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Old 10-31-2007, 10:52 PM
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who builds the best compressor

i am looking at getting a compressor that i can use all around but not spend too much ($1000) on. i have been looking at craftsman but i have heard both bad and good but mostly bad about them looking to do painting, sanding, air brush and maybe use on an impact from time to time for wheel change out.
open for suggestions.

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Old 11-01-2007, 05:02 AM
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There's a bunch of really good ones,
Eaton is among the best, if not THE best.
They have a 2 stage 5HP for just a little more
than your price, but check them out, they give
you so much more for your money.

I have one, they are really well built with nice features.
It's my 4th compressor-I wish I had bought it first
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Old 11-01-2007, 12:03 PM
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My Craftsman 30 gallon Compressor works just fine, except it will run for the whole time you are painting do to the small tank size.

My IR 60 gallon kicks some major *** though. I think its a little or 1k though.
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:12 PM
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DON'T DO THE CRAFTSMAN! Mine needed rebuilt in the 3rd year of OCCASIONAL use. I rebuilt it and it blew a rod about a year later, just as I started spraying some primer.
Don't go to Lowes, either. I bought the best one they had........I'm on the third one (still under warranty).........I'm getting very good at switching them out, but they aren't getting any lighter!
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:25 PM
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Eaton or Ingersoll Rand Air compressors are quality products. I shy away from Craftsman compressors just because I sell industrial stuff and have heard nothing good about their compressors for more than inflating tires.
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deebee53
My Craftsman 30 gallon Compressor works just fine, except it will run for the whole time you are painting

-----[ do to the small tank size.]-----

My IR 60 gallon kicks some major *** though. I think its a little or 1k though.

Tank size or pump size? compressors do not come in gallons and the tank has next to nothing to do with a compressors performance. That 60 gallon tank obviously has a larger pump/motor on it and if you were to switch the compressor/motor on the tanks then the 30 gallon would just as easily outperform the 60 gallon tank. The biggest mistake someone can make is to buy a big tank instead of looking at what really counts and that is the CFM. HP numbers don't mean much and the size of the tank determines the on/off cycle rate of the compressor and has little to do with how well it will keep up with any certain tool, a tank cannot put out more air than the pump puts in.

Bronco, If you are shopping for a compressor then the most important thing to look for is CFM (and obviously overall quality). Just figure the max CFM you are going to need by looking at the biggest tool rating you will be using and then look for a compressor with at least that much capacity or close to it, more is definitely better here. A two stage is better than a single because it will run cooler, produce slightly better air flow for a given HP rating and will be a LOT quieter, however a single stage can work just fine for most shops even with these minor flaws but in return it is usually a lot cheaper to buy. Don't worry about the size of the tank and DO NOT pass up more CFM to get a bigger tank! This happens all the time as it is easy to find some 60 gallon tank models that can produce more CFM than a similar outfit with a larger 80 gallon tank but a smaller pump, a 60 gallon tank with 15 CFM will keep up with your tools a heck of a lot better than an 80 gallon tank with only 13 CFM. A BIG TANK DOES NOT MAKE A BIG COMPRESSOR! Also beware of the HP ratings and go by the AMP rating on the data plate and not by HP numbers if they are given as "peak" ratings or "Maximum developed" ratings as these numbers are nothing more than inflated nonsense. For example a motor with 6 or 7 HP "peak" will be rated at 15 AMPs meaning it is really only about 3 to 3 1/2 HP but again the main thing to be concerned about is the CFM because if those numbers are low nothing else will matter much. A big tank may look impressive and it may seem like more HP would automatically mean more performance so the manufacturers have been guilty of mounting small undersized pumps on large oversized tanks with inflated HP numbers and these things sell like crazy but perform quite poorly, CFM is what matters.
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Old 11-01-2007, 07:52 PM
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My point was, with the 30 gallon TANK, the compressor was running the whole time I was painting to keep up. It was also getting very hot by running that long.

The experience I had with a Craftsman compressor is the one with the 30 Gal tank. I believe there is only one combo from Craftsman with a 30 gallon tank. It was not enough to keep up with a spray gun spraying continuously for several minutes. I really don't see how any combination of pump, motor, and 30 gallon tank would be able keep up with a spray gun's demand without causing excessive wear.

That was my point, which I was trying to keep simple. I do realize that the COMPRESSOR itself is NOT "30 gallons," however the entire unit is often simply referred to as an Air Compressor despite the fact that it is a compressor, an electric motor, and a tank. Thank you clarifying to the world that Compressors are in fact not rated in gallons.
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Old 11-01-2007, 10:54 PM
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I'd think 1000 bucks should get a decent compressor for hobby use. I think a lot of the problems the hobbiest on a budget gets into is that in the sub $750 price range that a lot of us are stuck in. It's a dangerous range because you can still get a decent compressor but if you don't know what to look for you can also spend your money on a machine that you won't be happy with because it'll struggle to keep up with a spray gun and forget about sand blasting.

Don't know what specific brand to recommend but it's safe to say:
1. no oil less compressors.
2. CFM, CFM, CFM. Opt for the machine that puts out more, but also know what you need. Check the requirements for your paint gun, sand blaster, DA, etc. 12 CFM isn't good if you need 15+
3. Don't believe the manufacturers HP ratings. Don't buy a compressor because one maker advertises 5 gallon peak HP while another gives a more honest HP rating of 4 (non peak).
4. 2 stage is better than one (should be easy enough to get for a grand, but hard to get in a lower price range.
5. Don't buy based on tank size. Realistically a knowledgeable hobbiest (ie guy building a car in his home garage with 110/220 power) is deciding between a 60 gallon and 80 gallon, not a 30 gallon. (I think the previous poster was mentioning his 30 gallon as a testament to the decent quality of Craftsman, not because he thinks the OP should buy a 30 gallon or because he thinks it has a 30 gallon compressor). I've got an old 30 gallon 220 Craftsman compressor that puts out nearly the CFM of some of the crap oil less 60 gallons you see these days. So tank size doesn't equal capacity.

Beyond the above basics I can't recommend a specific manufacturer. I know in general IR is a good maker, but one of their lower end models is an oil less 60 gallons with marginal CFM output, so you can't buy just by maker either. That IR will fill all the tires you want but you'll be sad if you want to sandblast.

Last edited by Lhorn; 11-01-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:16 AM
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Here's a cheapie on craigslist http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/tls/456943544.html
Probably a throwaway at best but the price isn't bad.
The big issue for may be logistics. It is spendy to get one there.

Cities of any size usually have a store/shop that specializes in air compressors.
They normally deal with the garages and automotive shops in the area.
Back when they were pulling out service stations left and right you could get a pretty good deal on a used compressor from one of them that would do about anything a guy wanted to do in his home shop.
What ever you get I'd suggest putting it in it's own room that had a bit of insulation to deaden the sound or it's own small building and pipe the air in to the shop. It has to have air flow both for air supply and cooling but that would go a long way in saving your sanity when you were doing projects that required a lot of air.
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Old 11-02-2007, 05:59 AM
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I have a Speedair that has been humpin it for over 20 years with only frequent crankcase oil changes.

Vince
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28
I have a Speedair that has been humpin it for over 20 years with only frequent crankcase oil changes.

Vince
I second that! My Speedaire has been good to me also-I change the Oil every Year with the Synthetic Compresssor Oil (and Air Filters)-been good to me so far-
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Old 11-02-2007, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deebee53
I really don't see how any combination of pump, motor, and 30 gallon tank would be able keep up with a spray gun's demand without causing excessive wear.


If that 30 gallon tank had a 15 CFM pump and you were using a 12 CFM tool it would build up pressure and shut off. A 15 CFM compressor with a tank that size would not work all that well with that high of a flow rate demand, however it would keep up. Because the on/off cycle would be too rapid it would wear excessively and probably still get hot, likewise a tank that is too big for a small pump would be impractical because it would take too long to recharge. (this can be found on some "econo" compressors). It is the myth that a bigger tank will help a compressor's performance that I was talking about and you said- "due to the small tank it would not keep up"- when in fact it was not the tank that was the problem but the pump/motor size (lack of CFM). Since this fellow is shopping for a compressor I thought I would try to clear up this all too common mis-belief.

Lhorn, You pointed out the no. rule and listed it no. one-- NO OIL-LESS COMPRESSORS! IMO those things should be outlawed!

You are also right in that most of the time the choice of tank size is between 60 gallons and 80 gallons and this is actually what I had in mind when I mentioned the tank size. we have seen discussions go and on about which compressor to buy with the only deciding factors being price vs the size of the tank. The question has come up before "do I need an 80 gallon compressor or can I get by with 60 gallons?" but clearly these guys were looking at the wrong thing. It is easy to find compressors with 60 gallon tanks that will outperform some others with 80 gallon tanks and this is the problem with thinking that a bigger tank will help performance. The fact is there is no real difference in performance beyond the first start-up cycle and any run time that is gained there will then be lost to the extra recharge time, usually this is only extra seconds of run time anyway on 60 vs 80 gallons . An 80 gallon tank on a 16 to 25 CFM or more compressor is desirable because it will mean fewer start-up cycles during any given heavy use period meaning slightly less power use (fewer high load start-ups) and slightly less wear (for the same reason) but it would not be worth spending a lot of extra money on, maybe for the larger ones it might but they will have the big tanks anyway. From about 12 to 16 CFM it would be a toss up but this is exactly in the range that most of these decisions are made and quite often someone will buy one to get that bigger 80 gallon tank in spite of the fact that the one sitting beside it may have more CFM, thus better performance, but a smaller 60 gallon tank. The manufacturers know a big tank looks impressive to some people regardless of performance and they know that a lot of guys will run straight to the biggest tank in the store. Because of this we have literally dozens of models of compressors out there that are nothing more than huge oversized tanks with puny pumps and underpowed motors with phony power ratings that sell by the thousands but are woefully inadequate for the job for which they were purchased. The bottom line is if it has a "peak" or "maximum developed" power rating then the builder is trying to con you into thinking you are getting more for your money than you are so what else is he hiding? Same thing with those ridiculously big tanks with tiny compressors, nothing more than a scam. With 10 to 16 CFM a 60 gallon tank is just fine and may even be a better choice down around 10 to 12 CFM and between 16 to 25 CFM an 80 gallon may offer, during heavy use, some small advantages in power consumption and wear but not an increase in the ability to keep up with a high demand tool.

Last edited by oldred; 11-02-2007 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:47 AM
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I have a TSC special I got for around $500....think it might be Cambell Hausfeld. It is an 80 gallon tank with 240VAC single stage compressor(think it is rated at 5HP) with cast iron compressor. Anyhow it is rated at 14.9CFM at 90psi and alot more at lower pressure which has been enough to run anything I have wanted to run including spray gun for paint jobs. It actually cycles when painting. Running a die grinder it never slows down.

My 50 gallon, "5HP", with the little hermetic compressor made it through one paint job and porting a set of heads before it locked up. Those suckers are junk!! I have had the big compressor for 3 or 4 years now with no problems.
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:44 PM
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I like Sears. I've bought lots of tools from them. That said, their compressors stink. Everyone I know that's had one they actually used has had failures.
But. Sears also sells Ingersolls. They've got a 5hp 60 gallon single stage for right at $1000. CFM rated to happily run a HVLP spray gun, among other things. A couple of months ago it was on sale for a week for $150 off. If I had had the the money to spare I would have ordered one.
Up a notch is a two stage for about $300 more.
I can't count how many times I've been in a Sears but I have never seen an Ingersoll out on display for some reason. A special order or ordering online seems the only way to get one.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyR
They've got a 5hp 60 gallon single stage for right at $1000. CFM rated to happily run a HVLP spray gun, among other things.

That Ingersoll is a good compressor, very well built and should last a long time. BUT! About that CFM rating, that thing has been discussed in several threads in the past and I think it is rated something like 18.2 CFM@90 PSI which is absolutely ridiculous, NO WAY! On the smaller non-commercial compressors Ingersoll has not been much better than some of the cheapo outfits when it comes to ratings and a while back they were big offenders with that non-sense "tank assisted" CFM rating. While that rating is not a "tank assisted" rating it in all probability is a displacement rating that does not mean squat when measured with a flow meter. That is a good pump, a very good pump, and the motor does produce a true 5 HP and not a "peak" rating but even with 5 real HP and a good (single stage) pump that thing is not going to produce that kind of flow. Based on having serviced these things for years and having checked a great many with a flow meter I would be willing to bet that flow is actually closer to 14 CFM and maybe even slightly less but then that is not bad at all for a compressor in that class, it is a shame that a compressor as well built as that one cannot be honest about the ratings.
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