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Stealth Custom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's up? I'm on the market for an air compressor for my home garage. It will be for occasional use for minor home projects and for my scoot (impact gun, air ratchet, air in tires, maybe a grinder once in a while). I'm not looking to spend more than $300. What should I look for? What size tank would you suggest? I'm hoping to find something in sears because I got a bunch of sears gift cards for Christmas.

Thanks,
Robb
 

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11,328 Posts
Sears air compressors are good for occasional use, not for a production environment though. Id suggest getting a unit with oil lubrication as the other type tend to wear out quickly.

If you're worried about oil contamination in the air output, buy and install a oil seperator along with a regulator.

Another item to mention is that if you live in a highly humid area, to make a habit of draining the water at least once a week to lengthen the air tank's life.

Never use PVC to plumb air lines as they become brittle and will explode. The thick walled copper tubing is a better choice as it will resist higher air presures than PVC will. Black iron pipe has been used, but I don't like it as the pipe can rust internally clogging up air tools.

Since most if not all black pipe is Chinese made, Iv'e heard the joints will leak unless the threads are re-chased with a tap and die

Are you looking at 115 or 220 wiring? A portable or stationary system?

Some related air compressor questions/answers:

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...194529.html?t=194529&highlight=air+compressor

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...ml?t=170816&highlight=air+compressor+plumbing

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...ml?t=168587&highlight=air+compressor+plumbing
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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8,842 Posts
If you plan to use air tools get the largest tank you can for your budget. You really need the volume with air tools. IMO all direct drive compressors suck. They make a lot more noise when running and they seem to have a lot more problems than the belt driven versions. I've got a 2hp 30 gal Sanborn that is 30 yrs old and has never given me any real problems. Actually, the only problem is a recent one that apparently the on/off switch is getting a little flakey.

P.S. Some models (mine included) can be run on 110 or 220 volt with a simple wiring change.
 

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Need Time To Ride
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I bought a 30gal 5 or 6 hp 115v oil-less after finding out a 20gal couldn't keep up with any air tools for more than few seconds. Mine is "portable" but it's now hard plumbed in the garage. I think I paid around $250 @ Lowes about 10 years ago. Get a good air filter/water separator too.
 

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itching to ride
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I'm am going to agree with mike and say get the most you can afford, and that space will allow. I have a 30 gal and it has been a real blessing. Anyone who has any type shop space should have an air compressor as they are so versatile. Mine runs on 110 volts and I do not know how I got along without one for so long. I have had it for 10 years now and use it all the time.
 

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This space for rent
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687 Posts
Guy gave me a compressor with a 60 gallon tank when teh compressor threw a rod, took the compressor and motor off and filled the tank with water, then pressurized it to 200 psi to make sure it wasn't going to blow up (single stage compressor at 135 psi). Bought a new three cylinder compressor head from Eaton Compressors (Eaton OH), and a real 5 hp (24 amp draw, FLA @ 220V) compressor duty motor from Tractor Supply. Assembled everything and now have a real 5 hp 14.5 cfm @ 90 psi vertical compressor for a total investment of $300.00. Compressor is plumbed in to 1" black pipe around 2 walls, dropping down to 3/4" black pipe for the third wall, all running at an angle so the condensed water will run to the corners where a water trap and drain are plumbed in. All drops come off the top of the pipe to avoid water. Pipe was all free, as were the fittings.

If you really want to go all out, a friend has a 100 gallon tank with a two stage twin compressor mounted on it. Needs a motor though as someone took the 10 hp 3 phase motor off it. I think he'd probably sell it for $300-$400.

If you don't mind spending the money, copper is the way to go.
 

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Serial Sport Rider
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638 Posts
I have a Craftsman 30 gal (maybe 33) vertical in my garage/shop. I got it on sale for right about $300. Came with a big honking accessory kit too. Other than the motor being loud, I haven't had any issues.
 

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Novice Tank Roller
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15,810 Posts
get something with a water separator. I have a LOT of moisture coming through my air hose. it's not a big deal to me as I don't use it for much, however, if you plan to paint, etc, you will get rusty moisture coming through. Not a good thing.
 

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BACK ON TWO WHEELS
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got a craftsman big one on sale for 170.00 two years ago
 

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AZ's Official Mechanic
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biggest you can get..... and if you have a water heater or the clothes dryer is nearby you can wire it in there for 220... i have a 10' extension cord that i run to the laundry room to run my 60gallon sears.
it had a broken rod so i got it free. sears still sold all the parts so i have about 150-200$ in mine...
like said above if youre gonna run air tools youre gonna have to have a BIG tank.
 

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BACK ON TWO WHEELS
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actually gonna get a cyl of N2 for my tires, i find nitrogen is a better gas than air for your tires...
 

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itching to ride
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And you gotta have air tools if you have the compressor. Just makes the job so much easier from cutting, sanding, blasting, wrenching, etc. If I want to rotate my tires I grab the impact. Cut something, I grab the die grinder with the cutoff wheel. Cleaning the carbs I use the air nozzle to blast through the passages.
 

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The Aerospace/Aircraft companies and the Miltary services use air tools for several reasons:

1.Pound for pound, the air tool beats electric tools for versatility.
2.No chance of a spark being produced(from motor brushes) in an explosive atmosphere (fuel vapors,solvent,adhesives. etc).
 

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Stealth Custom
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4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a Craftsman 30 gal (maybe 33) vertical in my garage/shop. I got it on sale for right about $300. Came with a big honking accessory kit too. Other than the motor being loud, I haven't had any issues.
Thats one of the ones I've been looking it. It doesn't come with the accessories anymore tho, I don't think.

Robb
 

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BACK ON TWO WHEELS
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thats the one i have the vertical
 

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itching to ride
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If you are just going to inflate tires then you can get one of those portable ones that will plug into a cigarette lighter. But if the 'and such' includes running tools then I would imagine at least a 20 gallon tank minimum.
 
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