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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. New member here on the forum. Just starting out and busy getting the home workshop sorted. Shopping for an air compressor for the shop. Would like to hear from you guys what the best small air compressor is. (small spray painting projects, run nailer etc.)

Thanks
Nic
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:27 AM
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The biggest, oil lubed, 220V one you can afford.
Mine's an old Campbell Hausfield 110V, 20gallon tank and it just isn't big enough. Your target is the cfm output at 90psi...the more the better.
Mines around 5cfm I think(?); just not enough. I use a jitterbug sander (I love it!) but it just needs more air than the compressor can continuously produce to work properly.
If you want to spray-paint you also need a lot of air!
About Air Compressors
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:42 AM
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AIr compressors are one of those tools that, provided you have room for it and are not concerned about portability, the biggest you can afford is best. Compressors last a long time if you buy quality. Dan is right, go for a high CFM rating at 90psi. You'll be able to run all sorts of power tools with it and your painting will go better too.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:44 AM
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Welcome to the forum. The most important factors are tank size and the cfm rating. Choose a compressor that has a big enough tank and produce enough cfm (air flow) to drive all your tools. Stick to the familiar brands like Senco, Dewalt, Makita, Ingersoll-rand and Rolair. You will probably get a lot of different opinions here, so the best is to do some research online to find the best match for your specific needs. Most review sites have comparison charts where you can find all the specs and features of all the models. Here are some review sites: The DIY Hubby , Bestreviews , Consumersearch. Graigslist is good for used air compressors, it all depends on what is available in your area.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaninVan View Post
The biggest, oil lubed, 220V one you can afford.
Mine's an old Campbell Hausfield 110V, 20gallon tank and it just isn't big enough. Your target is the cfm output at 90psi...the more the better.
Mines around 5cfm I think(?); just not enough. I use a jitterbug sander (I love it!) but it just needs more air than the compressor can continuously produce to work properly.
If you want to spray-paint you also need a lot of air!
About Air Compressors
Have to agree with Dan. Just stay away from direct drive "oil less" compressors. Consider it a long term investment. I have a 220v, 20 gallon Sanborn (with a 5hp motor...when they still came that way) and I have had it for 30 years. It has, and will do, anything I have asked it to do. The only exception is high volume air use, like a DA sander.

Stay with brand names...Ingersoll-Rand, Rol-air, etc. Longevity and parts are not always available for the off-brands.

Once you have a compressor...you WILL find other uses for it and wonder what took you so long.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:58 AM
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Very small compressors won't run tools like sanders or die grinders nor can you paint with them. I have a twin cylinder dual tank portable that runs on 120 volt that is barely portable at 98 lbs. It won't run a 1/2" impact gun long when trying to take a tire off but I can get by just with running a paint gun. I have a Porter Cable one that isn't overly hard on air. It will run an airbrush or touch-up gun or a framing nailer with no problems. A fairly small compressor will run a brad nailer, pin nailer, or staple gun.

My suggestion for painting is to get a complete HVLP system like maybe an Earlex. That would be cheaper in the long run than buying a large compressor and small ones are cheap and easy to come by like the little pancake styles.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 11:03 AM
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Pardon my oversight, Nick; welcome to the party!

To be fair on the small compressor thing, they're ideal for installing trim on a construction project where you really need portability. Brad nailers don't consume much air.
From what I've seen they're pretty quiet as well.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaninVan View Post
The biggest, oil lubed, 220V one you can afford.
Mine's an old Campbell Hausfield 110V, 20gallon tank and it just isn't big enough. Your target is the cfm output at 90psi...the more the better.
Mines around 5cfm I think(?); just not enough. I use a jitterbug sander (I love it!) but it just needs more air than the compressor can continuously produce to work properly.
If you want to spray-paint you also need a lot of air!
About Air Compressors
Dan I think we own the same air compressor. Mine isn't very fast either. I use synthetic Mobil 1 in my compressor and it keeps on ticking.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 11:17 AM
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Sorry, Nick, I too missed welcoming you. Consider it done.

There are a lot of considerations at play here. Available space, types of projects, future needs all come into play.

Small compressors...small projects.

Chuck has good points. Portability and footprints are important. If your just using it for small volume tools, like a trim nailer, then a pancake may do the trick. It won't work for spray painting. Stand alone sprayers can cost around $300 and are really great for shop/small project use. However, that is in addition to the cost of a compressor. The plus is stand-alone and portable.

What do you really envision doing? Think long term not short. Again, you will find more and more uses for a compressor. Plan ahead and buy accordingly.
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Last edited by schnewj; 06-21-2016 at 11:58 AM.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicholasJ View Post
Hi everyone. New member here on the forum. Just starting out and busy getting the home workshop sorted. Shopping for an air compressor for the shop. Would like to hear from you guys what the best small air compressor is. (small spray painting projects, run nailer etc.)

Thanks
Nic
The biggest, oil lubed, 220V one you can afford.
more CFM is more better...
I am very partial to RolAir anything in all green...
have portable and stationary......
decades of service from them w/o issue...
their CS is 1st rate outstanding too..
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Last edited by Stick486; 06-21-2016 at 11:53 AM.
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