I need a compressor. I saw one today at Home Depot that was an upright on
wheels. A 5hp 115v. unit. It was Husky brand.
Anyone have any experience with Husky? I want the piston type, as the
others are just too loud.
I want to spend $4-$500.
I looked at IR, but they are expensive. Craftsman? Hausfeld Campbell? I
need something that will run air chisels, paint sprayer, etc, so it has to
be around a 2 hp. or more.
Suggestions and caveats, please.
You can get by with one of those you have named -- all the homeowner brands --
but you will not like them. And by "getting by" I don't mean you'll be able to
do whatever you think you need to. You won't have enough air with that thing to
run a die grinder or any kind of rotary air tool. They are made mostly for nail
guns. And they are *cheap* used.
The prevailing wisdom on thig NG is to buy used industrial gear. No, it isn't
shiny anymore, and yes you have to know a little bit to get something useful,
but I see really usable industrial air compressors all the time in my area in
your price range. Try your local craigslist - visit
the closest city, go from there. Watch it for awhile.
I owned a "Harbor Freight pancake compressor" and hated every minute
of owning it.
for a good reason.
Compressors are very easy to get. Yes, used industrial gear is way
superior to the "cheap stuff", in the medium run. I second the
recommendation to look for a used good honest compressor. Do not waste
time and money on consumer grade crap. (unless you need portability,
for example you are a home improvement contractor)
If a compressor has a label saying "Peak HP" or "Maximum developed
HP", or "Peak CFM", stay away from it. An easy rule of thumb is to
look at amp rating of motors. 1 HP is roughly 6 amps at 110V. The amp
ratings are more realistic.
Ignore the HP ratings. The only meaningful rating is free air CFM at
90 PSI. There are a few "consumer" 5 HP units that will deliver
about 11 CFM at 90 PSI. They're OK for occasional use, and they will
run most tools including a diegrinder, DA sander, chisels, sprayer,
impact wrench, etc.
A true 5HP 220-volt motor draws at least 20 amps. There are plenty
of 5 HP compressors that still don't deliver much air -- and there are
some industrial pumps that can do > 11 CFM with 3 HP. Small pumps
are all inefficient, but there is a huge variance in how inefficient.
Theoretical power +15% friction to deliver 11 CFM at 90 PSI with
adiabitic compression (no cooling during compression) ) is only 2.15
Look at the pulley sizes and motor RPM, do some arithmetic. Low pump
speed (1100 RPM or less) is quieter and lasts longer. Stay away
from direct drive units.
The industrial jobs (Quincy, Ingersoll, et al) are definitely better
machines, but if your use is "weekender" type where the thing will run
for a few hours on some weekends, I think you'd be happy with one of
the better "consumer" jobs -- as long as it can deliver enough air.
I know several guys that have had them for over a decade. I saw one
a few weeks ago at a Farm & Fleet for about $450 that looked OK.
I would avoid brands like Campbell Hausfeld and Coleman. I'm not
familiar with Husky.
Hm. Check out
from Northern Tool for
$430. It's only 3.6 HP, 15 amps but delivers 11.2 CFM at 90 PSI.
I'll second that and suggest ignoring any unit that can't produce at least
12 CFM @ 90 PSI with at least a 20 gallon tank.
I bought a Porter Cable "Job Boss" [model 3151 iirc] that was "rated" at 6.2
CFM @ 90 PSI. It won't keep up with a Campbell-Hausfeld 6 CMF die grinder.
Oh, it'll run it for a short period but not continuously and a sander is out
of the question.
If you have any desire to do any sand/bead/shot blasting you'll need up to
Just a data point, I can run my air angle grinder, or orbital sander,
on my compressor all day long. I tried. I have a 3 HP compressor (3
honest HP, with a big Baldor motor). I am not even sure what my
compressor CFM is, probably about 11-12 CFM.
That's another issue - just as these consumer-grade air compressor vendors
overrate the CFM ratings for compressors, so they underrate the CFM on their air
tools. I have yet to see an air die grinder which doesn't require a solid 15 CFM
at 90 psi to run the air pump at 50% duty cycle or below which is what you
should have to avoid wearing out your compressor.
Not 6 CFM. Not 10 CFM. FIFTEEN CFM.
Which sez your diegrinders need about 7.5 CFM. Diff'rent strokes for
diff'rnt folks. Weekend workers are not gonna be running a
diegrinder 16 hours per weekend most weekends. Sauce for goose 'n
I don't know of any "weekend shop" guy that hasn't been satisfied
with his "consumer" 11CFM or so compressor.
I think we "advisors" should separate "whut I have" from "whut you
should have" when needs of askers may be different from ours.
Well said, Don. Every guy has different needs. A consumer-grade
compressor might suit you well. If you want a brand new compressor,
don't want to spend time tinkering with it, and don't mind a machine
which might need replacing in a few years, go for it. But if you like
tinkering, want a compressor which will last, and the air to drive your
43 CFM Ingersoll-Rand die grinder (they do make one, I'll find the model
number if you like) go for the ex-industrial unit.
I have a Porter Cable "7HP" 60 gallon compressor that keeps up with every
tool I have, die grinders, air drills, DA sander. Granted it will not run 24
hours a day powering the tool, but with my use the worst that happens is the
compressor runs constantly while the tool is in use. The pressure never
drops enough that I have to stop and take a break for the compressor to
For the weekend warrior 10 CFM is just enough.
All too true, Chris.
One of my key considerations was portability and this one fits nicely
between the tailgate of my pickup and the fifth-wheel hitch. It also sits 6"
below the bed rails.
It runs easily from a 15A 120V circuit - available on the outside of my RV -
when the generator is running. This allows me to use a few basic pneumatic
tools such as an impact wrench and ratchet in the event of a flat tire "in
the middle of nowhere".
Don: here's one "weekend shop" guy that's going to be looking for something
in the 15+ CFM range with as much storage capacity as I can get that'll run
on 240V single-phase. [Emphasis on the "+"]
My goal will be to have enough capacity to consider doing light-to-medium
sand/bead blasting and, if the comments posted here are even "near the
ballpark", there are few pneumatic applications that require more airflow
I am quite happy with the performance from my $12 die grinder powered
by my 1/2 HP, 2CFM compressor. Of course if I found a 15 CFM
compressor and appropriate motor for the money invested in the present
setup ( less than $10 ) I wouldn't turn it down.
You can get an 18 CFM Ingersoll single stage for about $800.
Since you want storage capacity, I'd encourage you to look at a
two-stage. They are noticably more efficient (more CFM per HP), and
their capacity is nearly the same at 175 PSI as it is 90 PSI.
Having your reservoir at 175 PSI rather than 125 PSI more than doubles
its capacity for given volume, for shop air regulated to 90 PSI.