Why does this unit make our list of contenders for the best air compressor under 1000? Aside from the fact that it costs almost half that amount, there are several additional reasons to consider it. It has a large ten-gallon steel tank. That means it is capable of holding quite a bit of compressed air after the tank has been filled.
It is driven by a two horsepower oil-free motor. That gives you a lot of power while minimizing maintenance. It also has an auto drain valve. The motor is designed to run as long as 3000 hours before it fails. For comparison, many rival air compressors fail after running around 500 hours. You will need to change the air filters, but it comes with two replacement air filters.
It has a universal connector and a quarter-inch quick connector.
The air compressor is much quieter than average. It puts out around 70 decibels at full power. The noise level is far lower if it is supplying compressed air stored in the tank. This is due to the fact that its efficient motor only runs at 1680 RPM at its peak. The compressor can fill the tank in just two minutes. It can recover from 95 PSI to 125 PSI in only 25 seconds.
With the compressor running, it can deliver 5.3 cubic feet per minute at 90 pounds per square inch. Its maximum pressure is 125 PSI. That’s enough compressed air to run professional pneumatic tools as well as all amateur and tools. At 40 PSI, you can get 6.4 cubic feet per minute. Note that this means you can run a single paint sprayer from it but not two. You probably can’t run two air tools at the same time, but it doesn’t have connectors for them, either.
As an added bonus, the unit is designed to work in a wide range of climates. For example, because there is no oil in it, it can start when temperatures are well below freezing. And because there is no oil in the pump, it will start while sitting on uneven surfaces.
It is roughly 20 inches by 15 inches by 27 inches. There are small air compressors in this product class, but those can’t generate this much power. It can run for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
It has safety features like thermal overload and electrical overload protection. Yet the motor generates relatively little heat, so it is unlikely to be unusable because it is too hot.
The California Tools air compressor relies on 110 volt power. It can’t be run off industrial 240 volt power. If you need to run it off the grid such as at a construction site that doesn’t have utilities, it requires a 5500 watt generator to power it if it can provide at least 15 amps.
It is not made to be portable. There are no wheels on it. There are only basic carry handles on the sides, and the unit is difficult to carry that way.
- Low maintenance
- Fast recovery time
- Multiple safety features
- Not really portable
- Can’t run off industrial power