Purchasing an Air Compressor

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Old 11-11-15, 06:26 PM
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Purchasing an Air Compressor

I am in the market to buy an Air Compressor. I have never owned one but just feel like buying a portable one for average use, around the house.

What should I be looking for when purchasing? I found this on the Home Depot site but would like to get more inputs and thoughts.

How To Buy an Air Compressor at The Home Depot

Is the specification on this one good:

6 gal. 1.5 HP 150 PSI Professional Air Compressor


Thanks
 
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Old 11-11-15, 08:02 PM
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What are you going to use it for, painting, sandblasting, nailing, air tools or what?
 
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Old 11-11-15, 08:11 PM
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I would opt for the pancake unit between the two. They are god for cleaning, tire filling and light duty air tool use. Simple and effective. It will cycle a lot as you use it. I've had mine for many years and it does the job, but just barely.
 
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Old 11-11-15, 08:31 PM
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Oil filled units last longer IMO.. I would not buy an oil-less unit...
 
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Old 11-12-15, 04:17 AM
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I agree with getting an oiled unit versus oil less not only do they last longer, they aren't as noisy [not that any compressor is quiet]

The size compressor to get depends a LOT of what you intend to use it for. Look at the cfm rating of the tools you hope to use and compare that cfm to the rating of the compressor. Sanders/grinders, small sandblasters and paint guns require the most cfm. The larger the tank the less often the unit has to cycle or the more you can fudge with higher cfm tools.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 07:04 AM
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Gentlemen, you may be correct about oil vs oil less. But I bought my kids the oil type compressor (3 units) and I bought the oil less pancake type (all about the same rating). After 10 years mine still works, theirs crapped out about 2 to 3 years later. You be the judge.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 07:16 AM
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Hard to say not knowing how they were used and maintained. I worked for one painter that had a decent air compressor but he had never drained the moisture out of the tank [he thought I destroyed in when I did] or changed the oil. I only worked for him a short while but suspect that compressor had a short life.

I still have the 1st air compressor I bought, a little 11 gallon, 1 hp oil filled craftsman that I bought 30+ yrs ago. While the shroud broke off long ago and it looks kind of rough - it still works as well as it did when new. I now have a 6hp 60 gallon compressor in my shop and don't use it much, in fact when I do need it I have to go get it out of my oldest son's shop.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 07:36 AM
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Marksr, those 3 units I bought were in fact those Sears Craftsman units. They used their units for simple house hold light duty. Although at one point my younger son painted a whole fence with his. At the same time my older son bought one of those 60 gal upright vertical units and it failed in about 3 years. And again just light duty use. Of course you can't judge a product by a few isolated incidents. But for my use and needs I'll stick with the cheap pancake units.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 08:04 AM
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That 6 Gal will run any brad or finish nail gun or stapler. Might just power a framing nailer if you go slow. You could run a small detail or touch up paint gun if painting small areas. It won't run a HVLP paint gun or grinder or any tool that requires constant air flow to operate. It will have no problem inflating tires or blowing dust out of electronics. As mentioned by others, match the air consumption specs of the tools you plan to use to the CFM rating of the compressor. I have a small 3 gal which gets me by and I use electric powered tools for most jobs. I have been thinking about a 8 or 10 gal unit but they are heavy and take up space and even with wheels, they are not very portable if you need to work upstairs. Great for a garage shop though.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ray2047
What are you going to use it for, painting, sandblasting, nailing, air tools or what?
Not sure what I will be using it for yet but probably more likely will be for nailing, air tools, painting. Probably not SandBlasting.


So, a few things that I have learned from this thread: CFM and Oil vs Oil-Less. A question about Oil units. Is it difficult to maintain the oil?


My other question is, what are the hidden dangers when using one of these air compressors, just like any power tools. Obviously, I would not put my hand infront of a circular saw when I am cutting or operate a circular saw (corded) on a wet lawn. Anything to keep in mind when using this, like preventing the tank from blowing up my house?

Toolmon, that really helps with examples of "what it can be used vs what it cannot be used".

Originally Posted by Toolmon
It won't run a HVLP paint gun or grinder or any tool that requires constant air flow to operate
Is this due to the size of the tank that is preventing it from getting constant air flow?


Thanks
 
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Old 11-12-15, 09:44 AM
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No difficulty in maintaining an oiled unit. Like your car you just check the oil occasionally and change it every few years [although many don't]

Painting requires a lot of cfm. I've painted cars with my little 11 gal, 1hp compressor but I always had to stop and wait for the compressor to catch up. No such issues with my big compressor. Air powered cup guns are great for spraying solvent based coatings but are almost useless for spraying latex. Not sure what you intend to spray. Drills, grinders and such will operate at a reduced speed if they don't get enough air flow while a spray gun may fail to atomize the paint.

Air compressors are relatively safe although you could still hurt your self with a moving tool. You don't hear about it much these days but compressors can explode and the shrapnel can be deadly. I think draining the moisture out of the tank on a regular basis goes a long ways towards preventing that.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 04:23 PM
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Thank you MarkSR for the information!
 
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Old 11-12-15, 04:41 PM
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No difficulty in maintaining an oiled unit. Like your car you just check the oil occasionally and change it every few years [although many don't]
My 3 gallon craftsman has been abused in my plumbing trade. I use it mainly for winterizing homes and blowing out the lines..

I never change the oil. I have not checked the oil in 3 years.. ( note to self... check oil)

This compressor is 20 years old at least.. Several things broke off of it and such but it still runs..

I do drain the tank on occasion.

Oil compressors are better for the tools I believe because they add the oil required through the air??? Less oil you have to add to the tool maybe?

I just used it today.. And this year I been running it off a generator as many homes being lifted ( hurricane sandy) have no electric...

The on/off switch broke so it really just runs non stop as of the past year..

I have a 20 year old version of this...

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-3-gal...1&blockType=G1
 
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Old 11-12-15, 06:16 PM
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Between Lawrosa and MarkSR(Oil) and Norm201(Oil-Less), both sold me the product. Now, I just need to decide, basing against the price and cfm.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 06:20 PM
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Mike... funny you should mention that Craftsman unit as it just went on sale and is a pretty good value for the buck.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 06:30 PM
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Mike... funny you should mention that Craftsman unit as it just went on sale and is a pretty good value for the buck.
I saw that.. its very tempting.. I may take a look see this weekend..

99 bucks you cant beat it
 
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Old 11-12-15, 06:43 PM
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"Is this due to the size of the tank that is preventing it from getting constant air flow?"

It's due to the combination of motor and pump not producing enough cfm to efficiently run the tool. The tank size is a design afterthought, usually chosen to prevent a unit from short cycling or running for too long to pressurize.
 
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Old 11-13-15, 04:52 AM
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As mentioned above, the tank size compensates for the cfm needed but not necessarily provided by the pump. That's why an undersized compressor can operated a higher rated cfm tool for a short period.

Oil compressors are better for the tools I believe because they add the oil required through the air?
While an oiled unit might put a small amount of oil into the air it is not enough to lubricate the tool!
Before working for that guy that never drained his compressor I wouldn't have thought it put any oil into the air but when I drained his tank for the 1st time in years it left a rusty oil slick on the subfloor

IMO a small tank should be drained daily [or after being used] I never drain my 60 gal tank but do bleed off the water at the end of the day. Keeping the inside of the tank clean both prolongs the life of the tank and gives you cleaner air for your tools.
 
 

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