After reading everything I can see on the group I still don't know
what type compressor and air nailer to purchase. I read that the oil
free units are less expensive but are a lot more noisy, is that a
correct conclusion? I see that HF has both but can't seem to develop
an opinion if the HF compressors and air nailers are worth the
What I want to buy in the next 2-3 months is a compressor, framing
nailer, finish nailer, brad nailer. Maybe in that order. Im going to
be finishing my basement then want the tools for my home hobby
woodshop I'm setting up.
So what to do? Please give me as much detailed opinion as possiblly
I've heard the brad nailers are OK. I'd not buy a compressor from them, but
that is just my opinion.
For a nailer, a small pancake compressor will do the job, it portable, but
is noisier than the larger units. They are light and portable though.
Porter Cable has a nice kit available along with brad or finish nailer.
Worth checking out.
If you plan to go into air powered tools or paint sprayers, you need larger.
We have a Campbell Hausfeld at work. It is on wheels and does a pretty good
job when we need a portable someplace. Of course we also have a 150 HP and
75 HP compressors for serious work.
If you have the bucks and the need, go big. If not, the little ones will do
the job very well.
I did buy a Crapsman 33 gal comp. and yes it was VERY noisy. I took it back
and bought an Ingersol Rand 60 gal. and this thing is much quieter so much
so that I can have it in the basement and still listen to the radio. With
the other I couldn't hear myself think! If you can afford the oil one then I
would suggest that! You get more life from the compressor with a faster
refill rate, not sure what state your in but I can get a Cambell Hausfeld
Farmall or farmhand 60 gal new for 200. here in PA. I am pretty sure it's
The oil-free units are usually less expensive, but they're also shorter
lived. I don't know if this is accurate but I've heard that the PC oil-free
pancake units are only good for 250 hours or so.
A compressor doesn't do much more than hold air, so ultimately what you're
paying for is CFM and reliability. You want to get something that cuts in a
comfortable amount above 100psi, otherwise you may end up not getting the
best and most consistent performance from some of the tools you may be
Framing nailers take a bit more air while braid nailers can run from just
about any compressor. For framing nailers you'd want, at a minimum, one of
the larger portable units, something that puts out around 3-4cfm at
90psi.What you need to do is decide if you want a portable unit that can be
hand carried or something larger that is more or less permanently
positioned. If you plan on giving it a lot of use and would like to be able
to use it at night without waking up the neighbourhood get an oil-lubed
unit. Low rpm motors, belt drive, and cast iron cylinders are quieter yet.
On 21 Sep 2004 17:38:00 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Ziemba)
Well, I don't know about a _lot_ more noisy because I've never turned
on either type yet and thought "Gee, what's that gentle shooshing
sound that reminds me of the babbling brook my dad and I used to catch
crawfish in when I was wee young lad?", but they are noisier and a lot
The "marketing" on these things is "Hey, Todd! You don't have dirty
your new Birkenstocks oiling it!!!" What that should tell you as an
astute buyer is "I can't ever oil it." Meaning, when the oil inside
the oily parts eventually doesn't do it's job as well as it should,
you're buying another compressor.
<sigh> Maybe I'm too cynical. I suppose, if you're in the market for
a compressor that is going to see _extremely_ light duty, and if you
don't like to get your hands dirty, and if your name is like, Todd, or
something, and you don't want to risk getting an oil drop on your new
Birkenstocks when you fill the tires on your Beemer, then _maybe_
these oil-less compressors have a market niche.
But if you want a workhorse, get a machine that you can regularly oil.
Oil is your friend. To misappropriate a oft used phrase around here;
Oil-less is de debil.
("...is de Debil" tm TW) ("oil-less" tm dD).
As far as recommendations, well, I bought a DeWalt because 1.) I
didn't need something _huge_, and 2.) DeWalt is Emglo only with yellow
paint and Emglo is a damned fine compressor. But I'm sure there's
lots of good ones out there, maybe someone more passionate about them
will chime in for you.
Who should, in all fairness, let you know that Bostich has a killer
oil-less combo pack on sale at Lowes right now-- 6 gallon pancake
compressor, 16 ga Finish nailer and 18 ga brad nailer, with hose,
fittings, nails, brads, etc., all for one low price. Might be a nice
starter kit for you... get you from "nothing" to "shootin' like Norm"
for pretty cheap...
(Ob disclaimer: I rep for Stanley Bostich.)
(Ob disclaimer to the disclaimer: I still own an Emglo. What's that
tell you?) ;>
Hmmm... my previous post failed to take into account that we have a
regular here named Todd. I sure hope he don't take my little rant
personally, as it wasn't aimed at him. So please re-read the last
post and substitute "Biff" or "Buffy" for "Todd", 'kay? Thanks.
We don't actually have a Biff or Buffy here do we?
Hitachi has a framer/compressor combo (EC12 with NR83A) which I bought
as separate components and like each one very much. Home Depot marked
the combo down $100 at one time.
I have the PC 15 ga. finish nailer, which I later saw at Sam's (of all
places!) for $175. Two of my friends already had the PC 16 ga. finish
nailer which I could borrow if needed. Unless you are doing crown
molding, this is quite a bit of expense for something which won't see
I bought the PC BN125 brad nailer in 18 ga. but for the amount of use
I get, a HF version would have been a better choice.
What I have gotten more use from is a narrow-guage stapler, which
holds trim in place more securely. I found a Spotnails stapler which
had more magazine capacity, since fitting into tight places was not an
So, my recommendation would be framer and inexpensive brad nailer
first; then see what you need beyond that.
On 21 Sep 2004 17:38:00 -0700, email@example.com (Bob Ziemba)
My nephew owned an oiless for a while and frankly I hated to be in his
garage when it ran - its sound frequency was in resonance with my spine.
Also, the reason he owned it 'for a while" was it died, in my opinion,
prematurely. He has an oiled pumper now.
My Campbell Hausfeld is a conventional oiled pumper, and while it certainly
isn't quite, it is more friendly to most peoples nerves. This is only the
second oiled compressor I have owned in 20 years so that might say something
about their reliability. By the way my CH machine is one of their squatty
uprights. The tank diameter is similar to their 80 gallon machine but only
1/2 the height with about 40 gallons of capacity and it has wheels. It has
the 5HP motor and provides a pretty small footprint for a mid sized
compressor. I have had it about 40 years and I am pleased.
The number and size of "oil" type compressor has really
gotten better in the last couple of years. You can buy a
pretty nice and smaller(30 gallon) compressor for a
reasonable amount of money. If space is NOT a concern,
get one of the bigger 80 gallon jobs with the the motor
mounted on top. The "noise factor" is the big deal in oil
HF is not on my list of places to buy anything.
Bob Ziemba wrote:
Food for thought:
I am a proponent of home improvements being great motivation for buying
tools. But you might consider putting the framing nailer at the bottom of
1) Framing nailers are pretty expensive and unless you are going to build
something else soon(garage, shop, etc). it might not get as much use in the
2) You will get a lot of use from the finish and brad nailers in remodeling,
woodworking and general hobby applications. Spend the quality money here.
You might want to look around to see if you can borrow a framing nailer or
even rent one (I have no idea of rental costs). Generally the framing part
of a basement job goes pretty quickly and the detail finishing takes time.
Also, when I finished the basement in my present house I left my compressor
in the attached garage and plumbed air to the basement. This was VERY EASY,
at least in my case, since the garage and equipment room shared a common
wall. I bought two pieces of gas pipe, one 4' long the other 1' long and a
90 degree elbow and assembled them into an "L". I drilled a hole slightly
larger than the gas pipe thought the 2x end joist and sheetrock between
basement and garage, adjacent to a floor joist and inserted the pipe from
inside of the basement, protruding 1"-2" into the garage. I used cheap pipe
straps to attach the assembly to the floor joist and added nipples/reducers
to both ends that accepted air fittings (male in garage and quick release
female in the basement). This resulted in an easily reached quick-release
air fitting that hangs about 8" below the joists in the unfinished equipment
room. During finish I left the basement hose attached most of the time and
just went upstairs to hook up the garage hose, turn the compressor on and
off or adjust air. Even after the basement was finished I had a good source
of compressed air to blow crud out of the bottom of the water heater (turn
it off), blow cobwebs out of the furnace blower and do other things.
In general, I agree with your comments regarding the usefullness of
framing nailers versus finish/brad nailers. One way to get much of the
functionality of the former, for low dollars, is to buy a palm nailer.
I have a carpal tunnel injury originating from overexertion during a
house demolition project 12 years ago. While I can live with it,
excessive hand hammering will bring back the misery. When faced with a
deck addition last year, I bought one of the little palm nailers in
hopes that it might be helpful. If was more than helpful. It toenailed
16 and 20d's, shot 5 pounds of those special joist hanger nails, and
completed these tasks in confines tighter than I would want to swing a
hammer. All the while, I used standard hardware store nails.
Simply think of it as a very compact, air assisted hand hammer with a
magnetic chuck. No, its not a framing nailer, but for the average home
owner, it can fill that role most of the time and at 25-35% of the
cost. Very handy and very, very highly recommended.
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