Category Archives for "Portable Air Compressors"


DEWALT DWFP55130 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the DEWALT DWFP55130 air compressor

​The DEWALT DWFP55130 is an oil-free air compressor that has been designed to be quieter than compressors of similar power. The motor requires only 12 amps so can be plugged into a regular household socket. As with some other compressors, it is contained within a protective roll cage that is designed to stand in either of two orientations making it either tall and thin or short and wide. It can be operated in either orientation. Unlike some cheaper compressors, it has the much preferred ball drain valve for tank draining. Unlike other portable compressors, this has a high tank pressure of 200 psi with the motor cutting in at 165 psi. The maximum output pressure on the regulator however is 160 psi. Like almost all portable compressors, it too has a 50% duty cycle so can not be over-worked without over-heating.

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California Air Tools CAT-10020

California Air Tools CAT-10020 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the California Air Tools CAT-10020 air compressor

The California Air Tools 10020 is a nice-looking beast of an air compressor and is pretty quiet given its power and the fact that it is oil-free. Its wheels obviate the need to lift it when moving it around, but they are pretty basic so don't expect to travel far with them!  Using the newly incorporated 'Easy Start Valve' when starting up, draws only 14 amps allowing it to be run off a regular household electrical outlet although it is preferable to be on a 20A circuit to ensure that it doesn't trip any breakers. The tank will fill up from start-up in about 2 mins, reaching 125 psi, and then will cut back in when the pressure drops to 80-90 psi. For draining the tank of excess condensation, it has the preferred ball drain valve.

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California Air Tools CAT-1610A

California Air Tools CAT-1610A air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the California Air Tools CAT-1610A air compressor

​The California Air Tools 1610A air compressor is super quiet compared to other compressors of its clsss allowing people in the same room to converse as they normally would do without having to shout over the noise. The air tank is made of aluminum which gives it added protection from rusting but reduces its durability against accidental impacts. It takes 1 minute to reach tank pressure from start-up, and when it comes time to empty the tank and release excess condensation, it has the less desirable pull-type drain valve.

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Makita MAC5200

Selected technical specifications of the Makita MAC5200 air compressor

The powerful Makita MAC5200 oil-based compressor is uniquely housed within its own dolly making it easily portable. The dolly handle is situated high enough to suit taller individuals who don't have to bend down to reach it as with some other compressor designs. Conveniently, it can also be folded down to make the whole unit more compact and can even store a long air hose. For any other air compressor accessories, there is a good-sized storage compartment on the top of the main compressor body. The relatively powerful 3hp motor requires a dedicated electrical circuit if you want to prevent circuit breakers from flipping - preferably rated for 20A, not an impossible feat in most households. The unit also ships with the more desirable ball drain valve to remove excess condensation from the air tank. Earlier versions of the compressor shipped with sub-standard wheels and wheel assemblies, but Makita has listened to complaints and has since upgarded them to improved pneumatic ones making it easy to transport the compressor unit longer distances. Although the unit is able to deliver a relatively large air volume, it still only has a duty cycle of 50% like most portable compressors.

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Rolair JC10

Rolair JC10 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the Rolair JC10 air compressor

The Rolair JC10 is one of the quieter oil-free compressors out there and has an aluminum cyclinder making it very resistant to condensation-induced rusting but less resistant to accidental damage.  It is housed within a 'roll cage' for both protection and handling. Although this is a neat little compressor overall, it does have a few design issues that could be improved. Some of its parts sit outside of the protective cage making them sightly more vunerable to accidental impacts. Another minor design flaw is that the pressure gauges face outwards rather than up - incovenient when positioned on the floor where most people operate them. And as with similar compressors of its class, it has the less-desirable pull-type drain valve.

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BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF air compresor
Selected technical specifications of the BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF air compressor

The Bostitch CAP1512-OF oil-free compressor draws a maximum of 12 amps at start-up so can be plugged directly into any regular electrical outlet. It takes about 45 seconds to reach 150 psi from atmospheric pressure. Like almost all other portable air compressors, it operates on a 50% duty cycle with the pump cutting back in at 120 psi. It is housed within a roll cage that helps to protect it from impacts. Unlike many other portable air compressors, it has an integrated tool and hose storage compartment as well as an integrated electrical cord holder, all of which adds up to making it nicely portable. It also uses the preferred ball drain valve to drain the tank of excess condensation. Overall, a nice piece of kit!

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PORTER-CABLE CMB15 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 air compressor

The Porter-Cable CMB15 is an oil-free mini compressor. It is different from most other portable compressors with a reasonably-sized air tank in that it is fully shrouded in a case giving it a more refined appearence. It also comes with a 25-foot coil hose (not the highest quality though!) and some very basic inflation accessories (tire chuck, teflon tape, and some different inflation nozzles). It is also one of the lightest compressors out there. However, it does not come with a quick-connect coupler as most portable compressors do these days, with the hose screwed directly into the outlet. It has a small storage compartment on the back but which is pretty useless since it does not even have the space to contain the included accessories. However, other than these little design oversights, it's a good little compressor for inflation and low airflow (cfm) air tools.

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Selected technical specifications of the PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 air compressor

The PCFP02003 is one of a line of oil-free compressors from Porter-Cable. This pancake unit is popular with home owners and DIYers. For its size, it is relatively powerful but it does have a couple of design flaws: Firstly, it is noisy compared to other portable compressors, so you will probably want to wear ear protection if you have to work alongside it. In addition, the rubber hose projecting out from the pump to the tank and which gets very hot, makes it a bit of a burn hazard. Other compressor designs have integrated this hose so that is it less exposed.

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Makita MAC2400

Makita MAC2400 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the Makita MAC2400 air compressor

The MAC2400 is the smaller oil-based air compressor from Makita. As with other Makita compressors, the build quality is excellent, and unsurprisingly, has the more expensive ball drain valve for condensation removal from the air tank. It has two air outlets so that two different air hoses can be connected simultaneously, and the working parts of the unit are protected within a roll cage which also serves as a handle for portability.  The motor operates on a 50% duty cycle like the majority portable compressors and requires 12.3A to operate so it works fine on a normal household circuit.

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California Air Tools CAT-6310

California Air Tools CAT-6310 air compressor
Selected technical specifications of the California Air Tools CAT-6310 air compressor

The CAT-6310 is one of the quietest compressors in its class and it is oil-free. Another nice feature is the mositure trap that removes some of the excess condesation from the air before it gets to the tank. It also comes with some basic wheels so that it can be moved around fairly easily although the handle may be a bit low for taller individuals. Another plus is that it also comes with the more durable ball drain valve on the air tank. Negatives include pressure gauges that are facing outward instead of upward making them a little awkward to read for any normal-sized person, and it takes just over 2 minutes to fill the tank when first switched on.

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