Oil is better than oil free. For your application with JUST a nailer, a
direct drive oil type will be quieter than an oil free direct drive. Better
yet but with a loss of portability compared to direct drive units, oil type
and belt driven.
Good for light duty. OTOH, there are some in commercial service for medical
applications where oil is a contaminant that cannot be tolerated..
Usually heavier and less portable
If you are going to use a nailer, inflate an occasional basketball, oiless
is suitable and can last a long time. If you plan to advance to larger air
tools, spray painting trucks, get a larger oil type. Both have a place.
I've had an oiless for four years and it suits me just fine. YMMV.
If you are looking primarily to power brad nailers and finish nailers,
there is a Senco combo comp+brad nailer that is quite small and
reasonable. As I recall, most of these packages are oil-free.
Will the compressor be somewhat stationary or do you need more
However, I run framing nailers and fencing nailers which require more
air, so I have the Hitachi EC12 oiled compressor, 2HP motor and
quicker recovery time. Bounce-firing a framer or coil nailer will use
up the tank contents more quickly. It weighs about 60# and must be
kept level for the lubrication to work properly.
On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 21:45:38 -0400, Dean Hummel
I have been contracting for about 30 years now. I like oiless because
we use them for roofing every day. No worries about oil leaks,
breaking the site glass, snapping off the fill/dip stick, and not
problems with the oil leaking out of the head when the compressor is on
its side or oil thickening up when on a frosty jobsite.
I have had plenty of both. In my shop, I run an oiless. It goes
nowhere, never is at any kind of damage risk, and has only seen one or
two jobsites. It lives in a quiet corner under a noise barrier/dust
shroud. It isn't THAT much quieter than my three oiless comps. But it
was on sale and had the specs I wanted to run a couple of large finish
nailers at a time.
My oiless comps kick ass though, as they are almost indestructible.
Here in South Texas it easily hits 100 degrees plus in the summer, and
hoisted onto a papered roof, the surface temps hit 145 or so on the
surface where we put them to run two to three roofing guns. Never had
one of my CH Extreme oiless comps fail.
Think about this when you want to decide about reliability: One 28
square roof has about 10,000 nails in it. This is only a box and a
half... some more some less. So when we do three roofs a week after
hail season, this is about 30,000 nails. A week...
Go to a month... 120,000 nails. We don't use them that hard all the
time, so I'll say 7 months a year. 840,000 a year. (You should see my
fastener bills!) These compressor still shoot more though. When we go
inside, they also power our finish guns and we have done a lot of room
addition type framing with Bostich and Hitachi framing nailers. We
have no other compressors in the field BUT oiless.
Oh yeah, remember my newest CH comp is about three years old. We did
have to buy a new regulator for that one though, since one of my
knotheads screwed down the knob as tight as he could get it to get more
Good luck on this. If I were you I would go with the best deal and
house the compressor (oiless or oil) some way if it is for your shop to
cut down on the noise and the dust it will eventually suck in to the
The oil compressors are the better of the two. With proper
maintenance they last longer and usually less noisy, but cost a little
more. Get a well-known brand.
On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 21:45:38 -0400, Dean Hummel
I like the oiled compressors best. I have 5 compressors that
I run now and all of them are oiled. I have run about 10 or
so oiless and I was not pleased with their durability. In my
shop at home, I have a 35 year old Sears Craftsman 20 gallon
compressor which has had regular duty for all of its 35 years.
I have had to change the oil about every 6 months and I did
a rebuild on it about 15 years ago. During that time I have
gone through numerous oiless compressors.
The oiled compressors MUST be kept on flat level surfaces and
you have to change the oil, but they just keep going and when
they get weak, the rebuild is only about 40 bucks. A rebuild
on an oiless can be as much as $150 depending upon the brand,
and they need it more often.
Lots of good answers. Oil is better, as stated, for durability and noise,
BUT if you are going to paint, it's better to be oilless. Even so, you'll
need a drier of some sort to really do a good job. If you don't plan high
quality painting, the $400, 5HP rigs in the home stores are a great buy.
The vertical tank takes minimal space.
Lots of them.
Not enough power for you? How about a Grimmer Schmidt. 10 HP 35 cfm or a
50 HP 222 cfm? That would set you back over $40k.
Fini has a line that includes medical air. www.finicompressors.com
There are many more that the little PC pancake models.
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