Ridgid 18V Cordless Air Compressor Review

Ridgid 18V Cordless Air Compressor Feature
Cordless Air Compressor
  • Build Quality
  • Portability
  • Features
  • Air Output
  • Performance
  • Value

Final Thoughts

The Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor is convenience and efficiency in one little orange package.

User Review
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Air compressors can be found in just about any size you want. Until now, they all required being plugged into a receptacle, hardwired, or driven by a combustion engine (gas or diesel). These times are a-changin’. The Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor sets a first for the industry, providing compressed air by means of an 18V battery, or two. The 18V Ridgid model R0230 includes brushless motor technology, providing the runtime and power to run pneumatic nailers.

Even though this compressor may be small and light-duty, this is still very exciting to see. You may be doing a small trim job, or finishing up a punch list, and you can walk in with the Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor in one hand and your favorite air tool in the other.  With only a 1-gallon tank and 0.9 SCFM (@90PSI), this Ridgid R0230 intended usage doesn’t stretch far beyond finish, brad, and pin nailers. The price is a sensible $179 from the Home Depot (the only place selling this compressor), albeit, this is the price for the bare tool. You can use your existing Ridgid Hyper Lithium-ion batteries, or you may be spending a little more.

Ridgid 18V Cordless Air Compressor Features

A 1-gallon tank stores the compressed air for continuous supply to the intended pneumatic finish nailer. As the compressor cycles, it fills the tank to 120PSI, and the desired output pressure is set by the user. Both tank PSI and outlet PSI area readable with the front-facing gauges. A large plastic regulator knob makes it easy for adjustment, and then pushing the knob locks the regulator from unintended changes.  Even though the Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor provides access for two (2) 18V batteries, it only runs on one battery at a time. In fact, the compressor will run perfectly fine on just one battery. Albeit, runtime on just one battery will be significantly less than with two.

Tank PSI and Pressure Regulator

Tank PSI and Pressure Regulator

Under Pressure (not from Queen or David Bowie)

One Hand Quick Coupler

One Hand Quick Coupler

Ridgid claims that the 18V cordless compressor will drive 1,200 brad nails, powered by a pair of 5Ah Lithium batteries. While we didn’t fire that many nails, we did shoot several hundred 18GA 2-inch brad nails into some rustic shelves we were building in the shop. With our air outlet setting at 90psi, the tank supplies the full amount with no problem. After every few shots, the compressor motor fires up and runs for a few seconds to top off the tank. Even when running, the compressor is fairly quiet, at only 77dBA.

A high-pressure valve sits below the tank pressure gauge to relieve the system if pressure builds past the safe zone. This can also be used to dump pressure intentionally by pulling in the attached ring. Right next to this is the quick coupler, which makes connecting air hoses really easy. Normal style couplers require two hands to couple the hose, one to pull back the coupler ring, and the other hand to push the hose in. The quick coupler is spring-loaded with the locking ring in open position (pulled back). As the user pushes the 1/4″ hose adapter into the coupler, it automatically snaps forward. Seems like a small feature, but so appreciated!


On the bottom of the Ridgid R0230 compressor is the 1/4-turn ball valve allows the operator to drain the tank when not in use. Here in Central Florida, with our extreme humidity, it doesn’t take long to build up quite a bit of moisture. Water is a killer to not only tanks and compressors, but it will make it’s way down the line to your tools as well. It’s a good rule to completely drain the tank before storing, to at least keep the corrosion to a minimum.

Convenient Hose Wrap

Convenient Hose Wrap

It’s A Wrap – Hose Wrap

We like to see the simple and useful features. As with our excitement with the quick coupler, we equally adore the hose wrap on the top of the Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor. Not only is the compressor small, but it stays small when you can roll up your hose and store it right on the compressor. The thick rubber, “RIDGID” embossed, handle makes this small 18V compressor easy and comfortable to carry. Furthermore, the large rubber feet make sitting the compressor on hard surfaces pleasing, as well as they serve as isolation pads, keeping vibration to a minimum.

Twice 18V Batteries Equal 18V

While the Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor does have two slots for batteries, this is not a 36V compressor.  The compressor will run on one or two batteries. Basically, you have a bigger fuel tank when you have two batteries installed. We ran the compressor on one and two batteries. Either way, the Ridgid R0230 performed the same. Again, the compressor only fills the tank, so as long as the tank has ample pressure, the pneumatic nailer fires just fine.

Testing The Ridgid R0230 Cordless Compressor

We had the opportunity to build some rustic shelves and furniture features in the shop, so we fired up the Ridgid 18V compressor to put it to work. While we didn’t fire 1,200 nails to run-time test the Ridgid claims, we did shoot a couple-hundred 18GA 2-inch brad nails. Some of this wood is weathered 2x pine, and the rest true 1x oak that is quite hard. Nothing we throw at this combo seems to affect it. Sure we have a couple misfires, but we chalk this up to our well-abused 15-year-old Bostitch brad nailer.

Using the Bostitch 18GA Brad Nailer

Using the Bostitch 18GA Brad Nailer

Typically, in a shop setting, a larger compressor will probably be used. However, the Ridgid 18V compressor is definitely handy to just bring it to the exact spot as needed. Using a short hose, your whole setup can stay compact and ergonomic. On the job site is where this will really shine, especially for smaller jobs or touch-ups.


Rigid R0230 Cordless Air Compressor Specs

  • Ridgid 18V Cordless Air Compressor FeatureModel: Ridgid R0230
  • Power: Single or dual 18V batteries
  • Motor: 18V brushless
  • Tank: 1-gallon
  • Regulator: Push-locking knob
  • Connection:  Quick Coupler (compatible with 1/4-inch automotive and industrial plugs)
  • 1/4-turn ball valve tank drain
  • Maximum Pressure (PSI): 120 PSI
  • Air Delivery SCFM @ 90PSI: 0.9 SCFM
  • Decibel Rating: 77 dBA
  • Hose wrap
  • Lubrication Type: Oil-Free
  • Warranty: 3-year limited
  • Price: $179 (tool-only)

Final Compression – Conclusion

1/4 Turn Dump Valve

1/4 Turn Dump Valve

Being an industry first is always exciting, both for the manufacturer and the users. Such is the case with the new Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor. We’re not only excited about it being a first, but this brings about improvements and enhancements. No, the Ridgid R0230 is not built for every job and not meant to run a pneumatic impact wrench. It does, however, fill a niche that has been missing. We’ve seen cordless nailers enter the market over the past few years, but even the small ones are a bit bulky and heavy. Pneumatic trim nailers are small and much easier to handle, so it makes a lot of sense to make the compressor cordless.

We hope to see a little larger tank in the near future, maybe a twin-stack design, keeping it tight and light. Also, if the compressor had the option to run on 36V, enabling more power from the two batteries, this would expand tool usage. As it is, this Ridgid R0230 will make a great option for putting up cabinet trim with a pin nailer, or for completing that punch list fixing baseboards and crown molding. The Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor is convenience and efficiency in one little orange package.

At the time of this article, you can buy the Ridgid 18V cordless air compressor at the Home Depot for just $179 for the bare tool.

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