Air compressors are one of the most useful pieces of equipment any workshop or industrial setting has, and it can do all sorts of things from blowing away dust and debris, to clearing clogged fuel lines and pumping up high pressure tyres.

Air compressors are often very reliable too and don’t require much maintenance at all, meaning that they are a very good long term investment that will save you a lot of time over the course of its life, saving a lot of money in the process also.

But air compressors come in various shapes and sizes, and have an array of different features that can be confusing to some, as well as what size might be appropriate for your operation.

To help you find the right air compressor for you we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best air compressors currently available with a clear list of pros and cons to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting out of each different product and what will suit your needs best.

We’ve also included a buyers guide and FAQ below to provide some helpful tips and extra information for new buyers, to ensure that you make your first purchase count.

Air compressors are an investment, and making sure you get the most out of your investment is very important to ensure you get good value for your money.

The FAQ will answer some of the most common questions regarding these tools too, to make sure you aren’t left confused about anything.

But without further introduction, let’s take a look at the compressors themselves and see what they have to offer.

Table of Contents

10 Best Air Compressors for Industrial Use

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Craftsman Air Compressor, 3 Gallon

This compressor from Craftsman is a great 3 gallon option that comes with many features you’d expect from a quality air compressor.

The design is compact and very light for a compressor, and despite this it has a very high max PSI meaning it can handle a lot of heavy duty tasks despite its relatively small size

The roll cage helps protect the gauges and delicate areas of the unit and it has a low center of gravity so it’s very unlikely to fall over and break.

There are a host of included accessories including filters and a ball valve, and there’s also a 1 year warranty making this one of the best workshop compressors available.

The only drawback is that the relatively small capacity means this compressor may not suit larger or more demanding industrial environments and projects.

Pros

  • 3 Gallon Capacity
  • Compact and portable
  • Roll cage
  • 155 PSI Max
  • Included air filter, cord, coupler ball valve
  • 1 year warranty

Cons

  • May be a little small for some industrial uses

Campbell Air Compressor, 3 Gallon

This is another 3 gallon unit from Campbell and it comes with a lot of great features, including a compact design, a maintenance free and reliable oil-less pump and easy to read gauges to monitor pressures and PSI.

The big bonus with this compressor is the large accessory list that comes with it, providing excellent value for money and getting you started with everything you need.

While it has a max PSI of 110 which is adequate for workshop use, it may not be enough for bigger industrial projects.

Another drawback is the lack of a roll cage and the smaller capacity compared to some of the other units on this list.

Pros

  • 3 Gallon Capacity
  • Compact
  • Oil-less pump for maintenance free use
  • Easy to use gauges
  • 10 Accessory kit included

Cons

  • A little small for some larger industrial uses
  • No roll cage or carry handle

California Air Tools 20 Gallon

This is the first of the truly industrial compressors on this list, and at 20 gallons the California Air Tool 20040CAD is one of the biggest and best compressors for large projects and demanding industrial environments.

The 20 gallon capacity is huge, and it comes with excellent features including a 4 horsepower motor, a reliable and low maintenance oil free pump, as well as an auto drain valve to prevent moisture build up in the tanks and a very respectable decibel rating to prevent too much noise pollution.

There are carry handles to help move this beast around, but its weight and size mean it isn’t the most portable compressor and isn’t suitable for small workshops or home use due to its sheer power and size.

Pros

  • 20 Gallon Capacity
  • Oil-free pump
  • 4HP Motor
  • Auto Drain Valve
  • Quiet for its size

Cons

  • Not very portable at all, although there are carry handles for installation

Stealth Air Compressor, 2 Gallon

This small workshop compressor is a great choice for small jobs, with a 2 gallon capacity, quiet motor and plenty of other great features.

The oil free pump is very reliable and doesn’t require very much maintenance at all, while the roll cage and carry handle combo are a great way to protect the important areas of the compressor while also giving good portability.

The drain valve works well and helps prevent water build up and rusting inside the tanks also which is an essential touch for good longevity.

Overall this is a great workshop compressor and the only downside is that it isn’t large or powerful enough for bigger tasks.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Oil-free pump
  • Roll cage
  • Drain Valve
  • Portable

Cons

  • On the smaller side so better for smaller workshops

Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

This twin stack compressor is a very versatile and powerful option with a 4 gallon capacity and a twin stack format that allows the use of multiple tools simultaneously for better efficiency.

The downside is that the capacity isn’t large enough for some bigger projects and there isn’t any roll cage or protection for the tanks. The noise level is a little disruptive for such a small compressor.

Pros

  • 4 gallon capacity
  • Twin stack format
  • Portable
  • Can run multiple tools simultaneously
  • Long lasting and reliable

Cons

  • No roll cage

Ford Silent Series 15 Gallon

Ford is one of the biggest companies in the world well known for their innovations and with a reputation for quality.

Their Silent Series 15 gallon compressor is one of the best industrial compressors on the market, with an ample capacity for large tasks, and a host of excellent features including very quiet 59dB operation and a max PSI of 125.

There is a maintenance free oil-less pump, thermal overload protection and even a 2 year warranty too which makes this as reliable as it is powerful.

For a large compressor it’s also very portable thanks to its well located wheels and stand legs and the sturdy carry handle.

Pros

  • 15 Gallon Capacity
  • Very portable
  • 2 horsepower motor and 125 Max PSI
  • Quiet at 59dB Operation
  • Maintenance free pump
  • Thermal overload protection
  • 2 year warranty

Cons

  • Few accessories included

California Air Tools 6010LFC

Another offering from California Air Tools, the 6010LFC is a decent sized 6 gallon compressor which is a nice compromise between size and power, with a max PSI of 125 this unit can handle a lot in a manageable package.

Its portable and sturdy with a safe design and lower center of gravity, and there are all the features you’d come to expect from such a well regarded brand, including an oil free motor as well as ultra quiet 60dB performance, drainage valves and a highly rated and reliable 4000 hour minimum lifespan thats regarded as 30% longer than other units.

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • Oil-free pump
  • 125 PSI Max
  • 6 Gallon Capacity
  • Good portability

Cons

  • No roll cage

WEN 2289 10-Gallon

WEN are a growing name in the compressor and motor industry, and their 10 gallon 2289 makes a great industrial unit that is powerful and capable but isn’t too big either.

The max PSI is excellent at 150 and capable of almost any task, while there are all the other features you’d expect such as drainage valves for the canisters and an oil-free pump for as much longevity and reliability as possible.

It’s also very portable thanks to a well designed caddy format that makes moving around your worksite easy and painless.

Pros

  • 10 gallon capacity
  • 150 PSI Max Pressure
  • Drainage valve
  • Oil free pump
  • Very portable

Cons

  • No roll cage

HULK Silent Series

The HUNK truly lives up to its name with a 20 gallon capacity that will outdo most other compressors on this list, and this is supported by its oil free dual piston motor.

The max PSI is 125 which is very respectable, and there’s also a 2 year warranty for maximum peace of mind.

The lack of a roll cage is a little concerning but this is one of the most portable 20 gallon compressors available thanks to its caddy format, so if you’re looking for power and portability this is one of the best options available for you.

Pros

  • Oil free dual piston design
  • Portable
  • 20 Gallon Capacity
  • 125 PSI Max
  • 2 year warranty

Cons

  • No Roll Cage

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon

Finally we have another medium sized unit with the BOSTITCH 6 gallon compressor.

At 6 gallons this isn’t the biggest compressor available but it’s very capable thanks to its 150PSI maximum and the classic oil free pump most compressors use.

There are also two universal couplers and a carry handle for easy transport, and the only downside to this option is that it’s quite loud for its size.

Pros

  • 6 Gallon Capacity
  • Oil-free pump
  • 150 PSI Max
  • Carry handle
  • Two universal couplers

Cons

  • A little loud
  • Not as portable as some other options

Buyers Guide

In this buyers guide we’re going to look at some of the most important features to look for on a quality air compressor, especially for industrial use.

While not all air compressors will have all of these features, and not all of them will strictly be something required by all users, making sure you get as many as you can, or at least making sure your choice has all the essential features you need is critical to getting good use out of it.

If you have additional questions about air compressors and their features, please feel free to check out the FAQ below for some additional information regarding industrial air compressors and their use.

Size

The size of your air compressor will play a huge part in how suitable it is for your workplace or workshop, and the larger options of course require a lot of space and are a little more expensive, so these are important factors to consider when choosing a size of compressor.

Some of the smaller 1 to 3 gallon compressors are more than adequate for home use or small workshops, and can function well in some industrial settings where portability is key.

However for some larger factory settings, or environments where a lot of pressure and power is required, the larger compressors will of course be worth their size and awkwardness.

Portability

The portability of your compressor is of course tied to its size, but there are additional features to look out for that can make moving larger compressors more convenient than moving smaller ones!

Excellent features such as sturdy well located carry handles are a must for even the most modest air compressor, and some even use highly convenient caddy formats with small wheels to help you move them around safely, taking strain off your back and ensuring that the expensive equipment isn’t accidentally dropped or damaged.

Some units don’t come with any of these features, so ensuring that you install it in the right place and leave it there is the best way to avoid having to deal with poor portability, so try to plan ahead with these less maneuverable units.

Drain Valve

Any good compressor worth its salt will have a drain valve, which is what helps to remove moisture from the inside of the compressor, as this can accumulate due to the fact that air always has some water vapor in it.

Moisture build up can damage your compressor, so being able to conveniently remove it is a great feature and will make caring for your tool much easier.

Thermal Overload Protection

While relatively stable and reliable, compressors do have moving parts and there can be friction that occurs within the compressor that will cause damage if left totally unchecked.

To avoid this, the best compressors use overload protection to make sure that if heat starts to build up the compressor will cut the power to prevent damage and overheating.

Pressure Switch

This is a very neat feature that will shut down the motor if the pressure in the tank hits a certain level, and will automatically turn on the compressor once the pressure reduces enough to be below that level again.

It’s a great little safety feature that makes sure you always know when the compressor is safe to be used and when it needs to be given a break.

Air Filters

While most air compressors won’t offer this, air filters are included with some compressors and are used to capture unwanted particles in the air, stopping them from entering the intake and damaging the compressor.

Very often they will be replaceable, and can go a long way to improving the longevity of your compressor. For more information on air compressor intake filters, check out our handy guide!

Roll cage

Again, not all compressors will offer this feature but some do, and it’s great to have as it can protect your tool from bumps and knocks in a busy workplace environment where heavy equipment and materials are being handled and moved around.

A quality roll cage will have a low center of gravity and will have inset controls to protect them from damage also.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I service my compressor?

If you’re only using your compressor occasionally then it will only need an annual service, however if it’s being used for heavy duty, daily industrial work more regular maintenance may be required even with all the best features.

While each compressor will have its own recommended instructions for maintenance as included with its manual, you should consider quarterly maintenance at the very least unless otherwise stated in the particular manual for your unit.

What size hose should I use?

This will again depend on the size of your compressor, however the two most common sizes are ¼” and ⅜”.

Your compressor should have instructions for what hoses are required, and some units include hoses with the package to provide better value, so you can look for these or use them to find the right option for you.