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Air compressors and attachments

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shan2themax

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I'd like to try to find some decent deals on an air compressor and air guns, spray gun for painting house etc.
I'm not sure what I need. The projects that I ***may*** do myself starting this spring are: removing and replacing siding (lp smartside or t1-11 or something in a 4x8 sheet), I'll be laying new plywood throughout the house, sooner, or later. I would be replacing all baseboards ( already pulled off), I'd like to maybe do some simple woodworking hobby stuff, I'll need to paint the house inside and outside. And I may turn the screened in back porch into a 3 season room, so i would be doing some framing and such. So.... how big of a compressor would i need and what size nail guns, and what about paint sprayers (or should I go with an electric one). Some of these projects I wont be able to get to for a while, I just dont want to buy stuff and then need something more powerful later on.
You fellas always have good ideas and great advice
 

pjones

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Decide what tools you want to run off of it and find their rated CFM requirements. When choosing a compressor you need to understand that the rated CFM output of the compressor is highly inflated and you will not get the actual CFM out of it that is says. It seems to be an accepted practice among manufacturers so just be aware you need to get one much larger than what your tools requirements specify.

How much larger? I can’t say, I don’t have that info. Maybe someone else here will have that knowledge. If I were to guess I would say to double what you need.
 

Gary

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I have a 2 wheel upright 120v compressor that's small enough to pull around the house for things like nail guns and light orbital sanding. For paint spraying I have a larger 220V compressor but it stays where it is and I just use extension hoses. However, the type of spraying you're talking about I think I'd use airless. Much less overspray, and better able to handle the type of paint you'd most likely be using for home projects.
 

Flyover

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Didn't want to start a new thread but lately I've been thinking about this same topic. I have a few projects coming up where a nail gun would be ideal, and I see nail guns at auction a lot, but I'd want to buy the air compressor new to be guaranteed I get something that works and is safe, or get a refund if not.

I don't need anything really heavy-duty, and I think I can probably get by with a 1-3 gallon tank given the volume of work I'm typically doing. Harbor Freight has a few air compressors under $100, which is what I can justify. Anybody have thoughts on these, which ones to avoid, which are OK, etc.?
 

havasu

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I have a 25 gallon upright Craftsman air compressor and even with all its capacity, I have an issue with air tools, especially with air chisels. For typical home use, a nice twin cylinder small suitcase size will work wonders usually.
 

Sparky617

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For painting, I'd recommend a dedicated airless sprayer and not use your air compressor for that. For nail guns, inflating tires, using an air nozzle to blow dust out of tools and the like a pancake compressor will do nicely. You can usually get nice packaged deals at the big box stores, especially around the holidays. I have a Portal Cable and run framing and trim nailers. I've used it on volunteer jobs and ran a couple of floor nailers at once off of the one compressor. If you were running a lot of air tools like air powered sanders, chisels and impact guns for an automotive shop you'd probably want a larger compressor. For the average home hobbyist the pancake compressor will do the job.
 

Flyover

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A pancake compressor with a 6 or fewer gallon capacity tank is what I had in mind. What I'm wondering is whether the $60 Harbor Freight one is OK or whether it's a POS that will fall apart/die on me within a few months. I've never bought anything powered there, only clamps and saws and stuff. What I've heard is that some of their stuff is good, others are junk. I want to know which is which.

Also, the only air-powered tool I can picture myself using at this point is a nail gun, mainly for small projects. What's the lowest gallonage you think I can get away with?
 

NeilG

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My experience is the same as Sparky617 with the Porter Cable kit. I use it a lot. My HD has it right now for $199 with pin, brad and finish nailers. Mine came with a stapler which I've used twice. The pin nailer is more useful.
 

tmiskimen

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I would avoid HF compressors. A friend of mine brought one to me that didn't work. It looked fairly new but wouldn't pump above about 10 psi. I totally disassembled it and discovered that the compressor piston/cylinder is very cheaply China made. They do not sell any repair kits or parts at HF. Ya gits what ya pay fer.
 

Flyover

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That is good info @tmiskimen, thanks. I wouldn't have found that out any other way. Was that a recent experience?
 

Flyover

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In that case I will avoid Harbor Freight air compressors and shell out the extra 40 bucks for a "real" brand.
 

Eddie_T

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I compare the appearance detail and specs of HF and other brands of such equipment often finding rebranding of same Chinese product selling at different prices. I haven't done it for compressors but several companies sell the same generators.
 

Flyover

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I ended up buying a Craftsman 6 gallon pancake compressor, it comes with a couple tools and a hose as well.
 

bud16415

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Harbor Freight over the last few years have switched away from totally budget tools at all cost approach to where they now offer in most cases 3 lines of quality at increased prices. I bought their upper tier weld helmet and it got reviews right up there with the best brands. Same with their new premier welder lines.



About a year ago my large compressor that powers my garage and shop conked out and I didn’t have time to fix it and I needed something just to fill tires. I picked up their cheapest unit on sale with a coupon for around 20 bucks. It was this one.

3 gallon 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor

It did its job made 100PSI and was noisy as all get out. I hooked it back to a larger tank I had and it gave a little more capacity. I got my big one running but this little one is handy if I want to take it in the house.



The thing with air is if you give a small one some time between uses like shooting nails it will catch back up. You need a bigger pump and tank for things like sanders that use lots of air and are run for longer times.



Looking over HF units now it seems like they are moving away from the units that have a motor with a small pulley and a compressor with a large pulley/flywheel and they sit on the tank. They are shifting to the direct drive models that have a eccentric on the motor that connects to a rod piston, or some other non belt method. I don’t care for that design as if the motor goes you can’t just find another motor etc. So as of right now I don’t see any HF I care for.



Here is one from Tractor Supply that I would look at.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/porter-cable-20-gallon-portable-belt-drive-air-compressor#
 

Sparky617

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My experience is the same as Sparky617 with the Porter Cable kit. I use it a lot. My HD has it right now for $199 with pin, brad and finish nailers. Mine came with a stapler which I've used twice. The pin nailer is more useful.
I use my stapler a lot. The pin nailer probably the least. The trim nailer gets a lot of use. I guess it all depends on your projects. Recently the stapler has been getting a lot of use.
 

Sparky617

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At first glance it appears to be identical with the Porter Cable 6 gal.
That wouldn't surprise me in the least. I haven't bought any HF or NT power tools but I have bought a fair number of storage containers, TV mounts and other things without a plug. HFs TV mounts are pretty solid and a lot cheaper than anywhere else. Definitely don't buy a mount at Best Buy.
 

Eddie_T

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I think so, also made in USA.

I am considering purchasing a compressor, I can't decide if I need 3 or 6 gallon. I probably will only use it for inflation and minor spray painting. For 50 years I have been using a Craftsman diaphragm compressor that originally provided 50 psi now only around 38 psi.
 
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