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Air Compressor shopping...input please...


NAXJA Forum User
Hoquiam, WA
Well, looked at Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears. Leaning toward a Craftsman unit.

#1 It is a belt drive and oil lubed unit. I had the sales guy plug it in to see how loud it was, not bad at all. Horizontal only. Vertical version not as powerfull, and less SCFM.

#2 This one was a little louder. It is direct drive, and no oil. I've been told these are 'disposable' units because the air pump has no oil, and not as long of a service life. I'd probably never wear it out though. This one comes with tools, no big deal, I'm a mechanic and have tons, but more it better right? Vertical or Horizontal versions available.

#3 Didn't get to listen to any of the rest, but it is a direct drive oil-less pump. As a general rule, oil-less pumps are louder. I like the size of this unit. Powerfull with good SCFM specs too. Good price too. Vertical only.

#4 No link for this one...It was at Lowe's too, but not on their website. It was a horizontal unit, 5 horse, less SCFM than the #3, but not that much less, maybe 1 SCFM less. It is an oiled unit with belt drive. Price was more than #3 at $347.

#5 Belt drive, oil lubed pump. Good specs. **Home Depot won't let me directly link to the unit. Click the link, click 'Air Compressors' then page down to the bottom, it's a horizontal 6HP 25 gallon unit for $339.**

I am looking mostly at 120v compressors, however, I am not opposed to a 230v. I'd just have to wire the garage, but the breaker box is out there, so no big deal. I have a one car garage, so a horizontal unit is more attractive to me as I can put it under my work bench right next to the welder. I have thought about the big 60 gallon ones Lowes and Home Depot sell for $399. I didn't really want to spend that much, plus I rent, moving it will make thing much more difficult with a huge compressor. If I owned with a 2 car, that would be a given. I am up to any other options, where to buy, models, or whatever...

1. Go with a conventional type that has oil in a crankcase.

2. If you want 120 volt, you can't go bigger than about a 3-hp. I see at least one of your choices is a 5-hp ... to run that on 120 volts you'd need at least a 30 amp circuit so you're rewiring the garage anyway -- and that's IF the motor can even be wired for 120v.
Your Sears links expired so I couldn't tell which models those are, but I have Sears #: 00916554000, 33-gal horizontal. I've been real happy with it. It isn't ideal for painting or air tools, I'm thinking of a larger tank next time, but I like the compressor. It is loud, but I don't care about that. The power cord is short. Heed their advice about beefy extension cords. My normal 3-wire orange outdoor cord that I thought was plenty strong melted down. I don't know the wire gauge on the one I have now but it is almost 1/2 thick, works well. I use it frequently and it performs well.
The one you mentioned for $399 is a good,home shop compressor,although,I do know a guy that powered his body shop with one for over 7 years,day in and day out before it gave out, he was extremely satisfied with it,especially since the price was right for a startup business. I've got one and have never had a problem with it. A good,sturdy unit,with plenty of CFM to do anything I want with it!
What Eagle said. Besides 230V will be easier on your electric bill. I had a craftsman vertical, oil-less pump and it seemed to get louder and LOUDER as time went on, finally quit working altogether. I was mad, as I was in the middle of a project, but relieved that I could get rid of that noise making beast.

#1 was this unit. The sale ended and links changed. If it does it again, It's model #00919541000. Specs are 6HP, 25 Gallon, 135PSI max, 8.6/6.8 SCFM@ 40/90PS, and oil lube. On Sale July 6th for $342.

#2 Item #00916734000, specs are: 6HP, 33 Gal, 8.6/6.8 SCFM @ 40/90PSI, no oil and is on sale now for $279.

#5 is this unit (click the new link). I linked it to Porter Cable's website instead of the Home Depot website. It has the EXACT specs and looks IDENTICAL as #1 and runs $339. I am leaning toward this one. #1 is probably made by Porter Cable. Model #CPL6025 if the link goes bad.

Eagle, all the compressors, even with 6 or more horse running 120v are only rated @ 15A @115V. The oil lube type is what I am leaning toward

Tucker, I wouldn't be using an exention cord with this, but I do have a 10 gauge (about 1/2" thick) cord I use for my welder. #2 is the same unit you have, just without the tools.

Mike, If space and mobility were not concerns of mine, that 60 gallon would already be in my shop. I love the SCFM specs on it. Plenty for what I'd do.

Dan, the 240v units are more expensive, and for the compact units, don't have the high SCFM specs as the 120v units. Example, a Craftsman unit, 240V 3.5HP, 5.6/5.1 SCFM @ 40/90 PSI. Max PSI is higher on all 240V models, but to find a 5-6HP model, you have to go large industrial type such as a 60 gallon.
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I wouldn't bet my life on it still being true, but the better Sears units used to be made by De Vilbiss, and I believe that both the Sears and corresponding Porter Cable ones you show still are. I have an older Craftsman 2-horse one similar to the ones shown here (though it's 220v), and it's held up well for the last 20 years or so. It has enough oomph to paint a car or run any ordinary air tools as long as you let it catch its breath occasionally. But be warned that one of the ways they get so many CFM out of such a small unit is that they run very fast, and thus also make a lot of noise.

And don't be too concerned with the horsepower ratings. Some of those oil-less ones may be brush-type AC/DC motors, and though they may officially develop lots of horsepower, they don't really compare to a good induction motor over the long haul.

Campbell Hausfeld
Belt driven with a cast iron cylinder head. You ever wear it out, it's totally repairable. When I bought mine, I was told that the "store bought" units are basically "disposable units". Wear them out, you throw them away. I bought mine at Portland Compressor. I would imagine that there is a store that would be equivalent Portland Compressor up in Seattle area. Good luck!
PS How's it going Steve?
i just got a craftsman 3 hp 15 gal. compressor for 199. mfg plate says Devilbiss on it..$20 more gets you a ratchet and fitting kit.... works for me..
I have an older Campbell-Hausfeld 3-hp twin-cylinder compressor that needs 20 amps to run on 120v. It'll run on a 15 amp circuit except the start-up surge blows fuses. Now that I've replaced the old 50s vintage fuse panel with a breaker panel I can use it in the garage.

I would be very skeptical of any claims that a 5-hp or more will run on a 15 or even 20 amp circuit. The oilless types might if they are brush-type motors, because they won't have the heavy start-up surge, but even then I'd be suspicious that they are cooking the numbers on the horsepower.

If you look at replacement compressor motors on the Northern Tool web site, the largest that runs on 120v is the 3-hp.
After some searching, found that on the 6HP units, that is a peak HP rating (you know, like 50% humidity, 85* out, and the opperator was lefthanded when one of the test models hit 6HP). They are rated at 2HP running. I am not totally concerned with HP, but SCFM @90PSI that I am really looking at.

I need to do more shopping looks like.

I want one a little quieter than yours Dan, you could hardly hear yourself think over that Cambell Hausfeld of yours. The Craftsman Pro/Porter Cable above was much quieter than yours was. I'll PM you with what I've been up to.
Stay with the OIL- TYPE.
Willis said:
After some searching, found that on the 6HP units, that is a peak HP rating (you know, like 50% humidity, 85* out, and the opperator was lefthanded when one of the test models hit 6HP)

That's what I meant by cooking the numbers. Sort of like audio speakers that are advertised as handling 25 gazillion watts, but then in fine print it says "peak music power -- RMS 3 watts" or something to that effect.
Eagle said:
That's what I meant by cooking the numbers. Sort of like audio speakers that are advertised as handling 25 gazillion watts, but then in fine print it says "peak music power -- RMS 3 watts" or something to that effect.

That's exactly what I was thinking of when I read the 2HP running spec. Guess compressors need an RMS type rating too. So the general puplic doesn't just look at it and go for the higher rated one.
Don't base your decision on the HP. it's usually bull. You arre on the right track at looking for ths SCFM @ 90PSI, might also look at SCFM@40PSI, another standard rating, more useful for running spray guns.
If it were me, I'd look for a belt driven, capacitor start, runs on 220 OR 110. Motor rpm not that important, but pump rpm's are - the slower the pump turns, the less noise, and it will last longer.

Don't worry that much about $50 or $75 dollars, if you made a good investment, you may not remember how much you paid for the compressor ten years from now. Be sure to change the oil at least occasionally.

Just my $.02, bought a Craftsman horizontal 17 years ago, ran it on 110 at the house I rented, 110 at first when I bought a house, now on 220 that I've had time to rewire......paid $???.