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TNshadetree 06-05-2011 09:16 AM

Compressor choice-Brand name vs tank size
I've spent days researching compressors trying to make a smart choice. I have several cars to prep and paint and I occassionally sandblast, but not a lot. After all my research I've started to narrow the choices down that work with my price range. Here's where I've arrived.

Belaire model 218V - 2 stage 80 gallon, 15.3cfm@90 13.75@175
around $1,100

Quincy model 2V41C60VC - 2 stage 60 gallon, 15.9@90 15.2@175

I'd love to move up to a 80 gallon Quincy, but that would add at least another $400 or $500 and would really put me completely out of my comfprt zone. There are choices with Eaton and Chicago Pneumatic that would get me to 80 gallons and the same performance, but like the Belaire I'm uncertain about their quality, service etc.
Eaton PP05V080V1 80 gallon 19@100 psi $1,300

Chicago Pnuematic 80 gallon 15.3@90 psi $1,200

I had all but settled on the Belaire 80 gallon, but I never got a good feel for how respected a machine it was. The Quincy is everyones choice as the top of the line, but I'd pay a little more and also have to drop down to a 60 gallon tank. So I'm trying to weigh the brand names vs tank size now.

What choice would you guys go with?

JohnnyK81 06-05-2011 09:26 AM

Tank size is moot, and your Quincy has more air than the Belaire.

matts37chev 06-05-2011 09:37 AM

once you start using air with a high volume tool (sandblast, grinder, etc.) it wont matter 60 or 80 gal.
you will use up the reserve in the tank and the compressor will fire up very quickly
so at that point you want the better compressor

you could also set up the system with a cooling tank and that would make up the difference in tank size :thumbup:

oldred 06-05-2011 01:56 PM

Like the others have said forget about the size of the tank it simply won't make any difference in performance, that's not the purpose of the tank in spite of common (mis)belief. This has been covered in detail many times in the past if you want to search for it but the bottom line is choosing a compressor based on tank size is a serious mistake.

Eaton is a Chinese import and before considering them you should check out the thread here concerning how they treat their customers, :rolleyes:

That's not the only bad reviews I have heard on them and there have been some other rather not so nice experiences some customers have complained about.

The CP and Belaire are both decent choices but it depends on the type of service will be demanded of these machines, you mention sandblasting so you really need a 100% duty cycle. Not sure if either of those compressors are rated at 100% (they may be, it would be a good idea to check it out) but I am sure the Quincy is.

The Quincy is by far the best compressor you listed and if you pass on it based solely on the size of the tank you are making a big mistake, that 60 gallon tank is not a drop down at all and you will notice zero difference in performance between a 60 gallon and an 80 gallon tank all else being equal, The bigger tank will not help the compressor keep up with an air hungry tool or sandblaster, compressors just don't work that way. I know it may sound as if I am just pushing brand loyalty here and I have to admit bias toward the Quincy but it is far more that, the Quincy costs more but it is in a higher class than the other two. For the extra money you are getting an American built (the Belaire is USA built also!) industrial compressor that is truly rated at 100% duty cycle and has a proven record of reliability.

I know this will sound like a broken record harping about the tank but you are placing a lot of emphasis on tank size and I simply can't stress enough to forget about that 80 gallon vs 60 gallon tank and don't let the size of the tank sway your decision!

TNshadetree 06-06-2011 09:14 AM

I've read all the post I could find, not just here, but from anywhere Google could find anything. I think I will tend toward the Quincy when compared to the Belaire only $300 less.

My only hesitation is how everyone says the Harbor Freight "US General" is a pretty well built Belaire model. It's on sale right now for $799 while the Quincy is going to cost me $1,400. I wonder if I'd ever notice the difference. As I mentioned before, I don't really sandblast that often. Just an engine bay occasionally. $600 difference is a lot of cheese.

oldred 06-06-2011 10:41 AM

Don't compare Apples and Oranges! The HF compressor (actually it's just a rebadged Belair) is a single stage "home shop" type compressor while the Quincy is an industrial duty two stage full time shop type compressor meant for the long haul, you just can't compare the two. The HF (Belaire) is an excellent buy for a compressor of that class but would likely come short with a sanblaster.


Originally Posted by TNshadetree
Harbor Freight "US General" is a pretty well built Belaire model. It's on sale right now for $799 while the Quincy is going to cost me $1,400. I wonder if I'd ever notice the difference.

Would you notice the difference between that single stage HF compressor and the Quincy? You bet you would, in more ways than one!

HF did have the big two stage Belaire but one of the other guys here pointed out that they seem to have discontinued it and indeed that looks to be the case.

TNshadetree 06-06-2011 10:56 AM

No, Harbor Freight still has a two stage advertised. Just got a flyer yesterday. I don't see a 80 gallon anymore, but here's the 60 gallon listed.

US General Lot #93274 5HP 60 gallon 2-stage 13.5@165 15.8@90 16.4@40 Reg $899.99 Sale $799.99

oldred 06-06-2011 11:20 AM

You are right I got confused there, I was mistakenly equating the Quincy to the single stage compressor but the price should have been a dead giveaway that I had the wrong compressor, Don't know what I was thinking! :spank: Sorry about the confusion I was way off the mark that time!

The two stage HF compressor and the Quincy certainly are more closely comparable and the main differences would be in overall quality and service life plus duty cycle.

The compressor that HF has discontinued is the 7 1/2 HP model which was a real brute and a heck of a deal, must have been too good of a deal!

TNshadetree 06-06-2011 11:46 AM

Yea, I don't know how I'm going to weigh the differences. If it was just a $200 difference it'd be easy. But $600 doesn't just grow on trees.

I may have to decide if I want to pay the extra cost for the Quincy as a present to my son 20 years from now.

JohnnyK81 06-06-2011 02:04 PM

Yes yes, Oldred has gone and confused everybody again. ;)

The 2 stage HF 60 gallon is the one I own.. Seems pretty good.. Certainly not a 600 rpm quincy, but not a Home Depot special either.

The 80 gallon as oldred said would have been damn awesome.. Too awesome, as he said.

Define what you mean by sandblasting. Little cabinet? Mine's fine for that? Siphon blaster outside? Mines fine for small parts..

Doing a whole car.. Probably not a wise idea.. Probably end up with a pile of molten aluminum on the floor. :D I'd feel a lot better if I could find some synth compressor oil around here though!!

oldred 06-06-2011 03:45 PM


Originally Posted by JohnnyK81
Yes yes, Oldred has gone and confused everybody again. ;)

I don't know what the heck I was thinking, he never said a darn thing that related to that single stage HF (Belaire) compressor and yet that is what I was thinking he was talking about. Damn this getting old is a real drag! (Until you consider the alternative! :pain: )

TNshadetree 06-06-2011 04:03 PM

The only balsting I do is using a presurized sandbaster I bought from Northern years ago. I really don't do much though, just balsting pitted spots and cleaning up engine bays as I said. So sandblasting isn't really an issue for me. But I do a lot of air file and DA sanding and I paint cars using a Sata conventional gun. So I am comfortable with the cfm ratings of any of the compressors I listed. I'm more weighing the cost of stepping up to the Quincy as opposed to all the other ones I've listed.

I went to my local Northern tool and looked over the Quincy and then dropped by Harbor Freight and looked at the US General. They are very different machines considering the cfm's are similar. The Quincy has a V pump that has 2 pistons for each stage for a total of 4 pistons, and the exchange tube between the stages was very long and finned. The US General had one piston per stage and they were side by side in a vertical layout. I was surprised to see the exchange tube wasn't finned. But thwere was a finned casting going part wat towards the tank from the second stage.

I pretty much decided between the two I'd spend the extra cash and go with the Quincy. I'd still like to see the Belaire and Chicago Pnuematic up close.

JohnnyK81 06-06-2011 04:34 PM

No doubt it's a better machine. If you can afford it, go for it. Peace of mind is nice. I had to make some decisions (price) and figured, meh, I can deal with it since it's just a hobby of mine.

Brad4321 06-07-2011 01:43 AM

Occasionally TSC puts the true 5HP, 80 gallon 2 stage IR on sale for $999. It is a good deal if you have a local TSC and don't mind waiting. The quincy is an excellent compressor and the IR isn't too far behind IMO.

I do not agree with the blanket statement that tank size does not matter under the specific condition of painting. My 80 gallon IR kicks on once per coat when painting, but runs nearly continuously blasting or running the DA, as to be expected. The air line gets hot to the touch and overloads my water traps allowing moisture to seep through the lines after about 15 minutes continuous use. If I had a 20 gallon tank while painting, I would see the same issue as I do now with the DA. I use a desiccant filter while painting as extra assurance. The warmer the air, the more water vapor could be present. Humidity here is usually pretty high...and when my air heats up, I get wet air. The more the compressor runs, the hotter the air. If you run a refrigerent drier or desiccant filters, this point is moot anyway as your water problems are completely solved.

Always buy the most CFM you can afford, without a doubt, but a 20cfm compressor on a 10 gallon tank is about worthless IMO. The bigger tank won't help a CFM hungry tool one bit, but it will help keep the air cooler on your less demanding tools. Like said earlier in this thread, 60-80 gallon is hardly noticable, but I gave an extra 100 for the 20 more may not help that much, but it sure won't hurt a thing. On the 2 stage compressors, pumping up to approx 175 psi, it is also worth noting that the "amount of air" in those tanks is double a single stage at 90 psi, if you are regulating to 90psi. There is a lot more air storage here for your less demanding tools.

Keep in mind, before I get 100 posts saying I am dead wrong, is that I am not specifically talking about anything in this thread. A 60 gallon to 80 gallon tank difference is barely worth discussing. If this was a 10 gallon to 80 gallon, what I mentioned will come into play. It is more theoretical than anything else as most compressors have a comparable tank size to cfm. I have seen a few high cfm compressors with a small tank, but they are a bit rare and have a specific application.

trees 06-07-2011 06:01 AM

Consider your compressor as a lifetime choice so get the best one you can and only do it once. My experience over many yeas that your demands on your compressor grows in time as you learn more and more about what it can and will do for you. Your collection of air tools will grow as well and you don't want to limit your future purchases due to limitations of your compressor.


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