I have occasional need for an air compressor and have been sharing a
small unit with Number One Son. I use it mostly for brad nailing, once
or twice a month. So I don't want to invest big bucks. I'm thinking
125 PSI will be all that I need. I've heard I should go oiless. Any
specific recommendations? Any thoughts about HF models?
I'll second RP on oiless. They wear faster and are noisy (none of
them are quiet, but some oiless remind me of scratching fingernails on
I have had two Campbell Hausfelds (sp) during the past 30 years and
have been very happy. That said, I have also seen some pretty good
comments on HF compressors.
Have to agree here. I'm just in the process of buying a Senco PC1010
compressor. Small and really quiet. Great for carrying around if you
need to. It will attain 125 psi which is great for those few brads a
month as Ed phrased it. About $125 in the US, almost twice that in
Canada, but you can find a few US companies what will ship up here. At
20 pounds weight, it won't destroy the shipping budget to get them
sent to CA.
Good point. For occasional use, oiless probably doesn't matter that
much. You might also keep your eyes open for combo packages. There
are a lot of good deals with small compressors matched with one or two
nailers and other accessories. Even if you have a nail gun now it
doesn't hurt to have a back-up or another size. Some of these package
include accessories for about the cost of the compressor.
They want to sell nails in the future.
I once had a HF oilless compressor. Loud, but I kept in in a separate
room in my shop. Then a part failed. It was a non-standard part (the
capacitor, which had to fit in an unusual place). I ordered the part
from HF and it took over 3 months to get it as HF did not stock it and
it had to come from China.
When I got it up and running I sold it.
Oilless these days are much better than they used to be.
Having said that,
They are noisier than a oil compressor and mostly because they run
faster. Annoyingly noisy. If you ever would consider painting there
is more chance of an oil unit adding oil to your mix. Oilless will not
last as long, all things being equal. 125 psi will run most anything
tool that you want to use.
Nail guns are very low volume users so the size of the compressor does
not matter. BUT once you have a compressor at you immediate disposal
you tend to add more tools to be used with the compressor. So keep in
mind that a larger volume CFM unit will work out better. Try to buy a
compressor with the CFM specs to match a tool that you might consider
buying in the future.
Also keep in mind that if you buy cheap it will most likely fail sooner
than later and once you have a compressor you never want to be with out
a compressor. So do you buy better and cry once or buy cheap and cry twice.
Let's see, $8 for a 100' PVC (icky but usable) hose from HF
or $90 for a 100' 12ga extension cord?
Oops, HF isn't giving away their air hoses any more. They're up to $25
now. OK, $12 for the PVC jobbers at Northern Tool & Equip.
The human brain is unique in that it is the only container of which
it can be said that the more you put into it, the more it will hold.
-- Glenn Doman
I have a 4 gallon, twin tank, oil less, Porter Cable compressor that has
served me well for over 11 years. We initially bought it to run a framing
nailer and roofing nailer when we built our garage. We also used it to
build our house a couple years later. I use it frequently for woodworking
and remodeling projects to power a variety of finish nailers and brad
It is perfect for running nailers, but not so much for high volume tasks
like airing up tires. I can fill up a car tire, but the compressor kicks on
quickly and runs constantly till I am done. It's OK for short random tasks
like that, but I wouldn't want to run it that way for long periods (paint
spraying, air tools, etc.)
The Porter Cable is quite loud when the compressor is running, but it
doesn't run much when using nailers as they have low air requirements.
I would like to have a larger compressor that could handle a paint sprayer,
but that would require a lot more space than my little Porter Cable needs.
For the same money, I would probably buy a dedicated HVLP sprayer that
would use less space. Then again, I don't use any air tools like wrenches,
grinders, cutoff wheels, or that sort of thing.
Thanks, friends, for the good counsel. I've selected a factory refurb
Porter-Cable, 6-gallon pancake compressor for $120. Good reviews and it
seems like it will meet my needs.
On 10/25/2011 4:56 PM, Gramp's shop wrote:
I've have one of those (and a larger upright DeWalt) for five or six years.
It's plenty big enough to run any sort of nailer. As long as you don't want
to do something like spray paint with it, you'll be happy.
That will handle the Harbor Freight HVLP "purple gun" or the TCPGlobal
HVLP sprayers, which will work fine. I'd go with the TCPGlobal just
because you can get accessories for them easily--I made the mistake of
getting the "purple gun" and trying to get a different nozzle for it a
year later at which time HF told me that they didn't have parts for that
model anymore--they've always got a purple gun but the model number
Almost any compressor is capable of providing the pressure, but it
depends upon the quantity of spraying that you require which will
determine the needed compressor volume and storage.
To spray an entire automobile, you might need a 10CFM pump and an 80
gallon tank to be comfortable. Production shops need even more.
For a chair or a door, a 1CFM pump might do it with a 5 gallon tank
since the whole spray job would be done in under a minute.
For airbrushing, a much smaller pump and/or tank would do.
Your particular spray gun and required spraying time will determine
the proper storage and CFM requirements of your system.
Many of us get by with a 3-5CFM system and HVLP gun. Added storage
gives added spray time, so smaller systems can work.
Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.
-- Robert J. Sawyer
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