A top-class air compressor is must-have gear for any homeowner or DIY enthusiast. But finding out an air compressor under 100 dollars budget form huge list is a tricky task. Still, you can get the best air compressor under 100 if you handle the task like a pro.
An air compressor produces compressed air to run air tools like impact wrench, spray guns, nail guns, leaf blowers etc. If you need to run the air tools for a longer time with less recovery time, the compressor you choose should have enough air storage tanks with a powerful motor. Despite this, it should have enough PSI with CFM to be compatible with the air tool to operate precisely.
Handyman’s pick: 3 Best Air Compressor Under $100
|CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon||Color: Yellow
Model Name: CMEC6150K
16.5 x 16.5 x 17.88 inches
Capacity: 6 Gallons
Weight: 32.5 Pounds
|BOSTITCH 6 Gallon||Color: Orange
Model Name: BTFP02012
Power Source: Corded Electric
17 x 17 x 19.25 inches
Capacity: 6 Gallons
|PORTER-CABLE 6 Gallon||Color: Silver
Model Name: C2002
Power Source: Corded Electric
19 x 19 x 18 inches
Capacity: 6 Gallons
Portability, maintenance, and noise level are also should have key considerations to get improved performance even on a tight budget. To help you choose the right air compressor for your budget, we have made a shortlist of the top 7 best air compressors.
The air compressor we have reviewed has most of all the desired features to handle any home-improving compressed air project. Apart from these, the guide includes extensive information, including an air compressor buying guide, instructions for using the air compressor properly, and how an air compressor works.
Top Pick Air Compressor
CRAFTSMAN: Air Compressor under $100
- Portable air compressor is designed with a pancake-style tank for increased stability.
- It includes an oil-free pump with a 6-gallon capacity tank to allow you to run the air tool for a longer time with less maintenance.
- This affordable air compressor comes with a tough design with higher PSI to handle a range of applications.
While searching for the best budget air compressor, we found this CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor to be the most appropriate option. It comes with a pancake-style compressor tank. This air compressor includes an oil-free pump. Combine these features, and it’s a portable, stable, and maintenance-free air compressor. Not only that, this air compressor has a 6-gallon capacity tank and delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, so if you need compressed air consistently for a longer time, this item is the way to go.
It’s a regulator and accurate air tank, while a lengthy hose offers some versatility. Apart from these, the compressor includes plenty of accessory kit that fit into the budget. But this CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor is a bit noisy, which can disturb the neighbours and families.
- This CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor is budget-friendly, portable, and stable. Besides, it has a powerful motor, a longer hose, and a variety of accessories. The air compressor is suitable for handling any home-improved compressed air task.
- This air compressor is a bit loud and doesn’t reach the highest PSI as advertised. Still, it is considerable as able to run most air tools.
Best Under $100
BOSTITCH: Best Cheap Air Compressor
- It’s a lightweight air compressor that is easier to store and transport.
- This cheap air compressor has an efficient motor and an extension cord for efficient operation.
- It’s a quieter air compressor that has a large tank to ensure quiet operation with a long tool run time.
Looking for a busy worker in your garage that can deliver reliable service throughout the year? This BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor would be the way to go. This air compressor has a high-performing motor that ensures easy start-up even in cold climate. Despite if the noise level is your top consideration, this portable air compressor will pass the quality test.
Designed with a 78.5 dBA, this cheap air compressor will let you maintain a quiet work environment. This air compressor includes a 6.0-gallon tank with a max psi rating to operate plenty of air tools. So whatever the project is to inflate tires or run framing nailers or brad nailers, this compressor will be the best air compressor under 100.
- This low-cost air compressor is lightweight, quiet, and powerful enough to handle lots of applications. Plus, it has a large tank with higher PSI that ensures longer air tool run time.
- It comes with a faulty regulator. So, it is recommended to replace the regulator to enjoy highly efficient airflow.
PORTER-CABLE: Best Air Compressor Under $100
- This 6-gallon air compressor includes a water drain valve and rubber feet for increased stability.
- It’s a lightweight and portable air compressor that has a shroud, handle and console cover to keep the valuable parts safe.
- With a Low Amp 120V motor and a 150 psi max, this cheap air compressor offers a longer air tool run time.
This PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor comes with a pack of quality features that make it a DIY fanatic’s favorite for any home project. It is one of the best air compressors under $100 that is compact, quiet, and lightweight. Designed with 150 PSI max pressure with a 6-gallon tank, this portable air compressor can handle numerous air tools.
Apart from these, this affordable air compressor can deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI for quicker recovery and increased productivity. This pancake air compressor also has an oil-free pump and two air couplers, so two users can use the compressed air without worrying about the oil level.
- It’s an affordable air compressor that is portable, quiet, and appropriate for running a variety of air tools. Plus, it has a one-year warranty, includes a durable oil-free pump console cover, and requires less maintenance.
- Some users complain that the tank doesn’t hold any pressure. So after receiving the compressor check its functionality so you can replace it under warranty policy if required..
DEWALT: Best Pancake Air Compressor
- With max 165 PSI and a 6.0-gallon tank capacity, this Pancake Air Compressor can run any air tool efficiently for a long time.
- This air compressor is designed with a high flow regulator and a quieter motor to maximize air tool performance while maintaining a calm environment.
- It’s a lightweight air compressor that has an oil-free pump and an extension cord for convenient use.
This DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor is a good-built, lightweight machine that is suitable for any homeowner or contractor doing smaller projects. It has rubber feet on the bottom and a sturdy carrying handle, making it a highly stable and versatile addition to any garage or job site. Another impressive feature includes a powerful motor that can fill to 165 PSI within 3.5 minutes.
Its pressure adjuster also works great. So, whether you are running nail guns or airing up the lawn tire, you will have a precise operation. DEWALT is a well-known name in the air compressor industry due to the combination of quality construction and user-friendly innovation. While most air compressors come with a wing valve, this item includes a ball valve drain for quicker and easier tank draining.
- It comes with max 165 PSI and a larger tank. This air portable compressor is ideal for any light to the medium job site. Plus, it has a one-year warranty and is effortless to maintain and repair.
- Some customers receive the compressor with a pinhole leak near the regulator. So, while receiving, check the regulator so you can change it freely without damaging the warranty policy.
California: Best Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
- This ultra-quiet air compressor comes with an oil-free pump and a 1 HP motor for high performance with less maintenance.
- It has an 8.0 Gallon Steel Air Tank and a wheel kit to ensure longer air tool run time with easy portability.
- This durable air compressor is suitable for a variety of temperatures and rough terrain for reliable operation.
This little California Air Compressor is an absolute dream for customers who are looking for an ultra-quiet yet heavy-duty air compressor. With a combination of an 8.0 Gallon Steel Air Tank and a powerful 1.0 HP motor, this California Air Tool is a high performer. So, whether you need to blow out the lawn tractor air filter or run a brad nailer, using this item won’t let you face any pressure maintenance issues.
But it will require minor assembly as it needs to put the wheels and air filter on. Despite its motor has a large heat sink on it, which may get warm after filling the tank. So don’t let the hoses drape over them. Otherwise, this air compressor is pretty easy to carry and use. You can fill hpa tank by this air compressor easily.
- It’s a powerful and durable air compressor that is easy to transport and ensures quieter operation. Plus, the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty and includes an oil-free pump and 120 max PSI.
- It requires a bit of assembly and doesn’t include a hose. But while investing in a hose, try to get a longer one for increased versatility.
Makita MAC700: Best Big Bore Air Compressor
- It’s a durable air compressor that has a cast-iron pump and a big bore piston and cylinder.
- This air compressor is designed with oil-lubricated to ensure a cooler running pump and reduce wear.
- Its low amp draw prevents frequent voltage drops and keeps the motor from premature failure.
Makita produces this Big Bore Air Compressor with a tough design and a high-performing motor. This air compressor will serve you for a long time as it has solid construction all over the body. Firstly, it has a cast-iron pump and a big bore piston and cylinder to offer impressive performance. Plus, its oil-lubricated design ensures not only a cooler running pump but also reduces wear. After years of use, this air compressor will offer quality performance thanks to its low amp draw.
In particular, the feature prevents frequent voltage drops and tripped breakers. So you can handle numerous home improvement projects conveniently using this air compressor. It’s a heavy-weight air compressor because of its thick steel and cast iron construction. So you may need back strength or someone to help move the compressor.
- The air compressor has a 2 HP motor and produces considerably lower noise. it’s a toughly constructed air compressor that will last for years and includes a one-year warranty.
- The air compressor is a bit heavy, so it could be a better option for the home garage. Apart from this, the regulator may leak air after a few months.
Makita MAC5200: Best Portable Air Compressor
- This air compressor includes a folding handle and rugged wheels for easy transport and storage.
- It has a big bore cast iron cylinder for faster recovery and less noisy operation.
- This Makita air compressor can deliver 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI, which will let you run two nailers at a time.
Seeking a heavy-duty yet portable air compressor for your compressed air project? This Makita MAC5200 Air Compressor could be your reliable option. Compared to the previous model, it has a 3 HP motor that will let you run two nailers with improved performance. More importantly, the air compressor can deliver 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI, making it suitable for operating any commercial air tool for increased productivity.
Another impressive feature includes a folding handle with a low-profile design. So you can easily store or shift this air compressor, though it is heavier than other compressors. It features an oil-lubricated pump and a durable cast iron cylinder. It may be expensive considering the budget, but having this Makita air compressor will be worthwhile for you.
- It’s an extremely powerful, durable, yet portable air compressor. Besides, the air compressor ensures increased productivity and ease of maintenance.
- It’s a bit hard to maneuver because of the bent wheels. But a double side handle can fix the problem by allowing two people to take the charge.
Factors to pick the Best air compressor under $100
While shopping for the best budget air compressor, concentrating on CFM and PSI can help you get the best performing air compressor.
SCFM and PSI
CFM prefers the volume of air the unit an air compressor can sustain. Considering your project type, you can pick an air compressor with the correct CFM. For example, air sanders require higher CFM to perform, while finish nailers, can be operated with lower CFM.
Conversely, the PSI refers to the highest pressure that a pump can build in a tank. An air compressor tank with a higher PSI can hold a large amount of air. Even if you are on a fixed budget, try to pick an air compressor with at least 125 PSI, while 200 PSI would be more preferable.
An air compressor with a more gallon air holding tank will offer powerful airflow to the tools and ensure a longer operating time. Conversely, if your project requires a smaller tank, choose one that has a higher CFM rating. This combination will offer a quicker recovery time to ensure consistent operation. While 60–80-gallon tanks are suitable for heavy-duty projects, 1 to 10-gallon tanks are ideal for lighter jobs.
It’s a rating that informs the percentage of time an air compressor can operate. For instance, an air compressor with a 50% duty circle requires 30 minutes of downtime for every 30 minutes of operating time. Though you have to fix the budget, search for an air compressor that has a 100% duty cycle, however, 50% is also considerable.
The air compressor pump comes in two common types, including oiled and oil-free. Considering the convenience, the oil-free model is more preferable as it doesn’t need to check the oil level, making it easier to maintain. Conversely, oiled pumps don’t need a ton of refilling, though the user has to keep an eye on the oil level.
An air compressor usually runs by getting power from either electricity or gas. Compared to these two, electric models are used the most. This model is quieter and doesn’t need much repairs, making it perfect for outdoor use. a gas-powered air compressor is preferable for handling a project in a remote area.
How do you use an air compressor?
The operating method of using an air compressor can vary between different makers and models. The following basic guidelines suit most of them.
Place the air compressor: Firstly, position the compressor in a level and stable place. If it is electric, then set the air compressor close to the power outlet and plug in the compressor.
Check the oil level: If your compressor has an oil pump, then check its level, which is usually found near the motor. If you find the level is low, add oil until the level achieves the top mark. Before refilling, make sure the oil doesn’t have any additives or detergents. To refill Co2 the tank, open the tank access cap, mostly placed on the top of the compressor.
Conversely, if it is oil-free, then you don’t need to worry about the oil level as it has sealed systems.
Switch off the drain valve: Now check the drain valve whether it is switched to the stopped position or not. If it’s not, then switch the valve close to the stop position, which is found on the bottom of the compressor.
Power on the compressor: Start the air compressor and run it until it achieves the pressure capacity, which is 100 to 115 PSI on average. You can check the pressure by watching the pressure gauge located on the top of the compressor.
Adjust the air control valve: You will find the air control valve on the top of the compressor. Adjust it based on the suggested highest PSI of the tool that you are willing to run.
Attach the air hose: At this stage, you can attach the air hose to the compressor. Depending on the model, some air compressors have quick-connect fittings while others need to fasten the hose to the fitting. Secure the hose tightly to the compressor and you can apply an adjustable wrench if desired. Now attach the last end of the air hose to the pneumatic tool that you are willing to run.
Disassemble the compressor: After completing the air tools project, turn off the air compressor. Then take out the plug from the power socket and disconnect the air tool. After that, unscrew the drain valve using a wrench.
How does an Air Compressor works
The working process of an air compressor is pretty complex and technical. There is an air inlet valve on the top of the air compressor’s cylinder and a piston inside the cylinder. After running the compressor on, the air inlet valve opens initially and the piston goes down so the cylinder can fill with air. Once the piston reaches the cylinder’s bottom, the air inlet valve closes and the air outlet valve opens.
Then the piston passes the air out of the cylinder and the air outlet valve through the air storage tank. After that, the piston goes back to the top position again and the process starts again. While the storage tank is refilling the compressed air, a sensor inside the tank observes so it doesn’t go over the capacity or maximum amount of bar. Once it reached the limit, the electric motor switched off the piston. If the compressor releases the air to run the air tool, the motor starts once again to refill the storage tank.
An air compressor has an oil pan where the crankshaft is placed. It lubricates the whole moving parts and keeps them cool. Compressing air produces extensive heat, so keeping the oil levels right is vital. An air compressor is also designed with a filter that prevents moisture from entering and causing rust. Not only that, it helps to release fresh air so you can spray paint properly.
Types of Air Compressors
Air compressors are available in different styles and types. If you are seeking an air compressor for the first time, knowing these times will lead you to the most appropriate compressor within your budget.
Pancake air compressor
Designed with a round shape, this type of air compressor includes a motor and pump on top. A pancake air compressor has a comparatively small footprint, making it highly stable and portable. This type is the most popular among trim carpenters for installing and repairing moldings and other jobs.
Hot dog air compressor
This type of air compressor comes with a single, longer cylinder-shaped tank, and its motor and pump are placed on top. A smaller capacity hot dog air compressor is pretty much the same as a pancake design, while a larger model takes up more room. Some hot dog air compressor designs have wheel systems for increased versatility.
Twin stack air compressor
It’s a double hot dog-style air compressor that includes two tanks. This Twin stack air compressor offers additional capacity and some include wheel and handles systems.
Wheelbarrow air compressor
This Wheelbarrow air compressor has two high-capacity tanks and can be powered by either a gas engine or an electric one. This air compressor type is usually designed with a single wheel between the tanks and a handle on the reverse side, making them portable.
Vertical air compressor
It includes a high-capacity tank with a pump and motor placed on top. A smaller vertical air compressor comes with a handle and wheels to allow you to move around. Conversely, the larger vertical air compressor is designed to stay in place.
Some common usages of an Air Compressor
An air compressor creates a high-pressure area to store compressed air. Not only that, an air compressor releases that air on the user’s command. These power tools harness compressed air power and release it to complete many helpful things. The following is a list of a few basic uses of an air compressor:
- It is used to blow out the dirt and maintain a clean garage.
- Fill air into the tires of the car, bike, and wheels or balloons
- Use to blow away wood dust after sanding wooden furniture.
- Run a spray gun for painting
- Help to drive an impact wrench to drive bolts
- Use to run a grease gun to apply grease
- Supply compressed air to run lots of pandemic tools for grinding or sanding
- Help to nail staples, nails, and brads into place.
FAQs on Best Air Compressor Under 100
Is 100 PSI sufficient for an air compressor?
The majority of compressed air tools can run at 90 to 100 PSI on average. So if you need to handle such a project that doesn’t require higher PSI, then an air compressor with 100 PSI will be an acceptable option for you. However, some heavy-duty tasks require a higher level of PSI.
Which brand of the compressor is the best?
The market for an air compressor is extremely competitive where you will find lots and lots of world-class brand names. Among them, some of the best brands are
What is the best cheap air compressor?
Considering the quality, and performance within the budget, the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor is the best cheap air compressor. This air compressor is available for under 100, and still offers a 6-gallon tank and two universal couplers. Even this compressor is lightweight and ensures quiet operation.
How many PSI is ideal for an air compressor?
Most air tools can be operated at 70 to 90 PSI. An air compressor with such a PSI can handle any light-to-medium-duty compressed air task. But it is better to have more PSI than is required so you can operate the air tool properly.
How to choose an air compressor?
Before choosing an air compressor, learn your project requirements very well. Determine how much CFM is required for your air tool at the highest PSI and then choose an air compressor that can deliver 50% extra CFM than required. For example, if the air tool demands 3 CFM at 100 PSI, pick an air compressor that can produce 4.5 CFM at 100 PSI.
Take the Best Air Compressor Under $100
We have introduced some of the best air compressors under 100 that are high performers, quiet, portable and durable. These are extremely capable of running numerous air tools to complete any compressed air project efficiently.
These air compressors may vary in unique features, making them items for a range of purposes. Despite most of the air compressors include a 1-year warranty, while all of the brands offer free shipping and quality customer service.