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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    501
    Location
    South Weber Utah
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Air Compressor

    Fatherís day is coming and this year I asked for something I can use. I need an air compressor. Not sure what to get, so I need your help.

    I plan on using it inside the house with my air driven finish nailer, use it with an impact wrench in the garage, haul the thing around in the truck to blow out sprinkler systems in the fall and, of course, fill the kids bike tires.

    I guess Iím wondering what style compressor should be, and any thoughts on the size of the tank and motor.

    Thanks in advance.

    Turfman

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    11,496
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    Decide ahead of time how much weight you want to carry (in and out of the house, and into the pickup), and how much noise you can tolerate (many are very noisy), and then get the biggest (probably the most expensive) one that fits in the first two categories.
    I have one that is the right volume, but too heavy. I have another that I can carry, but is too noisy and not enough volume to run an impact wrench, but does well on the nailer.

    Hmmmmm? Would like one to fit all things. Good luck and Happy Fathers Day.

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    36,981
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    Hmm . . ., you're going to haul it around in the truck? Are you thinking of a gasoline powered model, or electric (intend to be where there's power to blow out those sprinkler systems)?

    And you want to use it in the house? Are you going to take the compressor in the house? Or leave it outside (as I always do) and have enough hose to reach anything inside?

    How often will you use it? How long do you want to run it continuously? Are you going to use other air tools than the ones you mentioned; i.e., drills, sanders, paint guns, sand blasters, etc.? In other words, I think we need to know more before we could make a valid recommendation.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    62
    Location
    Hartland VT
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT-425 (new June 26, 2011)

    Default Air reserve is key

    I bought a new Porter-Cable CPF23400S 3 HP, 4-Gallon Side Stack Compressor (and a cheap multi-tool kit) and generally am very happy with performance for small impact wrench, tire inflation, and blowing duties.

    But I tried the angle grinder and it works great for about 20 seconds and then poops out. Compressor kicks in to refill tanks. Then compressor runs continuously to try to keep up. But it can't. Compressor and tanks get really hot after about 3 minutes of trying to keep up with the volume demands. So I give up on that tool. My main objective was to power nailers, which I am sure it will work fine for. I also wanted a small unit I could pick up. So I got what I originally specified. If you want to run continuously-running tools, though, I think you'll need a big tank unit. So while cfm and psi ratings are important, but also look for tank volume as well to match it with the types of tools you'll be using.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,064
    Tractor
    Yanmar 1500D

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    I think the trick to buying a compressor is to size it to your greatest need. You might get by with a smaller unit for awhile but it will wear itself out from excessive duty cycles.

    You can run a nailer on a small portable compressor with no tank. It uses short shots of compressed air and doesn't require a lot of reserve volume. An impact wrench requires continuous flow of compressed air so it needs reserve volume and a compressor capable of providing the flow (cfm) to refill the tank.

    The size of the tank will determine the duty cycle (how often the compressor will have to come on to refill it) and the size of the compressor/motor will determine how long it takes to refill the tank. When using high volume tools, bigger is better.

    I currently use an electric 4hp compressor with a 25 gal tank. It can deliver 7cfm @ 90 psi. That is adequate to run my impact wrench, air chisel and air grinder. But I am a "hobby user", not a commercial user. It would not be adequate for daily commercial use of those tools if that is what I was doing for a living.

    If you do a lot of on site work where you need compressed air, an electric won't meet your needs unless there is power close to where you need it. Forget about running a large compressor on an extension cord. It draws too much power. Compressing air is hard work. You'll need a gas powered unit. But you will hate a gas powered unit in your shop.

    Not sure how much volume you need to blow out a sprinkler system or how often you do it but you might try this. Get a couple of portable air tanks. The type you fill at the compressor then just carry the tank where you need it. Then get a good 12V portable compressor. You can use the air from the tank to blow out the system then refill the tank using the portable compressor attached to your truck battery. Three or four of those portable tanks with quick disconnects for your attachment should get the job done.

    Then you can just get a good electric for the shop.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    94
    Location
    Ferry County, Washington
    Tractor
    Deere 4300 HST

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    Turfman:
    Another thing to think about is electric service where you plan to use the compressor. The larger units require 230 volts. I didn't think about this when I built my outbuilding, so I wound up with a 120 volt Sears compressor with 5 horsepower. It works great for most things, but will run out of air when you use your impact wrench a lot. It has a 6 gallon tank. So, if you want a heavy duty unit, and don't want to spring for a gas powered unit, be sure you have 230 volts available.
    Bob

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,200
    Location
    Montana (Near Bozeman)
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 425 (September 2003)

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    A couple of thoughts. I bought an upright 30-gallon unit with max 125-PSI. This should cover almost everything I need with 125PSI. When talking with the local mechanic he mentioned to be sure the motor is an A.O. Smith not a GE. He ends up repairing the GE units on a regular basis. As this compressor is a single stage it is noisy. I placed it in the garage and used 640PSI-pvc piped to the shop in the basement, piped the garage, and a line to the shed. This keeps the noise to a minimum in the house. I use a small tank for the road use that is needed very little.
    PJ

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    501
    Location
    South Weber Utah
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    Thanks to all, I'll make my request and see what the kids show up with.

    I appreciate all your suggestions and help.

    Turfman

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    9,945
    Location
    Triangle Of North Carolina
    Tractor
    JD 4700

    Default Re: Air Compressor

    Turfman,

    You might want to do a search on compressors. We had a
    discussion a few months back. The other thing to decide
    is if you want oil or an oil less compressor. Most of the
    compressors you see in the store are oil less compressors.

    Later...
    Dan McCarty

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