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.
DEWALT Air Compressor D55146
Our Top Pick
Our Budget Pick
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore
Our Best Pick
DEWALT Air Compressor 55140
California Air Tools CAT-4620AC-22060
Campbell Hausfeld DC080500
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9
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.
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.
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.
The shrouded design is supposed to keep all the dangerous (hot and moving) parts enclosed, making the unit safer for use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The large automotive style industrial air filter guaranteesincreased air intake which, in turn, delivers greater efficiency.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.