The starting point for this one is your intended use for it, and there
are three main factors - volume of air production in a given time,
measured in litres/minute, weight/portability and frequency of use.
These determine the size of the motor/compressor and the store (receiver).
If you only want to use tools such as nailers and impact wrenches and
the occasional use of a blow gun then almost anything is adequate
because they use small amounts of air. Something like one of the 25
litre models or even one of the pancake types would be adequate for
this. They are also quite light and portable - can be moved around
and so on.
However, if you want to use more air-hungry tools such as sanders and
certainly to do spray painting, sand blasting and so on, you need
something larger. It's possible to do small paint jobs with a 25
litre model, as long as the spray runs are such that you can stop and
wait for the compressor to refill the receiver. The air production
rate from the compressor doesn't really keep up with the rate of use.
So really, if spraying and sanding are major uses that you have in
mind, you need to be thinking about a 100 to 150 litre model.
Most suppliers tend to group anything up to 50 litres as portable and
anything above as for workshop use.
I currently have a 150 litre belt driven model. It came with wheels
on one end and a handle on the other and could be wheeled around the
workshop or even outside. However, at a weight of 80kg, this is not
something that one is going to take upstairs or put in the back of the
car. I have mine fitted in the roof space of my workshop and hooked
up to a plumbed airline system with outlets around the walls and on the
Frequency of use is important as well. There are three to four
classifications of compressor - Hobby, Trade, Professional and
Industrial. Really the hobby ones are what they say they are - light
and very occasional use.
The majority of compressors sold in the hobby/home/light to medium
workshop ranges originate from Italy from one or two manufacturers
(Fiac is the main one) who produce them on a private label basis for
suppliers such as SIP, Clarke and a number of others. If you look at
the various web sites, you will see that these are essentially the same
products between the different labels.
However, there are differences in terms of the components actually
used, and that is a factor of the classification. For example, in the
SIP range there is Trade, Professional and Industrial. If you
compare them in a given size, there are differences to the compressor
itself - e.g. materials of pistons, sleeves, valves and type.
Have a look at
http://www.worldofpower.co.uk/acatalog/air_compressor.html where there
is an online catalogue and detailed specs. This is not necessarily
the least expensive source but with model identified you can look for
However, you will notice that you would pay more than your budget for a
compressor able to do the heavier duty jobs. You can certainly get
a good 25 litre one in your budget and for slightly over and a bit more
oomph, the SIP 1570 would be a reasonable choice.
There may also be secondhand ones around, although I would be careful
about the source. If it's a workshop getting rid of one, then it's
quite possible that the compressor component is knackered. They may be
repairable, but if a replacement compressor is needed, probably not
If you wanted to look at secondhand ones, Thorite periodically have
Slightly sideways.... I have always been interested that home insurers
do not show the same interest in *pressure vessels* as commercial ones.
My insurers require an annual inspection despite the fact that my
workshop compressor probably gets less use than many domestic hobby
Without doubt this one here represents very good value. it's 2.5hp (1hp more
than normal) and is £99.99 Look for the Sioux ll . Note also that it's oil
lubricated, the dry ones don't last as long and get too hot.
Julian, a question.
I like the Sioux II. I know it comes with a few attachments but are all
compressor attachments universal or do I have to buy Wolf's own attachments
for this compressor??
thanks again millan
Compressors usually come with one of a number of "standard" connections.
Converters between these various standards are readily available. So
in the end what counts is what sort of connector you decide you want on
the end of your air hose. PCL connectors are a popular choice, and these
make for easy coupling and decoupling of tools, while keeping the air
trapped in the hose when there is no tool fitted.
The connections are a standard type, but not PCL. I changed over to PCL
years ago so just swapped them out (two minute job). Machine Mart have all
the PCL stuff for a quid or two. The attachments are pretty cheap, the paint
sprayer won't be up to much, and you'll want some decent rubber hose.
It's a cracking compressor. I've got three and join them together with some
'Y' pieces for when I'm doing stuff that requires a lot of air. (industrial
needle de-scaler or grit blaster)
As Andy has already said, what do you want to do with it? Once you
have decided that, find out what the typical working psi/bar and CFM
is for the tools you will be using, once you know the maximum psi/bar
& CFM required (CFM is basically how quickly the tool uses air or how
quickly the compressor can replenish the tank) you can then chose a
suitable compressor/tank combination.
There are different ways to achieve that.
With a portable system, the easiest way is to add a filter/dryer to
the output of the compressor. This will give air suitable for
spraying. For power tools, generally it's possible to introduce a
few drops of oil into the air inlet of the tool.
For my fixed workshop system I put in FRL units
(filter/regulator/lubricator) at various locations.
These are actually modular units and a porting block can be fitted
between the sections allowing additional outlets. I have three
outlets at each FRL:
- Input. This gives 10bar (controlled by the compressor limit
switch). Unregulated and unfiltered.
- After Filter and Regulator. This is clean and dry air suitable for
- After Filter, Regulator and Lubricator. Cleaned, dried, regulated
and lubricated for power tools.
Excellent stuff but I suspect we are a bit over the 150ukp budget.
There is a big financial difference between a proper system and
something that will inflate tyres and blow the crap out of my combine
I think we are to do significant paint spraying anyway.
You could do the blowing the crap bit, but inflating combine harvester
tyres could be challenging for a small model I would imagine. I
thought that farmers mainly used external contractors for harvesting?
Hmm, tyre inflation needs air pressure but not volume, something even
a small compressor will cope with (given time - that's why those
tank-less tyre inflators that the accessory shops work), blowing out
crap from large areas needs large volumes of air but little pressure,
that means either a large storage tank a or *very* large compressor
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