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Best 30-Gallon Air Compressors of 2021

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Lightweight and portable, find the perfect 30-gallon air compressor for you.

Air compressors make so many tasks possible, from car repairs to the aerospace industry. But what is the best size compressor to get? 20-gallon air compressors might lack the capacity, and 60-gallon models are too heavy and cumbersome.

Say hello to the best 30-gallon air compressors as we bring you top seven models currently on the market.

Our Top Picks

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Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the NorthStar Portable Gas Powered Air Compressor - Honda GX390 OHV Engine, 30-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 24.4 CFM at 90 PSI
Best Gas Powered Air Compressor
NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor
  • 12 horsepower
  • 244 CFM
  • Gas-powered
Product Image of the HPDAVV Gas Driven Piston Air Compressor 13HP - Two Stage - 30 Gal Tank - 24cfm @ Max 180psi - 420CC Engine for Service Trucks Fit for Ford F-150 Truck Bed
Best Industrial Air Compressor
HPDAVV Gas-Driven Air Compressor
  • 13 horsepower
  • Industrial pedigree
  • 8,000 hour service life
Product Image of the DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
Best Portable 30-Gallon Air Compressor
DeWALT Air Compressor
  • Only 190 lbs
  • Dual voltage
  • Lightweight & maneuverable
Product Image of the Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066 30-Gallon Single Stage Portable Air Compressor
Best Budget 30-Gallon Air Compressor
Porter-Cable Air Compressor
  • 1.6 horsepower
  • Cast iron components
  • Only 167 lbs
Product Image of the Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
Best Belt Driven Air Compressor
Industrial Air Belt-Driven Air Compressor
  • Powerful 1.9 horsepower
  • Dual-voltage
  • Cast iron twin-cylinder pump
Product Image of the Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Garage Mate 15 Amp 2 Horsepower 30 Gallon Oiled Wheeled Single Hot Dog Compressor
Best 30-Gallon for Home Garages
Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate Air Compressor
  • Portable & lightweight
  • Continuous duty cycle
  • Synthetic lubricant
Product Image of the Campbell Hausfeld 30 Gallon Vertical Portable Air Compressor (XC302100)
Best Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
  • Oil-lubricated pump
  • Quick recharge time
  • Long warranty

What Can I Do With a 30-Gallon Air Compressor?

The beauty of a 30-gallon air compressor is that it fills the gap between 20-gallon and 60-gallon, enabling you to take on commercial and home repair jobs. If you operate air tools, if you are restoring a classic car and need the back-up that a 30-gallon compressor gives, if you are working in a paint spray shop, all these tasks and many more benefit from using a 30-gallon air compressor.

Here are a few more uses to ponder:

  • Auto repairs.
  • Construction.
  • Metal fabrication.
  • Plasma cutting.
  • Aerospace industry.
  • Spray painting.
  • Home repairs.
  • Sculpting.
  • Hobby use.
  • Farm repairs.
  • Commercial and industrial uses.
  • Sandblasting.
  • Waterblasting.

How to Choose the Best 30-Gallon Air Compressor

When selecting the 30-gallon air compressor that’s right for you, there are specific things you should be looking for. Here are a few considerations to bear in mind.

PSI

PSI or Pound Per Square Inch is the measure of pressure your compressor produces. Smaller air compressors have a weaker PSI, so when you switch to a 30-gallon model, you should expect enough PSI to perform commercial as well as home tasks.

You should expect your pressure levels to range between 125 and 155. When you consider that most air tools are rated at 80 PSI, that is ample pressure to power even the most hard-core tools.

When pairing tools to your compressor, a good rule of thumb is to leave a 20 percent gap in the PSI of the tool and the compressor. So, if your air tool has a PSI of 80 and the compressor has a PSI of 100, you should be fine.

Horsepower

This is the power rating of your motor. Smaller compressors produce 1 or 2 horsepower, but you should expect your 30-gallon compressor to function with 2 or 3 horsepower. Some models do go as high as 5, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

The motor’s horsepower is vital because it tells you how much pressure the compressor will create. It directly influences the tasks you can do, especially if you are working in a heavy-duty capacity in the commercial sector.

In the home, horsepower is still important but less of a concern as the compressor’s duties will be lighter and less demanding.

CFM

CFM, or Cubic Feet Per Minute, is the airflow rating of the compressor. A high CFM is crucial because there is little point in having an air compressor that produces a PSI of 155 and yet allows the compressed air to trickle out. It will seriously hinder your chances of a good outcome and struggle to power your air tools.

The CFM in 30-gallon air compressors should be between 5 and 10 CFM, although some models will produce more and some less. CFM is vital for jobs like sandblasting, where a high amount of pressure is required to deliver impact.

Loudness

It’s worth noting that whatever air compressor you get, it will be noisy. The best advice is to wear ear defenders when operating one. However, not all compressors are created equal. Volume levels range in decibels from the high 80s to as low as 70.

To give you an idea of equivalence, 70 dB is about the same volume as a normal conversation or office noise, whereas 80 dB is as noisy as a car doing 60 MPH with the windows open.

Learn More
Double air compressorHow To Quiet an Air Compressor (Simple Solutions)

Portability

30-gallon air compressors are typically mounted on wheels and have large handles for added maneuverability. While they are heavy, they are portable and can be transported to the worksite. Because they are commercial-grade air compressors, 30-gallon models are a much better option than the heavier 60-gallon varieties.

60-gallon compressors are not portable and rarely come with wheels. So, if you are looking for maximum power as well as maneuverability, a 30-gallon air compressor is the best bet.

Price

The budget is a great leveler because no matter how badly you might want a particular model of air compressor, your finances will constrain you. Our best advice is to plumb for a compressor in the mid-price range. That way, it isn’t cheap and poorly constructed, or it won’t break the bank.


The Best 30-Gallon Air Compressors of 2021

Here are the best 30-gallon air compressors currently on the market.

1. NorthStar Gas Powered 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best 30-Gallon Gas Powered Air Compressor

If you want an air compressor that you can transport anywhere, this gas-powered NorthStar model is the perfect choice. It gets its power from a Honda GX390 OHV engine that produces 12 horsepower and a maximum PSI of 175.

It also has an impressive 24.4 CFM at 90 PSI, making it one of the most powerful air compressors available. With this kind of punch, it can tackle almost any task. It has a one-piece cast iron crankcase with bearings on both ends for superior support and a cast iron pump for a longer life.

It has a V-style cylinder to improve cooling and Swedish floating-style valves for a longer valve life. The pump runs at 1,300 RPM, the flywheel is oversized for cooler operation, and the tank is wet-weather resistant and powder coated. The Honda motor really delivers way above the competition.

Why We Love It

12 Horsepower

12 horsepower puts this air compressor at the top of the power charts. It produces enough PSI and CFM to tackle any heavy-duty industrial tasks.

Built To Last

When you are spending considerable sums on an air compressor, you want to know it will last the distance. Cast iron pumps and crank casing gives this air compressor superior durability because nothing has been done cheaply to cut corners.

24.4 CFM

The airflow on this compressor takes some beating. 24.4 CFM at 90 PSI is impressive, especially when you compare it to the competition.

Gas-Powered

Gas power allows you to take this compressor anywhere without the need to plug it in. It is a truly portable device, making it a great choice for construction sites and off-grid places.

Keep In Mind

No Wheels

Ironically, this is a go-anywhere compressor, yet it has no wheels, making it harder to transport. The best way to carry this device is in the back of a flat-bed truck and drive straight onto the worksite.

Huge Price Tag

If you want this machine, then be prepared to spend big bucks. This compressor costs almost 5 times what the budget model does. Okay, we get that it is a quality compressor, but the price-tag is only likely to appeal to professionals.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 492
Dimensions (inches) 41 x 19 x 40
Max PSI 175
CFM at 90 PSI 24.4
Horsepower 12
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $$$$
Warranty 4-year limited (2-year commercial)

2. HPDAVV Gas-Driven 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best Industrial 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Like the NorthStar model, this HPDAVV is gas-driven, so it packs a real punch when it comes to the stats. First, it trumps the NorthStar for horsepower, with the motor delivering 13 compared to 12, and second, it beats the PSI value by 5, scoring an impressive 180.

This model is equipped with high-temperature, wear-resistant piston rings that give over 8,000 hours of serviceable life. The pump is cast iron, as is the casing, and this air compressor is no stranger to industrial uses like food processing, the chemical industry, mining and the construction industry.

The CFM values on this compressor are also impressive, delivering an incredible 24 CFM at a PSI of 180, making it the most potent compressor to make the shortlist.

Why We Love It

13 Horsepower

This air compressor has an impressive list of statistics. The CFM is industry-leading, the engine produces 13 horsepower, and the PSI tops out at 180. All of this adds up to a compressor best suited to industrial settings and professional environments.

Industrial Pedigree

You find this type of compressor in chemical plants, construction sites, mining, and auto shops, thanks to its useability. There is nothing this compressor can’t do in environments that can be very demanding.

Go-Anywhere

Just like the NorthStar model, this compressor has no wheels, and yet being gas-powered means it can go anywhere. The best way to transport it is to bolt it to the bed of your flat-bed truck and drive it onto the site.

Keep In Mind

Very Expensive

It’s a double-whammy with the costs because you pay a high price initially when you purchase this compressor, and you also have high running costs of the gasoline needed to keep it running.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 353
Dimensions (inches) 43 x 17 x 38
Max PSI 175
CFM at 180 PSI 24
Horsepower 13
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $$$$
Warranty 1-year

3. DeWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best Portable 30-Gallon Air Compressor

This DeWALT 30-gallon compressor is the ideal device for carting to and from the worksite. Thanks to the two large pneumatic wheels and the large handle, this compressor is so easy to move. Couple that with the 190 pounds of weight, and you have a portable air compressor for any occasion.

It is electrically operated, so it requires a power supply. For this reason, it isn’t anywhere near as powerful as the gas-powered models. It produces 155 pounds of pressure thanks to its cast iron V-shaped cylinders and oil-lubricated pump.

The motor is wired for dual voltage (120-volt or 240-volt supply). The CFM rating is 5.7 at 90 PSI, which is ample for tackling most jobs. It is a vertical tank model, so it is ideal for smaller spaces like home garages because it takes up less space.

Why We Love It

Trusted Brand

Some brands you simply trust and DeWALT is right up there on the tried and tested list. Their tools and machinery are known the world over and trusted to deliver the goods.

Great Price

While 30-gallon air compressors are not cheap, this one is in comparison to its competition. It costs just under half the price of the NorthStar compressor and a lot less than others in its class.

Lightweight and Maneuverable

You might not buy this air compressor for its power, but you might if you were looking for a lightweight and portable model. It ticks both those boxes. It weighs 190 pounds and has pneumatic wheels that allow you to maneuver this compressor with ease.

Keep In Mind

Lacks Power

As we’ve already said, this is not the most powerful compressor to appear on the list. However, it should still have enough of a kick to power most of your air tools.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 190
Dimensions (inches) 22 x 27 x 46.5
Max PSI 155
CFM at 90 PSI 5.7
Horsepower 1.9
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $$
Warranty 1-year

4. Porter-Cable PXCMLC1683066 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best Budget 30-Gallon Air Compressor

This Porter-Cable air compressor is excellent value for money. Okay, it’s not going to win any power or performance awards, but when you are shopping for a budget model, who cares. It still produces 1.6 horsepower and has a maximum PSI of 135.

It has a CFM of 5.3 at 90 PSI, so it is comparable with the DeWALT but costs half the price. It also has a 2-stage V-shaped cast iron pump for better efficiency and a longer life. And it is lightweight too, weighing an incredible 167 pounds. That’s over 20 pounds lighter than the DeWALT!

The one-piece crankcase is cast iron, as is the cylinder body, flywheel, and valve plate for increased durability, adding to the lifespan of the compressor.

Why We Love It

Budget Price

To get a 30-gallon air compressor this cheap is incredible. It costs a lot less than most 20 and 6-gallon models. If you are working with a tight budget, this compressor will fulfill most of your needs.

Cast Iron Components

For a budget compressor, it has an array of cast iron components. The crankcase, the cylinder body, the flywheel, and the valve plate all benefit from durable cast iron construction.

Super-Lightweight

You cannot ignore the fact that this compressor weighs just 167 pounds. Compare that to the two gas-powered models, and you have a very light compressor indeed. It makes this one of the best models to take on the road from job site to construction site.

Keep In Mind

Lower Performance

In every department, this compressor underperforms. It has the lowest CFM and the weakest motor of any included in the review. It has the lowest maximum PSI, at just 135. Getting something this cheap means you always have a compromise to make.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 167
Dimensions (inches) 24 x 23.5 x 48
Max PSI 135
CFM at 90 PSI 5.3
Horsepower 1.6
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $
Warranty 2-year limited

5. Industrial Air ILA1883054 Belt-Driven 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

This Industrial Air compressor is the same as the DeWALT in that it is wired for dual-voltage systems. It operates on the domestic 120-volt supply, but it can also run on a 240-volt supply with some minor adjustments.

It produces 1.9 horsepower, equalling the power output of the DeWALT, and the maximum PSI rating is 155. The CFM performance also matches the DeWALT at 5.7 at 90 PSI. They even weigh the same, at 190 pounds.

There isn’t much to divide them in cost either. The DeWALT is slightly more expensive than the Industrial Air, but not so much that it would put you off buying one. Across the board, this 30-gallon air compressor is identical in every way to the DeWALT.

Why We Love It

Excellent Value for Money

For a fraction of the price of the NorthStar compressor, this would be an ideal candidate for a starter model. It may not set the world alight for performance, but it is plenty powerful enough to power most air tools, as well as tackling the majority of jobs.

Dual-Voltage

Some industrial and commercial settings have a higher voltage electrical system to support heavy-duty machines. This compressor can be converted to either 120 or 240-volt supplies with ease.

Reliable Power and Performance

The cast iron twin-cylinder pump comes with an aluminum head and valve plate, ensuring faster heat dissipation. It ensures that the compressor stays cool and keeps working.

Keep In Mind

Weak Motor

You probably won’t want this compressor in a professional or commercial environment, especially as the motor only generates 1 horsepower. That’s the weakest motor of any of the compressors to make the review.

Poor Quality

In many ways, the price you pay reflects the quality of the compressor. Compromises have to be made to keep costs down. This reflects in the quality of some of the components and the performance of the compressor.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 190
Dimensions (inches) 24.75 x 24.75 x 49.75
Max PSI 155
CFM at 90 PSI 5.7
Horsepower 1.9
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $$
Warranty 2-year limited

6. Ingersoll Rand SS3F2 Garage Mate 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best 30-Gallon Air Compressor for Home Garages

When you need to perform car repairs or inflate tires, this Ingersoll Rand Garage Mate is the compressor to get. It has a maximum of 135 PSI and a 2 horsepower engine, so it should handle spray guns and air impact wrenches with ease.

Two semi-pneumatic wheels help increase its maneuverability, and the large handle makes it portable to the construction site. This compressor operates at 80 decibels, which is about the same volume as a vacuum cleaner, and it has a 100 percent continuous duty, which means you don’t have to keep stopping while the device cools down.

It also uses a synthetic lubricant, which the company claims gives you 4 times the runtime between lubricant changes. That’s up to 2,000 hours of use!

Why We Love It

Maneuverable and Lightweight

This model has 2 large, semi-pneumatic wheels, which makes moving it a breeze. Couple that with the lightweight design, and you have a portable compressor that you can take anywhere.

Continuous Duty Cycle

Most air compressors have a duty cycle of 50 percent, meaning that every time you use the compressor, you have to rest it for half that time. A 100 percent duty cycle means you can run it all day long without the need to let it rest.

Synthetic Lubricant

Ingersoll uses a synthetic lubricant that gives you up to 4 times more operation. It lasts for 2,000 hours before it needs changing, which is great if you have a long project or you use the compressor a lot.

Built To Last

This compressor has a cast iron cylinder and frame for durability and a longer life. It also has a belt guard to protect the belt and motor from the rigors of daily use.

Keep In Mind

Horizontal Design

Most 30-gallon compressors are vertical because they take up less room in the workshop or garage. This model is horizontal, so bear this in mind as it will be harder to store away and take up greater floor space.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 185
Dimensions (inches) 25 x 46 x 35
Max PSI 135
CFM at 90 PSI 5.7
Horsepower 2
Oil/Oil-free Synthetic lubricant
Price $$
Warranty 1-year

7. Campbell Hausfeld 2-Stage 30-Gallon Air Compressor

Best 30-Gallon Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor

This compressor features an oil-lubricated pump for better performance and increased longevity. It can tackle a long list of tasks, from upholstery to nailing, and like the DeWALT, it benefits from a dual-voltage motor.

The enclosed metal belt guard protects the motor’s working parts, and it produces a maximum of 175 PSI and 4.1 SCFM at 90 PSI. It’s lightweight, at just 178 pounds, and the vertical design makes it easy to maneuver and store away.

It has a 2 horsepower engine, and the makers claim you will get 5,000 hours of use from this compressor. Not bad when you consider that it costs a fraction of the price compared to some.

Why We Love It

Dual-Voltage Motor

It can switch from 120 volts to 240 volts with some minor adjustments. It makes this Campbell Hausfeld a domestic and commercial compressor.

Quick Recharge Time

Unlike other compressors, this model takes very little time to refill the air tank when it empties. It keeps you working faster, and when time is money, that’s a real bonus.

Lightweight and Portable

Weighing just 178 pounds and being equipped with large wheels makes this vertical compressor easy to maneuver and simple to stow away at the end of the day.

Long Warranty

The warranty is very generous, especially when most compressors come with a 1-year guarantee. Campbell Hausfeld has excelled with their 3-year limited warranty.

Keep In Mind

Build Quality Issues

Some have reported that the tank leaks and the motor drips oil. Others are unhappy with the compressor’s quality on delivery, stating that it arrived damaged and dented.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 178
Dimensions (inches) 55 x 28 x 26
Max PSI 135
CFM at 90 PSI 4.1
Horsepower 2
Oil/Oil-free Oil
Price $$
Warranty 3-year limited

30-gallon Air Compressor Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions Max PSI CFM at 90 PSI Horsepower Oil/Oil-free Warranty
NorthStar Gas Air Compressor Gas Powered 492 lbs 41 x 19 x 40″ 175 24.4 $12 Oil 4-year limited
HPDAVV Gas Air Compressor Industrial 353 lbs 43 x 17 x 38″ 175 24 13 Oil 1-year
DeWALT Air Compressor Portable 190 lbs 22 x 27 x 46.5″ 155 6 1.9 Oil 1-year
Porter-Cable Air Compressor Budget Pick 167 lbs 24 x 23.5 x 48″ 135 5 2 Oil 2-year limited
Industrial Air Belt Air Compressor Belt Driven 190 lbs 24.75 x 24.75 x 49.75″ 155 5.7 1.9 Oil 2-year limited
Ingersoll Rand Garage Compressor Home Garages 185 lbs 25 x 46 x 35″ 135 6 2 Synthetic lubricant 1-year
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Oil-Lubricated 178 lbs 55 x 28 x 26″ 135 4.1 2 Oil 3-year limited

30-Gallon Air Compressor FAQs

Can You Paint a Car With a 30-Gallon Air Compressor?

A 30-gallon air compressor will cope just fine with painting a car, as long as the PSI of the spray gun matches the PSI of the compressor. And remember to leave a 20 percent difference in the tool’s pressure rating than the compressor.

You also need to consider the CFM values of the gun and the compressor, making sure they match as well.

How Much HP Does a 30-Gallon Air Compressor Need?

The horsepower needed varies between models and makes. Generally, for a 30-gallon air compressor to function properly, you will need a minimum of 2 horsepower, although some models can be as much as 5 horsepower, which increases your capabilities.

How To Drain a 30-Gallon Air Compressor?

The first thing you need to do is switch off the compressor and unplug it from the power supply. Ensure you remove all the attachments like air compressor hoses and tools and set the air pressure outlet to zero.

Place a drain pan under the valve and tilt the compressor so that when you open the valve, the water begins to flow out. Now open the valve, but be careful because pressurized air will escape rapidly before the moisture starts to drain away. When the fluid stops flowing, close the valve and store the compressor in a dry, flat location.


30-Gallon Compressors Really Impress

When 20 gallons is too small and 60 gallons is too large, you need to consider the benefits of a 30-gallon compressor. They offer that middle option where you can scale up the projects you take on while maintaining all the advantages of portability.

The next time you take a trip to the construction site or workshop, load a 30-gallon air compressor in your truck. You won’t regret it.

Headshot of Mark Weir

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.

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