Suggestions for Entry-Level Compressor?

I have never owned a compressor, but after watching the guys who were working on my house, and how cool the finish nailers are, I think I gotta get one.
Recommendations on best brand for a beginner? I'm not going to use the thing a whole lot, but I don't want the bargain basement, break in a year, model either.
Also, a friend saw an ad somewhere for a tool that did both finish nails and staples. Is this a good idea, or is it worth the money to get two separate tools?
Thoughts about the deal at Home Depot on a Porter Cable compressor (small) plus two tools for $300?
Thanks all! Chris
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Learn from my pain: I bought a compressor based on budget, rather than by first finding out what I would require in terms of performance. Needless to say, I will "buy it again" because I did not buy the right onw up front.
If you want to paint, use impact wrenches, use sanders, or use certain kinds of nailers, you will need a higher-than-base-class compressor. Do your homework first, or you'll find out, like I did, that you need more gallons of capacity, more CFM, or higher top pressure.
--
gabriel

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"Chris Shearer Cooper" wrote in message

It absolutely depends upon what your anticipated use is.
Due solely to space limitations, I bought a Porter Cable combo pancake compressor/finish nailer a couple of years ago for my shop and have been very pleased with it thus far. Add the "sleeper" Harbor Freight Brad Nailer for under $20 and it has been a cost effective package, sits underneath my workbench totally out of the way, and covers all brad and finish nailing bases for the furniture and cabinets I build.
I wouldn't try building a house, or spraying with it, but I spray shellac with a small HVLP unit instead.
Be realistic about your needs and go with what they dictate.
--
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I bought a Paslode T200 F18 based on a recent Fine Woodworking article on pneumatic nailers. I belive it is the most recent issue and you should definitely read that article before you do anything.
On the compressor side I ended up buying the Craftsman 2 gal for $119. It was the best I could find that was easily movable and heavy duty. Others in the price range ($100) were lacking in the area of how long they took to replenish.
Good luck.

and
separate
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Hi Chris
If you were buying motorcycles, horses, performance cars, etc I'd have some advice for a beginner but I don't think there is such a thing as a entry level compressor. Big or little they aren't particularly dangerous or have any differences in care in feeding.
There are three ways to look at it.
Get the best and damn the cost. Make it a cast iron, two stage, oil lubricated, 20 Gal. tank, compressor putting out over 10 CFM at 90 PSI.
Look up the requirements (CFM & PSI) of the various tools that you expect you will be using and buy a compressor that meets those specs. If cost is a factor you may have to reduce your ambitions.
Go to Lowe's. HD, Sears or whatever and get the basic pancake mailer package and plan on upgrading the compressor somewhere down the line.
Good luck
--
Mike G.
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I have a Campbell Hausfeld compressor that is quite small and IMO of high quality. It does not have a large capacity, but will do 90psi fine which is what you want for most finishing nailers. I've been very happy with it. I agree with others that you need a large capacity one if you are going to get serious, but this one is great for finish nailing 18ga nails, filling car tires, airbrushing and other light jobs. Its great to be able to pump it up then carry it easily around. I have the FP2040 on this page:
http://www.chpower.com/catalog/catalog_list.asp?categoryname=Air%20Compressors&categoryid 0&subcategoryid"41
If I needed higher CFM for larger tools, I'd look at something with a larger capacity, but for light work, this is a great little unit.

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Chris Shearer Cooper wrote:

Get two separate tools. I have a combination brad nailer/stapler that I bought at a flea market. It leaves a large mark when driving brads, because the part that drives the fasteners is as wide as a staple. I also have one of the cheap ($15 or $20) Harbor Freight brad nailers, which is a very good buy.
Almost any compressor can run most nail guns. An oil-lubed unit should be quieter and last longer than an oilless one.
--
--
Steve

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I bought a Smith&Wesson when they were on sale at WWW for about $140. I chose it based on price and the fact that is was an oil compressor (as opposed to oil-LESS). I understand that the oil compressors are quieter and last longer. Seems kind of noisy, but tolerable. I don't have an oilless one to compare it to so it's hard to say if it is really quiet. I have only used it for a few hours so far, so I can't attest to the longevity either.
My only complaint so far is that it would pump up to the RED (about 120psi?)on the meter at which point the safety overflow would open and release the air back down to about 60, then it would pump up again... on and on. The manual said something about the factory settings starting and stopping the motor based on the air pressue. Turns out that the factory settings were incorrect AND there were no instructions on how to reset them. I did manage to figure it out after looking at the shut-off mechanism and have had no problems since.
-Chris
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On Thu, 15 Jan 2004 11:26:35 -0700, "Chris Shearer Cooper"

Do not get an oil-less kind. I have a CH 26 gallon 5HP, but do not see a lot of difference in brands. I use an airgun more than I imagined I would. Cleans the air conditioner towers well.
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=================================Pour yourself a cup of coffee and go sit down and relax...then close your eyes and just think about what you intend to use OR MAY use the compressor for... once you figure out what you are going to do with it then and only then go shopping...
If it is going to sit on the floor or shelf of the garage 364 days of the year then go ahead and buy a cheap one... It should last long enough...
Bob Griffiths
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