Best Air Compressor Under $100

Introduction

Are you looking to spend $100 or less on a reliable air compressor? If so, you’ve come to the perfect place! I’ll be sharing five of my favourite air compressors under $100 with you in this article. It is critical to consider the PSI, CFM, Duty Cycle, and Tank Size requirements, all of which are dependent on the items you want to utilise the compressor to power, when choosing the best air compressor in any price range.

Second, there are what I would call “commercial considerations” which include the up-front cost and making sure the compressor is useful to you, reliable, and durable. Given this, you should also think about the compressor’s guarantee to make sure you can get it fixed or replaced if anything goes wrong.

Keep in mind that for $100 and less, you won’t be getting the best possible compressor out there and there will be some serious trade-offs, even when comparing to the $100 – $200 level. Most of the air compressors under $100 will essentially only be intended for jobs such as inflating tires, pool toys and air mattresses. Some can be used for less intensive DIY jobs too such as nailing. But at this price point, you will generally struggle to power air tools.

Nevertheless, I have chosen 5 machines that still do a great job in most household jobs you can throw at them, as well as some home shop applications.

My top choices are below, and following those, the next section will present a more in-depth analysis of the technical and practical aspects to consider when choosing an air compressor for less than $100.

If you’re looking to spend more than $100, have a look at our other guides:

Best Air Compressor For Under $200

Best Air Compressor For Under $300

Best Air Compressor For Under $400

Best Air Compressor For Under $500

Top 5 Air Compressors for Under $100 – Amazon

VIAIR 88P Portable Compressor Kit (12V, 120 Psi, Forup to 33" Tires)

★★★★★
$88.95
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎VIAIR
  • Model Name: ‎88P Portable Compressor Kit (12V, 120 PSI, for Up to 33" Tires)
  • Power Source: ‎Battery Powered
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎12.73 x 9.16 x 5.88 inches
  • Voltage: ‎12 Volts
  • Item Weight: ‎4.75 Pounds
  • Hose Length: ‎16 Feet
  • Manufacturer: ‎Viair
  • Part Number: ‎88
  • Item Weight: ‎4.75 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎12.73 x 9.16 x 5.88 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎88P
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎120
  • Included Components: ‎88P Portable Compressor Kit (12V, 120 PSI, for Up to 33" Tires)
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

  • 120 PSI pressure gauge
  • Led work light/ power indicator
  • Dual battery clamps
  • Solid brass twist-on tire chuck
  • 3 pc. Inflation tips kit

Mighty Portable Inflator, 12V, 150 PSI Air Compressor, Pump with Safety Light & Accessories (Campbell Hausfeld AF010400)

★★★★★
$46.24
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Model Name: ‎Campbell Hausfeld Portable 12v Inflator with Safety Light & Accessories (AF010400)
  • Power Source: ‎DC
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎10.23 x 5.9 x 6.41 inches
  • Capacity: ‎4.19 Pounds
  • Voltage: ‎12 Volts (DC)
  • Item Weight: ‎4.19 Pounds
  • Hose Length: ‎31 Inches
  • Manufacturer: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Part Number: ‎AF010400
  • Item Weight: ‎4.19 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎10.23 x 5.9 x 6.41 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎AF010400
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Size: ‎Standard
  • Style: ‎Analog inflator
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎10.34 Bars
  • Cord Length: ‎120 Inches
  • Handle/Lever Placement: ‎Top
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Included Components: ‎Inflation Nozzle (1), Portable Air Inflator (1), Presta Adapter (1), Sports Needles (2)
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎1 Year Limited

Description

  • Inflates a standard R15 tire in under 4 minutes (100 PSI)
  • Threaded air hose valve ensures a leak-proof connection during inflation
  • Built-in LED light provides added security for night time, roadside emergencies
  • A 31 in. hose and a 10 ft. power cord makes it easy to reach every tire on your vehicle
  • Ideal for sports equipment to RV/truck tires and everything in between

Bon-Aire Craftsman 75120 12V Portable Inflator, 6.4 pounds

★★★★★
$46.04
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Bon-Aire
  • Model: ‎75120
  • Power Source: ‎AC
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎8.5 x 4 x 7 inches
  • Capacity: ‎140 Cubic Inches
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Item Weight: ‎6.35 Pounds
  • Hose Length: ‎15 Feet
  • Noise Level: ‎80 dB
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎60 PSI
  • Manufacturer: ‎Bon-Aire Industries, Inc.
  • Item Weight: ‎6.35 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎8.5 x 4 x 7 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎75120
  • Exterior: ‎Painted
  • Manufacturer Part Number: ‎75120

Description

  • Plugs into 12-volt vehicle power outlet with 8-foot DC power cord
  • 15-foot coil high pressure air hose and 7 inflation accessories
  • 4-LED light, Easy read pressure gauge Rubber insulated quick connect coupling, screw-on valve
  • Compact, weighs only 6 lbs.60 SCFM @ 30 PSI. Rubber insulated carry handle and storage bag
  • Ideal for portable inflation of passenger car, SUV, truck, motorcycle, bike tires, sports balls and more

PowerMate Vx VNP0000101.01 1 gallon Pancake with Accessory Kit

★★★★★
$89.00
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Powermate Vx
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎12.8 x 11.81 x 14.33 inches
  • Capacity: ‎1 Gallons
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts (AC)
  • Item Weight: ‎12 Pounds
  • Manufacturer: ‎Powermate VX
  • Part Number: ‎VNP0000101.01
  • Item Weight: ‎12 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎12.8 x 11.81 x 14.33 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎VNP0000101.01
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎100 Bars
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Included Components: ‎Air Compressor and Accessory Kit
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

  • Oil free, maintenance free pump and UMC motor
  • Lightweight compact design for convenient storage and easy transport
  • Integrated handle for easy of transport
  • Rubber feet to stabilize the compressor during use
  • EXTRA VALUE KIT INCLUDES: 25’ Coil hose; 5pc Accessory Kit; Inflation Needle; Inflation Needle Adapter; Ball Tire Chuck; 2 Raft And Inflation Nozzles

Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator with Tire Repair Kit - 12V DC Air Pump for Car Tires with 150 PSI Gauge & Car Emergency Kit, Carry Case, Adaptors, Car Plug & Tire Patch Kit by WE LOVE TO DRIVE

★★★★★
$64.83
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎WE LOVE TO DRIVE
  • Model Name: ‎Dual Cylinders Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator with Gauge & Tire Repair Kit & Gloves
  • Power Source: ‎Battery Powered
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎13 x 9 x 6 inches
  • Capacity: ‎1 Cubic Feet
  • Voltage: ‎12 Volts
  • Item Weight: ‎8 Pounds
  • Hose Length: ‎3 Feet
  • Sound Level: ‎1 dB
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎70 LPM
  • Maximum Power: ‎12 Watts
  • Compatible Hose Diameter: ‎10 Feet
  • Amperage Capacity: ‎25 Amps
  • Manufacturer: ‎WE LOVE TO DRIVE
  • Part Number: ‎New Version Air Pump and Tire Repair Kit
  • Item Weight: ‎8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎13 x 9 x 6 inches
  • Size: ‎Large
  • Color: ‎Black and yellow
  • Finish: ‎Copper
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎150 Bars
  • Cord Length: ‎10 Feet
  • Usage: ‎Outdoor trunk truck cargo box pumped set compact ft heavy duty inflatables flat nozzle hose rubber
  • Included Components: ‎Portable Air Compressor, Tire Repair Kit, Carry Case, Adaptors, Extension Hose, Car Plug & Tire Patch Kit
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

  • 🚙 Simple To Use & Versatile - Convenient Inflation – Keep your WE LOVE TO DRIVE portable air pump and tire repair kit in your trunk for emergencies or regular maintenance. Carry everything you need in 1 included carrying case.
  • 🚙 Easy Function – Connect your electric air pump to your car’s 12V accessory socket or battery terminals. Easily fill all 4-6 of your tires with 10 ft. of flexible hosing and built-in pressure gauge.
  • 🚙 Complete Repair Kit – Durable product that’s made to last. Avoid getting stranded or having to use a donut spare thanks to your tire plug kit. Use a range of purpose-built tools to shape, fill, and seal small punctures wherever you are.
  • 🚙 Adaptable Air – Use your 12V air compressor kit to inflate a variety of tires and sporting equipment. Heavy Duty metal or hard plastic, Compress air up to 150 PSI and channel it through your choice of 3 different threaded adaptors.
  • 🚙 Our Promise to You – Drive with peace of mind thanks to your travel air compressor and excellent customer service. Your air-and-repair kit is backed by our commitment to your safe, successful travels.

Where Are Air Compressors Used?

Building, automotive, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, manufacturing, welding, food processing, agriculture, firefighting, oil & gas, pest control, landscaping, mining, heavy equipment, medical, and home improvement are just a few industries that depend on air compressors. They provide the compressed air required for the operation of pneumatic instruments, metal forming, heating, cooling, cleaning, and other tasks. There are many uses for air compressors, including industrial, household, and agricultural ones.

CFM Requirements

For the majority of the aforementioned purposes, compressed air is necessary. In cubic feet per minute, the compressed air flow rate is computed (CFM). No matter how much pressure is applied, an air compressor still generates the same quantity of airflow. The size and speed of the engine affect how well an air compressor works. The amount of air a compressor can create is determined by its horsepower rating.

In the $100 and under price bracket, most compressors either don’t provide a CFM figure, or the air flow is given in LPM, which is Litres Per Minute. When they do provide CFM, you’re looking at about 0.8 CFM max, which is about 23 LPM.

For further details on CFM, see What Is Air Compressor CFM in our guide.

PSI Requirements

Pressurized air is necessary for pressure supply systems to operate. The pressure regulator and the air compressor are the two main components of pressure supply systems. While air compressors create enormous amounts of compressed air, pressure regulators control the pressure that is delivered to air tools. The highest rated output of a typical air compressor is 160 psi, or 6 bar. Most air compressors operate at lower pressures than recommended and do not exceed their claimed capacity. For example, an air compressor operates at 40 psi instead of the specified 50 psi.

Most air compressors for under $100 are intended for inflating car tires as a minimum, so they are still usually capable of decent PSI figures of 120+.

See our guide What PSI Compressor Do I Need? for more information.

Duty Cycle

The amount of time an air compressor can operate at 100 PSI and a normal ambient temperature of 72° F before having to be shut down is known as its duty cycle.

Throughout each cycle of operation, the air compressor must maintain a constant volume of air flow (CFM) and pressure (PSI). This is an important factor to take into account if you want to use your air compressor for longer, high-demand applications since different compressor types have different duty cycles.

If an air compressor operated for 10 minutes before pausing for 5 minutes, its duty cycle would be 60%. The duty cycle of an air compressor varies according to usage. While some air compressors are used continuously, others are utilised sometimes until they are no longer necessary.

The duty cycle of the majority of consumer-level air compressors with a price tag of $100 or less is hard to know, as the manufacturers often don’t provide it.

For additional details, see our comprehensive reference What Is Air Compressor Duty Cycle?.

Horsepower (HP) Requirements

The amount of work a motor is capable of doing is expressed as “Horsepower” When determining if your compressor will work for you, pressure and flow are more important than a powerful motor since newer, more efficient compressors may do more with less horsepower. You may also save energy and get higher returns throughout the course of the compressor’s lifespan by doing more work with less horsepower.

An air compressor must simply be powerful enough to meet the system’s needs. In the sub-$100 price bracket, most machines will be well under 1 HP, perhaps more like 0.25 or 0.50 HP.

Tank Capacity

How long the compressor can keep producing air until the motor kicks in to pressurise the tank again depends on the tank capacity, which is measured in gallons. The tank has to be larger the longer a steady air pressure can be maintained.

Even while tanks may hold up to 80 gallons of fluid, a single power tool may only need a 3 gallon tank.

If you want to use an air compressor for heavy-duty applications, think about spending more money on one with a bigger tank since the required capacity is highly influenced by how many tools will be using the tank simultaneously.

The majority of devices under $100 have tanks that are no bigger than 1 gallons, with a few exceptions.

Noise Level

Before choosing a compressor that costs $100 or less, think about how it will be used and how it could affect the neighbourhood. Despite their modest size, certain compressors are noisy. Historically, oil-filled devices were quieter than their oil-free equivalents. Although ultra-quiet compressors are easily found in the $200 – $500 price brackets, for under $100 it is unlikely and most will be pretty noisy little beasts!

Comparing oil-free vs oil-lubricated pumps

Several moving elements in air compressors need ongoing maintenance since they are lubricated. Lubrication is necessary for both airtight performance and efficient operation.

Oil-free compressors, however, are also commercially available. These compressors have an intercooler and an oil-free pump in place of an oil chamber. Air compressors with oil lubrication are often a more dependable option for heavy usage, such as in industrial settings. On the other hand, oil-free compressors are often more portable, less expensive, and need less maintenance, making them perfect for use at home.

All air compressors under $100 will be oil-free types.

For more details on this, see our article Oil Vs Oil-Free Air Compressors.

Size and Portability

If you need to move your air compressor about your house, garden, or between locations, a portable air compressor is your best alternative. As an example, some air compressors are small and portable, while others are larger and more cumbersome yet still have wheels. The weight of a portable air compressor is often under 40 lbs, depending on how you look at it.

All compressors under $100 are portable as they are generally so small and light, and usually intended for tire inflation or for inflatable toys, etc.

Strength / Materials

Most compressors in this price range that cost $100 or less will have welded seams on their aluminium tanks, which are less resilient than ones built of premium cast iron. However, you can be rest assured that I’ve picked the best, safest compressors in every price category – this one included.

Cost

Although investing in new equipment can seem like the wisest course of action, there are a number of disadvantages. These include the upfront cost, ongoing expenses, and potential future need for further component purchases.

New air compressors often survive longer than used ones. However, it’s wise to often confirm that the manufacturer’s warranty covers any possible issues that can arise from continuous usage.

Reviews

It’s critical to consider if other customers have acknowledged having a similar problem when selecting an air compressor. The overall rating is important to consider while reading reviews, but you should also get a sense of the kind of customer service the business provides. Are they accessible via phone or email to answer queries? If so, does it have a return policy? Even refunds are possible for buyers who are unhappy with their products.

Warranty

Check the manufacturer’s warranty before purchasing a secondhand air compressor to see what sort of protection you have. While some manufacturers provide complete insurance, others could only offer limited repair coverage.

It’s a smart idea to buy from an online retailer like Amazon since they often allow no-hassle returns, and you can usually contact them straight away if there are any issues down the road. If the issue persists for a time, they would advise you to get in touch with the manufacturer.

Maintenance

Remember that regular maintenance may help your air compressor last longer. Consider reading the instruction manual and paying close attention to the directions. Make careful to keep everything clean and oiled (if required). Additionally, be sure to check the air filter often and replace it if required.

The two most common kinds of air compressors are electric and gas-powered. Electric models (which all of the under $100 models are) are often more cost-effective, louder, and simpler to maintain. Gas appliances operate more quietly and more coolly. However, they do need extra room.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need?

The size of the air compressor will depend on the kind of work you want to do. Use a smaller air compressor while tires are being inflated. However, you’ll want a larger, more powerful air compressor if you’re utilising a tool like a brad nailer or impact gun.

Our comprehensive size guide ‘What Size Air Compressor Do I Need‘ contains all the information you want on sizing.

Jeff Stelling

Jeff Stelling is an air compressor obsessive who has been working with compressors for over 25 years, since he was an apprentice engineer in the mid 90’s. He designed Aircompressorcompare.com to offer technical guidance and buying advice for compressors.

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