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What Air Compressor to buy

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by tom berry, Dec 30, 2010.

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  1. tom berry

    tom berry Active Member

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    I know I will get some good advise from the TS.com folks.

    Now, I don't need some industrial size deal. Got a new 1/2 inch impact wrench for Christmas just for some occassional use, rotating my own tires etc. Tool as a average SCFM of 4.1 at 90psi. Owners manual recommends at least a 20 gal tank.

    So many options of compressors out there.

    I want to be able to loosen the lug nuts with the tool, not just spin off loosened lugs. Tool is rated for 400 ft lbs of torque. Should be enough since they're only torqued to about 110 lbs when put on.

    I don't want to have to wait for the compressor to 'catch up' all the time.

    You can buy small tank compressors with the necessary SCFM rating, but I think quanity of air is an issue too.

    Does the SCFM rating on the compressor need to meet or exceed the SCFM rating of the tool? Or is close good enough.

    Thanks in advance for the advise.

    Tom
     
  2. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    If you are going to use air tools you need a 60 to 80 gallon vertical tank and a two stage 5 HP compressor (220 volt 30 amp circuit). Northern Tool has them for around $700. Anything smaller is just good for airing up tires.

    Jim Skeel
     
  3. docjonsn

    docjonsn TS Member

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    I have a rolair wheelbarrow type that work great.I've had mine for about 20 years and never had a problem.It has help me build many houses.
    you might look at this one

    http://www.rolair.net/products/spec_pages/wheeled_electric/5520K17.html#specs

    made in the US. very stout machine.

    Pete
     
  4. JIM SIMS

    JIM SIMS Member

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    1)Be sure that you match the cfm rating of the highest air
    consumption tool .
    2)Air tools function best at 125 to 150 and cfm goes way up
    at that point.
    3)The air tank size does NOT determine cfm,cfm is compressor out put.
    Good Luck
    Jim
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Well-Known Member

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    For an impact wrench DON'T get anything less than 20gal. 30 is even better because somewhere sometime your going to hit a stubborn one, also you will most likely acquire more air power tools-- blow off work bench--maybe a sand blaster--maybe a paint sprayer--etc. I would recommend the oil type belt driven because I have had longer & quieter service from these than from the others. Better to have a little extra than to run a little short. Also if you have 220-240 service available I would recommend that If possible mount your compressor permanently close to electric service panel and run extra hose not extension cords. Just my experience-- Ross Puls
     
  6. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    What ever you decide, DON'T get a oil-free compressor! They don't last under usual use!

    Stick with the oil bathed compressors and change the oil regularly and it will last a long time.
     
  7. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Go to Sears. In the back of our store there is a refurb outlet that sells lots of tools at discount prices. I bought a chain saw there with the same warraanty as a new one, and it's 5 years and going strong. Got a small compressor too, easy carry 3 gallon to put by the garage door for tires. they did have some pretty good sized ones also.

    I have done just fine with the 6 gallon wheeled compressor I have, but I break the lug nuts loose with a 4 way before hammering away with the impact. I final tighten them by hand too, so I will be able to change tires on the road without killing my back trying to loosen an ultra tight impacted lug nut. I know I could use the impact all the way but I'm just being cautious.

    Drills, blast cabinets, and die grinders suck air big time, FYI.

    So go look at the refurbs at Sears just for grins. The items usually are returned for puny problems like a bad switch or something and after fixing they have the same guarantee as off the shelf new.

    HM
     
  8. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Look for a good industrial unit. Minimum 60 gallon tank, 150+ PSI, and 8+ CFM at maximum rated pressure. You could look for a used unit or find one at auction. Body shops and automotive shops go out all the time. Just be careful, since some are three phase and would require a different motor. Just include that cost into your bid or offer.
     
  9. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Good Lord, people! Tom is going to take off some lug nuts, fill some tires. If he was doing a lot of pneumatic sanding or painting I can see him wanting something bigger later. But for now the one I got from Menard's with about 20 gallons and 125 or 150 max PSI will do him just fine. I've never had more than 20 or 30 gallon models and I have dozens of air tools and have used them for 40 years. You use one for eight or ten years; the tank rusts out, and you get another one.

    I sometimes have to pause, but most of the time I never know how big the tank is because I never fall behind the pump. I like cylinders and pistons because they are quieter than diaphragm, but both will work.

    Neil
     
  10. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    I have a 30 gallon horizontal tank Sears with a 5 HP 220 v single stage twin cylinder compressor running 125 psi in the tank. It is not big enough to keep up with a 1/4" angle grinder!

    If you are going to make an investment get one big enough. The minimum I would buy is an Ingersol Rand 60 gallon 5 HP 18.1 cfm at 90 psi 230 volt Model #SS5L5 which is Northern Tool #1592047 and is on sale for $835 with free shipping.

    Jim Skeel
     
  11. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    Back when I was doing quite a bit of machanic work, I was poor, and a 1 1/2 HP contractors wheel barrow type compressor did alot of impact wrenching, if it was really tight you would have to stop and let it air up, but it did the job, but I was restoring old John Deeres, so the bolts were pretty good sized, and all were rusted tight

    But after I made some money, I bought 2 7 1/2 two stage units, for shops, now they seldom get used

    You can blow alot of money on one that is way too big, thay you will very seldom if ever need, as Neil said
     
  12. 320090T

    320090T Well-Known Member

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    Lots of diff between an air grinder, sandblaster, or jitterbug using air all the time and an impact just hitting once and a while. The 5 or 6 hp 30-40 gallon will do just fine.
     
  13. Bob Schultz

    Bob Schultz Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    I have a 3hp. 12 gal compressor from Sears in my garage I use with a 1/2" impact wrench to change/rotate tires on my cars, golf cart and lawn tractor. It does run a lot when I use it but I've never had it not loosen a lug nut. I use a torque wrench set to the recommended ft/lb setting for the wheel I'm changing when I put them back on...as mentioned above I want to be able to remove them by hand if I have to change a tire on the road.

    Bob
     
  14. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    One thing for certain don't buy one of those loud SOB's, I forget which kind they are (oil less direct drive maybe) but one type is just crazy loud. I bought one from Sears and had to take it back two days later because I couldn't run it in my garage, had to move it outside with a long hose and it still irritated me and the folks in the house.

    For your use I'd just pick up a smaller one at Harbor Freight, it will last long enough with the light use and save a lot of money. Also consider an electric impact wrench, I have an older one that is corded that has all the power I need for taking lug nuts off and now they have cordless ones that have even more power.
     
  15. andybull

    andybull Active Member

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    If you piston type make sure it has a cast iron block. Remember if you have the room and proper voltage, bigger is never too much. Oh and buy Made in the USA.



    Andy
     
  16. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    Like Andy said get one with a Cast Iron pump unless you like the noise. The aluminum block pumps will drive you nuts in short order.

    But really all you need for what you want to do is a 1.5-2Hp compressor with about 8-10 CFM capacity. I have a Campbell/Hausfield with a 20gallon tank I bought 30 years ago that I now use as a backup in my shop. I paid $185 for it.

    You can get what you need from Harbor Freight for $150 and be done with it.

    If you want to go first class get a used IR compressor out of an old gas station. If they are worn out you can have the pump rebuilt for $100, and it will out live you and several of your friends. Plus it is actually worth something when you are done with it and want to sell it.

    Here's another little tidbit: if you use Amsoil 20/50 "racing oil" in the compressor it will coat the inside of the tank and it will never rust out. When you drain the water out of the tank you get white soapy looking water and some oil, as opposed to the rust water most people are used to seeing. Been doin' it for 35 years and I figured it out all by myself.

    Here's a pic of about what you need to do what you said you wanted to do. No need to go ape it's only air.

    Randy
    wrbuchanan_2009_19127.jpg
     
  17. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    I have a 5 hp 220, 30 gal Sears compressor I bought in 1991. It has been used extensively with 1/2" air hammers for rock carving (mostly marble and limestone). It still runs great. But, I use electric die grinders on rock. They never last through the warranty(any brand) so I just take them back to Home Depot or Lowe's when they crap out, and trade for a new one. I have bought new filters once in a while for the compressor, but that's about it.
     
  18. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    What type of power supply do you have in your garage to plug into. ll0 or do you have a 220, and how many amps for the plug? Do not exceed the plugs amps. Break-em all. Jeff
     
  19. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    220, 30amp
     
  20. tom berry

    tom berry Active Member

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    thanks for all the great advise.

    Pull & Mark, I have 220 service in the garage, but don't have any 220 outlets currently wired.


    I currently have my compressor plugged in to a 110, 20 amp circuit and it's the only outlet on the circuit.

    Would be very easy to wire the 220 outlet if needed.
     
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