Author Topic: Advice on air compressors  (Read 1168 times)

Offline ID_Joker

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Advice on air compressors
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:08:12 PM »
I've been thinking of adding an air compressor to my tool collection.  Been looking at different models and reviews and the picture I'm getting is that the oil-less consumer models work ok but are not very serviceable and tend to be rather short-lived.  This seem right?   

Anyone have advice on brands or models?  I'm looking for 'general utility' for use with a variety of tools.  Not looking for something so huge I can't move it around.  Would rather pay once and cry once and have soemthign that I can count on for many years.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 09:16:10 PM »
I have a craftsman 26 gallon upright. Have had zero issues. I use it for light automotive stuff, impact wrench, air ratchet, etc. Also nail gun, brad gun... I use it a couple times a month. It's noisy.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 11:45:51 PM »
I've been thinking of adding an air compressor to my tool collection.  Been looking at different models and reviews and the picture I'm getting is that the oil-less consumer models work ok but are not very serviceable and tend to be rather short-lived.  This seem right?   

That's the general consensus, I think.  Properly cared for, oiled compressors will last many times the life of the cheaper oil-less types.  The oil-less ones are generally designed as disposable, and repair and service parts are often not available.  They also tend to be much louder, but that's not necessarily always true.  Some oiled compressors are pretty dang loud, too.

This is a must-read for anyone looking to buy an air compressor:

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/greatest-hits-links/air-compressors-newbies-forrest-addy-110655/

As for portable, contractor-style compressors, Emglo (now owned by and branded DeWalt) makes some very nice units.
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Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 11:56:13 PM »
While the oil-less compressors may be less robust, you can often get them in a kit with a 2-4 nail guns for less than the guns themselves.  So even if they breakdown you have gotten some use out of them and end up with the bigger compressor anyway.

I installed hickory wood floors for our kitchen and den, about 14 ft x 40 ft.  I read that the Hitachi nailers were pretty good so I got the 18 d brad nailer, 15 d nailer and pancake compressor on sale for a good price, less than then the two nailers separately.  I also ought a premium brand floor nailer.  I used the Hitachi pancake compressor to run them all (not at the same time, I was working alone).  I never had a problem with any of the nailers or the compressor.  I think it is a 190psi, 6 gal model and something like 2.8 cu. ft. (not sure, just from memory).

That was earlier this year.  I still use the compressor for odd jobs and it works great.  Perhaps for a contractor using it everyday it would break down sooner, but for serious handyman work it has been great.  I have got a lot of work out of it for my money already and happy with it.  I figure I put in about 7,000 floor nails, several hundred 15 d nails for edges and such where floor nailer can't reach, and a couple of hundred brads for molding and shoe.
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Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 07:52:29 PM »
Thanks for the advice. 

Skunkeye -- GREAT LINK!  THANKS!

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 09:41:42 PM »
This is one of those "the bigger the better" pieces of equipment. Some tools take alot of cfms. Sanders, drills, sand blaster, die grinders, etc are just some that come to mind. I have a 60 gallon with a 6hp motor 220v. It will run constantly if im doing alot of sanding or grinding. If you just plan on using an impact gun every now and them you will be ok with a small compressor. If you can though spend alittle more and get a name brand 60 gallon. You will be happy you did.
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Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 10:26:08 PM »
I've had several different types and sizes of air compressors over the years, and one of the best (and still going) was an El Cheapo I got at a backwoods Wholesale Auction House.  I think I gave about $65 total for it.  It.s a 1.5 hp 3 gallon "Hotdog" style with the twin horizontal tanks like a hot dog about to be dropped into a bun.  It's red, probably made in China and so far the pressure regulator has failed and been replaced once with a universal model from Harbor Freight Tools for $5.00 and the on\off switch assy fell apart from the vibration but I just put it all back together and secured it with nylon zip ties and it still works today.  It puts out 40cfm at 90psi and I have run every kind of air tool imaginable including a 3\4" impact without much concern.  Do I run out of air, yes.  Do I care, not really.  I'm not running a pit crew so being able to hit it hard for 30 seconds with any impact is usually enough to break the bolt\nut free and it just spins off a little slower, but like I ssid, I'm not in a hurry anyway.  Does the compressor run continuously, usually.  It was supposed to have a intake filter when I unboxed it but somebody over in Japan is probably still using it on his motorbike, so I just did without it all these years.  I got it in 2001, so it's seen use for over 12 years now.  I loaned it to one of my kids and it got turned on it's side and I think all the compressor oil leaked out and it locked up on him.  I just refilled it, poured a little oil down the intake and let it sit for a week and then plugged it up and turned it on and she purred like a kitten.  Vibrates like a locomotive and sounds like a 747, but work, oh yeah, all day long!
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Offline alan123

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 10:58:37 PM »
Vibrates like a locomotive and sounds like a 747, but work, oh yeah, all day long!
I like that image  ;D
Like others have said, it depends on what you are going to do. I use a campbell hausfeld horizontal tank one. I like that it is not too loud and has the CFM to run impact wrench and  small sand blaster. Has lasted 15 years and paid for itself a long time ago. I just added an external regulator and water separator. Had trouble with the small cheap ones that attach directly to the compressor. Also got a Campbell Hausfeld 50' hose reel and love that thing. Hate tangled hoses!
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Offline Coffey

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 09:25:47 PM »

I use a campbell hausfeld horizontal tank one. I like that it is not too loud and has the CFM to run impact wrench and  small sand blaster. Has lasted 15 years and paid for itself a long time ago.

I also have a Campbell Hausfeld horizontal compressor.  I purchased it at Tractor Supply almost 13 years ago and still going strong (knock on wood).  All depends on what you want to do with it.  I certainly could not run a sand blaster, but it works well for airguns, impact wrenches, small air grinder, etc.  And of course keeping the tires inflated.

Speaking for myself, It would be difficult not to have one.  If this one would ever fail, I would certainly buy another Campbell Hausfeld.


Offline Cryptozoic

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Re: Advice on air compressors
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 10:26:28 AM »
I don't know if your intent is to get a gas or electric powered compressor.  Since nobody else has mentioned this, if electric you want it as close to the power supply as possible.  Meaning less extension cord, more air line.
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