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Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor Review [Your Top 8 for 2022]

You need all the help you can get with DIY projects. The best 20 gallon air compressor is no different. From inflating tires to running pneumatic nail guns to painting or cleaning farm equipment, investing in an air compressor will add plenty of options to your at-home work repertoire.

The best 20 gallon air compressor should give you excellent performance, plenty of power, portability – all for a great price. That’s why the Industrial Air belt-driven twin-cylinder compressor is our winner today. Check it out on Amazon!

Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor Top 8

Read on to learn more about our top 8 best 20 gallon air compressors, along with a handy buyer’s guide to help you choose. educate and inform you before you invest in one of these fine air compressors.

  1. Industrial Air IPA1882054 20 Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor (Twin Cylinder)
  2. NorthStar 2HP Single-Stage Vertical Portable Electric Air Compressor – 20-Gallon, 5.0 CFM
  3. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor – Honda 163cc OHV Engine, 20-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  4. IMC (Belaire) 5020P 2HP 20 Gallon 115 Volt Single Phase Portable Compressor
  5. Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate – 2 HP, 5.5 CFM, Model P1.5IU-A9
  6. Campbell Hausfeld 20 Gallon Portable Horizontal Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, 150 PSI
  7. Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor,1.8 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Compressor
  8. PORTER CABLE PXCMF220VW 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
  1. Industrial Air IPA1882054 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With Twin Cylinder
  2. Industrial Air IPA1882054 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With Twin Cylinder
    $769.00

    While many air compressors available today can lay claim to specializing in a certain feature - price, power, portability, etc. - we were on the hunt for the tool with the best combination of attributes as our top choice.

    This belt-driven compressor from Industrial Air is the only and best 20 gallon compressor that can boast of excellent performance across all categories.

    First of all, the cast iron twin cylinder pump that drives the Industrial Air is built to last - just like the rest of this durably constructed machine. Capable of producing a powerful 155 maximum PSI of pressure, it outperforms any other compressor in this price range by producing an impressive 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI.

    Horizontally mounted on pneumatic tires and weighing in at a svelte 166 pounds, the Industrial Air truly combines the best of all worlds. Back that up with a 2-year warranty, and it’s easy to see why we’ve given it our highest recommendation.

    Features for the Industrial Air Belt Driven best 20 gallon air compressor include:

    • Cast iron construction
    • Twin-cylinder pump with aluminum head and valve plates
    • 1 horsepower motor
    • 155 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Produces 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI
    • Pre-attached pneumatic tires
    • Quick-set regulator
    • 2-year limited warranty
    • Weighs 166 pounds
    Pros:
    • Excellent maximum power output, allowing for versatile applications
    • Relatively lightweight for a horizontal compressor, making it easily portable
    • Your investment is protected by a 2-year limited warranty
    • Corded electric power source makes it efficient and environmentally friendly
    Cons:
    • Manual has small print and can be confusing to navigate
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    11/29/2022 08:57 am GMT
  3. NorthStar 2HP Single-Stage Vertical Portable Electric Air Compressor - 20-Gallon, 5.0 CFM
  4. NorthStar 2HP Single-Stage Vertical Portable Electric Air Compressor - 20-Gallon, 5.0 CFM
    $619.99 $569.99

    Of all the best 20 gallon air compressor units that we reviewed, only the NorthStar Portable Electric can lay claim to an exceptionally powerful motor at a complete bargain of a price.

    For homesteaders on a tighter budget, this 2-cylinder belt-driven compressor performs well beyond its modest price. It may be more expensive than our number 1, but it's also double the HP. 

    Of course, not everything can be sunshine and roses: Weighing in at just over 205 pounds, the NorthStar is one of the heaviest vertical air compressors in our review.

    While at times this makes it slightly unwieldy to transport, overall the durable construction and impressive power of this compressor have earned it our solid recommendation as a budget-friendly air compressor.

    Features for this best 20 gallon air compressor include:

    • Cast iron construction
    • 2-cylinder, belt drive, oil lubricated, single-stage pump
    • 2 horsepower dual voltage induction motor
    • Built-in regulator
    • No-flat solid tires
    • 20,000-hour bearing life
    • 135 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Produces 5 CFM at 90 PSI
    • Weighs 205 pounds
    Pros:
    • Powerful induction motor gives it fast compressed air refill times
    • Durable cast iron construction gives it long-lasting performance
    • Solid tires guarantee that you’ll never have to deal with a flat
    • Belt drive operation makes it quieter than many comparable air compressors
    Cons:
    • Quite heavy for a vertical air compressor
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    11/30/2022 01:37 am GMT
  5. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor - Honda 163cc OHV Engine, 20-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  6. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor - Honda 163cc OHV Engine, 20-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
    $1,499.99 $1,349.99

    An electric compressor is the most affordable solution for the majority of projects. However, when you're fixing stuff out and about, a gas-powered 20 gallon air compressor is better. You can take it with you, anywhere!

    Though certainly more expensive than any other best 20 gallon air compressor in our review, NorthStar’s portable gas-powered air compressor also produces incredibly high power outputs with amazing consistency.

    Powered by a 163cc Honda engine with low vibration technology, it can deliver over twice the CFM of comparably sized electric compressors -- all while running quietly.

    Features for the NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor include:

    • Cast iron construction
    • 163cc Honda engine with low oil shutdown
    • V-style cylinder design
    • 130 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Low vibration technology
    • Produces 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
    • Weighs 217 pounds
    • 4.8HP
    Pros:
    • Long-lasting Honda engine is powerful, quiet, and reliable
    • V-style cylinder provides superior cooling, leading to longer engine life
    • The best CFM output of any compressor in our reviews
    • Quiet operation thanks to its low vibration technologies
    Cons:
    • Gas engines require consistent maintenance
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    11/30/2022 04:06 am GMT
  7. IMC (Belaire) 5020P 2HP 20 Gallon 115 Volt Single Phase Portable Compressor
  8. IMC (Belaire) 5020P 2HP 20 Gallon 115 Volt Single Phase Portable Compressor
    $733.71

    A significant step up in price from our best 20 gallon air compressor top 3 recommendations, what the IMC Belaire portable compressor lacks in affordability it more than makes up for in CFM output.

    Featuring a rugged and durable 2 horsepower engine, it’s capable of delivering over 7 CFM at 100 PSI - making it a powerful all-rounder for just about any project around the homestead.

    Surprisingly, this extra power comes without added weight. At just 165 pounds, the Belaire is a wonderfully portable horizontal compressor. In short, if you have the extra money in your budget and want to upgrade the power on an electric compressor, this product from IMC is definitely the way to go.

    Features for the IMC (Belaire) Portable Compressor include:

    • Cast iron and stainless steel construction
    • 2 horsepower engine
    • 130 PSI maximum operating pressure
    • Produces 7.1 CFM at 100 PSI
    • 115 Volt corded electric power source
    • Weighs 165 pounds
    Pros:
    • Impressive CFM output for a lightweight electric compressor
    • Easily portable thanks to its slim construction and horizontal orientation
    • Powerful 2 horsepower engine makes it suitable for many types of jobs
    • Long-lasting stainless steel and cast iron construction
    Cons:
    • Quite expensive
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    11/30/2022 04:11 am GMT
  9. Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate - 2 HP, 5.5 CFM, Model P1.5IU-A9
  10. Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate - 2 HP, 5.5 CFM, Model P1.5IU-A9

    Designed with professional construction in mind, the Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate offers excellent durability and reliability thanks to its cast-iron pump and powerful 2 horsepower motor. Equipped with a belt drive for quiet operation, it’s equally suitable for use at home, in the garage, or on a job site.

    While many of the Garage Mate’s features make it ideally suited for professional use, however, we think that most homesteaders will find it to be a little bit overkill.

    At 200 pounds, it’s one of the least portable of any vertical compressor we reviewed; add this to its higher price, and the Garage Mate may be better reserved for folks running larger-scale operations.

    Features for the Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate include:

    • Cast iron, oil-lubricated pump
    • 2 horsepower engine
    • Quiet 75-80 dB operation via belt drive
    • 115 volt corded electric power source
    • 135 PSI maximum operating pressure
    • Produces 5.2 CFM at 90 PSI
    • Weighs 200 pounds
    Pros:
    • Durable cast iron construction gives it long-lasting performance
    • Powerful 2 horsepower engine can tackle tough jobs
    • Belt drive makes it very quiet during operation
    Cons:
    • Very heavy for a vertical compressor, making it more difficult to transport
    • Quite expensive
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  11. Campbell Hausfeld 20 Gallon Portable Horizontal Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, 150 PSI
  12. Campbell Hausfeld  20 Gallon Portable Horizontal Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, 150 PSI
    $590.00

    Amazingly affordable but built with questionable materials, the Campbell Hausfeld portable horizontal air compressor left us admittedly confused.

    While it’s capable of operating at pressures up to 150 PSI - more than most compressors in our best 20 gallon air compressor review - it only delivers 4 CFM at 90 PSI, a less than ideal power output.

    But at almost half the cost of many other electric models on our list, and weighing in at under 100 pounds, the Campbell Hausfeld might be an ideal fit for the beginning homesteader whose air compressor needs are infrequent.

    In that case, the steel construction and lower durability will only be a downside, not a dealbreaker.

    Features for the Campbell Hausfeld Portable Horizontal Air Compressor include:

    • Steel construction
    • 1.3 horsepower motor
    • 150 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Produces 4 CFM at 90 PSI
    • Oil-free pump
    • 1 year limited warranty
    • Weighs 92 pounds
    Pros:
    • Incredibly lightweight and easy to transport
    • Oil-free pump requires much less maintenance
    • Excellent maximum pressure output
    • Exceptionally affordable
    Cons:
    • Less durably constructed than many other air compressors on our list
    • Fairly loud 88 dB operation
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    11/30/2022 06:36 am GMT
  13. Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor,1.8 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Compressor
  14. Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor,1.8 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Compressor
    $484.84

    Anyone looking to use their best 20 gallon air compressor primarily indoors, for hobby and garage projects, in particular, would do well to consider investing in the Stealth and saving their ears for years to come.

    The quietest compressor of any that we tested, it’s a lightweight and affordable machine that’s only hampered by its lack of customer service.

    Being built from steel rather than cast iron means the Stealth Ultra won’t be nearly as durable as our top 3 best 20 gallon air compressor choices, making it better suited to life in a garage than work outdoors or on a job site. If noise is a primary concern for you, the Stealth may be just right for you.

    Features for the Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor include:

    • Steel construction
    • 1.8 horsepower motor
    • Quiet 68 dB noise output
    • 150 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Produces 5 CFM at 90 PSI
    • 120 Volt corded power supply
    • Limited lifetime warranty
    • Weighs 120 pounds
    Pros:
    • Ultra-quiet operation makes it an excellent choice for working in enclosed spaces
    • Lightweight and very easily portable
    • Great power output makes it capable of handling a wide range of jobs
    Cons:
    • Steel construction lacks the durability of cast iron
    • Customers complain of a lack of responsiveness from the company
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    11/29/2022 09:46 pm GMT
  15. PORTER CABLE PXCMF220VW 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
  16. PORTER CABLE PXCMF220VW 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
    $603.92

    Last but not least among our recommendations, this best 20 gallon air compressor from Porter Cable is the lightest compressor on our list to still feature a cast iron pump. An excellent combination of portability and long-lasting performance, it’s a fine solution for homesteaders who won’t need a particularly powerful compressor.

    The 1.5 horsepower oil-free motor provides a decent bit of power while needing very little maintenance, but comes up short on the CFMs necessary for larger jobs or extended use. Overall, it’s an affordable option that takes up very little space, making it a great choice for anyone short on storage.

    Features for the Porter Cable Portable Air Compressor include:

    • Cast iron and steel construction
    • 1.5 horsepower, oil-free motor
    • 150 PSI maximum pressure output
    • Produces 4 CFM at 90 PSI
    • 7” semi-pneumatic wheels and rubber stabilizer feet
    • Weighs 97 pounds
    Pros:
    • Lightweight 97-pound design is extremely portable
    • Small footprint saves on storage space
    • Durable cast iron pump gives long-lasting performance
    Cons:
    • Low maximum CFM output limits how many jobs it can be used for
    • Prone to developing leaks at the connection points
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    11/30/2022 07:56 am GMT

Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor Buyer’s Guide

best-20-gallon-air-compressor-review-buyers-guide

If you haven’t had the pleasure of using a variety of the best air compressors, choosing one just based on factory specifications will be quite the challenge.

To help with that, we’ve summarized our best advice gained from years of experience in using air compressors to power our tools around the farm:

What to Look for In the Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor

When you’re looking to get the best value air compressor at a reasonable price, it pays to know which features are most desirable – and which ones don’t impact the machine’s performance.

In deciding which 20 gallon air compressors to include in this review, we took the following seven essential features into account:

  • Horsepower
  • PSI and CFM
  • Durable construction (cast iron)
  • Power source
  • Oil or oil free?
  • Noise rating
  • Easy portability

Types of 20 Gallon Air Compressors

Perhaps the most important distinction that you’ll need to make before narrowing down your options for air compressors is whether a vertical or horizontal model is better for your needs.

Among all of the features that can change from one model of air compressor to another, none will affect your experience with this tool more than its physical orientation.

Vertical Air Compressors

On the one hand, vertical air compressors have the advantage of having a much smaller footprint — effectively taking up less usable space than their horizontal counterparts.

If storage or operating space is an issue on your homestead, a vertical air compressor may be the best choice to maximize your available garage space.

Our best vertical 20 gallon air compressor:

Horizontal Air Compressors

Horizontal air compressors, on the other hand, offer greater stability and oftentimes a less strenuous moving experience.

This allows for heavier builds – and bigger engines – that can push horizontal compressors into a much more powerful pressure range without big price increases.

While they’ll certainly take up more storage space, horizontal air compressors are a better choice for owners looking to maximize their compressor’s versatility.

Our best horizontal 20 gallon air compressor:

Is a 20 Gallon Air Compressor Big Enough?

Just how big of an air compressor do you need, anyway? With home model compressors available in a range from tiny 1-gallon models to massive 60-gallon behemoths, you’re certainly spoiled for options.

In short, the tank size for your air compressor will determine how long any attached tools can run before the motor has to kick back on and create another serving of compressed air.

Measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), the total output of a compressor will always be limited by its tank size. 

Because it’s such a versatile tool, an air compressor may be put to use for jobs from simple nailing or hobby painting to sanding or grinding – meaning that while there’s no true one-size-fits-all solution for every job an air compressor could do, it’s a safe bet for most of us to go for a model with at least a 20-gallon tank.

These provide the best combination of power, versatility, and affordability that we’ve found, as well as the potential for long-lasting reliability.

Final Verdict: The Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor for the Money

So, which is the best 20 gallon air compressor for you? 

We’re big fans of the Industrial Air Belt-Driven Twin Cylinder Compressor – owing mainly to its nearly-perfect combination of power, portability, and price.

If you’re not entirely sure of what you’ll be using your compressor for, it’s a safe investment with excellent versatility.

Truth be told, every one of the compressors on this list could fit well in your tool shed.

In conclusion, we most strongly recommend considering what types of projects you’re likely to be using your compressor for and using our best 20 gallon air compressor buyer’s guide to help match the right compressor to your specifications.

Author

  • Elle

    Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

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