We recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with the Ridgid 18V Air Compressor R0230 ($179, bare or $299 kit) and really had some initial doubts about how practical it was to put batteries on an air compressor or how useful that might be. We’ve been using a Porter Cable 4 gallon for many years and since we’ve gotten our hands on various cordless nailers have really used it less and less. Currently the only other cordless air compressor on the market is the Dewalt FlexVolt DCC2560T1 ($299, Kit) which we will look at as well.
In use we were surprisingly impressed by the Ridgid 18V air compressor for several reasons, first the smaller 1 gallon size is very practical if you are looking for portability. This unit is light, compact and easy to take around from point to point. One of the big reasons we find ourselves use cordless nailers over air nailers was the compressor hassle. Air nailers are still lighter and more maneuverable than cordless but we are willing to add weight to the tool for that convenience. Going to a cordless air compressor solution balances the two well so if you’ve got charged batteries it’s very convenient. Second with 2 batteries the compressor charges extremely fast, roughly a minute and you can fully fill the tank as you walk, from the truck to the job or between tasks. Third for those with air tools already this provides a cordless solution to use all of them. Finally the runtime was impressive, this 1 gallon unit is clearly built for portability, you are not going to frame a house with it that said it’s could do a full list of punch out jobs with two batteries with juice left over. Bonus it will run pretty well on just 1 battery as well, yes it’s a bit slower but it’ll work which could be a handy feature if that’s all you had.
Ridgid R0230 1 Gallon 125 psi vs Dewalt FlexVolt 2.5 Gallon 135 psi. Clearly there are some face value differences 1 gallon vs 2.5 as well as the battery platform if you are Dewalt 20v or FlexVolt user and looking for a cordless air compressor it’s probably no contest you already gone all in. Does 1 gallon vs 2.5 make a big difference? Certainly it can but going cordless is about portability, the smaller tank we found very capable for finish nailers. We only had a brief time with the Dewalt unit at their product launch event, we did not try patching a roof or building a small knee wall which they claim it will handle with the larger tank. For finish work it seems like overkill but for a wider range of application perhaps worth it. Surprisingly with batteries and charger we found the Ridgid unit to be right around the same price as the Dewalt FlexVolt kit.
We were not so optimistic but really like the functionality of the cordless air compressor, we would not be shocked in the least to see more brands like Makita, Hitachi, Senco, Milwaukee and others follow suite. And you can take it camping or to the beach to blow up all the toys.