An air compressor is a versatile tool that stores air pressure into an air tank applicable in different activities such as inflating a flat tire, driving nail gun, regular household cleaning application, spray painting or some everyday carpentry tasks. Having an air compressor at home with a good budget which is Best Air Compressor Under 500 that makes completing your day-to-day tasks even more comfortable. Its packaging is ergonomic and comes at a very affordable price range.
Finding the best unit suitable for you can be a bit tricky, especially in an oversaturated market with tons of options.
Luckily, in this review, we’ll talk about some of the Best Air Compressor Under 500 dollars ideals for home use and outdoor activities to guarantee the best performance and duration.
Moreover, owning an air compressor is a great asset because of its multiple application.
The 10 Best Air Compressors under $500
Below are the best air compressors under $500 available and ideal for every house tool collection and vehicle owner in 2020.
1. Industrial Air 20 Gal. Compressor (IL1682066) – Best Overall
The Industrial Air IL1682066.MN model is a reliable single-stage contractor-grade air compressor with 20 gallons cast iron cylinder tank capable of effectively resisting heat or thermal emissions over prolonged use.
It is ideal for home use and industrial use because of how rugged it is. If you plan to get an air compressor that is rugged but budget-friendly, this is one of the best air compressors under 500 dollars we recommend.
Although this air compressor features a 1.6HP induction motor, the air pressure is still considerably efficient at 135PSI. This amount of pressure delivers up to 6.2CFM at 40PSI or lower at 5.3CFM at 90PSI, allowing you to store more air pressure for more extended periods.
The motor is a dual voltage with a 120volt primary outlet that is easily convertible to a 240volt.
The compressor has a twin V-pump built with the latest technology for a satisfying and rewarding performance. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN comes with a reliable stainless steel reed valves that make it easy to reach the oil fill.
The pump is oil-lubed with two cylinders that make it run quietly at a shallow frequency for a long time. It also features a dense and well-balanced flywheel with two tires at the bottom of the cylinder for smooth movement and portability.
Additionally, it comes with a two-year warranty. Because it is a belt-driven air compressor, it allows for a broader and flexible adjustment of airflow and pressure to suit the purpose you are applying it. With its 20-gallon tank capacity, it makes air ratcheting, sandblasting, or inflating tires very easy.
Power Source: Electric-powered
Capacity: 20 Gallons
Voltage: 120 Volts, dual-Voltage
Item Weight: 159 Pounds
Style: Belt Driven Compressor
- Flywheels for easy movement
- Twin V-pump technology
- It is a belt-driven air compressor.
- Single-stage air compressor
- It features an oil-lubed pump system.
2. Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor – Best Value
Makita MAC2400 is a dual oil-lubed pump, and air tank with a quality Big Bore cast iron cylinder that is durable and efficient.
Big Bore cylinders and pistons are known for rigidity and compressing a more substantial amount of air to get a constant airflow and quicker recovery time.
Its oil-lubed pump works great and produces only 79 dB noise levels, ensuring quiet operation and preventing wear and tear for a longer product lifespan.
With its two oil gauges, you can easily see the oil level to know when to top up or replace, making maintenance easier.
Replacing the oil is also accessible by simply opening the drain valve, pouring out the used oil, and pouring in a fresh one. The oil-lubed pump rotates at 1730rpm.
The MAC2400 air compressor features an air filter similar to the ones in cars. Similarly, it features a better voltage resistance against voltage change and a low amperage draw that doesn’t have to bother you in times of current trips and breakages while starting up.
Furthermore, this compressor motor rating is 2.5HP, with four poles powerful enough to effectively carry out heavy-duty tasks.
It can deliver up to 4.8CFM at 40PSI or lower at 4.2CFM at 90PSI or even higher air pressure at 130PSI, allowing you to store more run air pressure for longer working hours in its 4.2 gallons tanks.
The cylinder features two outputs for two applications enabling finishing tasks faster and easier. Another interesting fact is it’s affordable at under 500 dollars with two years warranty.
- Big-bore cast iron cylinder
- A high rotation speed of about 1730rpm
- High motor power rating
- Its noise density is high
- Quite tricky moving around
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3. Porter-Cable PXCMF220VW Air Compressor
Porter-cable PXCMF220VW is a vertical air compressing unit that boasts of a sizeable 20-gallon aluminum air tank. With its high capacity air tank, you can use your air tools extensively over long periods for various tasks.
Even though it weighs 97 pounds, this air compressor isn’t very compact, making moving it around quite tricky.
Additionally, a pair of 7-inches diameter solid rubber wheels make transporting this unit an easy task.
The maximum air pressure delivery that the PXCMF220VW can operate under is 150PSI. However, the dual voltage induction motor can deliver a sufficient amount of performance within this pressure range. It also features an oil-free pump and a motor that can deliver up to 4.0CFM at 90PSI and 5.0CFM at 40PSI.
Maintenance for this air compressor is straightforward and cost-effective because the pump is oil-free. It operates at a low-frequency sound pulse with a noise density of just about 84dB.
Weighing more than 97 pounds, this Porter-Cable air compressor model is less portable than other air compressors in our review, and it is the best air compressor for the home garage.
However, its functionality is extensive, and application is quite enormous from inflating tires using the proper hose attachments to finishing carpentry works or trimming tasks with nailers or staplers.
- Compact design
- Oil-free pump
- Low maintenance cost
- Dual output for attaching multiple tools
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4. Dewalt D55146 Air compressor
The Dewalt has a reputation for performance and rigidity. Dewalt Air compressor D55146 is one of the best air compressors under 500 dollars.
This Dewalt air compressor model features a 4.5-gallon tank with a rugged steel compressor that can work smoothly with most heavy-duty tools.
It has two 10-inches diameter foam tires at the base that make it easier to transport to job sites or where ever needed.
This D55146 compressor features a 1.6HP motor that can quickly start even with low voltage. Surprisingly, it is an oil-free model, meaning; there’s no oil requirement with very little maintenance nature and oil changing requirement.
Although its motor is oil-free, it still boasts of having only about 78dB noise level in working environments, which is quite quiet.
Plus, its belt-driven pump that runs at just 1750rpm is quite a low speed contributing to its low noise level and flexibility.
Similarly, the air compressor performs amazingly with a maximum delivery air pressure of 225PSI and 5CFM at 90PSI for constant air supply and quicker recovery time. It also features a vertical stand that allows you to keep it in an upright position, making it compact and saving more space.
Its handle is collapsible, and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Ideal for heavy-duty jobs
- Quite compact for an air compressor it size
- Low noise density
- Drain valve isn’t in a convenient position
- High maintenance cost
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5. California Air Tool CAT-4620AC-22060
The California CAT-4620AC-22060 air tool is an ultra-quiet oil-free air compressor with only 70dB noise density. With this unit, you will get the best experience because of its super-silent motor because of its low vibration.
CAT-4620AC-22060 air tool features an oil-free pump that will guarantee you low maintenance cost. Aside from that, it has a lifespan of over 3000 hours of service before wear and tear.
Not only that, but its oil-free pump will also enable you to apply it at different temperatures and uneven surfaces. However, applications such as this shorten its durability.
With the motor operating smoothly at only 1680rpms, the compressor performs with a 2HP engine that ensures the lowering of noise level, wear and tear, and maintenance requirements.
Also, it produces an adequate amount of air pressure with a maximum air delivery pressure of 125PSI. At 40PSI air pressure, the airflow delivery is 6.40CFM, while at 90PSI air pressure, the airflow delivery is 5.30CFM.
Hence, you enjoy faster recovery time and longer runtime with sufficient air storage.
The storage air tank comes as a 4.6-gallon twin aluminum tank, which isn’t very big for constant and prolonged use but ideal for shorter intermittent use.
Because the air tank is aluminum, it can effectively resist corrosion. CAT-4620AC-22060 has an easy-start valve for smoother operation with low amperage ratings.
The compressor has an ergonomic design that comes compact and portable, weighing 67.2 pounds. It is one of the best oil-free consumer-grade air compressors under 500 dollars with a one year warranty.
- Quick recovery time
- Very low noise density
- An oil-free pump assures low maintenance costs.
- Not very durable
- Quite heavy to move around.
6. Dewalt DWFP55126 Pancake Air Compressor
Dewalt DWFP55126 air compressor is a compact and durable air compressor weighing only about 30 pounds. It operates on a 120-volt AC outlet and can store air up to a maximum of 165PSI.
Its oil-free compressor pump doesn’t require regular and expensive maintenance. Additionally, it can provide sufficient air pressure for your tools over a long period before the air compressor starts to pump again.
This air compressor features a convenient wrap to enable you to store it correctly without causing any damage to the product or yourself.
It has an air pressure delivery of 2.6CFM at 90PSI, sufficient for small tools and intermittent usage. Dewalt DWFP55126 is a pancake-model air compressor.
Its 6-gallon air tank loudly exposes how portable this air compressor is, but it can still sufficiently provide enough air pressure to operate your tools for a longer duration.
It doesn’t produce any alarming loud sounds like the other portable compressors. Moreover, this product’s overall construction is sturdy because of the plastic grille, handle, or the metal tank, and it’s suitable for long-term use.
We don’t recommend this air compressor for heavy-duty tasks like sandblasting, water blasting, air ratcheting, etc. But, it can deliver excellent performance when inflating tires and cleaning surfaces of electronics or work station.
This durable oil-free pump comes with very less maintenance because it doesn’t require any lubrication and has a one-year limited warranty.
Although, ensure you keep it clean from the excessive accumulation of dust, moisture, and debris.
We recommend this unit for simple household tasks. It is a convenient tool, portable in its small size, making it easy to move around.
- Oil-free compressor pump
- Short recovery time
- Large 6-gallon air tank
- Quite limited performance industrially
7. California Air Tools CAT10020C
Another product on our best air compressor under 500 dollars is the California Air Tools 10020C air compressor. With a steel air tank of 10 gallons, the 10020C air compressor is rugged for heavy-duty tasks requiring less maintenance with a noise level below 70dB during operations.
The steel tank features a wheel with tires at the bottom that enables you to move it around quickly and efficiently to its application.
The 10-gallon capacity tank can hold enough air for long periods providing constant air supply for pneumatic tools. It runs on a 2HP SP series motor with an ergonomic design efficient for higher speed, continuous runtime, and duty cycle.
Because the engine is a 4-pole and runs at 1680rpm, it produces lesser noise.
CAT-10020C air compressor is an oil-free dual-piston pump with an aluminum cylinder, and because it is a dual-piston pump system, it provides you a faster air delivery.
Additionally, it runs on an oil-free pump cylinder that is durable and guarantees high performance with a lesser need for maintenance.
Furthermore, this air compressor delivers up to 6.40CFM at 40PSI and lower at 5.30CFM at 90PSI with a maximum air pressure of 125PSI. The motor functions with 110v AC power requirements. It also provides two universal quarter-inch outlets that can enable you to run two tools simultaneously.
California Air Tools 10020C air compressor comes with a year warranty and is the best air compressor for framing crew.
- Features two output to run two tools simultaneously
- Oil-free motor
- Quick recovery time
- Quite noisy
8. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor
Makita MAC5200 is a sturdy and quite a versatile air compressing tool highly compact in size and design for easy mobility. Carpenters and other artisans do keep this air compressor on their top list of tools to move with at job sites.
The MAC5200 is rugged with industrial capabilities, a durable and well-balanced wheel for added comfort.
It is a contractor-grade air compressor and one of the best air compressors for roofing nailers essential for automotive repairs or other handy tasks requiring an air compressor.
This unit induction motor runs on an AC 110 volts and 13amps power requirement to produce up to 3HP and rotation speed of 3420rpm.
Its operation is silent at a noise density of about 90dBA lower than many other air compressing devices in its category.
The compressor can produce air pressure delivery of 6.5CFM at 90PSI or 6.9CFM at 40PSI and maximum air pressure of 140PSI.
Makita MAC5200 is a big bore air compressor with a cylinder piston and oil-lubed pump capable of resisting wear and tear and also refilling its 5.2-gallon capacity air tank in a short period of fewer than 2 minutes.
It has a one year warranty and is easily transportable because of its 8 inches diameter pneumatic tires, solid steel frame, and ergonomic foldable handle with rubber grip.
- High motor rotation speed
- Low noise density
- Big-bore cylinder piston
- Oil-lubed pump
- High maintenance cost
9. NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor
NorthStar portable air compressor is a single-stage electric air compressor that comes in a unique powder-coat finishing and one of the best air compressors under 500 dollars ideal for heavy household duty. It features the V-twin pump with cast iron heads for durability, suitable for heat resistance, or transfer between its two cylinders.
This air compressor also features an oil-lubed pump with two cylinders that enables the compressor to last longer, run quietly at a low sound pulse frequency, and require minimal maintenance expenses.
Additionally, its single air tank has 20 gallons, making it efficient for sandblasting, air ratcheting, or inflating tires.
Furthermore, the compressor also features a 2HP dual voltage induction motor with low amperage draw for easier starts that can produce a high amount of air pressure.
As such, the engine runs at 3440rpm and has a maximum air pressure delivery of 135PSI. It can deliver up to 6CFM at 40PSI and lower at 5CFM at 90PSI, enabling you to store up a sufficient amount of air to run your tool over a more extended period.
Northstar also has a copper finned inner and outer coolers useful for heat dissipation and less moisture.
There are also ball bearings on each crankshaft side for smooth running and durability with heavy-duty paper element filters. It has 20,000 hours bearing lifecycle before wear and tears with a double ringed-style piston for shallow oil consumption and longer head life.
It is summarily a consumer-grade air compressor.
Although it requires only a few minutes to charge to full pressure from empty, it doesn’t leak and can hold air over long periods.
Being a belt-driven compressor still provides you with broader flexibility, allowing you to adjust airflow and pressure.
- It operates at a low noise density
- The airflow and pressure are easily adjustable
- Short recovery time.
- Not quite portable
- The drain valve is difficult to access.
10. Makita MAC700 Big Bore Air Compressor
Makita MAC700 is a portable rugged and one of the best air compressors under 500 dollars available today. It boasts of highly innovative design and robust technology.
This air compressing unit is an excellent choice when choosing portable air compressors, focusing on its big-bore piston technology and cast iron oil-lubed pump.
It features a 2HP 4-pole induction motor that runs on a low amperage draw, reducing tripped breakers’ incidences at start-up, lowering electricity bills.
With its big-bore piston, the pump can compress enough air with every stroke; this is quite similar to a truck engine’s principle that can deliver high amounts of torques even at low revs.
But for an air compressor, these high torques force more air into the tank.
The big-bore piston and oil-lubed pump also ensure that fewer strokes are necessary to move the same air volume as other pumps with a smaller cylinder.
As a result, the motor produces an operation rotation of 1730rpm with lesser wear and tear on the pump at quite an average noise density of about 80dB.
Additionally, it’s copper discharge tubing design increases heat dissipation and reduces moisture content in the tank.
The compressor can deliver air pressure of up to 3.8CFM at 40PSI and 3.3CFM at 90PSI with a maximum operating air delivery pressure of 130PSI.
These high air pressure production results in a sufficient air supply and quick recovery time using lesser electricity and producing lower noise.
- Big-bore piston cylinder
- Quick recovery time
- Requires less electric current to run
- Oil-lubed pump
- High maintenance cost
What You Need To Know About Air Compressors?
Air compressors are a handy piece of equipment, particularly for heavy-duty tasks. They help fill vehicle tires or machinery wheels, pump water for crop irrigation in agricultural application. Additionally, they are useful in cleaning and running high-impact equipment like wrenches, paint sprayers, and nail guns.
1. Horsepower Rating
Horsepower ratings guide you to know how much air pressure the compressor generates. A higher air pressure means the compressor can store more air in its tank, allowing you to use air tools like a nail gun for a substantial period before recovering time reaches.
2. Air-pressure Rating
A single-stage compressor can build pressure up to an absolute pressure around 135PSI and are suitable for household applications.
For heavier duty and more heavy-duty tools, an industrial two-stage compressor is ideal because it builds up to about 90PSI in the first stage and then up to 175PSI in the second stage.
3. Tank Size Capacity
Every air compressor has a storage tank. The more important consideration is to have a big enough pump and motor to produce as much air as you need.
Smaller air tanks are ideal for smaller tasks that don’t require continuous use as the case of nail guns. For more cumbersome tasks requiring constant airflow, such as sandblasting or spray painting, a bigger tank is better.
4. Cubic Feet per Minute
Cubic feet per minute (CFM) measures the volume of air delivery pressure at specific PSI levels. Most importantly, the CFM rating of 90PSI or more is what is required by most tools. Higher CFM will be needed to run even heavier tools.
5. Duty Cycle
The duty cycle is the time an air compressor runs before overheating and wearing off. A higher duty-cycle rating is vital for tools requiring continuous operation and constant airflow.
How Do Air Compressors Work?
Air compressors work by forcefully compressing air into a container, usually its tank, and pressurizing it. The pressurized air is released through an opening, allowing pressure build-up to produce sufficient kinetic energy to the attached tool.
They run on a powerful motor, usually a dual voltage 4-pole induction motor that turns electric energy into kinetic energy, similar to the principle of combustion in an engine.
There are several types of air compressors, with each having its unique specialty. Generally, the differences aren’t too severe: it all boils down to how a compressor handles air displacement.
What Are They Used For?
Air compressors are useful in the following fundamental fields;
From metal and plastic fabrications to food and pharmaceutical product packaging, rotary screw equipment enhances manufacturing productivity. Rotary screw equipment can also clean seals while also powering things like sprayers, conveyor belts, and packaging.
Construction workers use air compressors for various pneumatic tools, equipment, and appliances such as sandblasters and nail guns. These air compressors are very efficient sources for bulk drilling, handling, and lifting operations during construction.
Agricultural production requires bulky and expensive machinery. Most of these machineries are tractors, pumps, sprayers, and crop conveyors, of which the majority depends on air compressors for one task or the other. Other activities such as greenhouse ventilation, irrigation require compressed air as an air supply.
Where Can I Purchase One?
Air compressors are available at every hardware store, online, or buy directly from the manufacturers of the products we reviewed. Most time, air compressors come with warranty and return policy, be sure to check these boxes and buy only from accredited dealers.
Purpose of Buying Air Compressor
Some of the objectives of buying an air compressor are;
When carrying out woodwork tasks, air compressors are sorted categorically by their tank’s capacity, the motor’s power, and tools the air compressor can run efficiently.
Pneumatic nail guns, and even framing guns, can operate on a pressurized air supply from a relatively small air compressing machine. Other tools, such as the slanders and spray guns, need a lot more air supply and may overwork a small air compressor.
Therefore it is essential to check the air pressure delivery capacity of the tools you will be using before buying an air compressor.
Painting jobs can be much easier when using an air compressor. You can attach a paint spray gun to the air compressor to spray-paint furniture, walls, and even exotic cabinets of all sizes.
Because brushes can create roller marks that can ruin a painting job’s looks, instead, using an industrial or household air compressor and a spray gun to generously apply an even paint coat to the walls or furniture surfaces creates a very appealing finishing.
Spray paint also reduces the amount of time you might spend on painting, allowing you to efficiently utilize your time. A spray gun, attaching air hose, and an air compressor are the essential tools you will need to get the painting job complete.
Many mechanics and automobile specialists use either an industrial or household portable air compressors when performing specific automotive or vehicle repair duties. Portable air compressors are compact tools when it comes to the auto repair industry.
Air compressors allow you to use air-powered tools like air wrenches, muffler cutters, and air saws. They also help vehicle mechanics perform several varieties of tasks, and sometimes, the use of an air compressor is paramount to finish the repair job.
Smaller air compressors with lower air pressure CPM and storage tanks tend to be more affordable than the contractor-grade air compressor.
Sandblasting is essential in cleaning delicate surfaces like rust or old peeling paint from solid metal surfaces to prepare it for a new painting.
A sandblaster can make an enormous sanding job suddenly simple. To get the best performance from your sandblaster, you need to select the right compressor. You are using these guidelines and tips to help you make the best choice for your project.
You can also use an air compressor for sandblasting certain materials like wood and metal. Most importantly, remember that air compressors are a very rugged and powerful tool, so be sure that whatever content you are using, so it doesn’t destroy it.
5. Dust Removing and Drying
Air compressors can make cleaning quite an effortless task. Whether at home you’re your garage or workshop, you can use an air compressor to clean surfaces and dry up moistures.
You can use an air compressor to clean out small cracks and crevices in walls or other hidden angles on surfaces, such as between the keys of a computer keyboard using a light-pressure compressor.
An air compressor is also a superb method in quickly drying up certain surfaces such as vehicles, cabinets, and machinery pieces. Air compressors are useful in cleaning driveways, pool deck, or even stubborn surfaces.
6. Airing-up Tires
Air compressors are very useful in airing-up or inflating tires. Ideally, inflating tires is done with an air compressor, and you probably already know this or have it in mind. It is necessary to have at least one air compressor in your garage when your tires are low or flat.
It is also essential to know that you can overfill and overpressurize your car tires, so you need to know the correct PSI for your tires as your vehicle manufacturer indicates. Over pressurizing your tires can make them explode immediately or during expansion due to heat as you are in motion, this can lead to a road accident.
A tire gauge is a great tool to have handy when using an air compressor to add air to your tires.
Air compressors are useful in a broad spectrum of applications that make them a worthwhile addition to anyone’s tool collection or workshop.
What is Direct Driven Air Compressor and what is Belt-Driven Air Compressor?
1. Direct Driven Air Compressor
The Direct driven air compressor motor main shaft drives the crankshaft directly with gears by coupling in a practical sense. Direct drive also means that the motor is connected directly with the crankshaft or co-axial, which has the same speed.
- Fewer power wastes during the transfer from the motor to the crankshaft
- Stronger air pressure delivery
- It requires fewer power requirements.
- More expensive
- It will require a technician to replace the gears because it involves interfering with the original settings.
2. Belt-Driven Air Compressor
The belt-driven air compressor refers to an automation system representing the latest technology that avoids starting tension excessively. The belt’s lifespan usually lasts a long time, thereby reducing the load on the rotor and motor bearings.
Another driveway and the most popular in air compressors is the belt drive. It allows easy change of the rotating speed of the crankshaft by pulleys of different diameters.
- It is easier to fasten and change the belt without adjusting the original settings.
- The entire belt-driven system operates safely and without problems.
- Produces lesser noise
- Belts can snap due to external factors such as sharp wood chippings.
- More energy wastes in belt-driven air compressors.
After reviewing the best air compressors under 500 dollars suitable for household or industrial applications, we have concluded that this tool is essential to make your life easier.
It does this by aiding you complete household cleaning chores more efficiently and quickly using a consumer-grade air compressor with smaller tanks and lower air pressure.
Also, industrially with contractor-grade air compressors with bigger tanks and higher horsepower rating is ideal for tasks like roofing, sandblasting, and many more.