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Our Top Choice

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Pros: Built to last with cast iron construction. A consumer favorite by a trusted brand that gets our top marks for performance and durability.

Cons: A costly portable air compressor, but its quality justifies the price.

Summary: The absolute best choice for consumers who are looking for a model that rates high for powerful performance and rugged quality.
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California Air Tools CAT-10020 Ultra Quiet and Oil...

Pros: There is no job too big for the California Air Tools' extreme power and large tank. Features CFM rating and a pump that doesn't make a lot of noise when in use.

Cons: Weighs 90 pounds, making it larger and bulkier than other models we tested.

Summary: Though a good choice for users who need a rugged machine for large jobs, the trade off is less portability. The large tank and CFM rating of this machine make it perfect for larger jobs.
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Senco PC1131 Compressor, 2.5-Horsepower (PEAK) 4.3...

Pros: Rugged and powerful. Stands out for being ready to use faster than similar models with its quick-fill tank that is full in 67 seconds.

Cons: Some of our testers noticed that this model is somewhat sluggish to start in cold weather and requires being warmed inside to get it going.

Summary: Offers power and performance for a middle-of-the-road price, but the Makita is an all-around better machine.
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PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC

Pros: A compact model by a trusted brand. Offers excellent performance for its size and affordable price.

Cons: Tank is slower to fill than larger models we reviewed.

Summary: For the size and performance you get with this rugged portable air compressor, there isn't a better model on the market today.
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Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 3-Gallon Air Compressor

Pros: Budget-friendly model that is perfect for minor jobs such as inflating and driving tools that don't require a lot of pressure

Cons: We found that the hose is somewhat brittle, which makes it prone to breakage.

Summary: An affordable portable air compressor that is the best choice for small jobs and some tools, but the Porter-Cable's performance makes it a better deal.