Best 20-Gallon Air Compressors in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Best 20-Gallon Air Compressors

A 20-gallon air compressor is a must-have. It has more portability than its 60-gallon counterparts and better performance than its 6-gallon counterparts.

However, not every compressor of that capacity will offer you what you need. This is why we gathered all the information needed about the best 20-gallon air compressors.

Top Picks:

20-Gallon Air CompressorDimensionsWeightPSICFM
Industrial Air IT20ASME33.4 x 14 x 18.8 in60 lbs1755 CFM at 90 PSI
DeWalt DXCMPA198205432 x 21 x 32 in166 lbs1555.7 CFM at 90 PSI
WEN 2202 Vertical Air Compressor19.5 x 17.5 x 42 in86 lbs1353.8 CFM at 90 PSI
Campbell Hausfeld DC20000031.5 x 14.9 x 30.3 in92 lbs1504 CFM at 90 PSI
Ingersoll-Rand P1.5IU-A922 x 23 x 43 in200 lbs1355.2 CFM at 90 PSI
California Air Tools 20040DC39 x 25 x 28 in175 lbs12510.60 CFM at 90 PSI

The 6 Best 20-Gallon Air Compressors in 2020

1. Industrial Air IT20ASME – Best Overall

Industrial Air IT20ASME

This one is so good that we don’t know where to begin. Since we must begin, we’d like to remind you that all the features you’ll read below can be at your service for under 200 USD.

The IT20ASME has the highest maximum pressure on our list at 175 PSI. It has an airflow rate of 5 CFM at 90 PSI. This beast has enough power and runtime to power more than one air tool through the air hose. If you get this compressor, you have a heavy-duty monster at your feet.

At 60 lbs, the IT20ASME is the lightest one on our list, and that is as light as a 20-gallon compressor can be. 

Other compressors come with one handle; this one comes with two. It can be used vertically or horizontally. You will also enjoy its ring base that is excellent for convenient vertical storage. Our product has four rubber feet with solid vibration isolators to keep it steady and vibration-free.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightest at 60 lbs
  • Highest maximum pressure at 175 PSI
  • 5 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Two handles and four rubber feet
  • Ring base
  • Can be used vertically or horizontally
  • ASME certified
  • Fully assembled

Cons:

  • Drain valve is on the horizontal side only

Final Verdict

This baby is powerful, fast, affordable, lightweight, and multifunctional. If the IT20ASME doesn’t work out for you, we don’t know what will.

2. DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 – Runner-Up

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054

The DeWalt compressor is a powerful one, with a maximum pressure of 155 PSI, 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI, and a dual-voltage induction motor with a standard 120V and an optional 240V.

Its twin-cylinder design doubles the air output. Clearly, this bad boy can handle heavy-duty work with ease.

Usually, a heavy-duty compressor is hard to use for beginners; however, this one has the most easy-to-use panel, as it has all the controls for the regulator, tank, and pressure gauges in one place.

Not impressed yet? Our top-pick is also quiet. The mobility is impressive thanks to its handle, pre-attached pneumatic tires, and small footprint. 

Pros:

  • PSI up to 155
  • 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Pre-attached pneumatic tires
  • Dual-voltage induction motor
  • Regulator
  • Pressure gauges and on/off switch
  • Cast-iron, aluminum, and stainless steel material
  • Quiet
  • Easy-to-use panel
  • 2-year pump warranty
  • Comes with synthetic oil

Cons:

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

This is one of those compressors that you must have if you can afford them. It has everything you need from power to durability and ease of use.

3. WEN 2202 – Most Affordable

WEN 2202

The WEN compressor is perfect for DIYs and light jobs.

It has 135 PSI and 3.8 CFM at 90 PSI. Is that the fastest recovery on our list? Of course not, but sometimes you just need an affordable unit that can fill your basic needs just fine. 

The auto-shutoff function turns off the machine when it reaches the maximum pressure. Also, the compressor has 2 pressure gauges to monitor the internal pressure and regulate the airflow rate.

The portability is strong with this one. It weighs only 86 lbs, comes with a handle and wheels, and has a space-saving vertical design. If stability is your priority, the WEN compressor has two rubber feet to prevent it from tipping over while running.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Only weighs 86 lbs
  • Up to 135 PSI
  • Auto shutoff
  • Tank made of reinforced steel
  • Easy-to-reach quick-drain valve
  • ¼ quick coupler
  • 2 pressure gauges
  • Handle and wheels
  • Space-saving vertical design
  • 2 rubber feet
  • 2-year warranty

Cons:

  • Really noisy
  • Not the fastest recovery

Final Verdict

If you need an affordable air compressor for anything that doesn’t require constant use, this one will definitely do. Don’t forget the ear protection.

4. Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 – Best for DIYs

Campbell Hausfeld DC200000

The DC200000 Air Compressor prides itself on maximum pressure of 150 PSI and an airflow rate of 4 CFM at 90 PSI, which is a nice range for a variety of activities from stapling and nailing to inflating and bolting.

2 pressure gauges give you better monitoring and regulation of the air pressure. Also, a 50% duty cycle is impressive at its price point. 

Induction motors like the DC200000 one are here to last a long time.

At 92 lbs, the DC200000 is portable. Having a sturdy steel handle and wheels establishes the compressor as a portable one. 

Its oil-free pump means that you won’t have to worry about oiling, draining, or paying for oil with this one. A maintenance-free compressor is what the modern DIYer needs.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Up to 150 PSI
  • 4 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Low maintenance
  • Sturdy steel handle and wheels
  • Induction motor
  • Lightweight at 92 lbs

Cons:

  • The horizontal design takes up space
  • Loud
  • Only 1.3 HP

Final Verdict

Like its WEN counterpart, this is an affordable and light compressor that is perfect for DIY projects and small jobs.

5. Ingersoll-Rand P1.5IU-A9 – 100% Duty Cycle

Ingersoll-Rand P1.5IU-A9

The P1.5IU-A9 has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI and an airflow rate of 5.2 CFM at 90 PSI. Also, it has a 100% duty cycle, which means that you can use it with the most demanding tools for the most demanding jobs.

Durable cast-iron construction adds even more to the list of why the P1.5IU-A9 is a perfect heavy-duty compressor. The manual overload motor protection makes the user feel safer and gives the compressor the longevity it needs.

Although this one is the heaviest on our list, its wheeled design with semi-pneumatic tires and a heavy-duty, ergonomic handle make its transportation a breeze.

Pros:

  • Up to 135 PSI
  • 5.2 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 100% duty cycle
  • Manual overload motor protection
  • Easily accessible side drain valve
  • Durable cast-iron construction
  • Fully pneumatic tires
  • Pressure gauge
  • Regulator

Cons:

  • Weighs 200 lbs
  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with 240V

Final Verdict

The P1.5IU-A9 is one heavy and expensive compressor; however, it makes up for its heaviness with wheels and a handle and makes up for its expensiveness with durable construction.

6. California Air Tools 20040DC – Quietest

California Air Tools 20040DC

The CAT 20040DC has a maximum pressure of 125 PSI and a whopping airflow rate of 10.60 CFM at 90 PSI, which basically tells you that there is no air tool too fast for this compressor. It can supply air for multiple tools simultaneously, like it’s nothing.

Thanks to the air drying system and the aftercooler, our 20040DC delivers clean and dry air that is perfect for dental applications. The aftercooler is the heat exchanger that cools the discharge air. The air dryer removes the water vapor from the system.

It is definitely quietest at 75 dBs. Finally, an air compressor you can have a conversation around.

Note that this compressor has a life cycle of 3000 plus hours, as opposed to the usual 1500 from its counterparts.

Pros:

  • 4.0 HP
  • 10.60 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Air drying system
  • Low maintenance
  • 75 dBs
  • 1680 RPM
  • Aftercooler
  • Life cycle of 3000 plus hours

Cons:

  • Heavy at 175 lbs
  • Incredibly expensive

Final Verdict

This compressor isn’t for DIYers or contractors. It is for dentists that need something clean, fast, and powerful.

Benefits of 20-Gallon Air Compressors

Portability

The first benefit of 20-gallon air compressors is that, with handles and wheels, they are relatively portable. The reason we say “relatively portable” is because you can’t call a 205-pound unit portable per se. 

So, they are more portable than many air compressors ranging from 30 to 80 gallons. You won’t carry them around as easily as a 6-gallon compressor, of course. Their portability helps you in different locations unless you get a stationary unit.

Performance

Beside their portability, 20-gallon air compressors can perform much better than smaller air compressors, since smaller compressors’ specs are limited by their capacities. A 20-gallon compressor has higher PSI, CFM, and horsepower than a small-capacity one.

The variety of applications allowed by this capacity is worth every penny. You can use a 20-gallon compressor in a house, garage, or workshop to inflate, clean, airbrush, spray paint, nail, and power light-to-heavy air tools.

What to Look for When Buying a 20-Gallon Air Compressor

1. Pressure

PSI, or Pound-Force Per Square Inch, indicates the air pressure generated by the compressor. Most air tools need a minimum of 90 PSI to work, which is easily provided by most air compressors.

However, the higher the maximum pressure rating is, the better because it helps the compressor provide more air volume than another compressor with the same capacity.

Note that pressure rating is still not the most important number to look out for when picking an air compressor.

2. Airflow

CFM, or Cubic Feet Per Minute, indicates the rate of airflow the compressor can provide. It is the most important rating in a compressor’s specs because it tells you how fast a compressor will supply you with air. It is mainly measured at 90 PSI since it is the popular minimum PSI.

Note that the CFM of your compressor should be at least a bit higher than your tool’s because when the CFM is not high enough, you will have to wait for the compressor to catch up.

If you use more than one tool simultaneously, you need to add up their CFM and get a compressor with an even higher CFM.

3. Stationary vs. Portable

Since 20-gallon compressors have such a wide variety in weight from around 60 to 205 pounds, they come in portable and stationary models.

The perfect portable compressor is not only lightweight but also equipped with handles, wheels, and rubber feet. They also tend to be oil-free, since the constant need for maintenance will come in the way of their portability. 

Portable compressors are far superior to tire inflators because you can use them for other jobs.

Stationary compressors are more powerful and durable, which makes them fit for industrial use and heavy-duty jobs. 

Keep in mind that they need a significant amount of space, so don’t get a stationary unit for a tiny room.

4. Noise Levels

The noise made by air compressors is measured by decibels or dBs. Decibels give you an idea of how loud a compressor can be and how safe it is to be around it for long periods of time.

Try as much as possible to stay away from any compressor that produces 85 dBs or more for your own safety. Also, invest in ear protection if you have no choice but to work with a loud compressor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Does a 20-Gallon Air Compressor Weigh?

They usually range from 60 pounds to 205. The majority tend to lie between 86 and 166 pounds.

Every compressor has its own construction and design, which causes a difference in weight among compressors of the same capacity. A compressor made of steel won’t weigh the same as one made of plastic.

How Long Can a 20-Gallon Air Compressor Tank Last?

An air compressor tank usually lasts a gallon a year, so a 20-gallon tank can last around 20 years of use if maintained properly. 

To properly maintain a tank, you need to drain it once in a while. Draining your tank will not only keep it from rusting and leaking but will also keep you safe from a possible explosion due to the high pressure.

So, be smart and be safe.

Does Tank Size Matter in Air Compressors?

Yes. Tank size affects how much air you can have before the motor has to run again. If you need a compressor for heavy-duty work, you need a large-capacity compressor.

The very small compressor will have to run again and again to supply the air needed, which will shorten the compressor’s life.

Final Words

Now that you have a list of the best 20-gallon air compressors, let’s go through it quickly.

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty beast, make sure to check out the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054.

What about lightweight compressors? The Industrial Air IT20ASME and the WEN 2202 would be amazing for you.

Affordable compressors such as the Campbell Hausfeld DC200000 are a popular choice among users who don’t want to break the bank.

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