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Old 04-03-2011, 11:45 AM
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Harbie Freight large compressors

Does anyone have first hand experience with Harbie Freight compressors, spacificily 5 HP 60 units? Wondering if they work well and deliver enough duty cycles for air tools and spray equipment, for the home shop anyway.

Hondo78- (Newbie)

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Old 04-03-2011, 12:59 PM
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Much has been discussed about Harbor Freight's compressors in this forum. The end result is most are Chinese trash with the exception of the U.S. General branded. They are not Chinese and are probably the best buy going in compressors..

Vince
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:32 PM
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60 Gallon 5hp Compressors

The larger 60 gallon 5hp model is a US General branded unit, and is oil filled so should be a unit that can be serviced. I guess for the bucks it will be worth the risk. An IR unit is over a grand plus shipping, and the Harbie unit is $799 and only a two hour drive to pick it up.

Thanks for the input, I was not aware these US General units were not made in China.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo78
The larger 60 gallon 5hp model is a US General branded unit, and is oil filled so should be a unit that can be serviced. I guess for the bucks it will be worth the risk. An IR unit is over a grand plus shipping, and the Harbie unit is $799 and only a two hour drive to pick it up.

Thanks for the input, I was not aware these US General units were not made in China.


And the IR unit IS made in China!

The US general is built in the USA from mostly USA made parts with exception of the pump itself which is very good quality built in Italy, the tank is constructed in the USA and it uses A.O.Smith or Square D electrics. The Motor depends on the model but some actually use genuine Baldor motors and all the US General models seem to be much better quality than we have come to expect from HF! Turns out the things are built by a well known compressor outfit, BelAir. After looking at them when they appeared at the local HF here sometime back I was so impressed with the apparent quality vs price that I did some searching for info on them, what I found was very impressive indeed!


As for guessing that "for the bucks it will be worth the risk" I would think that it is not much risk at all!
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28
They are not Chinese and are probably the best buy going in compressors..Vince


After watching these things for a couple of years now and seeing one in operation for most of that time plus everything I have been able to find out about them I have to wholeheartedly agree with that statement, for home shop use anyway. There are better options for a full time use shop that needs a lot of air on a full time basis but for home shop/hobby use this is no doubt THE best bang-for-the-buck available today!

I just can't understand why HF does not even mention that these things are not Chinese imports? Like I said before, maybe they just don't want to spoil their image!
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:08 PM
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I have the 5hp 60 gallon 2 stage one. Seems like a good compressor.

As stated, the pumps are made in Italy, and motors (Well, mine is at least) made in Mexico I believe.. And I DO believe it's AO Smith, or at least a division of it. I believe it draws 22amps.

Yes, they are the same as Belaire compressors, and a few more. They are all built from pumps made by ABAC Compressors. They both use the T29s pumps (The 5hp 2 stage ones by belaire and HF I mean).

Unfortunately, the coupons say no dice to air compressors anymore!
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyK81
Unfortunately, the coupons say no dice to air compressors anymore!

Actually those coupons are not much good for anything anymore, they may save a few bucks but most times the item will either already be on sale with a coupon or it will be before long. The last few 20% off coupons that came specifically state that they cannot be combined with any other discounts which means that if an item has a coupon in a flier it is not eligible. They can be used for general sale items in the store but it seems anything worthwhile anymore is a coupon sale in a sales flier and also they specifically exclude "parking lot sales". Ok for saving a couple of bucks on a grinder or something but not worth much else anymore. It sure was nice when they could be used on big ticket items where a fella could save hundreds, I saved over $670 on one item!

BTW, that one item was a 14x40 engine lathe which has turned out to be a fantastic buy! I have run the cr@* out of that thing for 2 1/2 years now and it has been zero problem, accurate as can be and quite powerful. Just like that Belaire (I thought that spelling did not look right earlier! ) it is just a rebadged version of the same machine other outfits sell for more money, only difference is the color and price. While I was researching that lathe I came across a post on another forum where a guy had done this and it sounded like a deal that was too good to be true but I thought I would try it and guess what? I handed the girl the coupon and she deducted the $670 like it was nothing.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:26 PM
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Yup! I ended up with that 60 gallon 2 stage for $620 out the door I believe, which I thought was a great deal.. Even if it breaks, I'm still ahead!

I think that's a bad move on their part.. I don't think people are going to pay a lot of money for a lot of their junk.. Unless they're banking on people being so accustomed to going there that they won't care, and continue shopping there.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:35 PM
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Although it didn't come from HF, we've had one of the same compressors for about 10 years as a backup to the 10hp compressor in our shop. The motor on ours is AO Smith and the compressor head is one of the Italian ones easily identifiable by its squarish external features.

It has never given any problems at all. I recently had a problem with the main compressor, so I turned it off and turned on the backup, figuring I'd fix the main one in a few days. That few days turned into about 4 months. Among other uses, I average using my bead blaster at least a half hour every day, and sometimes twice that much. The bead blaster keeps the backup running continuously, and I was impressed at how cool the compressor head was after a half hour continuous run.

Overall, I'd say we've run that compressor about as much in 10 years as a home hobbyist would run one in the same amount of time. I've been real impressed with the reliability and would buy one from HF in a minute if I needed another one.

According to one article I read online concerning compressors, that company in Italy makes more compressor pumps than anyone else in the world.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:52 PM
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I bet this was not the response the OP was expecting!
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TubeTek
I average using my bead blaster at least a half hour every day, and sometimes twice that much. The bead blaster keeps the backup running continuously, and I was impressed at how cool the compressor head was after a half hour continuous run.
Hmm.. How cool does your stay? Is yours the 5hp 2 stage 60 gallon, or the 22cfm 80 gallon?

because my head definitely gets way too hot to touch after running for that long! I should take my IR thermometer to it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyK81
Hmm.. How cool does your stay? Is yours the 5hp 2 stage 60 gallon, or the 22cfm 80 gallon?

because my head definitely gets way too hot to touch after running for that long! I should take my IR thermometer to it.
Ours is the 5hp 2 stage 60 gal. You wouldn't want to lay your hand on it after a long run, but that's not a good way to judge something like a compressor anyway because something that's aluminum and 140 degrees will make you move away real quick, even though its not a high temperature by most standards. I'd say, without checking it with the IR, that it probably gets up to around 180 degrees. I've seen plenty of aluminum compressors that would boil water on the head after a half hour run, and that's what I was comparing it to when I said it runs cool.

One thing I would do if I was using one of these compressors all the time is to fabricate a setup for the intake to allow the use of a larger air filter. The stock filter is small and it can get clogged up pretty quick and give a pretty large pressure drop which makes the compressor work harder. A paper element about the size of the ones people typically run on 3 deuce setups would give 5 or more times as much filter area and wouldn't have to be watched so close. I assume the HF units have the same intake filter as ours, which is a little oval critter that mounts to the side of the head facing the motor.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:34 PM
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Yup, I'm going to hit it with a thermometer.. What's a 'danger zone' for temp do you think?


Yes, the HF filters are pathetic little things.. It's a tiny roundish/rectangular that mounts to the side of the head. I would have done something about it already but the hole on the side of the head is a rectangle, and I'm just too lazy to mill something up with a gasket surface.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:03 PM
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Harbie Freight 5HP 60 Gallon compressors

OldRed and all, Thanks for the thoughtfull research, I bought one and lifted it off my PU; overall it seems to ring of a solid unit the flywheel screen is tough enought to grab onto when moving it into position. The 20% off cupon did no good in the Los Vegas HF. Also, I was told the warranty was only 30 days, however the downloaded paperwork shows 36 months!, So much for the extended warranty the mgr was pushing.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:42 PM
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Crap, that's what i forgot to to mention!

You save $1000 for the same compressor, but you lose any warranty.. 30 days is what they told me. I don't use it often enough for it to break in that time anyways.
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