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.
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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.
- Best OverallDEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake CompressorSummarySummaryThis 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.ProsProsIt is quieter than its competitors. The regulator is easy to adjust, and the dual connectors are convenient. It pumps up fast and doesn't cut on/off too frequently.ConsConsThe hose fittings may slowly leak air when connected and pressurized. Regulating pressure may be challenging, and the handle may break apart.
- Best ValuePORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake CompressorSummarySummaryThe 6-gallon, pancake-style compressor has a maximum tank pressure of 150 psi and 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi. It can be used in cold weather and with an extension cord.ProsProsThe tank builds up pressure quickly, and the regulator knob can be precisely set. The two hose connection points are convenient for more than one tool.ConsConsIt's noisy and vibrates. It may not work well if you constantly need to run multiple air tools.
- Honorable MentionSenco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon CompressorSummarySummaryThis 1-gallon, 115-volt lightweight and portable compressor delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute and has one horsepower peak, 1/2 horsepower running.ProsProsThe compressor is very quiet, lightweight, small, and portable. It is most suitable for small jobs but can inflate tires.ConsConsIt cycles frequently because of its limited size. It's not suitable for large projects. The foam pad around the handle may start to tear off over time.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product 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 2019
Best Overall: DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 psi Pancake Compressor
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.
Honorable Mention: Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
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.
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.