM of the tools you wanted to use and see if it fits the CFM rating of the compressor you want to buy.

The CFM rating of these compressors that I have included in the table below is already enough for your general DIY household project air tools. So if you haven’t decided yet of what tools to use, I think these compressors below are safe choices for your general needs.


Other Deciding Factors

How much horsepower will you need? What are the accessories included?

When it comes to horsepower rating you have to be careful with this variable also. Lower horsepower motor requires lesser electric power. A 1 HP motor needs 746 Watts of electric power—that is equivalent to around 6.78 Amperes of current for a 110 Volts source.

Now let’s say you decided to get the 3 HP motor and plugged it to an outlet. It will draw around 20 Amps  of current for a 110 Volts source. If, for another reason, you decided to add another 15 Amps power tool  on that same outlet, and you’re attached to a circuit breaker with 30 Amps capacity—your breaker will trip due to overloading because you now have a total of 35 Amps tools drawing current from a 30 Amps breaker.

Be extra careful in using your power tools simultaneously, check your circuit breaker’s capacity to avoid overloading and damaging your power tools.

Aside from HP rating and accessories included, you might also want to check the origin of the item. Some are manufactured and made in America while some American brands outsourced their production from other countries. It is still your decision if the origin of the product bears more weight for you in deciding what to buy.

Another deciding factor that is really important for me not only in choosing the best portable air compressor but in buying some other products online are the user’s ratings and reviews. I always check how many bought this particular product, what are the positive reviews, what are the negative reviews, did the company already addressed the complains? From those data, I will weight if the negative customers’ feedback are acceptable for me in this particular product compared to the other.


Mid Range Best Portable Air Compressors Comparison Table

Okay, I made here a comparison table for mid-level best portable air compressor at the price range of $200. You can see here clearly the advantages and disadvantages of one over the other in terms of size, weight, power, capacity, noise level,etc. These table data will be a big help for you in deciding what compressor to choose.



Maker-Part Number Makita-MAC700 Senco-PC1131 DEWALT-DWFP55130 California Air Tools-5510SE
 CFM(cubic feet per minute)  3.8CFM@40psi


  4.3CFM@100psi 3.0SCFM@90psi 3.10CFM@40psi


 Horsepower  2.0HP 2.0HP(running),  2.5HP(peak) 1.1HP 1.0HP
 Power Source  Corded Electric, 120  Volts, 12.4 Amps Corded Electric, 120  Volts, 14 Amps max Corded Electric, 120  Volts,  12Amps Corded Electric, 110  Volts, 8.5 Amps
  Tank Capacity  2.6-gallon  4.3-gallon 2.5-gallon 5.5-gallon
  Sound Level  80 dB 79 dB 71.5 dB 60 dB
  weight  59.6 pounds  60 pounds 39.7 pounds 54 pounds
 Dimensions 18 x 22 x 10 inches 20.5 x 16.5 x 14.5 inches  21.6 x 17.4 x 13.8  inches 23 x 10 x 19 inches
 Oil lubricated  yes  yes  no  no
 Maximum Pressure  130 psi  125 psi  200 psi 120 psi
Approximate Recovery Time (empty to full) 60 seconds 70 seconds 90 seconds 130 seconds


The Best Portable Air Compressor Recommendation for You

From those data on the table above and upon doing further research and readings. I would go for the Makita MAC700 as the best portable air compressor for that price range. The Senco gives the best CFM value. The California Air Tools has the lowest noise level, the biggest tank, and lowest horsepower rating. The Dewalt was the lightest, has almost the same horsepower rating as the California Air Tools has, has the highest psi capacity. Makita has the best refill time. Those are the individual advantages of each products. Here are the reasons why I decided to choose the Makita-MAC700 over the other:

  • I want a compressor that will last for decade or more, so I will opt for the oil-lubricated one. My choices narrow down between the Makita and the Senco brand.
  • The brand—we all know that Makita is already a household name when it comes to electric or power tools. although Senco is an American made product, I would still put my money on Makita.
  • Reviews and customers’ feedback—as of this writing, Makita have already 675 reviews with 4.7/5 average rating while Senco have 75 reviews  with 4.4/5 average rating at Amazon store. Although Senco have advantages when it comes to CFM volume rating and tank capacity, I would still opt for Makita due the customers’ feedback. People who have already owned several types of compressor from different manufacturers still opt for Makita due to its long time durability. They don’t mind the maintenance routine, what they are after with this Makita compressor is the life span of the product—which is the most important of all the variables for me.

There you have it folks. You may see the complete specifications, details, and the reviews of those satisfied buyers of this Makita MAC700 at the Amazon store.buy from amazon button - best portable air compressor This is just my personal choice, I know you have your different criteria when choosing your final product to buy. Weight the pros and the cons carefully before making your final decision.



I hope those information I have laid above are complete enough for you to decide what type of compressor best suited for your DIY and household project needs. I think it is still best to choose a compressor that will last a decade or more. Of course, long time durability still lies on how you use or abuse that particular product. Make sure to always follow the user’s guideline of those products you bought.

Listen to those people who have already owned a particular compressor. See what they have liked about it, what are their complains, what are the company’s response to their complains—you will learn a lot of valuable information and lessons from them. Gather the helpful data weight the pros and cons then decide what your heart tells you.

Most importantly, always put safety your number one priority in using these power tools. We tend to lower our safety guard when we are too much focused on finishing our projects. Please always see to it that no matter how busy you are, safety is still your number one concern.


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