There were hundreds of compressors out there withing the 100 to 200 dollar price range and sifting through them took quite a bit of time. I wanted to gather some of the best air compressors under $200 and put them in a smaller more thorough list and so I did!
In this particular price range, I found more portable models, for the most part and they are designed for lighter dutied tasks but good finds. There were some models that really shined compared to all of the other ones and the features and specs were just part of the decision making process. Price and ratings also contributed to my decision. Here's what I found...
The PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor combines performance and portability in an easy to use tool for just about any task. At a total weight of 30 pounds, it may come as a surprise that its tank has a 6-gallon capacity.
Compared to other portable models, this one offers superior performance due to its higher capacity. The maximum pressure accommodated is 150 PSI which means that its tank can contain more air, thus allowing you to run it for longer times, depending on the task at hand.
The model comes with an oil-free pump, which means that no extra maintenance is required. Even more, this feature contributes to extended durability because people oftentimes forget about routine maintenance.
Moving on to the overall design, the pancake construction offers extra stability. The rubber feet prevent any slipping and minimize vibrations and movement. At a closer look, you will notice that the air coupler and the plug are pre-installed, so you don’t have to fiddle with those. Therefore, there are no worries regarding possible leaks. The components are protected by a sturdy cover, designed in such a manner that it is easy for you to move the compressor around. Featuring fast recovery time, due to its 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI output, this model is convenient for intermittent use. A good fit for use in cold weather, the PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK offers plenty of versatility for a unit this small. A built-in air regulator makes sure that no sudden pressure drops occur, therefore protecting your work.
Another point of interest on this compressor is the available accessory kit that contains 13 different pieces. The 25-foot hose made from nylon is resistant and offers the possibility to move around without moving the compressor all the time. The rest of the accessories, such as the blow gun along with its attachments, various plugs, Teflon tape and a tire chuck, also come in handy and eliminates having to buy them after you buy a compressor, so a nice touch.
The California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet Air Compressor is a good fit for anyone looking for a tool that is reasonably quiet and will do for more general types of tasks.
Producing only 60 decibels of sound output, it is considered quieter than most models. The motor turns at around 1680 RPMs, which adds to the quieter functionality. The oil-free pump is another great plus of this model; no extra maintenance is required; therefore this air compressor will cut down operation costs.
Sporting 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI, it guarantees decent recovery times. While you may need a more potent tool for heavy-duty tasks, this one gets the job done for smaller applications. Two pressure gauges can be found on this model, tank pressure and regulated pressure.
The maximum pressure this model is capable of is 120 PSI, which allows for more air to be stored inside its 5.5-gallon tank. It takes only two minutes to fill the entire tank and its recovery time is just 40 seconds when the pressure is increased from 90 to 120 PSI. The tank is made from stainless steel, so it is more resistant to rust and corrosion than steel tanks. Weighing 46 pounds, it is not the most lightweight air compressor out there, but the wheel kit it comes equipped with makes it easier to transport, compensating for this. The built-in handle contributes to its overall portability and makes it easier to lift.
The thermal overload protection it comes equipped with prolongs its durability. An air filter is included and because it is significantly quieter than other air compressors on the market, this one is a good choice when used inside.
The DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor packs a dependable 6-gallon capacity in its relatively small tank. Portable due to its small footprint and low weight – at 30 pounds – it counts as a tool to use for light to medium tasks.
The maximum air pressure contained is 165 PSI and its 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI capacity, it makes for fast recovery times. Short bursts of use with hand tools are possible, as a result. Standard nailers and airbrushing tools are not a problem, but anything at an industrial level really should be considered too much.
Starting up the motor in cold weather is possible, and the model allows the addition of extension cords, for convenient usage. The noise level sits at 75.5 decibels, which means that the DEWALT DWFP55126 is about average when compared to other air compressors.
The 165 PSI capacity creates new possibilities for users. Larger truck tires can be inflated and less run time is a great benefit to the maximum psi capacity. The pancake style design ensures stability, and the rubber legs prevent slippage, damage to floors and helps to reduce the amount of vibrations it puts off. The cord wrap is handy for reducing mess and staying organized. It must be noted that at 23 by 34 inches, it has a reasonably small footprint, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
This model is not the best fit for continuous operation, but it offers decent run times, regardless. It is recommended to allow at least 10 minutes of cool down for each hour of continuous work, so keep that in mind. Due to its oil-free pump, there is zero maintenance cost involved, which also means less time maintaining the unit itself.
The Hitachi KNT50AB kit contains an 18-gauge nailer, a pancake style air compressor, an air hose, as well as other accessories for small applications and tasks. It is also offered with just the compressor and comes with other accessories in different "kits".
The gun that comes with this kit has a narrow nose for tight spaces and it works with 5/8-inch to 2-inch brad nails. The short height helps with maneuverability, as well. Adjusting drive depth is possible, and you can switch from bump to sequential mode quite quickly. An extra nose for quick removal of jammed nails is also provided.
The pancake style compressor can be used with more than one nailer at the same time. The 6-gallon tank admitting a maximum of 150 PSI is capable of dealing with small to medium size tasks, and it is very reliable. The great news is that the compressor can be used in cold weather, with fast start-up, due to the 1 HP motor. The maximum noise level produced is 73 decibels, so the compressor is about the same in comparison to its competitors. The rubber pads on the feet protect any surface you may place the compressor on and a built-in steel cage protects all the vital components against wear and tear. The cage comes with a rubber grip that is ergonomic and makes transportation easy. The oil-free pump keeps maintenance costs to a minimum and reduces potential messes during operation.
A 25-foot air hose is included in this combo kit. Durable and designed for heavy-duty bends due to its spiraled construction, this air hose is lighter than any similar rubber hose. The particular design and construction allow it to remain flexible at down to -40F temperatures. A pair of safety goggles and lubricant for pneumatic tools are also included.
Producing only 60 dB sound output, the California Air Tools 2010A is a quiet air compressor, compared to most similar models. The 2-gallon tank is suitable for small tasks and it is made from aluminum, thus resistant to rust and corrosion in the long run.
The highly efficient 1 HP motor delivers enough power for short durations when required.
The oil-free pump it comes along with it has zero maintenance costs, as all oil free pumps do and will save money and time.
While most air compressors in the same capacity range can be used for maximum 500 hours without breaking, this one is guaranteed to last for at least 3,000 hours of use. Its extended lifespan has to do with the 1680 RPM motor, enough for completing small tasks, but not too extreme to put a strain on the components. The overall motor design and its components are meant to increase run time and duty cycle.
The dual piston pump is not only maintenance-free, it also helps with running the air compressor at lower temperatures and on uneven surfaces. The aluminum tank is beneficial not only because the material is resistant to rust, but the overall weight of the air compressor is kept to a minimum and makes it more portable. The 120 PSI maximum air pressure is a good fit for smaller tasks. Refill time is a decent 50 seconds and recovery time from 90 to 120 PSI is just 14 seconds. It should be noted that the model comes equipped with a special air filter for improved air quality.