seeking air compressor recommendations

I'm looking for an air compressor, either tankless or with a small tank
("pancake" style?). It'll be used to inflate wheelchair tires (60 psi)
and run small things like a drill. No 12V kit please; I won't be near a
battery. Any recommendations or antirecommendations? Brands or
features I should look for? Why would I prefer tankless or tanked?
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You will want to start at the other end, methinks.
A pneumatic drill is not a small thing. The smallest of these drills for example require an honest 4 cubic feet per minute at 90 pounds per square inch.
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So you are not looking for a 'pancake' compressor if you want to run that tool for more than a couple hundred milliseconds per tankful. I've seen examples of pancake compressors sporting a 6 gallon tank. That's peachy until you realize that is about 0.8 cubic foot of air. They empty RFN when powering a reasonable size rotary tool.
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Can you specify your need in terms of cubic feet per minute at a given pressure for a given amount of run time?
That would be the way to start.
Beware that manufacturers often fudge their products performance figures.
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I had a Harbor Freight one that I did not like due to noise. My friend now has it and he swears by its performance.
Reply to
Get a cordless drill, an air drill takes a LOT of air. Convert a BBQ propane tank for air and fill it at the gas station, that will fill a bunch of little tires.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
All depends on how much space you have to park or carry it, power available to run it, and money to fund it. And noise tolerance, because the small portables have no noise damping enclosures and can be LOUD.
(You can make a box around the compressor to cut the noise, but you must make provisions for air circulation or the unit will cook.)
If you only have a 120V 20A branch circuit to work with, that limits you to 1 HP maximum. And that would be plenty for filling tires, but not really big enough for anything other than occasional air tool use. They might label the compressor as "2 HP" but if it draws 120V 16A full load that is in reality a 1 HP motor.
(The motor maker will not lie, they just fill in the HP blank on the motor label as "Special" and let the final manufacturer lie with nebulous and unenforceable terms like "Peak Horsepower." Or as we call it here, "Sears Horsepower.") If you will be running any power tools like an air drill or sander, you need a decent amount of air. Look for an honest 1 HP with a 4 to 6 gallon tank at a bare minimum. And even at that you can still easily out run the compressor with a drill, and will have to do two holes and stop for a minute for the compressor to catch up.
The drill will have a CFM Used at 90 PSI rating, if you want to use the drill continuously the output rating on the compressor has to meet or exceed that. Otherwise, you can divide the compressor CFM rating into the tool CFM rating to get a rough Duty Cycle of working to waiting ratio.
For those kinds of workshop uses I bought a "5 HP" (3 HP actual) 240V 80-gallon two-stage vertical that takes the room of a decent sized refrigerator and a 240V 30A circuit. And I can still outrun the compressor with a small bead-blast cabinet or heavy use of hand air tools - makes a good reason to stop for a minute.
One important feature you need if you plan on keeping the unit for a long time and lots of hard work is an oil lubricated compressor, and they do make small portables with oil lube compressors. Change the oil every year or two, or 25 to 50 hours of run time (read the manual on the your unit) and it will live a very long life. The "OILLESS" units tend to wear out faster and die young.
Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman
Um, perhaps buy a portable air tank intended for the use, rather than converting a BBQ tank.
Reply to
Pete C.
You're no fun. Propane tanks are usually free, add $20 in fittings and it's BETTER than a commercial air tank.
Reply to
Tom Gardner

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