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Best air compressor for home garage use

  1. #1
    xxaarraa
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    Best air compressor for home garage use

    I would like some opinions on which air compressor to buy for home use. Here are my most likely use cases:

    • Evacuate oil from car/truck. I have a 5 gallon mityvac with the fittings for a compressor. I'd like to automate the evacuation instead of using the hand pump like I do now.
    • Staple gun
    • Air tools (possibly in future but low down on priority list since I have an electric hand held impact that does everything I need)
    • Filling up tires (low down on list also since I have a viair portable compressor that works well for me)


    Are HF air compressors any good? What is the minimum HP/gallon rating I should shoot for?

    Thank you,

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  2. #2
    Dic on
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    You dont need to spend much for what you need. HF oil-less is more than enough. Be aware, they are LOUD, but without spending at least $1000 you arent getting a quiet air compressor (which would be overkill for you anyway).

    On another note:

    Why the hell are you doing your own oil changes? They are basically free after you factor in oil and filter cost.
    Also, pumping it out? What about the shit left in the sump? Isnt it better to drain?



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  3. #3
    Lifer
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by Degsy View Post
    Also, pumping it out? What about the shit left in the sump? Isnt it better to drain?
    Some engines lack a drain plug now.

    Eliminates a source of leaks and means you dont have to get under the car to change the oil.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by aldend123 View Post
    Some engines lack a drain plug now.

    Eliminates a source of leaks and means you dont have to get under the car to change the oil.
    You kids and your new fangled dooh-dads, grumble grumble.....

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  5. #5
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Friend gave me one of these as a housewarming gift maybe 8 years ago: 8 gal. 2 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube Air Compressor

    It’s been great. The wheels make it convenient to roll out in the driveway and fill all the car wheels. It’s light enough to carry upstairs to finish nail a room worth of trim without needing to recharge. Also used it for spraying paint, occasional air tools, blowgun cleaning, etc. Roll it under the workbench when done.

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  6. #6
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    IF you can spend the extra couple bucks and get a belt driven oil lube compressor. You can get a small horizontal unit like Campbell Hausfield for short money, I've been running one of these forever and my grandfather bought it when I was a kid. Those damned buzz box oilless are awful to work anywhere near. I have a vertical oilless and it resides in the shed to fill lawn tires. The belt driven unit is in my basement and plumbed up into the garage. Can barely hear it running.
    Something like a 1.5-2hp equiv should be fine for what you want to do.

    If you want to go all crazy like, we have two lightly used 30hp variable speed screw compressors with integral regenerative desiccant dryers (0F dewpoint) here at the shop we are trying to move out. I'll make you a deal...

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  7. #7
    Dic on
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Deets on the screw compressors? PM if you like.

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  8. #8
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    You have 460/3/60? if you're serious I can get you a price. They're Atlas Copco, nice units.

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  9. #9
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    You have 460/3/60? if you're serious I can get you a price. They're Atlas Copco, nice units.
    Ah. No, we dont have 480. Loudbeard is our plant manager. He says no can do because of that. :-(

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  10. #10
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    You have 460/3/60? if you're serious I can get you a price. They're Atlas Copco, nice units.
    Can you see if the compressor can be wired for 208Y? We don’t have 480 at the shop.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Just buy the most expensive one, money bags, that’s gotta be the best, right?

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  12. #12
    xxaarraa
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by Degsy View Post

    Why the hell are you doing your own oil changes? They are basically free after you factor in oil and filter cost.
    Also, pumping it out? What about the shit left in the sump? Isnt it better to drain?
    I don't trust dealerships one bit, and if you factor in the time it takes to schedule an appointment, drop off, pickup, wait, etc. home oil changes are a fraction of the cost.

    As aldend pointed out, yes, I go right through the oil dipstick. Been doing that for years. In fact, Mercedes dealers have been doing that for years. You can get a variety of adapters that screw right into the dip stick on Mercs and you hook up your evacuator to that fitting and suck out the oil. For my Ford, there is no adapter available so I send a small hose through to the bottom of the pan. At present I use the hand pump to evacuate, I am thinking an air compressor will be an upgrade.

    I get about 80% of the oil out this way, and I change religiously every 5k, so over time, all the oil comes out. 15 minute no mess job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    IF you can spend the extra couple bucks and get a belt driven oil lube compressor. You can get a small horizontal unit like Campbell Hausfield for short money, I've been running one of these forever and my grandfather bought it when I was a kid. Those damned buzz box oilless are awful to work anywhere near. I have a vertical oilless and it resides in the shed to fill lawn tires. The belt driven unit is in my basement and plumbed up into the garage. Can barely hear it running.
    Something like a 1.5-2hp equiv should be fine for what you want to do.
    OK thanks. I will look into belt driven oil lube unit. If its not too much more than the oil free HF units, I will bite the bullet.


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    Last edited by xxaarraa; 09-12-18 at 05:30 PM.

  13. #13
    Lifer golden chicken's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    This is the one I've been eyeing:

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-QUIE...BoC_GQQAvD_BwE

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  14. #14
    Senior Member OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    FWIW, I've been using the HF 10ga oil-lube for years with no issues: 10 gal. 2.5 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube Air Compressor -- powers impact wrenches and most other non-continuous air tools just fine. Refills quickly. Actually, I did have to replace the regulator for $5 recently.

    If it broke, I'd probably get this oilless version: 8 gallon 1.5 HP 150 PSI Oil Free Portable Air Compressor

    I also do my own oil changes...I know it's done right and with the proper oil. Also, takes less time than driving to shop/dealer and waiting...

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  15. #15
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    A belt drive oil lubed compressor will be way way quieter than an oil less.

    I have a HF vertical 29 gallon that works great when I need to run my impact wrench and other tools.
    29 gal. 2 HP 150 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor

    But my old devilbliss horizontal 12 gallon 2.5 hp get used way more often. The tanks fills fast and it recovers quickly.
    It’s way way loud though.

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  16. #16
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    What Degsy said. HF will do the job. They are loud! Idk if i got lucky but mine is at 6 years and still runs like the day I got it. I leave it in the shed during the winter, no issues.

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  17. #17
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    I don't know what's needed in terms of psi or cfm for that oil evacuation rig, but for your other uses you really don't need much at all.

    I have the 150PSI 6-gallon one from HF for stuff like occasional light air tool use, filling tires and air gun usage. This is more than adequate for that kind of thing. Not up to the task for things like painting... tank too small, not enough cfm.

    I also got an aluminum hot dog tank from HF. This is super-handy... I fill it from the compressor and take it out to the car/bike/trailer for tire filling and such, which is what I use air for most of the time. As a result, the compressor rarely has to be moved. The tank also goes to the track with me.

    Advantages: Inexpensive to the point of almost being disposable (<$100). Small so you're not taking up valuable space with something you don't use all that much.

    Disadvantages: Limited in what it can do. Probably not very durable, but it hasn't broken yet (had it for 3 years). Loud.

    Bottom line: Generally the best advice is to buy quality, buy once, keep a long time. Both of these violate that guidance. But for something that you need only occasionally and don't have enough invested in for it to make much difference, cheap-ass "good enough" HF stuff is just the ticket IMHO.




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  18. #18
    TWINS! xrocket21's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    I got a 6.5 HP oilless a while ago, its big, its a beast, but IT IS LOUD. I mean, it shakes the house a little. You cant talk while it is going. if I had to do it again, I would go oiled. Maybe someday.....

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  19. #19
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by golden chicken View Post
    Ooooh.. I want that.


    Are air tools even worth it anymore? Hasn't lithium powered cordless stuff taken over. It's infinitely more convenient.


    I also do my own oil changes. Truck takes full-synth. Dealerships advertise loss-leader service, but it usually comes with difficult scheduling, massive up-sell pressure, and a lot of inconvenience. Quickie oil-change places now want over $100 to change the oil in my truck. Oil, filter and related supplies cost me $60 across the street at wallmart. It takes me just a few minutes. Although I drain from underneath the old fashioned way.

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  20. #20
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    My air needs are pretty simple and very rare. I have a small pancake noise-maker that gets fired up to set beads and very occasionally run the nailers I have. I don't even own any impacts or pneumatic ratchets; I use cordless electric or good ol' hand tools instead. So as much as I lust after a larger more powerful compressor, I simply don't have the need.

    What I like about the pancake is it is very portable. One relatively short hose and I'm good to go for everything from tire swaps next to my HF tire jig to nailing trim 20' up a ladder outside.

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  21. #21
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    Can you see if the compressor can be wired for 208Y? We don’t have 480 at the shop.
    I'll look to see if the drives can accept 208 and up convert. Usually have to have a special unit for 208. And I looked at them this morning walking in, they are 30kW, or 40hp. 162 CFM air delivery at 100PSI I believe.

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  22. #22
    Senior Member capitalcrew's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    I mean. I'm a believer in buying something once and never again. I would find a used ingersoll rand t30 on craigslist around 500-600 dollars. 60 gallon tank. See if you can find the 253 pump. If not the 242 will put out plenty of air. They're easily fixable, they're pretty robust, put out lots of air, and you can usually find a single phase one easy enough OR find a replacement motor cheap on craigslist. Like ~100 bucks for a 5hp baldor.

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  23. #23

    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Quote Originally Posted by OneCheekRider View Post
    FWIW, I've been using the HF 10ga oil-lube for years with no issues: 10 gal. 2.5 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube Air Compressor -- powers impact wrenches and most other non-continuous air tools just fine. Refills quickly. Actually, I did have to replace the regulator for $5 recently.

    If it broke, I'd probably get this oilless version: 8 gallon 1.5 HP 150 PSI Oil Free Portable Air Compressor

    I also do my own oil changes...I know it's done right and with the proper oil. Also, takes less time than driving to shop/dealer and waiting...
    There is a guy in Wareham who was selling these for $40 on Craigslist, I picked one up a few months ago. I don't see his ad on Craigslist but for people who are close it might be worth calling him to see what he's got V Power Equipment

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  24. #24
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    The Makita "MAC" series have a good reputation, really nice units. Relatively quiet. You're rolling the dice if you get it shipped b/c of shipping damage (they are heavy). I'd pick one up in person (HD carries them).

    Makita MAC2400

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  25. #25
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Best air compressor for home garage use

    Air powered vacuum pumps use quite a bit of CFM. My brake bleeder will make my 11.3 CFM @ 90 PSI compressor run almost continuously once it kicks on. I would aim for at at least 8 CFM @ 90 PSI if you plan to pump oil at a reasonable pace. Make sure you pump it only when the oil is really hot too, makes a massive difference in flow.

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