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7 Best Air Compressors Australian Buyers Guide 2022

Air compressors are one of those tools that sort the snobs and purists from the ordinary (sensible) gardeners; like gas tanks or robot mowers. When you need one you need one.

I’ve always found there are two core types of gardeners; those who love the purity of every day digging, and traditional technique, and those who love gadgets and getting things done efficiently. And then there are those in between. 

For purists, shopping around for the best air compressor might seem pointless, but when it comes down to it, a garden is for enjoying, and air compressors save time on maintenance, cleaning, and DIY, which means more time to sit and enjoy.

So before you dismiss the idea of air compressors as being tools solely for contractors, think again.

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Best Air Compressors for 2022

Product


Our Rating

Price

1. Vepa VADD20-50 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Vepa VADD20-50 Air Compressor
Top Rated Best Air Compressor in Australia

2. Senator Z25 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Senator Z25 Air Compressor
Premium Choice Air Compressor in Australia

3. DeWalt DCC1054N-XJ FlexVolt XR Cordless Air Compressor

DeWalt DCC1054N-XJ FlexVolt XR Air Compressor
Best Value Air Compressor in Australia

4. Vepa Air VSC2400 Oil-Less Silent Air Compressor

Vepa Air VSC2400 Silent Air Compressor

5. Vepa Air VADD15-24 Direct Drive Air Compressor

Vepa Air VADD15-24 Air Compressor

6. Unimac 24L Portable Direct Drive Air Compressor

Unimac 24L Portable Air Compressor

7. Milwaukee M18FAC-0 FUEL Cordless Air Compressor

Milwaukee M18FAC-0 Cordless Air Compressor

Air Compressor Buyers' Guide

What are Air Compressors?

Best Air Compressor Reviews

Air compressors are exactly what they say on the tin, they push air from the environment through pressurised pipes at speed, pulling in air from a broad space, and pushing it through a narrow space. That’s the non-scientific version, but it’s the easiest way to explain it.

Using either gas or electric power sources they create a steady supply of pressurised air that is used to quickly pump inflatables, or power pneumatic tools. 

In the guide below, we’ll explore the ins and outs of how and why you might need one.

Why Do You Need an Air Compressor?

Air compressors are most commonly used for inflating tires. It’s an obvious use, and even for amateur gardeners and DIY’ers it can come in handy to speed up car and bike tire inflation, or blow up above ground pools in summer.

But there are plenty of other brilliant uses for air compressors that will always come in handy around the house (as well as on site for any professional readers).

Most useful is their use for pneumatic tools, like nail guns, and ground breakers, or even speedy fence painting as they can be attached to spray guns to achieve perfect even finishes on boundary fences and sheds.

My favourite use though? Air compressors can be attached to industrial pressure washers (Be sure check our review on the best pressure washers here). Now I don’t know about you, but I hate scrubbing the decking, and we’ve got all sorts of wildlife here that love to make a mess of our patio. 

The wall; behind the pond is constantly covered in algae, and even the best pressure washer won’t budge the worst of the dirt. Unless of course, it’s a pressure washer connected to an air compressor!

Seriously, unless you’ve used a compressed pressure washer, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

What to Look for When Buying an Air Compressor

Buying an Air Compressor

There are a couple of key factors to look at when choosing the best compressor, which we’ll discuss below, but one simple thing to look for is size.

Air compressors are very varied when it comes to weight and size. Basically, bigger air compressors have more power, and hold more air.

Air Compressor Noise Levels

Air compressors can be incredibly loud machines, but regularly checking the oil level will help reduce sound. The noise level of air compressors can be up to 100 decibels (if it’s any louder, don’t buy it) which is the noise level of a chain saw, but the quieter you go, the better.

Air Compressor PSI

Really, the only truly important factor when choosing the best air compressor is its PSI (Pounds per square inch), which measures the pressure of gases, in this case, atmospheric air.

A less powerful air compressor can fill up a tire to the same PSI as a more powerful model, but the higher powered compressor would be faster.

Different Types of Air Compressor

Different Types of Air Compressor

Stationary Air Compressors

Firstly, it’s important to state that stationary air compressors can be moved, but they are much bulkier, and generally better just used around the house. Stationary air compressors are generally much more powerful than portable air compressors.

The down side of stationary air compressors is the noise level as they are running pressurised pistons to generate the pressure that allows us to use a constant supply or high pressure air.

If you have to use a stationary air compressor for a long period of time you should use ear defenders to protect yourself from any hearing damage, but do make sure to check the decibel of any air compressor you buy before purchasing.

Stationary air compressor are usually quite heavy, so if you do plan on keeping it in the garage, that’s ok, but if you’re buying an air compressor to spray walls, fences, or run power tools from in the garden, then look for smaller models that can be easily carried around.

Portable Air Compressors

Portable air compressors are the small air compressors that run from your car battery (either from spark plugs, or cigarette lighters). They’re great tools for an emergency, but usually only run at up to 12V so aren’t nearly powerful enough for running power tools from.

You can buy air compressors with built-in batteries, but make sure you check the battery life before you buy an air compressor. Old-fashioned compressors will run from full-charge to empty in a matter of minutes, so check if it has a modern lithium-ion battery.

How to Use an Air Compressor

How to Use an Air Compressor

Depending on the type of air compressor you have, the guidance can vary, so make sure to consult the directions supplied with your model, but there are a few general principles that should be followed:

  • Ensure the air compressor is always on flat, stable ground and stored upright, when in use, it should remain stable, and any cables should have enough excess that they trail on the floor to prevent tripping or knocking the compressor while in operation.
  • Air compressors should have their oil level clearly displayed. If the oil level is below, or neat to minimum, refill the oil. Oil is essential for the operation of the pistons that power compression. 
  • If there is a drain valve on your air compressor, close it before use.
  • Turn the compressor on, and let it run until it reaches full pressure (PSI).
  • Set the value to the minimum PSI of the tool you plan to use, or to the PSI of the tire you are about to inflate.
  • Connect the hose from the compressor to the tool / inlet valve, and turn it on. 
  • Most modern air compressors will stop pumping when the set PSI is reached, but keep an eye on the gauge and disconnect the hose and switch off the machine if it exceeds maximum PSI.
  • When finished with the tool, store it safely and upright away from moisture.

Best Air Compressor Reviews

1. Vepa VADD20-50 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Vepa VADD20-50 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The 50L tank on this lightweight air compressor from Vepa Air is ideal for domestic use, or on-site use, but doesn’t quite have the stamina of larger machines.

What you save in tank size, you save in cost though, and this is a truly good value machine, with 115psi as its standard pressure, running at 2850 RPM so you can work quickly and efficiently. 

When the 50L tank runs out, it can refill in about 20 seconds too, which is a pretty incredible turnaround.

Pros

  • Very fast refill
  • Great value
  • Well built
  • Trusted brand
  • Quiet
  • Low vibration

Cons

  • Heavy

2. Senator Z25 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Senator Z25 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Senator produces serious tools for professional contractors, so this high-powered air compressor is maybe out of the price range of most DIYers, but it’s still very much worth considering.

For the higher price, you get a huge 120L tank, and 125psi, making it the largest, and most powerful air compressor in our reviews.

Like most air compressors, it is mains powered, so completely hassle-free if you’re working onsite or with a decent generator too.

Pros

  • Fast (1080 rpm)
  • High pressure (125psi)
  • Huge tank (120L)
  • Ideal for most commercial uses
  • Really well built

Cons

  • Loud
  • Expensive

3. DeWalt DCC1054N-XJ FlexVolt XR Cordless Air Compressor

DeWalt DCC1054N-XJ FlexVolt XR Cordless Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

DeWalt has designed a great mini air compressor here. It’s got a small 10L tank, but refills in seconds and runs on fast charging batteries, making it one of the most convenient (and best value) air compressors on review here.

If you’re after a quick, budget-friendly, air compressor for use at home, around the garden, or for light applications on-site, then this has to be it.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • High pressure (9 bar)
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to transport
  • Perfect for home use

Cons

  • Batteries not included

4. Vepa Air VSC2400 Oil-Less Silent Air Compressor

Vepa Air VSC2400 Oil-Less Silent Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Vepa Air is dedicated to making high-quality air compressor units, and the VSC2400 is no exception. Its huge 100L tank and 3.3HP motor give consistently high pressure, making it perfect for almost any pneumatic tools.

It’s great for working over extended times too, thanks to its 75dB noise limit, making it one of the quietest air compressors on the market, and certainly quieter than any air compressors of its size.

Pros

  • 1400rpm
  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to transport
  • Well built
  • Low vibration
  • Corded electric

Cons

  • Expensive

5. Vepa Air VADD15-24 Direct Drive Air Compressor

Vepa Air VADD15-24 Direct Drive Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Vepa Air’s compact air compressor, the VADD15-24 is perfect for home use to run DIY pneumatic tools. Its 24L tank might not be huge, but it runs at 115psi and refills quickly (about 30 seconds) so you’ll not be without power for long.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Trusted brand
  • Fast refill
  • High pressure
  • Corded electric

Cons

  • Noisy

6. Unimac 24L Portable Direct Drive Air Compressor

Unimac 24L Portable Direct Drive Air Compressor

The huge tank on this air compressor makes it one of the most capable portable air compressors on the market. With a speedy refill time it’s great for painting, and even better thanks to its quiet operation. 

The Unimac air compressor runs at roughly the same volume of normal conversation, so is safe for long periods of use.

It’s really the space efficiency of this model that helps it stand out, with a tank late enough for most bog jobs, but not so big that you can’t get it up and down stairs.

Pros

  • Fast refill
  • Free tools
  • Tank size (24L)
  • Great value
  • Quiet
  • Good power (2 HP)
  • Mains Powered
  • High pressure (116 PSI)

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Bulky

7. Milwaukee M18FAC-0 FUEL Cordless Air Compressor

Milwaukee M18FAC-0 FUEL Cordless Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The portable air compressor by Milwaukee isn’t hugely powerful, nor is it that efficient, but it is incredibly convenient and super quiet.

If you’re after an affordable air compressor that stores easily, there aren’t many tools better than the Milwaukee M18FAC-0.

Pros

  • Incredibly quiet (68dB)
  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight
  • Great value
  • Perfect for domestic use, of small onsite work

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • Low pressure (90psi)

AGT Air Compressor Top Picks

Top Rated Air Compressor

Top Rated Best Air Compressor in Australia
Vepa VADD20-50 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Vepa’s 50L air compressor is by far the best all-round air compressor on the market, with a reasonable, but not overly powerful 2HP, powered by any 240V mains socket. It's easy to use, lightweight, and small enough to store.

Its real selling point is the re-filling speed. Once your tank’s gone, it refills in about 20 seconds, making it one of the most efficient air compressors you can buy, and for a decent price tag too.

Premium Choice Air Compressor

Premium Choice Air Compressor in Australia
Senator Z25 Belt Drive Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

If you’re looking to buy the best, and have the space and the budget for it, then the Senator Z25 air compressor is pretty much unbeatable for compact air compressors.

It refills quickly, it’s reasonably compact but has a huge 120l tank that runs at 5.5HP, meaning it can refill in under a minute.

Best Value Air Compressor

Best Value Air Compressor in Australia
DeWalt DCC1054N-XJ FlexVolt XR Cordless Air Compressor

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

DeWalt’s DCC1054N is the best budget air compressor by a fair way. Its price tag alone puts a smile on our faces, but it’s its convenience that really wins out.

Weighing just 11kg, and fitting on most shelves, it's ideal for home use and opens up a whole world of pneumatic tools without having to splash out thousands on bulky models.

Air Compressor FAQs

How do air compressors work?

All air compressors have slightly different methods of pressurising air. Some air compressors work by pumping air through piston chambers which fill and empty at pace in a series of chambers.

This allows constant flow and circulation of gas, but uses more power. Other air compressors fill a pressurised tank and push air evenly through the hose. These are the best for steady tools like paint sprayers.

What size air compressor do I need?

Pneumatic nail guns require short bursts of power, so do not need a tank, and will work perfectly well on passive flows of compressed air, but for most tools, a tank is the best option as it gives a steady and constant stream of pressurised air.

Each tool should have a guide for the tank capacity required to run it efficiently.

What is a good size air compressor for home use?

For decorating, including painting walls and fences, you’ll need an air compressor with a tank, rather than a passive flow, so make sure you’re looking for air compressors with at least 5-6 CFM, otherwise you’ll be waiting for the pressure to refill every few minutes.

How much PSI do I need for air tools?

Most air tools need a PSI of around 70-90 PSI from the air compressor that powers them, which is usually in the range of any budget air compressor.

It might still be worth a mid-range compressor for these tasks though, as the compressor should have a higher capacity than the flow needed for the tool.

Other buying guides you may be interested in: 

Time to Get Your Own Air Compressor

There’s no such thing as a right way or a wrong way to garden, but I think we can all agree that the best methods are those that allow us to spend the most time enjoying our outdoor spaces, and relaxing in them.

Air compressors might seem excessive to domestic gardeners, but they certainly speed up those long laborious maintenance jobs around the garden.

For commercial gardeners and professional landscapers though, finding the best air compressors is essential, as you’ll need maximum capacity and high PSI to give you the option of using any tool you need around your clients’ gardens.

Best Air Compressors Australian Buyers Guide

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Author:

Gary Clarke

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  1. Hi Gary

    thanks for the review of these compressors. I am currently looking at buying a compact compressor for garden and small nailing jobs. I have read other good reviews of both the Bostitch and Craftsman compressors but note that both are shipped from the USA by Amazon, are these units safe for operation in Australia and do they need a step down converter to allow them to run on Australian 240V? Cheers… Howard

  2. Hi Howard,

    They won’t need a converter but will need a socket adapter to run on Australian sockets. The Bostich and Crafstman compressors are sold with Australian plugs at most retailers too, but for the price of a plug adapter, they’re considerably cheaper online.

    Best Regards,

    Gary Clarke

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