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Published Jan. 31, 2020

When you need to provide lots of air pressure, whether it’s to blow up a flat tire or to power your nail gun, having an air compressor on hand makes your home improvement tasks much easier. These 110V power tools can plug into standard outlets, allowing you to inflate anything you need from just about anywhere you happen to be. Most are lightweight and portable, so you can take them with you when you travel to various job sites. They’re also powerful enough to handle bigger jobs in a hurry, saving you from having to stand around for hours waiting for that tire to fill up. Regardless of what you use them for, though, one thing’s for certain: your days of huffing and puffing are over.

The Best 110V Air Compressor

If you need something that can handle the rigors of a professional shop, this high-quality kit has everything you need to get the job done. It has a 6-gallon tank capable of pumping out 150 PSI, giving you lots of kick. At just 29 pounds, you won’t break your back carrying the thing around.

The pump is oilless, which greatly reduces the amount of maintenance you’ll need to perform while also eliminating the risk of messy and potentially hazardous spills. It also boasts a high-flow regulator, which ensures you’ll have all the pressure you need when you need it.

Key Features
  • The setup includes a 50-foot air hose and 10-piece inflation and blow-gun accessory kit
  • High-efficiency motor starts up quickly, even in cold weather
  • Dual couplers allow two users to work simultaneously
  • The pancake-style compressor provides a remarkably steady base
Specification
  • Brand Bostitch
  • Model BTFP02012-WPK
  • Weight 29 pounds
PROS

Included hose coils easily and is unlikely to kink

Adjusting PSI is a cinch, thanks to the clearly-designed dial

Small footprint makes it painless to move and store

CONS

Short power cord

Gets hot with extended use

Tank refills slowly

While it’s not quite powerful enough for professional contractors, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient or versatile unit than this one from Teromas. It can be used with a 110V outlet, or you can plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter as it also has a 12V adapter. This makes it a fantastic choice for vacations, trips to the beach, or saving the day at a kid’s sporting event.

It also takes the guesswork out of pumping up tires or balls, as it has an auto-off function that lets you program in your desired PSI. The unit will then simply shut off when it reaches the target pressure, allowing you to babysit your kids instead of your compressor.

Key Features
  • Bright digital display
  • Boasts a powerful LED lamp for nighttime use
  • Includes three hose adaptors
  • Shows pressure in multiple units
Specification
  • Brand Teromas
  • Model TMS-3015
  • Weight 3.1 pounds
PROS

Ideal as part of a car emergency kit

Incredibly small and lightweight

Comes with convenient carrying bag

CONS

Pre-programmed PSI setting isn’t always accurate

Short pump hose can make placement frustrating

Not the most durable option

The two large pneumatic tires on this model make wheeling it around the shop a breeze, so you can always set it up in an area that’s convenient—which is good, because this is a heavy beast of a compressor. Its 20-gallon cast-iron vertical tank is extremely powerful yet is also streamlined enough to fit into tight spaces.

As you might expect, any machine designed to survive the challenges of full-time use will require periodic maintenance. This model makes the process as painless as possible, as the oil fill is easily accessible and there’s an oil level sight glass that clearly shows you when it’s time for a little upkeep.

Key Features
  • Thermally-stable cast-iron body
  • Can be configured for 240V use
  • Quick-connect air outlet
  • Automotive-style ball bearings
Specification
  • Brand Industrial Air
  • Model IL1682066.MN
  • Weight 159 pounds
PROS

Produces little vibration when in use

Impressively rapid recharge

Quiet while in operation

CONS

Top heavy, which can lead to mishaps during transport if you’re not careful

Air release valve is awkwardly placed

Cooling system isn’t terribly efficient

A 120W solid metal motor allows this unit to work quickly, and it can air up a flat in just a few minutes. That translates into more time driving and less time spent waiting helplessly on the side of the road.

It’s not just for use on cars, however. If you keep it in your trunk, you’ll likely find that you’re hauling it regularly to air up basketballs, bike tires, inflatable swimming pools, and the like. You can even use the 12V plug in your car to power it.

Key Features
  • Built-in carrying handle
  • Pumps 30 liters of air per minute
  • Works with both AC and DC power sources
  • Backed by two-year warranty
Specification
  • Brand Kensun
  • Model Kensun-EHRComp-A58A
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Good for users with limited mobility

Automatic shutoff feature

Made using heavy-duty plastic

CONS

Difficult to cram hoses back into storage compartment

Air leaks out when unscrewing hose

Extremely noisy

This handy little unit offers both inflation and deflation modes, so you can break down your inflatable kayak and put it back in your car just as quickly as you aired it up. It also comes with two hoses: a high-pressure model for tires and balls and a high-volume one for larger items like rafts and mattresses.

Once you’re done using it, all the hoses and attachments can be stored neatly on the compressor, ensuring you have all your tools handy the next time you need them. This also cuts down on clutter—because we all have enough of that in our trunks as it is, thank you very much.

Key Features
  • Two metal motors
  • Very bright flashlight
  • Large, easy-to-see buttons
  • Includes extra nozzle adaptors
Specification
  • Brand Avid Power
  • Model ACAP322
  • Weight 5.66 pounds
PROS

Attachments clamp securely onto valves

Can inflate a tire in a few minutes

Won’t tip over while in use

CONS

Will likely need an extension cord

Instructions are confusing

Not suitable for heavy-duty truck tires

This is a truly go-anywhere option, as in addition to 110V and 12V power ports, it also boasts a 20V battery. This enables you to use it cordlessly, so you can still take advantage of the compressor even if you’re in an area where there aren’t any power sources readily available. 

As a result, it should be popular with campers and anyone else who likes to get away from civilization for a bit (without sacrificing creature comforts like an air mattress, of course). The onboard LED lamp can also come in handy in those situations, as it can help you set up your campsite even if you waited until long after sunset to get started.

Key Features
  • High volume hose for rapid inflation
  • Threaded chuck
  • Compatible with other DeWalt 20V Max products
  • Lots of onboard accessory storage room
Specification
  • Brand DeWalt
  • Model DCC020IB
  • Weight 2.94 pounds
PROS

Accurate digital gauge

Good battery life

Rubber feet provide stability

CONS

Lacks a battery indicator

No quick-disconnect system

Deflation mode is weak

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance solution, this option from Porter-Cable should be near the top of your list. The oil-free pump shouldn’t require much upkeep, and the soft-start, low-amp motor fires up quickly and without hassle, even when the mercury drops.

If you are willing to do a little maintenance to extend the life of the product, however, you can replace the brushes on the motor as needed. This will help you wring a few more years of service out of the thing, while also ensuring that it runs smoothly and powerfully.

Key Features
  • Spacious 6-gallon tank
  • 13-piece accessory kit included
  • Quick recovery time
  • Factory-installed coupler and plug
Specification
  • Brand Porter-Cable
  • Model C2002-WK
  • Weight 34 pounds
PROS

High-Flo air regulator safeguards against pressure drops

Shroud protects vital components from accidental damage

Has multiple quick-connect couplings

CONS

Included tire gauge is poorly made

Instruction manual is of little help

Accessories aren’t labeled

While this unit is small enough to toss in your car, it also comes with a bracket for mounting it on your wall, so you can give it a permanent place in your garage. That helps keep it out of the way when not in use, as well as enabling you to find it quickly when you need it.

The hose helps you maintain a tidy workspace as well, as it’s coiled to make it easy to replace once you’re done with it. There’s no need to sit there coiling it yourself, and you won’t have to worry about tripping over it if you forget to put it back.

Key Features
  • Thermal break feature protects against overheating
  • Comes with spare valve caps
  • Inflates standard tires in four minutes
  • Includes tread depth gauge
Specification
  • Brand Slime
  • Model 40045
  • Weight 5.6 pounds
PROS

Long power cable

Very quiet while in operation

Plastic case for accessory storage

CONS

Struggles to reach higher PSIs

Pressure gauge can be a little confusing

Screw-on attachments allow some leakage when decoupling

The 2.0 HP motor on this compressor runs at 1680 RPM, which keeps it on the quieter side. It’s also been constructed to boost duty cycles, giving you longer run times without interruption. This lets you finish all your tasks as quickly as you can, with as little disruption to the workplace as possible.

It’s also quite durable, as it has an easy-start valve feature that kicks off the motor without requiring a lot of juice. This reduces the load on the motor, reducing wear and tear while prolonging the lifespan of the unit. Beyond that, the oil-free dual piston pump is hardy enough for use in extreme cold or on uneven terrain.

Key Features
  • Rust-proof aluminum tank
  • Ideal for use on high-demand tools
  • Creates only 70 dB of noise
  • Can run for 3,000 hours before creating wear
Specification
  • Brand California Air Tools
  • Model 4620AC
  • Weight 67.2 pounds
PROS

Excellent for mounting on trucks

Produces minimal vibration

Maintains pressure well

CONS

Lacks wheels for easy portability

Top-heavy and prone to tipping over

Easy to damage air filter housings

The large rubber wheels and pronounced handle make this unit easy to maneuver, even in a crowded shop. That’s good, because the 8-gallon tank would be quite hefty to tote around—but since that’s not your problem, you’ll likely enjoy the long charge time it provides. You can work for hours with minimal downtime.

It can reach pressures of up to 125 PSI, which is enough to power larger tools like nailers and staplers, while still being restrained enough for finer detail work. It’s well-suited for indoor use, making it a smart choice for dedicated home craftsmen as well as professional contractors.

Key Features
  • Dual-piston pump
  • Long-lasting components
  • Stable horizontal tank
  • 1.0 HP motor
Specification
  • Brand Campbell Hausfeld
  • Model DC080500
  • Weight 67 pounds
PROS

Holds pressure well

Good for cleaning and hobby painting

Easy assembly

CONS

Difficult to find replacement parts

Doesn’t come with hose or any attachments

Gauge isn’t terribly precise

Best 110V Air Compressor Buying Guide & FAQ

Buying an air compressor isn’t as simple as you might think—and since some of them can cost hundreds of dollars, getting the wrong one can be a very expensive mistake indeed.

Before you start shopping, think about all the tasks you’ll call upon the compressor to perform. Does it need to be robust enough to power a nail gun through an entire workday, or do you just need something that will blow up an air mattress at a steady pace? The answer to this question will go a long way towards determining the best unit for your needs.

Also, keep in mind that the more powerful the compressor, the more room it will likely take up. That could mean that it’s too big to carry in your car, or too heavy to lug around easily. You should weigh the importance of portability versus power when making your decision.

Mechanic holding the gauge of red 110v air compressor

Different Kinds of 110V Air Compressors

Once you have a 110V air compressor, you’ll be shocked at all the uses you find for it. Not only will it act as a tire inflator or power staple guns, but it can also run paint sprayers, help you dust off your workspace in a hurry, and much more.

Some smaller units also have 12V power ports, allowing you to keep them in your car for use in an emergency. While this is no doubt valuable, we focused on those that plug into a standard wall outlet. These tend to be brawnier, allowing you to finish large tasks in a hurry.

Without your own air compressor, your entire plans could be derailed by discovering a flat tire, or you could spend all day airing up that mattress. These little machines can save you a ton of time and effort—not to mention frequent trips to the gas station to use their compressor.

Benefits

  • A 110V air compressor can plug into any standard outlet, giving you plenty of options in terms of placement.
  • They can provide steady and reliable pressure, allowing you to complete your tasks without interruption.
  • Many are reasonably priced, keeping them well within the budgets of your average DIY specialist.

Types of 110V Air Compressors

While all 110V air compressors will fulfill the same basic functions, there are some key differences between various models that you should know about before you buy. They’re not all suitable for the same tasks, so do your due diligence before making a purchase. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a machine that’s unsuitable for the jobs you have at hand.

  • Pancake Air Compressors

These units get their name because they’re shaped in a way that roughly resembles a pancake (go figure, right?). This gives them quite a bit of stability, since the tank—usually the heaviest part of the compressor—is on the bottom of the machine, giving it a low center of gravity.

Pancake compressors toe the line between being stationary and portable. They’re usually fairly hefty, weighing in around 30 pounds or so. However, many have handles or small wheels, enabling you to quickly and easily move them where you need them to be. They don’t usually take up much space, either, but you may sacrifice some tank capacity as a result.

  • Hot Dog Air Compressors

We know, we know—whoever named these things must have been hungry at the time. As you might expect, these models look like hot dogs, with long, cylindrical tanks that can either be mounted vertically or horizontally.

These compressors can be quite large, and as a result, you may find that they’re more powerful than your typical pancake model. That added strength comes at a cost, however, as hot dog compressors are usually louder and less stable than their flat counterparts.

Many hot dog compressors also feature oil-lubed pumps, which can extend their lifespan but also means they require regular maintenance.

  • Portable Air Compressors

Portable air compressors are usually quite small and lightweight and can be stashed in a vehicle or set on a shelf. They’re not nearly as powerful as stationary models, but that’s really beside the point—they’re designed for smaller jobs, or to bail you out in an emergency until you can get back to the shop.

Many portable compressors have other power sources available besides the 110V plug, such as a 12V plug that fits in a car’s cigarette lighter or a built-in battery pack. This makes them extremely versatile and convenient.

It’s a smart idea to have a portable compressor in your trunk in case you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, but they can also come in handy at family BBQs or picnics, as they’re fantastic for airing up balls, rafts, and more.

What to Consider When Buying a 110V Air Compressor

When choosing between various models of 110V air compressor, it’s important to understand that there aren’t many features that are “good” or “bad.” Rather, it’s often about how suitable a feature is for the task at hand, and whether you’re willing to sacrifice one benefit for the sake of another (for example, less noise often means less power). Always keep your intended use in mind, rather than looking at these features through a universal lens.

  • Power

You’re likely to see a few different power specifications on any model you’re considering, as the term can mean different things at different times. The first specification is the output of the motor, which is often described in units of horsepower. More horsepower means greater air pressure, which is usually measured in PSI. This allows you to store more air in the tank, so you can work longer between refills.

Other measurements you’re likely to see are cubic feet per minute (CFM) and standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM). These terms relate to the volume of pressure the machine can deliver, and they go up as PSI goes down. High CFM ratings are ideal for heavy-duty applications like frame nailing, but they might be overkill for smaller jobs.

  • Capacity

The size of the air tank will vary from compressor to compressor. The larger the tank, the more pressure it will be able to provide, and the longer it’ll be able to provide it. However, don’t automatically assume that a bigger tank is better for you, as most jobs can be performed perfectly well with smaller tanks.

If you’re expecting to use the machine constantly, or if you have a job that requires massive, sustained air flow (like painting a car), then springing for a larger tank is probably a good idea. However, keep in mind that big tanks are, well, big. They’ll take up more space in your shop and be harder to move around, so be sure you need all that space before you put your credit card down.

  • Portability

This is closely related to capacity, as larger tanks are harder to move around as a rule. That being said, many bigger models get around this by adding large handles and wheels, letting you easily move them from point A to point B without throwing your back out along the way.

If you need to take your compressor to various job sites, however, portability becomes even more important. Some are easy enough to load in the back of a truck or van, while others can be permanently mounted to a vehicle.

Just remember that all the power and capacity in the world won’t help you if you can’t get the compressor where you need it to be.

Tips for Buying and Using a 110V Air Compressor

When shopping for a 110V air compressor, the most important thing is to be realistic about what you’ll use it for. Don’t just default to buying the biggest and most powerful model on the market, as this could actually work against you if you often need to do finer detail work.

These machines are relatively low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore yours. If it’s oil-lubed, check the levels before each use, and be sure to keep all vents clean. Regularly check screws, nuts, hoses, and other couplings to make sure they’re tight, and drain any moisture that may have pooled. If you don’t plan on using the unit for some time, be sure to drain the tank and discharge all the air inside. This can prevent condensation from accumulating, which can lead to rust and corrosion—and rusty tanks are more likely to combust.

Pay attention to vibration and stability as well. Many compressors rattle quite a bit while in use, which can cause them to fall off shelves or tip over. Try to make sure it’s stable before you begin, and be very careful when moving it.

  • Pay attention to how long the power cords and air hoses are, as this will go a long way towards determining how convenient the unit is to use.
  • Try to avoid using extension cords, as these can lead to overheating. Instead, connect multiple air hoses if you have to.
  • Use the right pressure for the job at hand, as some tasks benefit more from low, steady volume, while others require blasts of maximum pressure.
Blue 110v portable air compressor

Best 110V Air Compressor FAQ:

While air compressors aren’t terribly complex machines, there’s still quite a bit of jargon and technical mumbo-jumbo that goes along with buying one, so it’s easy to get confused if you’ve never done it before. Below, we’ve listed some common questions that many buyers have, so you can make the most informed buying decision possible.

Q: What’s the difference between a stop-start motor and a constant run?

A stop-start motor powers off when not in use, putting less wear and tear on the machine but also slowing down work a bit. Constant run units never power off. Unless you run a professional shop, a stop-start motor should be perfectly fine for your needs.

Q: Do I need to “break-in” my compressor before using it?

No. Modern compressors are designed to be used right out of the box, so as long as all the connections are tight and there are no leaks or malfunctions, feel free to run it as needed.

Q: How much pressure do I really need to get the job done?

This will be determined by the tools you’re using. Always go by the highest minimum tool requirement, meaning if you have a nailer that requires 125 PSI and a stapler that needs 100 PSI, get a compressor capable of 125 PSI.

Our Top Pick

We like the Bostitch BTFP02012-WPK Air Compressor Kit, as it comes with everything you need to get up and running in one compact package. Its pancake design makes it stable, and it’s extremely user-friendly. Plus, it boasts a high flow regulator and dual couplers, making it capable of taking advantage of every bit of its available 150 PSI. Despite its formidable power, it’s actually rather quiet, so you can use it indoors without ear protection.

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