View Full Version : Recommendations re: Air Compressor
10-12-2009, 03:17 PM
I'm thinking of buying an air compressor for my husband for Christmas and am looking for info on brands and specs.
He would use it for air tools to maintain our vehicles and sleds, possibly roofing, paint sprayer, maintain tire pressure in vehicles/bikes, etc.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
10-12-2009, 05:17 PM
I believe one of Johns rules is not to be negative about any one or thing so I won't say what brand compressor I will NEVER purchase again. I have had bad luck with it and the service when I tried to get the problem fixed. The brand is sold by S _ _ Rs and the brand is C_a_t_m_n. Don't know if it's just my one bad unit or what, but I have had problems with it since day one and every time I would take it back they would say it is "with in their specs" and do nothing about it. I was using it yesterday (to blow out the sprinkler lines) and I swore at it 2 or 3 different times. Good luck its a great Christmas gift. Just keep the receipt in case he whats to exchange it for a different model!
10-12-2009, 06:06 PM
Need more info:
Max price willing to pay?
Does it need to be portable (wheeled around to different locations)?
Storage location? If you have looked online, they have ones that are vertical (stand more upright) and horizontal (lay down-maybe easier to drag around).
I mention price because I think the biggest pain in the butt with compressors is how loud they are.
10-12-2009, 06:35 PM
Looking in the $200-$300 price range. Portability is a bonus, but not a must. Will be stored in the garage so either vertical or horizontal would work.
10-12-2009, 07:29 PM
Oh! I would go with a Craftsman 2hp. Thats what I have and love it. Put it on the Sears card. Amglo is another good one. Not sure on the Depot, Lowes stuff.
look at the cfm that is the important part. it will depend on what air tool's he is planing on using on the cfm he will need.I have a portable twin tank from home depot a ridged.prob the 5th portable in my life.I use every day and my ridged is 4 yrs old prob has 2 more yrs in it.the portable's are just avrage for tools like impact driver you can do 1 bolt and have to refresh grinders are maby 30 sec and refresh but nail guns small ratchets are no prob.for big tools and paint I would go for a unit with a motor and a compresor with a belt between them usualy the fastest recovery and least noisy and last the longest.I still have a old sears that is 40yrs old best compresor I own but good luck finding a non china sears anymore.if he is filling NOS tanks he will need alot of cfm
10-12-2009, 10:02 PM
Twin cylinder vertical tank - buy the biggest tank with the highest cfm your budget will allow.
Real air compressors are 220V.
10-12-2009, 10:46 PM
Surprises are alway great but on this I think I would ask. Or at least hint to him what he need. My wife bought me one a few years back. Small, nice, and very usefull but the reason I didn't have one up till that point was I was saving for the one I needed. I play with old tractors and some of my impacts really take the c.f.m.'s plus I paint quite a bit and the bigger tank makes for dryer air. So what I am saying is what she got me is nice, and I use it for doing things around the house but it is not the one I ultimatle needed so she spent $350 on a nice compressor but I still had to spend $800 on the one that I needed. And compressors are like buildings, in the end they can never be big enought. 2 stage, 220 will last longer and be cheaper to run in the long run.
10-13-2009, 08:06 AM
Wow - thanks, everyone! We did some browsing @ Home Depot a few weeks ago so by what he was looking at, that's where I observed price range and potential uses. Good to know, though, about the cfm's b/c the main use will be air tools to maintain our vehicles and other machines. Any preference on brands or just look for biggest tank with highest cfm?
the tank dose not always mean high cfm numbers.alot of compresors are made buy sanborn with whoever orderd them name on the side.look for a twin stage compresor usualy the chepest twin stage will be better than a spendy singel stage.but make sure it is 120v alot of twinstage are 220v.unless you have 220v in your garage some guys do but not alot
10-13-2009, 09:55 AM
I would highly suggest an oil lubed compressor. They will last longer and are much quieter than the oil-less kind.
I have this one
http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_00919541000P?vName=Tools+%26+Equipm ent&cName=Equipment&sName=Compressors+%26+Air+Tool s (http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_00919541000P?vName=Tools%2B%26%2BEqu ipment&cName=Equipment&sName=Compressors%2B%26%2BA ir%2BTools)
and really like it. It is quiet, runs air tools just fine and appears to be well made. It doesn't have the air volume to run a spray gun but that isn't what I use it for. The nice thing about this one too is it is selectable voltage so no need to run a 220 line if you don't already have one.
10-13-2009, 10:01 AM
My wife bought me a compressor 15 years ago and it was the best Christmas present! I am not a contractor, which would be a totally different set of requirements. I use the compressor as a handy tool to assist me with maintenance and mechanical work. My compressor is a single stage Craftsman, 120v, single tank portable. Most of the posters on this site would probably sneer at it.
As with any consumer item, brands may be varied but manufacturers are not. I doubt that you will find much difference between brands in the consumer (non-professional) brands, as the same 2 or 3 manufacturers will make all of them.
As a non contractor, the 115v single tank on wheels is great. It does almost all I want it to, and it is portable and easily plugged in. This does a great job with tools that do not run continuously, like impact drivers and nail guns.
This compressor does a lousy job with continuous running tools like a sander or a buffer, it simply cannot keep up. It is not designed to do so. For these tools you will need a different compressor.
Since we are MEN, we all WANT a 230v twin tank belt driven compressor in the corner of our shop so we can show our neighbor that ours is bigger than his, but we may not NEED it! You need to figure out what he needs.
If hubby is a weekend warrior that fixes stuff a regular consumer compressor will make his heart sing, use the additional money for a gift certificate to buy the air tools (don't buy the tools for him, he is a guy). But if he has tools in his truck and a Snap-On tattoo on his arm you had best leave the compressor decision to him.
10-13-2009, 10:59 AM
Just to add another monkey wrench to the whole mix. I have a 30gal vertical craftsman compressor. It works fine for a weekend warrior for working on sleds, running impacts to work on my 70 Camaro, etc. It is not big enough for continuous use or painting a car, but I don't need that. The biggest problem I have with the cheaper single stage compressors is they are LOUD. I could barely work and think in my garage with the thing running. I ended up putting a small garden shed outside my garage and running thick wall copper with several drops in my garage in each corner.
10-13-2009, 12:51 PM
Yeah it depends what your doing and how serious about tools you are. Mine is for weekend use only.
I just have a porter cable, came with a framer and finish nailer. About 8 years old no problem with any of it. Built a cabin, 2 garages and helped build a house, and a ton of little projects. Sprayed ceilings, works with small house paint sprayer. etc.
It's worked great for me, even though it's not heavy duty.
10-13-2009, 01:38 PM
Stay away from the aluminum cast compressors you find at the big box stores. Buy one a cast iron one with a lower psi, it will last A LOT longer. 125psi will accomplish 95% of the stuff you ever need.
And check the RPM they run at, the lower the RPM the longer it will last and the quieter it will be.
10-14-2009, 09:54 AM
Stay away from the airstation powered units!!! Get a reciprocating 20-30 gal unit somewhere around 2-5hp... Home depot has a husky 2hp 30gal for $399 which is fine for homeowner quality... Seems everyone that I've known that bought the cheapo units has since sold it and bought a cast iron unit...
10-14-2009, 11:00 AM
As you can see by the responses, there are wide and varied uses for an air compressor.
I own two of them. One is a 220 volt high volume compressor that set me back a bunch when I bought it, but can run tools and sanders and is a great unit.
But.<font color="ff0000"></font><font color="ff0000"></font><font color="ff0000"></font><font color="ff0000"></font><font color="ff0000"></font> is not very portable, requires 220 volts to run, which limits the heck out of where I can use it and it is big and fairly heavy (I think it has gained weight since I bought it, or at least my back says it did)
The other is a pancake compressor which I use 90% of the time pumping tires, using smaller air tools, tho it will do a 3/8 air wrench pretty well, and is highly portable for painting and just moving around to blow out sprinkler lines, etc.
So you see, buying one isn't going to likely be the perfect unit. It is either too small and noisy or too big, expensive and not very portable.
I recommend based upon your dollar limit heading to one of the Chinese box stores and looking for a porter cable pancake, and then picking up a few simple air nailer's, and sprayers to match the use of the unit. Get extra lines to stick together so when he wants to use it to blow the eve's clean he can do it.
Then let him buy the super duty unit somewhere down the road, if he see he needs it or gets the whole garage piped for compressed air.
No doubt he will then go buy you that nice diamond ring you have been talking about for .....many years. :-) This will improve the economy significantly whereby others will be called back to work, further stimulating the economy, which will spur on the recreation industry causing more sleds to be bought, and more snowmobile trips to be made, thereby keeping more businesses from closing all across the UP, and everyone will be happy.
And you thought this was a really hard question??? Humpph!!
10-14-2009, 11:40 AM
I purchased a 5 horse 15 gallon cambell hausfeld 15 years ago. Belt driven with a cast iron pump. Waited 2 weeks on rain check from Montgomery Wards with rebate $148 clearly a steal. Not quite enough for the giant air tools but for the money does a great job.
10-14-2009, 11:57 AM
If you are going to only use it once and a while and don't want to run 220 than I would look at Chicago Pneumatic's 26 gallon vertical single stage compressor, Ingersall-Rand 20 gallon vertical 2hp compressor, or the Craftsman professional 25 gallon horizontal 1.8 hp compressor. These look to have the best performance in class, they are all belt driven and make a lot less noise than an oil-less compressor. So you won't hear it kicking on in the house and get annoyed with it real quick. Sears has them all online so you can check them out for yourself. They all have wheels on them and can be moved around fairly easily if you have a extension cord that is the right gauge to run it. The Chicago is 549.99, Ingersoll is 479.99, and the Craftsman is 429.99. Good luck I hope this helps some. These are only for 110 volts so plug and play is all that is needed.
10-14-2009, 01:56 PM
I have a CASTAIR, which is made in MN. I've had it for 15 years or so and still love it, it is extremely quiet and when/if it goes out, I will be purchasing a new one.
10-14-2009, 05:18 PM
Found one on eBay at a good price. Looks like it's in good used shape and from all the responses, seems to fit many of your recommendations. PSI and CFM not listed, but I did ask the seller. Not sure if that's important to know given the other specs. Thoughts?
Tank Capacity (Gallons): 17
Power Source: Electric
Horsepower (HP): 5
Thanks, everyone. I really do appreciate all your feedback! I think it'll be a good Christmas for the hubs http://www.johndee.com/discuss/clipart/happy.gif
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