Best 20 Gallon Air Compressors (Updated 2021 Reviews)

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

Tool Tango is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

For the average DIY-er, a 20-gallon air compressor can prove large enough to handle various tasks without always waiting for it to refill. Yet just like in any other size category, the best units require a little bit of investigation.

We’ve done all the hard work for you, putting together a concise roundup of reviews and a buyer’s guide. Everything you need to know about the best 20-gallon air compressors is here!

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best 20 Gallon Air Compressors:

  1. California Air Tools 20020
  2. Wen 2202
  3. Kobalt LK20175

Comparison Chart of the Best 20 Gallon Air Compressors

Product

Our Rating

Price

California Air Tools 20020

  • 2 HP, 125 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 110V

Wen 2202

  • 2 HP, 135 PSI
  •  20 gallons
  • 120V

Kobalt LK20175

  • 1.3 HP, 175 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120V

Husky C202H

  • 1.3 HP, 200 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120V

Campbell Hausfeld DC200000

  • 1.3 HP, 150 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120V

Craftsman CMXECXA0232043

  • 1.8 HP, 175 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120V

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054

  • 1.9 HP, 155 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120V/240V

Are All 20 Gallon Air Compressors The Same?

The most notable differences you'll see among 20-gallon air compressors target the power output. Some have a motor of 2 HP, while others are closer to 1 HP. The tank's maximum pressure can be as little as 125 PSI or as much as 200 PSI.

You'll have to keep in mind that a motor with more horsepower will efficiently work to rebuild the pressure. So, the power output isn't just about the motor, but also about the pressure it has to work for.

What's more, some models are oil-free, while others are oil-lubed. You'll find them typically wired for 110V, but there are also models with dual voltage. And the more you read about various models, the more differences you'll notice.

Can You Really Find a 20 Gallon Air Compressor That’s Affordable?

As you’ll go through the products that we reviewed for you below, you’ll notice that most of them are reasonably priced. There are also high-priced models, and the more expensive ones will most likely feature an oil-lubed pump and, perhaps, even a dual-cylinder configuration.

Nevertheless, plenty of 20-gallon air compressors with oil-free pumps and single-stage operation don’t cost an arm and a leg. Affordability is not that hard to find when you’re looking at these air compressors. And the one we’ve chosen as best for the money will take you by surprise with its low price tag!

Review of the Best 20 Gallon Air Compressors

If we’ve made you curious, let’s move on to the actual reviews. From all the 20-gallon air compressors we’ve tested, we’ve picked the best overall, the best for the money, and six others. Brands like California Air, Wen, Kobalt, Husky, Campbell Hausfeld, Craftsman, and DeWalt all show up in this roundup:

Best Overall:
California Air Tools 20020

PROS

  • Works with a low noise level
  • Low amp draw and easy-start valve
  • Powerful motor with low RPM for less wear
  • Oil-free pump requires minimal maintenance
  • Steel tank with a wheel kit for easy maneuvering

CONS

  • Warranty is limited to only one year
  • Steel air tank makes it sturdy, though a bit heavy

Our Review:

The best 20-gallon air compressor we got to test is from California Air. With a powerful 2 HP motor and an oil-free pump that supports a maximum of 125 PSI, it delivers 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. Given its airflow capacity and the two universal quick connectors, you’ll find plenty of uses for this unit, even with multiple air tools at once.

Sure, the weight of nearly 135 lbs could get you a little worried, but thankfully, it has a portable design, with wheels and top-middle handle. Also, knowing that it runs at a low RPM of only 1680, with less noise and wear and that the pump can handle over 3000 hours of runtime, will undoubtedly make you overlook any other small drawback.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This model runs at 70 dB, which makes it extraordinarily quiet not only for an air compressor, in general, but especially for one in the 20-gallon size category. Moreover, it features an easy-start valve that allows the motor to spin freely by releasing a small amount of air at the start. It will draw fewer Amperes and start easier even when it’s freezing outside.

Runner-up:
Wen 2202

PROS

  • Manufacturer offers a two-year warranty
  • Provides high value despite its low price tag
  • Solid motor with a good power output that supports high airflow
  • Equipped with wheels and onboard handle to ease transportation
  • Sturdy reinforced steel thank still doesn’t make it particularly heavy

CONS

  • Noise level can be considered quite high
  • Oil-lubricated pump requires extra maintenance

Our Review:

The Wen 2202 will catch your eye as a high-quality product with a low price, from an American manufacturer. For what it offers, this 20-gallon air compressor really can’t be beaten. Don’t let the maximum pressure of only 135 PSI mislead you because the powerful motor combined with the oil-lubricated pump delivers an impressive airflow of 3.8 CFM @ 90 PSI.

The sturdy construction of the tank, the quality of the brass, oil-lubricated piston and air filter, all these details make it particularly appealing. What’s more, WEN is standing by this product with a 2-year warranty, so what better proof of reliability could you ask for, other than the manufacturer’s sheer confidence in it?

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

While surprisingly affordable, this 20-gallon Wen air compressor has an outstanding airflow that you’d typically find in units with at least 150 PSI. Although it is rated at 135 PSI, it is backed by a powerful engine, hence the increased capacity to deliver 3.8 CFM @ 90 PSI. Shortly put, it will work with lots of air tools, even with spray guns, and it’s an excellent investment!

Best Kobalt 20 Gallon Air Compressor:
Kobalt LK20175

PROS

  • Ample airflow for multiple applications
  • Designed with canister air filter for extended life
  • Oil-free pump doesn’t require extra maintenance
  • Durable motor supports outstanding maximum PSI
  • Features 2 couplers for powering tools simultaneously

CONS

  • Limited warranty of just one year
  • Not the quietest you can find on the market

Our Review:

With this single-stage 20-gallon electric air compressor, Kobalt is giving you their most powerful and versatile tool – at least in this size range. The 1.3 HP motor can support a whopping maximum pressure of 175 PSI. And since it starts at 145 PSI, it provides more usable air compressed in the tank, translating into a longer run-time for your air tools.

Speaking of which, the oil-free pump works to deliver an impressive airflow of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, leaving room for lots of practical applications around the house or in a small shop. To make sure you’re getting the most out of it, Kobalt used a canister filter on this one, for cleaner air and extended lifespan on both the compressor and the adjacent air tools.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

One look at its specs, power output and airflow at 90 PSI, and you’ll be able to tell it’s a highly versatile 20-gallon air compressor. Sure, it also helps that it comes with two couplers, meaning you can run two air tools at once. But it works for auto repairs, nailing, framing, roofing, inflation, and even medium-duty spray painting. In a nutshell, it has the most uses for the price!

Best Husky 20 Gallon Air Compressor :
Husky C202H

PROS

  • High-performance motor
  • Starts quickly in cold temperatures
  • Allows a longer run-time for various air tools
  • Convenient, maintenance-free oil-less pump
  • Supports a good airflow for multiple applications

CONS

  • Noise level could be somewhat lower
  • A bit pricey compared to similar models

Our Review:

Right when you thought you can’t get anything better than 175 PSI, Husky comes to say otherwise. With their best compressor in the 20-gallon category, they show you what it feels like to run a unit that reaches 200 maximum PSI! To kill the suspense, yes, the pump is oil-free, which means that this powerful air compressor isn’t very demanding when it comes to maintenance, either.

The airflow at 90 PSI is 4 CFM, so you’ll be able to pair it with many different air tools. Also, expect it to start easily even in cold weather, and get ready to enjoy using it with an extension cord of up to 400 ft. If mobility isn’t what you need, you’ll still love the narrow design that makes it fit easily in the corner of your workshop.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The best Husky 20-gallon air compressor has the highest PSI from all the models we reviewed, which empowers it to support a longer air tool run-time with up to 35%. If that’s something you need for your specific projects, you will certainly not mind paying the slightly higher price to get this versatile tool with a slim steel tank and minimal footprint.

Best Campbell Hausfeld 20 Gallon Air Compressor:
Campbell Hausfeld DC200000

PROS

  • Built to last, with steel parts
  • Reliable power output for a wide range of DIY projects
  • Panel is conveniently placed, for easy read and control
  • Oil-free pump ensures longevity and motor performance
  • Hot dog design with wheels makes transportation easier

CONS

  • Operating Decibel level of 88 is really high
  • One of the more expensive 20-gallon compressors

Our Review:

The best Campbell Hausfeld 20-gallon air compressor has the typical 1.3 HP motor, and it can reach a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. As opposed to the other products we showed you so far, it comes with a hotdog design, which, coupled with the large wheels and the steel handle, makes it incredibly portable.

Performance-wise, it has an oil-free pump that won’t require frequent maintenance, with the added benefit of contributing to an extended motor lifespan. Given the 4 CFM airflow @ 90 PSI, you’ll be happy to see it has multiple uses, too. Just keep in mind that it’s a 50% duty cycle, requiring a 30-minute break for every 30 minutes of run-time.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

While the specs are similar to other 20-gallon air compressors, this product has the edge of sturdy craftsmanship. It tucks inside an induction motor, a fully enclosed motor that will facilitate long product life while making operation as safe as possible. Adding the oil-free functionality, you’re guaranteed to enjoy using it for a long time, without stressing out about its maintenance.

Best Craftsman 20 Gallon Air Compressor:
Craftsman CMXECXA0232043

PROS

  • Good airflow allows a quick recovery time
  • Works with both household and industry equipment
  • Equipped with rubber wheels and rubber padded handle
  • Superior power output, can store more air in the tank for longer
  • Oil-free pump facilitates a long lifecycle with minimal maintenance

CONS

  • Only 1-year limited warranty
  • Occasional reliability issues reported

Our Review:

Yet another American icon, Craftsman over-delivers with its 20-gallon air compressor that supports 175 maximum PSI and 1.8 HP. For your convenience, the unit features an oil-free pump, which will help the engine in the long run and spare you from the hassle of continually checking the oil level and doing tedious maintenance work.

Efficient, robust, and built to last, this unit has multiple functions. You can use it for anything from inflating tires and cleaning to stapling, finishing, roofing, and even paint spraying or chiseling. All thanks to the generous airflow of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product has one of the most dependable motors among the 20-gallon units with a maximum of 175 PSI pressure. Typically, you either get more HP and less PSI, or the other way around, but Craftsman’s unit is stubborn enough to give you the best of both. Consequently, you can expect dependable power for most of your tools, with applications even outside your household!

Best Dewalt 20 Gallon Air Compressor:
DeWalt DXCMPA1982054

PROS

  • Equipped with a high flow regulator
  • Pump warranty extended to 2 years
  • Synthetic oil included in the package
  • Sturdy and effective cast iron pump with twin cylinders
  • Heavy-duty induction motor, with dual-voltage functionality

CONS

  • Heavier than you’d expect it to be
  • One of the most expensive models on the market

Our Review:

Dewalt’s best 20-gallon air compressor has a very similar power output to our best overall selection. However, it has a dual voltage motor that runs at 1.9 HP and builds up to 155 maximum PSI. The airflow is 5.7 CFM @ 90 PSI, and the twin-cylinder pump made of cast iron is doing all the hard work with oil lubrication.

Yes, it has the highest price tag, and because of the oil-lubrication, it will require extra care and maintenance from your side. But other than that, it is quieter than many other units, and you can tell it is built to stand the test of time.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

With loads of power and a heavy-duty pump, this unit is also designed to work on either 120V or 240V. The dual voltage motor allows you to convert it for 240V applications, giving you more versatility with your projects. All-in-all, it’s one of the best models you’ll come around that delivers a generous airflow and takes surprisingly little to build back the pressure.

Pros and Cons of 20 Gallon Air Compressors 

To make yourself a better idea of whether you need a 20-gallon air compressor or a different size, let's take a quick look at the main pros and cons it comes with.

Pros

Powerful

With motors from 1.3 HP to 2 HP and maximum pressure revolving around 150-175 PSI, a 20-gallon air compressor's power output is more than reasonable. And manufacturers even build them with motors that run on low RPMs so that you can enjoy an extended lifespan.

Portable

Many 20-gallon compressors have a vertical tank that sits on wheels and comes with a practical handle. Their portability, combined with the power they provide, leads to a perfect blend. You can count on it in many situations because it is powerful and large enough, but at the same time, it isn't the type of air compressor you're forced to install in a corner and leave it there.

Versatile

The tank capacity and the supported airflow are generous enough to allow you to run many different tools. What's more, you'll be able to use it without having to run the motor too often or wait for too long for the pressure to rebuild. Especially if you're mostly running air tools with a low load, this size will be everything you need to get the job done.

Cons

Somewhat Heavy

The higher the pressure they work with, the sturdier the tank has to be. That's why you'll see the 20-gallon units weighing from 90 to 150 lbs, sometimes even more. Sure, it helps that they also feature portable designs.

Conclusion 

Powerful enough to get many jobs done and more portable than any other large air compressor, the 20-gallon is a perfect choice for almost any DIY-er. Any professional you ask for advice will tell you that if you’re serious about your air tools, you’ll need an air compressor of at least 20-gallons.

So, depending on your needs and how you’re planning to use it, you can now pick one of the best models in this category from the market.

People Also Ask

Still haven’t clarified all your questions about the 20-gallon air compressors? Let’s give you a couple of extra details to help you make an informed choice.

8 Gallon vs 20 Gallon Air Compressor - What’s The Difference Aside From Size?

The size of the tank indicates the amount of compressed air it can hold. While this gives you a clue about how long you could use it before the compressor runs again, it still depends on what air tools you’re coupling and their CFM requirements.

A more than double (20-gallon) tank capacity will either let you run a single air tool for much longer than an 8-gallon would or run two air tools simultaneously. And the compressor still won’t kick in too soon.

At the same time, once you do get to the point where you need to refill the tank to restabilize the pressure, the smaller the tank, the shorter the waiting time. Still, a 20-gallon air compressor can refill reasonably fast, if it has a powerful enough motor.

How Long Will The Air Last In A 20 Gallon Air Compressor?

How long the air will last depends on the unit's maximum PSI and the required CFM of the air tool you're operating. The higher the CFM requirements, the shorter the continuous runtime. The same applies if you choose to run two air tools simultaneously.

How Heavy Are 20 Gallon Air Compressors?

Weight varies from around 90 lbs to 160 lbs. It’s not just the materials used for the tank – whether it’s plain steel, an alloy combined with steel, or reinforced steel – but also all the other parts. If it has larger, sturdier wheels, a solid handle, or even extra parts for noise absorption, or if it runs on gas or electricity, all these details add to the final weight.

How Loud Are 20 Gallon Air Compressors?

The quietest 20-gallon air compressors run at about 70 dB, while the loudest can go as high as 88-90 dB. The noise level is influenced by the friction inside the unit, the power source (gas units are noisier), and how far away from the compressor you’ll stand while using it. Anything starting with 85 dB will require that you use hearing protection.

What Are The Best Uses for a 20 Gallon Air Compressor?

A 20-gallon air compressor can be used for simple DIY projects, but also for some applications within a commercial shop. Nevertheless, its utility will depend on the requirements of the air tools you run with it.

We’ve seen that some of the best air compressors support an airflow of 4-5.7 CFM @ 90 PSI. This means you should easily pair it with blow guns, framing nailers, grease guns, impact wrenches at 3/8-inch, ratchets at 1/4-inch, staple guns, and tire inflators.


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.