In this Guide
Air compressors are a must-have for any work with spray paint. Small air compressors are especially useful for this purpose, as they are easy to store and transport. But with so many options on the market, you may be finding it difficult to find the best small air compressor for your unique needs and preferences.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite units and reviewed them in detail. Whether you need something budget-friendly or something durable, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for amongst our recommendations.
We’ve also included a handy buying guide at the end of the article, so that you’ll know which factors to consider when shopping for the best small air compressor.
|Rolair JC10 Plus Oil-Less Compressor||$$$||Ultra Quite|
|California Air Tools 8010 Oil-Free Air Compressor||$$$||Ultra Quite|
|Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor||$$||Quite|
Best Small Air Compressor: 2019 Reviews
1. Rolair JC10 Plus Oil-Less Compressor: Best For Most People
It’s quite durable and offers excellent performance, allowing you to use it for any type of finish or trim work, especially with spraying paint.
The Rolair JC10 Plus Oil-Less is our favorite small air compressor for most people. It’s quite durable and offers excellent performance, allowing you to use it for any type of finish or trim work, especially with spraying paint.
The Rolair is compact and lightweight – so it’s easily portable. Plus, this model comes with ultra-quiet operation, so that you can use it indoors without worrying about the noise!
This air compressor offers a lot of value for your money as it’s quite durable. The cast aluminum cylinder keeps the Rolair safe from wear and tear, and the integrated roll cage protects the important internal components from getting damaged. The compressor is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Using the Rolair is easy and convenient, and you’ll love it both for home DIY projects and for field work.
For the price, this model is also quite powerful. It offers 2.35 CFM at 90 PSI and features a 2.5-gallon tank capacity, making it ideal for any spray painting jobs.
Using the Rolair is easy and convenient, and you’ll love it both for home DIY projects and for field work. The compressor is quite lightweight and compact, so that you can move it around easily. It also operates very quietly, so you can use it indoors without bothering anyone with the noise.
As this air compressor is oil-less, maintenance is easy and cost-effective. Plus, it reduces downtime, allowing you to embark on day-long spray paint projects.
The air filter on the Rolair protrudes a bit outside the roll cage, which makes it vulnerable to getting damaged during transportation and work.
2. California Air Tools 8010 Oil-Free Air Compressor: Best Value For Money
You can easily transport this air compressor and use it in different temperatures on uneven terrains, so it’s a great choice for professional work at various job sites.
The California Air Tools 8010 Oil-Free Air Compressor offers the best value for your money, as it’s powerful, quiet, and features a high tank capacity. You can easily transport this air compressor and use it in different temperatures on uneven terrains, so it’s a great choice for professional work at various job sites.
The CAT-8010 air compressor is a very durable option. The tank is made of steel, which ensures that the components won’t get easily damaged.
Plus, the CAT-8010 features an oil-free dual-piston pump which is especially designed for increased shelf life. It’s meant to have a life cycle of 3000+ hours before wear, as opposed to most other air compressors which have life cycles of about 500 hours, or less. Like the Rolair, the CAT is backed by a 1-year warranty.
This model is a great option for work on different job sites. The oil-free pump will allow you to operate the CAT in both warm and cold temperatures and on uneven terrain.
At the same time, the ultra-quiet operation makes the CAT suitable for work indoors. Much like the Rolair, the CAT makes noise of up to 60 decibels. This will allow you to have conversations and listen to music while you work!
The CAT is really easy to use and maintain. The tank takes only 165 seconds to fill. Plus, the oil-free operation cuts down cost and doesn’t demand much cleaning or maintenance.
The oil-free pump will allow you to operate the CAT in both warm and cold temperatures, and on uneven terrain.
This is a great choice for professionals as it’s versatile and powerful. The CAT runs at 1 HP, and the motor has a peak HP of 2. It works 3.00 CFM at 40 PSI, and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI, making it ideal for a variety of spray painting work. The maximum pressure is 120 PSI, but the compressor can overheat if you use it too long at maximum capacity.
Another reason why this is a great choice for professionals is the high, 8-gallon holding capacity of the tank.
The CAT is easy to transport. It’s quite lightweight, weighing under 50 lbs, and the wheel kit included with the purchase makes it easily portable. Plus, it features a handle, making it simple to pick up and maneuver.
One issue with this unit is that the pressure regulator may not be screwed on tightly, which would cause a slow leak. This can be fixed by people who have some DIY mechanical experience and the necessary tools around. If you don’t, you can send it back for a replacement.
3. Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor: Best On A Budget
Despite the low price, the Porter-Cable is quite durable and powerful.
The Porter-Cable C2002 is our favorite budget-friendly air compressor. It’s the most lightweight option on our list, making it also the most easily portable! Despite the low price, the Porter-Cable is quite durable and powerful. It’s also easy to use, making it a great choice for beginners, or those of you looking to do some spray painting at home!
The Porter-Cable is really easy to use. It comes with a great instruction manual that will teach you almost everything you need to know about using an air compressor! Plus, it features two regulated air couplers so that two users can work at the same time.
For a price under $100, this small air compressor is quite powerful. It uses 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, and has quite a quick recovery time. Plus, the maximum PSI value of the Porter-Cable is 150 PSI, which is impressive for the size and the price of this model!
The tank is designed to optimize the stability of the air compressor, reducing the chance of it tipping over and getting damaged.
You’ll love how easily portable this air compressor is. It’s the lightest option on this list, weighing about 30 lbs, and it features an ergonomic carrying handle. This will make it easy for you to transport the compressor from one room of your home to another.
Although it’s quite small, the Porter-Cable has a decent capacity of 6 gallons. The tank is designed to optimize the stability of the air compressor, reducing the chance of it tipping over and getting damaged.
In fact, the Porter-Cable is quite durable. The shroud, handle, and console are covered so as to protect the internal components and increase the lifespan of the unit.
As this air compressor is also oil-free, you can be sure that operating it will be mess-free, and cleanup will be super easy!
The Porter-Cable is a great choice for home use. It operates on a low amperage, 120V motor, which will allow you to run it off the regular household circuits.
This unit needs to be broken in before being used. The issue is that details on the breaking-in process are missing in the instructions. However, you can find these instructions online on the manufacturer’s website.
The best small air compressor for most people is the Rolair, as it’s durable, powerful, and ultra-quiet, allowing for work in the home or at a job site. It’s also easily portable and easy to maintain.
The CAT-8010 is our favorite value-for-money pick, as it offers a lot of versatility for the price. It’s also a great choice for professionals, as you can easily use this air compressor both on job sites and indoors. It works equally well in cold weather, and can handle uneven terrains. This model is also quite durable, so that it can withstand years of heavy-duty use.
The best budget-friendly option is the Porter-Cable air compressor. For a price below $100, you get a powerful and super lightweight unit, which you can use for any spray painting job at home or at the shop. Since it’s really easy to use, we also recommend this unit for beginners.
Shopping For The Best Small Air Compressor
Now that you’ve looked over our favorite models, you may still be wondering which option is the best choice for you. Read on to our essential buying advice to learn which factors you should keep in mind when choosing your new air compressor.
Noise can be quite a problem when operating with some air compressors. If you don’t want to be bothered by noise or want to operate your new air compressor indoors, you should opt for a unit that features quiet operation.
Noise can be quite a problem when operating some air compressors.
While all of our recommendations run quiet enough, the most quiet operation is offered by the CAT and the Rolair.
The beauty of a small air compressor is that it’s lightweight, which makes it easy to transport and easy to work with. Still, there is some variation in the weight between our recommendations.
The Porter-Cable weighs only 30 lbs, making it the easiest option to carry around.
If you’re going for lightest, you’ll love the Porter-Cable. It weighs only 30 lbs, making it the easiest option to carry around. The CAT weighs 50 lbs, which is quite a bit more. Although the wheels make it easily portable, it’s harder to pick up. The Rolair falls in the middle, as it weighs about 40 lbs.
As with any mechanical tool, you want to make sure that your new air compressor is durable. Make sure that the unit you choose offers external coverage which is sturdy enough to protect the vital internal components from getting damaged.
A good way to check this is to go over what materials are used for the cage or the shell of the air compressor. Steel and aluminum are some of the most frequently used metals that ensure the durability of a unit and extend its life cycle.
Make sure that the unit you choose offers external coverage which is sturdy enough to protect the vital internal components from getting damaged.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering durability is the warranty of a product. All of our recommendations are warrantied for a year, even though they come at different price points.
Q: How much is a small compressor?
A: A small compressor is priced anywhere between $100 and $1300. Our recommendations are generally affordable, and range between $100 and $300.
Q: How many CFM do I need for spray painting?
A: You need about 5-7 CFM for spray painting. We recommend that you set your gun at 10-15 PSI when spray painting the base coat.
Q: What’s the quietest air compressor?
A: The quietest air compressors out of our recommendations are the Rolair and the CAT.
Hopefully, you found our reviews and buying guide useful in your search for the best small air compressor for your spray painting work. To get more details about each of our recommended units, click on their title links to learn their price, specifications, and customer reviews.
In the meantime, you can see more of the best air compressors for painting here!