Even though many artisans feel at home with the heftier fixed air compressors, you would find the portable compressors wieldy and convenient for fieldwork. This could either be blowing away some wood shavings, driving nails or compressing two panels after applying the glue. Whatever task or level of professionalism you intent to use your air compressor at, understanding these basic steps to choosing the right one will ensure that you do not have to improvise so much to get your most basic jobs done.

The Power Needed

air compressor How much compressed air do you need to do the job? Is it simple work around the house like inflating a tire or firing a nail gun or do you want it for heavy-duty work? Answering this question will give you an idea of the size and power of air compressor you want to work with. Bigger tools will need more pressure. This means you have to choose a compressor with a bigger pump. Failure to do this would force you to get a compressor with a reservoir tank, which beats the whole idea of portability.

To make portable air compressors wieldy, their design omits the tank forcing them to run continuously while in use. Regardless of how fast or hard the motor runs, there still is a limitation to how much you can do with these compressors. Make your choice knowing that you shouldn’t expect the portable compressor to handle bulky tasks as its bigger brothers.


Most air tools have a specific CFM. This volumetric airflow measure combined with the active pressure in PSI will determine its portable air compressorforce. Different tools will need a certain threshold to operate. A nail gun, for instance, might fail to shoot nails with the right force should the CFM delivery be of a lower rating.

For instance, a grease gun might need a 4CFM rating at 90PSI. Choosing a portable air compressor that can deliver this pressure, assuming this is the maximum for your tools, will ensure that you get the job done. If you intent to hook up multiple tools to the pump, you should consider adding up the individual CFMs and PSI to get the effective value acceptable for the pump’s peak output.

The Power Source

You have to choose between a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The question here is will you always have access to electricity or not. If yes, is it 110V or 240V, or both? Most medium size pumps would run on the 110V supply while the bigger units would need 240V to work.

If you are not sure of access to electricity, you will have to brace yourself for the noisy gasoline engine that could be heavier too. Either way, making your trade-offs well will ensure that you keep working whenever you have to by having your most reliable and convenient powered air compressor with you at all times.

Choosing the right portable air compressor is important so make sure to read a few air compressor reviews over at Air Compressor Talk will ensure that you do not compromise portability for power. It will ensure that you will always have a working tool by your side whenever you need it.