The practice of cleaning & polishing the inside and exterior of a car using specialized equipment and solutions is known as mobile detailing. It can help restore a vehicle’s original beauty and make it look new again. But you know what? For achieving professional work, you also need some professional tools and equipment, and an air compressor is one of those.
Now, there are a few reasons you might need an air compressor for mobile detailing. If you are going to be doing any airbrushing or other detailed work that requires compressed air or any power tools, then an air compressor must be purchased.
But before choosing any compressor for mobile detailing, you should always look for some important features that are important and mostly impactful on the performance of your air compressor.
What features should a mobile detailing air compressor have?
We have tested multiple air compressors for your convenience and found some important features that will matter. Here are the most important factors listed below with everything you need to know.
Best mobile detailing air compressor features checklist
Many auto shop owners and DIYers have a question about what size compressor will perform best for their auto detailing project. So, we’ve made a checklist that will quickly answer your question and help you decide whether your compressor is good for doing a detailing job.
|Image||Product||PSI & CFM||Portability||Quietness||Buy On Amazon|
|California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor||2.2O CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||Ultra Quiet (60dB)||Check Price|
|Craftsman 6 Gallon Air Compressor||2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||78 dB||Check Price|
|BOSTITCH Pancake 6 Gallon Air Compressor||2.6 SCFM @ 90PSI||Easy To Move||80 db||Check Price|
|Makita MAC700||3.3 CFM @ 90PSI||A bit heavy & difficult to move||80 dB||Check Price|
|Makita MAC5200||6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||65 dB||Check Price|
|DEWALT Air Compressor (D55146)||5.0 SCFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||78 dB||Check Price|
|CAMPBELL HAUSFELD Air Compressor (DC080500)||2.4 CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||68 dB||Check Price|
|Stealth (SAQ1208) 20 Gallon Air Compressor||5 CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||68 dB||Check Price|
|Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Air Compressor||5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI||Easy To Move||Check Price|
|Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor||5.7 CFM @ 90 psi||Easy To Move||Check Price|
Your auto detailing project will not face any issues, and you will get a smooth job if you have these features in your compressor. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Size of the tank
Tank size tells you how much air can be stored or pressurized in a tank. The more storage, the more time you have to work within a single run.
It depends on your type of work which one suits you. If you are a shop owner working in the commercial industry, you may need the larger tank size for your ease. But if you are a DIYer and want to try something new or do some home-related stuff, then a small tank can be the best option for you and will work for you excellently. But, here, our main concern is which compressor size tank would be enough for mobile detailing work. The compressor tank size of 5 – 30 gallons will be best for working on automobiles.
What is PSI? and why it matters in air compressor performance? We are here to help you.PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) is the amount of pressure applied on a square inch area. PSI is one of the most important factors for your car detailing.
If your air compressor is not delivering good pressure, your job can’t be done perfectly. Your water pressure will be low; your spray gun will run at lower pressure. So the higher the PSI, the higher the pressure, which means your job is done perfectly. So always count on PSI before buying any compressor. Most air compressors give you PSI in the range of 100-150 PSI which is more than enough for your car detailing project.
An air compressor’s CFM rating measures how much air it can create each minute. Why is the CFM rating important? The CFM rating determines the air the compressor can deliver to power tools. Suppose your compressor doesn’t have a good rating, then the power tools may not run at full power. For auto detailing, you must have an air compressor that can deliver at least 5 -7 CFM.
How can you find out an air compressor’s CFM rating? The volume of compressed air produced by an air compressor per minute is indicated by its CFM rating. PSI and CFM are also interrelated terms. For example, A compressor that can produce 5 CFM at 90 PSI produces 5 cubic feet per minute at that pressure.
Easy To Move
In a mobile detailing project, you have to go from one location to another. So, always choose a portable and durable compressor. Because if that compressor is portable, then you can carry it anywhere easily.
The durable factor is also more important because if that compressor is durable, it means a long-lasting product that will not disturb you in your work.
Some compressors make noise and can create issues during your mobile detailing, which is not a good sign. An air compressor with a noise level of around 60-65 db will be a good choice for you as this is quieter than most air compressors in the market. The noise level shouldn’t have gone too far, for example, 80 dB, because this will be dangerous for you in the longer term.
Depending upon your requirements, choose the compressor which is affordable for you. There are more features and specifications in a lot of compressors, but with more specifications probably, the cost of a compressor will also increase. So, always choose a compressor according to your budget and which also grows your detailing business.
Let’s see the list of specific air compressors for mobile detailing.
List of 10 best air compressors for mobile detailing
Here we will discuss the 10 best air compressors for mobile detailing their pros and cons completely details for you.
1. California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor
The California 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor is great for light to medium-duty air compressors. The 8010 has a durable steel air tank for long-lasting use. The air compressor has an oil-free pump which makes it less maintenance to make it run for long life.
One advantage of this compressor is that it comes up with a larger tank than other compressors and easily fills up the tank. Due to the higher CFM and PSI, all tools can run at their full potential. It is quiet and powerful, with only 60 decibels of sound.
The strong 1.0 HP (SP-9413) motor runs at only 1680 RPM, which reduces noise, wear, and tear. The Oil-free pump and motor are maintenance-free and designed for high performance. The 8-gallon steel air tank is lightweight (40 lbs) and rust-resistant. The 8010 Air Compressor has an Easy Start Valve for use in cold weather. This compressor is a bit heavy, but no need to worry as it comes with good-quality wheels. The large 10″ wheels enhance the portability of the compressor.
We tried this compressor on our car detailing project and found it very handy. This air compressor gives us higher performance than many and, more importantly, runs the air at its full potential. For example, blowing guns work well with this and removes dust swiftly and nicely.
Similarly, when we try to inflate the tires, it perfectly does its job and fills the tire timely. Although we have some problems with its weight, its moveable tire allows us to move it anywhere around easily. The compressor runs quietly and saves our and our neighbor’s ears from the noise.
2. CRAFTSMAN Compressor Combo Kit (CMEC3KIT)
CRAFTSMAN (CMEC3KIT) comes with a good unit and is easy to carry anywhere as this compressor is relatively lighter overall. You can carry it anywhere easily in your business as it has a design like a pancake. If we talk about its noise, then you will be happy to see that it’s quiet in its sound.
For your ease, it comes with a lengthy hose. Quickly fill the tank and overall good performance of this compressor. As it’s an oil-free compressor, which removes the requirement for oil changes. It has an air capacity of 6 gallons with a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI.
The one major disadvantage you may find in this air compressor is valve leakage. Our testing team observes that the compressor’s valves get air leakage after a time. For transportation, it does not contain tires.
The one issue you can face is valve leakage, after some months, the pressure valve may start leaking, but it is very rare. You will not get tires but can lift them easily with your hands because it is lightweight.
We performed some tests on this compressor to ensure its quality and performance. So, let’s discuss what we found good and bad during our test. The look and design of this compressor are very nice and comfortable to carry anywhere in the house. And due to its small size, you can adjust it to narrow areas without having difficulty finding the right place.
While the sound level during working was a little bit high, it did not have a strong enough grip on the floor during its working. And it vibrates, shakes on the floor, and can move from its original place. You also get a good size of hose for your ease.
3. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012)
The BOSTITCH (BTFP02012) is a great air compressor that provides a lot of power and will last a long time. It features a 6-gallon air tank that allows a lot of air to be stored and is perfect for people who are going to use this air compressor for various tasks.
This pancake compressor also features a high-flow regulator to help ensure that the air is flowing correctly and that you aren’t losing any power. It is capable of delivering a maximum of 150 PSI. As it is a pancake compressor, its noise is a bit louder. It produces 80 dB noise that can be bearable, but it will earn full marks on the performance side.
This compressor also comes with a 25-foot air hose to easily reach different areas. The air compressor also features a high-flow regulator to help ensure that the air is flowing correctly. This is a great tool for people looking for a lot of power and a long-lasting air compressor. To protect your floor, it comes with rubber feet, and the weight of this air compressor is around 30 pounds.
When we performed a test on this air compressor, we found that it takes nearly 3-5 minutes to fill the tank at full pressure. When we attach the air tools for car cleaning, it delivers a maximum of 150 PSI which is more than enough for this car detailing. The air through is nearly perfect and removes debris and dust from under the carpet and doors.
The only thing we found disturbing is that it produces noise, nearly 80 dB. But, we loved its power of running air tools, which is why we wear headphones when this machine runs and do our work fluently.
4. MAKITA MAC700
The MAC700 Makita air compressor has a 2.0 HP motor that delivers 3.8 CFM airflow at 90 PSI to power various air tools for maintenance and body shop applications. The compressor has a durable oil pump for long life and high performance.
The cast iron cylinder extends pump life by reducing wear and tear, and it also has an oil sight glass that allows the user to check the oil level easily. Additionally, the device has a low amp demand, which lessens the likelihood of tripped breakers and voltage drops that might lead to premature motor failure.
It has a low amp draw of only 10 amps and a very quiet air compressor. The MAC700 air compressor has a maximum pressure of 130PSI, which is a powerful air compressor. The noise produced by this air compressor is 82.5 dB, and it is designed for heavy-duty use.
I recently had a chance to use a Makita MAC700 air compressor during a friend’s car detailing project. The compressor was used to power a tire inflation tool, auto detailing kit, and blow gun. The compressor worked great and had no trouble keeping up with the demand. This compressor has only one tank, filling quickly in about 40-50 seconds. It has enough power to handle car detailing. It is highly portable, making it easy to move around when needed.
The Makita MAC700 air compressor is great for airbrushing and other air-powered tools. It is a little noisy, but it is alright. The only downside is that it is a little expensive, but it is worth the price. I was very pleased with the compressor’s performance and would recommend it to anyone in the market for a new air compressor.
5. MAKITA MAC5200
The Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP air compressor is a high-output air compressor that can deliver industrial power and output over a long extended time to keep your tools and equipment running continuously. The MAC5200 also has much less noise when compared to other air compressors, so you’ll be able to get your work done more efficiently and quietly.
This air compressor provides portability with an oil-lubricated pump design. It has a tank capacity of 5.2 gallons. The cast iron cylinder has been designed for optimal heat and corrosion resistance, and the full floating piston head is wear-resistant and designed for long-lasting performance. The compressor operates at 75 dBA, allowing it to be used in many applications where quiet is important, such as in auto body shops.
The machine is durable and, at the same time, very easy to use and maneuver. It has a low vibration feature that is achieved by mounting the pump and motor on a heavy-duty cast-iron frame and absorbing the vibration using vibration-absorbing rubber pads. If you are going to choose this compressor, then you will not regret your choice.
As we continued our testing on this air compressor, we found it working well and meeting all the auto detailing needs and did everything excellently. The compressor tank size is really good and fills up in about 2 minutes. The compressor’s air through is good due to high CFM and PSI rates.
All the air tools needed for mobile detailing work well with this. Blowguns clean the dust and debris very swiftly. This compressor has high noise and produces 75 dB, but you cover this with ear muffs and relief your ears.
6. DEWALT Air Compressor (D55146)
The DEWALT D55146 is a portable, hand-carry air compressor with a 4.5-gallon tank. It delivers 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI with a maximum PSI level of 225 PSI running at only 1.6 HP continuously. The pump speed of this air compressor is 1750 rpm which is good for this size of compressor. Maintaining high pressure is fine for this compressor. If we look at the price of this compressor, then this is very affordable. It is the perfect choice for trim and finish work, construction, automotive repair, and any mobile detailing.
One of the best things is that this is an oil-free compressor, meaning it will require no maintenance. The air compressor has 2-inch gauges, which allow you to read the value easily. The noise of this unit is just 78 db, and it runs efficiently for various needs.
The problem is with its tires. The tires are not designed according to construction areas or for mobility. You may need fixing due to bad tires designed. It may be due to poor shipping from the suppliers.
As we tested this air compressor on our mobile detailing project, we found It a very useful and powerful air compressor. The tank size of this air compressor is just 4.5 gallons, so it fills very quickly in just 2 minutes, but also it has a normal working time due to the smaller size tank. The motor of this air compressor is very powerful at 1730 rpm on just 1.6 hp.
Due to higher CFM values, it runs every air tool to its full potential without stopping. Only the drawback we find is its weight. It is a bit higher, which makes the compressor difficult to move around. The noise level isn’t too loud according to our recommendations, but if you think it is loud, it can be compromised while considering the other features of this air compressor.
7. CAMPBELL HAUSFELD Air Compressor (DC080500)
The Campbell Hausfeld (DC080500) compressor is extremely quiet and portable. It is designed for light/medium-duty applications around the home and in commercial work areas such as auto body shops. This compressor comes with a huge tank of 8 gallons with a very good running time. The compressor runs only on 1.5 hp, draws only 7.5 amp, and generates a good 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. It has a maximum PSI value of 125.
This compressor runs smoothly and fills up the tank quickly. This compressor has no performance problem; it is quiet and doesn’t produce
a loud noise. You can use it day and night without worrying about noise. The compressor is also oil-free, so there is no need for messy oil changes. There may be a problem with the air leakage; to stop it, you have to use Teflon tape to make it airtight.
During our test, we find it very useful, but it also comes with many drawbacks. The one thing we appreciate first is that it is a very quiet compressor when it is running. The tank filling time of this compressor is around 4 minutes. The compressors work well with every air tool needed for mobile detailing. But some tools need help properly doing this because it only produces 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. Sometimes you may feel a leakage in the compressor, and then you have to go for service.
8. Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor (SAQ1208)
The stealth air compressors are good with their performance and are mostly used by professionals. This air compressor comes with a very large tank of 20 gallons, so there is no need to fill the tank again and again. It produces 5 CFM at 90 PSI which is more than enough for every tool we require in mobile detailing. It has a duty cycle of 50%. One of the key features of this air compressor is that it is an oil-free compressor which means all of the maintenance work is gone.
If we talk about pressure for a compressor, then no doubt this compressor is extremely powerful for making pressure quickly. From quality, this compressor is quiet and consistent in performance. Easily moveable to any location in your house or outside of your house.
After testing this compressor, this is one of the best units for your auto detailing project. You can also use it commercially as it has a big 20-gallon size of tank. The tank is filled in only 8 minutes. All the air tools worked extremely well with this, delivering a very good 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI. All the dust is removed very quickly, and water throw is also very good. The noise level of this compressor is also very quiet, almost 65 dB, which we recorded on the sound meter, and meets your requirement.
9. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
The Industrial Air IL1682066.MN is the quietest compressor and most reliable one of the other compressors. This is a cast iron build compressor which prevents it from getting rust. This compressor also has a tank size of 20 gallons; hence it can run longer at work. It can deliver 5.3 CFM at just 90 PSI which is more than enough for the pneumatic tools at full power.
It is a very powerful yet quiet compressor with a noise level of just 65db while doing the job, which is very good so you can work in peace. The working of this compressor is very smooth and efficient. You can use it for any purpose in or out of the house.
This air compressor meets all our expectations and fulfills our job very comfortably. It runs all the air tools, including airbrushing, spraying, and air blower tools. The noise level on this air compressor is almost lower than others, and you can feel peace even while it’s running around you. The tank filling time of this compressor is 8 minutes, and then you don’t have to fill the tank during the task due to its larger tank of 20 gallons.
10. Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
This compressor is very powerful and capable of fulfilling every need of your job. The compressor has an enormous tank size of 30 gallons which is way more than your requirements. It delivers 5.7 CFM at just 90 PSI which is enough for all your pneumatics tools. It can produce a maximum of 155 PSI.
In portability, this is a good compressor easily moveable anywhere in or out of the house. While working with this compressor, the motor and compressor are quiet and do not make any noise or disturbance.
After buying the air compressor, the first project we have done with this air compressor is auto detailing. The tank size of this compressor is huge and can be filled within 10-12 minutes. It is capable of enough power to run the air blow gun, sprayer, and every other air tool. The noise level is also manageable while considering its other features. One disadvantage of this compressor is its weight. This compressor comes with a weight of 190 lb.
Comparison Between Two Best Air Compressors For Detailing Work
You’ve read the article from the start, so you will know the compressor California Air Tools 8010 won the first position, and CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Compressor (CMEC3KIT) got the second position in our in-depth analysis. Both of them did a tremendous job in detailing the cars perfectly. They can run any pneumatic tool accurately at the required pressure. Both compressors are lightweight, easy to move, and provide a quiet job.
CAT (8010) is at the top because of its extremely quiet operations, high CFM rate, big tank size, lightweight, 120 psi pressure, and portability compared to Craftsman 6-gallon compressor. It has everything we need in the unit that works best for detailing a mobile.
What do you need for mobile detailing?
For mobile detailing, you need a van or car, an air compressor, cleaning materials, polish materials for plastic or metals, a brush, wax, and a hose. You can have more materials for mobile detailing depending on your requirements or needs.
Can I use compressed air to clean my car?
Yes, when you use compressed air to clean a car, it will be an efficient cleaning. We recommend you use compressed air after using water and soap.
How long does it take to detail a car?
This depends on the cleaner and how much time he requires, but to detail, a car average time is taken from 2 hours to 8 hours depending upon your requirements.
How do I detail my car like a pro?
For detail, a car like a pro uses detergents, a towel, a compressor, and a steam cleaner. Use their combination and start cleaning from the top of the car and the bottom part, including the carpet clean, in the last step.
What is the fastest way to detail a car?
First of all, spray inside the car and then use the vacuum. After that, quickly perform cleaning on carpets and vacuum again. Then use the wax for better results.
As you know, the compressor is the most important part of an auto detailing project; without it, you can’t perform your major tasks. The compressor helps run many pneumatic tools like an impact wrench, brush, paint sprayer, polisher, inflating tires, and more. So, if you are an auto shop owner or DIYer, you should know what compressor will work best for details.
This detailed guide will help you in any way in deciding the best compressor for this purpose. We also keep doing different detailing projects, which is why we decided to make a helpful guide for people who don’t know much about compressors. In a nutshell, CAT (8010) should be your first choice, and as a runner-up, go for Craftsman 6-gallon compressor. From the list, if we recommend any other compressor, it will be the Bostitch pancake 6-gallon compressor. Good Luck.