Harbor Freight is one of the best companies that make top-of-the-line air compressors in the market. Harbor Freight uses the best materials to make its air compressors. Their machines last long and give a smooth performance that every engineer loves to have.
The only drawback of these tools is that they are going to cost a lot of money. They still have their budget range compressors that you can buy.
Today, we are presenting you a review of some of the best Harbor Freight budget models and we are also going to suggest some of the alternatives that you can buy within your budget. Let us get right into the review.
Reviews of the Best Harbor Freight Air Compressors & Alternatives
Harbor Freight 10 Gallon 175 PSI Air Compressor
The first one we have here is small and compact. The main reason you should buy this one is that it has the most powerful motor and compressor unit out of a bunch. This has a small and compact 10-gallon air tank. You can take this anywhere you want without lifting it up. The portability of this is just insane.
Harbor Freight 10 has one big perk that is the price range. This small yet powerful unit costs like a very cheap and inexpensive one but the incredible 175PSI air pressure is insane if you compare this to all other options in the market.
If you look at the console and the switch, you will see that it has a lot of controls for the best air pressure on the hosepipes. There are two pressure gauges to monitor pressures both from the tank and the hosepipe.
If you look for the most portable compressor, this is the best harbor freight air compressor you can buy. For carrying this with you, it has two wheels and a holder to carry efficiently. The overall frame is also strong enough to hold it strong.
- A small and compact compressor to fit your garage perfectly
- This does not make a lot of noise when performing on loaded situations
- Very easy to use and simple to monitor what is happening in the machine
- The 10 Gallon air tank is kind of small for bigger operations
60 Gallon 5 HP 165 PSI Two-Stage Air Compressor
Here we have a machine with muscles. This one is a bigger 60-gallon compressor that is going to give you an excellent performance that you should expect from a thousand-dollar compressor. This is not only great for pneumatic tools, but this is also great for paint guns, gravity paint guns, and also great for thick painting works.
The most amazing feature of this machine is that it has 165 PSI air maximum air pressure delivery. As this air tank is made of cast iron and does not have any weak point to be noted, this is able to perform smoothly in any environment possible. This is a two-stage air compressor.
This type of air compressor does not have a lot of heat dissipation and this machine is great at managing the heat that builds up. The air compression unit is made of a super high-quality stainless steel valve. This is rated to be used for a lifetime.
The most interesting thing that puts this aside from all compressors in the market is the ASME certification. This ensures that you are going to get a significant performance in the standard-setting.
- A big air tank that has high air pressure to do anything you want
- High-quality parts ensure smooth and silent performance
- Two-stage air compression is energy efficient
- Solid and stable companion in your garage or workshop
- This is a big air compressor which requires perfect electricity rating and installation
21 Gallon 175 PSI Oil-Free Vertical Air Compressor
This is an air compressor that falls just in the middle ground of the most performing and the little one out there. This compressor unit has a 21-gallon air tank that is perfect for your all-rounder performance. As this is from Harbor Freight, you don’t have to worry about the product quality and performance too much.
The most important part of this powerful machine is the price point. This unit is a beast for the money. The budget range covers all the bells and whistles that you will ever need. The 21-gallon medium size air tank is good enough for long working sessions. The motor unit perfectly harmonizes with your workflow.
As you have got this in your hand, you will be amazed to see how small and lightweight this unit is. The machine is perfectly small and as a vertical compressor, it has the perfect weight balance.
If you look at the spec sheet, you will see that this has a maximum of 175PSI pressure delivery. This is a versatile beast if you see. From nailing to inflating the biggest tires, this is able to serve you all the way possible.
- A perfectly balanced versatile Air compressor for your workshop
- Comparatively small compressor machine with perfect weight balance
- A powerful yet portable air compressor
- Oil-free compression chamber and does not need a lot of maintenance
- The initial airflow is slow when filling up the air tank
Craftsman HARD Air Compressor, 10 Gallon
The first Best Harbor Freight Air Compressor Alternative is the Craftsman HARD 10-gallon air compressor here. It is a fully enclosed air compressor that has all the controls on the dash. The most amazing thing about this is the enclosed motor part.
This helps muffle the sound up and gives you a silent experience while it is on full thrust.
On the dash, it has two gauges to monitor the tank pressure and the hosepipe pressure easily. On the middle, it has a regulator knob. You can easily regulate the pressure using the knob precisely.
The tank has a handle to carry the unit to its desired place. You can also detach the handle if you want to place the tank in a small place in your workshop. To carry the whole unit with you, you have a pair of wheels. As you have done working with the compressor, you can drain out all the air no your necessity through the drain valve.
Both new and old users are able to use this machine very easily. The connector connects to the hosepipe very easily. There is no need for any kind of tool to connect the hosepipe properly.
- Fully enclosed machine unit that has all the controls with proper indications
- You can carry this machine anywhere you want using the wheel and handle
- The overall size and design is small and compact compared to the power delivery
- The air filter is not that good quality as it is made of plastic
Industrial Air IV5076055 Two-Stage Air Compressor
Industrial Air is also known to be one of the competing companies that makes the best air compressor units in the market. You can consider this as the Best Harbor Freight Air Compressor Alternative as well.
The best reason to get this unit is the tank size. This is a huge 60-gallon tank that is going to be overkill for all-rounder performance on long working periods. After working with this air compressor, you will not have to drain all the air out as the others as the tank is super tough and this is not a big deal for it.
Another big thing about this compressor is the 5HP versatile motor. This motor can pump air inside the air tank at variable CFM. This allows you to have different air pressure without giving stress to the motor and compression chamber.
This machine is able to give you a maximum air pressure of up to 175PSI. As this is a big air compressor, you can connect two different machines with it without any hiccups on the compressor.
The overall quality is certified and you will not have to worry about the performance as this machine is made in the USA. You can rely on this forever.
- You can use multiple tools with this compressor at once
- The uniquely designed pump is great for performance and cooling
- 5HP motor has a huge benefit on working full strength for a long period
- This is not good for mobility and portability
Porter-Cable PXCMLC1683066 Portable Air Compressor
Porter-Cable PXCMLC1683066 is a vertical air compressor that has the huge benefit of providing great performance and mobility combined. just like the 21-gallon Harbor Freight model, this has the advantage of portability.
You can carry this unit using large wheels under the air tank. The machine is also small and compact. This will be the perfect choice for you if you want the power and the portability combined.
This is a single-stage compressor. The best part about single-stage compressors is that they are made silent. If you are taking this for your home workshop, this low-noise air compressor is the perfect one for you. These units are also cheap. Despite made in China, these are quality checked and this is going to give a smooth performance for its whole lifetime.
The versatility of these motors is also significant. You can use it in 120-volt outlets. If you want you can also use this on 240-volt workshop outlets as well. There is nothing you have to do with installation. Everything in these machines is exposed. You can use and change parameters on the go easily.
- A silent and efficient compressor for your home workshop
- 30 gallon is a mid-size air compressor that can deliver great performance at the size
- Easy to carry and easy to install in your home and workshop setup
- The vertical design does not occupy a lot of space
- The positioning of the drain valve is not in a perfect position
DEWALT DXCM271.COM 27 Gal. 200 PSI Air Compressor
This is the most uniquely designed air compressor in this harbor freight air compressor review. This is made of DEWALT which you already know about if you have ever used a pneumatic tool by yourself, you know that DEWALT is one of those brands that make quality products for engineers and professionals.
This one is a 27-gallon beast. The maximum air pressure you get from this device is insane. It is almost impossible to get 200PSI air pressure from another machine like this. You know that there is nothing you can not do with 200 PSI air pressure. The upper part as the machine part of this machine has a metal rail built around the motor unit. This keeps everything safe from accidents in traveling and moving around. The 5.1 CFM at 90 PSI is super efficient and fast enough for an efficient working experience in your garage.
As this is made in the USA, this is made for the USA. It can operate at any voltage and even in low voltage, this is able to jumpstart and perform like a pro. The controller and the connector are in front of the compressor unit which is convenient for users.
- A convenient machine to use on a daily basis
- The incredible 200PSI power is perfect for any pneumatic tool in your workshop
- This has a fast recovery time with a high CFM rating
- The portability and safety of this unit is worth mentioning
- The handle in front of the connector can be annoying sometimes
What to Look for When Buying a Home Air Compressor
We have reviewed some of the best air compressors that have different tank sizes and different motors to pump air inside of your tank. It is safe to say that if you buy one of these 7 recommended air compressors here, you are all safe for working in different environments and work with different tools. But there are things to consider before you choose what you should buy right now.
All you have to do is to consider several things that are important as an all-rounder performer in your workshop. Here we have some tips and points to make sure that you are choosing the right one for you.
How big the air tank is?
If you just hear the name of an air compressor, the first thing you will see of that specific thing is the tank size. The tank size differs from model to model. Due to the size difference of air tanks, you will get performance differences.
We have mentioned compressors with tanks of 10 gallons to fracking 60 gallons. A 60-gallon compressor will certainly give you the best performance out of all. But the thing you have to keep in mind that the cost is about the mobility and the size. The compressor unit will be bigger and it will not be as mobile as a small compressor.
For that reason, you can choose a compressor that has a 20 to 30-gallon air tank. The smaller the tank gets, long time performance might not become that great over time.
Is the CFM rating good enough?
CFM rating of an air compressor is the determinant of the power of an air compressor. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minuet. The amount of air that gets inside the tank will not be the same always and it different pressure, the air intake will get low.
You can set your standard for CFM rating as well. If you consider comparing the CFmrating at 90 PSI that will do great for you. The higher the CFM will be, the faster you are able to fill up the tank and get to work immediately.
It will be better to buy a high CFM machine if you have the budget to spend.
How portable the machine is?
We are talking about portability here because there are a lot of professionals who like to have their own machine with them while they are working anywhere. If you want to move the compressor unit to another corner or you want to pull it toward the tool you are working on, the portability will be an advantage.
The first thing you can consider your machine to be portable is the size. The second thing you can look around is the convenience. If the machine has a handle and a pair of wheels, it will be helpful for you to move it around and take it anywhere you want to.
What type of compressor is that?
In the market, you will mainly find two types of compressors. Single0stage compressors are the most traditional ones. It compresses the air in a single cycle and delivers it to the air tank. These are quieter, efficient but the drawback that might bug you is the heating. These are not that cool. It will need more heat-dissipating materials to keep it cool.
Two-stage compressors are a modern creation. The process is as it is named. The air gets compressed in the first chamber and then it gets transferred to a different chamber and then it is delivered to the air tank.
These are cooler and also silent when operating. There might be a minor price difference between these two types of air compressors but in the operation, they are almost identical nowadays.
How versatile is that?
The term versatility is mainly used here if you can control the air pressure that is delivered into the hosepipe of your compressor unit. If it is possible to regulate, you can use the air compressor on any pneumatic tool possible. The maximum pressure will also be a factor to determine the versatility as you can do more intensive works if you have got more air pressure on the air hose.
How easy it is to use?
Convenience is another factor that will make a lot of difference if you are a beginner. There will be two pressure gauge indicators that will help you to monitor and control the air pressure that is both inside the tank and delivered.
The dash has to be visible and clean. There are easy-to-connect hose points in the selections here. Those will come in handy and easy-to-dial knobs will definitely be a plus point while you are using the central pneumatic 60 gallon air compressor.
How it manages the heat?
The most dangerous thing that can damage your compressor is the heat. The piston and compression chamber get hot after running for a few hours of intensive use. If the heat management is not good enough, it might damage your compressor machine and that is going to cost a lot of money. Make sure that the compressor has good heatsinks and air circulation to keep it cool.
Are Harbor Freight Air Compressors Any Good?
Nobody can say that Harbor Freight is the company that makes the best air compressors out there. There are a lot of air compressor manufacturers. But it is safe and bold to say that Harbor Freight is one of the best companies out there.
The main reason people love to purchase air compressors from Harbor Freight is because of the price range and the value for the money. All of the air compressors from Harbor Freight are made in the USA. They are quality checked to be used in the USA as well. You can buy one and connect it to the wall socket and starts using it intensively.
Most of the Harbor Freight air compressors are made for home and personal worksho[ owners. They come in different sizes and variants. The tank size starts from 5 gallons and you can get these compressors up to 50 gallons.
These are clearly focused on home usage. These are also comparable to professional usages. Most of these are portable and you can carry them anywhere you go for work.
The biggest selling point of Harbor Freight air compressors is that they are extremely cheap. Do not fool yourself by assuming that these are not quality checked. There is three harbor freight 10 gallon air compressor review we mentioned in this article. You can check them out if you want to. You barely have to have a budget of over 500 to own one of them.
Should You Buy a Gas-Powered or Electric Air Compressor?
As this is the twenty-first century, the era of carbon emission has almost gone and probably will be diminished within several decades. Back in the day, the main source of power was gasoline. There were gas-powered tools that were powerful and super active.
It has been a long time that electronic motors have changed air compressor technology. Electronic motors have become efficient and powerful now. These motors are the most reliable power source now. This is why you should buy an Electric Air Compressor unit.
It is a certainty that you might not find a gas-powered compressor in the market to purchase. If you have found one, that might be custom made for certain users and they are bulky and noisy for quiet environments.
Which brand of air compressor is best?
It is never fair to say that 6 gallon air compressor harbor freight is the best air compressor of all. No company or technology makes the perfect air compressor for consumers. There will be flaws and drawbacks on every machine in the market. You have to choose depending on your need and your spacious accommodation.
There are a lot of companies that mass produces consumer-level air compressors. These are mostly budget-friendly and comes with great value. Dewalt is the most known brand to professionals as they make tools and machines for professional usage. You will find their air compressors worldwide.
Industrial air is another company that is dedicated only to air compressors. They are excellent in their craft and they have their iconic designs and technologies for making these air compressors efficient and user-friendly.
Porter-cable is another great company that mass produces air compressors at a budget range. It is innoxious to say that if you are buying an air compressor from any of these companies, you can rely on that machine for a very long time.
You can also see central pneumatic air compressor reviews as are also good at performing on long runs.
What’s the Difference Between Single-Stage and Two-Stage Compressors?
The name says it all. It is the stage of air compression. A single-stage air compressor will have only one stage to compress the air inside the air tank. There is only one step before the air gets inside the air tank.
The trick of air compression is simple here. These are better for professional use. The mechanism inside these compressors is straightforward. You will not have to worry about the high costs if the machines show any kind of misfunctions.
A two-stage air compressor is one of the most popular nowadays. The air gets compressed in two stages. There are two air compression chambers built into the machine. One chamber will be smaller than the other one.
The air gets compressed in the first chamber and then gets transferred to the second chamber. Because of this two-stage mechanism, you get higher air pressure than single-stage air compressors. CMF will be high on this kind of machine.
Who makes central pneumatic air compressors?
If you look at different brands, you will see that Harbor Freight has the most successor air compressor units in the market. Central pneumatic air compressors is a lineup of air compressors that are made by Harbor Freight.
These machines are one of the iconic machines for a long time. The main goal was to make the best air compressor unit for your home workshop and household usage. These were made small and compact. central pneumatic air compressor 6 gallon is a small compressor that has been sold all over the world.
These machines were built and launched in the market in 1982 when there were not a lot of companies that developed compact air compressors. Team of engineers from the USA and the most skillful researchers who makes harbor freight air compressors were dedicated to this product lineup.
At the end of this broad discussion, there are still a lot of things we have to know about air compressors. Before you make the right discission to purchase the best air compressor for your workshop, make sure that you are going through harbor freight air compressor reviews.
We mentioned seven of the best Harbor Freight air compressor alternatives you can purchase from the market. The performance and the product quality are surely going to impress you as you get intense working with it.
Thanks to the latest technologies and product development that we are getting all in the budget range. Before you place your order, make sure that you are ready to dive into the big world of knowledge of air compressors.