Best Twin-Stack
Air Compressor

Best Handheld Portable Twin-Stack Air Compressor - Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9
Ingersoll Rand
P1IU-A9
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Best Pancake
Air Compressor

Best Pancake Air Compressor - Porter Cable C2002-WK
Porter Cable
C2002-WK
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Best Horizontal Portable
Air Compressor

Best Portable Horizontal Air Compressor - DeWalt D55167
DeWalt
D55167
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Best Vertical Portable
Air Compressor

Best Vertical Portable Air Compressor - Porter Cable C6110
Porter Cable
C6110
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Thinking about buying an air compressor, but don’t know where to start? The choices can be overwhelming, so let us help you identify what you need from an air compressor. When selecting a compressor, consider its weight, size, portability, maintenance requirements and most importantly air flow.

The first thing you need to do is identify which projects you plan to use a compressor on. An air compressor with air tools can do an amazing amount of work around your home and shop, regardless of whether your chores include woodworking, metalworking, mechanical jobs or even simple home chores like inflating tires or sports balls. Remember to consider jobs you might take on in the future.

Once you know what jobs you plan on doing, you can determine what air tools you will use. Then you will need to figure out your tool’s air flow requirement which is measured in cubic feet per minute, or ‘CFM.’ Some tools consume more air than others. Tools such as pneumatic nail-guns and staplers consume smaller amounts of air, while air grinders and sprayers consume larger amounts. Most tools have a usage rating for CFM consumption at a recommended PSI. See the following chart for tools and their average CFM rating @ 90 PSI:

Air Tool Description Average CFM @ 90 PSI
Angle Disc Grinder – 7″ 5-8
Brad Nailer .3
Chisel/Hammer 3-11
Cut-Off Tool 4-10
Drill 3-6
Dual Sander 11-13
Framing Nailer 2.2
Grease Gun 4
Hydraulic Riveter 4
Impact Wrench – 3/8″ 2.5-3.5
Impact Wrench – 1/2″ 4-5
Impact Wrench – 1″ 10
Mini Die Grinder 4-6
Needle Scaler 8-16
Nibbler 4
Orbital Sander 6-9
Ratchet – 1/4″ 2.5-3.5
Ratchet – 3/8″ 4.5-5
Rotational Sander 8-12.5
Shears 8-16
Speed Saw 5

 

Figure out your airflow requirements by adding up the CFM for all the tools that will be used at the same time, then multiply that by 20%. You need to choose an air compressor with a CFM rating that exceeds the amount of your total requirement.

While most air tools operate at 90 PSI, some air tools require less PSI and some, especially sanders and polishers, a higher PSI. Make sure the compressor you select has a max PSI rating above the highest rated tool you will use.

The next factor to take into account is tank size, usually listed in gallons. An automatic start/stop compressor will run until the pressure in the tank builds to its high-pressure point. Obviously, the bigger the tank, the longer it takes to consume the compressed air. However, the downfall is that once the air is depleted, it takes a lot longer for the air tank to refill with pressurized air. A constant-run, or continuous use compressor will run constantly. For this type of compressor you can utilize a smaller tank as long as the pump and motor can keep up. For intermittent use, you can save money by choosing an air compressor with a smaller pump/motor and a larger tank.

If your primary usage is in short quick concentrated bursts, then a tank size of up to 6 gallons can be used. Go with a bigger tank in the range of 7-30 gallons if you are concerned about the motor starting and stopping too often, or if you need a constant flow of air in longer intervals. For tools that use a large amount of constant air flow like sanders, then a 30-60 gallon or larger tank is advised.

One factor that is not as important is horsepower. A motor or engine has to be combined with the compressor pump that it runs to produce the air needed. The bigger the horsepower does not necessarily mean more air. Horsepower does not make you work more efficiently, but horsepower working in unison with a quality pump that produces enough CFM for your needs.

The power source of the compressor is very important to understand. If you want to run your compressor on your household circuit, you just need to check that the compressor operates on 120 volt, 15 amp circuit. Most compressors up to 30 gallons operate on your household circuit. Larger compressors need more power to operate. Generally, compressors larger than 30 gallons operate on 240 volt, single-phase power. Two-stage compressors (10 hp and larger) operate on three-phase power only. If no electrical power is available, you will need a gas-powered air compressor.

The tank design or style is also something to consider, because what you own, you must store. Hand-carry units come in a round flat ‘pancake’ design, a single ‘hot dog’ tank design, or feature twin tanks, giving the compressor a box-like shape. Portable tanks have wheels and are designed either horizontally or vertically to occupy a smaller footprint. Larger tanks are usually stationary or might be available in a portable wheelbarrow style. On tanks that you will move around consider the weight. Also remember that the material the tank is made with will affect its weight.

Another thing to think about is noise level, which is measured in decibels. Compressors in the 90 db range are really loud. Quieter compressors are around 70 decibels.

Maintenance is something else to take into account. Oil-free compressors have sealed bearings and require less maintenance than oil-lubricated compressors. Oil-free compressors usually have enough power for homeowner applications, however are louder. Most heavy-duty, professional-grade compressors are oil-lubricated and quieter, but these compressors require regular oil changes.

Air compressors are also available as single-stage or two-stage models. Single-stage models are the most common for home usage. Two-stage compressors are usually found on commercial heavy-duty compressors, but are good choices for continuous-use applications.

 

Here we provide a handy table with the specs of all the compressors we have reviewed on this site. You can now easily compare air compressors of similar styles to see which one is better suited for your task. We also show our overall air compressor ratings so you can compare those as well.

Note: Click on the Model to see a review or click on the estimated price to see the actual current price.

Hand-Carry Portable Air Compressors

Overall Rating Brand Model
Style
Power Supply / Amps Weight
HxWxD
HP Max PSI CFM @ 90 PSI Tank Capacity Noise Oil-Free Warranty Estimated Price
9.4 Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 15 77 lbs
19″x19″x19″
2 135 4.3 4 gal 74 db No 1 Year  $ 266.00
9.3 Makita MAC2400
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 12.3 77 lbs
18″x18.75″x19.325″
2.5 130 4.2 4.2 gal 79 db No 1 Year  $ 286.50
9.3 Porter Cable C2002-WK
Hand-Carry Pancake
120V / 10 34 lbs
19″x18″x19.25″
0.8 150 2.6 6 gal 82 db yes 3 Years  $ 179.99
9.3 GMC 4610A
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 7.6 44 lbs
20″x17″x”
1 116 2.35 4.6 gal 60 db yes 1 Year  $ 259.99
9.2 Senco PC1131
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 14 60 lbs
16.5″x20″x”
2 125 3.8 4.3 gal 69 db No 1 Year  $ 211.11
9.1 DeWalt D55151
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 14 53.3 lbs
16.75″x15″x18.5″
2.5 125 3.2 4 gal 80 db No 1 Year  $ 228.99
8.9 Makita AC310H
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 13 79.4 lbs
14.75″x20″x18.75″
2.5 400 3.6 1.6 gal 80 db Yes 1 Year  $ 799.99
8.8 Makita MAC700
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 12.4 52 lbs
22″x10″x18″
2 130 3.3 2.6 gal 80 db No 1 Year  $ 189.49
8.6 Senco PC1130
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 13 39 lbs
18.5″x20.5″x8″
1 125 2.5 2.5 gal 69 db no 1 Year  $ 139.95
8.2 Bostitch CAP1512-OF
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 12 23.5 lbs
?”x?”x?”
1.5 150 2.8 1.2 gal 72? db yes 1 Year  $ 139.99
7.9 Hitachi EC12
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 14.5 67.2 lbs
20.9″x16.5″x16.3″
2 125 4 4 gal 75 db No 1 Year  $ 202.25
7.8 Bosch CET3-10
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 12 57.3 lbs
16.25″x17″x16″
1 115 2.6 3 gal 72 db No 2 Years  $ 292.89
7.5 DeWalt D55141
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 8 30 lbs
10.5″x19″x21.25″
0.5 150 2 2 gal 79 db Yes 1 Year  $ 198.98
7.4 Thomas T-635HD
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 6 26 lbs
16.5″x16.8″x8″
0.75 125 1.7 2 gal 69 db yes 1 Year  $ 355.60
6.8 Senco PC1010
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 4 20 lbs
10.3″x12.5″x14″
0.6 125 0.6 1 gal 69 db yes 1 Year  $ 115.99
6.5 DeWalt D55140
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 2.6 24 lbs
9″x14.5″x19″
0.3 135 0.75 1 gal 69 db Yes 1 Year  $ 127.00
6.2 Campbell Hausfeld FP209499
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 2 19.6 lbs
15.74″x7.87″x19.58″
0.5 100 0.39 3 gal 90 db Yes 1 Year  $ 69.00
5.8 Campbell Hausfeld FP2048
Hand-Carry Hot Dog
120V / 2 18 lbs
17″x10″x18″
0.3 100 0.8 2 gal 90 db Yes 1 Year  $ 99.64
5.7 Campbell Hausfeld FP2028
Hand-Carry Pancake
120V / 2 12.7 lbs
12.7″x11.8″x11.8″
1 100 0.39 1 gal 90 db Yes 1 Year  $ 55.88
5.3 Campbell Hausfeld FP209599AV
Hand-Carry Twin-Stack
120V / 2 38 lbs
15.75″x15.38″x17.13″
1 100 0.8 2 gal 90 db Yes 1 Year  $ 106.00

 

Wheeled Portable Air Compressors

Overall Rating Brand Model
Style
Power Supply / Amps Weight
HxWxD
HP Max PSI CFM @ 90 PSI Tank Capacity Noise Oil-Free Warranty Estimated Price
9.3 Porter Cable C6110
Vertical Portable
120V / 15 124 lbs
50″x23″x22″
1.7 150 5.3 25 gal 86 db yes 3 Years  $ 392.99
8.8 Makita MAC5200
Wheeled Portable
120V / 13.8 88 lbs
19.5″x19″x29″
3 140 6.5 5.2 gal 90 db No 1 Year  $ 340.50
8.6 DeWalt D55168
Vertical Portable
120V / 15 92 lbs
44.75″x22″x24.5″
1.6 200 5 15 gal 78 db Yes 1 Year  $ 389.99
8.6 DeWalt D55167
Horizontal Portable
120V / 15 89 lbs
30″x16.5″x39.63″
1.6 200 4.8 15 gal 78 db Yes 1 Year  $ 369.99
8.4 DeWalt D55146
Wheeled Portable
120V / 15 83 lbs
17″x24.5″x33.75″
1.8 200 5.2 4.5 gal 78 db Yes 1 Year  $ 349.00
8.3 GMC 6310
Horizontal Portable
120V / 7.6 50 lbs
24″x13.4″x”
1 115 2.35 6.3 gal 60 db yes 1 Year  $ 239.99
8.1 Campbell Hausfeld VT6271
Horizontal Portable
240V / 15 182 lbs
31″x21″x46″
3 135 10.2 26 gal 85? db No 3 Years  $ 599.99
7.9 Bosch CET4-20W
Wheeled Portable
120V / 15 84.9 lbs
19.75″x21.5″x22″
2 125 4.9 4 gal 80 db No 2 Years  $ 399.99
7.6 Pro Force VPF1580719
Horizontal Portable
120V / 15? 72 lbs
24.25″x28.75″x11.25″
1.5 125 3.5 7 gal 85? db yes 1 Year  $ 258.59
7.0 DeWalt D55154
Wheeled Portable
120V / 15 87 lbs
23″x18.5″x22″
1.1 125 4 4 gal 80 db No 1 Year  $ 376.99
 

We give the Porter Cable C1010 Trim Air Compressor a 7.0 overall rating. The main thing that lowers this rating is the reduced capabilities that the minimal airflow this compressor provides. With only .75 CFM @ 90 PSI, this model is limited in what it can do. It will handle a staple gun or nailer for finishing purposes, but not really anything else. However, it was designed only to be a trim compressor used on job sites, and it does excel at doing that.

It is very lightweight and portable at just 23 pounds. It is super compact at just 9″ tall which makes it easy to transport and store. With its 1 gallon tank and 135 max PSI it recovers in just 20 seconds. The C1010 is also pretty quiet at just 71 decibels. The metal control panel and full-protection roll frame make this air compressor ideal for a job site as it prevents general wear and tear on the machine.

At a cost of around $99, this unit is good value if used for the right purpose.

Find the Lowest Price on the Porter Cable C1010 Air Compressor!

Specs
Overall Rating 7.0
Brand Porter Cable
Model C1010
Style Hand-Carry Hot Dog
Power Supply 120V
Amps 2.6
Weight 23 lbs
Height 9″
Width 24″
Depth 19″
Running Horsepower 0.3
Max PSI 135
CFM @ 90 PSI 0.75
CFM @ 40 PSI
Tank Capacity 1 Gallons
Noise 71 db
Oil-Free Yes
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 1
Warranty 1 Year
Price Check Price

 

 

Bosch CET4-20W Air CompressorThe Bosch CET4-20W Air Compressor scores a 7.9 overall rating on our scale. Amazon users give it 4.3 out of 5 stars.

With an airflow of 4.9 CFM @ 90 PSI and a max PSI of 125, this Bosch compressor provides enough performance to handle medium sized tasks well. It is built for the job site and it is specifically designed to eliminate common air-compressor complaints and to provide ease of use. It features a super quick recovery time of just 10 seconds. It also has vertically angled tanks which allow for easy draining and provide balance when the compressor is moved.

At almost $400 this model is not cheap, but it is a solid choice for an air compressor that will primarily be used on a job site. For home use, there are much better suited units that are cheaper.

Find the Lowest Price on the Bosch CET4-20W Air Compressor!

Specs
Overall Rating 7.9
Brand Bosch
Model CET4-20W
Style Wheeled Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 15
Weight 84.9 lbs
Height 19.75″
Width 21.5″
Depth 22″
Running Horsepower 2
Max PSI 125
CFM @ 90 PSI 4.9
CFM @ 40 PSI 0
Tank Capacity 4 Gallons
Noise 80 db
Oil-Free No
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 2
Warranty 2 Years
Price Check Price

 

The DeWalt D55168 air compressor is an excellent choice for a vertical portable workshop compressor which is why we gave it an 8.6 overall rating. With an airflow of 5.0 CFM @ 90 PSI, a max PSI of 200, and a 15 gallon tank it allows you to handle almost any task you can ask of it including filling up tires, blowing off parts, or running an impact wrench. About the only thing that this compressor struggles with is handling air tools like a die grinder, air sander or rotary grinder that require a very large volume of air.

The D55168′s vertical design means that its footprint is kept small while not sacrificing performance. At 92 pounds it is still pretty heavy and can be a little awkward to wheel around. It is a little bit more quiet than most other compressors at 78 decibels, but make no mistake it is still loud.

We would recommend this air compressor.

Find the Lowest Price on the DeWalt D55168 Air Compressor!

Specs
Overall Rating 8.6
Brand DeWalt
Model D55168
Style Vertical Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 15
Weight 92 lbs
Height 44.75″
Width 22″
Depth 24.5″
Running Horsepower 1.6
Max PSI 200
CFM @ 90 PSI 5.0
CFM @ 40 PSI ?
Tank Capacity 15 Gallons
Noise 78 db
Oil-Free Yes
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 1
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price

 

We really like the DeWalt D55146 Air Compressor which is why we give it an 8.4 overall rating. With an airflow of 5.2 CFM @ 90 PSI, a tank capacity of 4.5 gallons, and a max PSI of 200 this unit performs at a very high level. It can handle 2 framing nailers with ease. This compressor will charge up to 200 PSI, then after use when it reaches 160 PSI the motor will kick on and cycle it back up to 200 PSI. That means that your high rated framing nailers will always work without the risk of not putting the nail completely into the wood.

It is relatively expensive at around $300-$350, but this model is worth it. The only real complaint from users seems to be the drain design. You need to drain the tank to get the water out to prevent premature tank failure, and the drain just doesn’t quite work without propping the compressor at just the right angle to get all the moisture out.

We like this DeWalt model a lot better than the similar DeWalt D55154 and recommend it.

Find the Lowest Price on the DeWalt D55146 Air Compressor!

Specs
Overall Rating 8.4
Brand DeWalt
Model D55146
Style Wheeled Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 15
Weight 83 lbs
Height 17″
Width 24.5″
Depth 33.75″
Running Horsepower 1.8
Max PSI 200
CFM @ 90 PSI 5.2
CFM @ 40 PSI 0
Tank Capacity 4.5 Gallons
Noise 78 db
Oil-Free Yes
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 2
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price

 

 

The DeWalt D55154 is a solid wheeled dolly-style air compressor that we give an overall rating of 7.0. Its best used as a framing / finishing compressor. It has an airflow of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI and a 4 gallon capacity tank. Although its max PSI is not very high at just 125 PSI, which limits some nailers.

The D55154 is also built for the job site. It has 2 couplers so you can run two nailing guns at the same time. It also features a unique wheeled dolly-style and a sturdy cast-iron construction, complete with a roll-cage frame that protects the pump and motor from being damaged on the job. It also comes with a top-load panel with positioning holes which allows you to load up to 100 pounds on to the deck of this model for transport. The motor is oil lubricated to improve durability as well.

At around $330, this air compressor is more expensive than similar wheeled portable models and the performance doesn’t quite match up to those other models of comparable expense.

We would recommend this compressor for use on a job site where your tools require a max PSI lower than 105.

Find the Lowest Price on the DeWalt D55154 Air Compressor!

 

Specs
Overall Rating 7.0
Brand DeWalt
Model D55154
Style Wheeled Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 15
Weight 87 lbs
Height 23″
Width 18.5″
Depth 22″
Running Horsepower 1.1
Max PSI 125
CFM @ 90 PSI 4
CFM @ 40 PSI 0
Tank Capacity 4 Gallons
Noise 80 db
Oil-Free No
Compressor Operation Continuous
Drive Direct
Couplers 2
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price

 

 

Makita MAC5200 Air CompressorThis air compressor is a top-notch performer and thus scores an 8.8 overall rating.  Users on Amazon rate it at a 4.1 out of 5 stars. Of the negative reviews, nearly 90% were from purchases made before 2007. Since then Makita has improved the quality of this model, especially the wheels which were a major complaint.

Overall it has excellent performance. It features 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI with a 5.2 gallon tank. These attributes allow it to handle all but the most demanding tasks which require very high air flow.  It is built for quick recovery time which means the tank fills quickly. This compressor is also one of the few portable versions that is oil lubricated – which reduces wear and increases pump life.

This compressor has several nice features you don’t often find on other compressors. It has a built-in thermal overload for additional motor protection. It also comes with a built in storage compartment to store air fittings and accessories. The handle folds down to make a low profile and easy storage. The handle also has hooks built in that allow you to wrap 50 feet of air hose around them.

One problem for this Makita model is the noise. It is rated at 90 decibels which is louder than the average compressor. Despite being listed as a portable and coming with wheels, at 88 pounds it can still be difficult to move around. It is also pretty expensive at around $380.

We highly recommend this model.

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Specs
Overall Rating 8.8
Brand Makita
Model MAC5200
Style Wheeled Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 13.8
Weight 88 lbs
Height 19.5″
Width 19″
Depth 29″
Running Horsepower 3
Max PSI 140
CFM @ 90 PSI 6.5
CFM @ 40 PSI 6.9
Tank Capacity 5.2 Gallons
Noise 90 db
Oil-Free No
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 2
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price

 

Makita MAC5200 Air Compressor - Right Out of the Box

Makita MAC5200 Air Compressor - Right Out of the Box

 

Campbell Hausfeld VT6271The Campbell Hausfeld VT6271 air compressor will handle almost any task you need done with air tools because of its airflow of 10.2 cfm @ 90 PSI and 26 gallon tank. That performance comes at a price as this unit is very heavy at 182 pounds. The belt pump is built for heavy use and the unit is rated for 5000 hours of life. Campbell Hausfeld air compressors are made in America and come with a 3 year warranty. Users also need to be aware that this unit runs on 240V power so you will need a circuit wired for that.

Customer ratings for the VT6271 are all over the place, although very few complaints are in regards to its actual performance. Most complaints are about damaged parts done during shipping.

Taking everything into consideration we give the Campbell Hausfeld VT6271 air compressor an 8.1 overall rating. We would recommend this compressor if you have very high airflow needs like a sander/grinder or cut-off tool, just be aware that there is a chance of damage during shipping.

Find the lowest price on the Campbell Hausfeld VT6271!

Specs
Overall Rating 8.1
Brand Campbell Hausfeld
Model VT6271
Style Horizontal Portable
Power Supply 240V
Amps 15
Weight 182 lbs
Height 31″
Width 21″
Depth 46″
Running Horsepower 3
Max PSI 135
CFM @ 90 PSI 10.2
CFM @ 40 PSI 11.8
Tank Capacity 26 Gallons
Noise ? db
Oil-Free No
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Belt Drive
Couplers 1
Warranty 3 Years
Price Check Price
 

Pro Force VPF1580719We score the Pro Force CPF1580719 air compressor with a 7.6 overall rating. At just 72 pounds, and with its small foot print this unit is small and easily maneuverable. It has a shroud around the working parts to keep them protected from the elements. This compressor works well in cold weather as it is designed to be easily started in the cold. It requires little to no maintenance and plugs into a standard outlet.

However, the performance of the CPF1580719 is only average. With 3.5 CFM @ 90 PSI you won’t be able to use any high end air tools, but it will handle a nail gun with no problem. This air compressor is also very loud at about 85 decibels.

Find the lowest price on the Pro Foce VPF1580719 air compressor!

 

Specs
Overall Rating 7.6
Brand Pro Force
Model VPF1580719
Style Horizontal Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 15
Weight 72 lbs
Height 24.25″
Width 28.75″
Depth 11.25″
Running Horsepower 1.5
Max PSI 125
CFM @ 90 PSI 3.5
CFM @ 40 PSI 4.8
Tank Capacity 7 Gallons
Noise 85? db
Oil-Free yes
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 1
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price
 

GMC 6310 Air CompressorWe give the GMC 6310 air compressor an 8.6 overall rating. It is smaller than other compressors in the portable horizontal category and its performance reflects that. It only has a 6.3 gallon tank with 2.35 CFM of airflow at 90 PSI. If you plan on using any high end air tools, then this is probably not the compressor for you.

The biggest positive is that once again this is another GMC air compressor that is the quietest in its class. At only 60 decibels this compressor barely makes hum. So if you are just using this compressor for light duty jobs like using a framing nailer, blowing up tires, etc. then it will certainly do the job, all while you can easily talk over it.

Find the lowest price on the GMC 6310 air compressor!

Specs
Overall Rating 8.3
Brand GMC
Model 6310
Style Horizontal Portable
Power Supply 120V
Amps 7.6
Weight 50 lbs
Height 24″
Width 13.4″
Depth
Running Horsepower 1
Max PSI 115
CFM @ 90 PSI 2.35
CFM @ 40 PSI 3.8
Tank Capacity 6.3 Gallons
Noise 60 db
Oil-Free yes
Compressor Operation Auto Start/Stop
Drive Direct
Couplers 1
Warranty 1 Years
Price Check Price
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