Best Air Compressor For Framing Crew 2022: Editor’s Pick included

Every construction professional understands the importance of keeping hammers and nails on hand. They are essential framing tools and they have been tried and tested in a variety of settings, so most of you can trust them to get the job done.

However, for all the power that a hammer brings to the table, manual framing is time-consuming work. It requires a lot of effort and patience and it also leaves plenty of room for mistakes. This is where air tools like nailers enter the picture.

Anyone with experience in this field knows that, even though air tools are more productive, they require air compressors to work. And air compressors are not cheap. This is why every construction expert goes out of their way to try and select the best air compressor for framing crew.

They know that the wrong air compressor can ruin a construction project by either creating delays or causing accidents. But selecting a suitable job site air compressor is not easy. There are too many models on the market to choose from. That is why this guide was created, to place all the best units in the field at your fingertips, simplifying your choice.


Editor’s Pick

Our top pick

If you want an air compressor that cannot fail to impress, try our Top Pick:

DEWALT D55146 – Even though this unit is expensive, you get exactly what you paid for. That includes a maximum PSI of 225, which is incredible, relatively quiet operations (78dBA), 10-inch wheels that will allow you to transport the compressor’s 80-pound body, efficient pressure technology that extends the life of the pump and motor, and a vertical stand feature, not to mention a collapsible handle.

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Our budget pick

If you want a unit that will exceed your expectations without breaking your wallet, try our budget pick:

Senco PC1010 – This is the air compressor you turn to when you want a lightweight and portable unit that is suitable for various renovation and home improvement jobs, not to mention hobbies and crafts. It has ultra-quiet operations.

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Our best pick

If you just want the most balanced product the market has to offer, consider our overall best pick:

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore – This unit has everything you want in an air compressor. It is relatively quiet, relatively portable with a 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank, a maximum PSI of 130, an oil-lubricated cooler running pump that minimizes wear, and a highly durable cast iron cylinder. It is built to last. The unit even features built-in thermal overload protection.

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What to look for in an Air Compressor for Framing Tools?

If you are determined to ensure that you only add the best compressors to your toolbox, try to keep these factors in mind:

1) Tank Capacity

The size of the tank matters because it will tell you the amount of air your compressor can hold. The bigger the tank, the longer the compressor can operate without interruption. It also means a shorter recovery period which, in turn, allows your unit to undertake heavy tasks.

2) Size

The size of the compressor will depend on your preferences and purposes. You are better off buying a smaller, more portable unit that you can carry and which doesn’t occupy that much space. But larger units are perfectly fine if you need the power and if you have no intention of moving your compressor around.

3) CFM

Standing for cubic feet per minute, the CFM of the compressor you choose must be higher than the CFM your air tools require to operate. This is the only way to ensure that the compressor has sufficient airflow to power your tools.

4) PSI

As with the CFM, you need to match the PSI of the compressor to the PSI requirements of the tools you plan to use. This will ensure that the compressor is powerful enough to operate your tools.

5) Noise

Some compressors are loud. Others are quiet. The power of a compressor often impacts the amount of noise it makes. That is to say, the larger and more powerful the compressor, the louder it tends to be. But there are plenty of powerful compressors that are quiet.

You should base your choice of a compressor on the location in which you intend to work. People working indoors around other people should look for quieter models.

6) Power Supply

A compressor can either be electric-powered or gasoline-powered. Electric-powered units are quieter, easier to maintain and cheaper to operate. But gas-powered units are mobile. They also generate more power.

Best Air Compressor For Framing Crew

1) DEWALT Air Compressor D55146

One of the bigger draws of this unit is the tank and storage pressure. It gives users 80 percent more usable air than most other air compressors in this range. It recovers quickly after its initial tank charge is exhausted and the 78dBA promises a much quieter operation.

The vertical stand feature and collapsible handle will allow you to save on space. They will also make transportation and storage so much easier, especially in light of the 10-inch non-flat foam tires which are highly convenient. You can wheel the compressor around the jobsite with little effort.

DEWALT Air Compressor D55146

Key Features:

  • 4.5-gallon capacity
  • 225 PSI Max
  • 5.0SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 78dBA
  • 1.6HP

The high-pressure technology guarantees a longer pump and motor life. The oil-free pump doesn’t require any maintenance which makes it so much more convenient to use.

  • Relatively quiet
  • Wheels simplify transportation
  • Consumes less space, making storage easy
  • The oil-free pump doesn’t require maintenance
  • Heavy
  • Can’t utilize higher pressures

Expert Tips

This unit will appeal to people that want a heavy compressor with a lot of power that is, none the less, portable and quiet enough to work indoors.

2) Portable-Cable CMB15

This compressor is electric-powered. It weighs only 20 pounds and it comes with a 1-year warranty. Boasting a 25-foot hose and only generating 79dB of sound, the fully-shrouded compressor is easy to carry and transport.

Expect rubber feet, water drain, and a decent maximum PSI that will keep your tools running for a long time with only limited downtime. The oil-free pump is not only long-lasting but it doesn’t require any maintenance. The low-amp motor (120V) starts quite easily even in cold weather.

Portable-Cable CMB15

Key Features:

  • 150 Maximum PSI
  • 2.0SCFM at 90PSI
  • 1.5 gallons
  • Oil-free pump
  • 20 pounds
  • 25-foot coil hose

The shrouded design is supposed to keep all the dangerous (hot and moving) parts enclosed, making the unit safer for use.

  • Lightweight
  • The oil-free pump is durable and maintenance-free
  • Low-amp motor starts easily in cold weather
  • Enclosed design protectsagainst hot and moving parts
  • Small tank
  • Cheap hose

Expert Tips

This air compressor is suitable for people that want to perform simple tasks such as inflating tires. It is powerful enough to do basic jobs efficiently. But you cannot rely on it to tackle heavier projects.

3) DEWALT Air Compressor 55140

This is a light, high-performance unit that will make construction and household jobs so much easier. The tank is quite small, so the unit limited in some areas. However, the 2.6-amp motor is sufficient for smaller undertakings.

The high flow regulator enhances the performance of your tools by delivering maximum pressure. It isn’t the quietest compressor. However, at 69dBA, it is silent enough for you to use indoors without distressing the people in the vicinity.

DEWALT Air Compressor 55140

Key Features:

  • 1-gallon tank
  • 135 Maximum PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • 2.6-amp motor
  • 69dBA
  • 29.5 pounds
  • 0.75 SCFM at 90PSI

The oil-free pump is durable and maintenance-free. The heavy-duty cast iron body is augmented by a roll cage, delivering a full-protection frame that will extend the life of the unit by defending against damage. The wrap-around control panel is an interesting bonus that keeps all the essential components protected.

Even though it is sturdy, the compressor is not bulky. As such, transportation is quite easy.

  • Durable
  • Sturdy but not bulky
  • Relatively quiet
  • The oil-free pump is durable and maintenance-free
  • Small tank
  • Only suitable for the smallest jobs

Expert Tips

This is the sort of unit you keep around the house or in your car. It is quiet enough for most settings and it has the power to perform small jobs efficiently. But the CFM is too low for you to trust it with heavy tasks.

4) California Air Tools CAT-4620AC-22060

At 67.2 pounds, this is a somewhat light compressor made from aluminum. Relatively quiet, it has a 2.0HP motor that operates at 1680RPM. This allows the compressor to perform its tasks while generating less noise and suffering less wear. The motor offers an elevated duty cycle that allows you to use the unit for longer periods.

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC-22060

Key Features:

  • 5.3CFM at 90PSI and 6.4CFM at 40PSI
  • 67 pounds
  • 2HP
  • 4.6 Gallons
  • 3000 Hours before wear
  • 70 decibels

The oil-free dual-piston pump system is efficient, durable, easy to maintain and engineered to deliver a high performance. It allows you to use the compressor in a variety of situations. You can even start it in cold weather and deploy it in uneven terrain.

With the ‘Easy Start Valve’ feature, you can start the compressor more easily while using fewer starting amps.

  • Relatively quiet
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Can be used in a variety of temperatures and uneven terrains
  • Portable
  • Unsatisfactory build quality

Expert Tips

This unit isn’t rugged enough for you to take to a dangerous jobsite. It is also a bit heavy. But you can still carry it alone. It is sufficiently quiet. It has enough power to do most moderately difficult jobs and many heavier tasks. It can do a lot for you at a construction site.

5) Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

At 68dBA, this compressor is 50 percent quieter than many of the units within this range. This makes it suitable for indoor projects. The oil-free design makes for a more durable, longer-lasting, maintenance-free machine that is sufficient for everything from stapling to bolting.

The dual-piston pump system has been engineered for high performance, capable of producing 25 percent more air than other 1.0HP compressor motors. The 8-gallon tank allows you to work for longer periods. You get a 1-year limited warranty that eliminates some of the risks associated with purchasing the compressor.

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

Key Features:

  • 67 pounds
  • 8 gallons
  • 68dBA
  • Oil-free pump
  • 125 Maximum PSI

At 67 pounds, the unit is light enough for one person to carry. But the large wheels and rubber-grip steel handle reduce the strain associated with transporting the compressor.

  • Large wheels and rubber-grip steel handle simplify transportation
  • Relatively quiet
  • The oil-free pump is maintenance-free
  • Builds pressure slowly
  • No attachments

Expert Tips

This is a relatively light, moderately powerful unit that will perform simple tasks such as stapling, fastening, nailing, and inflation. You can use it around the house because it is so quiet.

6) PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

This compressor, with its pancake style tank, is highly stable. It promises longer air tool performance. Accompanied by a 13-piece accessory kit and a 6-gallon tank that will permit you to keep working for a fair bit of time without interruption, the unit comes with an air coupler and plug that have been factory-installed on the air hose to prevent leaks.

The oil-free pump requires little in the way of maintenance. It will also last a long time. The 30-pound build makes the compressor easy to carry. Expect quick recovery time and maximum air tool performance resulting from the work of the high flow regulator and couplers.

PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

Key Features:

  • 150 Maximum PSI
  • 6 gallons
  • Low-amp 120-volt motor
  • 2.6SCFM at 90PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • 30 pounds

Capable of running at 3.5SCFM for faster recharge of its tank, the motor has replaceable brushes that will extend its life. The High-Flo air regulator will protect against large air pressure drops.

The shroud and console cover will keep vital parts protected. The handle simplifies transportation.

  • Lightweight
  • Shroud and console cover protect vital components
  • Handle simplifies transportation
  • The motor starts easily in cold weather
  • Loud
  • Air gauge is plastic and easy to break

Expert Tips

This unit is lightweight, so it is suitable for anyone that wants a compressor they can carry from place to place. It has a decent tank capacity and it is best utilized with short burst air tools like staplers and nail guns. Don’t expect to operate it satisfactorily with tools like paint spray guns that require long and drawn out use.

7) Makita MAC2400 Big Bore

This unit has a cast iron pump with a Big Bore Cylinder and Piston which are durable and resistant to wear. It promises a higher performance with faster recovery time. The PSI and CFM are capable of sustaining two nailers.

The pump is oil lubricated. It has cooler running temperatures and reduced wear. The motor has features that will protect it from thermal overload. The roll cage construction makes the compressor compatible with extreme jobsite environments. It will keep the compressor protected from harm.

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore

Key Features:

  • 4.2-gallon twin stacked tank
  • 4.8CFM at 40PSI and 4.2 CFM at 90 Psi
  • 2.5HP 4-Pole Motor
  • 1730 RPM
  • 79dB
  • 81 pounds

The large automotive style industrial air filter guaranteesincreased air intake which, in turn, delivers greater efficiency.

  • Heavy-duty cast iron oil-lubricated pump is durable
  • Faster recovery and higher performance
  • Roll cage construction provides additional protection
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • Heavy
  • Controls are inconveniently positioned

Expert Tips

This is a heavy-duty unit that will appeal to people that want a low-noise compressor with a high output that delivers industrial power. It is perfect for tough jobsites. It has the power you need to perform difficult tasks.

8) Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor

It is easy to see why some people call this the best air compressor for framing crew. At 20 pounds, it is ridiculously lightweight, so you should be able to carry it from place to place without a challenge. Boasting a 1-gallon capacity and ½ horsepower, it is ideal for basic renovation and home improvement jobs, not to mention hobbies.

Backed by a 1-year warranty and delivering 20-44 drives per minute, this is a small but powerful job site air compressor that can do everything from filling bicycle tires to working with nailers and pinners. You can use it indoors without disturbing the other people in the area because it has an ultra-quiet operation.

Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor

Key Features:

  • 20 pounds
  • Electric powered
  • 120 Maximum PSI
  • Direct Drive Induction Motor
  • 1 gallon

It is so quiet that you might not realize that it has started operating unless you’re standing right next to it. The oil-less compressor features a direct drive induction motor and an aluminum tank. From its specs, you can tell that it wasn’t made for heavy-duty work. But it will tackle the small tasks you assign it with great efficiency.

  • Lightweight
  • Ultra-quiet
  • Portable
  • 1-year warranty
  • Small tank

Expert Tips

This is the perfect compressor to use in a home setting. It can perform basic renovation and home improvement jobs without disturbing the people in the vicinity. Simply put,it does small tasks well.

9) Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

This unit is not only portable but ergonomic in its design, very easy to handle and carry. Suitable for both professionals and hobbyists, it is very user friendly, boasting a front panel that gives you easy access to the compressor’s functions.

The noise levels are not bad. This isn’t the quietest contractor air compressor but it is silent enough for you to use indoors without ruining the hearing of the people around you.

It promises maximum power and flexibility, a pair of quick disconnect couplers that enable you to run multiple tools at the same time and 2000 hours of service between changeouts.

Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

Key Features:

  • 79 dBA
  • 83 pounds
  • Electric-powered
  • Twin 4-gallon tanks
  • 135 Maximum PSI
  • 2HP

The protective back shroud adds to the durability of the unit. The same goes for the enclosed frame. The pressure gauges and regulator switch are part of a panel that is very easy to read. The compressor tank will go from zero to full pressure in just 60 seconds which is impressive.

The belt-driven design is responsible for the quiet operations of the compressor. The cast-iron cylinder and oil-lubricated design add to the longevity of the unit.

  • Compressor tank fills in just 60 seconds
  • You can run two tools simultaneously
  • Protective back shroud and enclosed frame augment durability
  • Ergonomic design
  • Heavy

Expert Tips

This is a strong, well-built compressor that is suitable for both light and heavy duties. It will not appeal to people that prefer lighter models. Don’t expect to carry it around. It is heavy. But it gets the job done and it is worth every penny you have to spend to get it.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. What problems do you normally find in air compressors for framing crews?

ANSWER: A lot of times, they fail to start in cold weather. This is why you have to carefully investigate a unit’s attributes before buying it. You must ensure that cold conditions won’t prevent it from starting.

Q. Do all compressors for framing crews come with warranties?

ANSWER: No, they do not, which is why you should check a compressor’s details to ensure that a warranty is available. The longer the duration of the warranty, the better. It will give you peace of mind to know that the manufacturer will repair or replace your compressor if it develops a fault.

Q. Which parts of an air compressor wear out most frequently?

ANSWER: Many of the repairs you encounter with air compressors revolve around the pistons, driver blades, piston rings, bumper, and o-rings. These are the parts that are expected to wear out.

Q. What are the most important factors to consider when choosing an air compressor?

ANSWER: You have to account for the fact that air tools like framing nailers need a continuous flow of compressed air. Therefore, the airflow is quite important. So is the power source, size, and portability.

Final Verdict

As you can see, air compressors vary widely. You can get them in numerous shapes, sizes, and designs. Some are small and light. Others are large and heavy. Some are oil-free.Others are oil lubricated.

The best air compressor for framing crew is the one that is compatible with the needs, requirements, and preferences of the user. Fortunately, the list we have generated above has a little bit of everything. Even more fortunate is the fact that all these products are high-quality items. Therefore, if you can find a product on this list that matches the needs of your task, it cannot fail to satisfy you.

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