Central Pneumatic Air Compressor Review 2020: 3 Things to Know Before You Buy

If you want to get some work done, an air compressor can help. Whether it’s to fill your tires, blast away dirt, or you need to use a tool that’s powered by pneumatics, a Central Pneumatic compressor from Harbor Freight Tools helps. However, when you are shopping for one, you want to find an air compressor that isn’t full of, well, hot air.

So before you buy a Harbor Freight Tools Central Pneumatic air compressor, read this guide.

What’s so Good About The Central Pneumatic Air Compressor?

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Central Pneumatic air compressors are from Harbor Freight Tools, a brand that has served the customer for over 40 years. The Central Pneumatic line almost has the exact same experience, available since 1982. The idea is to deliver an affordable air compressor that isn’t cheaply made.

Low Price

Perhaps the biggest feature that Harbor Freight Tools talks about in regards to their Central Pneumatic air compressor lineup is how low priced it is. A good air compressor is something you won’t be able to find for free, but many brands sell them for an arm and a leg.

This lineup is much more affordable, offering you air compressors for a low price. While not a replacement for a commercial compressor, a compressor from Harbor Freight gives you a high-powered unit that is hundreds less than the competition, all without sacrificing quality.

A Quality Product

Central Pneumatic Air CompressorWhen you buy a cheaper air compressor, you may worry about the quality. Some cheap air compressor tools will break down quickly, or feel underpowered. A Harbor Freight Pneumatic Air compressor is known for its quality, giving you powerful air delivery without having to pay too much for it.

While it’s made from similar materials to other compressors of the same price, these air compressors tend to deliver more air, which can help you get your job done faster.

User Friendly

If you’re new to the air compressor world, you may feel a little intimidated by it. With the Central Pneumatic air compressor, you don’t have to be.

Their pumps are oil-free, and they are low maintenance. You don’t have to worry much about whipping out some tools to repair it, calling customer service, or giving it away for free when it breaks down. The gauges are very easy to read. These units also have safety features, such as thermal overload protection. What thermal overload protection, you don’t have to worry about the Central pneumatic overheating.

Can Do/Can’t Do


  • Fill up your tires when you’re low on air.
  • Blow up inflatable pools and similar products.
  • Good for tools that use pneumatics.
  • A portable, 3-gallon air compressor works well for when you’re on the go.


  • You can’t use an air compressor to cool you down. It’s not a fan.
  • It’s not a total substitute for other cleaning tools.
  • These tools are meant for home use, and may not be good for business.

How do You Use It?

Ultimately, this is something you’re going to have to read the manual about. Depending on which air compressor you get, (such as a portable air compressor, 3 gallons vs. 8 gallons, or a 40 PSI vs 90 PSI,) the setup instructions and maintenance are going to be a little different. You can click here for some manuals, which is good for a customer who lost it.

Turning on the compressor is usually easy. You plug it in, wait for the air to accumulate, and then when it’s ready, fill up the tires with a hose. Depending on your compressor, you may be able to see if the unit is ready using its gauge.

With that said, we can give you a few tips. These include:

  • Perform daily maintenance. Clean its intake vents, make sure the screws are tightened and inspect any hoses for cracks.
  • Contact customer support if you hear any odd sounds coming from it.
  • Don’t buy them used, even if the price is super low. It can be dangerous. Only buy an air compressor that’s new. Besides price, air compressor quality is also something to think of.

What do the Reviews Say?

Customer reviews for these can depend on which one you’re purchasing. For example, a 125 PSI and a 40 PSI may have different reviews. Same with a portable air compressor and a regular one. Or a 3 gallon vs. an 8 gallon. However, all across the board, these air compressors have about 4 out of 5 stars on average.

Reviews have been mostly positive, saying that these air compressors are good for the price, working well, and lasting a long time. This sentiment is shared across both the portable air compressor and the non-portable line.

Negative customer reviews tend to deal with the units breaking down over time, being underpowered, and some units being duds. Before you buy, always make sure that the unit is the right power (for example, if you need 125 PSI, don’t get 90 PSI,) the right size, and has a free warranty and return policy with free shipping.

How does it Compare?

Central Pneumatic Vs. Husky

Husky is a brand you can find at Home Depot. Both offer a quality product for less money, with differences depending on which one you buy. The differences tend to be small, with Central Pneumatic using one less cylinder and Husky two. Husky appears to be less powerful, but that is going to depend on which one you buy.

Vs Kobalt

Both of these are similar as well, offering a quality air compressor for less money. Kobalt is found at Lowes, and these units tend to be a little pricier, but they are still quite affordable. Kobalt products do have a slightly better review score, with most being 4.5 out of 5 stars. Husky has a higher PSI, or pounds per square inch as well, which means you can get the work done much faster.

Vs DeWalt

Finally, we look at Central Pneumatic vs. DeWalt. This is another affordable compressor found at Home Depot. DeWalt appears to have a bit more variety, with more shapes, sizes, and power going beyond 125 PSI. Reviews are about the same as Central Pneumatic. Husky units also tend to be oiled, while DeWalt units do not. This means that DeWalt is louder and may not last as long. However, you don’t need to change the oil.

Are Central Pneumatic Air Compressors Any Good?

If you want an affordable air compressor that delivers powerful, 125 PSI blasts of air, they are quite good. While not the highest rated around, most customers are satisfied with them. With an air compressor, as long as it delivers air and it doesn’t break down, most customers should be satisfied.

Who Makes Central Pneumatic Air Compressor?

These are made by Harbor Freight Tools, which is quite a famous company. With over 1,000 stores, many people find them reliable. When you purchase one of their products, you know you’re in for a quality product.

How Much Does a Central Pneumatic Air Compressor Cost?

These are low-cost, but the price will vary depending on which one you purchase. A 125 PSI unit goes for about $149.99. A portable is much cheaper, going at about $54.99. Of course, the cost can depend on other factors. After you select a product, look at shipping and taxes. In addition, see if you can find any other discounts too.

What Kind of Oil Goes in a Central Pneumatic Air Compressor?

Normal air compressor oil goes into it. For best results, Harbor Freight does sell oil that’s specifically designed for Central Pneumatic.

What Type of Portable Air Compressor is Good for Me?

Compressors can be quite confusing, as there are so many of them. If you don’t know which one to get, this little guide will help you out.

Portable Compressor

As you may have guessed, these are small air compressors that are easy to move around. If you’re traveling, or you need to move the compressor around different parts of your home, this is one to purchase. They’re not good for tough jobs, but they work for quickies, such as nail guns airbrushing, and other smaller jobs. Of course, these come in all shapes, including the following.

Pancake Compressors

No, don’t pour syrup on this. This is a unit that has a flat tank. This means that it takes up a little less space. How the tank is set up and shaped can play a part in how portable and mobile the unit is.

Hot Dog Compressor

Gee, this is making me hungry! But again, you don’t want to put relish and mustard on it. A hot dog compressor has a single-cylinder, and it is horizontal, just like the food.

Twin Stack

This is like the hot dog, but it has two cylinders, allowing for more capacity. As the name implies, these tanks are stacked up on top of each other, meaning that they take up a lot less space.

Wheelbarrow Compressor

A wheelbarrow compressor has a wheel and handles, and it may consist of two tanks. It’s easy to move around as well, just as the name says.

Inflator Compressor

This is a small compressor without a storage tank. It’s good for inflating very small pieces of equipment. It’s definitely not good for the tough jobs, but you probably guessed that from its description.


Air compressors can be one of those items that’s such a hassle to buy, but Central Pneumatic makes it much easier. For one thing, these units are quite cheap, delivering quality as well. For another, these air compressors are known to be quite user friendly.

If you need an air compressor, we say to give them a try. At most Harbor Freight stores, or online, you should be able to find an air compressor for you.

You’re not going to find these at the car shop, but for home use and for casual air compression jobs, these work wonders. When you’re out shopping for a quality compressor, look for these and see if they can do the job.

Click here to grab a Central Pneumatic Air Compressor at Amazon

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