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Air compressors are now common in every home garage as a majority of the population owns a vehicle. But apart from filling the air in flat tires, there are versatile uses of an air compressor.

And needless to say, the rising demand for air compressors was a perfect opportunity for con companies to make poor-quality tools and sell them at cheap prices.

Best Air Compressors Under $500

We’re not saying all cheap air compressors in the market are worthless. It’s just, that you need to take extra care when buying a new air compressor under budget. So after a thorough analysis, we’ve complied down the 10 best air compressors under $500.

Apart from price, there are a lot of other factors to consider before buying a budget air compressor for its best and long-lasting performance. We’ll take you the air compressor buying guide at the end of the reviews so you can pick the best pneumatic air compressor for under 500 dollars easily.

1) California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Powerful Air Compressor

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor, 2 HP

Is your old tool operating at a noise loud enough to wake your neighbors? Then even you probably hate turning it on. And now it’s time to upgrade to a quiet air compressor by California Air Tools 10020C. The look and construct of the vertical tool provide an industry-grade feel. Also, the large 10-gallon tank is made of heavy-duty steel that is made to last for years of use.

Quiet operation is the best part about this California Air Tools 10020C. Thanks to its oil-free pump and powerful motor that operates at 1700 RPM. This slow spin of the motor generates noise at equal to or less than 70 decibels. Thus, it is marginally loud than a normal conversation and quieter than city traffic.

An oil-free pump allows for use in a variety of temperatures. Whether it is snowing outside or just another sunny day, this vertical air compressor will operate smoothly without giving you much trouble.

To further ease the user experience, the California 10-gallon air compressor features a dual-piston pump system. This system is engineered for high performance and smooth operation no matter if you’re starting the motor for the first time or 100th time. However, the dual-piston pump is designed for a lifespan until wear of 3000 hours or more. Thus, which is a far more lifespan than many other pneumatic air compressors under $500.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 6.4
  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 5.3
Our Verdict


  • Ideal for airbrushing, drilling nail frames, roof nailing, inflation, etc
  • UL listed
  • 2 pressure control gauge, plus, 2 universal 1/4-inch quick connectors
  • Thermal overload protector
  • Easy-start valve operates the motor slowly initially for the motor to spin freely later
  • 2 wheels at the bottom for easy transportation
  • Best quiet air compressor under 500 dollars for garage and industrial use


  • None with this model

Key Features:

  • 2.0 HP motor
  • 10-gallon tank
  • Oil-free lubrication
  • Dual-piston pump system
  • Weighs 82.5 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

2) Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor

Offers a boosting power of 2.5 HP, Makita Big Bore™ is a true workhorse. Designed with a cast iron pump with a big bore cylinder and piston. Together, they provide an incredible power output that supports the use of a variety of pneumatic tools. From simple blow cleaning to roof nailing, you can finish a wide variety of tasks with Makita MAC2400 by side.

Despite offering enormous power, the small footprint of Makita is what makes it popular among homeowners and contractors. The compact air compressor measures 20″L x 18″Wx 18.75″H, thus, easy to fit in small spaces. Also, there is no need to worry about extreme conditions at the job site as it is tough for materials to surpass the roll cage construction of Makita MAC2400.

Instead of oil-free, the MAC2400 small air compressor is equipped with an oil-lubricated pump. Further, the pump is equipped with a large automotive style filter that supports increased air intake for better performance. However, despite having an oil-lubrication pump, it is extremely easy to maintain the pneumatic air compressor. Thanks to oil-sight glass and lever handle ball valve tank that eases monitoring and filling of lubricant.

Featuring a small 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank, it delivers enough PSI to support the use of various tools. With peak operating pressure of 130 PSI, the tool delivers 4.8 CFM and 4.2 CFM, thus, enough to power two nailers.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 4.8
  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 4.2
Our Verdict


  • Features a large automotive style filter for generating cleaner air
  • Makita’s Big Bore™ pump runs cooler and at half RPM of most competitive units
  • The low AMP draw reduces instances of tripped breakages
  • Durable cast iron construction is all safe to use at extreme conditions at Jobsite
  • Convenient oil drain and oil sight glass
  • UL listed
  • Best portable electric air compressor for framing and roofing jobs


  • The absence of wheels impacts the tool’s portability
  • An oil-lubricated system requires proper oil levels at all times for flawless operation

Key Features:

  • 2.5 HP
  • 4.2-gallon tank size
  • Oil-lubricated motor
  • 4-pole motor
  • Big Bore™ cylinder
  • Weighs 77 lbs
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty

3) CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 20 Gallon

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 20 Gallon, 1.8 HP, Oil-Free Air Tools

If power is your priority then you need a tough product like a Craftsman air compressor. This little yet powerful compressor features a 20-gallon ultra-large tank that is perfect for home and professional use. The vertical tank delivers 175 psi max, thus, storing more air to deliver a consistent output for professional works like roof nailing, spray painting, etc.

If you look at the horsepower of Craftsman then it is definitely less than the units listed above. But in spite of fewer HP, Craftsmen 20-gallon air compressor goes up to a max 175 PSI. Though it runs louder, but then, many other brands fail to provide such an output under 500 bucks.

The large 20-gallon tank is made of stainless steel which is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Plus, there are two rubber feet on the tank bottom that helps shift the pneumatic air tool easily. In addition to wheels, the built-in handle also eases the pushing of the tool from one place to another.

Craftsman offers two sensitive gauges to operate different pneumatic tools safely. While 1 gauge measures tank pressure the other one measures tool pressure. And these readings help you set the right pressure for optimal performance of both, the air compressor and the pneumatic tool.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 5
  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 4
Our Verdict


  • Equipped with 2×8-in rubber wheels and rubber reinforced handle for easy transportation
  • Maintenance-free pump
  • Dual quick coupler allows for multiple tools to work at the same time
  • Features 1 automatic air tank safe valve
  • Wide air pressure range from 145-175 PSI
  • Best oil-free portable air compressor for home garage


  • Runs a little louder

Key Features:

  • 1.8 HP
  • 20-gallon tank
  • Oil-free pump
  • Dual quick coupler
  • 2 sensitive gauge
  • Weighs 90.8 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

4) California Air Tools 8010A Aluminum Tank Air Compressors

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp

Inflate tires without letting your neighbors know with California Air Tool’s quiet-working air compressor. If you’re looking for a replacement for your old noise then this could be the best replacement you’ll ever buy. Operating at 60 dBA or less, your neighbors or people inside your home will hardly know whether the tool is running or not.

The small footprint of California Air Tools 8010A is perfect for home garages. It is slightly larger than a mid-size compressor but more powerful and quieter. Besides, it weighs only 37.2 pounds, making it one of the best lightweight air compressors on the market. Plus, the unit features smooth-rolling wheels on the bottom that helps you shift the tool easily.

Not only the unit is easy to transport but also demands minimal maintenance. Thanks to its oil-free pump that eliminates the need to keep a check on oil levels or refill the tank. Such a design along with oil-free lubrication makes it easy for allows the use of tools in various terrains and temperatures. be it hot or cold, the hotdog compressor will start quickly and run quietly.

The maintenance-free pump of California Air Tools portable air compressor is designed to have a lifecycle before wear of 3000+ hours. Now, this is great for home use as you can use the tool multiple times to inflate air into tires or do small DIY jobs.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 3.1
  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 2.2
Our Verdict


  • Thermal overload protector
  • 2 pressure control gauges and universal quick connector
  • Large, rust-free aluminum tank
  • The oil-free pump allows for use in a variety of terrain and temperatures
  • Compact design, lightweight, and easy to transport
  • Best rated quiet hotdog air compressor under $500


  • Not designed for heavy-duty use
  • Plastic regulator knob

Key Features:

  • 1-HP
  • 8-gallon tank
  • Oil-free lubrication
  • Aluminum body
  • Never-flat wheels
  • Weighs 37.2 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

5) BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer, 1-Tool (BTFP1KIT)

Small home projects are fun to complete with the right tool by side. And if you love renovating the kitchen, patio, deck, or other projects of the home then it is good to invest in a Bostitch pancake air compressor. Built with superior quality material, this small unit offers enough CFM to let you complete small DIY projects smoothly. Be it inflating flat tires or nail gunning furniture, you can do a variety of tasks.

Speaking of DIY projects, the Bostitch air compressor combo kit features a high-efficiency motor, plus, a nail gun. While motor eases startups, the nail gun is used for a wide variety of projects, mostly woodworking. Therefore, you can put the kitchen furniture together, redo the deck floor or nail shed roof with this mini pancake compressor.

In addition to the nail gun combo, the Bostitch garage air compressor also includes 1/4-inch x 15′ PVC air hose fittings. You can use the air hose for multiple applications like spray painting, spot cleaning, etc. And with the right nozzle attachments, you can also clean your car/truck conveniently.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 2.6
  • SCFM at 100 PSI – 2.5
Our Verdict


  • Highly portable unit with rubber feets
  • Includes 1/4-in x 15′ PVC air hose
  • High-efficiency motor, plus, nail gun combo
  • Features a high-flow regulator that maximizes air tool performance
  • No daily maintenance or risk of oil stains on the surface
  • Best small pancake air compressor for car tires under 500 dollars


  • Do not keep the unit on for long hours
  • Cannot be used for airbrushing, HVLP painting, spraying, or sanding

Key Features:

  • 0.8-HP motor
  • 6.0-gallon tank
  • Oil-free pump
  • Single-phase
  • Electric start
  • Weighs 35.5 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

6) Metabo HPT “THE TANK” Pancake Air Compressor, 200 PSI

Metabo HPT THE TANK Pancake Air Compressor

Renovation jobs demand a reliable unit that can provide a high output. And Metabo HPT pancake air compressor is designed for tough job site tasks. Do not go by its small size as it has many features to offer to ease your everyday onsite job. Operating at 200 PSI, the Metabo HPT EC914S offers 25% greater PSI than a basic pancake air compressor. Thus, you get the power needed for flawless working.

Not only does it deliver higher output but also allows to run 2 framing nailers at the same time. Now, this is perfect for serious DIYers and intermediate workers as 2 people can work on the same project at a time. Thus, increasing productivity. Apart from framing nailers, you can connect the mini portable air compressor to 2 roofing nailers, 2 siding nailers, 3 finish nailers, or 5 brad nailers.

No matter whether you connect a single tool or several pneumatic tools at once, Metabo HPT will deliver the same output on all tools. Thanks to the higher PSI offered by this inexpensive air compressor that not only lets you operate two or more than two tools simultaneously but also maintains a consistent flow.

It is possible that you might need to carry the tool to different sites/locations. However, you’ll feel the burden of transporting the tool due to two big reasons. First, it has a compact footprint that easily fits into a car’s trunk. And secondly, it features a large carry handle to transfer it safely.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 4
  • SCFM at 100 PSI – 3.35
Our Verdict


  • Simultaneously runs 2 framing nailers, 2 roofing nailers, or other tools
  • Consistently drives nail flush with no delays
  • All metal handle for easy transportation
  • UL safety listing
  • Suitable to use for roof nailing, framing, cutting, grinding, sanding, HVLP painting, etc
  • Best portable oil-free air compressor for the money


  • Runs loud
  • It is not the lightest compressor on the market

Key Features:

  • 1.3 HP(running)
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free pump
  • Electric start
  • Weighs 41 lbs
  • 1-year warranty

7) DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit

DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KI

Dewalt is a household name when it comes to tools and equipment. And if you wish to go with the brand then here’s a perfect pick for you. The Dewalt DWC1KIT-B air compressor combo kit with brad nailer is simply excellent for home use. From filling the air in flat tires to remodeling rooms, this little champ has got your back.

The included high-quality brad nailer is one of the perks of buying the Dewalt home air compressor. This brad nailer drives 18 gauge nails from 5/8-in to 2-in length. Therefore, good for doing kitchen cabinets, finishing nailing, stapling, etc.

Just like a majority of pneumatic air compressors on the list, Dewalt DWC1KIT-B also features an oil-free motor. In addition to that, Dewalt offers tool-free depth-of-drive adjustment with detents for the proper setting of nail heads. Therefore, such a feature helps to install the nails right on the place even if you’re an amateur.

There are high chances of nails getting stuck if you have less experience using the nail gun. But thanks to the smart feature of the Dewalt pancake air compressor that offers a tool-free jam release. This eases the removal of nails in case you got it wrong. Other features include a rear exhaust, a non-marring nose tip, and an adjustable belt hook.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 2.6
  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 3.7
Our Verdict


  • It features a removable non-marring nose tip with on-tool storage
  • Rear exhaust to keep contaminants away and clean delivery of air
  • Adjustable belt hook to keep the included tool in reach
  • Low 10 Amp motor starts easily in cold weather or with an extension cord
  • Equipped with 2 regulated, factory-installed air couplers that support the use of 2 tools at the same time
  • Best budget pancake compressor under 500 dollars for home use


  • Continuous use of heavy pneumatic tools empty the tank faster

Key Features:

  • 0.9 HP
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free motor
  • Tool-free jam release mechanism
  • Sequential trigger switch
  • Weighs 37.2 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

8) Makita MAC210Q Quiet Series, 1 HP

Makita MAC210Q Quiet Series, 1 HP, 2 Gallon, Oil-Free, Electric Air Compressor

The two major factors to consider while buying an indoor air compressor are compact footprint and quiet operation. And thankfully, the Makita 2-gallon air tank offers both of these qualities. This quiet series is designed to run extremely quietly at 60 dB for operator and crew comfort. Thus, you can use the tool indoors without worrying about the loud noise waking up neighbors or family members inside your home.

Not only for home use, but you can also take the small quiet working air compressor for job site use. Do not worry about extreme working conditions of the worksite damaging your electric air compressor. This is because Makita MAC210Q offers a complete roll-cage construction that protects the components inside while transportation and storage.

The oil-free dual-piston pump is designed for smooth operation every time. Besides, the motor starts slow and runs at 1750 RPM. This prevents the motor from getting overheated even if you’re using it continuously for hours. Plus, both the motor and pump life is extended.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 PSI – 3
  • SCFM at 90 PSI – 2
Our Verdict


  • Operates at noise ≤60 dBA
  • Comes with a 1/4-inch universal quick coupler, Male
  • Perfect for inflating tires, finishing carpentry, cabinet, and furniture making
  • Complete metal roll-cage design
  • UL listed
  • Cord wrap for convenient AC power cord storage
  • Best electric hotdog air compressor for indoor use


  • The absence of wheels makes it difficult to transport the tool

Key Features:

  • 1 HP
  • 2.0-gallon tank
  • Dual-piston pump
  • Universal brass coupler
  • Built-in thermal overload
  • Weighs 44 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

9) Spritech PCP Air Compressor, Auto-shutoff 4500Psi

Spritech PCP Air Compressor,Auto-shutoff 4500Psi:30Mpa Oil

A fun day out with boys calls for paintball. And if you love to hang out with your buddies a lot outdoors then you might also be interested in recreational activities. So we’ve picked Spritech PCP air portable air gun compressor that can easily achieve 300Bar/4500psi in a short time.

This special mini air compressor for PCP and paintball features a built-in adapter. Use this adapter to connect PCP air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, and HPA tank. Speaking of paintball, the suitcase-style small air gun compressor directly connects to PCP & paintball tanks nipples. It easily connects to benjamins, Crosman, airforce, air arms, Gamo, Winchester, etc. In short, playing paintball will be much more fun with this little champ by side.

A mini pneumatic air compressor is only as good as its ease of maintenance. And thanks to the smart design of Spritech portable compressor that does not require oil or water. Therefore, no need to add oil or circulate cooling water. There is also a built-in high-power fan that runs continuously to keep the components inside cool.

However, you need to take care of one thing, that is, high temperature. This portable air compressor lacks an auto shut-off function so you’ll need to turn it off manually after some time to avoid any overheating damage. But for your convenience, the unit features a temperature monitoring system. Turn the unit off as soon as the temperature reaches 90 degrees and let the fan remain on to speed the cooling.

Air Filling Speed:

  • 0.5L(30 ci): 0 to 30M Pa
Our Verdict


  • Equipped with an 8mm fast connector that fits directly to PCP and paintball tank nipples
  • You can also use the small tool to inflate car tires for straight 25 minutes
  • It can efficiently filter oil and water in the air and output clean and dry high-pressure air
  • Practical inflation pressure adjustment
  • Lightweight and highly portable design
  • Built-in high power cooling fan
  • Best battery-powered portable air gun compressor for air gun sports like paintball


  • No auto-shut off; you need to turn the machine off manually
  • Not ideal to use for carpentry or heavy-duty work

Key Features:

  • 12v DC or 110v AC
  • Built-in adapter
  • Oil-moisture filter
  • Oil/water-free
  • 8mm quick connector
  • Temperature monitoring function
  • Weighs 19.31 pounds

10) STEALTH Air Compressor – Long Life Cycle

STEALTH Air Compressor, Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free and Long Life Cycle

Looking for a reliable air compressor tool under $500 for job site use? Then do consider buying the Stealth ultra-quiet, reliable, and, oil-free air tool. This powerful vertical compressor is equipped with a 1.8 HP induction motor. The motor produces lower RPMs at 1700, which increases the lifespan of the tool as well as operates quietly.

An oil-free pump of Stealth SAQ-12018 is the cherry on the top. Such a pump requires zero maintenance and is convenient while working on bigger projects. Thus, you’ll not need to stop and refill the oil tank in between work.

There are two 8-inch rubber wheels to move the unit conveniently from one site to another. While wheels ease mobility, the rubber-reinforced grip on the handle further aids in the tool’s movement. Also, there are two fixed feet with a rubber base on the rear side to keep the unit steady on an even surface.

Conditions at a job site are unpredictable. So Stealth vertical industrial-strength compressor offers a reinforced roll-cage design to protect the pump and motor from damage. Speaking of the pump, it delivers enough power for the toughest grease guns and drill-hammer projects.

Air Delivery Rate:

  • SCFM at 40 psi – 6
  • SCFM at 90 psi – 5
Our Verdict


  • Ideal for drilling, finish nailing, roof nailing, spraying, sanding, HVLP painting, and much more
  • Easy to start with an electric start
  • Induction motor with an oil-free pump
  • Other features include a quick-connect coupler, tank pressure gauge, and regulator knob
  • Large rubber wheels with reinforced handle grip for easy transportation
  • Best 20-gallon air compressor for 500 dollars


  • Cannot be used for grinding or sanding

Key Features:

  • 1.8-HP(running)
  • 20 gallons
  • Reinforced handle
  • Electric start
  • Single-phase
  • Weighs 121 pounds
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Direct Driven Air Compressor Or Belt-Driven Air Compressor?

There are two types of air compressors, direct-drive and belt-driven. Today, most of the new units offer direct-drive motors with oil-free lubrication that eases the use of the tool. But then there are a few models with a belt-drive system that are budget-friendly and easy to maintain. Take a look at the brief difference between direct drive and belt-driven air compressors for better selection.

A belt-drive air compressor features a strong belt that is connected to the motor. At the start of the machine, the belt starts rotating as soon as the motor kicks in. These belts are responsible for moving the pump through pulleys. You will need to oil the belt after some time to ensure the smooth working of the belt. Also, there is a need to replace the belt after 500 to 1000 hours of use.

On the other hand, there are direct drive air compressors. There are no pulleys or belts in a direct drive system. Instead, it features a crankshaft that is directly attached to the motor. The absence of pulleys or belts does not require frequent maintenance or oiling. Plus, they are easy to start in various temperatures. Direct drive air compressors are taking over the old pully models due to ease of use and higher durability.

How to choose the best air compressor under 500 dollars

Picking the best budget air compressor isn’t rocket science. You simply need to check your requirement and keep a few things in mind to pick the perfect model for your home or garage.

Motor Power

Motor determines the horsepower of the unit. The higher the HP, the more powerful the unit will be. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty unit that can handle long continuous hours of operation then select a high HP model with a large tank capacity. On the contrary, a unit with less HP and a small tank capacity is good for home garage use, especially for inflating car tires.

PSI (Pressure)

PSI stands for pounds per square inch. A unit with a psi range between 30 to 120 is good for residential use. You can use the tool for inflating a car’s tire to operate small to mid-pressure pneumatic air tools. For industrial or professional use, select an air compressor with higher psi.

Tank Size

Small tanks that of a pancake compressor deliver enough air to inflate a flat tire and do most small DIY jobs. Remember, the smaller the tank, the less will be its air storage capacity. A vertical or hotdog air compressor has a large storage capacity and thus, delivers compressor air continuously.

Low Noise

No one likes to work with a noisy tool. And thankfully, there is a wide selection of quiet working air compressors. Any tool with noise operation less than or equal to 60 dB is good for home use. You can also work with a tool with a noise rating of 70 dBA without earphones.

Anti-Vibration Features

Heavy vibrations are normally associated with the pulley system often when oil levels are low. Keep a check on oil levels to reduce vibrations. However, heavy vibrations are generally not an issue with an oil-free pump. So if you wish for a quiet working and low vibrating model then it is best to go for an oil-free air compressor.


Here the term versatility refers to how many pneumatic tools you can operate on the compressor. If you’re looking forward to doing different types of DIY tasks then select a unit equipped with a universal coupler. This way you can attach a paint sprayer, roofing nailer, framing gun, and many other pneumatic tools.

Price and Warranty

The list above already contains the best pneumatic air compressors under $500. And you can easily find a good quality air compressor within the budget. But somehow, if you’re still not sure about the built quality or performance of the tool, check for its warranty period. Many brands offer a replacement or full refund if you’re not happy with their purchase.

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Maintainance Tips

For optimal performance of the tool, it is important to pay some attention to its maintenance. Also, it is extremely easy to maintain a direct drive air compressor due to the absence of an oil lubrication system. However, below is a checklist you need to look at before starting the machine.

  • Oil levels(in oil lubrication system only)
  • Oil leakage
  • Air consistency
  • Air leakage
  • Wear and tear of the belt(Belt-drive system only)
  • Yearly serving of pump and engine
  • Replacement/cleaning of air filter

The Bottom Line

As we already mentioned in the beginning, air compressors are very easy to find in many home garages nowadays. Their ease of use and convenience in inflating your car’s tire and operating many pneumatic tools makes them popular among DIYers, carpenters, hobbyists, and professionals. And you don’t need a huge budget to get the perfect tool as there are many good pneumatic air compressors under $500. And now that you’ve top 10 models do let us know which tool you picked for your home or workshop?


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