How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Your Specific Needs

Published On: April 27, 20210 Comments on How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Your Specific NeedsTags: Last Updated: February 7, 20244 min read

An air compressor is a very useful tool and a must for any handyman or DIY enthusiast. These versatile machines can be used for a wide range of applications, from inflating tyres to running air tools. Choosing the right air compressor is much more difficult when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.

How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Your Specific Needs

There are hundreds of different models and brands to choose from, making the task just a bit more daunting. To further complicate matters, these air compressors come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes. There are a host of different types of air compressors to choose from, ranging from small pancake compressors up to stationary industrial compressors.

To get the most out of your air compressor, you have to find the right type and brand. Once you have decided on what type suits you best, it takes a bit more research to find the best brand. My go-to resource for air compressor comparisons and reviews is The DIY Hubby.

What Type Of Air Compressor Will Suit Me Best?

The applications you are going to use the compressor for will determine what type of compressor you need. Here is a list of different types and who it will suit best:

  • Pancake air compressor: This type of compressor is usually small and intended for home use. It is not designed for heavy duty work or running for long periods of time. Pancake air compressors are best for inflating tyres, blow guns and running smaller air tools.
  • Portable air compressor: Contractors and handymen prefer this type of compressor as it is versatile and can be taken anywhere to get the job done. Portable models are compact in design and can be used for heavy duty work on the jobsite. This is also a good choice if you need a more powerful model for home use.
  • Twin Stack air compressor: This is basically a portable compressor with two air tanks. The twin tanks allow for more air storage, providing longer running time and a better duty cycle. As with the portable compressor, this type is the popular choice with contractors and handymen.
  • Hot Dog air compressor: This type has a single horizontal air tank and is probably the most recognisable and most used type of compressor. The hot dog type comes in a wide range of sizes, so it can suit almost anyone. Smaller models are usually fitted with wheels to make them more portable. Larger hot dog compressors are normally secured to the floor and used in industrial environments.
  • Upright air compressors: This type has a single vertical air tank and is mostly used in the automotive industry for spray painting and running air tools.

How Do I Choose The Right Model?

Now that you know what type of air compressor you need, you have to find the right model. To get this right, you have to take a closer look at what you are going to use it for. Make a list of all the air tools you intend to run. All air tools have CFM and PSI ratings. These ratings basically tell you how much pressure and air flow a certain air tool requires to operate at maximum efficiency.

How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Your Specific Needs - air compressor

Research all the air tools you have listed to find out what the CFM and PSI requirements of each one is. A quick google search will give you all the information you need. To find the best model, you need an air compressor that meets the highest CFM and PSI ratings of the air tools on your list. This means that you will choose a model that is capable of running all your tools at maximum efficiency.

Which Brand Should I Choose?

There are a number of very good brands to choose from when you decide to purchase a new air compressor. My advice is to always do research before investing in any power tool. When looking for the best brand, research the following:

  • Is it a well known and reputable brand?
  • What do consumers say about the brand’s customer service?
  • Does the brand have good online reviews?
  • Is there a service centre in my area?
  • What kind of warranty do they offer?

All the points mentioned above are very important to research. This will ensure that you purchase from a good brand with good back-up, giving you peace of mind should something go wrong.


Choosing the right air compressor shouldn’t be difficult when you know what you are looking for. Armed with the right knowledge and a bit of research, you can find an air compressor that is  custom fit for your needs. The time you spend doing research will be well worth it.

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