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I need some buying suggestions for air compressors and tools. Please post what works and hasnt worked for you.

It will be my first air tool purchase and would like to start with buying right.


Air compressor size?
Air tool brand?
Cheap place to purchase?

Would a portable 2 hp with 6 gal capacity handle most garage jobs?

 

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There are many different opinions on required HP ratings and tool brands. IMHO the one you have pictured would not do. It is really just for short burst carpentry type requirements. I personally have a 5HP 20 gal and find it adequite at best, beats doing it by hand kinda deal. If you intend to do ANY body work your requirements will almost double, as keeping up with constant use tools like a D/A sander can only be done by serious compressors. Regular shop/mechanical uses can get by with what I mentioned that I have.
Unless your on a really tight budget and can accept what IMHO would be inadequite performance, stay away from WalMart/discount auto parts type tools.
 

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I agree with 85Silver - at a minimum you need 5hp and 20 gal to run a lot of air tools - it all depends on what you want to do - if you want to paint you need a fairly high pressure at a constant volume of air - sanders and cut off tools are also high air users. So think what you intend to do and what tools you need then see what compressor will do it for you. I'd stay away from the ones designed for carpentry.
 

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I have to agree with silverwdge on this topic.Over the last 20 years I have owned several 3-5hp 20-35 gallon compressors.Most have "sufficed" for basic engine repair,using quality air ratchets,impact guns.None will keep up well with my die grinder I use for gasket surface cleaning.Adequate is about it,if time is not a problem.I have to take a break and let the compressor catch up.
As for tools,the cheaper they are,the more air they tend to "bleed" off.The $100 combo kits usually don't last,and often just are not up to the task.Personaly,I now own Snap-On or Mac Tools,1/2' impact,3/8" impact and 3/8" air ratchets.They are VERY expensive,but have never let me down,with the exception of a few crank bolts here and there."heat does wonders here" :wink:
 

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That compressor you have pictured there is only good for air nailers, filling tires, and such. Generally the bigger the compressor the better (assuming you don't want to move it). The smallest I'd recommend would put out [email protected] with maybe a 30 gal tank. These are the ones Sears sell on wheels for $300-400. If you have the space and a little extra cash the big 220V floor standing ones are the way to go. You can run pretty much everything on these. I have one of the big mobile Sears ones and it has a hard time keeping up with air blower, my sandblast cabinet, and even a DA if you run it straight for several minutes. On my sandblast cabinet it can run a couple of minutes on the tank then the compressor kicks in and it can't keep up. I usually get about 3 minutes have to stop and wait another 3 minutes for it to build back up. I'd recommend buying a Sear unit myself. They're not the cheapest of most expensive, but if something breaks on it they are easy to get parts for.

When you get your compressor make sure you get a water trap in the line. Also get a good air hose. If there is a Harbor freight in the area I'd get the Goodyear air hoses they sell. Nice and flexible and reasonably priced as well. Don't get the cheap ones you can never roll them up. HTH
 

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I agree with silver about the size, get one from sears and get a large one so that you can have the use of many different tools, if your just doing engine work, i have a 5hp, 20gal from sears that usually can keep up, but sometimes you gotta let it sit.

As for tools, if you do a search on ebay you can find some decent tools even new ones for decent prices, i'm in the auto repair business and i have all ingersol rand tools, love the composite impact wrenches. I bought a 3/8 impact rachet for 60 with shippin and it was brand new ingersol rand that sells for about double that. I'd look there first....
 

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All good suggestions on size. Something not yet mentioned is the oil-free, direct-drive vs. the oiled, belt-driven units. The popular, under 30 gal, oil-free, direct-drive units commonly sold retail just annoy the hell outta me. They are just rediculously loud. :x And the smaller they are, the more they run! :mad: Oil lubrication is also better for longevity. I highly recommend you spend about $100 more and get a belt-driven compressor that you have to put oil in. They are much quieter and should last longer. If you are going to use it a lot, it will save your sanity and money in the long run.

Also, when you set it up, be sure to put at least two outlets on it. On one, install an in-line oiler for your air tools. The other should be a "dry" outlet (already mentioned water trap) for blowing compressed air, filling tires, painting, etc.

Phil D. (60 gal Porter Cable keeps up with "most" of my tools)
 

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Sears offers a nice Ingersoll-Rand vertical compressor with a cast iron compressor housing, electric powered belt drive, and I believe a 100 gallon tank. A nice compressor, but the price is right around $1000.00 :?
 
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