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Old 01-14-2015, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default Small home air compressors

Looking to get something small and portable. I already have the 5HP monster in the garage. Air tank, while portable, doesn't provide enough capacity for jobs like trim nailing.

As I intend to use this inside (basement, mostly), it has to be electric. 110V, no 12V inflator stuff. I am not going to be using any high demand tools like angle grinders with it, but I will be using a trim nailer and/or stapler. Mostly, it's just as a blow off gun for the metal working machines and to run my model engines. CFM requirements are very low.

I'd like something I can use without waking the dead. Most of the pancake compressors (HF, Campbell-Hausfeld) I have seen are insanely noisy. I'd just get a larger one, but portability and storage are concerns with anything over 50 pounds or so.

Recommendations? Experiences, good or bad with any brands?
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:41 AM   #2
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Run an air line inside the house from the 5hp jobby. I havent found a small compressor worth a **** besides the twin tube ones that contractors use on jobsites for their nail guns and those are "portable".
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:12 AM   #3
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Rolair makes an excellent compressor, depending on your cfm needs I'd recommend one of these:

Amazon.com: Rolair FC2002 2 HP Twin Stack Compressor with Overload Protection and Manual Reset: Home Improvement Amazon.com: Rolair FC2002 2 HP Twin Stack Compressor with Overload Protection and Manual Reset: Home Improvement

Robot Check Robot Check

I've used both, "The Bull" is a bit noisier but obviously has 2x the air.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Air line is not an option due to distance of the garage unit from the house, plus it means no use in the rest of the house.

I like the rolair ones, cr_sti, but both those units are a little more than I need. I'm considering the Rolair Air Buddy for $155.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:05 PM   #5
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Not familiar with that one in particular, but doubt you can go wrong w/ Rolair.

Makita makes a line of big bore compressors that spin at lower rpm's. Supposed to run quieter. Again, I have no experience with these, but have heard good things from a buddy that runs the MAC5200. This is likely more your speed:

Robot Check Robot Check

Let us know what you go with and how you like it.
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:10 PM   #6
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Just a quick update. I bought a California Air #1610A. Supposed to be very quiet (less than 65Db), and suitable for a small shop. It's certainly not going to run an angle grinder, but that's for the outside compressor anyway, what with the noise and dust.

The best part is, I just ordered from a place called ATGstores.com. Affiliated with Lowe's. Apparently they want to go head to head with Amazon on home improvement stuff, so they are offering really great deals right now. Compressor is $194 on Amazon, was about 170 on ATGstores. then they gave me another 15% off with a code. Total was $160 with NYS tax. Free shipping on everything.

I will post a review of the compressor itself once it arrives.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:13 PM   #7
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Got here an hour ago.

I also bought the Harbor Freight compressor accessory kit. Has a coiled hose, a couple of quick connects, blow gun, different nozzles, etc. 14 bucks at any store. Sometimes the cheap stuff is worth it. This is one of those rare occasions.

Anyway, I've been playing. Had the compressor running for almost an hour, off and on. Blew up the tires on a bike, played with my steam engines, blew the dust off the workbench, etc. Just giving it a workout. It is not silent by any means, but after an hour I was not left with a headache nor ringing ears. While it was running downstairs, I ran up into the kitchen which is right above it. I could hear it, but barely. When the refrigerator cut in, I could no longer hear it running.

Has to cut in fairly quickly and often, as the small (1.6 gallon) tank isn't much reserve. But it is not obnoxious, so it doesn't bother me at all. If it holds up, I will be very happy with it for down in the workshop.
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