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Old 06-12-2011, 02:06 AM
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New air compressor

Hi gang,

I'm in the market for a new air compressor, to replace our old sears model. I'm currently looking at an Ingersoll-Rand. But I'm wondering about what the major advantages and disadvantages to either having a single or 2-stage. Both of the compressors are 60gal., 5hp verticals. The single has a 18scfm @ 90psi with a max of 135psi, and the 2-stage has a 14.8scfm @ 90psi with a max of 175psi. I use my die grinder and da sander alot, and will also be doing some spray painting, so I'm trying to figure out which one fits my needs better. Any suggestions? Thanks.


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Old 06-12-2011, 08:18 AM
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A two stage pump is far more efficient than a single stage and generally runs cooler, quieter and tends to last a lot longer, simply put the two stage is much better than a single stage in almost every way except cost and is a lot better choice for high demand tools. Also you mention the 60 gallon tank but don't be concerned about that since there is little to no difference in performance between a 60 gallon tank and an 80 gallon. It's a common misconception about the bigger tank but CFM is what runs your tools and, all else being equal, a bigger tank does not make a bigger compressor, that's not it's purpose.

Before considering the IRs there are a couple of things you should know, reliability has not been that great and that 18 CFM for the single stage is grossly exaggerated. The home shop type IR compressors sold at Sears, TSC, Northern, etc are not the industrial duty units a person tends to think of when thinking of Ingersol Rand, they are made by Shanghai Xinran Compressor Co., Ltd in China and imported by IR.

Four owners in just this one thread had burned out motors and the problem has not been just on this site but on several others as well, you might want to check it out.

To be fair just recently one IR owner suggests that larger wiring solved his motor problem and that may be a solution but at least one of the four guys in that thread had his compressor installed by a professional electrician plus the problem does not seem to be occurring with other brands. Solution or not you should be aware the problem exists so it is your call on that one.

Here is the single stage with the more realistic 15+ CFM rating listed, this is from a compressor company but Sears, TSC and Northern seem to still want to list the old rating which is way overblown for a 5 HP single stage.

If you search on "compressor" here in the garage/tool forum you will find a ton of info on selecting compressors including brand names and reviews from guys who own them.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:59 PM
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oldred, I think you and I should write a sticky.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:55 AM
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Besides what was written above along with the links which for sure have this included are a couple of things to be aware of - Duty Cycle and Rated Horsepower.

Duty cycle is listed in terms of percentage. That's the percentage of an hour that this motor along with the compressor that it can operate. Many of the bottom half compressors are as low as 50%. This means if you have a tool which is an air hog, you might conceivably have a compressor motor that decides to quit part way through a job.

Rated horsepower - Most electric motors are designed to run at 50% to 100% of rated load. Maximum efficiency can
be as high as 75% of rated load. This means a 10-horsepower (hp) motor might have an acceptable load range of 5 to 10 hp with peak efficiency is at 7.5 hp. A motorís efficiency tends to decrease below about 50% load. To keep pricing down, compressor manufacturers tend to use as cheaply built motor as they can - this means as little copper as possible in the windings, sleeve bearings instead of ball, low end insulation and a weak frame.

Dave W
Irelands child
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:22 AM
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FYI we have two related Knowledge Base categories on this subject: Air Compressors and Air Compressor Suppliers.

I've also framed out a wiki article: Choosing an air compressor. The wiki article will probably be our next big move into documenting this common topic.

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