How to choose the best Air Compressor for the Money?

How to choose the best Air Compressor for the Money
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Air compressors are machines that power a wide range of pneumatic tools for different applications. Choosing the best air compressor for the money may be difficult if you aren’t sure of the right one to get.

Also putting the cost into consideration, you might end up getting something big and expensive than what is necessary, or too small that is not enough to finish the job quickly, resulting to more trials and errors.

Everything depends on how much you'll be running it, and what you plan to use it for. Cheap compressors that cost about $100 are the small, portable ones, which is perfect for everyday chores like filling tires. 

Stationary compressors may cost a lot depending on size and model, but these can provide high volume of air needed for heavier jobs. Put in mind that when choosing the ideal compressor, you need to match it with the job demands.

To help you decide which air compressor is best for your money, we have compiled some factors you should consider.

What factors should be considered when getting an air compressor for the money?

Air compressors are used for tools responsible for maintenance and craft projects around the house, repair jobs in the garage, construction projects on the job site, or industrial projects in the shop. Compressors are available in a wide array of sizes and styles. Picking the right one depends on the factors listed below.


If you can afford to spend about $300, you can get a portable compressor that'll power most DIY air tools and last for a couple of decades. There are cheaper counterparts that range from $129 to $199 that can function as well and last as long as its expensive counterparts.

There are also ones that go below $100; these are the small, portable ones that is good for pumping air into wheels and sporting goods. Be wary, as these can sometimes be considered as “disposable compressors” and are very loud when turned on.

Even though you’ll be paying a bit of a hefty price, make sure to look for a compressor with a cast iron cylinder, oil lubrication and air output of at least 4 cu. ft. It’s a bit on the expensive side but will save you money from repairs and parts replacement in the long run.

Frequency of Use

How often do you need to use it? If you’re going to use it occasionally for house repairs and for filling tires, you may need something that is small and portable. Only textile and machineries use air compressors that run 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Some contractors also use their air compressors quite a lot, more than homeowners, but they don’t go up to the extent of not resting and turning off their air compressors.

Although they would certainly need a long lasting, built with quality compressor for their construction tools such as nail guns, hammers, spray guns, wrenches, drills, sprayers, sanders, saws, tire inflators, etc. A heavy duty compressor that can withstand long uses is the: 

Campbell Hausefeld 20-gallon Compressor

Power Source

Choose between electric-powered or gas-powered air compressors. Electric is the way to go if you’re only using it for home maintenance and building. It doesn’t have any problems being used indoors because it doesn’t give out deadly gas emissions.

A good electric compressor is the: 

Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

On the other hand, for heavy powered tools and machineries, a gas-powered compressor is recommended because burning fuel generates more power. This type of power source is not recommended to be used indoors. But if you really have to, it must be contained in a place with good ventilation.

Tank Size

The size of the tank is sometimes forgotten during the purchase period because the power of the air compressor takes center stage.

Remember, The size of a compressor’s tank is important because it determines how long air tools can run before the compressor needs to pump and store compressed air again. Sizes of tank are in gallons and it could range from 1 gallon up to 80 gallons.

If you’ll be using tools that require a high volume of air for prolonged periods, get a compressor with a larger tank. However, if you’ll only use it for short periods, get a compressor with a smaller tank.

Basic analyzing comes into place here. However, to give you an idea, tools that require short bursts of air don’t drain the tank fast so you’ll need about 2-6 gallons for this. Worth checking out is the: 

Campbell FP209499 3-Gallon Air Compressor


Because you are purchasing an air compressor with big regard to the cost, you need to keep in mind to get something that will require less maintenance and repairs. Generally speaking, the cheaper the air compressor is, the lower quality of materials has been used.

Although this is not always the case, you need to scrutinize every inch of the compressor to make sure its built with sturdy and durable material.

You don’t want to shed a lot of cash for repairs and parts replacement. Sometimes, having an air compressor repaired cost more than the original price. Consider investing in something that has already established a name in this industry.

In most cases, you'll have do some small maintenance measures to keep it in tip-top shape such as change the oil on schedule to keep it humming.


Picking the best air compressor for the money is a difficult task if you’re not sure of which one suits your needs and preferences. It is recommended that before venturing out into buying your air compressor, you have read the specifications that suit the job you intend to do, as well as the durability, safety, and longevity of the materials used.

This must be the case especially if you are on a tight budget; you want to ensure that your air compressor of choice will last years, if not decades, and avoid incurring extra costs for repairs and parts replacements.

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MZB Compressors

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