Air compressors basically use power to compress air or pressurize it. This function is used to store more air in a storage tank. This can be used to fill gas cylinders with pressurized gas and operate high-intensity power tools. You can also use it for a variety of cooling purposes in the home.
When picking out such devices, there is a tendency for people to oversell their products. Hence, it can be hard for novices to figure out which compressor is worth the best value. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best deals out there.
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You can find the best air compressor for less than $200 below. My choice is the Campbell Hausfel because it’s included accessories make it a general-purpose compressor. Check it out at Amazon.
1. Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor
Shopping on a budget can be frustrating. However, sometimes the best thing that you can buy isn’t for a thousand dollars, but for much less. Remember, even if it costs more than your budget, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for you. The Senco PC1010 Compressor keeps that in mind. This compressor delivers great performance at a great price.
This bad boy will help you fill up your bike or motorcycle tires and do a little trim work as well. This model is great at proving its worth on long trips.
Did I mention that it comes with an oil-less motor? This means that you won’t have to keep refilling it after every few days. This will not only save you money but valuable time.
As for the pressure specs, it will provide up to 20 pounds per square inch (psi). However, the caveat is that it only comes with a 1-gallon tank. That won’t be a problem if you need to fill up small tires.
However, it will be a problem if you need something bigger or heavy-duty. You’ll have to keep waiting on the compressor for a while if you’re working with large fasteners or heavy tires. Keep in mind that bigger compressors are probably better for this but beyond your price range.
On top of everything, it only weighs 20 pounds so you can carry it around without much effort. This makes it the perfect tool for compressed air on the go. Whether you’re working for an industry, or just need to take a gas cylinder along, this will help you.
2. PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor
This one is probably the best value for money on this list. Not only is this cheap, but it provides you with 150 psi, and delivers it much quicker than the rest. You can get the PORTER-CABLE C2002 for much less than a top model, and you’ll still get most of the perks.
It’s a lot heavier than the competition, however, since it has a 6-gallon tank. The upside is that this is perfect for heavy-duty work, without the need for refilling. Other specifications include two air couplers, for two-person use, and an oil-free engine. These two additions make it a steal at the price.
The two air couplers provide the opportunity for two people to use the compressor at once. So if you want to work on two motorbikes at once or two tires at once, you can do so.
The Pancake compressor is also incredibly sturdy and built with precision. Hence, it requires very little maintenance throughout its life. Since it is also oil-free, there is no need to consistently open it up and refill it. Hence, it’s almost the perfect air compressor under $200.
However, there is one caveat that can simply not be ignored; the noise. This thing makes so much noise that you can barely think. Now, you may have noticed that compressors do tend to have a purely mechanical ‘hiss’ during operation. However, the PORTER-CABLE Compressor makes far too much noise even for that. You’ll probably need some over-ear noise cancellation headphones to be safe near it.
Still, it’s a bargain for the power and the smooth operation it provides. It justifies the price and then some.
3. California Air Tools Industrial Air Compressor
Here’s the budget air compressor that delivers on the basics, and doesn’t add many bells and whistles. The California Air Tools Industrial Air Compressor is not the ideal $200 air compressor. However, it can get the job done, and keep quiet for maximum ear comfort.
It runs at 60 dB, which is just the amount of noise that a busy suburb produces. You can run it all day without even noticing in a commercial area, and with minimum discomfort in your home. Think about this, a loud commercial area gets only as loud as 85 decibels, which means that this compressor won’t make a sound in the city.
Of course, it comes with an oil-free pump. Hence, you won’t have to worry about frequent oil changes or spending time and money on them. It’s also a bit beefier than the Senco PC1010 since it has a two-gallon tank included. It’s not quite as large as the six-gallon tank that the PORTER air compressor has, but it can give you peace of mind when you’re on a road trip.
However, since it’s not #1, there have to be some caveats.
The time the California Air Tools compressor takes to refill can seem like days. This is especially obvious when you’ve tried the first two on our list. Don’t get this twisted. It takes about a minute to refill, but that is a full day compared to the seconds the others take.
There are also some problems with quality control. There is a significant chance that you’ll get a malfunctioning model. And that is not a good look on any product. It’s more than a pain to deal with; it simply shatters faith in the company.
However, the main pull for this compressor is the comfort it provides.
4. Campbell Hausfel Air Compressor
Let’s count down the positives first. The Campbell Hausfel is a deal at below $200. It has a three-gallon tank for long road trips and a lot of accessories. These include a hose, a blowgun, some needles, and fittings. This makes it a great choice for a general-purpose air compressor.
For novices that don’t know the first thing about air compressors, this is a great first choice. In fact, it comes close to being the best air compressor for less than $200.
However, the good news stops there. This compressor has a list of caveats that put it at the bottom of this list. The model refills very slowly. Better models can refill at nearly six times the speed. If you need more than a single tank while doing some heavy-duty work, you’ll have to wait a while.
Noise is also an issue, and also annoying since the power it produces is not proportional to the noise level. The price and the accessories justify getting this, but there are better deals right above it on this list.
All these compressors have some positives that you may be looking for. Choose the one that’s right for you.