1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Inexpensive air compressor recommendation?

Post in 'The Gear' started by precaud, Jun 18, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    With roof maintenance to start soon, it's time get an air compressor. Given the limited use it will see, I'd rather not spend a bundle on it. I'd appreciate any suggestions/experience.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    I have a little Husky 1-1/2 horse I bought at Home Depot that I've been happy with. It's a little cranky when really cold since it's not broken in completely but it works well. I believe it has a 13 gallon tank on it and came with some basic tools.

    (air wrench, air chisel, sprayer, small nailer).
  3. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    middleborough, ma.
    Not that you want to here this precaud but I stumbled on one in front of a guys house down the street two years ago that was out for the trash.
    Brought it home and it fired right up, only issue the tank has a SLOW leak. A shot of WD-40 once in a while and it is a little workhorse. I did have to buy hoses etc ;)
  4. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    TMonter, I saw one at HD for 2 bills this weekend, 19 gal tank but no accessories. Next step down was a 6-gal. tank, which seems to small.
    And baba, sounds like you got a steal of a deal! If only I could count on the same...
  5. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    I was checking their website precad and I see what you're talking about. The one I got was on sale for $189.00 at the time so I'm not sure if it's still available.

    I'd really like a floor stand 230V unit but I still need to wire a 230V outlet in my garage.

    I bought the small one so in a couple years I can re-roof my house and do wood floors.
  6. nshif

    nshif New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    954
    Loc:
    Pioneer, Ca (near Lake Tahoe)
    Be careful buying anything too small. You may think you may only use it for a thing or 2 but once you have one all kinds of things pop up. I started out thinking like you and got a small one, after a few years I got a new 5 horse/25 gal tank to support all I had. I never expected to have 4 air nailers, an impact wrench, an air rachet, spray gun, air cheisel and who knows what else.
    Dont think the avg guy needs a 240V model but a 5 horse is sure nice to have.
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,102
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    You can buy either a pancake compressor, or a larger horizontal tank compressor. Check Harbour Freight. I bought a Cummins 15 or 17 gallon I think at a local VFW tool sale. I think I paid $164.00, its a reman, but works great. Lowes & Home Depot also have deals where ya get a compressor & a couple guns with it. Usually a brad nailer & trim gun. Personally I prefer a larger tank for roofing, or else the thing will be running all day long. Make sure you buy a nice thick 12 gauge extension cord if your going to use an extension cord, otherwise you'll be throwing breakers every few minutes. If your just looking for a compressor to shot your roof on, rent one with the gun & hoses.
    I used an Emglow (forget the spelling) dual tank gas engine powered compressor when I was roofing. You can rent them at any rental place.
  8. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    After looking around, the upshot seems to be - the less expensive ones are all from China and are more or less comparable. So I'll probably just go with a Crapsman (sp) since I can pick it up locally (and return it locally if need be...). Thanks everyone for your input.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Do you do any wrenching or other shop type projects? If so, you WILL find more uses for the compressor than just shooting nails. I find a small compressor gets annoying because it doesn't let you get finished with a job, so if in doubt, I'd go bigger.

    My experience is that air tool makers under rate how much their tools draw, and the compressor folks over rate their outputs. I would advise looking at what the biggest air consuming tool you are likely to want to use is supposed to draw, and then getting a compressor rated for at least 50% more, preferably double, at the specified pressure (usually 90 PSI) Air ratchets and impact wrenches tend to be intermittent use, so they aren't quite as critical, what I've found to be the real "air hogs" are things like the die grinders or "whiz wheel" metal cutters.

    I made the mistake of purchasing a 2.5 hp / 20 gallon compressor that's listed output matched the listed tool requirement. I've found that if I'm using a die grinder or whiz wheel, a job takes me almost twice as long as it should because I'm spending half the time standing there waiting for the compressor to build back up, or trying to make a tool work while it is (literally) running out of gas...

    If I was getting a compressor today, I'd probably look for something in the 4-5HP range, with AT LEAST a 7 or 8 CFM@ 90 PSI rating. I think it also helps if the compressor cycles at some pressure above 90 PSI, perhaps 120 to 140, this gives more margin for the compressor to stay ahead of the tool.

    I have heard reasonably decent things about Campbell Hausfield and US General compressors, both of which can be had for relatively short money @ Harbor Freight - I'd be suspicious of the Central Pneumatic HF House brand machines, but they might be OK, however I've seen the C-H and USG brands at lots of other vendors. I also prefer an oil lubed compressor to one that isn't.

    Agreed on the use of a heavy grade extension cord, but I would also say that the stuff I've seen suggests you are better off to get a longer air hose than an extension cord, especially with an intermittent air consumer like a nail gun. Given what the price of copper is doing these days it probably costs less as well...

    Gooserider
  10. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    540
    I'd suggest taking a trip to your local Harbor Freight. I wouldn't buy the nailgun there (after trying a couple, it's PorterCable from here on), but they have a nice selection of compressors at dirt cheap prices. I actually have 3 at the moment - a tiny 1 gallon ($50) that runs a finish or roofing nailer pretty well and is very portable (say for a ladder or moving around the house doing trim), a 2.5gall pancake ($90 or 100) (both from HF) that runs most of the air tools well, but prolonged bouts with a painter or impact wrench leave it lacking (but it's heavy enough to leave me wondering about it on the ladder sometimes), and a larger 40 gall Husky 2 stage I got on a scratch and dent a couple yrs ago (listed around 400, cost 250) which runs just about anything pretty well.

    Steve
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page