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air compressor for my garage question...

6027 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Dirt Dog
I'm looking for an inexpensive aircompressor for occasional use, and I'm on a fairly tight budget. Here is what I've narrowed my choices down to. I'd appreciate any comments as to which one would be better, or other options:
--Coleman Powermate, 27 gal, 5hp, 8.2cfm @ 40psi, 5.6cfm @90psi, $234 @ Costco.
--Sears Craftsman, 20 gal, 4.5hp, 8.4cfm @ 40psi, 6.2cfm @90psi, $239 @ Sears.
What is more important, CFM, or gallons capacity? Keep in mind this will be for occasional light duty use, no industrial stuff.

Dan 84 CJ-7,Weber,HEI. 95 ZJ,V8.
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I own the coleman 27 (upright) compressor and am very satisfied. As far as the capacity/cfm, this depends on what you want to due with it --- painting is less cfm but decent capacity. For heavy work (air gun, both cfm and capacity are important).
I bought my coleman at sams club for around $200. I also picked up a air
gun kit (air ratchet, air chisel, air gun, SAE and metric sockets) at sams. I walked out with around $300 bucks spent including tax, etc.
FYI - I couldn't fit the compressor and box in my 89 YJ --- I had to leave the box at the store.


#1 CFM!!!!
#2 capacity
If your tool takes 4cfm and you compressor does 5 it stays ahead of it.
If not you go untill you tank runs"dry".
Don't cheat here spend AS MUCH as you can afford on a compressor now and your body will thank you for years to come./wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Wider is better but taller is cooler!
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Either will work ok. The higher cfm will run air tools a little better, but there is another thing you need to look at. Is the compressor - the part with the piston or pistons in it - oiled or oil free? The compressor part of the unit is just like your Jeep engine. Piston, cyl etc. The less expensive compressors have a "dry" piston or pistons. IOW, no oil. The others have an oil sump just like your Jeep engine which lubes the compressor. These last much longer, but cost more. Regardless of the amount of use, if you plan to keep it a long time, the lubed one will last longer and be cheaper in the long run. Keep the water out of the tank (open drain plug regularly), put an oiler and filter on line if you use air tools (don't use the oiled air for tires though) and have fun.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
Here are some basic guide lines for compressor buying:

DO NOT get an oil-less compressor. Make sure it has an oil filled sump, or you get to replace it very shortly, and it will be in constant need of 'Reed' valves to work efficiently.
Oil-less compressors generally don't work at as high of pressure, and take much longer to recharge.
DO NOT get a single cylinder compressor. It doesn't have to be a two stage, but it does need to be a two cylinder compressor. Twice the volume (CFM) using virtually the same energy.
DO NOT get a horizontal tank unless you have major floor space. The upright tanks are the way to go if you have limited floor space, and don't intend the compressor to be portable. Portable air compressors with real two cylinder, oil type compressors are hard to find now...

DO Get the largest compressor and tank you can afford. You will grow into it.
It's easy to buy too small, but really hard to buy too big.
DO get a 208/230 volt compressor if possible. The 208/230 volt motors will crank out more horse power, be more efficient, live longer and run cooler than the 100/120 volt units.
DO get an easy to dump valve for the bottom of the tank, and drain the moisture at every use. You don't have to drain out all of the pressure, just blow out the moisture and crud.
(I prefer a valve with a cord or cable so my face isn't right next to the blowing goop. You can put a hose on the valve and direct it into a container or drain.)
DO get a GOOD QUALITY oil and moisture trap for the lines exiting the tank.
DO use an auxiliary tank for more volume in large jobs, like painting with an industrial spray gun or using a hopper type sand blaster.
(We buy 100 Lb. propane tanks for cheep, and change the valve to a 'T'. They make great crud traps too.)

In my home shop I have a Coleman 6.5 HP, 60 Gallon tank, 13.6 CFM @ 40 PSI, 11.6 @ 90 PSI, and I think I paid $300 for it at a farm equipment store on sale.
You might try Harbor Freight or North Equipment before buying one at a retail store.

Going to a larger, oil lubed compressor is definitely worth the extra money.

Just my two cents worth... (that means it's worth about,...... Nothing ....)

So many cats, so few recipes...
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/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif It doesn't seem possible that it has been that long ago, but in 1971 I picked up a two-cylinder, belt-driven compressor out of a Borden's Ice Cream freezer at a junk shop for twenty bucks, motor and all. Since that day, it has been under the little workbench here at home clickin' 'em off for what is it now...29 YEARS. That bench, with the little compressor underneath, has followed me to three different houses, and is older than any of the kids. I have the compressor sitting on top of a diesel truck air tank (about 7.5 gal) and it is on a pressure switch so it has air at all times. If I am going to paint or use air tools, I connect a second tank that I have to double the reservoir capacity. The compressor also doubles as a vacuum pump for evacuating Air Conditioning systems for servicing. We always used a two-cylinder, two-stage in the regular shop and connected it three-phase 240V, along with all the rest of the equipment. It IS surprising how much work goes on in this mini version of a shop here at home, and it is handy to not have to drive anywhere. Nowadays when I feel like working on something I just go downstairs to the garages and it's all right there, yet the coffee pot is close by in case it is needed, OR I can come up to the office and get on the BBS if I feel like having a break from welding or bolting or fabricating. Truly the best of both worlds. There is NOTHING LIKE LIVE AIR, however, so hook your compressor up full-time, even if you only use it a little bit./wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

I never believe any statistics unless my moonguys /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif made 'em up themselves.
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I just have one thing to add. Do not install an inline oiler if you ever plan on doing any painting. It will contaminate with oil all hard lines and hoses after the oiler. Oil your air tools at the tool itself.

One additional thought when choosing between oiled and dry (in addition to the excellent post above) while both are loud, the dry compressors are A LOT louder. I have one, 2 cylinder and if I had read the previous posting before buying (2 yrs ago) I would have bought oiled...

Jim O'Brien
[email protected]
My jeep page
I agree with the above posts. The belt drive costs a little more, but runs quieter and lasts longer, or so I'm told.

I recently bought a 5.5 hp Coleman 27 gallon belt drive compressor. (I couldn't fit it in the trunk of my Taurus without taking it out of the box). I have found that it doesn't like to start up when it's cold outside. It was about 10 degrees last night and I blew the circuit breaker 3 times before it took off. So far that is the only problem I have had with it.

Loose nut behind the wheel
Another right-wing conservative.....
Born and raised in Jeep-Town
I bought a used Cambell haus from a local air compresser repair shop with a new motor installed for $125, its 4 hp 20 gal, I had to get the horizontal tank because I occasionally use it on teh job site for a nail gun...

I was instructed in cold weather to change the oil out to a lighter viscosity ( 30 weight summer) and I cant remember what weight he told me for the winter months, maybe 20?

but he ALSO said, let the tank empty it self when your done for the day, so that the next time it starts up cold, it isnt pumping against pressure inside the tank

and NEVER use an extension cord
its never tripped a breaker here, 1957 house 15 amp circuit ( shared with some light bulbs too) and its been used below 40 degrees plenty of times..

just rambling

1977 CJ5 looking for a Hard top near NW Arkansas!
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BTW Check out auctions thats where I bought mine.
80 gal upright,6hp,2stage(pulls 16a/220)
This thing will run 2 tools at a time!!!!!!!!
Shop! Shop! Shop! You can find used deals.
I bought it 2 1/2 years ago..
If you don't want used harbor freight has single stage,5hp,60gal for under $400.\They are 3 times as loud and do 1/4 the output as mine.
Good luck w/ your purchase!

Wider is better but taller is cooler!
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