Craftsman Professional vs. Ingersoll-Rand air compressor?

I have finally decided to bite the bullet and invest in a good quality air compressor for auto mechanics and auto body work this summer. I have about 20 different air tools, but they have been sitting around unused for 3 years now, and I am getting tired of this. For example, I need to fabricate and weld sheet metal to fix holes in my rocker panels, and I will need to be able to run tools like a high-speed sander (aka "grinder"), 6" DA sander, cut-off tool, air shears, etc.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Craftsman Club week at Sears, and I will be able to buy a 60 gallon Craftsman Professional stationary air compressor at Sears for only $432 plus tax and delivery. The normal cost is $549! This is a limited-quantities, closeout item which has been drastically reduced!
Here are the specs:
http://snipurl.com/e6i5
Craftsman Professional Mfr. model #16561 Two Stage Compressor Twin-V 2-Stage Oil Free 60 gallon stationary, vertical 175 PSI max 9.6 SCFM at 90 PSI 9.0 SCFM at 40 PSI 15 amps 7.0 HP Direct drive Internal cooling fan 240 volts Warranty: 1 year Weight: 192.0 lb.
The SCFM looks very low, but Sears rates this a 9 out of 10, which in their system, means can power all-known air tools continuously, with no trigger time and 100% duty cycle time (except for a 1" impact wrench and 7" sander, which I don't use), since it runs on a maximum of 175 PSI. Only their 80-gallon compressor is more powerful. Does this seem suspicious?
I am also considering an Ingersoll-Rand 60 gallon compressor, for $799. But there would be no discount for this:
http://snipurl.com/e6ia (or http://snipurl.com/e6im )
Ingersoll-Rand Mfr. model #SS5L5 60 gallon stationary vertical Twin cylinder Oil lube 18.1 SCFM at 90 PSI 135 max PSI 5.0 hp 9500+ hours of life at 100% duty cycle 230 volts 2 year warranty weight: 310 lb.
I just don't want to spend almost $400 more on an IR compressor, which is also 60 gallon, if it won't actually be that much more powerful.
So I would like to know if the Craftsman Professional 60 gallon compressor will meet all of my needs? Or is the IR one really much better?
Also, aren't all these compressors made by the same company anyway, DeVilbiss? See http://www.aircompressorsettlement.com /.
Thanks!
Julie
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you're not comparing apples to apples. the i-r puts out lots more air. a comparable i-r one would be their 3 hp model. northerntool.com has that i-r on sale this month for the same price as the sears one you quoted. i just ordered one, but it takes 4 weeks for delivery.
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the two stage 60 gal you will have more reserve air as its rated higher psi so theres more compressed air in it than the single stage. dont you thing you need a 80 gallon take with 2 stage compressor too run a da continuosly?? the sears oilless compressors are loud loud loud and for homeowners... . the oil bath compressors with ball brg mains seem to last better.. lucas
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I would pay more attention to the CFM output than anything, IMO. I think a die grinder or normal pnuematic hand drill pulls about 15-20 cfm, depending on brand (check your tools or Google it). 9SCFM seems low. You'll want a compressor to be able to keep up with you if you don't want to have to wait on it. Also, the two-stage will pump air into the tank faster than a single stage. I didn't see where the IR commented on if it is a single stage pump or not.
Do you have a Northern Hydraulics or can you maybe find another source of air compressors other than Sears?
Relz
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Those Sears oil-less units will self destruct within a few years at best--been there, done that (several times, in fact)....never again!!!
They run skinny cast aluminum piston rods at 3600 rpms and they use plastic 'rings'...the compressor mount platform will crack where its welded to the tank from vibration....the rods will crack and turn the whole pump into scrap metal....the cooling fan is porrly balanced and is made out of an unsuitable plastic for the application...this will often crack and break.....to top it off....they are terribly noisey too...the list goes on and on....I still have 2 compressor carcasses out back of the shop.....and a stock of "spare parts" in our maintenance stores...from back in the days when I had thought_ just _maybe_ they would work the fucking bugs out of their 'design'....
Avoid_the_Sears_oil-less_at_all_costs.......they *will* eventually morph...( into air-less compressors )
=== OTOH...I've had fairly good luck with the homeowner CH compressors...running them continuously 40 hours/week and with a duty cycle that approaches 80% at times....
--
SVL









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Just an odd thought here. 15 amps and 7 hp????? . Does not seem like enough current for 7 hp. I agree with the other posters, your not comparing apples to apples. The Craftsman is about HALF the CFMs of the IR. Check on line for some CFM ratings for your tools. Ballpark would do. I belive your Craftsman is going to run all of the time if your running a sander or grinder. Not a good thing to let oil-less compressors get hot.

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IR are made to last 30 yrs, Sears are made to sell for less.
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"Julie P." wrote:

I never thought Northern was much of a bargain, either. I've bought stuff from them on occasion when was where they had a store, but few bargains. The I-R prices there seem in line w/ other distributors w/ local delivery.
I don't think you can go very wrong that way, for sure.
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Thanks Charles! I checked that out. The only thing I don;t like about northerntool is that they ship these by truck, and the truck may charge you a liftgate fee to unload it. Or they may not even have a liftgate. Then how are you supposed to get it out?
I do think I will be getting a IR one though, after reading everyone's post here, probably the 60 gallon one for $800 at Sears.
And I think that air compressor chart that Sears provides in its Craftsman catalog is misleading then, since many grinders, drills, etc., take 13-15 SCFM, and the chart claims their 60 gal. compressor will run those air tools continuously, even though the SCFM output is only around 9.6! That's why I was comparing the Sears 7.0 HP 60 gallon one above with the IR 5 hp 60 gallon one, even though the output was really different!
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Thanks Relz. I will see if they have this store here. I will probably end up getting an Ingersoll-Rand one though now, since they are better built, from what I have read since I posted!
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Hey, thanks SVL, Tony, Ed, Alan, and m for the tips! I am so glad I posted here before buying the Craftsman. It looks like they are not well built. I think it will make more sense to spend more and invest in a good quality IR. My biggest tools need 15 scfm at 90 psi.
Julie
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The IR model is twice as powerful as the Sears unit. Furthermore, IR makes equipment that runs forever at the rated output. Given a choice between buying a compressor designed by a cost cutting accountant and an industrial tool manufacturer... The 5HP motor on my own compressor takes 27 amps at 240 volts.
Get the IR unit, or a used one on eBay if you can find one in your area.
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Keep in mind that you will rarely run air tools constantly. I have a 10 CFM compressor and it does all I need. I also use air drills, DA sanders and die grinders. 10 CFM will run any of the tools I have as most people will not run them 100%. Sears claim is probably accurate for the general population. Unless you plan on using your air tools to the extreme, you will probably be satisfied with a 10 CFM compressor.
That said Sear's compressors are junk. If you can afford a larger compressor, go with it, it will live longer because it will not run as hard. If you can afford the IR, buy it, you will never replace it! Greg
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Julie P. wrote:

It's no brainer. I got an IR beaten up one at auction dirt cheap, I am sure it'll outlast new Sears one. It runs strong and nothing needed to be done except cleaning. Tony
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The Craftsman will last a few years. Your grandkids will be using the IR.
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Thanks Greg! This is a good point. The thing is, I would like to have the option to run a grinder or sander or paint gun for 2-3 minutes continuously, and I don't know if the Sears 9.6 scfm would cut it. Plus I would worry the motor would be running continuously trying to keep up with me, thus leading to premature failure.

Thank you! I'm looking forward to buying an IR one then as everyone here seems to agree that Craftsman is junk. :)
J.
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