An air compressor has to work intensively in an automotive shop—different pneumatic tools like hammer drills, air ratchets, impact wrenches, and many other tools. Sometimes you will need two of these tools to work together.
It has to be the best performing air compressor to show the best performance with consistency and intensity. Not all compact or big air compressors are going to work great on these criteria.
We have seven of the best working-class air compressors to work like champs. We will be focusing on why these are the best for your automotive shop and how you will benefit from them. Let us dive deep into the review.
Best Air Compressor for Automotive Shop, Garage, Farm and Industry
We have considered one of the most popular and reliable air compressor models globally based on their positive reviews and expert recommendation. After researching the user opinion and reviewing them first hand, we have come with a list of the top 7 air compressors for the auto body and automotive shop.
Here are the reviews to check before making your final purchase.
Best Quiet Air Compressor – Campbell Hausfeld Portable
The first bad boy we have on the table is a compact and portable one. It is one of the quietists as well. Campbell Hausfeld 8 gallon has a noise level as low as 68 DB, which is great for keeping around and not worrying about getting annoyed by the noise.
Why is it considered as one of the best shop air compressors for air ratchet and impact wrench?
The 8-gallon tank also performs pretty great for almost all of the tools and different purposes like air guns, inflating tires, and painting. Actually, it is the right air compressor for doing different kinds of work in auto repair shops.
Most people like this unit for inflating different objects like footballs, tires, and motor vehicle works. The 8-gallon tank is heavy, and it performs solid when on load. The 8-gallon tank fills up pretty fast, and this is enough if you are doing intensive work on a single tool.
The pressure gauge is on the top, allowing you to get the reading on a glimpse and regulate the pressure with a twist.
The best part about having this air compressor for auto is that you don’t have to worry about maintaining and servicing. It does not need any oil maintenance for all-rounder smooth performance.
- A portable unit with a handle and wheelbase to keep in your garage
- It comes with a lot of things that will be necessary for it to work properly in your workshop
- This heavy-duty compressor comes with better air output
- The pump life is well enough to work with different air tools
- Campbell Hausfeld does not have a lot of noise while it is filling the tank up
- It does not allow multiple tools at once
Best Overall – Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage
Ingersoll Rand 60 gal is the best and the most notorious air compressor here. It has the power to drive any tool like crazy. If you are a professional motor vehicle professional, you should get this unit in your garage.
So, the best auto shop air compressor is the durability and power for heavy loads.
The upright tank design is efficient for safety and extreme pressure delivery to hosepipes. Ingersoll Rand also has a great built quality that is impressive for great power delivery with stable performance.
The tank itself is made of cast iron. This rough and tough construction system gives it a long time with great performance potential. It has been mentioned that it can perform up to 15000 hours without any kind of trouble and servicing. For reliability, it also comes with two years of warranty.
The air compressor for auto itself is another sector where you see the performing potential with different air tools. This two-stage compressor works efficiently to fill the tank up and provide an almost smooth air supply to your tools.
Using this machine is also super fun and efficient. You can easily connect the hose and regulate the air pressure to your need easily. There is not a lot of adjustments needed to install this machine in your workshop as well.
- High capacity cast iron tank performs solid while on a load
- Heavy-duty cast iron construction for durability
- It can use with a blow gun and can run air tools
- Does not choke up anytime, even if it is on a load for a whole day of work
- Two-stage air compressor works efficiently
- The manual that comes in the box does not well explain the operational methods.
Best for Auto Repair Shop – NorthStar Single-Stage Air Compressor
NorthStar air compressor is one sweet spot of being a professional and a regular household unit at the same time. The 20gallon tank holds a lot of air necessary for keeping your workflow as smooth as possible.
Despite the size and the capacity, this is a portable air compressor that you can take anywhere you want to. It has a wheelbase that makes it one of the portable units out of a bunch.
The compressor inside is a single-step compressor. It is fast, and it can fill the tank up pretty fast and even faster than two-step compressors. The 2HP motor is visible from the top. It consumes a lot of electricity yet provides the performance needed for the best performance in your workshop.
What makes it one of the best air compressors for the auto repair shop is the safety along with the features.
To keep everything safe and in control, this auto shop compressor for auto has a metal mesh that saves the rubber belt from getting in contact with anything. Every material here will be more exposed to let you see everything and service at your will.
The most uncommon thing you will see on the air compressor is that it does not get that hot while working full load. It has copper material used both inside and outside to dissipate the heat as efficiently as possible.
- Does not get hot on intense workload
- The size of the air tank is perfect for intense and stable performance
- It comes with long life with a better tank capacity
- Cast iron pump provides a solid performance
- It comes with a reliable warranty period
- The maximum air pressure is not that high for super-intensive jobs
Best Portable Air Compressor – NorthStar Gas-Powered 163cc
Here we have a working different air compressor that we don’t see every day in our houses. This is a gas-powered air compressor. The most advantageous thing about this air compressor is that you can use this standard air compressor even if you don’t have an electrical outlet around.
This is mainly targeted for workshops where you use different tools for different operations. You can easily take it anywhere without worrying about an outlet.
With a superior CFM rating of 13 CFM at 90 PSI, this 20-gallon tank fills up very fast. During the operation, everything is kept cool by the design of a V-shaped air compressor cylinder.
There is a high-quality belt guard with mesh on it so that you don’t have to worry about safety anyway. The motor unit of this portable air compressor is made by Honda, and they are very advanced with low oil shutdown, auto body shop rev control, and many more.
Overall, this is an easy-to-use and easy-to-operate gas machine. There are a lot of small features that make it an efficient machine. The pressure gauge is liquid-filled so that you get an accurate rating despite the vibration.
- The gas-powered air compressor has a high potential to work on heavy load
- There is a pressure gauge indicator filled with liquid for better reading
- This portable air compressor can pull up enough power for spray painting on the car
- You don’t have to worry about any electric outlet to operate this machine
- The gas engine unit needs more care and services for better performances
California Air Tools CAT-4610AC Ultra Quiet Air compressor
If you are worried about the noose you get from a regular air compressor, you must look at this air compressor unit for a minute. This is the quietest machine in the market. While it is on full load, it remains quiet and smooth.
For efficient workflow, the overall design has also been redesigned. The twin tank is a unique concept to keep the pressure low on the compressor motor.
It is considered one of the best quiet compressor options for its smooth non-sounding performances while using the other air compressors in the repair shop.
The great part about this compressor is that it has a very easy-to-use interface. There is not a lot of power in the rating as the motor is a 1 HP motor. But with the advanced design, the compressor can provide around 120 PSi of pressure. Portability and ease of use is also a mention-worthy feature of this air compressor.
This pressure is enough for operating simple tools like ratchet guns and hammer guns. Inside the compression chamber, it has an oil-free maintenance system that lets you use the compressor without any kind of service.
This might not be the most powerful air compressor for your workshop, but this can be a secondary unit for your backup tools and general operations.
- A small and easy-to-use unit to use as a backup system in your workshop
- Efficient working principle for maximum performance from low current draw
- This is one of the quietest air compressors that you can buy today
- Relatively low maintenance costs
- Great for general purposes and all-rounder performance
- You can not push this air compressor to the limit for the highest performance pick.
Best 20 Gal Air Compressor – Industrial Air IL1682066.MN
Industrial Air is a USA-based company that makes their air compressor options in the USA, and truth to be told, and they are amazing in quality and performance. This is their 20 gallon upright air compressor that does perform like a beast. The most amount of power you get to taste is from the V twin-cylinder and cast iron pump.
You can call this an industrial unit as it has a design strategy like this industrial air compressor. The belt-driven motor and pump do an excellent job of putting maximum pressure without burning the motor.
The workflow and monitoring are super easy and fun to do. The air outlet connects easily to the quick connector. You can easily monitor both the tank pressure and the outlet air pressure by seeing two pressure gauges on board. You can also regulate the air pressure with a rotational knob on the front.
Despite being a vertical unit, this 20-gallon air compressor has wheels that you can rely on to carry the machine wherever you need.
- Simple and easy to use the air compressor
- The design language is just like bigger air compressor options
- It comes with thermal overload protection
- Can achieve maximum pressure with this quality air compressor
- 20 gallons is a perfect size for an air compressor in your workshop
- This is a portable unit for versatile works in your garage and home
- This air pump is oil lubes, and it requires regular maintenance for the best performance.
Best Tankless Auto Shop Compressor California Air Tools 10TL
To finish off this review, we have a unique air compressor here. This tankless air compressor unit does not require any air to store inside a tank. The motor turns on at your will and turns off at your will.
What makes it one of the best portable air compressors for automotive repair shops in the air capacity and usability with the air-powered tools.
The advantage you get is the portability. Because of not having an air tank, it is extremely lightweight and portable for various operations.
If you look at the design and product target, this is solely focused on portability. You can take this simple unit out anywhere you want to. The overall weight is obviously lower than most of the air compressor options out there.
You can do all sorts of things with this air compressor. You will get around 2.20 CFM at 90 psi which is almost standard for regular usage. The motor serves at your will only, which is great for the best control and quick tool swap.
Using this compressor is also easy. You get a footswitch pedal to turn it on and off. The 1HP rated motor can perform at a peak performance of up to 1 HP.
- A very portable machine for doing all air jobs in your workshop
- Footswitch pedal control is convenient to use
- Perfect industrial air compressor for auto repair shops
- Swapping hosepipe and tool is super easy and fast
- You don’t get high pressure from this pump compared to the ones with tanks
How to Choose the Best Air Compressor for Automotive Shop?
Air compressor in an automotive repair shop is going to be absolute hard-working stuff for almost every task. The best and the most powerful tool for working are pneumatic tools. They are mostly run by compressed air. The machine you will be purchasing will be under high pressure almost all day long.
There is no part of an air compressor for the auto that does not need attention to detail. The power, built quality, price, motor, gears, and almost everything must be perfect enough to perform the best. We will be going through a guide on how you can choose the best air compressor for your auto shop.
What is the maximum air pressure you can get out of it?
If you have any pneumatic tool, you already know that almost every tool has a rated pressure on which it will work the best. You will need the best output from the perfect air compressor. You have to match the pressure level.
As you will be purchasing an air compressor for automotive technicians, it is obvious that you will be using the compressor for impact wrenches, grinding, rim strippers, tire inflation, grease guns, and so many applications.
You might also use the auto repair shop compressor for lifting cars and using it for air tools. These applications will need high PSI of air pressure to work the best. It is safe to purchase an air compressor that can provide air pressure up to 150 PSI.
What is the CFM rating of that machine?
CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minuet. This might look like a small parameter to care about, but there is a lot about this. The CFM rating will be responsible for how fast the air tank is going to fill up. The number is represented by a small number. The higher the number will be, the better the performance output you will get from the machine.
If you are getting a 20-gallon air tank, 5 will be a better number for the best performance out of the auto repair compressor. The CFM rating is generally calculated in 90 PSI air pressure which has become a constant worldwide. The CFM requirement will also go high as the tank size increases.
How easy and convenient it is to use?
The machine you have should be easy to use. There are now quick hose connectors that let you connect the hosepipe using one hand only and remain secure while working with a tool connected.
The regulating knob should be easy to use, and you should monitor the whole thing very easily.
How safe it is to have in your workshop?
As you look at the machine specifications, you should look closely at the safety mechanisms. If the compressor is belt-driven, it should have a belt guard built over the belt itself. There should be well-calculated fuses that do not let the machine overload with high voltages. Safety valves should be good enough to keep you safe from any kind of accidental or occasional overpressure.
Does it support the electrical outlet you have?
You must check in the description if the air compressor for auto supports the outlet you have in your workshop. There are two types of outlets all over the USA. It is safe to say that those compressors we mentioned in this review are all supported by all of the outlets all around the country.
Is it stable enough for workshop usage?
If you are purchasing an air compressor for your workshop, it will have to be stable enough for all-day usage. Unlike your home and DIY air compressor options, an automotive shop air compressor has to be always on and always on pressure load. Ensure that the compressor is made of good quality cast iron compressor pistons to ensure an all-day workforce.
Is the horsepower enough for the perfect kick?
Allair compressor has a rating of Horsepower on the motor that drives the compressor unit. The power measurement is measured in horsepower. A general air compressor will have a motor of one or two horsepower. The higher the motor power will be, the faster and harder it can perform. The overall rating of an air compressor will go high as the HP goes high.
Is the tank big enough?
If you calculate all the measures, it will be obvious that the tank size will not matter. But you are purchasing the air compressor for your auto shop. There will be cases when you need to connect two of your pneumatic tools at once. You will need to have bigger tanks in this case. If you are expanding your shop further, you can have a bigger tank than 50 gallons. For single users, 21 gallons will be good enough.
What Types of Air Compressors are Available in the Market?
If you explore the market of air compressors, you will see only one type of air compressor, which is electrical air compressors. These are mainly powered by electricity, where the motor is the main source of power to drive the compressor unit. Tankless and gas-driven air compressors are the other two air compressors that you will find in the market.
Electric Air Compressor
In this review, most of the air compressors we mentioned are electrical air compressors. These are modern devices. They have low noise levels. The power delivery compared to the work done is more efficient than the other types of air compressors.
These compressors have been more researched and developed to be better. You will find these compressors in different sizes and power variants for both homes and workshops.
Gas-Powered Air Compressor
We mentioned only one of the gas-powered air compressor options. They are mainly bulky, and the noise level is a bit higher than the electric air compressor. But the main advantage is that you get from this air compressor is that they have high output.
The gas-powered motor can push the pressure to its limit, far superior to an electrical air compressor. The portability and convenience are also better than electrical compressors. You will not have to connect it to any outlet. So it can be called a cordless air compressor.
Tankless Air Compressor
The tankless air compressor is basically an electrical air compressor that does not have a tank. These shop air compressors do not have the same working principle as conventional air compressors. The air is not stored inside a tank; rather, and the air gets fed directly to the hosepipe or the outlet.
The output or PSI you get from this is not that high. People love these auto repair shop air compressors because of their portability. These are lighter and more compact. You can store this in any corner of your workshop, and no one will notice.
People Also Asks About the Air Compressor for Auto Repair Shop
Here are few questions we have seen in different forums, Quora, and other platforms. We tried to cover some of them and give a brief answer to solve the trouble.
What Is CFM and How It Affects the Overall Performance
CFN is the most considerable specification of an air compressor. We have already mentioned CFM in the buying guide in this review. This is how much air the compressor can compress within a specific pressure limit. The pressure limit is generally held as 90 PSI or below.
The ground rule of CFM is how much time will be needed to fill the tank up and start working with the connected tool. This is true for the air compressor options that have a tank. If it is a tankless air compressor, the CFM will be then all air, and the pressure will be around 90 PSI all the time.
The best CFM will be around 10 CFM, providing around 100 to 120 PSI of power to the hosepipe. For higher pressure, you must get a compressor that has a high CFM rating.
What Is the Perfect Size for Automotive Air Compressor?
To be frank, there is no perfect size for an air compressor to use in your automotive shop. The size and capacity will depend on how much do you need to operate your pneumatic tools. The workload will also be a factor in the best air compressor size for your automotive shop.
As you will be buying an air compressor for your automotive shop, it will be better to go for a high capacity. As the air compressor will have to be connected with different types of tools, the motor must have a lot of headroom to be safe on overloads with thermal overload protection and long working sessions.
It will be better to buy the largest air compressor you can buy. If it is about accommodation, you can also think of mid-level air compressors. In this case, any compressor that can increase capacity from 20 to 30 gallons will be good enough for all-rounder performance. We mentioned different types of and different capacity air compressors for your mechanical shop. Almost all of them have provided great services for professionals.
How Often the Air Compressor Will Need Maintenances?
There is no ground or golden rule for servicing and maintaining your air compressor. The only thing that has to be kept in mind is that your air compressor in your workshop should always work smoothly.
In general, a regular air compressor user maintains their air compressor once a month. You should check out several things as well. The air compression unit will always need to be smoothly working with the use of lubricants.
Nowadays, a lubed air compressor has been renewed, and they have been made to be maintenance-free. You don’t need to lube them and maintain them often. But you should definitely check if the motor is lubed or not. Make sure that there is no worse sound in the motor while it is running on full load. See if the belt here is tight enough or it has gotten loose.
Some Tips and Tricks for Auto Shop Air Compressor
It is always better to be cautious than complaining about stuff that you don’t know. Here we have some tips that might help you while you are around your air compressor.
The first thing is maintenance. We have already mentioned that you should check the machine running condition once a month. The machine should sound good as it runs for a while. If the motor is not smooth enough, lube it. If there is any loose kind of electrical lines, you should correct that as well. Do not let any dust set on the machine.
To get more efficient performance out of your air compressor, you should reduce the vibration as much as you can. You can use padding under the air compressor if necessary. Use rubber pads under the compressor legs, and it will run smooth and noiseless as well.
Draining the Air
Draining the air after every usage is a must-do for an air compressor to run smoothly and be stable for a long time. While the air tank is full of air, the tank will be dealing with a lot of air inside.
This is going to reduce the longevity of the air is pushing the thick walls all the time. Almost all the air compressors have a drain valve through which the air can be released safely.
The last thing you should keep in mind is that you should dial the PSI to whatever has been recommended by professionals. Whether you are using an oil-free air compressor or not, you should check the PSI rating on the tubes and tires if you are using the air compressor to inflate tires.
If you are using the compressor for pneumatic tools like a spray gun, impact wrench, nail gun, the tool will have its operational pressure written in the specification. Dial them properly so that you get the perfect output every time you use the air compressor.
We have mentioned all the necessary things to keep in mind while you are chasing to get the best air compressor for your workshop. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you have to have the most powerful one out of a bunch. Make sure you have a good budget for this purchase.
There are good brands that have been designing their products to be the most efficient ones out of a bunch. You just have to open your eyes a bit more to see the difference.
To ease the whole market research, we mentioned seven of the best value for the money products. You will not regret your investment in your automotive shop.