If you own a number of air power tools, then it’s obvious that you consider buying a portable air compressor so that you can power the tools up in every situation.
When it comes to portable compressors, these are comparatively smaller in size with smaller capacity. But, should be enough for repairing a flat tire, powering your drills, staple guns, air ratchets, and whatnot. Also, you don’t need to speed much in one of these.
To help you choose the Best 120 Volt Portable Air Compressor, I have a few recommendations that will surely benefit you and add great value to your money.
The list includes compressor units of different size, capacity, and budget. Keep your requirements in mind, and go through the reviews to find the best one for your needs.
1. Porter-Cable Store Air Compressor Kit
- Can power medium to heavy-duty air tools
- Highly portable
- Easy to carry
- Doesn’t make much noise
- Quick recovery time
- Comes with a long cord
- Not the quietest of option out there
To deliver day to day power to your air tools, Porter-cable comes with this portable air compressor unit that doesn’t disappoint its customers.
Powered by a 120V low amp motor, you will not face any difficulties while starting the unit in cold weather. If you already own an oil-powered one, you can switch between them for convenience.
Being a portable unit, this allows you to carry it without any hassle. Due to its 1.5 gal tank, you can store and carry it easily. No matter where you need to place it, there are rubber feet to make the unit stable. The tank stores at 150 PSI, so your air tools will not run out of power while handling small projects.
Talking about its performance, the unit delivers 90 PSI pressure that will be more than enough for your medium to heavy-duty power tools. You can even use it for inflating larger sized tires without any issue. The recovery time of this air compressor is relatively quick compared to its competitors.
For mobility, the unit comes with a 25 ft. extension cord to allow you to walk around the workpieces without unplugging the tools. Whether you are to buy an air compressor unit to work in your garage or backyard, its 79 dBA sound will not be much problem for you.
If you are to deal with inflation tasks, you will find the given 8-piece accessory kit to be greatly useful while using the compressor unit. Considering its price, reliable performance, portability, and user convenience, this one stands for being the best 120 volt tire inflator.
2. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
- Great airpower delivery performance.
- Durable construction.
- Efficient yet powerful air compressor.
- Less heat dissipation and water amount in the tank.
- Less maintenance.
- Makes slightly louder noise
- Carrying is a bit difficult
Investing in a low volt air compressor doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to compromise a lot of things. This unit from Makita got a big bore type engineering along with a cylinder and piston that assures you about its durability as well as delivers your power tool with higher output.
Equipped with a 2 HP motor, it can deliver up to 90 PSI to your air tools. Alongside the most commonly used power tools, you can also handle tire inflation tasks easily with the help of this air compressor.
Even though some people find it hassle some to use oil-lubricated pumps, when it comes to performance, you are assured regarding this. Powerful CFM delivery all the way. Due to its oil sight glass, the maintenance for this will not demand anything overwhelming from you.
As far as the noise is concerned, its 1730 rpm speed results in 80 dB noise. It’s not the quietest performance, but you cannot complain much of an air compressor at this price tag.
To contribute to overall performance, it features a copper finned discharge tube that assures more heat dissipation while reducing water percentage in the tank. The air filter further increases air intake to make it perform efficiently.
You can comfortably move the unit from one place to another, holding its roll-bar handle. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional, this 120 volt air compressor will be able to handle your work intensity without much performance drop and disappointment. Its durable construction makes it a perfect unit to take it to construction sites.
3. 110V AC Portable Air Compressor
- Two power outputs.
- Different nozzles for different applications.
- Fast inflation.
- LCD screen shows inflation info.
- Great portable design.
- Durable construction
- Air hose for tires is a bit difficult to attach.
- Has some minor design flows.
If you are looking for an air compressor only for occasional or regular tire inflation purposes, I have a great alternative that costs way less than conventional air compressors. It’s not an air compressor but handles inflating tasks with great efficiency.
Conventional air compressors only deal with vehicle tires; this one allows you to inflate both indoor or home objects as well as outdoor vehicles. There are two different nozzles for this reason. You can both inflate car/vehicle tires and balls as well as other inflatable objects.
You can also connect the compressor unit to both the home outlet and car cigarette lighter power outlet. 110V power cord is for home, and 12V one is for using when you are in a vehicle.
The unit also features a backlit LCD that allows you to select the desired inflation preset as well as shows information regarding it. One of the cool things about this unit is that it shuts off itself when your preset pressure is delivered. This feature prevents over-inflating objects and tires.
If your car stops in the middle of nowhere during nights, its bright LED light will make things a lot easier, and you can inflate the tire without any hassle.
Powered by a 120W sturdy metal motor, the tire inflator can pump up to 30 liters per minute. So, you can expect some serious fast inflation even if you have little time to spend for such reasons.
Although the product doesn’t cost much, the manufacturer didn’t make any compromise to its durability. The overall construction is durable enough to withstand day to day falls and light abuses.
4. Dewalt Air Compressor for Trim
- Large capacity with high PSI.
- Quick recovery.
- Ideal for trimming projects.
- Compact and easy to move around.
- Relatively low noise.
- Less maintenance.
- Recovery time isn't the quickest.
- Not great at holding air.
As the title says, if most projects have to deal with trimming, you can consider getting this one to get the bang for your money. It’s from Dewalt, so it will be durable anyway, no doubt about that. Apart from the durability factor, you will get great air compressor performance for both delicate and heavy-duty projects.
To make sure your air tools don’t run out of power, this one features a 2.5-gallon tank that can compress air at 200 PSI max. So, even though it’s a portable unit, you will be able to work for a long period.
With 3.0 SCFM, this air compressor can deliver up to 90 PSI of power to your air tools. You can use it to power a wide variety of air and pneumatic tools for both DIY and professional projects.
The runtime will be above average than what most conventional units deliver. Also, its quick recovery time will not make you wait long to finish projects.
So, if you are looking for an air compressor to rule them all, then this one can be an ideal 120-volt portable air compressor for such needs.
Weighing only 36lbs, storing this compact size compressor unit doesn’t require much space. For more convenience, you can store it in both vertical or horizontal positions as per the storing place demands.
Its low 12 amp motor doesn’t make starting the unit bothersome even on extremely cold days. As for featuring an oil-free pump, the maintenance will not require much from your side. Just make sure you handle it with care.
Compared to the previously reviewed air compressors, this one makes relatively low noise. So, if noise is one of your concerns, this one would be worth considering.
5. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
- Large tank capacity.
- Fast and efficient air power.
- User-friendly easy to move design.
- Long-lasting motor.
- Finishes projects faster.
- Oil-lubricated motor, thus, will require a bit maintenance efforts.
- Air hose isn’t that long.
- Doesn’t hold pressure for long.
Large projects require an air compressor of large capacity. To meet such requirements, Campbell introduces this 12V air compressor that comes with a total capacity of 8 gallons to provide necessary airpower support for your projects.
Large-capacity air compressors deliver more airpower, and this is not an exception here. The unit delivers 125 PSI of airflow to your power tools for both home and professional work purposes. Apart from regular pneumatic air tools, you can also use it for tire inflation, repair, and maintenance purposes.
If you are concerned with exactly what type of air tools this compressor can power, you will find it efficiently powers up air nailers, ratchets, staplers, nailers, wrenches, spray guns, and of course your inflator.
Due to the tank size, it got a horizontal design, which is easy to move from one place to another as there are rear wheels. You can effortlessly pull and push the compressor holding the handle and move it around your site. The gauges are placed in the right place so that you don’t find it troublesome to read the pressure info.
Although the pump requires oil-lubrication, the compressor unit stands out to be a durable and long-lasting one. You will not experience much hassle while operating it.
Regarding the tank capacity, power, mobility, and durability, this can be the best air compressor for the home garage as well as construction sites. However, if noise is something that bothers you, and you cannot make a compromise with it, this might not be a good buy for you.
6. AAA - 402AAA Lifeline DC Air Compressor
- Extremely portable.
- Relatively fast inflation.
- Comes with different nozzle adapters.
- Have a built-in pressure gauge
- Long power cord.
- Compact and lightweight, easy to store.
- Value for money.
- No safety fuse.
- Power plug doesn't seem that durable.
Another tire inflator on the list, but this one is even more powerful than the previously reviewed inflator. It inflates spare car tires much faster and also stands excellent for light-duty inflation tasks.
If you own a heavy-duty vehicle or a couple of vehicles, including a car, SUV, van, and truck, this can be the best 120 volt tire inflator that you can buy in this price range.
Featuring a powerful motor, the unit can inflate a spare tire within 8 minutes. For those who also own a motorcycle or ATV, you can also use it to inflate the tires using a converter with this portable compressor.
Unlike the other tire inflator, this one only plugs into your car cigarette lighter socket. Once you connect the air hose to the tire, you will see readings in its pressure gauge. Disconnect the hose once the desired PSI is delivered.
The DC power cable is 10ft. long, and comes with a 1.5ft quick connect air hose, so there will not be any hassle inflating tires on the go.
Inside the package, you will also get different nozzle adapters to inflate bike tire, football, basketball, inflatable pool, inflatable mattress, and whatnot. Due to its extreme portability, you can pretty much store it anywhere in the car, and use it in case of an emergency so that you don’t have to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours.
If you got the least money to spend on an emergency inflator compressor unit that can also be used to inflate non-vehicle objects, this unit will get great value for your money.
7. Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor
- Decent tank capacity.
- Longer tool runtimes.
- Quick compressor recovery.
- Starts during cold weather.
- Easy to carry.
- Doesn’t hold pressure well.
- A bit loud.
Having a portable air compressor doesn’t mean that you will have to compromise much regarding the air storing capacity. This pancake-shaped compressor unit from Porter-Cable comes with a 6 gallons tank, which is more than enough for finishing small to medium projects using air or pneumatic tools.
Its 150 PSI max pressure feature makes it and a great small 120 volt air compressor in this price range. Due to its higher pressure design, you can operate your air tools for a relatively long period. Also, the recovery time of this one is quick and convenient too. You don’t have to wait long if it runs out of compressed air.
Compared to conventional air compressors, the maintenance is quite less, and it won’t be an issue for you. It got an oil-free pump, which doesn’t require frequent lubricating and stuff.
As it runs on a 120V low powered motor, there will be no starting issue whatsoever, even during cold weather. Using an extended cord will not delay the starting as well.
You will find this pancake style compressor to be stable enough on the ground. It got rubber feet that help it to stand stable while not leaving scratch marks on hardwood floors.
As far as the portability is concerned, there will be hardly any issue while carrying this 34 pounds unit. It also comes with a handle, shroud, and console cover that protects the exposed components when you move it from one place to another.
Features to Look for Before Buying
Different air compressors come with different specs and features. Although these seem pretty overwhelming for beginners, this buying guide will help you to understand what features and specs you actually need considering your work requirements.
You might have noticed that not all the air compressors are powered by the same source. Some are gas-powered, whereas there are some electrically powered compressors. Depending on your using purpose, invest in the right one.
Electric Air Compressors
These units run on max 120V, and use motors with enough horsepower to be able to deliver power to the air tools.
You probably already have guessed that electric air compressors require less maintenance as there is hardly any need for oil-lubrication. However, also consider the fact that these are relatively lower-powered than gas-powered ones.
Although the motor isn’t that powerful, still these compressors deliver enough power to air tools that are for indoor usage including tire inflation tasks. You don’t need to spend much money on a compressor unit for occasional, light, and medium-duty workloads.
As the name goes, these compressors require gas for delivering power to pneumatic tools. If you need to handle heavy-duty projects on construction sites or you are a serious DIYer who mostly deals with larger projects, be sure to get one of these
PSI - Maximum Pressure Amount
The pressure amount is measured in PSI - pounds per square. You must check the air pressure requirement of your air tools as well as tires to be able to buy a suitable 120v portable air compressor.
If you are to get the compressor unit mostly for tire inflation, you would need around 35 PSI of pressure. In addition, power tools that require up to 100 PSI, are considered heavy-duty tools. So, buy according to the tools that you are about to use.
Portable air compressors deliver PSI that ranges from 50-230. When it comes to an average power compressor to handle most tasks, 150 PSI would be more than enough.
Note that a higher PSI rating indicates that a smaller tank can hold more pressure in it. So, even though you are getting a portable unit, if the PSI is high, the unit will power your air tools for longer.
This again has to do with what your air tools would require. Airflow is measured in CFM – cubic feet per minute. It’s the amount of power that the compressor delivers to the air tools.
Now, air compressor units show both delivered CFM and displaced CFM. Here, the delivered CFM is what you need to focus on.
If you use a number of tools, and you want a compressor unit to power them up without any compromise, consider multiplying one of your tool’s required CFM by 1.5, and the results would be the delivered CFM that you will need. Following this method, you will find an air compressor that will provide plenty of power to your air tools.
Be sure to go for one that delivers the highest possible CFM value to run your tools efficiently.
This particular thing refers to how long the compressor can run before it needs a break to cool down; and also how much time it takes to cool down. It’s measured in percentage that indicates running and resting time. The thermal protection feature in high-end compressor units shuts off automatically when the temperature is too hot.
If you don’t want to spend much money on a higher-end model, then you will have to shut the compressor down periodically before it overheats. How long you have to wait till the machine cools down, depends on the duty cycle. Make sure your unit has more percentage of duty cycle, and not below 30%.
Portable compressors can be connected to both 120V power outlets and 12V car power systems. However, some low-end models are only compatible with 12V car power outlets; these are mostly for inflating purposes only.
If you are looking for a portable compressor, you cannot expect the tank to be more than 6 gallons. Consider your projects and the required amount of compressed air to finish, and then go for the best 120V air compressor for air tools that comes with the desired tank capacity.
For occasional and domestic usage purposes, you would not need more than 3 gallons. The less the gallon size, the more portable machine you will get.
Don’t compromise the tank size if you mostly deal with large and professional projects. Bigger ones come with more than 6 gallons. Some models feature rear wheels to make mobility a lot easier.
It’s true that bigger models aren’t that portable; however, you will not have to do much hassle moving such a unit from one place to another if there are wheels.
Benefits of Portable Air Compressor
portable air compressor itself sounds beneficial regarding the portability issue. Although bigger compressor units are more powerful in every way, portable ones are still a good choice in some circumstances. In fact, these provide value for money as well.
Obviously, you will be able to carry and move the unit like a boss. What’s more beneficial is, when you need to work in different places in a house, this allows you to move along with your arsenal without any trouble.
Think about when it needs to carry a heavier compressor around your workplace; it would be a great time-wasting machine for small purposes.
Saves Your Bucks
You can pretty much pay half the price of a bigger compressor to get a smaller unit and power up your air tools as well as an inflator. Why waste that much money when you aren’t a professional nor an enthusiast?
Unlike regular size compressors, portable ones-don't need much space to store them. You can store the machine in a small corner in your garage or room.
There are some tire inflator compressors that you can carry inside your car for convenience. You got the inflator always ready to serve you even if the car is in the desert.
Different Types of Portable Compressor
If you look for compressors in the market, you will see lots of models of different shapes and types. Portable compressors are also available in different types. It would be better if you know about them so that you can decide which 120V portable air compressor would be the best purchase for you.
Pancake Air Compressors
These are pancake-shaped, small, and extremely portable compressor units. Homeowners and occasional DIYers mostly use them as these require quite less maintenance and easy to store due to the small tank size. For powering light air tools, these come great cost-efficient.
Hot Dog Air Compressors
Apparently, these look like iron made hot dogs. The tank size is not more than 7 gallons in any model. As far as portability is concerned, you can move such a unit easily, holding a handle. Some models come with wheels that make maneuvering a lot easier. For heavier tasks, go for one with a relatively larger tank.
This is the smallest type of compressor that you can buy. As the name indicates, these compressors are primarily for inflation tasks such as inflating vehicle tires and inflatable mattresses, basketball, etc.
Due to the small size, you can conveniently store an air inflator compressor in your car’s trunk. It will be great useful during emergencies.
The list above includes some 120-volt tire inflator reviews, from which you can choose one to get.
Twin Stack Air Compressors
To reduce the refilling time, manufacturers come with this compressor type that includes two tanks. All your air tools can work for a long time and can even finish projects before you need to refill the compressor. Keep in mind that such power and convenience come with oil-lubrication maintenance.
How To Use An Air Compressor
Frequently Asked Questions
Which portable air compressor is the best?
The best 120-volt portable air compressor would be the one with a tank size of 6 gallons or less, a decent amount of max PSI and CFM to power up the tools. If you will primarily need a compressor for inflation, look for an inflator compressor to get value for money.
Who makes the best 12 volt air compressor?
There are quite a few good quality 12 volt air compressor units for inflation purposes. Viair, Kensun, AAA, Amagle, Kobalt, etc. are the most rated compressor manufacturers, and their products are available in both retail stores and online.
What is the best 120 volt air compressor?
The best one would power the air tools with high CFM and PSI ratings. Also, the size of the compressor unit is one of the factors as the target is only to get a 120-volt compressor. Do make sure that the compressor doesn’t take too long to recover. It should run more than it requires for recovering.
What is the best air compressor for the money?
When you mostly deal with small projects and are concerned about the money to get an air compressor, it would be best to invest in a small 120 volt air compressor. Without costing too much, you can pretty much power your light-duty air tools as well as use it for tire inflation.
What is the best vertical air compressor?
Vertical air compressors are popular for large tank capacity to handle large professional as well as DIY projects.
To get the most value out of your money, consider investing in a unit that features rear wheels, so you can move it from one place to another without doing much hassle. Pursue higher CFM, PSI, and duty cycle as well.
What is a good air compressor for inflating car tires?
You have two options to go with. Some of these inflator compressors can be connected to both 120v and 12v power outlets. And there are some that are only compatible with one option. If you plan to use only for emergencies, go for a 12v inflator.However, if you are going to use it for regular usage purposes, be sure to get the best 120v tire inflator for this case.
You should have already found which one would be the best 120 volt portable air compressor to power up your air tools and tire inflator. For small projects, get one with a relatively smaller tank size.However, don’t compromise the tank size and performance of the machine if you need a compressor for large professional projects.