In this article, we list the nine best 20 gallon air compressors that we could find on the market. All other air compressors not listed in this review article seems to be missing one vital element or the other.
The choice for a single best 20 gallon air compressor is, however, subjective. What works for you will not work for another person. So, it is mostly the preference and need that matters. Read on to find out which 20 gallon air compressor will suit you best.
Best 20 Gallon Air Compressors 2020
Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor with V-Twin Cylinder
California Air Tools 20040DC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 4.0 hp, 20.0 gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor with Air Drying System, White
DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor - 2 HP, 20-Gallon Vertical, 5.0 CFM
P1.5IU-A9 2hp 20 gal Single-Stage Compressor (115/1)
NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor - Honda 163cc OHV Engine, 20-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
The Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN 20 gallon air compressor is definitely one of the most popular at the moment. Even on Amazon, this air compressor has an impressive overall rating of 4.8 stars! 85% of the customers gave this air compressor a 5-star rating. And, the remaining 15% of the customers gave it a 4-star rating. Read on further to find out what makes this air compressor stand out.
The Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN air compressor features oil lubrication pump rendering it a powerful compressor. Coupled with this is the twin cylinder pump which provides additional power.
The heavy-duty induction motor comes with dual voltage capacity. So, you can use the compressor with a 120 V socket or convert it to a 240 V socket.
With a maximum pressure of 135 PSI, the Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN air compressor delivers a solid performance. This compressor can deliver a 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 6.2 CFM at 40 PSI. So, you can operate various air tools like a wrench, ratchet, nailer, plasma cutter, impact guns, powder coating gun, chisels, etc. The heavy-duty induction motor also enhances the overall performance and efficiency of this compressor.
· Strength and durability
The single stage Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN air compressor comprises of a single component of cast iron crank shaft, twin cylinders, and cast iron valve plate. These components add high strength and durability to the compressor.
· Cooling efficiency
The aluminum head and the valve plate produce faster dispersion of heat. This allows the Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN air compressor to remain cool for more extended periods. Ultimately, this efficient cooling system ensures that the compressor’s longevity in the long run.
· Super fluid portability
Portability becomes an important feature when it comes to 20 gallon compressors. This is another area where the Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN air compressor excels. The large tires in the Industrial Air IL
1682066 MN air compressor generate better traction. What supplements the tires are the front handles which feature an ergonomic design. In addition, this compressor occupies only a small footprint because of the vertical structure. Thus, the mobility and storage of this compressor are impeccable.
One of the few compressors in the market whose price is worth every penny. You can get cheaper 20 gallon air compressors, but none will come near the quality in this beast of a compressor
The quality design makes it surprisingly quiet. Any user will find the low noise impressive
Robust and large tires deliver nice rolling traction on uneven surfaces. This makes the portability of this compressor top notch though the unit is heavy
Easy to access control with accurate placement
Like many other compressors, access to the drain valve is a hassle
Some users may find the cooling system not that efficient
2. California Air Tools 20040DC 20 gallon air compressor
The California Air Tools 20040DC 20 gallon air compressor replaces the older 4 HP 1740 model. It is another excellent option for a 20 gallon air compressor if you’re looking for one with a high CFM.
· Ultra quiet
The California Air Tools 20040DC air compressor operates at a fairly low noise level. This is because of the design element in this compressor. The compressor features a double piston pump/motor system that disperses a more significant amount of air in quicker time. Also, the two separate 2 HP motors operate at a low 1680 RPM. These two elements in the compressor reduce vibration and noise to a great extent.
· Long life cycle
The California Air Tools 20040DC air compressor has a larger duty cycle to allow for longer run time. For this, the dual piston pump features a design that enables the pump to run for more than 3000 hours. This is an increase of 30% more life before you take the compressor for repair.
· High CFM
The best part about the California Air Tools 20040DC air compressor is the power of 10.6 CFM at 90 PSI. This is higher than most other 20 gallon air compressors and sits at the top. This means you shouldn’t usually face any trouble while operating any of your air tools.
· Air drying system
The new air drying system provides for optimal performance and maintenance of the California Air Tools 20040DC air compressor. The design in the air dryers is such that it can remove moisture from the air and protect the sensitive machinery and tools.
For the air dryer to function, the compressor utilizes an aftercooler and dryer. The function of the aftercooler is to cool the air that the compressor releases. The water vapor from the air then undergoes condensation into the liquid stage. This liquid then enters the air dryer.
The claim of ultra quiet by California Air Tools in this compressor does not fail. For a 4 HP engine, the 75 decibels is the best in its class
Quick tank refill from empty to full in just two and a half minutes
Recovery time of 40 seconds from 115 PSI to 125 PSI
Dewalt never fails to deliver when it comes to air compressors. The same is the case with the Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054 20 gallon air compressor which has all the good stuff. Deservingly, this compressor has a 100% 5-star rating on Amazon.
· Best exterior and interior components
All the best components that you want in an air compressor come with the Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054 air compressor. The components include solid cast iron components, reed valves of stainless steel, ball bearings with automotive design, and aluminum engine head.
· Stable temperature
The oil lubrication pump enhances the performance and durability of this compressor by keeping the operating temperature stable. You should know that proper maintenance of temperature goes a long way in ensuring the durability of the compressor. Thus, this compressor can last you for a long time without breaking down.
· Quick pressure build-up
The 1.9 HP induction motor allows the pump to build pressure fast in the Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054air compressor. In fact, this compressor builds pressure faster than other compressors at the same price range.
· Convenient to load and transport
This Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054air compressor also scores high in portability. This compressor features frames which are low in profile. This feature makes it easy for you to load and transport it on your vehicle when needed. The low profile feature also keeps the unit stable while you’re working. In addition, the pre-attached pneumatic tires with comfortable handles can make mobility easier on the job site.
· PSI for multifaceted tools
The Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054air compressor delivers a maximum pressure of 155 PSI. You can get 7.0 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI with this compressor. With these figures, this compressor can meet the various needs of flooring professionals, roofers, framers, remodelers or trim carpenters.
· Heavy support for impact tools with no issues
The air delivery and capacity of the Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054air compressor can support impact tools with no problem. So, this compressor can support two flooring, roofing or framing nailers or four finish or brad nailers. All these are possible at one go without any compromise on the performance of the compressor. We can, therefore, assure you that this is a super tough compressor and you can’t go wrong with it.
Builds pressure amazingly quick
Low noise operation with no issues running the unit in a small garage
Portability is undeniable
Cut out and cut in pressures are consistently good
Drain valve is not convenient to access. For this, you can attach an extended drain kit for more convenience
The compressor requires its own 15A circuit
4. NorthStar Single-Stage vertical 20 gallon air compressor
If you’re not planning to use more than 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI, you need not look any further than this. The NorthStar 20 gallon vertical air compressor’s heavy weight translates into a durable compressor.
· Dependable durability
The cast iron V-twin cylinder pump features oil lubrication with cast iron head which ensures a durable service life. The placement of the bearings on each side of the crankshaft adds extra support with minimum wear and tear. Overall, you can expect this NorthStar 20 gallon vertical air compressor to last for years to come.
· Consistent cooling
As you know by now, heat is a major enemy to the durability of any air compressor. To counter this, various manufacturers use all types of design to improve the cooling system in their compressors. For this, the NorthStar compressor incorporates a V-shape cylinder placement to do away with hot spots and deliver steady cooling. This encourages better dissipation of heat with less moisture and ensures longer life of the pump.
The maximum pressure of 135 PSI with a 100% duty cycle in this NorthStar compressor is sufficient for any small-scale operation. At a decent 5.0 CFM for 90 PSI, you can operate many tools like a spray gun, air brush, nailer, nibbler, air ratchet, etc. You can also use impact wrenches with this compressor but with some rapid pressure bleeding. This may affect the performance of the compressor in the long run. So, despite the nice feel that this compressor gives, you may want to avoid high power requirement tools.
Low noise does not fail to impress
Small footprint makes it easy to carry around
Air release valve’s placement at the bottom of the tank is more accessible than other compressors
Quick pressure fill-up
Can hold air pressure for a long duration without any leakage
Solid wheels with vibration dampers
Four years of consumer warranty
Some users may find the ¼” air pressure regulator insufficient. For this, you can upgrade it to 3/8” regulator
Location of drain valve is on the side so you may have to tip the compressor towards the drain for a full drain
No instruction on how to configure the unit to a 230V. But a qualified electrician can do the job of re-wiring it
A bit on the heavier side
Only 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI
5. Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate P1.5IU-A9 20 gallon air compressor
This compressor is an exclusive product of the USA featuring the highest quality. Due to its reliability, the Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate P1.5IU-A9 air compressor is one of the best 20 gallon air compressors. It is suitable for professionals and anyone who works below the level of professionals.
Given the popularity of this air compressor, you will notice that there are many copies of it. These copies come at a cheaper price with cheaper and weaker components. So, as a word of caution, you may want to watch out for the fake product before making a deal.
· Power for any home applications
The Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate P1.5IU-A9 air compressor churns out a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. With this PSI, you can get an excellent 5.5 CFM at 90 PSI, which can power sanders, paint sprayers, nailers, drills, grinders, ratchets, impact guns, and many more. In addition, the 2 HP engine with a 100% duty cycle will ensure you an uninterrupted operation under any condition.
· Portability at job site or home
This Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate P1.5IU-A9 air compressor weighs around 200 pounds. But that shouldn’t scare you. It has a large and comfortable handle with pneumatic wheels to assist you in mobility.
Transportation around your garage or in your home while working won’t sweat you over. But if you want to transport it to your job site, you may want to get an assistant for safety precaution.
· Safe and easy operation
This electric Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate P1.5IU-A9 air compressor has all the safety features you need. It features a manual motor protection if there is a thermal overload. There is also an enclosing of the belt guard to provide extra protection when using the compressor. Last but not the least the 20 gallon tank also has ASME certification.
The tank comes with a service valve, relief valve, pressure gauge, and check valve for smooth operation. The drain valve at the bottom is also easily accessible, unlike other compressors. There is also a manual as well as automatic on/off lever and start/stop pressure switch for effortless operation.
It is unexpectedly quiet at 80 decibels
100% continuous duty cycle
All season synthetic oil lubricant for better efficiency
Service of 2000 plus hours between change outs
Durable cast iron frames and cylinder
At 200 pounds, this is a heavy compressor and affects the portability
Only a single voltage with no conversion to 240 V applications
6. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered 20 Gallon Air Compressor
This NorthStar horizontal 20 gallon air compressor is the horizontal version of the earlier NorthStar vertical 20 gallon air compressor. It is purely a personal choice whether to go for a horizontal or vertical position. If you’re short of space, then the vertical compressor is a better option because of its smaller footprint.
The NorthStar horizontal 20 gallon air compressor features a twin cylinder pump with cast iron overhead. This allows for greater heat dispersion with no heat transfer between the two cylinders.
The belt drive pump with oil lubrication operates quietly and ensures the long life of the pump. You can also expect more than 5000 hours of pump life before you need a change out.
The NorthStar horizontal 20 gallon air compressor has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. The various CFMs are 6.0 CFM at 40 PSI, 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 4.2 CFM at 135 PSI. With this power, you can operate tools like nailer, nibbler, impact wrench, air ratchet, etc.
Low noise operation
Air pressure fill-up is quick
Metal belt guard
Ergonomic handlebar for extra support in mobility
The flow of the regulator is on the lower side
7. Porter Cable PXCMF220VW 20 gallon air compressor
A relatively lightweight compressor for easy portability, this Porter Cable PXCMF220VW 20 gallon air compressor is budget friendly. It is also more suited for simple DIY projects which do not require heavy pressure tools.
The Porter Cable PXCMF220VW air compressor delivers a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. This is quite high for a small compressor. However, this compressor can generate only 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI. This makes it suitable only for light works like inflation, hobby painting, nailing, stapling, bolting, wrenching, etc. Any tool requiring more than 3 CFM at 90 PSI will not be ideal for this compressor. So, do consider the type of work you are going to engage in before you purchase this product. Nevertheless, if your work will not involve anything beyond 4 CFM at 90 PSI, there’s no harm considering this compressor.
· Excellent portability
When it comes to portability, this Porter Cable PXCMF220VW air compressor stands out. This compressor comes with 7 inches wheels for easy rolling and maneuverability. It also weighs around 97 pounds only which is relatively much lighter than other 20 gallon compressors. The compact structure of this compressor also takes up a small footprint making it ideal for easy storage.
· Durability and maintenance
This Porter Cable PXCMF220VW air compressor comes with oil-free motor and pump. This requires less maintenance in contrast to an oil-
lubricated compressor. Also, the oil-free compressor means that there is no need to check or change oil and no pulleys or belt to maintain.
The start-up in this air compressor is of low voltage which minimizes the current draw, thereby minimizing the torque on the motor.
Unit is lightweight making it easily portable
Small footprint enables it for easy storage and placement
Excellent compressor for light to medium air tools, not beyond that
Noise is a bit loud but manageable. However, hearing protection may be a necessity
Tank drain is ¼” ball valve with a tendency to ice up during humid or warm weather
Takes longer time to build up pressure
8. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered 20 Gallon Air Compressor
The most powerful compressor in this article is the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor with Honda 1633cc OHV engine. This compressor has a gas power source with single stage belt drive compressor pump. It features a superior cooling technology with low vibration technology for smooth and obstruction free operation.
The feature that stands out in this compressor is the Honda GX160 OHV engine with an enormous 5.5 HP. If your interest lies in a powerful 20 gallon air compressor, you might not get a better option than this.
· Low vibration and high durability
No one wants their air compressor to stop working in the middle of the job. But there are many instances where air compressor will just break down without any warning. To avert itself from this annoying cause, theNorthStar 20 gallon air compressor comes with superior technology.
The low vibration technology feature in this compressor is a standout. This technology gives a dynamic balance to the pump and ensures smoother operation and longer service life.
· Extended pump life
Maintaining the temperature in the compressor is vital to prevent any overheating which can cut-short your compressor’s life. The orientation of the cylinders in this NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor eliminates any hotspot. This results in a constant cooling system, thereby prolonging the life of the pump.
All the components like a crankcase, heads, and pump cylinder are cast iron, which also helps in maintaining a long life. The pump also utilizes steel valves like the Swedish floating type, which are of premium quality. This further enhances the performance of the compressor and guarantees a hindrance free operation.
· The super Honda GX engine power
This Honda GX engine with 163cc in the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor is a beast. This engine offers a quiet performance, better fuel efficiency, and easier operation.
The OHV (overhead valve) in this Honda engine also allows smooth fuel intake and a quicker and more robust exhaust system. With greater power output in this engine, the combustion system efficiently suits this output. All these OHV features contribute to a visible increase in the service life of the engine.
This NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor weighs around 196 pounds. This is an average weight amongst the 20 gallon air compressors. Still, the compressor is very much portable with built-in wheels and handle. Its portability allows you to perform roofing work, contract and professional works, inflating tires, and lots of other applications.
· Superior CFM
This NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor has a maximum pressure of 130 PSI. You can get 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI and 14.6 CFM at 40 PSI. With this amount of CFM, you can easily power most of the common air tools with ease. Ratchets, drills, grinders, paint sprayers, and nail guns are easily compatible with this compressor. Interestingly also, you can operate some orbital sanders whose CFM matches with this compressor’s CFM.
Works almost as good as a 30 gallon tank because of a powerful engine
Super quiet operation
Honda engine provides excellent fuel efficiency with low oil shutdown
Cylinder design encourages superior cooling
RPM operation is on the slower side which maintains the temperature and contributes to the overall life of the valve
Bearings on both sides of the one-piece crankshaft for better support
The flywheel is big in size which results in cooler operation
The piston rings have a step design to ensure that there is proper overlapping for better compression
Five years warranty
The engine choke is quite sensitive
9. Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 20 gallon air compressor
For a DIY enthusiast, an oil free compressor is the most ideal as it requires less maintenance. A DIY enthusiast also doesn’t need an expensive compressor, but a reliable one. This Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 20 gallon air compressor specifically aims to do that,and it successfully does it.
This air compressor strikes all the boxes that a small-scale user looks for – affordability, portability, reliability, and efficiency.
The Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 air compressor weighs only 92 pounds. This is the lightest compressor we have for you. It has a horizontal design with large wheels and a durable steel handle. All these features collectively make this compressor easy to transport around. So, when it comes to mobility, this is the best compressor you can get.
· Ease of use and safety
The oil-free pump provides smooth operation and maintenance free of hassle. The control panels in the Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 air compressor are on the top for easy reading and operation.
The controlpanel also has the types of applications that you can use with this compressor.
The induction motor comes with a full enclosure to protect anyone around the unit while it is operating. The induction motor also guarantees a long life to the Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 air compressor.
The Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 air compressor can deliver a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, which is quite a lot. It also has a reliable and decent 1.3 HP engine with 120 V. For a DIY you’ll mostly need only a single voltage capacity. With 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI, you can tackle projects like bolting, nailing, stapling, hobby painting, and inflation.
Lightweight with large wheels for optimum mobility
Best in class for DIY enthusiasts
Cheap price with a strong performance
Oil-free operation for long life
Decent pressure build up but not as quick as you would expect
Buyer’s Guide best 20 gallon air compressor 2020
· Nothing beats the CFM
More important than the size of the tank or the horsepower is the CFM. This is the speed at which the compressor can supply air. While searching for a 20 gallon compressor, you shou
other thing. Most of the air tools will generally measure the CFM at 90 PSI. So, this is like the standard metric you need to check.
In this review, the compressors have a CFM ranging from 4 to 13.7 at 90 PSI. The compressors with the highest CFMs are the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor with Honda 1633cc OHV engine and the California Air Tools 20040DC 20 gallon air compressor. On the other hand, Porter Cable PXCMF220VW 20 gallon air compressor and Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 20 gallon air compressor have 4 CFM at 90 PSI.
What this CFM range indicates is the option that a customer has. The guiding factor, therefore, is the CFM requirement of the tools that you will be working with. However, it is advisable that you go for a compressor with a higher CFM rating than what the tools requires. For instance, if your tool requires 2 CFM at 90 PSI, then go for a compressor with a minimum 3 CFM at 90 PSI. This way, you get better performance from your compressor.
· Oil and oil-free air compressor
Next to the CFM, an oil or oil-free compressor is the thing you need to look out for. Both types of compressors have their own advantages and disadvantages. But, to simply put it, go for oil lubrication if you will be working on a larger scale. This is because though oil lubrication requires more maintenance, they are more durable and work for longer hours. On the other hand, if you’re going to work on a smaller scale, oil free compressor is the better option. Oil-free compressors require less maintenance and are cheaper and lighter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a 20 gallon air compressor big enough?
Most people seem to worry about the size of the tank. Though a larger tank is always preferable, it comes with a heftier price, bigger footprint, and heavier weight, amongst others. So, the question that you need to be asking is whether a 20 gallon compressor will meet your tools’ needs. Once you figure that out, all other things will fall into place. Nevertheless, for air tools with low load, a 20 gallon compressor will easily do the trick.
What size generator do you need to run a 20 gallon compressor?
Before we answer this, you should know that manufacturers do not recommend using a generator with a compressor. This is because of the power fluctuations in the generator, which may damage the compressor. However, if you are in a situation where you have to use, we’d recommend you go for 3000 running watts with 4000 starting watts. Most of the 20 gallon compressors in this article operate at 15 A on 120V. So, even though you can operate the compressor with a 2000 running watt, a higher running watt should generate better performance.
Can I use the 20 gallon air compressor for business?
In this review, the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor with Honda 1633cc OHV engine is one compressor that can be a good option for business and professional use. It is powerful and performs almost like a 30 gallon compressor.
Once you figure out the requirement of your tools, choosing the best 20 gallon air compressor will become easier. In this review, the nine best 20 gallon air compressors will suit the needs of a DIY, professional, and contractor.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast working with low load tools, then the Porter Cable PXCMF220VW 20 gallon air compressor and Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 20 gallon air compressor are great options. Both of them are lightweight, cheap, oil-free, and reliable.
If you’re looking for something more powerful than the above two compressors, then the Industrial Air IL 1682066 MN 20 gallon air compressor and Dewalt DXCMPA 1982054 20 gallon air compressor are great options. Both of them deliver more than 5 CFM at 90 PSI.
Still, if you feel the above four compressors are not powerful enough, then nothing will beat the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor with Honda 1633cc OHV engine and the California Air Tools 20040DC 20 gallon air compressor. Both of them delivers more than 10 CFM at 90 PSI which is more than what you need for a 20 gallon compressor.
· Nothing beats the CFM
More important than the size of the tank or the horsepower is the CFM. This is the speed at which the compressor can supply air. While searching for a 20 gallon compressor, you should first consider the CFM before any