Best 1-Gallon Air Compressors

Find out the best 1-gallon air compressors from our top picks. Small 1-gallon air compressors are very popular for a few reasons. First and foremost, they are portable which makes them great for emergencies or short-term use. They are especially useful for hobbies and small projects. People often buy small air compressors for use at home or in the garage. Secondly, 1-gallon air compressors are also versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks around the home or office. Additionally, they are affordable.

1-gallon compressors are great for trim carpentry work to power pin brad and finish nailers. The biggest benefit is their small size and light weight which makes them so easy to transport to and from the job site.

Earlier people used to buy 6-gallon pancake air compressors for carpentry jobs. They actually worked great handling pretty much any pneumatic job. A decade ago a 6-gallon pancake air compressor was considered a lightweight but it weighed nearly 40 pounds. It is often double the size of today’s 1-gallon air compressor. At the end of the day, carpenters found it tiresome loading it back on the truck.

Another biggest downside of those compressors was the noise issue. It turned into a yelling contest when running any conversation and customers hated it also.  With the advancement of technology, the manufacturers have reduced both the size and noise of the compressor without compromising quality and performance. 1-gallon air compressors are highly favored when both power and portability are the concern.

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: Makita MAC100Q Air Compressor

Best Value: California CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor

Best Cordless: Ryobi Cordless Air Compressor

Makita MAC100Q Air Compressor

We have kept Makita MAC100Q at the top of our list due to its performance and ability to run quietly. This is the most expensive unit among 1-gallon compressors. But if you have the budget, get this little beast. The unit outranks other compressors in its segment when you need one for heavy use. It is an ideal choice for the case and base installation, trim and finish carpentry, cabinet and furniture makers, and more.

The compressor is designed for operator and crew comfort with a noise level of only 58 dB. With a running RPM of only 1,750, this compressor will last longer due to less wear and tear. It has an induction motor that provides .7 CFM at 90 PSI with a maximum tank pressure of 135 PSI. This unit has a quick 90-second full tank fill from empty.

Makita MAC100Q is a powerful and durable air compressor that is perfect for use in a variety of construction and carpentry applications. The complete roll-cage construction protects the compressor in a variety of job-site environments.

This small portable air compressor features a lever-handle tank drain for easy air tank release, large pressure gauges for easier visibility of tank and hose pressure, and a cord wrap for convenient AC power cord storage. The built-in thermal overload protects the motor from damage, making it perfect for long-lasting.

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California CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor

The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S holds the second position considering price, performance, and operational noise. The unit takes a minimal time (59 seconds only, the official rating is 50 seconds, in real life use we found 59 seconds ) to fill the tank from empty to the maximum pressure which is faster than Makita MAC 100Q and Senco PC 1010N.

Moreover, compared to the above-mentioned two models, CAT comes at a lower price tag and has more CFM rating. With 1.60 CFM @ 40 PSI and 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI, this air compressor is perfect for both home and commercial use.

CAT-1P1060S is a great choice for anyone looking for a quiet and durable compressor. With a 1-gallon steel tank, this compressor can handle light to medium-duty tasks with ease, and the oil-free single piston pump ensures a long life cycle. At only 56 decibels of sound, this compressor is perfect for use in any environment,

This 0.6 HP (rated/running) - 1.2 HP peak air compressor operates at only 1680 RPM, creating less noise and less wear.

This compressor has a tank fill rate from empty to full of 50 seconds, recovery time from 90 PSI to 120 PSI of 15 seconds, and a maximum continuous running time of 30-60 minutes on the 70/30 duty cycle. The steel air tank is lightweight at 29 pounds only! It also comes with an oil drain valve so you can easily release water from the tank.

Other standard features include dual gauges for both the tank pressure and CFM (cubic feet per minute), automatic overload protection, rubber feet for stability, a quick drain valve for easy maintenance, and more.

Senco PC1010N Air Compressor

We ranked SENCO PC1010 compressor in the third position it does not mean there is no good. The unit is popular because of its stunning design and performance. There are a number of happy customers of this unit. But we ranked it in the third position for two reasons. When compared to California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S and Makita MAC 100Q, we found the unit to be a bit louder and take more tank fill time.

SENCO PC1010 is a 1 HP peak, 1 Gallon, oil-less portable air compressor. This compressor is easy to carry and to use in a wide variety of applications. It is ultra quiet and lightweight with a direct drive motor/pump for efficient operation. The aluminum cylinder and lubeless pump make it durable and easy to maintain.

The hot dog-designed unit is a powerful and durable air compressor that is perfect for both home and professional use. With a sound level of 68 dB, it is one of the quietest air compressors on the market, making it ideal for use in residential areas. It also comes with a 1-year warranty, so you can rest assured that you're covered if anything goes wrong.

DEWALT D55140 Air Compressor

DEWALT D55140 provides quick recovery time and more nails can be fired with its higher CFM rating. It is designed for the user who needs a portable air compressor to inflate tires and other small items. This is a lightweight and portable compressor that supports up to 15 nails per minute. The pancake design is thin, light, and easy to carry with you for Jobsite use.

The air compressor delivers .75 SCFM at 90 PSI and has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. It has a durable oil-free pump for extended maintenance-free operation and features a low 71 dBA* for quieter operation.

The roll cage protects the key components of this compressor from damage and it has control panel protection as well. It comes with a one-year limited warranty at the time of purchase.

The low 2.6 amp draw motor provides easy start-up and reduces breaker tripping while the lightweight (24 lbs), thin (9") and compact design is easy to carry and store.

The ball valve drain allows for quick and thorough tank draining, while the built-in cord wrap keeps your cords organized when not in use.  This model features a quick coupler for convenient support of up to one nailer at once.

To sum up, DEWALT D55140 is also one of the most popular air compressors in the segment of 1-gallon air compressors. But we didn’t keep them in the top 3 lists for 2 reasons.

Firstly, the model is not designed with quiet operational technology resulting in 71 to 78 decibels of nose depending on how far you are. Secondly, you will not find this model as efficient as our top listed 3 models in respect of finishing application.

Metabo HPT EC28M Air Compressor

The Metabo HPT EC28M air compressor is a lightweight, portable and powerful air compressor that delivers superior performance. This ultra-quiet air compressor is perfect for the home garage. The EC28M is ideal for inflating tires, sports equipment, air mattresses and more!

The Metabo HPT EC28M air compressor is perfect for the home or professional user. This compact unit provides up to 125 PSI with a maximum flow rate of 0.8 CFM at 90 PSI and 1.3 CFM at 40 PSI. With ultra-quiet operation at only 59 dB, this compressor is ideal for any environment where noise needs to be kept to a minimum.

The industrial oil-free pump provides high durability and no maintenance, and the industrial regulator and gauges allow for easy and accurate PSI adjustments. A built-in thermal overload protector ensures continuous operation and protects the motor. It features a universal quick coupler for fast tool changes and an extra-long power cord of 6-1/2 feet in length to provide greater flexibility when using tools.

The Metabo HPT EC28M is perfect for anyone looking for a durable compressor. The compact design makes it easy to transport, while the steel roll cage with a rubber grip protects all critical components.

Our Test Result

If you really need an air compressor that would be super quiet, this unit is going to satisfy you. It literally produces around 59 decibels of noise at 2 feet of distance (as shown in the image). For a quiet job environment, there is hardly any alternative to this unit.

We checked how fast the unit can go from 0 PSI to 125 PSI (as shown in the image). It took 1 minute and 9 seconds to get there. We all know how important the recovery time is and we got 21 seconds of recovery time with this unit.  Another good side of this compressor is its suction cup leg which tremendously reduces vibration.

Ryobi Cordless Air Compressor

This Ryobi Cordless 1 Gal. portable air compressor is a great choice for anyone looking for a portable air compressor that doesn't require electricity. It's lightweight and easy to carry, making it perfect for use on the go. Plus, The included 18v battery has up to 45 minutes of continuous run time on a single charge, so you can get the job done quickly and easily.

This is a powerful, portable air compressor that delivers 120 PSI for all of your inflating needs. The unit features a metal air hose wrap and rubber mold handle for comfort and durability. The professional locking regulator with two gauges allows you to easily control the amount of pressure needed.

Our Test Result

We tested the unit and found the unit can reach from 0 PSI to 120 PSI in just 120 seconds (as shown in the image). About run time, we got battery backup around 40 to 45 minutes with 6 amps battery. If you have a 4 amp Ryobi battery, you would receive considerably less run time.

We have tried to power an air ratchet, but the result was miserable. It hardly could power the ratchet. With the finish gun, the result was pretty good. It sank 13 nails before the motor starts.

The box says the compressor is great for the tires on the side of the road. We tried to fill  SUV tires, but it took a long time to inflate the tires and the tank gets empty frequently. The unit is not ideal for big tires. You can use it for car or bike tires. For SUV tires, it is better to go for tire inflators.

Why will you choose an oil-free air compressor?

All the models we have enlisted here are oil free. Oil-less air compressors have become a popular choice for home and small business owners who need to paint, repair, or assemble something. Oil-free air compressors have a lot of advantages. They are cheaper than their oil-based counterparts, and they require less maintenance.

When it comes to spray painting oil-less air compressors are a great option because they produce fresh air. Because there's no oil in the compressor, there's no risk of contaminated paint. This means you can get a perfect finish every time, without having to worry about streaks or smears. Overall, oil-free air compressors are a great choice for anyone who wants a high-quality finish on their projects.

If you work in the food industry, you know how important it is to keep your products clean and free of contaminants. One way to do this is to use an oil-free air compressor. These compressors don't use any lubricating oil, so there's no risk of the air becoming contaminated. As a result, you can be sure that your products will stay safe and healthy.

Once there was a big complaint against oil-free compressors that they are too noisy. Today manufacturers have taken the issue most seriously and come up with many super quiet air compressor models. Now they are much quieter than their oil-based counterparts, so you can work in peace without disturbing your neighbors.

However, oil-free air compressors tend to be less powerful, so they may not be suitable for all applications. When choosing an air compressor, it's important to consider your needs and compare the features of each type of compressor before making a decision.

1-gallon air compressor uses

1-gallon air compressors are a great option for those who need a compact and portable air compressor. They are ideal for home use and small projects, such as inflating tires or powering air tools.

1-gallon air compressors are usually very lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for use in tight spaces. Most models also include a variety of safety features, such as an automatic shut-off switch, to help prevent accidents. And because they are so affordable, 1-gallon air compressors are a great option for budget-minded shoppers.

1-gallon air compressors can easily run brad nailers and finish nailers.

You'll be happy to know that a 1-gallon air compressor can easily power both types of tools. Although both types of nailers require a good volume of air, they don't actually run continuously.

Instead, they cycle on and off, so the air compressor doesn't have to work as hard as you might think. In fact, most 1-gallon air compressors are more than capable of powering both types of nailers. So if you're looking for an air compressor that can handle your finishing work, a 1-gallon model should be more than up to the task.

1-gallon air compressor struggles to power roofing gun.

Air compressors are a vital part of any roofing job. They provide the power needed to operate roofing guns. While smaller air compressors may be able to power roofing guns, they will not be as efficient as larger ones. After driving 4 or 5 nails, you will find the tank empty and you have to wait until the air tank regains its pressure.

This is because roofing guns require a lot of power to operate effectively. As a result, it is important to choose an air compressor that is large enough to handle the job. Otherwise, you may find that your roofing gun is not able to apply materials evenly or efficiently.

1-gallon air compressors are not meant for spray painting.

1-gallon air compressors are not meant for spray painting. For spray painting, a 1-gallon tank is too small. The compressor will not be able to keep up with the demand for air and the pressure will drop.

This will result in an uneven paint job. In addition, the compressor will overheat and shut off frequently, wasting time and energy. It is best to use a larger air compressor when to spray paint for these reasons.

1-gallon air compressors are not meant for impact wrenches.

While 1-gallon air compressors are popular because of their small size and portability, they are not always the best choice for powering an impact wrench. Impact wrenches require a high volume of air (measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute), and a 1-gallon compressor simply cannot provide enough CFM to run an impact wrench effectively.

In addition, 1-gallon compressors tend to have a shorter duty cycle, so they may not be able to stand up to the demands of frequent use. For these reasons, it is generally advisable to choose a larger compressor (at least 5 gallons) when choosing an air compressor to power an impact wrench.

1-gallon air compressors are not ideal to power die grinders, sanders, etc.

For powering die grinders, sanders, and other tools that require high CFM, never go for small compressors. This is actually not ideal because the tank size on these compressors is too small. The 1-gallon air compressor holds a limited amount of air, which means that the compressor has to work harder to keep up with the demand of the tool.

As a result, the compressor will overheat and eventually break down. If you're going to be using a high CFM tool, it's best to choose an air compressor with a larger tank. That way, you won't have to worry about the compressor overheating and breaking down.


Best 1-gallon air compressors are perfect for small carpentry projects and tire inflation. It's small and portable, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. Plus, its low price makes it a great value for the money.

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