Best Air Compressors 2018 Review

Best Air Compressors 2018 Review

In this review we look at the top 5 air compressors for sale in 2018, including a range of accessories.

What are the Best 5 Air Compressors?

Welcome to our review of the best air compressors in the UK. In this review we will be looking at a broad range of air compressors, something for every occasion and budget. We understand that whilst some of our readers may want to refinish cars in paint with their air compressor, or use them for air powered power tools. Others may simply want something in their home garage for the occasional inflating of a tyre and air cleaning, etc. We are also conscious that price is a big factor with air compressors, the ones have on review range from around £50 to £300, so there really is something for everyone.

Air compressors can be used for a multitude of tasks using various tools including; air impact wrenches, air chisels,  air hammers, regulated tyre inflators, air sanders, air saws, air drills, air nibblers, plus many more. They are also great for high powered cleaning as can blast dirt from the smallest of crevice. If the flow rate and power is sufficient of your air compressor they can also be used for car body refinishing.

In this review we have on test models from Wolf, Orazio, Draper, Cobra and GMC. Some of the models on test are silent and noise free, some have larger tanks than others and all are suitable for use with a domestic 240V power supply, which is great for the DIY enthusiast as well as tradesman. One thing we would advise is that you use a mains outlet directly for your compressor and don't run them through an extension lead as you may encounter issues with power delivery or the device itself.

We have focussed on what are known as portable air compressors in this review. Whilst they don't seem very portable with some weighing in at just under 40KG by comparison to some units used by commercial garages these are definitely portable models. If you are looking for an ultra portable unit, the Cobra weighs in at just 13kg and is the ideal option.

September 2018 this article has been updated to include a range of mobile air compressors, ideal for inflating tyres on the move. This is at the bottom of this review.

Our top pick - GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor
GMC GAC1599 Air Compressor

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

The GMC GAC1500 air compressor is our top pick in this review for being a general all rounder with a great price point. It isn't at the budget end of the models, nor the premium end, it sits around the middle. If you are looking for an air compressor that is plenty capable, for a very reasonable price but don't need to depend on it every day of the week this is the model for you.

It features a 2HP engine with a 50L tank. It has an overheat protection circuit on it, along with a pressure gauge to keep an eye on your pressure. It has airline quick-connectors suitable for UK and Europe. This air compressor is plenty capable of running pneumatic drills, angle grinders, nailers, sanders, impact wrenches, ratchets, sanders and much more.

  • Max pressure 8 bar/116PSI
  • Weight 30.5KG
  • 50L tank
  • 1500W

Frequently asked questions about air compressors

What is a good size air compressor to run air tools?

​To give you an idea we have listed 4 common air tools below and the recommended air pressure (PSI) for them.

Tool

Air Pressure (PSI

Jig Saw

90 PSI

Angle Grinder (7 inch disc)

90 PSI

Spray Gun (medium sized nozzle)

30-50 PSI

Impact Wrench

90 PSI

How air compressors are rated

Air compressors are typically rated in CFM (Cubic Foot per Minute), when an air compressor pumps out one CFM of air that means that it's air intake port inhaled one cubic foot of air at atmospheric pressure.

What is the use of an air compressor?​

A compressor is a device that converts power into potential energy using it's motor. This can be in the form of an electric mains powered motor just like the ones in our review or using a diesel or petrol motor. It stores the potential energy as pressurised air in it's tank.​ By using various methods the air compressor forces more and more air into the storage tank thus increasing the pressure.

What is PSI in air compressor​?

​The air pressure that the air compressor generates is measured in PSI (pounds Per Square Inch). PSI measures how much force is in a certain area and is typically an English measuring unit.

Quick Comparison of our air compressors

The table below shows the features of our favourite 5 air compressors side by side.

GMC GAC1500

Wolf Dakota

Orazio 241184

Cobra

Draper 24980

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor
GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor
Wolf Dakota Air Compressor
Wolf Dakota Air Compressore
Orazio 241184 Air Compressor
Orazio 241184 Air Compressor
Cobra Air Compressor
Cobra Air Compressor
Draper 24980 Air Compressor
Draper 24980 Air Compressor

HP

2HP

3HP

2HP

2HP

2HP

PSI

116 PSI

150 PSI

116 PSI

115 PSI

116 PSI

Weight

30.5KG

81KG

18KG

13KG

26KG

Tank

50L

150L

24L

10L

24L

Best Premium Air Compressor - Wolf Dakota Air Compressor Review

Wolf Dakota Air Compressor
Wolf Dakota Air Compressor

Wolf Dakota 150L Air Compressor

The Wolf Dakota is the premium air compressor on our list, it features more power, a higher PSI in air delivery and the largest tank of all the air compressors on review in our article. All of this does however come at a price.

If you are looking for something you can use day in day out for your business or as a DIY enthusiast then the Wolf Dakota is the model for you, it is worth the extra spend. However, if like most you are using it for the occasional air tool use, a bit of body spraying and tyre inflation then some of the other tools we have on review may be more suitable.

  • 150L tank
  • 3 Horse Power
  • 10 Bar/150 PSI
  • Twin Cylinder

Overall Product Description

The Wolf Dakota is an incredible air compressor, featuring a twin cylinder 3HP engine, outputting 150 PSI of pressure with a large capacity 150 litre tank. You could spend a hell of a lot more than the price point of this product and get something much more powerful, but unless you were running a garage or bodyshop running several hoses off your compressor we wouldn't recommend it. 

This is a compressor that would be best positioned in your home garage with a long air hose, it weighs in at around 80Kg and isn't something you want to be dragging around all the time.

This compressor caters for all DIY tasks and many trade tasks to. It would be perfect for tyre inflation, running pneumatic air tools such as drills, chisels, impact wrenches, ​etc. It has plenty of capacity to be used for car body refinishing, spraying bumpers and body panels. Whilst this doesn't make our top pick due to it being a little overkill in terms of capacity and its price being significantly higher than the other air compressors we have on review, it is an amazing bit of kit and gets 5 stars from us.

Orazio 241184 Air Compressor

Orazi 241184 Air Compressor
Orazi 241184 Air Compressor

Orazio 241184

The orazio 241184 air compressor is towards the budget end of the air compressors we have on review. It does have a slightly smaller tank than some of the air compressors we are reviewing, however it's power delivery is well up there with the rest.

The negative to the smaller tank size is that tools that require a long lasting feed of compressed air, such as spraying tasks or impact wrenches tend to suffer. Whilst this tool is ideal for tyre inflation, high pressure cleaning and running some basic air tools, please be mindful of it's limitations.

  • 24 Litre tank
  • 2 Horse Power
  • 116 PSI
  • 18KG

Overall Product Description

The Orazio 241184 whilst limited in some of the air tools it can provide power to is non the less a great air compressor. It is one of the lightest air compressors we have on test which makes it very portable and a much better choice for someone who would like to carry it in their van or car for small jobs.

Another great advantage of the Orazio is what the manufacture describes as a low noise silent feature. Whilst there is definitely still noise coming from the compressor it is a very quiet unit when it is running. This would be an advantage to someone who is using it in the home or for example in a home shed or garage late or night.​

Best DIY Enthusiast Model - Draper 24980 Air Compressor Review

Draper 24980 Air Compressor
Draper 24980 Air Compressor

Draper 24980 Air Compressor

The Draper 24980 is a very capable little unit, sitting at the mid price range of our reviewed products, delivering 116 PSI from a 24 litre tank.

This unit is a little noisy for the size of it, however it get the tank up to pressure at a very quick rate and is ready for work. It's delivery of 116 PSI from it's 2HP motor is fantastic and a great edition to your tool collection.

  • 116 PSI
  • 2 Horse power
  • 26KG
  • 24 Litre tank

Overall Product Description

The Draper 24980 is our favourite air compressor for the home user DIY enthusiast. It is limited by it's 24 litre tank and so may not be the best as a body panel refinisher, but apart from that what it delivers it delivers well. We like the speed the tank gets up to pressure, especially for the DIY enthusiast as you are likely to need to get the tool powered on, get the job done and switch it off again.

The unit also features a thermal overload protection, which stops you burning the motor out on your compressor from either over use or trying to use it for a task a little too taxing for the air compressor.​

Best Budget Choice - Cobra Air Compressor Review

Cobra Air Compressor
Cobra Air Compressor

Cobra Air Tools

The Cobra air compressor falls into our budget category and whilst it's power output and tank capacity are the lowest in our review, it is not to be sniffed at.

The cobra comes in significantly cheaper than all of the rest and is a great addition to your shed or garage for occasional use or a one off project. It's powerful motor ensures that the tank is at capacity in next to no time and ready for work.

  • 2 Horse power
  • 115 PSI
  • 10 Litre tank
  • 13KG

Overall Product Description

This amazing little unit from Cobra is the lightest unit we have on test. Whilst you can't respray your car with it, nor can you fit a new set of wheels to your car. You can complete many hobbyist tasks with ease, speed and without breaking the bank. One of the negatives we found with this unit is the relatively short power cord. Whilst we don't recommend you use an extension cable with air compressors with this unit you shouldn't notice too much of an issue due to it's relatively low power initially.

This unit also comes with twin air outlets, the only unit in our review to feature this. Whilst this would be of more use on one of the higher powered units we have reviewed such as the Wolf Dakota it is non the less a great addition and could be used for inflating tyres through two hoses, etc.​

Conclusion

Overall conclusion

Air compressors are complicated items, you need to understand the power of the unit in horse power, how much power the unit can output in PSI, is the tank capacity big enough for the required task, will the air compressor you select work for the air tools or tasks you require?

In our review we have itemised which air compressors are best for car body refinishing, using with air chisels, air drills, impact wrench's, which are best for inflating tyres, etc. We have also looked at the most suitable air compressors if you are on a budget, if you simply want our premium pick, if you are a DIY enthusiast, we have selected something for everyone. Below we summarise which fits into each category and why.

Our best pick air compressor​

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor
GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

Our best pick air compressor of 2018 is undoubtedly the GMC GAC1500, with its 50 litre tank, 116PSI output pressure and reasonable price it deserves the title. This unit is also plenty capable of running a whole range of pneumatic air tools such as an impact wrench, air drill, air chisel etc. Our best pick!

Best DIY enthusiast air compressor​

Draper 24980 Air Compressor
Draper 24980 Air Compressor

Our best DIY enthusiast model goes to the Draper 24980. The tank on this model is only 24 litres and so it doesn't quite have the power to run some of the more demanding air tools such as impact wrenches. However for the home DIY enthusiast this tool is a fantastic choice with a great price point.

Best Premium air compressor​

The best premium air compressor in our review was the Wolf Dakota. This air compressor has a lot of punch from it's 3 horse power motor, producing 150 PSI of output power! It also has a 150 litre tank and so has enough stored energy to drive the most demanding of tools. From air nibblers to impact wrenches, this model could even respray your body panels. If budget isn't a concern this is the model to opt for.

Best budget air compressor​

Cobra Air Compressor
Cobra Air Compressor

At Tools Review UK we understand that some time the tool you are investing in isn't something you use often and you may just need to purchase something to get a job done or a simple project. There is no need to break the bank for a task like this and so our budget choice of the Cobra air compressor is just the ticket for the job.

Using an Air Compressor for cleaning? Have you also considered our Pressure Washer Review?

Our top pick of the best GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor
GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

GMC GAC1500 Air Compressor

The GMC GAC1500 air compressor is our top pick in this review for being a general all rounder with a great price point. It isn't at the budget end of the models, nor the premium end, it sits around the middle. If you are looking for an air compressor that is plenty capable, for a very reasonable price but don't need to depend on it every day of the week this is the model for you.

It features a 2HP engine with a 50L tank. It has an overheat protection circuit on it, along with a pressure gauge to keep an eye on your pressure. It has airline quick-connectors suitable for UK and Europe. This air compressor is plenty capable of running pneumatic drills, angle grinders, nailers, sanders, impact wrenches, ratchets, sanders and much more.

  • Max pressure 8 Bar/116 PSI
  • Weight 30.5KG
  • 50 Litre tank
  • 1500W

Mobile Air Compressors

The main focus of this article has been around portable air compressors. Whilst not static like a large garage may use, they certainly aren't what the average Joe would consider portable. You wouldn't want to be carrying one around in the boot of your car that is for sure.

We have had messages asking for us to review mobile air compressors or truly portable air compressors. One's that get you out of a sticky situation at the side of the road. For this we have considered battery powered air compressors along with ones powered by the 12v supply from your car. 

Take a look at our review below to see some of our best picks.

Our top pick of the best Tacklife ACP1C Digital Tyre Inflator

Tacklife ACP1C Digital Tyre Inflator

As far as mobile air compressors and digital tyre inflators go this is an incredible bit of kit! A lot of modern cars don't come with a spare wheel, some still come with space saver wheels, but most come with some gel and a digital tyre inflator. They take forever to inflate a tyre, your'e not sure if you are at the correct pressure, what if you put too much in, etc.

With this model from Tacklife you can be sure that the tyre will be back to life in no time, it will auto cut off when it gets to the desired pressure and it also gives you a digital read-out of what is going on.

The device is powered from a 12v socket in the car, is very compact and looks the part too. I would happily swap out the manufacturers tyre inflator with this model in a heart beat!

  • 40L/Min air flow
  • Less than 40Db
  • Runs from your cars 12v supply
  • 3M cable length

Best Battery Powered Air Compressor - Oasser Tyre Inflator

Oasser Tyre Inflator

Sometimes when you are on the move 12v power isn't ideal. Maybe a trailing cable is an issue. This battery powered unit fro Oasser is the ideal solution. 

It is also a great bit of kit to have in your garage or shed charged just incase. It is recommended that the battery is charged fully before an initial use, but once it has been charged you are away.

It comes with a digital readout allowing you to set the correct pressure before inflation and comes with a handy storage pouch to keep everything together.

  • Up to 130PSI
  • 23L/Min
  • PSI、BAR、and Kg/cm² readouts
  • 2 Year Warranty

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