Air Compressor Recommendashuns?

I'm going to be purchasing an air compressor in the near future. I've looked around at the local Borgs, Harbor Fart Tools, etc. and I'm wondering what people here have had experience with. I'm considering going to Sears and getting a Crapsman as my experience is they have the best value per price. Yeah, I know there are better tools/equipment than Sears but my budget isn't huge yet and I wasn't too impressed with HFTools.
Yer suggestions are appreciated.
Will
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Like everything else, it really depends on what your are going to be using it for. I am happy with my $89.99 HF compressor, but you might need something more durable or with greater capacity.
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I have a CF 5/20 AC. It's on the verge of being too heavy to carry (it's in the basement) so I have a small access hole between the basement and the garage to run an air hose up there. One of these days, I'm installing copper air pipes all around, but I'd like to get a bigger compressor when I do that (no more need for portability then).
Some AC notes, all IMHO...
* The 5HP/20gal size seems to be the most popular for home shop use.
* Oilless are noisy but better if you use the air to spray sawdust off your woodworking projects. If you get an oil bath unit, make sure you get an air line filter too.
* The 2 stage (175 PSI) is probably better if you're using a big air nailer. The 90 PSI low end on my regulator isn't quite enough for it.
* For CFM use (sprayers, sanders, air wrench, etc) plan on getting twice the CFM the tool says it needs. The CFM printed on the AC is usually VERY optimistic.
* HP ratings are mostly lies. Go by the volt/amp ratings. At 120v, it's about 8 amps per real HP.
* ACs designed for *only* 240v are more efficient than ACs designed for either 120 or 240 and wired for 240. This is my dad's observation, based on a couple of Craftman ACs.
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I bought a used 12-year-old oil-lubed 15-gallon Craftsman out of the paper. It cost $60, and works like a champ. Enough air to spray finishes and paint, runs quiet, reasonably portable on flat surfaces.
I would recommend you exhaust your local used tool sources first to see what you can find.
If you'll be selecting a new compressor, it really depends on what your intended uses are. You should pick one that has about twice the capacity as what you think you'll need, because once you have one, you're going to want to use it to do EVERYTHING.
I would stay away from the oil-less compressors because of noise and durability, unless you absolutely must have a compressor that can be carried around. The oil-lubed belt-driven compressors will last the longest and generally have the highest capacity (gallons, cfm@psi). Bigger compressors can be plumbed all over the place. I have lines running through my shop and into the garage, and two 50-ft hoses that I chain to the others to get just about anywhere on our property.
-Mike
NorthIdahoWWer wrote:

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Given that most of the consumer-type air compressors only have a 50% duty cycle, this is another reason for doubling your requirements.
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"recommendashun" #1:
Learn how to spell recommendation, Cletus. No, I'm not the spelling police and no, I don't own Usenet.
Learning how to express one's self clearly and concisely is the hallmark of an ordered mind.
Recommendation #2:
Provide a little more detail. What do you want to do with this compressor? Clean off your workbench, drive a paint sprayer, run a framing nailer, what?
Will it be for continuous use or intermittent (homeowner) use?
If running air tools, what are their pressure and flow requirements?
Recommendation #3: You cut down Sears tools by calling them "Crapsman" and then say you'll probably buy one anyway. That's a mixed message if ever I heard one.
Recommendation #4: Do a Gooogle search or an epinions search or read reviews of tools on Amazon.
Basically, you need the right tool for the job. First you need to define the job, then you can buy the right tool for it.
Good Luck, Gus
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Man, don't be so anal about wording... I've always messed around with wordplay. I wasn't degrading Craftsman, just having a little fun. Lighten up, dood.
That said, yes, I should have been a bit more detailed on what I'm going to be using the AC for. Basically, a little bit of everything from airing up the kids' bike tires to driving a nail gun (16 ga most likely the biggest), spraying lacquer, etc. but it does need to be portable.
I was mainly asking for *recommendations* for brand. I can figure out the size I need.
Thanks

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OK, here you go:
Craftsman DeVilbiss Porter-Cable Senco Bostitch Campbell-Hausfeld DeWalt Makita Grizzly
Gus
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You forgot
Ingersoll-Rand Quincy - Probably THE Cadillac of compressors. Cast everything, and heavy duty bearings. Speedaire - Industrial variant of CH. Another high end compressor.
FWIW - I have a Speedaire 7.5hp 80 gallon driving the main air in my shop and have a no-name "2hp" hotdog portable. The little compressor is an oiled piston type compressor that seems to be of reasonable construction. It's loudish, but not unbearable. It works really well for small tools, but would never be enough to drive a spray gun. The duty cycle necessary would kill it I am sure. The big compressor can move a LOT of air. I think it is good for around 20CFM and 175psi. The little one is probably 2-3 cfm at 125.
I paid $80 for the little compressor. I bought the big one needing work. Total, including repairs, I have $300 in it. It will probably last me(and my kids) a life time.
JW
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On Wed, 9 Mar 2005 10:16:43 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"
remove ns from my header address to reply via email

If you are just starting out with this, and are actually asking what cheap make to buy, I seriously doubt that.
No put down. There is more to it than meets the eye, with a lot of the extra info being available from people who have dealt with the BS and who know what "real" CFM you are getting or need.
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vaguely proposed a theory

No, I'm not just starting out. I've done woodworking part time for the better part of 20 years, I've just never had the need, space, or extra $$ for an air compressor. Now that I've gone full time and woodworking is my primary source of income, I have to look at buying an AC as one of the things I'll be doing is trim work and will be using a nail gun.
Secondly, I didn't ask what "cheap make" to buy. I was asking for a brand recommendation looking at cost/value and thought I'd check with the group since most of you have AC's already. I've used AC's in many other shops including the last place that I worked and yeah, I could go out and buy a huge machine that would be overkill for my current needs but I do need something that I can also load in the back of my truck to take to a job site. So I really CAN figure out what size I need.

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On Wed, 9 Mar 2005 22:30:03 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
just _knew_ I'd get ea reply with attitude....
sugh!
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On Tue, 8 Mar 2005 22:31:01 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"

the compressor for... Using a Compressor to use a Brad nailer in the shop requires a lot less HP and Tank size then using the compressor to sand the hood of a car or paint your house...
Not all that many actual manufacturers of these things... Ingersol, Devilbis, and Campbell-Hausfiled (spelling on all ??) come to mind ...most likely any of them could be the actual manufacturer of your compressor no matter if it has the Craftsman or Harbor Freight label plastered all over it...
I have a Big monster...upright 80 gal tank 8 Horse unit (oiled) which does all I need...you most likely do not need anything that size..
Tell us what you intend to use it for.... I would hate to have to drag mine around the house to paint the shutters ..you get the idea.
Bob Griffiths
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On Tue, 8 Mar 2005 22:31:01 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"

I have the 6.24 HP Campbell hausfeld (BORG) The best thing about it was the class acrtion suit about the 6.25 HP lie. (I got a free tool) It is loud and a mediocre air producer.
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I have CH that is 26 gal., 6 HP, wheels, requires oil changes. I got 120v so I can use it anywhere. I found out that a portable tank works well for small jobs, so if I did it again I'd get one that is stationary with a smaller footprint. I'm notimpressed with Craftsman compressors that are oiless and noisy. Made in USA is better than those made in Taiwan or China. You need to know what tools you will be using.
On Tue, 8 Mar 2005 22:31:01 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"

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Check out Rol-Air if you have a local dealer. Stay away from Ingersoll--they're a good value initially, but support is terrible.
Heath
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