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What size air compressor

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snmhanson
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 27 White Salmon, WA
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2004-06-12          88373


I couldn't really find a category for this question but I know there are tons of people on this board that will have a great answer for me so I thought I'd post it here. I'm looking to get a portable air compressor for various tasks around the house. I plan to use it mainly for nail guns, impact wrenches, and general stuff like that. However, I would also like to be able to run a die grinder and roatary sander off of it if possible and I'm sure there are other tools that I will want to use in the future as well. I guess I'm just wondering what size I should get if I'm trying to balance portability, versitility and of course price. I'd like to keep the price of the compressor around $300 but definately not more than $500. Most of what I see in that price range is ~27 gallons, 5 peak HP and put out 4.0 CFM at 90 psi. Is that enough or should I look bigger or limit my uses to non-continuous running tools? Thanks.

Matt

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What size air compressor

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-06-12          88378


snmhanson: I've been around the block a time or two with air compressors, so thought I'd share my experiences. First one I owned came from TSC probably 40 years ago. It had a cast iron single cylinder pump and must have had a good quality motor. Finally my needs outgrew it so I got an 80 gal. upright with a two stage pump and a portable air tank to take air out of the shop. Little did I know that by then even respected names in the compressor industry were selling light duty aluminum pumps with motors that did'nt have enough torque in cold weather to run the machine unless you kept a heat bulb on the motor. After throwing away 400.00 on that limp thing I put in a 500 gal four cylinder industrial machine that you simply can't use enough air to get ahead of even with several air tools running at the same time. If you really only need nail gun and easy potrability we use a pancake for around 200.00 that will do everything you need, but if you move up to impact wrenches, air sanders etc. it won't be big enough, so it's kinda your call. Check the CFM. and at what pressure the pump will produce then check the tool you'd like to use to see if it can keep up. Just my thoughts, Frank. ....

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What size air compressor

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jasonsewell
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 34 Plainville, CT USA
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2004-06-12          88379


Sears usually has a Craftsman 30 gal 6 HP unit on sale for $299 with some free tools included. It provides 7.5 CFM at 90 PSI and 9 CFM at 40 PSI. It runs on 110 VAC. The max pressure is 150 PSI.

You need at least 7-8 CFM at 90 PSI to maintain continous use or tools like the die grinder and impact wrench.

You should also consider wether you need a single stage or 2 stage. Single stage has one piston, doing all the work. A 2 stage has two pistons. It compresses the air faster and builds pressure faster than the single, usually to a higher pressure also. ....

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What size air compressor

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2004-06-13          88394


There are lots of small 10 gal tank compressors out there for $200.00. These are very portable and run on 110V. These compressors will run nailes all day. Big air wrenches if you have patience. BUT they won't give you much more than 120psi. Only some big truck tires require more than that anyway.

The small compressor is an easy entry into the air tool field and you can learn much as you experience air tools. I would suggest only buy the tools you need as you need them and buy good ones. I buy tools as part of the cost of a project.

I use a 3/4 impact and not to many home units (I have one on 220V single stage) can keep up to the air demand. I do not push it to hard and have to wait for pressure. It is not a daily use tool here so I am OK with my set up.

The sand blasters will kill your compressor. So if you have visions of lots of sandblasting either rent a big compressor or hire it out. ....

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What size air compressor

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-06-13          88404


If noise is an issue for you, I have found most of the single stage compressors to be really LOUD. Two stage compressors are nearly always a lot quieter in my experience. ....

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What size air compressor

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2004-06-13          88406


Get the biggest unit you can afford. To address the portability issue get a portable tank for $20

I can run my nail shooter most of a day on a portable storage tank.

If you are close to a Costco they have some good deals. ....

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What size air compressor

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dsg
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 528 Franklin, Maine
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2004-06-13          88412


Get an oil type, not an oil-less. Oil-less is very loud and short lived. Oil type is much more quiet even the single stage.

David ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
What size air compressor

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2004-06-13          88413


I have a 6hp, 30 gal, oilless. Not enough CFM for air grinders or DA sanders. Get a used industrial 2-stage. ....

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What size air compressor

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2004-06-14          88463


As you've probably found out grinders and sanders require much more air flow than do nail guns. Before I purchased my big compressor I would hook two small ones together with a T fitting so that I could get twice the CFM for the times I needed it. That way I could borrow a friend's compressor when I needed more air.

Be careful of the higher horsepower (5 HP+) 110 volt compressors. They draw current big time and will not get enough startup voltage to run if you need a longer extension cord. Most of these can be wired for 220 volt but that cuts down on the portability.
Dave ....

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What size air compressor

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snmhanson
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 27 White Salmon, WA
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-06-14          88483


Thanks for the help on this one. It sound like it will be somewhat tough to find something that is portable and the right price yet provides enough power for my needs so I think I will probably just look for a simple portable one for now and not really worry about running the disc sander or die grinder at this time. I go to Costco about once every week or two so I will check it out next time I'm there. Otherwise I'll probably just get a package from Sears or Home Depot to get me started. When I build my shop next year I will then look for a larger non-portable unit to run the more demanding tools. Thanks again for the help.

Matt ....

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What size air compressor

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2004-06-14          88484


I have the Coleman 6hp/27gallon from Costco and it seems like a well made outfit. The price includes an impact wrench, hose and fittings.

I had a smaller Coleman for several years before that and it was totally trouble free. ....

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What size air compressor

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JLHall
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 26 O'brien Florida
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2004-06-23          89245


mine is a 6hp 40gal. tank black max from sams. it has had hard
use running d/a sanders,drills,needle scalers and paint guns for years now. i do have a drier and an oiler depending what im doing. so far it has lasted but i drain it daily and change oil every year or less. there is no way i could be without a compressor. no way!

humidity is a big issue down here. what you thought was your compressor can be a big squirt gun. its hard on them too.

if i was to do it again it would be a twin mounted in outside cabinent with an 80-100 gallon on rubber isolators

you really need to think about units prime use and size to what you going to use it for most.check your tools requirements. not having enough cfm to run your tool is not good. just like sizing tractor to your place i think ....

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