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  #1  
Old 07-11-2019, 08:30 PM
johnsonic johnsonic is offline
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Advice on good air compressor?

Hi!

Am thinking about getting an air compressor for utility stuff like holding valves closed, blowing debris, maybe an occasional air tool like a nail gun. Don't think I'd need a lot of capacity since I wouldn't be using it for painting or anything.

Also, I don't have much space (my garage is pretty much the size of my wag) so am thinking a pancake compressor?

Having never had pneumatic tools I know next to nothing about compressors.

Any pointers on brand / model / etc?

Thanks!
~j
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2019, 09:49 AM
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Kaiserjeeps Kaiserjeeps is offline
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I can't point to a specific brand or unit, but buy bigger than you think you need. Especially if you plan on using air tools. They consume a ton of air and can't be used for very long with a smaller compressor. For the uses you mention, a pancake unit should work fine. A bigger tank also helps. It is reserve air and pressure.
Maybe someone else has some good input.
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2019, 10:58 AM
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elowsma elowsma is offline
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For what you need, I would just go to HD or Lowes and get a 15-20 gallon compressor. Upright stores in less space. I had one for 20 years that did most of what I needed. Changed a part here or there. However, I now have a two stage Curtis, 80 gal, 7.5 hp and it was a buy I'll never regret. Put that thing to work all the time. But probably not what you're looking for.
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  #4  
Old 07-12-2019, 12:04 PM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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Pancakes are good for inflating tires, impact wrenches (for about a wheel or two, then you will need to let it catch up) nail guns, and air chisels. An occasional blow tool, too but thats about it. You will not be able to run a die grinder, sander, or blaster, though.
When shopping pay attention to the “cfm @psi”. Most tools run at about 90 psi. A nail gun uses almost no cfm so any compressor will work. A really good die grinder might use 4 cfm@ 90 psi so if your pancake can provide 4 cfm at 90 psi you can run it. The bigger the tank and the higher the psi of the tank, the longer you can go until you have to stop to let the compressor catch up. So if you have a compressor that provides 3 cfm @ 90psi, and your tool uses 4cfm, the tank makes up the difference. A small tank with say 125 psi will go X minutes until your tool does not have 90psi anymore and you have to wait until the compressor catches up and fills the tank back up. If you have a huge tank at 125 psi it might go 3X minutes until you have loose pressure. A huge tank and 150psi might for 4X minutes.

With that info use the size of you storage area and the thickness of your wallet to get the 1) the most cfm, 2) the biggest tank, and 3) the highest storage psi rating.

I have a Coleman I bought from Costco 20 years ago and it works great for me. When it dies I will watch Craigslist and get a used compressor to replace it. Wow, compressors are expensive these days!
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2019, 04:32 PM
johnsonic johnsonic is offline
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This is awesome advice!

The CFM calculus totally helps, and it's good to know about the capacity... looks like the footprint for a larger tank isn't much larger than a pancake. Will troll the HD/Lowe's sites and find one on craigslist.

Two additional questions now that I've been looking:
- Harbor Freight - run away? Assuming yes.
- Oil free or oil lubrication?

Thanks all!
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1984 GW
360
Comp 260H
Magnum Roller Rockers
Wiseco -21cc Forged Pistons
Performer Intake
Holley SA 670
MSD 8523
Dakota Digital custom cluster
Serehill headlamp harness
NWMP aux tank

1987 GW deceased
...but the parts live on
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2019, 05:14 PM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I am not too proud to buy from HF but they are about a 3 minute drive from my front door so if one of their tools fail on me, it's only a slight inconvenience to go get a new one under warranty. Honestly, I don't see much quality difference between their McGraw brand vs. HD's Husky brand. I have had terrible luck with Husky tools. IMHO, generally speaking, Husky=Ryobi=Black and Decker=McGraw=Craftsman=Coleman but maybe that's just me. Honestly, I would also consider one of HF's Central Pneumatic ones for occasional use knowing it would die if I really stressed it or used it "alot".

I don't the pros/cons of oil free vs. lubed. Hopefully someone else will...
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2019, 10:51 PM
FleetFox FleetFox is offline
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As KaiserJeeps mentioned, buy bigger than you think you'll need. And maybe by a factor of 2. I also agree the upright versions are space savers and we all run out of real estate faster then we think. I've gone for years with a larger Craftsman 110 volt upright and it did fine for my larger than average cfm needs. It is manufactured by devilbiss and says so on the ID tag. It's an oil-less unit. When I began my current project in earnest, I upgraded to a 2 stage 240v Northstar unit which was on sale at the time and it's like night and day. 50 % more air storage, higher contant cfm's for long runs with the impact, paint gun, sandblaster etc. It's an oil filled unit, so it does require maintenance. But it runs at half the decibels that the oil free unit does,. $600ish vs $250ish if your looking at price comparison. My 2 cents.

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  #8  
Old 07-14-2019, 07:03 AM
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JeepsAndGuns JeepsAndGuns is offline
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Best advise I can give is AVOID oil less compressors! They are LOUD. They create tons of heat and can not run very long at a time because of that. They do not last very long, because they can not be serviced. They build pressure slow. And did I mention they are loud?

Always get a oil lube piston type pump. They last longer, can be serviced (oil changed, and inlet air filter replaced). Single stage is ok, but two stage is better.
I also recommend getting one that has the motor and pump separate and driven by a belt. You might think having a belt adds to the complexity and maintenance, but having the ability to replace the motor or pump separately if they fail is a big plus. Not to mention they tend to run cooler. Running cooler=lasts longer, heat kills.
As mentioned above, getting one bigger than you think you will need is also good advice.

As far as brand? I personally prefer ingersoll rand, but they are probably going to be more than you want to spend. You did not specifically state a price range.

While I do not have any personal experience with them, I would not be against giving a harbor freight compressor a try. There is one in town and I have had pretty good luck with what I have bought from there.
Looking through their site, if I was going to buy one from there, I would probably try this one:
https://www.harborfreight.com/29-gal...sor-61489.html
It seems to have good reviews, is oil lube and belt driven. Plus being upright means it will have a smaller footprint than a horizontal model.
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  #9  
Old 07-14-2019, 07:56 PM
johnsonic johnsonic is offline
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All of this advice is awesome guys! Going to be on sale lookout & adding to the morning CL search.

You all rock.

~j
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1984 GW
360
Comp 260H
Magnum Roller Rockers
Wiseco -21cc Forged Pistons
Performer Intake
Holley SA 670
MSD 8523
Dakota Digital custom cluster
Serehill headlamp harness
NWMP aux tank

1987 GW deceased
...but the parts live on
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