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ToddMcF2002 04-09-2011 09:52 PM

Compressor Confusion
Hi folks, sorry for another compressor thread, its a confusing topic. I've been researching and visiting shops looking at 60-80 gallon models today.

I'm picking up a 240z project soon and I'll eventually be doing DA and HVLP. As far as compressors, I've come to the conclusion that I just need a recommendation. I get that the amps are critical for power ratings, and the tank size in relation to HP is about duty cycle. The CFM's are the critical piece. That being said, I'm also concerned about local delivery and service, so I'm finding myself tempted to restrict myself to three local brands:

Ingersoll Rand - namely the SS5L5 rated at an "optimistic" 18CFM@90 and 22.5 AMPS. There is a service center in Boston.

Campbell Hausfeld - namely the 80 gallon with 5HP claiming ??? CFM (19.5 amps) Lowes obviously. Great warranty.

Husky namely the 2 stage 80 gallon with 5HP claiming 12.6 SCFM (22 amps) Great warranty.

So... the CH has mystery meat CFM, that's bad. The IR couldn't possibly be putting out 18 CFM@90 so you can't trust the number. Might as well call the IR rating unpublished as well. The Husky sounds tempting as a 2 stage but... its a Husky. But the Husky is also a CH isn't it? Maybe I need to research what the pump is?

Anyway... I do want to paint a car and DA, so I need something that can handle it. I'm "trying" to say below $1500, but saving a few hundred isn't that critical. I just want to buy ONCE and not overpay if that's possible.

So please... looking for recommendations here. As far as HVLP I'm thinking DeVilbiss Finishline "rated for 23 psi air inlet pressure and 11.4 CFM to produce 10 psi at the tip." DA I'm slightly less concerned about, since I'll be going in bursts and there is no paint drying if I have to pause...

Thanks for any advice about my selections.

oldred 04-09-2011 10:15 PM

First off The IR is flat out lying about that CFM rating! Some places have recently started rating it at a more believable 15.6 CFM. Of the three you listed none are really good and the IR is about the worst of the lot, they have a terrible reliability problem, we had one thread in the tools forum here a year or so ago that had 4 different owners that had them with bad motors!

By far the best deal to come along lately is at, of all places, Harbor Freight. For a lot less money than the IR (which is a China import BTW) you can get the two Stage American built US General that has got to be the best buy for the money anywhere! These things are built by Belaire in the USA (except for the pump and that is excellent quality built in Italy) and come with AO Smith and Square D electrics. I don't know how they can sell a domestic built compressor for less than the China imports but they do and it is an unbeatable deal!

Don't be afraid of HF for this tool because that thing is good quality no matter who is selling! Also they are "on sale" just about all the time so if you see it at regular price then check the HF internet sales and store sales papers for the sale price, if it is not on sale anywhere right now then just wait a week or so and it will be.

JohnnyK81 04-09-2011 11:18 PM

I concur with oldred again. I have the 2 stage US General and it's great for the money. You won't be getting any great service, but mine seems alright (I've only had it since the summer, but I'm still happy!).

A little loud and fast, so it probably won't last 35 years, but who cares.

Unfortunately they seem to have gotten rid of their 80 gallon 7.5 hp one (24 cfm or some such!), which I was going to grab instead, but having 100 amp service, I didn't think it was in the cards. Plus i already had 10 gauge wire running, and 6 or 8 gauge would have cost a bundle.. Now if your breaker is in the garage, well then, you'd be gold.

ToddMcF2002 04-10-2011 06:01 AM

I have a US General race jack but that is as far as I've taken Harbor Freight. I guess my question is - are they just going to dump this thing in my driveway? I was really hoping you were going to say try the Husky. It has the amp rating. :confused:

ToddMcF2002 04-10-2011 06:50 AM

It looks like Eaton has a compressor sale going on... 1099 for a 14 CFM@100?
I like the low RPM's, should be sort of quiet. They offer a 3 phase motor option too? First time I've seen that.

They still have a good reputation right? I realize they have the whole China thing going now but you really can't avoid it. 5 year warranty.

swvalcon 04-10-2011 08:56 AM

Get a 2 stage in the 5 hp range and you should be fine. If it says single stage just move on and be sure the motor rpm is in the low 1700s or less.Most pumps in this range are about 18-20 cfm at 90 or 100.

oldred 04-10-2011 09:28 AM


Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002
It looks like Eaton has a compressor sale going on.

They still have a good reputation right?

I realize they have the whole China thing going now but you really can't avoid it.

Eaton, good reputation? maybe you should read this?

And yes you certainly CAN avoid that "China thing"!

Maybe you did not notice that the US General is just a rebadged AMERICAN made Belaire compressor. It is made in the USA with the exception of the pump which is from Italy and is very good quality. Also if you want to spend more for a true industrial quality compressor then a Quincy (available at a really good price from Northern tool) is all USA built including the pump and is far better quality that the Chinese Eaton!

Some people just dismiss anything from HF but not everything they have is junk and that compressor is the best example of that. For the money it is THE best deal available anywhere for a compressor in that class.

oldred 04-10-2011 09:36 AM


Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002
I have a US General race jack but that is as far as I've taken Harbor Freight.

That is comparing "Apples to Oranges" and the quality of the jack, or lack of, has nothing to do with the compressor because they are not built by the same company or from the same place, the brand names are just HF store brands and have nothing to do with where or by who an item was built.

The Husky is just a so-so quality Chinese compressor that is sold at Home/hardware stores under several different names. They last a while under light duty home shop conditions but you can expect to replace it in a relatively short time compared to a quality built compressor just as you would with the CH.

oldred 04-10-2011 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by JohnnyK81
Unfortunately they seem to have gotten rid of their 80 gallon 7.5 hp one (24 cfm or some such!),

I don't like hearing that because that one was a real steal! I had noticed it rarely came on sale but even at the regular floor price it was unbeatable. That thing had a genuine Baldor motor and Square D electrics and was quite heavily built. I wondered how they could sell them at that price and I guess maybe the profit margin was just too thin. I wonder how long the 5 HP version will still be around?

JohnnyK81 04-10-2011 01:43 PM

Not sure but I'm glad I grabbed mine when I did! With the 20% off or so the 24cfm 7.5hp was just at $1000 or so!! Too bad I couldn't run it, amp wise.

And to the OP, the HF 5 hp one draws 22 amps.. 16cfm at 100psi. I don't know if they'll drop it off in the driveway. I just bought a couple wrenches from there and took the motor and pump off and threw the tank in sideways.

rusty 87 04-10-2011 02:35 PM

Good deal
:thumbup: 1,453$ delivered @

oldred 04-10-2011 02:55 PM


Originally Posted by rusty 87
:thumbup: 1,453$ delivered @

That's a REALLY good compressor, how about $1375.99! :thumbup:

Unlike the "Home store" compressors the Quincy is a compressor for the long term and will last a heck of a lot longer than those Chinese tire pumpers!

ford hollywood 04-10-2011 03:04 PM

Hey there, in my home shop i have the husky 80 gallon it's pretty good for the money i spent on it but it constantly running and re- filling . my buddys shop has a devilibis 120 gallon (i think) but its an expensive unit works really well . All depends on how much use you want from it and how much $$$$$ you wanna spend . Tony

oldred 04-10-2011 03:06 PM


Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002
Ingersoll Rand - namely the SS5L5 rated at an "optimistic" 18CFM@90 and 22.5 AMPS. There is a service center in Boston.

Might be interesting to see what a real compressor outfit rates those things for CFM.

That's the same compressor but with a more believable 15.5 CFM@90 PSI and even that's being generous! When IR had to do some back -up on that ridiculous 18+ CFM rating some places like Tractor Supply, etc still use the inflated figure.

ToddMcF2002 04-10-2011 04:22 PM

Not sure what to do here. I may have to call around because I can't have these "lift gate service" distributors drop a 500 lb compressor in my driveway and leave me to my own devices. If I were lucky I could get my brother to help move the thing but still it is just too risky. I'll try to find someone local I guess who will deliver and place it in spot where I can simply drill and lag the thing in.

In the end I may have no choice but to deal with Lowes or Home Depot. There is a Quincy dealer local that I can call but chances are I'll be looking at retail pricing.

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