Tool review: Portable Air Compressors
Here's what we'd buy
The Campbell Hausfeld MW250000 oil-free unit delivers the test-highest airflow, weighs less than 40 pounds, and has thoughtfully designed controls--including a lighted on/off switch. Its middling price tag includes a PVC-reinforced hose, quick-connect couplers that require two hands, and an inflation chuck.
If you prefer a quieter (albeit less portable) oil-lubricated unit, opt instead for the Makita MAC2400. It ranks second quietest in our test and half as loud as the Campbell Hausfeld. With a robust cast-iron pump and induction motor, this compressor should last for many years. Its 4.2-gallon twin tanks need to fill more often than the 6-gallon Campbell Hausfeld, but the pump does this quickly. It comes with self-locking quick-connect fittings, but no hose.
If you'd like to save a few more dollars, consider the Husky H1503TP. Its small 3-gallon tank will have to refill more often (and loudly), but its overall performance surprised us. It's our Top Value.
For this article, we reviewed the Bosch CET3-10, Bostitch CAP2000P-OF, Campbell Hausfeld MW250000, Craftsman 15216, DeWalt D55151, Hitachi EC12, Husky H1503TP, Porter-Cable C2002-WK, Ridgid OF50150TS, and Senco PC1131 compressors.
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