LAST UPDATED: March 27, 2019
Best 110v Air Compressors: Our Top Picks for Your Car, Workshop & Garage
Seamlessly complete jobs in your workshop or garage with these top 110v air compressors.
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON March 27, 2019
An air compressor that’s compatible with 110v/120v outlets can be used for a variety of automotive maintenance tasks. These machines convert power into energy stored in pressurized air. When air is forced into the tank, the pressure increases. What is the best air compressor to buy? Read this guide for our top picks.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a 110v Air Compressor?
- A good addition to your workshop. Working on your car at home requires a large toolset. The more tools you have, the more you can do. Adding an air compressor into the mix will give you the ability to work on your wheels, tires, and other parts that may require fastening, cleaning, or inflating.
- Great for DIY enthusiasts. Save some money by doing your own automotive work. Ever wanted to change or repair your own tires? While you’ll need more than a simple air compressor, it can make DIY automotive maintenance easier and more accessible.
- Cheaper to use air tools. Air tools are powerful for loosening or tightening fittings. Lug nuts, for example, benefit from an air-powered impact driver to ensure you get a tight grip between the wheels and rims. Even a simple puff of air helps clean vehicle surfaces and other tools.
- Do more at home. While car tires are the most logical thing to inflate with an air compressor, since they are quick to inflate and most compressor valves work with tire stems without any adapters, you can pump up nearly anything with the right attachment. You can also run other air-powered tools for DIY home projects.
Types of 110v Air Compressors
The best pancake compressors are light and small with tanks ranging in size from one to six gallons. This type of air compressor is compact, oil-free, and portable due to its weight. They're intended for small jobs such as tire inflation and usually cannot run large air tools. They're popular for home workshops and garages.
Hot Dog Compressor
These compressors are popular among DIY mechanics because they power small air tools such. They are generally heavier than pancake compressors and have bigger tanks. These compressors are low-maintenance but are usually louder than other compressors. They are not known for having a "whisper quiet" feature.
Top Brands of 110v Air Compressors
Located in Towson, Maryland, Porter-Cable was established in 1906 as a jobbing machine and tool shop. In addition to air compressors, they produce drills, saws, grinders, polishers, and other tools. One top product is the Porter-Cable CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit.
DeWalt Products Company was formed in Leola, Pennsylvania, in 1924 with the launch of the electric universal woodworking machine, mortiser, and jointer. In 2018, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary of the Product Service Division of Stanley Black & Decker. One popular product is the DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 psi Pancake Compressor.
SENCO is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founder Albert Juilfs built the Springtramp Eliminator to address automobile vibrations in 1936. The company is known for its high-quality fasteners and tools. One popular compressor is the Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor.
California Air Tools
California Air Tools was established in San Diego, California, in 2002. The company introduced its first line of "ultra-quiet" air compressors in 2009. Its mission for customers is to "change the way you work." One top product is the California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp Steel Tank Air Compressor.
Campbell Hausfeld, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company in Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1836 and focused on agricultural equipment. Today, the company focuses on compressed air products as well as easy-to-use pneumatic equipment. One popular product is its 8-Gallon Campbell Hausfeld Portable Quiet Air Compressor.
110v Air Compressor Pricing
- Under $50: Typically, air compressors in this price range have one function such as tire inflation. They can be used for cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and other small vehicles. They're also practical for sporting equipment, rafts, athletic balls, beach toys, and air mattresses.
- $100-$200: There are several air compressors powerful enough for impact drivers and other automotive equipment. They don't always include an accessory kit, which sometimes must be purchased separately.
- Over $200: There are a variety of good quality air compressors for home garages and workshops in this price range. They tend to be bigger and offer more performance than smaller machines.
The higher the SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute), the better the performance. SCFM measures the volume of air flow needed for an air compressor to achieve its best performance. SCFM changes with psi (pounds per square inch), which is a measure of pressure.
Tank Size & Weight (Portability)
Weight is important, particularly if you want an air compressor that you can easily move from one area of the garage to another as you work on a vehicle. Tank sizes are measured in gallons. Bigger tanks typically equal greater performance. If you plan on doing smaller tasks, you don't need a huge tank.
- Orientation: Air compressor tanks can be vertical or horizontal. It's a personal choice as to what type will fit best in your shop. In some areas, a horizontal tank may take up too much space, while a vertical tank may be the perfect solution for areas in which there is less room.
- Handles: If you plan on lugging your air compressor around your garage, check to see if it has a handle. This may not be necessary for a pancake compressor, but a hot dog compressor is heavier and more difficult to move. A handle will make it more portable.
Best 110v Air Compressor Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The DeWalt 6-gallon, 120v, 60Hz pancake air compressor has 165 max psi and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 psi. It features a high-flow regulator and couplers to maximize air tool performance. The high-efficiency motor permits easy start up in cold weather.
The 75.5 dBA noise level means it is less noisy than its competitors. DeWalt techs assert that a break-in procedure is not necessary for the product. It's small enough to move around the house or workshop. The regulator is variable and easy to adjust, and the dual connectors are very convenient. It pumps up fast and shuts off exactly at 165 psi. It's very easy to clear the tank with the small ball valve. Because of its size, it doesn't cut on/off too frequently.
The hose fittings can slowly leak air when attached to a hose and pressurized. This issue can, however, be resolved by replacing the fittings with better ones. Regulating pressure may also be challenging. For example, when the pressure is set to lower than 100 psi, it can quickly creep up when not in use. The handle may break apart as well.
This 6-gallon, the pancake-style compressor has a maximum tank pressure of 150 psi for longer tool run times. Its 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows for quick recovery time. It's oil-free and features a water drain valve and rubber feet. The low-amp, 120-volt motor can be used with an extension cord and starts easily in cold weather.
The tank builds up pressure quickly and doesn't need to run longer to maintain constant pressure. The regulator knob can be precisely set. It fits nicely in a trunk or RV compartment, with a handle that makes it easy to carry. It also includes a straight hose that is supple and doesn't tangle. The two hose connection points are convenient for using more than one tool.
Like many air compressors, it is noisy and vibrates. You may need ear protection if you are next to it for more than a minute or two. It may shift on the ground on a smooth surface such as concrete. It may not work if you constantly need to run multiple air tools at once.
This 1-gallon, 115-volt portable compressor is intended for renovation and home improvement jobs as well as crafts and other hobbies. It delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute and has one horsepower peak, 1/2 horsepower running. It weighs 20 pounds.
The compressor's biggest selling point is how quiet it is. It's also very lightweight, small, and much easier to maneuver than a pancake compressor. It easily powers impact drivers/other air tools and can be used for inflating tires, but it is most suitable for small jobs.
The foam pad around the handle may start to tear off. The air filter is in the side of the compressor housing close to the air tank with very limited space to remove for cleaning. The drain valve is not centered on the bottom so you may have to tilt the compressor to drain it.
If you’re looking for a large and reliable air compressor to inflate tires, sports equipment, or anything else, consider the California Air Tools air compressor. This massive air tank is equipped with a powerful 1.0-horsepower motor, can pump out 3 cubic feet per minute at 40 pounds per square inch (or 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI), and is quiet as well.
A great benefit of the California air tank is that while it’s on, it registers at only 60 decibels, making it quiet. It can hold up to 8 gallons of air and can be completely filled in less than three minutes. It also generates a maximum pressure of 120 PSI, and has a life cycle of 3,000 hours. Plus, its two large wheels make the device easy to lug around if you ever need to.
Keep in mind, however, that while it may technically be quiet, it will still come with a bit of noise. There isn’t a single air compressor that is silent. Also, the handle isn’t that high or long, so you may have to hunch over in order to pull it.
The Kensun digital tire inflator/air compressor is a small and capable device for blowing up tires. It will plug into a 12-volt cigarette lighter or a 110-volt power socket, making it convenient and versatile. Its compact design and light weight make it super simple to transport from the garage to your home or vehicle.
One of the best features of the Kensun air compressor is it’s built with advanced engineering. Its 120-watt motor is built out of solid metal and is able to pump at 30 liters per minute. It also comes with an LCD screen, an LED work light, and a full set of accessory nozzles to ensure you have everything you need to pump up a soccer ball or bike tire.
You may find an issue when it comes to cables. They’re stored on the bottom of the device and can be a pain to get back into their compartment. Also, while the unit includes an auto shut-off feature, it may not always be reliable and can overshoot or undershoot your PSI goal.
The Avid Power tire inflator/compressor is another lightweight and compact machine. You won’t have to deal with lugging around a hefty device in order to fill up your vehicle’s tires. The best part about this model is it comes with dual solid-metal motors for increased speed and pumping power.
It also features dual plug-ins for connecting to either a wall socket or your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. It includes two types of hoses, inflation and deflation switch, and an auto shut-off feature. Plus, it comes with a powerful LED light and a full LCD screen to monitor PSI gauges.
It can be considered a bit pricey when compared to other lightweight air compressors, however. It also may not be as powerful as other brands and could take a bit longer to fully inflate equipment. Also, the instructions can be a bit difficult to understand.
BOSTITCH’s air compressor comes with a large 6-gallon tank and generates a maximum of 150 pounds per square inch. It may not be considered heavy when compared to other wheeled canisters, but at 29 pounds it may be hefty for some. It also features a high-flow regulator and dual couplers for maximized airflow and performance.
A great benefit is it’s completely oil-free and requires no daily maintenance or upkeep. Another added bonus is it comes with a 50-foot-long rubber/PVC blended air hose and a 10-piece inflation and blowgun accessory kit.
However, it can be quite noisy at 80 decibels. It could also benefit from some wheels, as carrying it can be a pain. It is also rather expensive.
The TEROMAS air compressor is another great versatile device that can be taken with you on the go or left in the garage. It’s a multi-purpose tool that’s able to inflate car tires, motorcycle tires, sports equipment, hovercrafts, and mattresses. You also have your choice of connecting it to either a wall socket or cigarette lighter.
It’s the most compact of our choices and generates up to 150 pounds per square inch. It may be small, but it packs a punch, as it’s rated to fill a car tire from zero to 35 PSI in under four minutes. Plus, it’s easy to store and carry around. It even includes an auto-off feature for when it reaches the precise PSI entered into the system. It also has an easy-to-read LCD screen and LED work light.
The power cords may be too short for some users, so you may need an extension cord. The auto shut-off feature may not be fully accurate. Some have reported that it can read a few PSI over or under with a tire-pressure monitor. Also, the screen can be difficult to read in direct sunlight.
Tips & Advice for 110v Air Compressors
- When choosing a 110v air compressor, you can purchase products marked 110v, 115v, and 120v. They all conform to the same U.S. electric current standards.
- Read the manual. Even if you are knowledgeable about air compressors, it's important to learn about the product before using it. Accidents can happen if you don't follow the directions.
- Pay attention to the break-in period. Manufacturers usually recommend running the compressor with the pressure valve open for at least 15 minutes. Afterward, close the valve and let the tank come up to pressure.
- Never exceed the maximum pressure. Always follow the recommended pressure for safety purposes. If you don't correctly follow the manufacturer's instructions, you risk having an accident and/or injury.
- Avoid rust by holding the compressor at an angle to drain any water that builds up after each use. Rust and other misuses can cause the compressor to burst.
- Check for loose parts before operating the compressor. For example, ensure the hoses fit snugly on the tank. Loose parts can result in injury. Also, keep the hoses clean.
- It's not advisable to run most air compressors for more than 20 to 30 minutes. You should switch it off and give the machine time to cool down.
Q: Will my compressor easily inflate car tires?
A: It depends on the size and power of the air compressor. Compressors that are larger will do the job much quicker than smaller, lighter compressors.
Q: Does it come with a hose?
A: Some air compressors require a separate accessory kit. Make sure you read the detailed description of the product to ensure it has all the parts required for your project.
Q: How long does it take the tank to fill when it's empty?
A: Some tanks take as little as a couple of minutes, but other tanks may take longer to fill. It depends on the compressor's size and level of performance.
Q: Do air compressors work in frigid cold temperatures?
A: Most types of electrical equipment can suffer from performance issues in cold weather. Compressors that are small and not intended for high-demand use may function fine in colder climates.
Our top pick for the best 110v air compressor is the DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 psi Pancake Compressor. It is quieter than its competitors, has dual connectors, and pumps up quickly.
If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, consider the Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor.