9 Best Oil Free Air Compressors: Our 2019 Reviews

When it comes to completing tasks around your home, garden, and garage, an air compressor is one of the most underrated tools that you can own. Whether you are filling a tire with air, cleaning up the sawdust after a DIY project or powering a spray gun to paint your home, an air compressor can help you every step of the way.

But choosing the best air compressor for your needs can be a tricky job, with different brands, types, and sizes offering a huge range of positives and negatives for every option around. And, one of the most confusing questions (if not the most confusing) is whether to buy an oil or an oil free version… which is why we thought we’d put some information together to help you out.

Buying an oil free compressor is a worthwhile investment, but you want to ensure you buy the right one!

Oil vs Oil Free Air Compressors

So, what are the main differences between oil vs oil free air compressors?

  • Oil air compressors require regular oiling, whereas oil free air compressors do not (they are pre-lubricated)
  • Oil free air compressors require less maintenance
  • Oil air compressors are generally heavier in weight
  • Oil free air compressors are usually cheaper
  • Oil air compressors are more durable
  • Oil air compressors are quieter

6 Key Considerations when Buying an Oil Free Air Compressor

When you are looking at buying an oil free air compressor, there are 6 key things to consider before completing your purchase:

  1. What are you using your air compressor for? If you are only using it for small jobs, you will only need a small system. If you are using it for large jobs, however (like painting your car or completing some renovations), you are going to need a larger capacity tank.
  2. What brand of air compressor you are considering? Always purchase an oil free air compressor from a reputable brand, ensuring it has a good warranty and range of replacement parts and accessories to allow for a long lifespan.
  3. How quiet are you hoping your oil free air compressor will be? Oil free air compressors are generally louder than their oiled counterparts, however, there are options on the market that are quieter than others. Air compressors generally range between 40 to 90 decibels (dBA), and you will regularly find options that run at around 75 dBA classed as ‘quiet’.
  4. What PSI, or pound-per-square-inch, do your tools need? To ensure you can run any tools effectively, you need to ensure that an air compressor will provide the correct air pressure for any tools to run properly.
  5. What horsepower do you need? Horsepower (HP) is the measurement of power an air compressor motor produces, and the higher this number is, the more work an air compressor can do to deliver a higher PSI.
  6. What CFM (cubic feet per minute) specifications do your air tools have? CFM is the measurement of the overall air volume an air compressor generates, and different tools have varying requirements.

Best Oil Free Compressors

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor

Key Features

  • 150 max PSI
  • 6-gallon tank (22.7L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI
  • Easy cold weather start-up due to high-efficiency motor
  • 78.5 dBA rating
  • Maximum air toll performance due to high flow regulator and couplers
  • Maintenance-free, long life and oil free pump for convenient use

Overall Best Oil Free Compressor  – If you are after the best oil free air compressor available, then the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil Free Compressor is choice for you. The high-efficiency motor ensures you can start it up all year round – no more worrying about the motor in the middle of winter! – with a 6-gallon tank (22.7L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI and 150 max PSI. At 29lbs, it is lightweight and portable, allowing for you to transport it around as much as you need within its electric power supply limits. And let’s not forget the Bostitch high flow regulator and couplers to maximize air tool performance, and the long life, oil free and maintenance-free pump!

Even the best things have a few downfalls, and the Bostitch Oil Free Compressor isn’t any different, however, the negatives are pretty few and far between. Some view the 0.8 HP motor as a little on the low side and are after more power, and the 78.5 dBA rating is on the noisy end of the spectrum (however is pretty normal considering some of the other noise ratings for oil free models). Additionally, the hose and gun kit have to be purchased separately, so unless you already have these items at home, you will be required to pay additional money after purchasing the machine. If you are willing to look past these few items though, the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor is a great machine that will offer you years of beneficial use and assist you with many DIY projects and garage jobs.

Pros

  • High-efficiency motor for easy cold-weather start-up
  • 6-gallon tank fills quickly
  • Long life, oil free and maintenance-free pump
  • 1-year limited manufacturer warranty
  • Maximum 150 psi
  • Portable and lightweight
  • High flow regulator and couplers to allow maximum air tool performance
  • Two universal couplers allowing for two users

Cons

  • Hose and gun kit must be purchased separately
  • 0.8 horsepower (HP)
  • 78.5 dBA rating

California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil Free 1.0 HP Steel Tank Air Compressor

Key Features

  • Ultra-quiet at only 60 decibels
  • Low Amp Draw (8.5 Amps)
  • Quick tank fill time – empty to full in 165 seconds
  • Oil free pump means less maintenance and costs
  • Complete pack including a wheel kit and air filter
  • 120 PSI maximum pressure
  • 3.00 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Powerful 1.0 HP (Rated / Running), 2.0 HP (Peak) Motor

Best (Quiet) Oil Free Compressor  – We all know that air compressors can be a little noisy at times, therefore finding a machine that offers a quiet working environment is a huge benefit. The California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor is the best quiet air compressor around, operating at an ultra-quiet 60 decibels for every job it completes. It has a lifecycle before wear of over 3,000 hours, with a max PSI of 120 and a powerful 1 HP motor.  The oil free dual piston pump system is designed for high performance and durability, ensuring low maintenance and costs for the life of the air compressor. The motor will start-up in cold climates without too much issue, and it has a handle and wheels for transportation where needed. It offers 3.00 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI, with a quick tank fill time of around 165 seconds. Just because it is quiet, however, does not mean it is without faults. The California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor is a heavy machine that can be a little tricky to move around, especially considering the odd angle of the small handle. It can also overheat quite quickly, so the temperature needs to be regularly monitored, and if the drain ball valve is opened all the way, it can become very noisy. Don’t let these aspects put you off however, as the California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor is a great machine and the best on the market when it comes to ultra-quiet operation.
Pros

  • Ultra-quiet (60 decibels)
  • 120 psi
  • 1 HP motor
  • Lifecycle before wear of 3000+ hours
  • Oil free dual-piston pump system that is designed for high performance and durability
  • Suitable for cold climates
  • Handle and wheels to allow for easy movement
  • Low maintenance and costs

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Can overheat quite quickly
  • The handle is quite small and at an odd angle
  • Loud to empty the tank if the ball drain valve is opened all the way

2 Gallon 1.2 HP 135 PSI Ultra Quiet Oil-Free Professional Air Compressor

Key Features

  • Rating of 60 dBA
  • Integrated control panel
  • Easy-to-read gauges
  • Low to no maintenance due to oil free pump
  • Lowering of both heat and friction through the brushless, 4-pole induction motor
  • Easy access ball drain valve
  • Lightweight and compact, delivering 2.2 CMF (2.1 SCFM) at 90 PSI with maximum pressure measurement of 135 PSI
  • 2-gallon aluminum tank
  • All crucial parts are protected by a full roll cage

Best Professional Oil Free Compressor  – If the professionalism of an oil free air compressor is a make or break component for you, the 2 Gallon 1.2 HP 135 PSI Ultra Quiet Oil Free Professional Air Compressor is your best choice. Running at around 60 dBA, this machine can offer a quiet workplace no matter the job type and its lightweight design means it is easy to carry around. The brushless 4-pole induction motor provides a 2x longer lifespan, lowering both heat and friction, with up to 50% more runtime than a lot of other compressors of a similar size. Also, the 2 Gallon Ultra Quiet Oil Free Air Compressor offers an integrated control panel, easy-to-read gauges and a ball drain valve that is easy to access, resulting in an incredibly easy-to-use machine. The oil free pump ensures that there is little to no maintenance needed, delivering 2.2 CMF (2.1 SCFM) at 90 PSI with maximum pressure measurement of 135 PSI and 1.2 HP.  The only downsides to this air compressor are the lack of wheels, which can result in tricky movement at times, and the small size of the tank. The tank requires frequent reloads, and it isn’t capable of holding a large amount of air, which can mean some wait time while it recovers. All-in-all however, the 2 Gallon Ultra Quiet Oil Free Air Compressor is both a professional and practical device which offers a range of benefits to the user for many years.

Pros

  • Up to 80% quieter than other similar air compressors
  • 2x longer life due to 4-pole induction motor
  • Quick recovery time
  • Compact and lightweight
  • 1.2 horsepower
  • Rust-free aluminum tank
  • Two built-in quick connect couplers for easy one-handed hose connection
  • Oil free means no maintenance is needed
  • Ball drain valve is easy to access
  • Up to 50% more runtime than similar compressors

Cons

  • Doesn’t have wheels to allow frequent/easy movement
  • Frequent reloads required due to small size

Porter-Cable C2002R Oil Free UMC Pancake Compressor

Key Features

  • The induction motor provides better performance and a longer life
  • Normal household circuits can easily support the soft-smart motor
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI allows for quick compressor recovery time
  • 30 PSI bonus air provided through 120 PSI cut-in pressure

Product Description

Most Affordable (Cheaper) Oil Free Compressor – If the cost of an oil free air compressor is a big selling point for you, the best choice around is the Porter-Cable C2002R Oil Free UMC Pancake Compressor. At less than $100, this machine offers a huge variety of benefits without the large price tag, meaning you get your money’s worth. Due to its small size and lightweight structure, it is easy to transport, carry around and store, offering flexibility in where it can be used. The motor is soft-start, meaning the circuits in your home can easily support its power needs, as well as being able to run at 3.5 SCFM for a quicker recharge of its 6-gallon tank.

The induction motor of the Porter-Cable Oil Free UMC Pancake Compressor offers a longer lifespan and superior performance every time, no matter the job size or type. The motor features replaceable brushes to extend the life of the motor and 150 PSI max pressure for greater run time. It also includes 120 PSI cut-in pressure, which provides 30 PSI ‘Bonus Air’ and a High-Flo air regulator that offers protection against a large pressure drop.

Buying a cheaper option however does have some downsides, with this air compressor being quite noisy (especially on start-up) and slow to fill on initial commencement. Also, with its lightweight and small stature comes the issue of very little storage space, meaning less air storage and more frequent reloads. This shouldn’t put you off however, as the Porter-Cable Oil Free UMC Pancake Compressor is the most affordable oil free air compressor around, offering more benefits than its sub-$100 price tag suggests it should.

Pros

  • Easy to carry as very lightweight
  • Easy to store due to small size
  • The induction motor provides longer lifespan
  • Quick recovery time
  • Soft start motor
  • 150 PSI max pressure
  • 120 PSI cut-in pressure that provides 30 PSI “Bonus Air”
  • High-Flo air offers protection against any large pressure drops

Cons

  • 90-day limited warranty
  • Slow fill on initial start-up
  • Only holds a small amount of air
  • Can be noisy, especially on start-up

Because 4 of the best oil free air compressors just aren’t enough, here are 5 more!

Porter-Cable CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil Free Fully Shrouded/Hand Carry Compressor Kit

If you are after a compressor that is easy to carry and offers a life without maintenance, then the Porter-Cable CMB15 Oil Free Fully Shrouded/Hand Carry Compressor Kit is perfect for your needs. It offers a 1.5-gallon tank that is fully shrouded, running a 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI ensuring quick compressor recovery time. The 150 PSI max tank pressure allows for storage of more air for longer tool runtimes, and at only 20lbs, it is a lightweight option for easy storage and transport. The low Amp 120V motor starts in every kind of weather (including cold!), offering a lower-noise (79 dBA) option for a quieter workspace. The Port-Cable Air Compressor also thinks about your safety, with a design that encloses all hot or moving parts at all times.

WEN 2289 10-Gallon Oil Free Vertical Air Compressor

The WEN 2289 10 Gallon Oil Free Vertical Air Compressor is a versatile machine that suits a variety of needs and tasks. Whether you are working a job site, completing a DIY task at home or you need a little help in the garage, this air compressor can do it all. It has a set of seven-inch never-flat wheels and a rubber-gripped handle which makes transportation and storage super easy, and there is an auto-shut-down function when it reaches maximum PSI to ensure the safety of all. Maximum PSI of 150 is achieved through the 15A motor and the reinforced steel tank, and the oil free pump allows for little to no maintenance for the life of the compressor. The WEN 10-Gallon Oil-Free vertical air compressor also has an easy-to-reach drain valve, allowing for the simple release of built-up air and condensation, and two pressure gauges to monitor the internal pressure of the tank and regulation of the rate of airflow.

Hitachi EC28M Ultra Quiet (59 DB) Oil Free Portable 1 Gallon Air Compressor

If you are searching for a machine that is ready to plugin as soon as you take it out of the box, the Hitachi EC28 Ultra Quiet Oil Free Portable Air Compressor is what you have been looking for. This is Hitachi’s first quiet compressor, offering a highly durable industrial oil free pump and maintenance-free operation for the life of the compressor. It is a lightweight and easy to move around, thanks to its 25.2lb weight and shaped rubber handle and has a steel roll cage that protects all important components whilst being transported. The Hitachi EC28 Ultra Quiet Oil Free Portable Air Compressor also has safety in mind, being protected by an overload protection circuit, that cuts off power if an overload situation occurs.

Briggs & Stratton 20 Gallon Air Compressor

The Briggs & Stratton 20 Gallon Air Compressor is a powerful yet portable oil free air compressor that offers a range of benefits to the user. From the large rugged wheels to the reinforced frame and 15-gallon tank, this option is perfect for a rough worksite. And let’s not forget the 1.5 HP induction motor and the low-to-no maintenance needed on the oil free pump, meaning your air tools will have a long-lasting performance from start to finish. There’s also an extended warranty available on the Briggs & Stratton 20 Gallon Air Compressor, which is a big plus for those who would prefer a little extra peace of mind.

Dewalt DWFP55126 6 Gallon 195 PSI Pancake Compressor

Last (but certainly not least) is the Dewalt Pancake Compressor. This oil free air compressor offers a highly efficient motor, ensuring either a quick start-up all year round (no more need to worry about problems in cold weather) or for use of an extension cord. Its oil free pump ensures little to no maintenance and, at 30lbs, it is a lightweight choice that is easy to both carry and store. The high flow regulator and couplers ensure that your air tools run at peak performance at all times, and the combination of a 165 max PSI 6-gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump means your tools will have a long run time and quick recovery. The Dewalt Pancake Compressor is also quiet to operate, running at 75.5 dBA, and offers 2 universal couplers which allows for a two-user capacity. Just make sure the drain valve is fully closed before using the compressor!

Our 2019 Oil Free Compressor Buying Guide

So, after reading all of that information, you’ve decided to buy an oil free air compressor. Where to from here? Well, you’ll be happy to know you’ve already made one of the hardest decisions – oil vs oil free – so here is a 7 Step Buying Guide to purchasing the best oil free air compressor for your needs. These tips and tricks will make this job a little easier, so we recommend getting out a pen and paper for this one, you are going to need it!

Step 1: What is your budget? One of the first things to consider is your budget. How much are you willing to spend? How much would you like to spend? If you are new to buying air compressors and are unsure as to how much machines cost, do a little bit of research before you answer these questions so you are being realistic with your price expectations. And, remember, you generally get what you pay for, so paying for a more expensive air compressor now may stop you from buying a cheaper option and then having to replace it in a few years.

Step 2: What are you using your oil free air compressor for? After you have decided your budget, you need to decide what you are using your oil free air compressor for. Is it for small DIY projects around your home, or is it for large-scale projects for extended periods? Either way, write down all the types of jobs your air compressor will be used for and try to be as thorough as possible. This will be used, in combination with steps 3, 4 and 5, to decide the power and size requirements you will need for an air compressor.

Step 3: What tools are you hoping to power with your air compressor? Next, write a list of all the tools you wish to use your oil free air compressor with. Whether it be a nail gun, a paint sprayer, an air hammer or something different altogether, write all these tools down in as much detail as possible.

Step 4: What are the power requirements of your tools? Now you have a list of the power tools you are hoping to use with your new oil free air compressor, try and write down the power requirements of your tools (e.g. what CFM and PSI they require) and these will set the parameters for your new machine. For reference, a drill usually averages 3-6 CFM at 90 PSI and a framing nailer generally averages around 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI.

Step 5: Where are you using your oil free air compressor? Where are you going to use your air compressor? Will it be moved around a lot? These questions will affect the height, weight and depth measurements that are most suitable to you, as well as the components which allow the machine to be moved around (such as handles and wheels). And let’s not forget about a protection cage, which will be needed to protect the air compressor from the elements, and to protect you from burning yourself on the air compressor or getting caught in moving parts.

Step 6: What oil free air compressor brands are available? After you have completed steps 1-5 above, you have likely put some ideas down on paper as to the size, type, and power requirements for an air compressor to suit your needs. Now it’s time to see what brands are available, and which ones offer models in line with your demands. If in doubt, always go with well-known brands who have experience producing air compressors, as they usually contain better warranty options and have longer lifespans. Check out brands like Dewalt, Briggs & Stratton, Porter-Cable and Hitachi, and you should be able to get an understanding of the prices and styles of air compressors available.

Step 7: Where are you looking to purchase your oil free air compressor? Are you hoping to get in-store and look at models in person, or are you happy to research and purchase online? Some people prefer to see items before they buy them, whereas others are happy to purchase from places like Amazon without having viewed the item in person first. Although purchasing online is generally easier, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best option, so make sure you do your research before you buy. Amazon is a great place to start!

FAQ

Can you lay down an oil free air compressor? This is a bit of a tricky one, as there isn’t a set ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. If you have a brand-new oil free air compressor, laying it down shouldn’t be an issue. If it has been in use for a while, however, laying it down may cause maintenance and other problems due to a leakage of water and dirt from the tank. If you have to place the machine on its side though, ensure the tank is empty (absolutely no water) and it is firmly secured.

Are oil free compressors good? It all depends on what you need your air compressor for! If you are after an air compressor for heavy-duty usage, then an oil free compressor will not suit your needs (and you’re likely going to say they aren’t good!). If you are after a compressor for occasional use around your home and small-scale DIY projects, then an oil free air compressor is perfect.

How do oil free compressors work? Oil free air compressors work in the same way as oil air compressors, but the big difference is the lubrication. Both types use a piston to draw in air, and that air is then sent to a storage tank in a compressed form. For an air compressor to work at peak efficiency, the chamber that the piston is located in must be suitably lubricated. For oil air compressors, oil is used regularly. When it comes to oil free air compressors, however, they are pre-lubricated before you purchase them (using mostly Teflon) which lasts for the life of the machine and the pump is therefore protected by a Teflon coating. Oil free air compressors, therefore, need less maintenance and do not require regular oiling, whereas oil air compressors need systematic oil checks and refills.

Conclusion

All in all, the best oil free air compressor will change depending on your needs and circumstances. If you are completing small DIY jobs occasionally in your backyard, you will only need a smaller unit with lesser power and capacity. On the other hand, however, if you are frequently using your machine for large-scale projects for extended periods across different areas, you are going to require something with larger capacity, more power and the ability to be easily moved. Either way, the variety of models on offer ensures that there is something to suit everyone, no matter your needs. And, although all models have both pros and cons, there is a huge range of benefits offered by oil free air compressors that cannot be ignored. Just ensure you complete thorough research before you make a purchase and look at all the options available before making a decision. Good luck!

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