7 Best Air Compressor Under 500

The budget of the air compressor determines its quality, capability, and performing ability. So, while choosing the best air compressor under $500, be careful about the combination of its functionality and productivity. The market of air compressors is full of numerous brands, and different types of air compressors.  While investing around $500, make sure the compressor is suitable to handle your specific project most conveniently and effortlessly.

Not only that, the mobility and the noise level should also be kept in mind for having a calming environment with an easy transportation experience. So, picking the right compressor from the huge option can be tiresome.

Handyman’s pick: Top 7 Best Air Compressor Under $500

Thus, we have prepared a list of air compressors that fit within the budget and have the ability to handle different compressed air tasks while running any air tool efficiently. These compressors are suitable for any heavy-duty task, offer longer run time, and are designed with powerful units with improved portability.

Furthermore, the guide contains extensive information such as a buying guide, air compressor maintenance, storing tips, and a step-by-step process for adjusting the compressor regulator. Reading the guide will help you pick the right compressor at mid-price and extend its longevity by maintaining and using it properly.

Top Pick Air Compressor

 Best Air Compressor under 500 Dollars

Makita: Best Air Compressor under 500 Dollars

  • This Makita air compressor has a removable cast-iron cylinder to extend the pump’s life and allow easier maintenance.
  • The air compressor can run at a lower RMP to maintain a quieter environment on the job site.
  • This fast recovery air compressor comes with a roll cage construction for increased protection and portability.

While researching, we found this Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor is the winner of the best air compressor under $500. Fits in the budget, this portable air compressor has a powerful 2.5 HP motor with professional-grade oil-lubricated parts and a considerable tank size. So, whether you are a seasonal contractor or a weekend home remodeler, you will enjoy every working minute with this Makita air compressor.

Another impressive combination includes 4.2 CFM producing ability at 90 PSI and fittings. Thus, you will find this best budget air compressor handy for running through any air tool and working with a partner without compromising performance and air pressure.  Comes with an oil-lubricated component this compressor may reduce wear and won’t cause friction-related difficulties, but it needs proper maintenance in terms of running at maximum power.

  • This durable air compressor ensures higher output at less maintenance. Plus, it comes with solid and powerful construction to withstand extreme job-site conditions. The compressor includes compressor oil and two universal quick couplers.

  • This air compressor can be heavier for someone and the user manual that comes with the product is not helpful.

Runner Up

Best Quiet Air Compressor Under $500

California: Best Quiet Air Compressor Under $500

  • With an oil-free dual-piston pump, this is the best air compressor for air tools that offer faster air delivery.
  • This quiet air compressor has an Easy Start Valve for a quick start-up even in cold weather.
  • The drain valve of this air compressor is located at the bottom of the tank to allow the water to flow smoothly.

If you need to run the pneumatic tool for a longer time while maintaining a quiet environment, this California 10020C Powerful Air Compressor is the way to go. This air compressor is available for under $500 and is designed with a 10-gallon air tank and is especially able to run at lower RPM. Combine these features; the manufacturer assures the operator that they will have up to 60 minutes of consistent and quiet run time. More importantly, this compressor comes with a user-friendly design.

All the control panels, including switches and gauges, are placed at the top of the tank to increase visibility for safer and more precise operation. Conversely, there is a wheel attached under its steel-made pump for improved portability. With an improved duty circle, this quiet air compressor can produce 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI, making it compatible with most heavy-duty air tools for convenient operation.

  • This California air compressor includes a 2HP motor and larger air tank for quieter compressed air operation with a longer time. The compressor is durable and easy to use and maintain. Plus, this portable air compressor includes a 1-year warranty.

  • The welding of the compressor isn’t neat and clean. But it needs to put the wheel on before releasing the drain valve as it is situated at the bottom.

Best Electric

Best Electric Air Compressor

DEWALT: Best Electric Air Compressor

  • This air compressor is designed with two universal quick couplers to run two air tools together for improved productivity.
  • Its oil-free pump can be rotated up to 90 degrees for a quick oil change and easier maintenance.
  • The compressor has a convenient ball drain valve to make the tank draining task convenient.

This DEWALT D55154 Air Compressor will impress you with lots of exciting features. Firstly, the dolly-style air compressor has a pneumatic wheel with an upright handle for increased mobility. So the operator can carry this portable air compressor more conveniently from site to site.

Not only that, the air compressor can produce 4 CFM at 90 PSI to run through any heavy-duty air tool to lay down framing, roofing, and finishing projects, thanks to its 1.1 HP motor and max 125 PSI. The air compressor also features a cast iron cylinder and an oil-lubricated pump to enhance pump life with increased durability. Finally, its oil-free pump can be rotated for an easier oil change.

  • This air compressor is extremely easy to care for and store because of its dolly-style design, electric wheel, and upright handle. It has a 4-gallon tank with a powerful motor and durable construction.

  • There are enough complaints against this DEWALT D55154 Air Compressor as it can’t start conveniently in cold temperatures. However, it can be happened due to storing for a long time.

Best Portable

Best Portable Air Compressor Under $500

Twin-Stack: Best Portable Air Compressor Under $500

  • This ergonomically designed air compressor is easier to handle and carry, resulting in a suitable choice for busy DIYers.
  • This budget-friendly air compressor comes with an improved duty circle with two quick-disconnect couplers for increased productivity.
  • The compressor is made of solid construction with a powerful motor for long and reliable service life.

This Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 Portable Air Compressor will be a reliable option to use through the years. So the year’s compressor will be the right choice for professionals and busy DIYers who need to run through the pneumatic tools all season for various compressed air tasks. This air compressor especially uses synthetic lubricants that boost efficiency much better than petroleum-based lubricants.

Another impressive thing about this air compressor is that it is quite durable and comes with solid construction for increased longevity. From the cast-iron cylinder, the enclosed frame, and the protective back shroud, all are ready to offer years of reliable service while available for under $500. Though the compressor can run two air tools conveniently with its 2 HP motor, the unit is a bit loud for working in a home garage.

  • This air compressor has two dual piston pumps and a powerful motor and it is easy to use throughout the year. The compressor has an easy-to-see front panel for precise and safer operation and includes a 1-year warranty.

  • This air compressor is louder to operate in a home. It includes soft rubber feet that should be replaced for higher stability.

Best Overall

 Portable Air Compressor under $500

PORTER-CABLE: 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor under $500

  • With a low voltage start-up and an oil-free pump, this air compressor is extremely easy to use and maintain.
  • This reliable air compressor has a max PSI with a strong motor for handling higher pressure operations.
  • Constructed with a Twin-V cast iron pump and steel tank, the air compressor will last a long time.

If you are looking for a fast-recovery air compressor without spending over $500, this PORTER-CABLE 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor will be the right choice. In particular, it is the best 20-gallon air compressor manufactured by a well-known brand, Porter-Cable, which is indeed a great investment in money.

Right out of the box, you will have a 20-gallon air tank with a 1.5 HP motor that can deliver 4.0 CFM at 90 psi, suitable for both home and commercial projects with longer run time. This stunning-looking air compressor also has thick semi-pneumatic wheels, rubber feet, and a handle for increased mobility, even over the concrete surface.

  • This PORTER-CABLE 20-Gallon Air Compressor offers increased mobility and productivity. With faster recovery time and powerful units, the compressor is suitable for a run through most of the air tools.

  • The air compressor is louder and the shipping service is poor since many customers didn’t receive their wheel and handle.

Customer Choice

Air Compressor under 500 Dollars

Rolair FC2002: Twin Stack Air Compressor under 500 Dollars

  • Designed with a higher RPM and a 2 HP motor to offer powerful performance.
  • The compressor includes an easy-to-use pressure switch and a safety relive valve for safer operation.
  • Constructed with a corrosion-resistant finish for increased longevity.

Looking for the best air compressor for a home garage under $500 and mostly for light-duty applications? Try this Rolair FC2002 Twin Stack Compressor. Thanks to its powerful 2HP motor, this Single-Stage Air Compressor provides a 100% duty cycle and 4.1 CFM at 90 PSI. So, whether it’s a home remodeling or renovation project that requires continuous compressed air drawing at low amps, this model will be a game-changer.

With commercial-grade ball bearings and manual-overload protection, this air compressor will withstand extreme conditions and offer a longer service. The compressor also has a cast-iron cylinder, splash lubrication, and stainless-steel Reed valves for improved durability. Lastly, the compressor is equipped with an oversized crankcase to protect it during use on an uneven surface.

  • This Rolair air compressor is most suitable for home use to complete light-duty tasks. It comes with a powerful motor with higher HP and RPM to make it more convenient and can run at a lower amp.

  • The unit isn’t a portable option and may produce a loud noise since it runs at higher RPM.

Premium Pick

 Air Compressor Under $500

Campbell Hausfeld: 8 Gallon Air Compressor Under $500

  • This mid-priced air compressor is intended with an oil-free dual-piston pump for enhanced productivity with less maintenance.
  • It’s a quiet air compressor that has a large air tank for increased runtime while maintaining a peaceful environment.
  • It includes an oil-free pump with a convenient regulator for easier and precise operation.

This Quiet Air Compressor from the classic Campbell brand is our last recommendation for the best air compressor under $500. With only 67 pounds and 68 dBA noise levels, this lightweight air compressor will maintain a quiet environment on the job site. The air compressor also has a thicker front wheel and a large soft-grip handle for enhanced mobility, while the 25-foot extension cord will help cover a large area.

A highlight feature includes the drain valve placed at the bottom and the convenient placement of the regulator. When you combine these features, the tasks of drain and air pressure monitoring will be easier and more accurate. Apart from these, the compressor comes with an 8-gallon air tank with 125 PSI to conquer any compressed air task smoothly, including painting, bolting, and nailing.

  • This Campbell Air compressor is lightweight, durable, and offers a longer run time. Plus, the unit is powerful enough to handle any air tool and includes a 1-year warranty.

  • The air compressor won’t be suitable for running multiple air tools and isn’t stable enough to work on an uneven surface.

Factors to pick the Best air compressor under $500

Having the best air compressor with the right units is essential as it enhances the compressor’s aptitude to withstand a certain extreme environment and boosts its performance. Whether you are novice home renovators or professional remodeling enthusiasts, checking each required feature individually in the compressor will let you get the most reliable combination.

Motor capacity

The number of horsepower determines how long an air compressor can run an air tool without interruption. If you need a compressor for a heavier project, choose a unit that has a higher HP and a compatible size with the tank. But remember, the harder an air compressor runs, the more noise it will produce.

Noise output

As a home renovator, getting an unnecessary more powerful air compressor won’t be a smart decision for you. It will pollute the house and disturb the family members as well as the neighbors. Thus, choose an air compressor that produces quieter noise and can handle your home remodeling project.

Conversely, a noisy air compressor isn’t a good option for any job site, as you have to hear your teammate. For professional use, look for an air compressor that is powerful enough and produces considerable noise.


If you need to move the compressor to several job sites or around the house, a portable air compressor is a way to go, though the portability is in plenty of forms. For example, some air compressors come with a compact design, making them effortless to pick up and carry. For this advantage, choose a compressor that weighs less than 40 pounds.

Other models can be heavier but still easy to transport, thanks to their mounted handle and wheel frame.  For easier storage, pick an air compressor that has a collapsing handle. You will find this feature beneficial even for carrying the compressor in the car to a remote place or job site.


Opt for an air compressor that can handle multi-tools like an airbrush or nailer at once. This feature will be a deal-breaker for a large project and working with a partner.


To invest around $500 worthwhile, pick an air compressor that has a hose housing and a cast iron pump. It will prevent wear and take a beating while working on a busy site.


You can have a different sized air compressor by investing around $500, but be sure about your purpose to get the most suitable unit. The air compressor tank size is also a key consideration that needs to be fixed based on the job requirement.

Direct-driven vs belt-driven: Which air compressor is better?

Direct-Driven: This direct-driven air compressor is designed with a directly connected pump and engine. It also has a crankshaft into the engine lock attached to the motor. There is a piston and a rod to the crankshaft that allows the piston to move if the motor rotates.  In this direct-driven mechanism, the motor runs at the same speed as the engine since they are connected.


  • You don’t need to adjust the belts.
  • It doesn’t have many moving parts.
  • This type of compressor is ideal for pneumatic tools as the output pressure can be adjusted.
  • This type of compressor comes in a compact construction and is lightweight to carry.


  • It doesn’t last long as the extensive run time damages the motor quickly.
  • The product makes a lot of noise.

Belt Drive: This belt-driven air compressor has a separate belt and pulley system. Its pump runs slower than the motor. Thus, this unit is more efficient and long-lasting. This belt drive air compressor usually runs between 1400RPM and 1800RPM.


  • This unites ensures quieter operation since it doesn’t create much friction.
  • The compressor will last for a long time and can operate efficiently.
  • It has higher industrial output.


  • It requires a lot of maintenance.
  • It may draw a lot of power.

The purpose of buying an Air Compressor Under $500

Out of some common reasons to buy an air compressor, some key purposes are discussed below:


Handling a building project or carpentry, a nail gun is a common yet essential tool. To complete the carpentry job conveniently using a nail gun, an air compressor is mustily needed. Usually, nail guns come in two types, including battery-operated, which cost around $200 to $500, similar to the cost of an air compressor.

The other type is a pneumatic nail gun which costs between $50 to $300. These air tools are lightweight and easy to run through an air compressor. Plus, it can be run for longer compared to its battery-operated counterparts.


An air compressor is also run through a spray gun that is essential for painting different size furniture and cabinet. This combination help get an incredible yet smooth finish in woodworking.


You can easily take the bolt out that fastens it in a tight spot by using an air compressor. To do this, you will need air ratchet tools connected to an air compressor. This combination will help you complete repainting tasks within seconds.

Despite this, an air compressor is also used to complete a range of automotive tasks, including spray cleanup of spinning parts, spark plug removal, and more.


An air compressor is also essential for sandblasting on specific materials including wood and metal. Plus, it can be used as an air sander to smooth out items without any problems.

Dust removal and drying

An air compressor is a must-have device to dust off the keyboard, shelving, and computer screen. It can drive away from the whole dust from the equipment’s crevices and cracks. Not only that, an air compressor can remove excess water from machinery surfaces.

Airing-Up Tires

An air compressor with low air pressure is a handy combination for airing up tires.  To complete this kind of task safely and successfully, you will require some tools, except an air compressor. But keep away from overfilling the tire, otherwise, it can explode and cause injury. Using an air compressor regularly and learning the correct PSI is the right gear to prevent such a situation. A pressure gauge also helps the operator monitor the tire’s pressure during airing up.

How to Adjust the Compressor’s Pressure Regulator

Generally, the pressure regulator has a large screw inside it that controls the airflow.  To do this, pressure regulators get aid from springs that connect to the set screw through the shaft. This spring is powerful enough to open the valve so the air can flow efficiently.

Adjust the Compressor’s Pressure Regulator

There is also a little tube that helps pressure to pass into the chamber. If the pressure changes, a diaphragm then makes it steady by moving in harmony with the air pressure. Without the right compression, hot air can spread through the compressor and increase the moisture level, which can end up causing damage to the air tool. Conversely, maintaining the right airflow through the air hose can prevent this pressure drop as well as the potential damage. Not only that, but ensuring the right PSI to match the PSI of the air tool is also essential to increase its longevity.

Guides to Adjust the Compressor Pressure Regulator

Following this easier method, you can adjust your compressor’s pressure regularly.

Fill the Tank: Firstly, plug in and power on the air compressor. Wait for a few minutes to let the tank fill up and pressurize the air properly. The time can vary considering the capacity of the air compressor. Fill the tank completely and check it by hearing the sound that the compressor will produce.

Check the air pressure: Once the tank reaches the maximum air pressure, check the compatibility of the pressure with the air tool that you want to run. If the PSI requirement of the air toll is higher than your air compressor’s maximum pressure, you won’t be able to run the tool through the compressor. However, the PSI difference of around 20% is significant.

Attach the hose and tool: After getting the positive result of compatibility, connect both the compressor and the air tool to the air hose. Make sure you have clips of the air hose’s quick-connect fitting into the pneumatic tool’s airport. Likewise, screw the other end of the air hose into the air compressor. Now tighten the hose connector to the compressor using a wrench to get the most reliable seal.

Adjustment Time: After connecting the hose and tool securely to the compressor, now you can concentrate on adjusting the pressure regulator.

Find the knob or lever: The placement of the lever or knob usually varies depending on the make and model, though it is mostly found on the right side. Some compressors include a locking function to keep the lever secure when remaining unused. It needs to pull to release the lock and pull back to keep it locked.

Increase and decrease the Pressure: Twisting the pressure regulator’s knob clockwise will raise the pressure as well as increase the value of PSI. After getting to the desired level, snap back the leveler to keep the lock.

Conversely, rotate the lever anticlockwise to reduce the pressure and drop the PSI value. Again, keep it in the lock to run through the pneumatic tool safely.

How do you store and drain the air compressor properly?

Likewise, picking the right air compressor at a good budget, storing it, and draining it is also vital to maintain its longevity. A properly stored and drained compressor remains rust and damage-free and ensures quality production. Before storing the compressor, turn its air pressure outlet to the lowest setting and unplug it from a power source. And then remove all air tools and attachments from the compressor.

 After that,   place a drain pan at the valve of the compressor and tilt it a bit.  Then open the valve to drop off all the water from the valve. But be careful, as the pressurized air will release first and the rest will follow it. Once on the water unload, close the compressor’s valve.

To store the compressor, firstly clean and dry the space and make sure it is moisture-free.  You should keep the oppressor away from direct sunlight and place it off the ground on a pallet. Following this storing and draining process will ensure you enjoy the air compressor for years.

Maintenance tips for an air compressor:

Maintaining an air compressor properly helps extend its longevity and productivity. The following is a list of maintenance tips that should be done daily, weekly, and monthly.

Check these things regularly, the air leakage, level of the pump, oil leakage, drain the water in the tank, noise and vibration and belt inspection. Weekly check the air filter clean up and replacement. Monthly, check the relive valve for safety, bolt tightening, connection to leaks, pump and engine servicing.

FAQs on Best Air Compressor Under $500

What is the best air compressor for your money?

Comparing overall functionality and productivity, the Makita Big Bore Air Compressor is the best air compressor for the money. The unit is powerful and durable enough to withstand extreme pressure. Plus, it is a maintenance-free air compressor that has an easy start-up and fast recovery ability.

What is the best cheap air compressor?

The Rolair FC2002 Twin Stack Compressor is one of the best cheap air compressors out there. The air compressor fits into the budget and includes plenty of exciting features that make it user-friendly and safer to use.

What’s the best small air compressor?

The Twin-Stack 4 Gallon Portable Air Compressor is the best small air compressor that comes in a compact design. Though smaller in size, this air compressor has a 2HP motor and a 100% duty circle for enhanced performance. Plus, the compressor is synthetically lubricated and suitable to run in any season.

Who makes the best quality air compressor?

California makes this Ultra Quiet Air Compressor, which is the best quality air compressor for home and industrial use. The compressor has a larger air tank and a powerful 2 HP motor to handle any heavy-duty compressed air task. This compressor can run at lower RPM to maintain an ultra-quiet environment while 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI makes the unite compatible with any air tool.

Who makes the best oilless air compressor?

The well-known brand PORTER-CABLE makes this 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor, which is the best oilless air compressor. This model is designed with an oil-free induction motor and pump. So, using this compressor, the user won’t need to check and change the oil. Despite its solid construction, its functional design will offer a longer air tool run time with reliable performance.

Take the Best Air Compressor Under 500

In the end, now you have some of the best air compressors under $500 that are suitable for both home and industrial use to handle light to heavy-duty projects. The air compressors we have reviewed above fit within budget, but they come in various tank sizes, HP, PSI, functionality, and design.

Hopefully, now you can go for the most desired air compressor unit for your specific needs. Finally, follow those maintenance tips and user guides to make the investment worthwhile.

Share on:

Sam Morgan is a general contractor based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He does home renovations, extensions, landscaping maintenance, and general handyman jobs for homeowners. He is also the part-time content writer at Machine Handyman and a lifelong tools enthusiast. Sam loves hand tools, power tools, machinery, and DIY gadgets of all shapes and sizes! He is always researching the different types of home improvement tools that will get the best results. This site will cover products like power drills, air compressors, saws, nail guns, screw guns, grinders, cutting tools, and many more.

Leave a Comment