View Full Version : Air compressors for shop survey...

10-11-2002, 03:27 PM
I was wanting to get an air compressor for my garage. I don't know much about them so I'd like to hear what others use or have used.
What do you like, what don't you like?.
And about what did you pay?

I wanted something for blowing off equipment, blowing out filters, filling tires. Mostly small jobs. But who knows what I might need it for down the road?

Will one of those small "pancake" style units suffice?

Or what should I look for in HP, max PSI, and gallons?
Thanks in advance!

10-11-2002, 04:06 PM
I have an old Craftsman 1hp 100psi, yep you read correctly 1hp which was given to me. It's good enough for blowing down equipment, filters and like you said small jobs. When I run my pnuematic(sp?) wrench that 1hp motor is constantly running to keep the psi's up to where it needs to be. Did I mention it was old?

I would get the biggest, at least 5hp w/180psi or higher you can so you can run just about any pnuematic tool out there. Around here that would run about $250-$300. I think most tools like wrenches, guns, etc. require 90psi.

10-11-2002, 04:27 PM
the bigger the air tank seems to work real well too. I forget how bog mine is, it's about the size of an army duffel bag. If I use one of my smaller portable ones to run tools, the pressure fluctuates too much as the air becomes depleted, and refilled in the tank. Get the water seperator for the line, and air the tools every day.

I still love that cool noise an airgun makes...

Randy J
10-11-2002, 04:44 PM
This one's (http://www.sears.com/sr/product/summary/productsummary.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@1230603669.1034365309@@@@&BV_EngineID=cccfadcghgehmllcehgcemgdffmdfim.0&vertical=TOOL&pid=00916553000) a great buy. I have the equivilent, but with a horizontal tank. The only problem is when rotating tires on my truck, I have to wait for it to build the pressure back up when installing the tires sometimes.


10-11-2002, 05:00 PM
The small “pancake” style compressors are good for small pneumatic tools. Since you really do not know what you will use the compressor for do yourself a favor a get a unit that has 3-5 hp and something like 20 -35 gallon tank that you will not out grow.

An example to think about, say you get the pancake compressor now and it suits your needs for small project (filling tires, blowing out air filters… etc.) Now, if ever decide on using a pneumatic ratchet or impact wrench the smaller unit might not work. You will need a larger tank for these units.

I have a sears 6 ho with a 33 gallon tank. I run all my all my pneumatic tools with out a problem. Here is what I run:
- brad/finish/framing nailer (woodworking stuff)
- Impact wrench
- Pneumatic ratchet
- Pneumatic grinder
- Pneumatic cut off tool\
- Pneumatic sander
- Tire inflator
- Spray gun
- Air nozzle


10-11-2002, 05:52 PM
Last year I bought a Craftsman 6hp 30gal 150psi vertical air compressor. It cost around $270, and they now come with a kit. I am happy with the product, it runs all of the accessories I own very well.

-200' of hose
-heavy duty extension cord
-tire inflator chuck (must have)
-blow gun
-impact wrench
-air ratchet
-finish nailer
-palm nailer
-caulk gun

If all you are doing is inflating tires and blowing off equipment, you could probably get away with a smaller unit.

10-11-2002, 06:45 PM
i bought one just like oryan0 2 years ago think i got it on sale for around $230

10-11-2002, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the replies so far guys.
Here's a dumb question, what does the "CFM" stand for?

My problem is I'm tight for space and kinda tight for money too. But I sure would like to have one of those larger vertical units.
Oh well, maybe it's time to apply for that Sears credit card. LOL!

10-11-2002, 07:14 PM
Quote: Here's a dumb question, what does the "CFM" stand for?

Cubic feet per minute

10-11-2002, 07:22 PM
RandyJ included a link right to the Sears sight. Look at the picture on the website, retails for $299.99

OryanO also replied and included a picture of his own setup. Looks to be the EXACT same item, just you can tell it was in a garage and has been used..

Both highly reccommended.

I'm also looking to get a compressor in the future....

Looks like a 6HP, 30 gallon vertical tank from Sears is where it's at. <G>

Thanks guys!

10-11-2002, 07:23 PM
Bigger is better. I use mine for everything. 5hp craftsman with 20 gallon tank. It runs everything I have well no waiting for pressure build up.


Grease gun
1/2 impact
3/8 ratchet
Orbital sander
Spray gun
Air Blaster
Tire chuck with built in guage like the coin operated

Green Pastures
10-11-2002, 07:41 PM
Bigger is better when it comes to compressors. I had to get my current one when I bought my impact wrench. I have the Sears 5hp, 30 gallon horizontal tank, 130 max PSI. I wish I had got an even bigger one. This one runs almost constantly when I'm blowing my equipment off.

More max pressure and a bigger tank would be nice, I dont know if you necessarily need more hp but it would probably be nice too.
Mine does the job, like I said, but runs a lot.


Shady Brook
10-11-2002, 08:49 PM
My little 20 gal unit is about dead. I am going for an Ingersol Rand. Next time may be my last time, those Ingersols are made to last. I think an air compressor is one of the best tools you could have, and once you own one, you will likely find many more uses for it then you ever thought before. A little one will be fine for what you mention, but a bigger unit will expand your world. Remember, you get what you pay for, and a cheap little compressor is just that.... Cheap!

Have fun


10-11-2002, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by 0ryan0
Last year I bought a Craftsman 6hp 30gal 150psi vertical air compressor. It cost around $270, and they now come with a kit. I am happy with the product, it runs all of the accessories I own very well.

-200' of hose
-heavy duty extension cord
-tire inflator chuck (must have)
-blow gun
-impact wrench
-air ratchet
-finish nailer
-palm nailer
-caulk gun

If all you are doing is inflating tires and blowing off equipment, you could probably get away with a smaller unit.

My dad has the same. Arent they SUPER loud??? I mean loud as you cant even carry on a conversation when they are running. Just a thought if your garage is under a room.

10-11-2002, 09:41 PM
Air drills & grinders use a lot of air (Cubic Feet Per Minute) to operate. Sand blasters use a lot. Air guns aren’t to bad because you don’t usually run them for very long at a time. You want a compressor that keeps up with the tool or tools you have in mind. Pressure and volume are important but CFM ‘s are most important in determining which compressor to buy. Theirs nothing more frustrating than waiting on your compressor to catch up every few minutes. And pressure drops during painting are a disaster. You might want to consider a gas powered one. Sometimes it is really handy to be able to have air where you need it. They do cost a lot more. The Tractor Supply Store in my area has some of the best deals I’ve come across. :)

10-11-2002, 09:49 PM
I almost forgot They come in 110 volt and 240 so you need to no what you can hook up to. The 240 that I have is worth it in my opinion. I have an Ingersoll-Rand but I have had some problems with the on off switch and I had to replace a pulley so I think I will be looking at other brands when I up grade.

10-11-2002, 10:51 PM
here is my 2 cents.. Get a belt driven, Oil lubricated, Cast iron pump, type compressor. They will last alot longer. Look at it this way, Campbell Hausenfeld's extreme duty air compressors with oil lubricated, cast iron pump has a three year warranty, versus the oiless which have a one year warranty. I bought a 30 gallon, twin cylinder, cast iron, 5 horse unit for under 400$. If you are not going to move it much get the 220 version, It has double the cfm.. Also CH offers an upright type immovable unit that would work good too. So a sears might be cheaper up front, but I garuntee you, you will be happier with the CH unit in the long run.. Just my two cents, later snapper.. PS. I learned from expierence, on things like impact wrenches and other ait tools you would use alot, buy the good brands. I started out with a CH unit, then I got an Ingersoll-rand, definately worth the money..

10-12-2002, 12:33 AM
Most Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Sam's all have Compressors that have been bought and used and then brought back the next day. Cust. stated it was not what he wanted or something like that. They have been checked out and work fine carry the same warranty as the new one and usealy about half price. I got mine at sears that way and it was a 6hp 30 gal. upright 150psi for 135.00. It has not gave me any problems and they even wanted to sale an extened 5 year warr. for 89.00. Didn't take it. Look around and ask about them. Great way to save money.

10-14-2002, 10:23 AM
An air compressor is a great investment for anyone. If you are using for your bussiness, you can write the depreciation off your taxes as with all you equipment.
If you plan on using it a lot, my suggestion would be a 60 or 80 gallon upright, less floor space and plenty of volume to accommodate any 2 jobs at the same time. For longevity, 5hp with a twin cylinder pump(high and low pressure cylinders).
I would check with some other sources for quotes(ie. gas station equipment vendors, compressor vendors), some vendors will also offer delivery and set-up.
I would highly recommend having a larger compressor(60 or 80 gallon) permanently mounted with rubber isolation pads and running 3/4 black steel pipe to various locations for outlets. If running piping, run it overhead with drops along walls. Install tees at outlets and add about a 6" extension nipple with a cap and bleeder valve below tee. This will allow for condensation which needs to be drained a least monthly.
Don't forget to drain the water in the tank monthly also.
If running a piping system include a second pressure regulator and a water separtor at compressor connection. The reason for a second regulator is that then you can set your compression to kick on at 120psi and shut off at 140psi to maintain no fluxations in line pressure.
At our shop(large) we now have a Curtis 10hp 460V compressor mounted on 120gallon horizoton tank that feeds a second ballast tank of 120gallon. Originally we had a 5hp 240V compressor with only one 120gallon tank and it could not keep up with 4 work stations and 2 operator blowing off equipment.
A good saying that applies to most everything, "You get what you pay for."