Author Topic: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor  (Read 2307 times)

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Offline JustinWG

  • Posts: 9
LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« on: March 19, 2017, 05:22 PM »
I've recently lost my crappy Harbor Freight special and I am looking to upgrade.  I know that it won't take much to accomplish that element, but I'd like to intelligently invest my money in a quality tool.  Frankly, I know very little about air compressors, hence I am seeking advice.

Intended purpose:

We bought a new (to us) home almost two years ago.  We installed some 1/2" solid strand bamboo flooring (900~ sq. ft.) and a trim package last year.  During the trim install, the compressor died.  To my amusing lack of luck, the flooring product has failed - finish chipping, boards emanating odd waxy substance, scratches super easy, and T&G's are popping.  Before someone asks, yes, it was installed to spec. and I also had the help of a 40+ year master craftsman.

Bottom line, we get to replace the entire flooring project and trim  [mad]  It's even more awesome because the bamboo was supposed to be done in time for us to lay LVT in wet areas... which was supposed to be completed two mos before our first child was born.  Well, that didn't happen.  So, we get to rip everything and start all over.

Back on point - key things I've researched and/or otherwise been told I should look for.... 
   -  A pancake or hot-dog style (around 2 gal.)
   -  Oil splash, supposedly tends to be a stronger and more reliable motor
   -  Something as quiet as possible - might have to install while the little guy is here
   -  Relatively light?  Hoping for something around 60-70 lbs.

Any input or insight is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

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Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1806
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 06:23 PM »
Makita MAC 700, which is an oiler, or the Rol-Air JC10, which I think is oiless. Both get high marks usually.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 983
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 06:33 PM »
Leakyroof nailed it.  (Pun intended)

Rolair JC10
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 06:36 PM by RobBob »

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 341
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 07:18 PM »
Ive been eyeing a coupel California Air models. Those things are so quiet its crazy!
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 388
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 07:35 PM »
I'd recommend you fill out your country which helps when offering advice.

I swear by my California Air Tools. It is quiet and light weight with the aluminum tanks. The recovery time is fine for all but the faster flooring installers. I called and spoke with CAT and they said just buy one of the ones from Ebay. Mine has functioned flawlessly. The "H" model is their heavier duty motor.

Edit: They do make a 2.0hp version that draws 15amps. It would work well in some situations, but on lesser electrical circuits and using extension cords it would not be ideal.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/California-Air-Tools-4610A-H-Ultra-Quiet-Oil-Free-Compressor-USED-/302155370269?hash=item4659dd0f1d:g:iJwAAOSwuTxWAE0a

« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 07:43 PM by Peter_C »

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 4714
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 07:40 PM »
Get a CAT or Roller with the CAT pump.

Tom

Online #Tee

  • Posts: 680
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 07:50 PM »
California air tool one i have serves me awesome 62db about 5 ft away
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

IG: tee212

Offline RustE

  • Posts: 136
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 11:56 PM »
I'll toss another vote for the Makita MAC700.  Just watch the rubber feet on this machine as they can scuff some surfaces.

Offline JustinWG

  • Posts: 9
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 02:34 AM »
Thank you for all of the input!

I am very much a hands-on and tangible shopper.  The local hardware store keeps pushing me towards the Makita Big Bore line, MAC700, 2400, and 5200.  After a couple nods here, seems like that'll likely be the way I go. 

I've read lots of solid reviews on Cal Air Tools, but never got to put my hands on one.  To the best of my knowledge, no local stores carry them.

It sounds like a 700 will be sufficient for my trim work, and meets the other desired specs... but, would you consider the 5200?  For about $120 more it seems like a lot more of a machine with some quality of life comforts. 

Perhaps I am over-analyzing.

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3431
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 03:46 AM »
I have been a satisfied Rolair JC10 user for several years.  I don't use it much for carpentry, but have used it for small cabinet jobs.  I use it mostly for changing tires, adding air and other repair work on my trucks, tractor and trailer. It is the quietest compressor I have used and very light weight.  I only had one problem and it was my own fault.  It is stored under cover in an unheated garage exposed to the weather.  I asked Rolair about what was happening.  They got bck immediately with advice and offered to send the parts.  By time I got their reply, I had already determined the problem and that it was actually my fault. Rolair wanted to send the part anyhow. I have been thru many larger compressors that have not lasted for much more than a seson.  This JC 10 has been doing its job for 5 or 6 years now and still kept out in unheated building.  My truck tires are kept at 50# and the trailer at 60#.  Except for the one time, I have had no problems either changing rims, blowing up tires to specs or working on engines or other equipment repairs.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline RustE

  • Posts: 136
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 08:40 AM »
...
It sounds like a 700 will be sufficient for my trim work, and meets the other desired specs... but, would you consider the 5200?  For about $120 more it seems like a lot more of a machine with some quality of life comforts. 
...

I went with the MAC700 because I wanted the smaller form factor and usually run a single air hose.

I have an older Craftsman air compressor that sits on a dolly; similar to the MAC5200.  Yes, the dolly makes it easier to move the heavier machine.

The MAC5200 appears to have enough CFM capability to run an air ratchet, mini die grinder, and a few other tools.  The tank volume is not quite enough for continuous operation of most impact guns, but it would probably be okay for infrequent use.

Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 08:41 AM »
I have a Rolair JC10 suggested by tjbnwi(Tom) about a year ago, nice and quiet.
Bill
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Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1806
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 09:24 AM »
Thank you for all of the input!

I am very much a hands-on and tangible shopper.  The local hardware store keeps pushing me towards the Makita Big Bore line, MAC700, 2400, and 5200.  After a couple nods here, seems like that'll likely be the way I go. 

I've read lots of solid reviews on Cal Air Tools, but never got to put my hands on one.  To the best of my knowledge, no local stores carry them.

It sounds like a 700 will be sufficient for my trim work, and meets the other desired specs... but, would you consider the 5200?  For about $120 more it seems like a lot more of a machine with some quality of life comforts. 

Perhaps I am over-analyzing.
  One thing about the 5200 that worries me is job site amperage draw on a 15 amp nominal circuit.  I see a spec of 13.8 amps for the impressive 5200 model, if that oiled compressor is cold and first started, that amperage draw might spike higher and trip a breaker. You're really close on that 15amp threshold comfort zone.....And how many 20 amp circuits are as easy to find as a 15 amp circuit in most households.
Esp. an older house that doesn't have 20 amp circuits in a kitchen. Just a thought.
 It DOES look like a nice compressor and I like the fact that the handle can be folded down to a more compact moving position for transportation.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 12:48 PM »
One thing about the 5200 that worries me is job site amperage draw on a 15 amp nominal circuit.  I see a spec of 13.8 amps for the impressive 5200 model, if that oiled compressor is cold and first started, that amperage draw might spike higher and trip a breaker. You're really close on that 15amp threshold comfort zone.....And how many 20 amp circuits are as easy to find as a 15 amp circuit in most households.
Esp. an older house that doesn't have 20 amp circuits in a kitchen. Just a thought.
 It DOES look like a nice compressor and I like the fact that the handle can be folded down to a more compact moving position for transportation.
My 60 year old home has 20A circuits in the kitchen.  In fact, in order to use my Fuji Q4 in a bedroom, I run an extension cord from the kitchen.  This is one reason I went with the Rolair JC10 with its 8A which draws more like 6A.
Bill
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Offline Hank77

  • Posts: 15
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 01:06 PM »
I'll toss in another vote for CAT (California Air Tools).  I've had their 4610S (steel tank, 4.6 gallon, dual stack) for a few months now.  It's amazingly quiet.  I picked mine up off eBay when they had a 20% off deal back in November, but it looks like the regular prices have dropped down to that level.  They have a new tiny 1.x gallon compressor that's even quieter (56 dB vs. 60 dB).  I'm thinking of picking that up as a spare to leave in the garage, and leave the larger one in the workshop.

I don't think I'd ever go back to a louder compressor after owning a CAT.

Offline patriot

  • Posts: 31
    • Wood Working By Design
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 10:49 AM »
I've used my 20gal Craftsman air compressor almost daily since '02 and have never had a single mechanical issue with it.  The only potential problem I suspected about this compressor is that it really draws the amps on startup, so connecting it to a proper circuit was important.

When I lived in Chicago it would trip the breaker if another appliance was drawing from the same circuit.  Fast forwarding, I rewired the entire house with 12ga wire and replaced the breaker panel with 20A breakers, but the fact remained that the house was still under-powered for modern appliances.  That said, if I ran the compressor on a 20A circuit - that was not being shared - it would not trip the breaker.

Fast forwarding again: When we moved back to New Mexico and built my new workshop, I wired up a separate circuit 12ga/20A just for the compressor. (All wiring in my new shop was 12ga/20A save for a single 10ga/30A circuit for my bandsaw.)  I checked the amperage on startup and found that the amperage would spike over 20amps, but this was a very brief spike and never tripped the breaker.  I also installed a switch so I could control when the compressor could recharge itself so as not to startle myself (when it started up) while on some power machine.

The manual claims that this compressor can be run on a 15A circuit.  My experience with this compressor contradicts this information.

The point I am trying to make is that you need to be aware of the potential amperage that these tools can draw for the obvious reason.  I am also aware that your preference may be a smaller volume air compressor, but the constant charging of a small air compressor would soon get wearisome for me which is why I prefer a slightly large volume compressor.  Either way they are a bit noisy.

Best of luck.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 10:54 AM by patriot »

Offline RobNJ

  • Posts: 132
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 11:23 AM »
The price just dropped on this one if you want a really small model.
I bought it since it's super quiet and good enough for running a pinner or cleaning out dust/chips

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYHYHEA/ref=psdc_9022396011_t2_B00NOSCDPA


Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2017, 11:44 AM »
I also installed a switch so I could control when the compressor could recharge itself so as not to startle myself (when it started up) while on some power machine.

The manual claims that this compressor can be run on a 15A circuit.  My experience with this compressor contradicts this information.
No on/off switch on the Craftsman?  I had an old non-oil less one like that, it burnt the prongs right off the plug because it started up when plugged it at times.  Most but not all motors have a higher inrush current when starting up.
Bill
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Offline RustE

  • Posts: 136
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2017, 12:42 PM »
I'm thinking he put another switch in the series to control when the compressor could cycle, rather than using the automatic switch that works on tank pressure.

Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 01:09 PM »
I'm thinking he put another switch in the series to control when the compressor could cycle, rather than using the automatic switch that works on tank pressure.
What would be the difference in final operation between the two?  None the way it looks to me, either way it can't cycle.
Bill
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Offline RustE

  • Posts: 136
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 01:34 PM »
What would be the difference in final operation between the two?  None the way it looks to me, either way it can't cycle.

My thought is a setup that interrupts the power supply to the compressor with a switch.  You're correct that it's not any different using a power switch on the compressor versus using a separate switch mounted elsewhere or remote controlled.  Otherwise, the compressor will automatically cycle when the tank drops below the set pressure (usually 90-100 psi).

Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 02:10 PM »
My thought is a setup that interrupts the power supply to the compressor with a switch.  You're correct that it's not any different using a power switch on the compressor versus using a separate switch mounted elsewhere or remote controlled.  Otherwise, the compressor will automatically cycle when the tank drops below the set pressure (usually 90-100 psi).
Yeah, two switches in series makes no sense to me.
Bill
Most Confused!

Offline JustinWG

  • Posts: 9
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 04:07 PM »
Again, thank you for the input.

In all likelihood, this compressor will be used to trim and to hang doors, then spend some quality time serving the hobby shop.  I do not intend on trying to utilize for mechanic nor finishing tools.

Regardless of unit, the electrical panel is very easily accessible in the garage/shop.  The panel and circuits were replaced as a contingency of us buying the home.  We have plenty of capacity in the panel if needed.  As it stands, the garage is on its own separate breaker. 

Now it's just a matter of really deciding on which option to go with.  Going with something small(er), allows for more money for other tools - always a favorable idea. 

Thanks again.

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 316
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2017, 09:12 PM »
I have three compressors and use the smallest, lightest, quietest one the most.  It is a Senco and costs about $100.  It weighs only about 30 lbs.  They have almost the same thing at HD for $150.  The difference seems to be cosmetic.  I have used it with my flooring nailer.  I have to wait occasionally with that big nailer but for most of what I do, it keeps up.  I wouldn't try it with a spray gun but for nailers, it works.  If I needed to frame a house I would drag out a bigger compressor but for finish work or a few big nails, the little Senco is all I need.

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3431
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 07:19 AM »
I have the small Senco in my cellar shop. It is adequate for use with my nailer, both large nails and brads.  It is a little more noisy than my JC 10.  I keep the JC 10 out in the barn as it is better for use for tires on trucks and other equipment. Of the two, the JC 10 is quieter. The Senco is much lighter in weight. I have read somewhere that the small Sencos are quieter than the older models.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 27
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #25 on: Yesterday at 11:35 AM »
Another vote for Rolair here.
I picked up a VT25BIG a while back once my 70's era craftsman finally gave up and have been extremely happy with it. The 100% duty cycle 13.8 AMP motor makes it easy to run from almost any outlet. Coming in at 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI it is one of the highest outputs of anything I could find without going to a much larger unit. This was very beneficial when I had to use an air chisel to remove a large area of tile floor. The large wheels make it very easy to move around as well.

VT25BIG link here

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1806
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #26 on: Yesterday at 03:12 PM »
Another vote for Rolair here.
I picked up a VT25BIG a while back once my 70's era craftsman finally gave up and have been extremely happy with it. The 100% duty cycle 13.8 AMP motor makes it easy to run from almost any outlet. Coming in at 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI it is one of the highest outputs of anything I could find without going to a much larger unit. This was very beneficial when I had to use an air chisel to remove a large area of tile floor. The large wheels make it very easy to move around as well.

VT25BIG link here
  The shipping weight is 108 lbs-  HOW heavy IS this compressor... [eek]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline wptski

  • Posts: 354
Re: LF advice/suggestions on a new smaller air compressor
« Reply #27 on: Yesterday at 07:55 PM »
The shipping weight is 108 lbs-  HOW heavy IS this compressor... [eek]
Nothing at their site but one vendor has it as 100 lbs which is only 8 lbs of packing for shipping and that doesn't sound correct to me.
Bill
Most Confused!