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5 Best 30-Gallon Air Compressors – Top Picks & Guide 2021

actual photo of Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor

Air compressors come in all shapes and sizes. You can find small, portable air compressors, as well as those that are far too large to move on your own. Generally, 30-gallon air compressors are considered “average.” They are often used for home garages as they are powerful enough to inflate toys and car tires without taking up too much room. You can even use them to power some tools.

For the average homeowner and even some professionals, a 30-gallon air compressor is all you need. However, not all of these air compressors are made equal. Some work great, while others are truthfully not worth owning.

Below, you’ll find our reviews for some of the best air compressors on the market. Hopefully, these reviews will help you choose the best option for your situation and needs.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor
  • Tires attached
  • Useable with a 120-volt and a 240-volt outlet
  • 155 PSI maximum
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor
  • Works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets
  • Shipped with synthetic oil
  • 155-PSI maximum pressure
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Air Compressor Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Air Compressor
  • Quiet
  • Durable cast iron
  • Uses an all-season synthetic lubricant
  • Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor
  • Works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets
  • 2-stage pump
  • Metal belt guard
  • Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066 Portable Air Compressor Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066 Portable Air Compressor
  • Cast iron
  • The 5 Best 30-Gallon Air Compressors – Reviews 2021

    1. DEWALT Portable Air Compressor – Best Overall

    DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor

    The DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor is 30-gallon and designed to be portable. It has 7 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 40 pounds per square inch (PSI) and 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI. It can deliver 155 PSI maximum, which is quite useful for an air compressor of this size. It can also be used to run some lower-powered tools because of this. This tank is vertical and portable. It has pre-attached pneumatic tires with maximum portability. It is effortless to move around when you need to.

    The dual-voltage motor is wired for the standard 120-volt outlet, though it can also be used in a 240-volt outlet. This allows you to place this air compressor just about anywhere, making it very versatile and portable. This air compressor is shipped with synthetic oil for optimal performance and a longer life span. Different parts of the machine have different warranties. The pump has a 2-year warranty, and all the other parts have a 1-year warranty.

    All the on-board controls allow you to quickly access the high-flow regulator, the pressure gauges, and the on/off switch. All the gauges are easy to read, and the controls are easy to figure out as well.

    Pros
    • Tires attached
    • 155 PSI maximum
    • Useable with a 120-volt and a 240-volt outlet
    • Shipped with synthetic oil
    • 1-year warranty on all parts
    Cons
    • Vibrates a lot

    2. Industrial Air Air Compressor – Best Value

    Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor

    For a cheaper alternative, the Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor is a reliable option. It is made of cast iron and has an oil-lubricated pump. Just like our top pick, it has a 155-PSI maximum output. This allows it to be used with a large variety of tools. It is also rated for heavy-duty work, though it may not be enough for a professional. It has a dual-voltage motor that is wired for a 120-volt outlet. However, it can also be converted to work with 240-volt outlets and allow you to use it no matter what outlets you have in your workshop.

    Like many air compressors, this one is shipped with synthetic oil for higher performance and longer lifespan. It is equipped with everything you need to use this air compressor efficiency, including pressure gauges, an on/off switch, and a quick-set regulator. The motor is heavy-duty and lasts a long time through regular use. We recommend this as the best 30-gallon air compressor for the money because of all these great features.

    The only problem with this air compressor is that it is a bit less durable than other market options. For this reason, we didn’t like it nearly as much as our top pick. However, it is a great option if you need to stick to a budget.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets
    • Shipped with synthetic oil
    • 155-PSI maximum pressure
    Cons
    • Less durable than other options

    3. Ingersoll-Rand Air Compressor – Premium Choice

    Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Air Compressor

    If you need a great air compressor, the Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Air Compressor is the best premium option on the market. It has an ergonomic, heavy-duty handle and pneumatic tires for portability. The handle and wheels work quite well together, making this machine very easy to move around. It has a noise level of only 80 decibels (dB). This is a bit quieter than most other machines on the market. Of course, you will still need to use hearing protection while using it.

    This air compressor uses a specially formulated, all-season synthetic lubricant. This increases its efficiency and makes it suitable for over 2,000 hours of service before changeouts. This lubricant significantly improves this machine’s efficiency and is likely one of the main reasons this air compressor is so much better than other options on the list.

    We particularly liked the durable cast iron frame and cylinder. While this does make it a bit heavier than other options, it also makes it significantly more durable. It lasts much longer than most other air compressors, allowing you to get your money’s worth. It even has a manual overload motor to protect it from possible damage.

    Pros
    • Quiet
    • Uses an all-season synthetic lubricant
    • Durable cast iron
    • Manual overload motor
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor

    Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor

    The Campbell Hausfeld XC302100 Air Compressor is quite a bit more expensive than other options. Because of this, you would expect it to have premium options. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. This is not a bad air compressor, but it just isn’t worth the extra money in most cases. It does use an oil-lubricant and a 2-stage pump. Both of these features increase the longevity of the machine. This air compressor is also usable with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets, allowing professionals to use them in the workshop and worksite.

    The motor on this machine has a fully enclosed metal belt guard. This protects the motor while the belt is running and protects you from accidents as well.

    There were a few problems with shipping. This air compressor sometimes comes with damaged parts. The filter seems to be the part that is most prone to damage. The machine isn’t usable if important parts like this are damaged. This machine also doesn’t have a warranty, so you have to pay out of pocket to fix it if it is broken.

    Pros
    • Works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets
    • 2-stage pump
    • Metal belt guard
    Cons
    • Shipping problems
    • Insignificant warranty

    5. Porter Cable Portable Air Compressor

    Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066 Portable Air Compressor

    While Porter Cable usually makes pretty decent tools, we did not like their Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066 Portable Air Compressor very much in the least. We placed it on the bottom of our list for a few different reasons. Firstly, the drain valve is in a terrible position. It is at the very bottom of the machine, leaving little clearance between your hand and the ground. We scraped our knuckles multiple times trying to get the air compressor to work. It just wasn’t a good design in the least.

    Secondly, this machine only has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. As you might have noticed, this is lower than most of the other options on our list. It will not work with most pneumatic tools and is only suitable for very light jobs. Thirdly, it isn’t significantly much cheaper than other options either. It doesn’t provide any extra features for the extra money you’re paying. In many cases, you can find a much better air compressor for the same cost. It just isn’t worth the money.

    Pros
    • Cast iron
    Cons
    • Poorly designed drain valve
    • Maximum pressure of 135 PSI
    • Not inexpensive

    Buyer’s Guide

    There are a few things you should know about 30-gallon air compressors before you decide to purchase one. While there are many excellent options on the market, which you should buy depends mostly on your personal needs.

    This section will help you assess your needs and choose the best air compressor for your situation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Before we jump into all the different features of air compressors, let’s review some of the most frequently asked questions regarding these machines.

    Will a 30-gallon air compressor paint a car?

    It depends! A 30-gallon air compressor should be enough to paint a car. However, not every air compressor of this size will be able to. It depends mostly on the CFM the air compressor can produce, as well as the CFM of the paint gun you’re planning on using.

    If your air compressor’s CFM is higher than the CFM your tool needs, you can use it to paint your car without much of an issue. As you can see, the main problem lies in the air compressor’s power, not necessarily how big it is.

    How big of an air compressor do I need?

    It depends entirely on what you plan to do with the air compressor. If you need it to inflate balls and tires, you don’t need a huge one at all. On the other hand, if you need it to run a specific tool, you need to ensure that the air compressor you purchase is powerful enough to run that tool.

    You can do this pretty quickly. Each tool should have a CFM rating. Multiply this by 1.5 for the minimum CFM rating you need for your air compressor. Then, find an air compressor that matches that rating! It is that simple.

    Can I leave the air in my compressor?

    If you are expecting to use the air compressor within 24 hours, then you can safely leave the compressed air inside of it. However, unplug the power, so it doesn’t just keep running for the next day. If you aren’t planning on using your air compressor again for a few days, drain the tank entirely and unplug it.

    Can a 30-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

    In most cases, yes. This shouldn’t be a problem for most air compressors. In general, you need a minimum of 6-gallons to use an impact wrench, so a 30-gallon air compressor should have no problem. However, you should still ensure that the air compressor is rated high enough for the impact wrench.

    close up DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor

    Features

    When buying an air compressor, there are a few features you need to stay on the lookout for. There is no set list of features you need to look for, as the particulars depend primarily on your specific situation.

    Noise Level

    The noise level of an air compressor matters significantly. If you’re working in an enclosed space, you should buy a quiet air compressor. If the air compressor is too loud, it will be even louder in an enclosed space where the sound can bounce off the walls. If you’re using the air compressor outside, this is less of a problem. You won’t have to worry as much about sound since it will be able to dissipate easier.

    Of course, if you lived in a crowded neighborhood, sound may be even more critical. Some areas have regulations that control how loud machines like this can be in residential situations.

    Outlet Needs

    Some air compressors need a regular 120-volt outlet, while others require a 240-volt outlet. Some of the best air compressors out there will be usable with both outlets. However, this is not true for all compressors out there, so you should always double-check before making your purchase.

    If a machine requires a 240-volt air compressor and you only have a 120-volt one in your workspace, this will be a significant problem. Always check the outlet requirements before you make your purchase.

    Air Pressure

    How much air pressure a machine can produce is a rating of how powerful it is. Sometimes, a company will try to convince you that horsepower is what you should be looking at. However, the importance of horsepower is exaggerated and doesn’t tell you much. You need to know how much pressure a machine can generate, which is the maximum air pressure.

    Most tools require about 90 PSI to run correctly. However, different tools have different power needs, so you should always double-check if you want to run a particular tool.

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    Conclusion

    There are tons of air compressors available on the market. However, 30-gallons is typically big enough for most homeowners. A tank this big can do just about everything around the house. But they are not all made equal, so it is essential to choose only the best.

    For most purposes, we preferred the DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor. It has a maximum PSI of 155, which is plenty powerful for most uses. It also has a long lifespan and is quite portable, thanks to the tires.

    If you’re on a budget, our top pick may be a bit too expensive, though. In these cases, we recommend the Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor. This air compressor is a bit cheaper, but it is still suitable for most purposes.

    We hope our reviews and buyer’s guide helped you find the best air compressor for your needs!

    Other posts you may be interested in reading:

    -> Best Air Compressors for Impact Wrenches 2020

    -> Best Air Compressors For Nail Guns 2020

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