Top 5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Mobile Detailing in 2022

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There’s a growing demand for car wash and detailers, including mobile detailers for the past few years. Sounds great, right? Easy money? Well, that depends. To start, you need the right equipment, or you’ll waste time and money on jobs that don’t turn out as expected.

best portable air compressors for mobile detailing

This article discusses why investing in a portable air compressor is necessary, the different types of compressors you can use, and ultimately which one I recommend. Without further ado, let’s dive into this topic.

Best portable air compressors for mobile detailing

Here’s a breakdown of the best portable air compressors for mobile detailing so you can choose which one works best for your needs:

SpecificationsCraftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150KRidgid’s 4.5 Gal Electric CompressorStealth Ultra Quiet Air CompressorDewalt 4 Gal Electric Air Compressor D55154California Air Tools Air Compressor CAT-4610AC
Weight30 lbs.61 lbs.101.4 lbs.44 lbs.45.5 lbs.
Form FactorPancakeDual tankDual tankDual tankDual tank
Tank6 gallons4.5 gallons4.5 gallons4 gallons4.6 gallons
PSI Volume150 PSIup to 200 PSI150 PSI125 PSI120 PSI
Airflow2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI5.1 SCFM at 90 PSI3 CFM at 90 PSI4 CFM at 90 PSI2.2 CFM at 90 PSI
Loudness82 dBa77 dBa65 dBa75 dBa60 dBa
Horsepower0.8 HP1.6 HP1.3 HP1.1 HP1.0 HP
WheelsNoneNoneYesYesNone
MaintenanceOil-freeOil-freeOil-freeOil lubricatedOil-free
Warranty1 Year-Limited3 YearsLimited Lifetime warranty‎30-Day Money Back Guarantee1 Year-Limited
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

1. Craftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150K

The Craftsman 6 Gallon Oil-Free Portable Air Compressor is great for vehicle maintenance and detailing. It is extremely portable, weighing only 30 lbs. It has a maximum pressure of 150 psi and features an oil-free pump that requires no maintenance.

The lightweight design and convenient carrying handle make it easy to transport wherever needed. You’ll also get a 13 Piece Accessory Kit with this compressor, which includes many tools typically needed for car repair or detailing.

The Craftsman 6-gallon air compressor is designed to maintain a consistent flow with 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi. It features a high-performance output motor that starts easily in cold weather and has two couplers to support two users. At 120v, it can be run by a 2400 watts portable generator.

Pros:

✅ Very light at 30 lbs.

✅ It comes with a 13-piece accessory, including a blow gun

Cons:

❌ No wheels to move around

2. Ridgid’s Electric Quiet Compressor

Ridgid is another popular choice when it comes to a portable air compressor. The Ridgid Air Compressor is perfect for mobile detailing, air tools, and spray guns that require a high volume of air at 200psi. Its compact design will save space in your mobile detailing truck or trailer.

Featuring strong start technology and a compact design, this 1.6 HP unit will easily power through any situation. It is ideal for quick and easily compressing air, with an expansion valve to add an expansion tank for extended run times.

Ridgid claims that it operates at 77 decibels; however, we noticed that it is a little bit louder and tested it and found out that it operates at 85 decibels. Finally, it’s designed to maintain a consistent flow with 5.1 SCFM at 90 psi.

Pros:

✅ 200 PSI volume

✅ Expansion valve for additional tank

✅ Three-year warranty

Cons:

❌ Pricey compared to other portable compressors

❌ Louder than claimed 77 decibels

3. Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

The Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor is truly quiet, making it great for mobile detailing or anywhere you need a quiet compressor. It’s powerful and has a 4.5-gallon capacity, the same as Ridgid’s, with a maximum operating pressure of 150 PSI.

It has a 1.3 horsepower induction motor drive that uses dual air pumps to generate continuously compressed air. It’s Ideal for mobile detailing and also for other projects in your garage.

However, it’s heavier at 101.4 lbs. The good thing is it has a sturdy design with wheels and a handle that makes it easy to transport and store. An oil-free pump makes this compressor easy to maintain and ready for continuous use.

Pros:

✅ Very quiet at 65 dBA

✅ Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

❌ Heavier than other portable compressors

4. Dewalt 4 Gal Electric Air Compressor

The DEWALT Air Compressor combines efficient performance, portability (4 gallons), and durability in a compact design similar to the Stealth Ultra Quiet Compressor. It delivers 1.1 horsepower and features an oil-lubricated pump that increases the life of this powerful unit.

It also features a high-flow regulator for increased airflow and tool performance to run multiple tools from the dual universal quick couplers. It has dual soft start valves to assist in cold weather start-up.

Finally, this unit features a 10″ pneumatic wheel, handle kit, and top load panel with positioning holes that allow you to transport loads up to 100 lbs. The four-gallon tank holds up to 150 psi and weighs 44lbs.

Pros:

✅ Top load panel and wheels for easy transport

✅ Lighter (40lbs.)

Cons:

❌ Requires maintenance (oil)

5. California Air Tools Portable Air Compressor

Enjoy a quiet and efficient air compressor with the California Air Tools Ultra Quiet Portable Compressor. This oil-free compressor is super quiet, with only 60 Decibels of sound. The powerful 1.0 HP (SP-9413) motor operates at only 1680 RPM, creating less noise and wear.

It is also lightweight, weighing only 45 pounds. Its oil-free pump is designed to provide years of service with less maintenance and costs. The pump is designed to last 3,000 hours or more before needing replacement.

The 4.6-gallon twin tank is constructed from rust-free aluminum for years of reliable use.

Pros:

✅ Very Quiet (60 decibels)

✅ Lightweight

Cons:

❌ No wheels

How to choose the best portable air compressor for mobile detailing?

If you’re starting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available for air compressors. There are so many different sizes, brands, and features that it’s hard to know which one is right for you.

Here are some of the things that you must consider when buying an air compressor for mobile detailing:

1. Portability

The first thing you should look at is portability. You want something that is easy to carry around and does not require much effort to move around. Portable air compressors will save time and energy working on your customers’ cars.

It will also enable you to work faster and more efficiently, which will help increase your profits as well as improve customer satisfaction.

2. Power requirement

Another vital factor to consider when buying an air compressor for mobile detailing is its power requirement. Since you will use a portable generator, make sure that your portable generator can run the air compressor.

You will also need an air compressor that can provide enough pressure to power your detailing tools.

Related: Top 5 Best Generators For Mobile Detailing in 2021 (Buyer’s Guide)

3. Tank size

The first thing you need to consider when buying an air compressor is its tank size. The larger the tank, the more compressed air it can hold and store. A large tank would be preferable if you want to use it for long hours or multiple tasks.

However, a small tank would be more than enough if you want to use it occasionally or if the detailing requires less compressed air.

4. Weight

Suppose you use your compressor in a mobile application where moving around is necessary (like in auto detailing shops). In that case, weight becomes an important factor when choosing a compressor.

In a mobile detailing setup, it is obvious to look for compressors with lighter weight so they can be easily carried around without any trouble.

5. PSI pressure

PSI (pounds per square inch) can determine the pressure of an air compressor. The most common PSI range for compressors used in mobile detailing is between 60-120PSI.

You might also find compressors with a capacity lower than 60PSI or higher than 120PSI, but these are not common because they are not needed in this type of business.

6. Loudness

The loudness of an air compressor will depend on its size and capacity (how much air it can hold). If you want a quieter unit, look for smaller compressors with lower capacities (they will be cheaper too).

However, if you want more power, get a bigger unit with more capacity (but expect it to be louder).

Why you should use compressed air for auto detailing?

As a detailer, you’ll understand the importance of having the right tools for the job. With so many businesses competing in this market, you need to stand out from the crowd.

Air compressor pumps are a critical aspect of mobile detailing. With the right compressor, you can maximize efficiency and get more stuff done at once.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should use compressed air during the detailing process:

1. Blow out debris and dirt from the vehicle’s interior

Compressed air can blow dirt and debris out of hard-to-reach areas, between seats, center consoles, or dashboards.

2. Remove excess cleaner solution from applied areas:

Removing excess solution before drying the area with a towel or chamois cloth after a cleaner has been applied to an area, such as on exterior trim or door jambs. Compressed air helps speed up this process by drying off the area faster than using a towel alone.

3. Blow out water from emblems and panels:

If you’ve just washed a car, there are still some puddles of water on emblems and panels, you can use compressed air to blow them off quickly before they dry completely and become difficult to remove.

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