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Let's talk Air Compressors

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We had a lightning strike that blew out a good chunk of the house. My air compressor was a victim of the carnage.

Looking at new ones and there are some cheap harbor Freight models and some more expensive Lowes models (Craftsman). This is 95% for tubeless seating and bike tires, 5% for cars.

What should I be looking for? 

Pancake vs. hot dog? The hot dogs have wheels, look easier to move around but honestly mine stays put because the hose is long enough.

Should I be looking for a particular pressure rating? Clearly anything above 100PSI should be fine, right?

Any thoughts are welcome at this point.

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IMHO, Oil less will make you want to shoot yourself in the head.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been using this HF compressor for 7 years. Only complaint is that the tank is not large enough. The 8 gallon you linked would be much better for seating TL tires.  

HF compressor

Craftsman is no better than most HF stuff these days. The craftsman of old is long gone. 
 

Once my HF compressor finally dies, my next one will be a higher end model that is much quieter. I hate how loud my current one is. Not sure if you care about that but some of the compressors that are advertised as “low DB” are surprisingly quite. 

Edited by WLemke
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1 minute ago, WLemke said:

 

Craftsman is no better than most HF stuff these days. The craftsman of old is long gone. 

Same with Milwaukee and a slew of other bygone manufacturers. Pretty sad

Buy once and be done

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dewalt-30-gallon-air-compressor-155-psi-dxcm301-1313325?store=1600&cm_mmc=feed-_-GoogleShopping-_-Product-_-1313325&gclid=CjwKCAjwm7mEBhBsEiwA_of-TB9_R2zD4iIiREDQIiPO5fF53oSo1cPZV6wjZWKuzUWQeSlNKerSTRoCE18QAvD_BwE

 

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23 minutes ago, ATXZJ said:

IMHO, Oil less will make you want to shoot yourself in the head.

Can testify to this being true.

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Posted (edited)

I've been using a 2-liter bottle fitted with two pretsa valves and a hose to seat tubeless tires for a few years with no problems. Every time I consider buying a compressor, I remember how well this works and how little space it takes up and forget buying something new.

Edited by mack_turtle

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2 hours ago, ATXZJ said:

IMHO, Oil less will make you want to shoot yourself in the head.

Why?

I use it so rarely oil seems like it would be more of a hassle.

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2 hours ago, AustinBike said:

Why?

I use it so rarely oil seems like it would be more of a hassle.

They are So loud. 
 

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I have a small porter cable pancake compressor for nail guns, paint gun,  and also use it to seat tires. It works fine. 

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I own the 6 gallon pancake from HarborFreight and can attest that it’s loud, but have had no problems with it for 3+ years now. I mostly use it to top off and check tire pressures for bikes, but it works fine for doing the same for cars and I occasionally use it with a Brad nailer (also HarborFreight) with no issues. I bought the compressor and a 50ft retractable hose real for $50 cheaper than the compressor alone at Home Depot/Lowe’s. 

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8 hours ago, Woody said:

They are So loud. 
 

Hmmmm, my current one is oilless and yes, it is loud, but that is a one minute problem every few months.

This one is 65Db, but only 4.7Gal:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/California-Air-Tools-California-Air-Tools-4710SQ-Quiet-Flow-1-0-Hp-4-7-Gallon-Steel-Tank-Air-Compressor/1003126266

The craftsman was a little less expensive at 82Db and 6Gal. I think the larger capacity might top the noise. Both are oilless.

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Posted (edited)

Pancake vs upright just comes down to space/portability. Pick your poison.

Can't stand how loud oilless are but they may have come a long way since the old craftsman I had back in the 00s. Whatever you buy, don't be a cheapskate as you'll definitely get what you pay for. 

Edited by ATXZJ

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9 minutes ago, ATXZJ said:

Whatever you buy, don't be a cheapskate

Have you MET ME???

I am trying not to be a cheapskate (which is why I try to stay away from HF) but when I think about an air compressor I realize that I *really* use it 5-6 times a year when setting new tubeless ties. Most of the time the floor pump is just as easy.

A $300 compressor for 5-6 uses a year is overkill, so I'm probably gonna get a $130 craftsman 6-gal from Lowes and be done with it.

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2 minutes ago, AustinBike said:

 

A $300 compressor for 5-6 uses a year is overkill

Use it more then 😁

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My OLD HF pancake was listed as 125psi and could seat anything. My new one is listed as 100PSI (and I cannot get it above 85psi) and it cannot seat some MTB tires.  So it just comes down to what you end up with. I think if it really could put out 100psi, it might be fine.

I wonder if you could return an HF compressor if it didn't get to advertised pressure. Too late for me, but might be one way to go.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm tellin you, 2L bottle with a hose and some old valves. seats almost every tire the first time with 40PSI.

also, there are a bunch of tubeless-specific pumps on the market that have a "charger" of some sort. basically, a more sophisticated version of my duct-taped soda bottle. they cost a lot less than most air compressors, take up less space, they're portable, much more quiet, and don't need to be plugged in.

Edited by mack_turtle
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Ive had an original craftsman one that looks like that pancake for ~20 years and had zero issues.  Its installed 3 fences, lots of moulding and trim, inflated who knows how many tires along the way.  It has done tubeless once or twice but thats only recently.

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I have the Craftsman. I’ve had it for 2 or 3 years and it has been used for airing tires, repressurizing a well tank, drying bike chains and setting beads. It’s worked fine for me. If you settle on the Craftsman, you’ll need to buy your hose and attachments separately. 

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PSI is less important for what you want vs flow at pressure.  For nailers and filling tires a small pancake is fine.  But you can't paint or do sandblasting stuff.  Even blowing stuff clean with a pancake is frustrating.   The flow ratings also are affected by the tubing used and the hose/fittings used.  For max instant flow (seating beads) you want a good flow rate.   It sounds like @AustinBike has very limited usage so the cheap one he's looking at should be fine.  I had a 9gal HF for a long time.  The tank and motor were good for many years.  But the tubing and fittings are super cheap.  I replaced parts once, but then they stopped supporting it so I couldn't get parts.  I put it on the curb for someone to customize it and bought myself a larger IR which I love.  I can probably do HVLP painting with it if I wanted to, but definitely can't do sandblasting.  For that you want even higher flow rated and/or 100% duty cycle  ($$$$).  I know all this mostly because I had to research this for work.  We had to get a scroll (as opposed to piston) compressor ($$$$$).

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2 hours ago, AustinBike said:

Have you MET ME???

I am trying not to be a cheapskate (which is why I try to stay away from HF) but when I think about an air compressor I realize that I *really* use it 5-6 times a year when setting new tubeless ties. Most of the time the floor pump is just as easy.

A $300 compressor for 5-6 uses a year is overkill, so I'm probably gonna get a $130 craftsman 6-gal from Lowes and be done with it.

It sounds like we use our compressors the exact same way. I have a 10gal (i think) hotdog Craftsman. It works great, but probably overkill. If it broke today, I'd probably get one to those $99 HF pancake ones. The guys putting up the wooden forms for my pool had one that looked like it had seen some shit. They used it to shoot nails and bore into solid limestone. If can withstand daily outdoor use, it can probably sit in my garage a get turned on briefly every other month. 

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32 minutes ago, Ay Chihuahua said:

I have the Craftsman. I’ve had it for 2 or 3 years and it has been used for airing tires, repressurizing a well tank, drying bike chains and setting beads. It’s worked fine for me. If you settle on the Craftsman, you’ll need to buy your hose and attachments separately. 

I have plenty of hoses and attachments, the lightning did not get those 😉 

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