Best Gas Air Compressors [2021 Round-up Reviews]

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Electronic air compressors are so common that it's easy to forget that gas-powered air compressors exist. Below is a detailed buying guide along with a few recommendations of our favorite gas-powered air compressors. 

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

  1. Makita MAC5501G
  2. NorthStar 459212
  3. Rolair GD4000PV5H

Comparison Chart of the the Best Gas Air Compressors

Product

Main Features

Price

Makita MAC5501G

  • V-style twin pump
  • Honda GX160 4-stroke motor
  • Industrial grade starter

NorthStar 459212

  • Full cast iron pump
  • Floating Swedish valves
  • 13.7 CFM

Rolair GD4000PV5H

  • Best for the Money
  • Operates up to 135 PSI
  • Fuel efficient motor

NorthStar 459382

  • Best 30 Gallon Gas Air Compressor
  • 3 amp battery charger
  • Cast iron pump head

Industrial Air CTA5090412

  • Best Small Gas Air Compressor
  • 5 horsepower motor
  • Very portable

DeWalt DXCMTA5090412

  • Best Dewalt Gas Air Compressor
  • 208cc engine
  • Easy to use quick connects

Puma PUK-5530HG

  • Best Puma Gas Air Compressor
  • 135 PSI
  • Gas powered belt drive system

How Does a Gas Air Compressor Work? 

A gas air compressor operates mostly the same as an electric model. The only real difference is that instead of plugging it into the wall, you just funnel gas into the compressor.

All compressors have the same internal components: a crankshaft, an interfacing rod, a cylinder, a barrel, and a valve head. The difference being the crankshaft is operated using gas. 

Can You Find a Quality Gas Air Compressor That's Affordable? 

With any product out there, if you go for a cheaper brand, you might miss out on some extra features. However, that doesn’t mean that a less expensive product can’t get the job done. 

The majority of gas air compressors  provide roughly the same features and abilities. It all comes down to your individual needs. There are some common differences between cheap and expensive gas air compressors. Cheaper models tend to be made from a lower quality material which can impact on durability and surviving accidental bumps and bashes. 

If your priorities are state of the art cooling systems, universal dual couplers and other extra bonus features like that, you’d mainly see prices increase for those additional features. However, if you’re just needing an affordable quality gas air compressor that provides you with decent PSI and CFM ratings, without the fluff of extra features, that’s more than possible to find. 

Reviews of the Best Gas Powered Air Compressor

Now that you've got some extra knowledge, we've included some of our favorite gas-powered air compressors. Feel free to take a look.

Best Overall:
Makita MAC5501G

PROS

  • Can be used by two users at once
  • Will operate most standard construction tools
  • Can be transported around like a wheelbarrow
  • The powerful engine will ensure reliable air compressor quality

CONS

  • This compressor weighs 235lbs

Our Review

The Makita air compressor has a 4-stroke Honda engine, meaning there's some serious power behind the compressor. You'll have the flexibility of working with 12.5 CFM and a 135 max PSI. The compressor sports two 10-gallon tanks and a dual coupling system to allow two users to operate the compressor at once. 

The portable design allows you to transport it around your work site like a wheelbarrow, with the reinforced tire and ergonomic handles. That doesn't mean it's not heavy; this compressor weighs 235lbs. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The standout feature here is that for a 20-gallon air compressor, offering 12.5 CFM and 135 PSI is suitable for most construction sites and standard tools. This is quite uncommon for 20-gallon tanks to offer such high-quality. 

Runner-up:
NorthStar 459212

PROS

  • Cast iron casing ensures durability
  • Will be able to carry out most tasks
  • Can be moved around like a wheelbarrow
  • Low-vibration technology limits the risk of vibrational damage

CONS

  • More maintenance required for this product as it uses oil

Our Review

Transporting this air compressor around the worksite is made easy by the ergonomic grip and reinforced tire; the design allows you to move it around like a wheelbarrow. The 14 CFM and 130 max PSI capabilities will allow you to operate most construction tools, making this a welcome addition to any worksite. 

The cast iron body will protect the internal components from any accidental bumps. This compressor's low-vibration technology significantly limits the common vibrational damage created by continuous use. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

A deserved runner-up, there's one standout feature that makes this compressor so popular. Gas air compressors are known to overheat after prolonged use frequently. The V-style cylinder design limits the risk of any overheating, greatly increasing the lifespan of your air compressor. 

Best for the Money:
Rolair GD4000PV5H

PROS

  • Has an operating range of 110 - 135 PSI
  • Fuel efficient unlike most gas air compressors
  • Protective cast iron cage protects the internal parts
  • The 4.6 CFM is suitable for most construction tasks

CONS

  • Weighs 72lbs and doesn't have wheels

Our Review

This small 4.5-gallon air compressor has an operating range of 110 - 135 PSI and puts out 4.6 CFM, making this suitable for most construction tools and ideal to be used on any worksite. This compressor is a lot more fuel-efficient than others featured; a common issue for many gas air compressors is that they guzzle gas like there's no tomorrow. 

You'll also have the benefit of a protective cast-iron cage, which will limit any accidental damage to internal components. The only downside with this product is that it weighs 72lbs without giving you an easy transport solution like wheels or a handle. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The standout feature here is the extent of fuel efficiency. It sports a 118cc Honda engine, giving you plenty of power without guzzling fuel and costing you an arm and a leg. It is a common problem for gas air compressors, but you'll not have this problem with this compressor. 

Best 30 Gallon Gas Air Compressor:
NorthStar 459382

PROS

  • Cast iron casing will ensure a long lifespan
  • V-style cylinder helps to cool off the compressor
  • 30-gallons will provide you with plenty of continuous airflows
  • 25 CFM and 175 PSI will be more than enough for any construction tool

CONS

  • Hard to move around as it weighs just under 500lbs

Our Review

The 30-gallon NorthStar air compressor is a welcome addition to any worksite. The compressor will easily operate most tools and complete tasks due to the exceptional 25 CFM and 175 PSI capabilities. Most worksites are prone to the occasional accident; the cast iron casing will easily protect the internal parts against any accidental bumps. 

Another common issue that's non-existent in this compressor is overheating, the reason being it has a V-style cylinder design, which improves cooling. The only downside is that it weighs around 500lbs, and doesn't offer any wheels or solutions to transport it around. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The 25 CFM and 175 PSI capabilities are what make this a great addition for any workforce. With these specs, you'll be able to operate almost any construction tool with no problem whatsoever; it exceeds the minimum requirements for most commonly used construction and industrial tools. 

Best Small Gas Air Compressor:
Industrial Air CTA5090412

PROS

  • Dual coupling system allows two users at a time
  • The small and compact size means it's easier to store
  • A patented cooling system limits the chance of overheating
  • 155 PSI and 5 CFM will operate most standard tools like nailers

CONS

  • It doesn't come with wheels or comfortable handles

Our Review

This 4-gallon tank has two 2-gallon tanks on either side; a dual coupling system also allows two users to operate the compressor at once, maximizing efficiency. It's a lot easier to store thanks to the compact design. In terms of pressure capabilities, 155 PSI and 5 CFM is plenty for general construction tasks like nailing.

The common risk of overheating is also greatly reduced. It comes with a patented two-piece cooling system, which will significantly increase the compressors' lifespan compared to not having adequate overheating protection. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The small size of this compressor is what gives it an edge against other brands. The compact design allows anyone that has restricted space to find a place to store this machine. Although it weighs 74lbs, this is significantly less weight than most gas air compressors. 

Best Dewalt Gas Air Compressor:
DeWalt DXCMTA5090412

PROS

  • 155 PSI and 7 CFM capabilities
  • Relatively quiet for a gas air compressor
  • Oil-free lubrication removes the risk of contamination
  • The patented two-piece cooling system reduces the risk of overheating

CONS

  • Vibrates quite a bit

Our Review

Another 4-gallon air compressor, this time it's oil-free, a huge benefit for anyone that requires clean pressurized air as there's no risk of oil contamination. You'll be happy with the 155 PSI and 7 CFM capabilities as this covers most pneumatic tool airflow and pressure requirements. 

The common overheating issue with gas air compressors is also less of a worry with this product as it sports a patented two-piece cooling system, greatly reducing the risk of that issue. The only problem is that it vibrates more than other compressors featured. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The patented two-piece cooling system is probably the most beneficial feature of this compressor. As it's such a small gas-powered compressor, it might have to do a little more catching up when continuously used, thus increasing the likelihood of overheating. However, with this patented cooling system, it completely reduces that risk. 

Best Puma Gas Air Compressor:
Puma PUK-5530HG

PROS

  • Relatively quiet operation, ideal for suburban areas
  • 22 CFM and 135 PSI will be adequate for most tools
  • 30-gallon tank will allow significant continuous airflow
  • Cast iron body provides exceptional protection against accidental bumps

CONS

  • Doesn't have wheels and is hard to move around due to the 340lb weight

Our Review

The 30-gallon puma gas air compressor can offer plenty of continuous airflow for tasks that take longer and use more pressurized air. The 22 CFM and 135 PSI reflect the same thing; you'll be able to operate most construction tools and complete medium-large tasks on your worksite with this compressor. 

Like most construction sites, damages are common. However, the cast iron casing is what protects against any accidental bumps. A surprising feature is that it has a quiet operation, a common issue for most gas air compressors, unlike this one.  

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The airflow and pressure capabilities are the standout features for this gas air compressor. You'll be able to carry out most tasks on the site with relative ease; nailing, sandblasting, and spray painting are among the tasks that you could complete with this compressor. 

Pros and Cons of Gas Air Compressors 

There are many pro's and con's that come with gas air compressors. We've included a few below. 

Gas Air Compressor Pros

  • Power - They're far more powerful than electric air compressors. Offering greater CFM and higher PSI capabilities, you'll be free to use most pneumatic construction tools on the site. 

  • Portability - You can take them anywhere. Electric air compressors can only operate when there's an electricity source nearby. However, with gas air compressors, so long as you have a tank full of gas, you can use it. 

  • Durability - They tend to be a lot more durable. Most gas air compressors are made from solid cast iron; this gives them an edge over other compressors as they're more resistant to accidental bumps. 

Gas Air Compressor Cons

  • Outside Only - Gas-powered air compressors can only be used outside. The reason for this is that gas air compressors give off a lot of fumes when in operation. If the compressor is used in an enclosed space, this could quickly become dangerous.

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

Gas vs Electric Air Compressor - Comparison Overview

Gas and electric air compressors operate similarly. However, some key differences can have an impact on your operation. 

Power Source

Of course, the main difference between these two types is the power supply. One uses electricity, and the other utilizes gas. Both have their benefits; electric is better used for indoor projects like DIY around the home, and gas is better used outdoors due to the fumes.

Capability

Gas-powered air compressors tend to have more powerful engines and can offer better CFM and PSI abilities. However, they also tend to be heavier and noisier than their electric counterparts. 

Electric air compressors also are cheaper in the long run as you don't need to keep buying gas. However, they always need an electricity source, which might be hard to get in the middle of nowhere. 

Conclusion

Both gas and electric air compressors do the same job. But, they're very different in their features as well as the benefits and downsides they provide. If you're working outside gas seems to work better. If you're indoors, you should be using electric air compressors. 

People Also Ask

After every big chunk of information, there's always going to be unanswered questions. We've compiled and answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding gas air compressors below. 

What Kind Of Gas Do Air Compressors Use?

It all depends on what your manufacturer recommends. However, the most common fuel is gasoline or diesel fuel. Never go against your manufacturer's recommendation as if this breaks the compressor, your warranty might not cover it. 

Are Gas Air Compressors More Powerful?

Gas air compressors are more powerful and are used more to operate medium to heavy construction and industrial tools. They provide a greater airflow, thus allowing tools with higher requirements to be used.  

Do Gas Air Compressors Last As Long?

Gas air compressors are certainly more durable than electric air compressors. Most quality gas air compressors have a lifespan of more than 5000 hours. 

How Heavy Are Gas Air Compressors?

Gas air compressors tend to be heavier than their electric counterparts. For example, a 30-gallon tank featured in this article is over 300lbs. An electric counterpart would probably only be around 100lbs.

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.