Air compressors allow you to inflate car tires and pump up inflatable pool equipment. They’re essential to filling up compressed air tanks used to run portable pneumatic equipment. Pneumatic tools allow you to do away with batteries and power cords, and they’re lightweight and portable in their own right. The best air compressor under 300 dollars will generate enough compressed air to allow you to run pneumatic tools without a bulky tank. Let’s look at some of the best air compressors on the market.
Best Air Compressor Under 300 Reviews
01. Dewalt Model DWFP55126 Air Compressor
This air compressor can deliver 2.6 standard cubic feet per minute or SCFM with a 90 pounds per square inch or PSI pump. It can deliver 3.7 SCFM with a 40 psi pump. That is the flow rate of air at room temperature. The Dewalt brand air compressor has a high flow regulator and couplers to minimize air leaks and maximize pneumatic tool performance.
This air compressor has a 6 gallon tank that can store air at up to 165 PSI. The tank itself is relatively compact at 20 inches by 17 inches by 17 inches. The compressor motor sits on top of the air tank, minimizing its footprint. This also makes it portable. Once you fill up the tank, you can take it wherever you need to go.
Air compressors tend to be loud. This one has a 75.5 dBA noise level. That’s quieter than most equivalent air compressors.
It runs off a standard 120-volt power cord.
This model sometimes leaks. That’s a shame given that it can otherwise put out enough air to power an operational pneumatic tool. And this may happen when you’re rarely using it, not because you were abusing it. The main culprit is the compressor attached to the air tank.
There are occasions when the air compressor walks. This can be dangerous if the air tank is close to sharp objects or heat sources.
- Quieter than average
- Small footprint
- Prone to leaks
02. Dewalt Model DWFP55130 Air Compressor
This is the best air compressor under 300 for those that need a heavy-duty model. This Dewalt air compressor puts out a maximum of 200 PSI. It can generate 3 SCFM at 90 PSI.
While it has a high PSI rating, it is portable. It has a compact 22 inch by 18 inches by 14-inches body. It achieves this in part by having a small air tank; that holds 2.5 gallons of compressed air. However, that keeps the weight of the whole thing down to 40 pounds. You can carry it with one hand.
It is one of the quieter air compressors on our list. This compressor only puts out 72 dB.
It is powered by an oil free pump. This minimizes the amount of maintenance it requires. The low amp draw motor means it isn’t likely to trip your circuit breaker when you turn it on, too.
It sometimes has problems with the regulator. When that happens, you cannot get it over 60 PSI. It may even fail to get to 150 PSI out of the box, if the regulator is defective.
At other times, it starts to leak air at high pressures. The culprit tends to be the air pressure adjustment valve. And this may occur after just a few weeks of heavy usage. Nor can you get replacement parts on your own to fix this.
- Powerful but portable
- Low maintenance
- Prone to air leaks, especially at high pressure
03. California Air Tools Model CAT-4610AC Air Compressor
We’re recommending the California Air Tools air compressor with aluminum tanks since it won’t rust and is lighter than the version with the steel tanks.
This air compressor is designed to combine power with portability. It is 20 inches by 20 inches by 17 inches, narrow enough to fit in a storage compartment. This air compressor has a 4.6-gallon twin tank, so you’ll have air even if one tank leaks.
It is a corded electric model. It can be plugged into a standard residential 110-volt power outlet.
This is one of the quietest air compressors on the market. It will only put out 60 dB if running at its standard 1 horsepower, though it will put out up to 2 HP at peak load. It is even quieter if you’re just using the air stored in the tanks. It is one of the best air compressors under 500 $
Like other affordable air compressors, it is prone to leaks. The average air compressor could leak from the hose connections to the seals to the tank itself. The most common cause in this unit is air leaking through the fittings.
The compressor itself is prone to burning out due to heavy usage. If you’re using it to power pneumatic tools every work day, it will not last more than a few months. On the other hand, sometimes it fails to start.
- Portable and storable
- Incredibly quiet for an air compressor
- Air leakage
- Compressor prone to burn out from heavy usage
04. Campbell Hausfeld Brand Air Compressor, Model AC080510
This air compressor by Campbell Hausfeld is heavy-duty. For example, it comes with a rugged eight-gallon air tank. The manufacturer says it has a maximum PSI of 125. It can deliver 2 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI.
The pump is oil-free and thus nearly maintenance-free. The compressor has a shield over it to help protect it, too. One point in favor of this compressor is the ease at which you can get longer air hoses and accessories for it, should you need it.
It comes with a pull bar and wheels on the frame, making it rather portable given its size.
The air compressor is of mediocre quality. It may burn up after just a few months, though the compressed air tanks are fine. In other cases, the switch breaks, and you can’t use it or get a replacement part for it.
The compressor is rated for 125 pounds per square inch. Unfortunately, it can’t run at that pressure. In fact, it may not maintain 100 PSI. Once it hits 90 PSI, it tends to cycle and won’t go higher. Fortunately, there are few reports of it simply leaking air. This causes problems for those who bought it expecting it to run high-power nail guns.
- Comes with the shield for the compressor
- The ease with which you can get accessories
- Large air tank that comes with it
- Can’t hit its peak pressure rating
- The compressor may burn out
05. California Air Tools Brand Tankless Air Compressor Model 10TL
This air compressor by California Air Tools is almost the opposite of the one we just reviewed. Forget air tanks and just get the compressor. (The TL stands for tankless.)
That is useful whether you want to minimize the space the compressor takes up or because you don’t want the risk that comes with a large tank full of compressed air. The unit is roughly 17 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches.
This is a corded electric air compressor. It can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Obviously, it won’t be able to deliver compressed air without power, whereas units that fill up an attached tank can continue to feed compressed air to any connected tools until the tanks run dry. However, the air compressor is lighter because it lacks the tanks. It is only 25 pounds. Of course, you can use the air compressor to fill other compressed air tanks.
The motor can deliver 1 horsepower of continuous power or 2 horsepower of peak load. You can control its speed with a foot pedal, leaving your hands free. That makes this the best air compressor under 300 for those who want to use it to power pneumatic tools at a workbench. The pump is oil-free.
The unit puts out around 65 dB of noise. That’s roughly the average noise output for this product category.
This compressor can put out anywhere from 0 to 100 PSI. The maximum airflow capacity is 2.2 cubic feet per minute. Note that this is not good enough to power nail guns, though it will let you run airbrushing and engraving equipment. Or use it to inflate tires and beach balls.
You use a foot pedal to control it. That is also the weakest link. The plastic pedal may break. Some people put it on the table next to them so they can control it with their hands, but now you don’t have both hands free, and it isn’t as easy to control as setting a control knob.
The regulator can get hot after the unit has been running for a few minutes. You have to let it cool off before you can change the attachments.
- Compact design
- Control pedal prone to breaking
- Mediocre air flow at its top setting
The best air compressor under 300 for you will deliver the necessary amount of air at the right pressure to run the tools you plan on using. The ideal air compressor will combine a good price with performance, though it is up to you whether you put a premium on space-saving features or minimal maintenance.