This post was most recently updated on October 12th, 2020
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
You should know the importance of air compressors if you’re into home remodeling or any other industrial site jobs. Air compressors are prevalent and useful machines with broad applicability.
They can be used in different working places like a car wash, woodshop, auto body shop, medical and dental services, ski hills, and many more.
When you’re buying an air compressor, you need to choose the right one. More so, different designs and kinds of air compressors on the market will confuse you.
So, to choose the right one with a low budget, you need nothing but our recommendation. Here, we have compiled a list of the 5 air compressors to help you out.
Best Air Compressor under $500 Comparison in 2020
|BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit, 2-Tool (BTFP2KIT)||336 Reviews||$222.79||Buy on Amazon|
|California Air Tools CAT-4620AC-22060 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 2.0 hp 4.0 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank...||336 Reviews||$420.00||Buy on Amazon|
|GX CS2 Portable PCP Air Compressor,4500Psi/30Mpa,Oil-Free,Powered by Car 12V DC or Home 110V AC...||334 Reviews||$359.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor||888 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|GX CS3 PCP Air Compressor, Auto-Stop,Oil-Free, Built-in Water-Oil Separator Filter, Powered by...||304 Reviews||$499.99||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How Do Air Compressors Work?
Air compressors function by forcing pressurized air into a container. The air then compels through the opening of the tank where the pressure builds up.
For example, take a gallon and fill it with air, then open it. You would notice that air will rush out with force.
When the balloon is opened, the compressed air released can be used as energy. These air compressors are powered by a motor that converts electrical energy or power into kinetic energy.
They work similarly to a combustion engine that uses a piston, valve, connecting rod, head, and crankshaft.
When the tank is filled with pressured air to its full capacity, the motor will be shut, and the pressured air will be reserved in the tank until it is used.
The ability of air compressors to store air with its tank makes it different from a pump. Compressed air in the tank can also power a wide range of tools such as sanders, impact wrenches, nailers, and paint sprayers.
After the air stored in the tank has been released, the container will be decompressed. Then from the lowest limit of the container, the compressor re-pressurizes, and resumes, generating potential energy within the tank, thereby fill it with air.
Types of Compressors
There are numerous types of compressors out there, and they can be categorized in a myriad of different ways. In this article, we will categorize air compressors in terms of pressure, designs, and functionality.In terms of pressure, there are three major types of compressors.
These include high-pressure compressors, medium-pressure compressor, and low-pressure compressors.
The high-pressure compressors produce more than 1,000 Pound per Square Inches, medium-pressure compressors produce 151 Pound per Square Inches to 1,000 Pound per Square Inches, and low-pressure compressors produce 150 Pound per Square Inches or less.
Secondly, in terms of designs and functionality, air compressors can be categorized into many groups. We are going to look at the common ones.
These include a two-stage reciprocating compressor, rotary-screw compressor, and rotary-air compressor (spiral lobe oil flooded screw).
Also, single-stage helical air is the most common rotary-air compressor. If you’re looking for an air compressor built for high capacity, then this is the best option for you.
Rotary screw air compressors and reciprocating air compressors are the most popular and used types of compressors. They are popular because they are efficient, sturdy, and durable.
Top 5 Air Compressor under $500 Reviews in 2020
There are many great air compressors out there; we’ve reviewed dozens and picked the best five under 500 dollars. Let’s take a look at what makes these five air compressors great, and the benefits they have to offer.
Bostitch Air Compressor
Bostitch has a legacy that speaks for itself in the tools and appliances industry. They’ve been on the market since 1896, building rock-solid tools that are plain and simple.
If you want a professional level air compressor under budget, this product is the ideal choice for you.
And Bostitch air compressor’s price range, features, and efficiency were awesomely outstanding.
That’s not all; it features superior mobility options and functional designs that have increased its hype even more. Bostitch air compressor is exceptional, considering its low budget.
Therefore, making the list of the 5 air compressors isn’t a surprise. This product is forty-two pounds, which makes it one of the lightest air compressors on the market. It is easy to move around, although it can only hold just six gallons of compressed air.
You don’t need to worry about the risk of oil stains on surfaces; it features an oil-free function that eliminates oil stains and also requires no daily maintenance.
For easy start-up in cold weather, this air compressor features a Bostitch high-efficiency motor and an extension cord application of about 15.2m or less.
Also, you don’t need to make a loud noise while working with an air compressor, that’s why the Bostitch comes with 78.5 dBA operational noise level for a quiet work environment.
The compressor features an air-powered motor with greater air pressure and has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.
As a result, it will deliver 2.6 CFM at 90PSI pump. So, you can conserve more air to run air-tools for extended periods with quick recovery.
Latest Review: Best Air Compressor under $300
California Air Tool Air Compressor
This list of the Top 5 air compressors under 500 would never be complete without mentioning the California Air Tools Air Compressor. This compressor is also an outstanding air compressor within a budget range.
Despite its low price range, the features of this compressor were quite impressive compared to any other air compressors on our list.
The California Air Tool is an oil-free and ultra-quiet air compressor; this makes it one of the quietest 2.0 HP compressors on the market with just 70 dBA of sound.
And this air compressor features a powerful 2.0 HP engine that operates at only 1680 RPM making less noise and less wear.
For high durability and performance, the compressor features an oil-free dual-piston pump system.
California Air Tool air compressor has an oil-free pump that is versatile; it can be used in various temperatures and uneven terrain. You can easily start up the engine using less starting amps; all thank its easy start valve feature.
What’s more, this compressor is easy to move around the job site; its large 4.6-gallon aluminum air tank is only 67.2 pounds.
So, if you’re looking for airflow, power, less service, and maintenance with the low noise level, this machine is designed for you.
The body construction of this air compressor seemed quite efficient to make it a long-lasting one. Its low RPM motor contributes to a long life cycle of up to 3000 hours before wear.
GX Portable Air Compressor
When it comes to air compressors, there is a wide range of options, but a clear frontrunner in terms of portability and ease of use is the GX portable air compressor.
This air compressor is popular for its durability and efficiency, with many unique features that enhance the portability and functionality of the model.
GX portable air compressor has a net weight of only 6.7 kg, making it lightweight, compact, and easy to carry.
This air compressor does not need oil, cooling water, and external pump water to cool because it features a built-in fan cooling system.
You can power this air compressor by the 12V car battery or home 110V AC outlet power choice. Also, the compressor offers up to 250W power for powerful and fast inflating speed.
What’s more, the compressor has a multi-purpose use; you can use the electric air pump for equipment and devices with less than 1L tank, such as paintball, air gun rifle, mini-diving bottles, and so on.
GX portable air compressor can also be used for firefighting, automobiles, pressure-tight test, leakage detecting, and so on.
For people who want easy-to-use, low-budget, an oil-free option that offers both short-term and long-term durability, this powerful, portable model is a great option.
That’s not all; the air compressor also features a high-pressure gauge; this allows you to read the pressure change.
Related Guide: Air Purifier under $200 Reviews
Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor
Makita MAC2400 air compressor is another amazing product for its powerful motor and ease of use.
It is a popular manufacturer of many industrial accessories and industrial durable power tools. MAC2400 was selected on our list of the 5 air compressors because of its efficiency and durability.
The only condition with this air compressor is that it lacks a mobility feature, but it makes up for that with its solid performance.
Would you love to do your multitasking like a pro? If yes, then Makita MaAC2400 is the best option for you.
It has a powerful motor that is strong enough to let you use two nailers at a time. This product is ideal for you if you are looking for a compressor for an impact wrench.
And the compressor has a low AMP that reduces the incidences of tripped breakers during engine start-up.
Also, this helps to reduce the incidences of voltage drop, which can lead to premature motor failure. It features a twin stacked tank with a capacity of 4.2 gallons, which is suitable for home-usage.
One of the eye-catching features of this compressor is its powerful 2.5 HP motor that produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI to deliver remarkable results on heavy usage.
Makita MAC2400 air compressor has an in-built thermal overload to protect the motor from overheating.
Another plus point of this air compressor is that it features an oil-lubricated pump for cooler running temperature and minimizes wear. Besides, the durable cast iron cylinder is removable for easy maintenance.
Also, the compressor is built to withstand extreme job site environments, all thanks to its roll cage construction, and Big Bore cylinder and piston.
The only drawback of this incredible compressor is that it’s quite heavy and has no wheel, which made it a bit hard to transfer.
You may need to keep it in a permanent place, but part of that, the overall performance of this product is outstanding.
GX CS3 Air Compressor
This portable air compressor from GX Pump has a 1.5-gallon tank with a built-in oil-water filter for breathing air.
It features an auto shut-off that lets you set your desired pressure while filling a rifle or piston without hassle. This stops you from having to watch the pressure gauge when the compressor is at work.
One of the biggest trends in the air compressor market is the need for efficient, new, durable, low maintenance machines.
GX CS3 air compressor is certainly the best option for that desire, working conveniently with the inclusion of a tank drain valve that makes its maintenance much quicker and easier.
And this feature also helps to save a lot of energy in future usage. One of the eye-catching benefits of this product is its versatility; you can fill your PCP anywhere since it can be directly powered by a 12V car battery. Also, you can power this machine by the home AC outlet for home-usage.
Another important feature that needs to be noted is its in-built fan cooling system. This machine would never get hot even when it is used for an extended period.
Also, you don’t need to worry about wire winding; it features a wire spool that helps to bind various kinds of tapes and wires.
GX CS3 air compressor pump is very safe because it features a 3 type safety device design such as the safety valve, adjustable pressure gauge, and burst disc. You with a full year warranty on every PCP pump.
That means that if you are faced with any problem while using the compressor, contact GX, and they will fix the problem until you are satisfied.
What to Look for before Buying
As we said earlier, there are different makers of air compressors on the market. Most of them offer low-quality compressors within budget to trick you into buying one of their products.
You need to consider some important factors before buying an air compressor under 500 dollars.
This is to ensure that you buy a compressor that would work as great as a high-quality professional air compressor. So, for you to choose right, here’s a guide to buying the high-quality air compressor.
Air Compressor Price
Because you have a fixed budget for the product you want to buy, the first thing you need to keep in mind is the price range.
You will only get the product according to your budget, so air compressor price is an important factor to consider before buying the compressor.
Also, you should note that the cheapest product would not provide the best service. But with the help of this review, you should be able to get yourself the best product within your budget.
The horsepower capacity of the air compressor’s motor determines how long it will run without a recharge.
So, if you want a compressor that can handle heavy-duty, you have to consider going for the ones with higher motor capacity with an adequate tank.
You should also note that the higher the motor runs, the noisier it will be.
The noise output of the air compressor is also an important factor to consider before buying a compressor. When the air compressor is noisy, it may disturb your immediate neighborhood and other family members.
It can also be harmful to your ears as the operator. For job site usage, a noisy compressor may hinder communication with the team.
You need to check for the portability options of your air compressor. If you’re planning on moving your air compressor to job sites or around the house, then it must be compact and portable.
Some air compressors, especially the tall stand types, have wheels that enable them to be moved from one place to another.
On the other hand, most of the air compressors with no wheels are difficult to carry. To solve this problem, most air compressors with no wheels now come in compact sizes.
Not all air compressors are capable of powering multiple airbrush tools or nailers at a time. So, if you’re just a home remodeler, most air compressors are ideal for the type of your job.
The materials used for body construction of your air compressor is also an important thing you should have in mind before purchasing the product.
You should go for air compressors made with durable materials with cast-iron pumps and sturdy hose housing that minimizes wear.
Purpose of Buying Air Compressor
Compressor air has been adapted as a perfect and reliable power source in some industrial sites. Air compressors are indispensable equipment in industrial sites such as mining, automotive industry, construction, chemical manufacturing, and so on.
Air compressors are used to different power types of pneumatic tools, including sanders, drills, impact wrenches, spray guns, staplers, nailers, and many more.
So, let’s look at six purposes out of the several purposes of buying an air compressor. Here are the six purposes below:
When an air compressor powers a paint spray gun, it will make a DIY painting of furniture and different-sized cabinets much easier. An Air compressor helps give your woodwork a stunning and smooth finish.
The function of an air compressor is not limited to only furniture and cabinets spraying. Some powerful compressors are also to power spray guns for car painting.
Air compressors are also used auto-repairing. You can use an air compressor to easily remove bolts in tight spaces.To do this, you will need to attach an air ratchet tool to the compressor.
Also, air compressors can be used in a variety of automotive works such as bolt removal, spray cleanup, plasma cutting, spark plug removal, and so on.
Drying and Dust Removing
One of the common purposes of buying an air compressor is for dry and dust removal. If you want to remove excess water from surfaces like quads, vehicles, bike, machinery, then an air compressor is a must-have.
An air compressor also helps to eliminate dust from your keyboard, shelving, and computer screen.
If you also want to remove all the dust ingrained in your equipment’s cracks and crevices, then you should get an air compressor asap!
Air compressors can also be used to sandblast some certain materials like wood and metal. Also, people have been seen using air compressor as an air sander to smoother items.
Air compressor is a must-have for carpenters who use nail guns regularly. The air compressor helps to power the nail gun to work effectively. Also, pneumatic tools are used with the air compressor to get the carpentry job done easily.
Direct Driven Air Compressor or Belt-Driven Air Compressor
Most people make the wrong choices between the two designs of air compressors without knowing their differences.
But don’t worry, our guide will help you understand the differences between direct driven and belt-driven air compressors and which option is perfect for your specific job types.
The two designs of air compressors both produce high-pressure output, but it all depends on the kind of jobs they are needed for.
The major difference between the two designs is the inclusion of pulley and a system of a belt.
Occasionally, a direct-driven air compressor is ideal for most home remodeling and professional job site services.
A direct-driven compressor’s motor is directly connected to the pump unit, which is usually lubricated and oil-free.
This type of compressor requires less maintenance since it first uses belts that wear down easily. The engine lock has a crankshaft that is directly attached to the motor.
The rod and piston are fixed to the crankshaft, which allows the piston to move when the engine rotates.
What We Like
• Less moving parts
• Lightweight, easy to move around the job site
• Perfect for pneumatic tools because its output pressure is adjustable
• Low maintenance
• Consumes less power
What We Don’t Like
• It’s noisy
• Motor failure due to extreme heat
All belt-driven compressors have a belt that connects the motor of the compressor pump with pulleys.
The pump to your compressor is powered when the motor runs, which makes the belt turns. In belt-driven air compressors, the crankshaft is directly attached to the compressor’s motor.
Belt-driven compressors offer greater flexibility because a well-lubricated belt system runs smoothly and also produces a quiet and efficient operation.
They are also affordable, user-friendly, and easier to maintain.
What We Like
• Create less friction
• Quiet operation
• Efficient and long-lasting
• Highly durable
• Higher industrial output
• Easy to operate
What We Don’t Like
• Consume huge power
• Belt system requires more maintenance
Maintenance of Air Compressor
The maintenance of an air compressor is very important, as it will help increase its functionality for a long time.
To help you maintain your air compressor, we’ve compiled a checklist that includes all you need to check for while maintaining your compressor.
• Air leakage: Check daily
• Vibration and oil: Check daily
• Belt inspection: Check daily
• Pump oil level: Check daily
• Drain water in the tank: Check daily
• Air filter clean-up: Weekly
• Leaks connection: Check monthly
• Bolts tightening: Check monthly
You should service your air compressor every 12 months, although most compressors are serviced based on hours (A 3,000-hour service).
Make sure you use the recommended compressor oil by the manufacturer while servicing. Synthetic blend compressor oil is also the best option required for servicing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the best compressors under 500:
An air compressor is a mechanical device that uses electric motor, diesel or gasoline engine to convert power into kinetic energy reserved in compressed air (i.e., pressurized air).
For you to determine the size of the air compressor that will meet your requirements, you need to specify what it will be used for.
If you want to use it to power pneumatic tools, then you need to know the CFM of each tool.
Also, air compressors used in home remodeling are usually in compact and portable sizes. So the size also depends on the type of job you’re using it for.
Air compressors have a lot of benefits over other power sources. We’re going to mention a few. These include:
Safety is one of the biggest benefits of air compressors. They are easy to use and also reduce electrical shock potentials.
Pneumatic tools are lightweight than electric tools; this makes the tools more ergonomic.
And air compressors are mobile, which makes compressed air more flexible than electrical tools.
Most air compressors have a pressure gauge, which helps to regulate the amount of compressed air within a piping system.
It is common that some tools consume more air than others. Therefore, air pressure is determined by the highest minimum pressure requirement.
Tools like pneumatic staplers and nailers consume little amount of air pressure while sprayers and air grinders consume larger amounts of air pressure.
It is normal to worry about hitting the dew point, but a quality air dryer would help you control the dew point of your compressed air system.
We’ve come to the end of this article. And we hope you were able to find resources that will help you choose the right product out of the 5 air compressors under $500.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases