If you want to get the maximum out of your pneumatic tools, you have to invest in the best gas air compressor to match them. Whether we are talking about top-rated 12V air compressors that can quickly inflate a tire in an emergency, or we are talking about heavy gas-powered machines for commercial use, air compressors have found their way into our workshops and are here to stay.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using gas air compressors, and we hope we will help you make your purchase decision by uncovering the pros and cons, detailed specifications, and valuable features in our gas air compressor reviews.
Who Needs a Gas Air Compressor?
Gas-powered air compressors are intended for people who need a lot of power to use various tools on a job site but don’t have access to electric energy. Gas air compressors can power a variety of tools like Sanders, ratchet wrenches, nailers, sprayers, grinders, roofing guns, framing guns, and more. These heavy-duty tasks simply cannot be completed with regular, residential air compressors used for mostly inflating tires and pool equipment.
Gas air compressors are best used on construction sites without electricity where they can be most useful to handymen with power tools. These units are especially great for jobs that require a steady pressure output over prolonged periods of time – some tools and add-ons require a non-stop connection. Gas compressors don’t have problems with providing a steady flow while electric ones shut themselves off and cannot withstand prolonged use.
Best Gas Air Compressors Comparison Chart
Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412
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Makita MAC5501G 5.5 HP
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OEMTOOLS 26105 13 HP Gas Engine Air Compressor
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NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor
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Best Gas Powered Air Compressor Reviews (Updated List)
1. Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412
Industrial Air Contractor is aptly named because with its power output, it’s clear that it’s best used for industrial-grade air compressor jobs. This unit comes with a Honda engine that boasts 5 horsepower. Depending on the job at hand, you can use this air compressor for residential purposes as well.
The special system in place increases cooling efficiency so that the unit doesn’t overheat with extended use. The maximum pressure output is 155 PSI, which is enough for optimum performance. The CFM at 40 PSI is 6.9, and at 90 PSI it’s 5.0. The tank design is a pontoon style and has two separate 2-gallon tanks to make the unit more portable.
However, compared to other units, this isn’t a light air compressor with its 74 pounds. This model also comes with a regulator and tank and tool gauges. The oil-free pump ensures low maintenance.
2. Makita MAC5501G 5.5 HP
There is nothing that this Makita can’t do with its Twin style V pump. It’s manufactured from high-quality materials so that it can withstand industrial grade jobs. There are twin tanks with a capacity of 10 gallons total, which is enough to support multiple nailers.
Due to special manufacturing, this air compressor can provide a 12.5 CFM output at 100 PSI. Even though this is a commercial model and one of the most sold gas-powered air compressors, this model still starts easily, thanks to the ergonomic grip recoil starter.
When we tested this Makita, we can only conclude that it offers durable performance and plenty of capacity. There is also a powerful 4-stroke Honda engine with automatic control. The entire unit is propped on the 10-inch non-flat tire for easier portability. However, nothing can make it easily portable when this unit has 235 pounds.
3. OEMTOOLS 26105 13 HP Gas Engine Air Compressor
OEMTOOLS unit is a gas-powered air compressor that packs a punch. With 175 bar maximum pressure, and 23 CFM rate at 100 PSI, even the most demanding jobs will be a breeze. This unit can easily power sanders, grinders, drills, nailers, rachets and the rest of the air tools.
Best of all, this model comes with enough oil and air filters so that you can start it and use it as soon as you unpack. Even though this air compressor is manufactured with high-quality materials, breaking probably won’t be an issue, but it’s good to know that you are covered with a 2-year warranty.
The 13-horsepower Honda motor is propped up on cast iron stands, but lack of wheels is impacting its mobility, which is already decreased due to the fact that the whole unit weighs 492 pounds.
4. NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor
NorthStar is a smaller gas-powered unit on this list and comes with an 8-gallon twin tank – 16 gallons in total. It’s oil-lubricated, so maintenance won’t be that easy as it is with oil-less pumps. It has a rate of 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI, which is enough for medium to heavy-duty tasks. This model is powered by a reliable Honda gas engine and has a single-stage pump with V-type cylinders.
This unit excels at tasks that are oriented to longevity. Features include engine idle control, bearings on crankshafts, and easy portability. It weighs under 180 pounds. During our tests, we used it for a successful bead lasting and we were pleased to see that there was no lag time whatsoever. The unit didn’t overheat at all. Compared to other heavy-duty, industrial-grade units, this air compressor if fairly quiet.
5. DeWalt DXCMH1393075
If you need to bring out the big guns to a job site, you won’t find a better air compressor suited for the job than this DeWalt. It’s truly an industrial-grade model that can boast with a steady rate of 24 CFM at 100 PSI, and 22 CFM at 175 PSI.
This is a 2-stage air compressor with limited warranty – 2 years for the pump, and 1 year for the rest of the parts. The tank size is huge – 30 gallons in total. Also, this truck-mounted air compressor has a specifically designed metal belt guard that enables better cooling power and less downtime – it can improve cooling by 60 Fahrenheit degrees.
The biggest (pun intended) con is the size and weight. When we said that this Dewalt gas air compressor is big, we meant it – it weighs 427 pounds. But durability and faster recovery come at a price of mobility.
Gas Air Compressors In General
With air compressors, there usually aren’t bad units, meaning that they aren’t badly manufactured, but there are units that are better suited for certain jobs. For example, ratchet wrenches can’t be powered by a compact unit(you can learn more from our small air compressor reviews article). Heavy-duty jobs are best performed with the help of industrial-grade, gas-powered units. The best gas powered air compressor for you might just be on this list.
We have taken the time to review each unit and explain everything there is to these models, going into detail about the features. This guide can be used as the main authority on gas-powered units when it comes to research before making a purchase decision.
Gas vs Electric Air Compressors
The two main types of air compressors are gas-powered and electric ones. The differences are very clear. Electric air compressors are great for tasks around the house where you have power outlets easily accessible. When it comes to similarities, the performance between electric and gas air compressors is virtually the same. The tasks differ, and when you need continuous power, it’s better to use gas air compressors.
1. Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
Electric air compressors are budget-friendly and great for indoor use. But, they cannot perform heavy tasks and cannot run continuously. They overheat and that’s why electric air compressors have a shut-off valve when the pressure gets low or even high.
Gas air compressors can’t be used indoors. They emit gas substances that are dangerous inside, so that is why they are usually used outdoors on various job sites. They can really be a health hazard, and not only that – we are dealing here with compressed gas that can be flammable inside. To alleviate the risks, just choose the right unit for the task at hand.
Noise is also a factor and a major difference point between electric and gas-powered air compressors. These units are generally considered to be quite noisy. Naturally, noise is resonating in closed spaces so even if it weren’t for the fact that gases are a hazard, the noise would be another issue. In the opposite of the things we explained in our quiet air compressor reviews, gas air compressors are very loud, but that is okay on job sites.
When it comes to portability, electric air compressors win in this round. It makes sense, though, because electric compressors are generally smaller, more compact and can only be used near power outlets. Industrial grade units, on the other hand, cannot be easily transportable and often have around 200 to 500 pounds – requiring more hands on deck to get it into position. There are gas units that can be mounted on trucks so that makes them portable at least around the construction site.
The larger the unit and the more powerful it is, the louder it will get. It’s more cost-efficient to run an electric air compressor than the gas one – you only need a power outlet, and they are usually maintenance-free. Gas compressors run on gas and you need to refill the tanks often.
Of course, if you need a unit that has to run continuously and that will power a variety of heavy tools on the outside construction site, you need a gas model. Also, since they have to be durable, gas air compressors need to be manufactured from high-quality materials and that is reflected in their price. On the other hand, gas air compressors have longer and better warranties.
Gas-Powered Air Compressor Buying Guide
Gas air compressors are powerful units created for heavy-duty, industrial-grade jobs around massive construction sites where electricity is scarce. There is some difference from unit to unit and from brand to brand, but mostly these models on the list can withstand heavy use. They are selected because they are durable enough and have good warranties.
These models are manufactured from cast iron, so they are also heavy because they aren’t supposed to move while operating. The power they provide already makes them noisy and shaky, no use for the units to be running around the construction site.
The most important thing you need to look for in the gas-powered air compressor is its strength, and strength is seen in the total PSI output, CFM air flow rate, and overall horsepower.
Horsepower is the unit that determines the strength of the air compressor. When you are trying to determine which unit to buy, you have to decide based on the task at hand and the power you will need. If you plan to use heavier drills, power saws, and other tools that require a lot of power than you should invest in a unit with a larger horsepower. Anything above 5 HP should do the job.
Luckily, all gas air compressors on our list are industrial-grade and can withstand any task you put in front of them.
PSI – pressure per square inch is a unit used to measure the pressure output of gasses and liquids. It is the measurement of the exerted pressure’s strength. The larger the PSI number, the more powerful the unit. If your air compressor has a low PSI output, then it won’t be able to power your tools.
3. Air Flow – CFM
CFM is another important measurement in air compressors and it stands for cubic feet per minute of the intake air. Basically, it’s the power of the air flow in the unit. Lower CFM (around 2) is perfect for inflating jobs, in occurrences when you want to inflate a tire, pool equipment, or use a top-rated pneumatic brad nailer. However, if you need more strength for power tools, you will need a CFM output larger than 6. That is enough for ratchet wrenches and similar heavy-duty equipment.
4. Tank Capacity
When you have a gas-powered air compressor, you naturally have a tank where you store the gas it needs for running. Also, if you have a unit with a smaller tank capacity, you might need to pause the job, refill the unit and then continue. That might be a deal-breaker for some people (units with larger tanks are generally a bit more expensive), but on the other hand, some take it as the necessary evil.
Some people argue that an air compressor should have a tank that’s able to fulfill a task at hand. A 9-gallon tank should be enough for any hard job on the construction site.
5. Weight and Portability
Gas air compressors are generally a bit on the heavier side. It makes sense because they are industry-grade units manufactured from steel components. Also, they need to be durable and heavy enough so they don’t move during the job. Some gas air compressors have wheels to make them more portable, but chances are you will need more than a single pair of hands if you want to roll the unit out to the construction site. Some compressors are designed with a wheelbarrow frame, some need to be carried, and some can be mounted on trucks and moved around like that.
Electric air compressors are lighter and easier to transport, but they often don’t provide enough power for heavy tasks.
Every air compressor is noisy, it’s just the question of how noisy it is. Gas air compressors are generally much noisier due to their powerful motors, pressure outputs and air intake, and the strength they supply. That is why you can’t use them indoors – they can damage one’s health with the noise, and they exude dangerous gasses. It is advised to use the noise canceling headphones when working around power tools and air compressors. Loud noises like these, that last for hours, can damage your hearing.
7. Fuel Efficiency
Gas air compressors run on the gas of course, but when it comes to fuel efficiency, electric-powered compressors are better. However, electric air compressors cannot be used on construction sites without electricity, not to mention the fact that they can’t power most of the power tools used there.
Luckily, newer engines are manufactured in such a manner that increases the power output for less fuel, making them economical to use. They are even less noisy than their predecessors. All you need is enough fuel to get the job done and keep them running.
There are some maintenance and lubricant required for gas air compressors, for example, you need to prepare them for the winter at the end of the season.
It’s hard to pick just one, but we are certain that your next best gas air compressor is on this list. We have taken the time to review the best-selling units, delve into their strengths and weaknesses, and provide their specifications. You can even compare all units at once just by glancing at our air compressor buying guide chart.
With our unbiased gas air compressor reviews, it’s easy to find just the right unit for your needs. You can’t go wrong no matter what model you select from our list. We hope we have answered all your questions about gas air compressors, but even if we didn’t, you can always leave a comment below and we will promptly get back to you.