Best Central Pneumatic Air Compressors – 2021 Review

| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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You must have noticed, by now, that the Central Pneumatic brand is often discussed and considered by many potential buyers. But have you made up your mind about it?

If not yet, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information to do so.

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are our favorite Central Pneumatic Air Compressors:

  1. Central Pneumatic 21 Gallon Air Compressor
  2. Central Pneumatic 29 Gallon Air Compressor
  3. Central Pneumatic 8 Gallon Air Compressor

Comparison Chart of Central Pneumatic Air Compressors


Our Rating


Central Pneumatic 21 Gallon Air Compressor

  • 2.5 HP
  • 21 Gallon
  • 110V

Central Pneumatic 29 Gallon Air Compressor

  • 2.0 HP
  • 29 Gallon
  • 120V

Central Pneumatic 8 Gallon Air Compressor

  • 2.0 HP
  • 8 Gallon
  • 110V

Central Pneumatic 3 Gallon Air Compressor

  • 1/3 HP
  • 3 Gallon
  • 110V

Who is Central Pneumatic? 

Central Pneumatic is a line of products. It ranges from air compressors and pneumatic tools to accessories. It sells under the Harbor Freight Tools company with headquarters in California. And it is available in over 800 retail stores from more than 45 states.

Even though it has been on the market only since 1982, it stands out through a rich selection of economic tools. For any job size, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Central Pneumatic air compressor to fit it.

How Does Central Pneumatic Compare to the Competition? 

When trying to find out which is the best brand of air compressor, Central Pneumatic will often be compared to brands like Kobalt, Husky air compressors, or Campbell. All of them are commonly available, but that doesn’t make them a better choice. Here’s how Central Pneumatic stands out from its competitors:

Pricy, Though Still The Superior Option

Unlike the cheaper brands, Central Pneumatic air compressors stand up to the expectations that their price tag sets. The superior quality can anytime prove that it is well worth the investment. Not to mention that quality is reflected in overall ratings, too.

Provides Higher Customer Satisfaction

Comparing two products in the same size range, usually, it’s the Central Pneumatic model that enjoys higher consumer ratings. Even when the difference is minor, it is obvious which one is preferred from the above-mentioned close competitors.

Comes With Sizes For All Needs

Though their focus seems to be on products for light-duty work, the offer is generous. From a 3-gallon air compressor with 1/3 HP motor to a 29-gallon model with 2 HP motor, the range is broad. Not to mention you’ll be able to find even larger sizes.

Central Pneumatic Air Compressor Reviews 

Are you ready to take a closer look at their products? Below, we’ve handpicked, tested, and reviewed some of the most competitive Central Pneumatic air compressors. Here are our findings:

Central Pneumatic 21 Gallon Air Compressor Review


  • Comfortable size/weight ratio
  • Simple design, easy operation
  • Handy large wheels and rubber feet
  • Affordable vertical air compressor
  • Provides great value for its price tag


  • Replacement parts are somewhat difficult to find
  • Capacity can prove a bit too much for the average user

Our Review:

Sized at 45 x 17.99 x 17.99 inches and weighing almost 100 lbs, this 21-gallon air compressor from Central Pneumatic stands out in an instant. If it weren’t for its irresistible price tag, average users might consider it a bit too much. Still, knowing how much value it provides, you, too, might want to have it in your workshop.

The compressor is powered by a heavy-duty motor, rated at 2.5 HP, and designed with a precision machined sleeve made of cast-iron. Thermal overload protection is included. And, for your convenience and easy maintenance, it features a window oil level indicator. The maximum PSI it can reach is 125.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product is hard to overlook. Not just because of its size, but also because of its outstanding performances and the design that makes it easy to work with. It has a built-in quick coupler that lets you connect it with any air hose. It comes with an ergonomic handle and 6-inch wheels for easy transport. And its rubber feet make it stable and minimize vibrations while in use.

Central Pneumatic 29 Gallon Air Compressor Review


  • Equipped with quick coupler
  • Designed for convenient maneuvering
  • Facilitates an easy start and superior air delivery
  • Ideal for home users getting into advanced chores
  • Offers reliable performance with simple maintenance


  • Might take a little bit to reach full pressure
  • Not the cheapest you’ll find in this size range

Our Review:

The 29-gallon air compressor from Central Pneumatic is the living proof that their 21-gallon model is not as big as you thought! The manufacturer makes it clear that there’s always room for extra performances, selling a 22.5 x 24.5 x 43 inches model at 182 lbs.

The flow rate scores 5.9 CFM @ 90 PSI, respectively 7.3 CFM at 40 PSI, with the maximum pressure set to 150 PSI. The 2 HP motor works with a 13.8 amperage at 120 volts. And speaking of the motor, its twin capacitor design allows an easy start every single time.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Nicely sized, it can hit 150 PSI without difficulties. This air compressor has an oil-lubricated pump that ensures reliable performances with most tasks. Built with thermal overload protection, it boasts dual pressure gauges and a universal quick coupler. It sits on semi-pneumatic wheels and features an adjustable handle!

Central Pneumatic 8 Gallon Air Compressor Review


  • Suitable for both hobbyists and pros
  • Reliable direct drive induction motor
  • Built with thermal overload protection
  • Lightweight and portable, with a compact design
  • Maximum protection with high-impact ABS shroud


  • Not the quietest model out there
  • User manual could be more detailed

Our Review:

In case you were wondering if Central Pneumatic has any air compressors on the small size, here’s a relatively small model. It measures 27.5 x 24 x 12 inches at nearly 54 lbs, and it relies on a 2 HP motor and an 8-gallon tank. The maximum pressure is 125 PSI and, even though it’s not built on vertical, it still makes for a very portable and versatile tool.

The cylindrical tank sits on smooth-rolling wheels and features an easy-to-carry handle. Mobility is one of its strengths, but so is the overall performance. The motor will deliver as intended. The high-impact ABS shroud will keep protection to a high level. And its noise will be average, about 88 dB at a distance of 1 meter.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

You’ll find plenty of other 8-gallon air compressors on the market. But only a few come at this price point and feature a set of handy wheels, so you can easily carry it anywhere. It’s an excellent choice for a wide range of home remodeling tasks. And it is very user friendly, easy to install and work with even for a newbie.

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

Central Pneumatic 3 Gallon Air Compressor Review


  • Perfect for inflating tires
  • Super small and compact sized
  • Gas-powered, ready to over-deliver
  • Comes with built-in accessory storage
  • Equipped with thermal overload protection


  • Best for small jobs only
  • Somewhat slow to build pressure

Our Review:

Here’s a Central Pneumatic air compressor that doesn’t need to be pushed on wheels! At 15.5 x 15.2 x 14.7 inches and 21 lbs, this 3-gallon pancake air compressor is perfect for small tasks, from inflating tires to air brushing or brad nailing and stapling. The 1/3 HP motor may not seem that powerful, but if you keep its intended use in mind, it will work well.

The oil-less design makes it a low-maintenance tool. Since it is so small and with a compact pancake air compressor design, you’ll easily find a place for it in your workshop. And performance-wise, expect it to deliver 0.6 CFM @ 90 PSI and 1 CFM at 40 PSI.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

If 100 PSI is the maximum that you need from an air compressor, this 3-gallon Central Pneumatic model with built-in accessory storage may be your best choice. It stands out as a lightweight and inexpensive tool, ideal for small jobs, and with minimal requirements from the operator.

Quick Take: Best Central Pneumatic Air Compressors

How To Use Central Pneumatic Air Compressor

Looking at your new Central Pneumatic air compressor and not sure how to get it started? Or, perhaps, you want to get a feel of how to use it before you invest in it? Nothing complicated, we can assure you. Here’s how to use a model from this line of products:

  1. Check its Power Switch and make sure it is set to Off;

    Note: This will ensure that the tank pressure hits a minimum and that the motor will start freely, without dealing with the circuit breaker;

  2. Next, if your model has a drain valve, make sure it’s closed, and check all the nuts and bolts to be properly tight – part of the safety measures you can’t afford to skip;

  3. Check the oil level and refill if necessary, double checking that there are no oil leaks;

  4. Close the in-line Shutoff Valve, the one sitting between the unit and its air hose;

  5. Finally, check that the throttle is set to Off and connect the air hose to the compressor;

  6. Plug the unit at 120 V and open its in-line Shutoff Valve;

  7. Set the Power Switch to On;

  8. Wait for the compressor to build up pressure and cycle off;

  9. Use the regulator to adjust the pressure for your desired air output;

    Note: You might have to check the user instructions for the power tool you’ll be using with the compressor, to determine that optimal pressure;

  10. And proceed to use the air tool as necessary, once you’ve set the regulator and the gauge indicates the pressure you need it to deliver.

Whenever in doubt, check the user manual for your Central Pneumatic air compressor. You should always start by reading the manual, before anything else.


You’ll come around the Central Pneumatic name more than once, that’s a fact. The sooner you familiarize yourself with their offerings, the easier it will be for you to decide how it matches your needs, and which of their numerous models will best serve your cause. 

Following this guide, you already have a clearer image of what to expect from them. Are there any other questions on your mind?

People Also Ask

Need a bit more than the facts and numbers describing the best Central Pneumatic air compressors from above? Perhaps the following details about these products will help you connect the dots and make a more informed decision.

Where Are Central Pneumatic Products Made?

Even though the product of an American company, the tools from the Central Pneumatic line are manufactured at a plant in Taiwan.

Who Makes Central Pneumatic Products?

The Central Pneumatic products are manufactured and sold by Harbor Freight Tools. Produced overseas, they are available in over 800 retail stores from many different states.

Who Makes Central Pneumatic Air Compressors?

An air compressor labeled as Central Pneumatic is part of a larger line of power tools. But just like all the other Central Pneumatic products, the air compressors are made by the same company, Harbor Freight Tools.

What Type Of Oil For Central Pneumatic Air Compressor?

SAE oil is usually the best choice for Central Pneumatic air compressors, with the mention that different models need different types of SAE oil. SAE 30W or 40 for warm climates, and SAE 20 oil for cold weather, the special air compressor oil type, non-detergent.

How Long Has Central Pneumatic Been Around?

The first products in the Central Pneumatic line have been sold starting with 1982. Less than 40 years on the market is clearly not as much compared to other products. But their popularity is on the rise, despite their relatively new presence.

Why are Central Pneumatic Products so Popular?

Central Pneumatic is known as an economic line of products. Still, its features and performances are comparable to the ones of more popular (and more expensive) models from other brands. For the average user that turns to an air compressor only a couple of times a year, Central Pneumatic provides excellent value for the money.

What Kind of Warranty Does Central Pneumatic Offer?

As shown on the official Harbor Freight website, the Central Pneumatic products are backed up by a 90-day guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship. However, some limitations may apply, and you should check this detail directly with the seller.