Water lines, especially for sprinkler systems, need a regular blow out before the winter sets in, because if they don’t get it, water can sit in the lines, then freeze, and when they freeze, they can burst or crack the lines, leading to an expensive repair or replacement job come the spring.

Because the alternative to a good blow out is potentially costly and troublesome, you want the best air compressor suited to the job – but which ones are they?

There are plenty of air compressors out there, and they’re all probably good for something. But how do you know which are the best ones for blasting the water out of lines and pipes for your winterizing preparation?

Relax – we’ve got this. Here are ten of the best air compressors available when you need to blow water out of lines.

In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.

Table of Contents

10 Best Air Compressors For Blowing Out Water Lines

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Craftsman Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit

Let’s be absolutely honest here – the Craftsman 6 gallon oil-free pancake compressor is on the heavyweight side of the market for this particular gig.

But it’s heavyweight in the way a BMW is heavyweight – just because it’s big and looks like it might be bulky, it doesn’t stop you wanting one.

And importantly, neither does it remotely compromise its ability to get the job done, especially with the addition of a Camco blow-out plug.

If anything, this is a compressor that can blow the water out of your lines, then turn to look at you with a “That was fun. What’s next?” on its face.

It’s a compressor you can use all year round in a whole range of ways, and if you buy it just to blow water out of your lines, there’s just a chance you might feel like you spend quite a bit of cash on what is basically overkill.

Put such heretical thoughts out of your head and accept the wonder that is Craftsman. Yes, it weighs 33 pounds. Yes, it has a 6 gallon capacity. But it also brings 150 PSI to the job, which means you’ll know it’s been done right, and done within an inch of its life.

Having an oil-free pump minimizes the maintenance you’ll ever have to do to the Craftsman and extends its lifespan too.

With a compressor recovery time of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, you can do all the compressing you want with the Craftsman – especially with the 13-piece accessory kit that gives extra range and scope to the leading air compressor on our list.

The 1-year warranty is helpful too, because it stops you thinking of the Craftsman as an expensive piece of kit that can’t be used. Use it, and prove to yourself that it’s what you need to get the job done.

Pros

  • It has a capacity of 6 gallons, so there’s no chance it won’t have the muscle to get rid of the water in your lines
  • Having an oil-free pump means minimum maintenance, even over time
  • A rapid recovery time makes it one of the best compressors on the market
  • The 13-item accessory pack means it can do things most other compressors can only dream about
  • It comes with a 1-year warranty to reassure you

Cons

  • At 82 dB, it’s on the noisier side of the market, so prolonged use will get you noticed – and not in a good way

Bostitch Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI

If you’re looking for the Craftsman’s natural competitor, it’s the Bostitch Pancake air compressor.  

Another 6 gallon pancake compressor, it’s equally oil-free for low maintenance, and it also brings 150 PSI to the table. Weighing in 4 pounds lighter than the Craftsman at 29 pounds, it’s a little more portable to use.

And also like the Craftsman, it’s not a tool you can use just for winterizing your water lines – once you have it, you’ll find more and more ways to make use of the Bostitch.

Undercutting the Craftsman on noise levels, too, the Bostitch has a maximum noise level of 78 decibels – still on the louder side, but like a Craftsman with bedroom slippers on.

Equally well supported by a 1-year warranty, the Bostitch is like the Craftsman’s younger brother. While the Craftsman is still in control of the game, the Bostitch is a perfectly good alternative – lighter, leaner, but never knowingly underpowered.

Pros

  • 6 gallons of capacity means it will get all your water-blowing work done in half a handful of heartbeats
  • 150 PSI means no water will be able to resist it
  • Slightly quieter and more portable than the Craftsman
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty to put your minds at ease

Cons

  • Still on the loud side of the market at 78 decibels

Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

The Stealth air compressor makes its way onto our list for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that compared to many, it’s nice and quiet – meaning fewer irate neighbors when you blow out your lines.

A 20-gallon compressor is not by any means underpowered for this particular winterizing gig – in fact it blows the pants off many on our list. An oil-free induction motor means it’s a low-maintenance option, and with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, it has the compressing power you need to blow out your water lines.

The Stealth model boasts an output of 6 CFM at 40 PSI and 5 CFM at 90 PSI.

We said it was especially quiet – and compared to many on our list and on the market, that really is a selling point of the Stealth model. With an operating noise level of just 68 dB, you should be able to winterize your sprinkler system without starting a vendetta you’re your neighbors.

It’s not exactly lightweight, at 121 pounds, but coming with a handy pair of 8-inch reinforced rubber wheels helps take the weight off, making for a properly portable compressor.

When you need a little more power with all the portability to winterize your water lines, you can do a lot worse than getting hold of the Stealth – especially with its relatively quiet operation.

Pros

  • With a maximum PSI of 150 PSI, the Stealth is more than powerful enough to winterize your water lines
  • It’s relatively quiet, with an operating noise level of just 68 dB
  • As an oil-free compressor, it’s relatively low-maintenance
  • 8-inch reinforced rubber wheels make it a properly portable compressor

Cons

  • At 121 pounds, even with the wheels, it’s still heavy to transport from place to place

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor

California Air Tool has a name to envy in the air compressor market, and the 10020C has everything you could need – and probably more besides if your chief reason for buying an air compressor is to blow water out of lines.

Let’s talk about a 10 gallon capacity, oil-free pump – again, practically zero-maintenance, and more capacity than you could need for just this job alone. A lifespan of over 3000 hours means you buy it once and forget to worry about it for at least five years of action.

With a 2.0 HP motor, it will quite happily give you a pressure of 125 PSI. If you want to do a zone-by-zone blow-out, it’s worth knowing that the California compressor has an output of 6.4 CFM at 40 PSI, and 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI, so it’s perfectly tuned and capable of giving you that ability.

It’s heavyweight compared to the others so far, at 82.5 pounds, but usefully, it comes with a wheeled frame to help you move it around easily.

And, advertising itself as ultra-quiet, you won’t be surprised to learn that it comes in at only 70 decibels, despite its size and power.

Pros

  • It has a 3000 hour lifespan, so it’s with you for the long haul
  • It brings an enormous 10 gallon capacity tank to your air compression party
  • At just 70 decibels, it justified its claim to ultra-quietness
  • It’s quite capable of delivering zone-by-zone blow-outs

Cons

  • While the frame makes it portable, it’s still heavy for home use

California Air Tools 2010A Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 HP 2.0-Gallon Aluminum Tank Air Compressor

If you love what you know about the California 10020C, but the idea of a full-on 10 gallon tank is more than you either need or want to cope with, try the little brother, the 2010A.

With just an 8 gallon tank and a 1 HP motor, this is the more domestic version of the compressor, but it still offers up to 120 PSI with an output of 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI and 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI, which is still more than enough for a zone-by-zone blow out of your water lines.

Still oil-free for minimal maintenance, the real hidden joy of this machine is that it produces only 60 dB of noise.

That’s over 20dB less than the Craftsman. And yes, like all our compressors so far, it comes with a 1-year warranty for ease of use and peace of mind.

Pros

  • Has an oil-free operation for low maintenance
  • 8 gallons of capacity is more than enough for water blowing, including zone-by-zone operation
  • Produces significantly less noise than some bigger units.
  • Has over 3000 hours of lifespan

Cons

  • Better at small domestic work. If you have a larger system, it might struggle

Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor

You’d have to get up pretty early in the morning to teach Makita anything about air compressors. With a 3HP motor, the Big Bore is one of the company’s flagship compressors, offering 140 PSI, delivering 6.9 CFM at 40 PSI and 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI.

It doesn’t matter how complex your water lines are – that’s enough power to handle blowing them out.  

With a 5.2 gallon tank and cast iron construction, the Big Bore is both rugged and durable, a big compressor for bigger, more complex jobs. Weighing in at 72 pounds, you’ll be glad of the wheels and handles that almost make it look like a big if primitive lawn mower.

The 1-year warranty will help you get the most out of it, and unlike others, it also comes with a 20-day replacement/refund warranty.

If it has a downside, it’s that the MAC5200 is the loudest of all the compressors we’ve heard so far, at a shocking and neighbor-rousing 90 dB.

Pros

  • The 3HP motor makes for easy water line blowing
  • Cast iron construction makes it a highly durable air compressor
  • It’s portable despite its weight, thanks to wheels and handles

Cons

  • It’s the loudest air compressor on our list, at 90dB

Dewalt FlexVolt 60V Max Air Compressor Kit, Cordless, 2.5 Gallon

Want to blow out some lines, but prefer the cordless experience? The second Dewalt entry on our list may be the very thing for you. The FlexVolt 60V Max is a battery-powered cordless air compressor with the Dewalt name and expertise behind it.

Naturally as a handheld, it’s extremely lightweight compared to most compressors on our list – just 21.5 pounds. And with just a 2.5 gallon tank and pressures of 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI, it’s true that you might struggle with larger water line arrangements.

But it’s oil-free, which cuts down on the maintenance of the pump, and for smaller domestic water lines, you should be fine to go cordless and battery-powered.

Pros

  • It’s extremely light and cordless, meaning it’s one of the most portable compressors on our list
  • It’s oil-free, for minimal maintenance
  • It still carries a 2.5 gallon tank, so it has some reasonable compression power

Cons

  • You really climb down the power scale with a cordless compressor, so you may struggle with some water lines

Metabo HPT “The Tank” Pancake Air Compressor, 200 PSI, 6 Gallon

After a dip into cordless territory, we’re back among the full-size corded compressors with the Metabo Tank 6 gallon compressor. Giving up to 200 PSI, it’s not to be sniffed at, though its 1.3 HP motor tempers that slightly.

The stainless steel construction gives the Tank a ruggedness appropriate to its name, and it weighs in slightly chunky at 41 pounds.

How noisy are we talking for a 200 PSI compressor? Middle of the road – 76dB, so not exactly neighbor-friendly, but better than a few on our list. And with the by-now standard 1-year warranty, you’re able to use it with relative abandon (neighbor-glares permitting).

Pros

  • The 6 gallon tank means plenty of capacity for most line-blowing
  • 200 PSI equals deliverable air force enough to tackle most line-blowing jobs
  • Steel construction means it’s a durable compressor

Cons

  • The 1.3 HP motor means it’s not great for heavy-duty jobs

WEN 2289 10-Gallon Oil-Free Vertical Air Compressor, 150 PSI

WEN is a respected name in air compressors, and this 10 gallon, oil-free compressor delivers you 150 PSI from a 1.5 HP motor.

That means anything up to a medium complexity water line system should be blowable without issue by the WEN 2289. Airflow rate? 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI – that’ll do the job up to medium complexity.

An Auto Shutdown Mode means once it reaches its maximum PSI of 150, the 2289 automatically shuts off, for safety.

It’s oil-free for reduced maintenance, and heavy at 71.5 pounds. Fortunately, it has seven-inch wheels for portability.

Unlike many, this compressor comes with a full 2-year warranty, for extra reassurance.

Pros

  • A 10-gallon tank gives you plenty of line-blowing power
  • Having an auto-shutdown is a neat safety feature.
  • It’s oil-free so it needs less maintenance
  • It comes with double the usual warranty period

Cons

  • At 71.5 pounds, it’s on the heavier side

Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 2 HP 4 Gallon Portable Air Compressor

With a combination of a 2HP motor and a 4 gallon tank, the cast iron Twin-Stack compressor delivers up to 135 PSI, which should be enough for most line-blowing jobs.

The only lubricated compressor on our list, it uses a synthetic lubricant which can go 2000 hours between changes, making it almost as maintenance-lite as an oil-free compressor.

With a noise level of 79 dB, you may not win many friends among your neighbors when using it, but the 1-year warranty means you can use it without fear.

Pros

  • A powerful 2HP motor gives you a lot of line-blowing power
  • A 4 gallon tank gives you at least enough capacity for domestic lines
  • The 1-year warranty means you can use it without concern

Cons

  • A noise level of 79 dB means your neighbors may complain

Buyer’s Guide

Before you buy, think it through.

Capacity and Power

Buy the compressor that does the job you need. Don’t go for an underpowered model, it’s just wasted money. But also, there’s no need to drag a tank around if you only have domestic lines.

Ditch The Oil

For the most part, the models we’ve highlighted have been oil-free. That’s a quick way of ensuring you don’t spend lots of time on maintenance.

Think Portable

Whether you go for a lighter weight compressor, or a heavier one with wheels, always remember it’s you that will be moving the compressor around, so always factor ease of portability into your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an oil-free compressor better?

There are pros and cons, but going oil-free means lower maintenance overall.

What size of compressor do I need to blow out lines?

Ideally, anything from 4-6 gallons. Anything more and you’re adding extra capacity.

What’s the difference between CFM and SCFM?

SCFM and CFM both indicate the airflow rate in an air compressor. SCFM measures airflow rate based on ‘ideal’ temperature and pressure conditions, while CFM measures the ‘actual’ air flow rate.