Best Oil Free Air Compressors – 2021 Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Air compressors come in various shapes, sizes, and all have unique features that could benefit you but be a drawback for someone else.

Oil-free air compressors have a whole range of beneficial features, and today, we’ll explain them in detail, even showing you some of our favorites and why. 

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

  1. Stealth SAQ-11215
  2. Craftsman CMXECXA0232043
  3. California Air Tools 8010

Comparison Chart of the Best Oil Free Air Compressors:

Product

Main Features

Price

Stealth SAQ-11215

  • Ultra quiet design
  • Tank fills in about 75 seconds
  • Easy to store and transport

Craftsman CMXECXA0232043

  • 175 PSI max
  • 20 gallon storage
  • Perfect for DIY and at-home use

California Air Tools 8010

  • Best for the Money
  • Comes with wheels and air filter
  • Oil-free pump requires little maintenance

Central Pneumatic HA95275

  • Best Central Pneumatic 3 Gallon Oilless Air Compressor
  • Built in accessory storage
  • Features thermal overload protection

Bostitch BTFP02012

  • Best Bostitch Oil Free Air Compressor
  • Easy start even in cold weather
  • Comes with high flow regulator and couplers

Husky C271H

  • Best Husky Oilless Air Compressor
  • Can start in -20 fahrenheit
  • 200 PSI max

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

  • Best Quiet Oilless Air Compressor
  • Only 56 decibels
  • Just under 30 lbs

What is an Oil-Free Air Compressor? 

There are quite a few differences between an oil and oil-free air compressor. Each has its benefits and downsides. 

An oil-free air compressor is simply an air compressor that operates without lubricating oil. In an oil compressor, lubricating oil is used to cool and lubricate the compressor. Oil-free uses a lubricant called Teflon as a replacement. 

The benefits of oil-free are that you minimize the need for maintenance, don’t have to buy oil, it’s also not as messy and removes the risk of oil-contamination. However, the downsides are that the compressor is more likely to overheat as the Teflon dries out and is also far louder. 

How Does An Oil-Less Compressor Work?

Your compressor will draw in air through your unloader valve, it’ll then be pressurized for the first time. Oil-free air compressors tend to reach heights of 180F, which is two times hotter than an oil-lubricated air compressor. 

Your air compressor will then begin cooling down the pressurized air by using an intercooler. This is then moved back into the compressor changes to be pressurized a second time, depending on if your device is a single or two-stage compressor

How to Choose an Oil-Free Air Compressor 

All products have those defining features that, if they don’t have them, there’s no point buying them. We’ve included a few things that you should be looking out for in terms of features and ability when looking for a quality oil-free air compressor. 

Noise Level

The decibel rating of any air compressor is important for a few reasons. If you’re living or working in a quiet neighborhood or environment, you’ll want to try getting an air compressor that’s less than 75 decibels. Anything over 80 decibels can affect your hearing if you don’t use safety equipment. 

PSI And CFM

Understanding the capabilities of an air compressor is also important. Different tools will require various levels of CFM and PSI. For example, a nailer might need 120 PSI and a CFM of 2; this means your air compressor will have to provide a minimum of 120 PSI and 2 CFM to operate the tool effectively. 

Tank Size

If you’re looking for a compressor that can do simple tasks like nailing, a small 6-gallon pancake air compressor will do, as you’re only using short blasts of pressurized air. However, if you’re cleaning your car with a power washer, you’ll want a tank of around 60 - gallons to provide you with the amount of continuous airflow necessary. 

Review of the Best Oil-Less Air Compressors

We’ve shown you what features you need to look out for; now, we’ll show you some of our favorite oil-free air compressors. 

Best Overall:
Stealth SAQ-11215

PROS

  • Takes just over a minute to refill the tank
  • One of the quietest oil-free air compressors available
  • Reinforced rubber wheels help with transporting around the work site
  • Will operate most pneumatic tools with a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI

CONS

  • Has quite a heavyweight for a 12-gallon tank

Our Review

The Stealth oil-free air compressor was voted our overall best for a couple of reasons. Oil-free air compressors often get a bad rep for being far louder than their oil counterparts. However, with this compressor, it emits only 68 decibels. It can only offer a working pressure of up to 150 PSI, making this compressor suitable for most DIY tools. 

You’ll also be surprised at the 70 second refill time, meaning more time spent on the job rather than waiting for a refill. The only downside to this compressor is that it’s pretty heavy for a 12-gallon tank, weighing in at 95lbs. Although the reinforced rubber wheels help carry that burden. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The real surprise here is that it does everything you’d need. Usually, if a compressor has all of these features, it’s simply too good to be true. The only problem is the weight, but that can be manageable so long as you’re fit enough to lump it up some stairs now, and then, the rubber wheels carry the rest of the burden. 

Runner-up:
Craftsman CMXECXA0232043

PROS

  • Can be used with most construction tools
  • Dual quick couplers allow two users at once
  • 20-gallon tank gives plenty of continuous airflows
  • Thick rubber wheels to transport it around the site easier

CONS

  • The weight can often be a problem
  • 80 decibels is considered quite loud

Our Review

The Craftsman brand is very well-known for being reliable and making great quality products. We felt that this air compressor deserved the runners-up spot. The 175 maximum working pressure is suitable for all standard tools and even some industrial tools. The dual couplers allow two tools to be operated at once.

If you’re using the compressor for tasks like power washing or sanding, the 20-gallon tank can provide the continuous airflow necessary. The only downsides to this product are the 80-decibel noise that can be heard roaring from it, it’s not exactly neighborhood friendly. The other downside is the 90lb weight. However, this can be balanced out by the thick rubber wheels to help transport it. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We believed that the standout feature for the Craftsman is that it offers all that you’d expect a quality compressor to offer. The 175 PSI capabilities are exactly what any construction worker, mechanic, or bodyworker requires when operating their high-powered air tools. The 20-gallon tank even reaffirms that this is an excellent addition to a tradesman’s toolkit. 

Best for the Money:
California Air Tools 8010

PROS

  • It has a runtime of up to 60 minutes
  • Will survive for up to 3000 hours of use
  • Is reasonably lightweight for the size of it
  • 60 decibels means that it’s great for quiet environments

CONS

  • Takes up plenty of space
  • Can only be operated by one user at a time

Our Review

It’s always exciting when you find a bargain. This oil-free air compressor by California Air Tools has a maximum working pressure of 120 PSI and will provide up to 60 minutes of continuous airflow. This would be decent for simple chores or everyday DIY tasks around the home. The weight is roughly 48lbs and comes with wheels, meaning it’s easy to carry around. 

The loud noise from compressors puts many people off, but the 60 decibels that this compressor emits isn’t much of a problem. The only downsides to this product are that it’s quite bulky, it might be a struggle to find space for this compressor. The other downside is that it’s only got a single coupler, meaning just one user at a time can operate it. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product’s lifespan is far greater than most other oil-free air compressors, sitting at more than 3000 continuous hours worth of use. There are many popular branded air compressors that can’t make it past 500 hours. The long lifespan and quality-price make for a great bargain. 

Best Central Pneumatic 3 Gallon Oilless Air Compressor:
Central Pneumatic HA95275

PROS

  • Will do the trick for small tasks with basic tools
  • Can store accessories in a small compartments
  • Easy storage solutions when using this compressor
  • Is lightweight and compact enough to carry around easily

CONS

  • Only provides up to 100 PSI and 1 CFM

Our Review

This simple 3-gallon pancake air compressor is an excellent tool for anyone carrying out some small and simple DIY. Operating up to 100 PSI, you’ll get the simple nailing or drilling jobs done without a problem. But that’s all. You’ll struggle to operate anything that requires above 1 CFM, which is a lot of tools. 

The small size is a real attraction to many homeowners as you’ll be able to store this compressor without a problem. You can even put your extra couplers and plugs inside it’s small storage compartment. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

There are two reasons why this is Central Pneumatic air compressor was voted the best for pneumatic tools. The first being the compact and lightweight design allowing any worker to carry this around like a lunchbox. The other reason being it provides up to 100 PSI, which is enough for most drilling, nailing, and sanding. 

Best Bostitch Oil-Free Air Compressor:
Bostitch BTFP02012

PROS

  • Dual coupling system allows multiple users
  • Can provide working pressure up to 150 PSI
  • The portable pancake air compressor is relatively lightweight
  • 6-Gallon tank can provide continuous airflow for up to 60 minutes

CONS

  • It’s quite loud at 78 decibels

Our Review

Bostitch is a reputable brand when it comes to air compressors. This pancake air compressor is relatively easy to carry around as it only weighs 31lbs, and you’ll have no problem storing this as it has a compact design. You’ll be able to have you and a buddy operate this compressor at the same time, thanks to the dual coupling system. 

As for the tools, you can run, you’ll be able to operate almost anything as it reaches 150 PSI without a hitch. The airflow can last for up to 60 minutes, depending on what tool you’re using. The only downside is the 78-decibel noise it creates. However, some customers swear it’s louder than that. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This small pancake air compressor surprises people when they learn it can provide up to 150 PSI. There are larger compressors out there that struggle to provide that, yet something so compact does it without a problem. 

Best Husky Oilless Air Compressor:
Husky C271H

PROS

  • Can start in -20F with no issue
  • More storage options as it’s vertical
  • Has a 200 maximum working pressure
  • Can run smoothly with up to 400ft of hose

CONS

  • Emits 78 decibels, which is still loud
  • Weighs 101 lbs could be an issue for some people

Our Review

The 27-gallon oil-free air compressor can provide up to 200 PSI, which is a significant amount, meaning you can operate all standard tools and most industrial level tools. If you’re working outside during the winter, this compressor can handle -20F weather, meaning you can quickly get started during those cold morning shifts. 

You’ll not need to worry much about carrying this upstairs as you can run the compressor with up to 400ft of hose without an issue. You’d think with such a large tank; it would be a hassle to store. But, considering its vertical, it isn’t much of an issue. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The defining feature of this compressor is the maximum working pressure of 200 PSI. This oil-free Husky air compressor would suit most in a mechanics or use in a medical environment as it can supply high pressure with a suitable continuous runtime. 

Best Quiet Oilless Air Compressor:
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

PROS

  • Will provide up to 120 PSI
  • Emits only a meager 56 decibels
  • Will survive over 3000 hours of operation
  • Weighs only 29lbs, which is light enough to transport 

CONS

  • Only has a 1-gallon tank
  • Only one user at a time can operate

Our Review

Without a doubt, this oil-free air compressor is one of the quietest air compressors currently available; it emits a tiny 56 decibels. You’ll be pleased to know that it has an expected life cycle of over 3000 hours, far greater than your standard 500 hours or less. It weighs 29lbs, which shouldn’t be a problem to move around now and then. 

You’ll also be able to operate most standard tools with the 120 max PSI. However, it won’t have a long runtime as it’s a small 1-gallon tank. You’ll also have to stick to just one person at a time, as it’s a single coupler system. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The obvious standout feature is the low noise level. Anything below 60 decibels is extremely rare to find, you’d struggle to hear this compressor running if you were in another room, it’s the same noise level of a refrigerator. 

Pros and Cons of an Oil-Free Air Compressor 

Oil-free air compressors have many benefits and downsides; it depends on how you’ll be using it. However, we’ve decided to list the most common below. 

Oil-Free Air Compressor Pros

Less Maintenance

You’ll not need to change every few months, which can be a messy task, as well as time-consuming. The occasional visual inspection should be adequate to keep the compressor running smoothly. 

Operates At Lower Temperatures 

As there’s no oil in the compressor, it doesn’t freeze as quickly as an oil compressor. This is a great benefit when you’re starting your early morning shift during autumn or winter. 

No Oil-Contamination 

Oil-free air compressors are commonly used during projects that require pure pressurized air, such as painting cars or even medical procedures. The reason is that oil compressors can sometimes contaminate the air with oil particles; thus, oil-free is a lot less risky and safer. 

Oil-Free Air Compressor Cons

Overheat Easier

oil compressors use the oil as a cooling agent when the air is pressurized. However, oil-free utilize Teflon, which can quickly dry out. This then means the oil-free air compressor has no lubricant or way to cool itself down. 

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

Conclusion

Like oil air compressors, their oil-free counterparts have many unique features, benefits, and even some downsides. However, the most important thing to know before deciding which compressor to go for is how you’ll use it. Once you figure that out, you’re halfway there. 

People Also Ask

You’ll have gotten plenty of information from the previous article. However, we also decided to answer the most commonly asked questions about oil-free air compressor’s down below. 

Which Is Better Oil Or Oil-Less Air Compressor?

It depends on what you’ll be using it for and where. Oil air compressors are a lot quieter and don’t overheat much; this is good for someone using their compressor in a quiet neighborhood. 

However, the oil-less air compressor is usually lighter, doesn’t require much maintenance, and won’t contaminate the pressurized air. So, it comes down to your personal opinion and what features you value more. 

When Would an Oil-Less Air Compressor Come in Handy?

They’re great for busy families that might not have time to maintain an oil air compressor. Occasional DIY and chores are the most common scenarios. Others include medical procedures. This is because they don’t have oil; there’s no chance of contamination with the pressurized air. Therefore it can be used in things like dental surgery. 

How Can A Compressor Be Oil-Free

Instead of using oil as a lubricant and coolant, oil-free compressors operate using something called Teflon. This removes the need for oil and therefore means that these compressors can provide pure pressurized air for medical purposes. 

Are Oil-Less Compressor Parts Hard To Come By?

Not really; these types of compressors are quite common; most parts can be found on Amazon. If there’s something that isn’t stocked on Amazon, contacting your compressor manufacturer will do the trick as they’ll have plenty of spares. If it’s still under warranty, they might even fix or replace whatever you need. 

Is There Such Thing As A Quiet Oil-Free Air Compressor?

It depends on how you define quiet. You can get an oil-free air compressor under 70 decibels. Most people consider anything below 70 decibels to be quiet for an air compressor, which isn’t unheard of. Anything above 75 decibels is loud, and for anything over 80 decibels, you should undoubtedly be wearing ear protection. 

What Is Oil-Less Compressor Maintenance Like?

A great benefit of going oil-free is that there’s very little maintenance required. However, you should still be carrying out the occasional checkup. A visual inspection should do the trick; things like draining the tank, checking the air filter, and checking all the safety valves are reasonable. 

How To Quiet An Oilless Air Compressor

There are a few ways to make your oil-free air compressor even quieter:

  • Move the air intake to somewhere that’s out of your earshot. If you’re working indoors, simply put the air compressor outdoors and buy a longer hose. 
  • Build housing for your air compressor. By boxing it up, you’re keeping that noise from spreading, and you could even put soundproofing material on the inside to make things even quieter. 
  • You could also put a muffler on your air intake, quieting the noise significantly.
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.