Whether you’re on the road in your RV camper or hitting the trail on your ATV, a portable air compressor is a great piece of equipment to have around. In this outdoor gear guide, we’ve listed the best ones on the market.
By the end of this guide, you should have all the information needed to make an informed decision about which one is best suited for your needs. So let’s get started!
Today, we will be reviewing some of the best portable air compressors on the market today. We’ll discuss their features, pros and cons, as well as how they compare to each other.
What Is a Portable Air Compressor?
A portable air compressor is very versatile when it comes to its function. They can be used at home if needed and are also an essential tool when you travel or go RV camping.
They can power pneumatic tools like nail guns, paint sprayers, angle grinders, and air sprayers. And one of its main functions is providing quick air for flat tires, making them essential outdoor gear if you are into ATV riding or mountain biking.
This multifunctional tool is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around and use for several purposes. It has a motor and air tank where compressed air is stored and ready for you to use.
Are Portable Air Compressors Worth It?
There are many situations where you can use portable air compressors. And unlike the massive industrial air compressor, it can be carried just about anywhere you need it.
Here are some of the uses of portable air compressors and why you should invest in one.
- Used to inflate tires– Unfortunately, a flat tire is going to happen to most road trippers, RV campers, and outdoor enthusiasts from time to time. It’s important to check your air pressure before heading out on an adventure, and a portable air compressor comes in handy when you have a flat or need a top-off.
- Used for different household tasks– Portable air compressors are great if you are handy around the house. It can be hooked up to many tools at home, such as air-powered nail guns, and airbrush paint guns, and some of the smaller units can even be used to air up balloons for birthday parties.
- Maximize its use at work– Finally, those who do a lot of work in construction, professional painters, and other handymen jobs will find a portable air compressor to be a tool of necessity.
Types Of Portable Air Compressors
There are four main types of portable air compressors to choose from.
- Pancake compressors– These have a round, flat tank with the motor on the bottom and a pump on top. Its design allows for better stability, and they take up less space compared to the other types.
- Hot dog air compressor– This type has a horizontal, single, cylindrical tank with the motor and pump on top. They are available in a range of sizes.
- Twin stack air compressor– This type has two cylindrical tanks. It’s like two hotdog styles in one.
- Wheelbarrow air compressor– This type has two large cylindrical tanks on the base and often comes with wheels and handles for easy movement and transportation.
What To Consider When Buying A Portable Air Compressor?
To choose the best portable air compressor, consider these features.
- Power source– Air compressors run on gas or electricity, the latter being the most common power supply. Electric compressors can be either 120V or 240V, require less maintenance, and are more quiet compared to the gas types. Battery-powered compressors are starting to get more popular, but compared to the two options, it has lower power capacity and is much better for low-supply applications.
- Specification– The two main things you should consider when choosing an air compressor are the CFM and PSI.
- CFM (cubic feet per minute) tells you the volume of air that the unit can sustain. The value of CFM is inversely proportional to PSI. When PSI decreases, the CFM will increase and vice versa.
- PSI (pounds per square inch) describes the maximum pressure the pump can store in the tank. Good air compressor units have a minimum of 125 PSI. High-end models have higher PSI.
- Noise Level- Air compressors can produce loud sounds up to 70-92 decibels. And that is some serious level of noise, considering that an average conversation produces 60 decibels of sound. Choose units that are quieter, preferably something below 60 decibels. Choose a unit with a belt-drive system since it makes less sound and is quieter than direct-drive systems.
- Tank Size & Capacity- This is one of the most essential features to consider since it tells you the amount of air volume your compressor can hold. A large tank means it can hold more air ready for you to use. The standard tanks can hold between 150 to 200 PSI, but some units can be used for high-pressure applications ranging from 300 up to 3000 PSI.
- Expiration Date– Compressor tanks have expiration dates, so be sure to check your tanks every now and then.
- Couplers– The more couplers there are on the air compressor, the more tasks it can handle. An air compressor with multiple couplers can use multiple tools at the same time without the need to disconnect and reconnect when going between tools. This isn’t probably necessary for household use but is important for commercial users.
- Pump type– There are two types of air compressor pumps: oiled and oil-free. Oil-free systems deliver better quality air and are easier to maintain.
Maintenance of Portable Air Compressors
Just like any other tool or device that you have, it is important that you know how to take care of your portable air compressor unit to extend its life and keep it working for a long time.
Keep your portable air compressors running smoothly with these essential maintenance tips.
- Make sure you read the air compressor’s manual for any specific maintenance instructions.
- Regularly check for leaks, oil, and coolant levels, and change air filters as needed.
- Clean the intake vents regularly, especially if you’re in a dusty environment.
- Drain the water or the moisture that may have built up from the air compressor tanks.
- Since air compressors constantly vibrate while in use, there is a chance that screws or bolts might get loose, so make sure to check them as well.
- Check the condition of the hoses regularly because a break or crack in the hoses would mean air leakage.
- Make sure to check and clean the fuel tanks and ensure there isn’t any fuel build-up inside.
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