Best 2 Stage Air Compressors – 2021 Reviews

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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The two most common types of air compressors are single-stage and two-stage.

In today's article, we'll discuss the upsides, downsides, and various features of two-stage air compressors. Also included are some of our favorite two-stage air compressors. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best 2 stage air compressors:

  1. California Air Tools 20040CAD
  2. California Air Tools CAT-20015HPAD
  3. Campbell Hausfeld XC802100

Comparison of the 2 Stage Air Compressors

Product

Our Rating

Price

California Air Tools 20040CAD

  • Features two 2.0 HP motors
  • Only 75 dB (decibels)
  • Oil-free pump

California Air Tools CAT-20015HPAD

  • Reaches up to 75 PSI
  • Dual piston pump
  • Only 70 dB

Campbell Hausfeld XC802100

  • Best for the Money
  • Oil lubrication
  • Up to 75 PSI

Quincy 2V41C60VC

  • Best 5HP 2 Stage Air Compressor
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • One year warranty

Industrial Air IV5076055

  • Best 80 Gallon 2 Stage Air Compressor
  • Capable of supported two air tools at one time
  • Has a tank pressure gauge

DeWalt DXCMV5048055

  • Best 5HP 2 Stage Air Compressor
  • Works with 230V
  • 2 year warranty

What is a Two-Stage Air Compressor? 

In the most straightforward answer possible, the air is pressurized two times to increase the pressure of the air to higher levels.

Two-stage air compressors will allow users to operate tools that require higher PSI levels; you can expect these compressors to provide over 170 PSI.

Tools like blowguns and certain nailers can require upwards of 115 PSI, something a single stage might struggle to provide. 

How a 2 Stage Air Compressor Works 

A two-stage air compressor works by gathering air and pressurizing it for the first time in the pressure chamber.

The pressurized air is then carried to a cooling station as pressurizing the air increases the temperature significantly and carries the risk of overheating the device.

Once the air is cooled, it'll then be pressurized for a second time, reaching over 170 PSI. 

Review of the Best Two-Stage Air Compressors 

It's easy to say there are great two-stage air compressors out there, but finding them is another thing. Lucky for you, we've included some of our favorites. 

Best Overall
California Air Tools 20040CAD

PROS

  • 16 CFM will allow quality airflow
  • Over 3000 hours of quality performance
  • Oil-free means there's less maintenance
  • Has a relatively quiet operation at only 75 decibels

CONS

  • Weighs 140lbs and doesn't have wheels

Our Review

California Air Tools are a reputable brand that tends to provide good quality compressors. This particular two-stage air compressor is oil-free, meaning you'll not have to carry out as much maintenance; the occasional visual inspection is suitable. 

The 75-decibel operating noise is decent for a two-stage, oil-free air compressor, which tends to be noisy. You'll benefit significantly from 16 CFM of airflow, allowing the user to operate most construction tools; this can be enjoyed for over 3000 hours of the air compressors' life expectancy. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Seventy-five decibels is a decent noise level for this compressor. The reason being that most oil-free and two-stage air compressors are noisy due to the extra work that's put in to make them operate more efficiently than, say, an oiled single-stage air compressor. 

Runner-up
California Air Tools CAT-20015HPAD

PROS

  • Oil-free design means no oil contamination
  • Two universal couplers allow two users at once
  • 175 PSI allows user to operate higher grade tools
  • Quiet operation means it can be used in suburban neighborhoods

CONS

  • Doesn't offer higher CFM levels

Our Review

At only 70 decibels, it's even quieter than the compressor mentioned before. This would be more suited to more quiet environments like a suburban neighborhood. The oil-free system means that you'll not have to deal with any contamination; if you need clean air, this compressor is for you. 

You'll be able to operate higher grade tools with the 175 CFM it offers; things like sandblasting and spray painting will be possible with this compressor. An even more significant benefit is the two universal couplers, resulting in two users at once working from the same compressor. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The two couplers provided are great for a small crew; it saves time and even money when you want a quick turnaround for a job. Another benefit of these couplers is that they're universal, meaning they can be used with any compressor fitting

Best for the Money
Campbell Hausfeld XC802100

PROS

  • Over 5000 hours of lifespan
  • 80-gallons offers 12 CFM and 175 PSI
  • Oil lubrication provides effective cooling
  • The vertical design is suitable for small spaces

CONS

  • Is heavy and will most likely need to be installed

Our Review

It's always fun to find products that provide you with the same high-quality performance, but this is the exact product to get your bargain hunting juices flowing for a lower price. The oiled compressor offers an effective cooling system that's greatly needed in a two-stage air compressor due to the high temperatures they create. 

Thanks to this, they'll last for longer, on average 5000 hours or even more. This 80-gallon tank, coupled with the 12 CFM and 175 PSI, will allow you to operate almost any pneumatic tool. You'd most likely use this compressor in a workshop as it's really heavy, the vertical design allows it to take up very little space. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Two-stage air compressors can reach dangerously hot temperatures because of the amount of pressure created. This can easily lead to damage for an oil-free air compressor. However, oil compressors like this tend to fare far better as the lubricant acts as a natural cooling system. 

Best 5HP 2 Stage Air Compressor
Quincy 2V41C60VC

PROS

  • Built-in thermal overload system
  • Sports a 30,000 pump life expectancy
  • 20 CFM is plenty of airflow for construction tools
  • Up to 175 PSI will operate most high-grade tools

CONS

  • Will most likely be installed in a permanent location as it weighs 475lbs

Our Review

This 2-stage air compressor has a 60-gallon vertical tank; this will give you enough pressurized air to operate continuously on tasks such as sandblasting or spray painting cars. A common problem for air compressors is sudden power fluctuations; this can damage your compressor.

However, the built-in thermal overload system decreases the likelihood of this problem. 20 CFM and 175 PSI are more than enough to operate almost any pneumatic construction tool. You'll benefit from all these features for an expected 30,000 hours. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Providing upwards of 175 PSI and 20 CFM, you'll have more than enough pressure and airflow to operate high-grade pneumatic tools successfully. Various tools also have different fittings that require separate nozzles and fittings; having higher pressure capabilities provides extra flexibility to the users in terms of the fittings they can use. 

Best 60 Gallon 2 Stage Air Compressor
Industrial Air IV5076055

PROS

  • Thermal overload protection system
  • Only has a short few minute refill time
  • The oiled compressor provides a cooler operation
  • A maximum of 13.5 CFM and 175 PSI will suit most tools

CONS

  • The oil sometimes contaminates the pressurized air

Our Review

Providing an operating capacity of 13.5 CFM and 175 PSI will be suitable for most construction site tasks. However, due to it being a 2-stage air compressor, it creates a significant and dangerous heat level. Thankfully, the oil lubrication and the patented cooling system keep the temperature at a steady level.

If a drastic power surge, the thermal overload protection system would adequately defend against any possible damage, instantly shutting down the compressor. 60-gallons is plenty of air, but it only takes a short few minutes to return to 175 PSI completely when this runs out. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product has plenty of protection against sudden power surges as well as overheating. You can never be too careful with this sort of risk as it can damage your compressor and even be a safety risk to you. 

Best 80 Gallon 2 Stage Air Compressor
DeWalt DXCMV5048055

PROS

  • Dual coupling system allows two users at once
  • Continuous runtime thanks to the 80-gallon tank
  • 17 CFM and 175 PSI are more than enough to operate most air tools
  • Operates using blended synthetic oil, which keeps the compressor cool

CONS

  • 470lb weight means you'll not be moving this compressor around much

Our Review

Sporting an industrial-class 230-Volt motor, it's the capability to provide 17 CFM and 175 PSI is no surprise; you'll benefit from operating this device with almost any pneumatic tool that you want. Considering that, overheating can be an issue, although you'll have no problem keeping temperatures down to safe levels with the patented piston cooling system.

The sizable 80-gallon tank will offer suitable runtime for even the more demanding tasks like spray painting or sandblasting. The only downside is that the 470lb weight limits where you can use it. You'll be best investing in a longer hose if your workshop is on the larger side. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

What makes this product stand out is that it's great to provide such high-quality features such as the 17 CFM and 175 PSI. However, with the dual coupling system, this allows two users to benefit from this at once. Ultimately, this increases productivity. 

Pros and Cons of a Two-Stage Air Compressor 

Two-stage air compressors have a variety of benefits and downsides. We've included a few down below. 

Pros

Regulate Temperature Effectively - Most manufacturers include a cooling stage between the two separate pressurization stages, as this can cause temperatures to rise to a dangerous level. You'll also notice that high-quality compressors provide multiple ways to help regulate temperature. 

Can Operate High-Grade Tools - Two-stage air compressors are used to increase the pressure to operate high-powered tools. The first stage will take the pressure within the chamber to around 100 PSI; the second will increase this to about 175 or more. 

Usually, Come With Two Couplers - The large amounts of pressure that can be created means that most manufacturers will include two couplers for two people to operate the compressor at once. If they're universal, that's even better. 

Cons

They're Heavy - Two-stage air compressors are usually extremely heavy; if they've not got wheels to help transport it around, it might be best if it was installed in a permanent position. 

Single Stage vs Two Stage Air Compressor - Comparison Overview 

Single-stage air compressors are better suited to low-pressure tasks as they don't create the same high-levels as a two-stage. They tend to be a lot easier to move around as they're lighter. However, your two-stage air compressor will be able to operate high-grade pneumatic tools like sandblasters or spray painting guns. 

These compressors tend to have more features that are dedicated to cooling down the compressor. These compressors are a lot heavier, and not many feature solutions to move them around, such as wheels. These air compressors are better suited to be installed in a dedicated space like a workshop. 

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to air compressors? If so, these might be something to check out: 

Conclusion 

The first part of buying an air compressor is understanding how you'll be using it. Single-stage air compressors are more suited to small tasks that don't require a large amount of pressure. Two-stage air compressors are better suited to construction sites or mechanic workshops, and in places, they won't be moved due to their weight. 

People Also Ask

In the following section, we've compiled and answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding two-stage air compressors. 

Are 2 Stage Air Compressors Better For Certain Projects?

Yes. Due to the weight, they are best used on construction sites and placed in an area they can reach most tasks by using a long hose. They can also be installed in mechanic workshops. They're best used on tasks that use tools that require high-pressure airflow. 

Are 2 Stage Air Compressors More Expensive?

Yes. If you're an individual buying it for home use, it's unnecessary. However, if you're using this compressor for your business, you should see it as an investment. Although there are some costly models out there, there's always a bargain to be found, just like the one we featured above. 

Are 2 Stage Air Compressors Heavier?

They do tend to be heavier than a single-stage air compressor due to the extra parts. Many two-stage air compressors can range from 150lbs to 500lbs like the ones we've featured above. Some on the lighter end of the scale does come with wheels to help transport it around. However, larger weighted compressors should just be installed in a particular spot. 

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A 2 Stage Air Compressor?

There are a couple of things to consider before buying a two-stage air compressor: 

  • Make sure you get an air compressor that provides you with the highest PSI and CFM rating; this will ensure you'll be able to operate high-grade pneumatic tools.

  • The lighter, the better. If you need something portable, try to get it as light as possible with reinforced rubber wheels. You might have to play around with the tank size as the larger the tank, the heavier it'll be. 

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.