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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

I need an air compressor and would like it horizontal and somewhat portable in a pinch. Mostly for inflating and swapping tires but occasionally might run some air tools. Looking at the CH 20 and 30 gal. units that are both rated at 10.2 [email protected] psi. The 20 gallon would fit better in the shop... But for my typical needs would I want to consider the 30? Would the only downfall with the 20 be that it'd kick on more and/or run constant with a high flow tool?

Not sure I've seen other brands with these specs in this size. I'm open to other brands if there are better units.

Any advice on this topic would be appreciated!

Thanks
 

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What degree of portability do you desire? At 10.2 CFM @ 90 PSI I assume the units you are looking at are 220V? That in itself limits a lot of the normal portability options.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What degree of portability do you desire? At 10.2 CFM @ 90 PSI I assume the units you are looking at are 220V? That in itself limits a lot of the normal portability options.
I agree yeah they are 220v. Portable in the sense to wheel over to house if I need a bit of air there short term. Could always get a longer hose or air pig too. I wouldn't need to be plugging it into a 120v outlet for my needs.
 

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I see that your nickname includes "Northern." The compressors you're considering should provide enough SCFM for most tools, but if you need to winterize irrigation/sprinkler pipes, etc., the larger tank will have a better chance of keeping up with those airflows. Ditto for pneumatic sanders...
 

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I agree yeah they are 220v. Portable in the sense to wheel over to house if I need a bit of air there short term. Could always get a longer hose or air pig too. I wouldn't need to be plugging it into a 120v outlet for my needs.
I don't think CH makes a vertical compressor with wheels in the 10 CFM range. The long hose may be the best solution as you give up a lot of options to have a wheeled unit and at around 180 lbs. it's not something you just grab for inflating a tire.
 

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Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you wont get a true 10cfm out of any compressor that small. With very few exceptions, the pumps just arent big enough to do it.
There is one wheelbarrow style that sell for $1000 that uses a gas engine that will do 9cfm, but most manufacturers rate the CFM only based on a very short timeframe vs flow.
What you want to look for is continuous CFM, and compressors in that size range are generally around 5-6 at best, which wont keep up with many air tools like a die grinder, air sander, etc. They will work fine for airing up tires, or running an impact, or short bursts with a sander or whatnot, but they will not keep up with continuous use.
There is a chart at the bottom of this page:
Portable Air Compressors | Quincy Compressor
Quincy would be my top pick at any level of compressor. Nobody does it better than they do. They arent cheap though.
Their 20 gallon does 7.4cmf @100psi.
220V vs 110V really doenst do much with regard to CFM. The motor doesnt spin faster, nor the pump, its just more efficient in its operation and draws less amps. Going with a 20-30 gallon tank compressor, I wouldnt let voltage determine the compressor I bought.

This is something I went through years ago, and still do when I talk to friends about compressors, is that manufacturers arent always accurate with specs. They fudge them to get better looking numbers, then a guy buys one and is unhappy with the performance because they took it at face value. One should be able to do that, but unfortunately, thats not the case.
One easy way to get more CFM is using larger pipe through out the system. Out of the tank, into regulator, out, etc. That will flow more air, but if the pump cant keep up, it doesnt matter much.

You can look at quite a few compressors and actual reviews over at aircompressorsdirect.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not overly concerned about getting a true 10cfm from the small compressor, but wanted those specs as the 5-6 cfm 110v units in that size would be that less powerful.
 

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I'm not overly concerned about getting a true 10cfm from the small compressor, but wanted those specs as the 5-6 cfm 110v units in that size would be that less powerful.
The intended use is the KEY factor. You mentioned inflating tires and some air tools. Do you have any particular air tools in mind? A home user can usually get by with less compressor than say a commercial shop because you don't have to run the tools all day long. With some air tools you can get by with less CFM and a larger tank (say 30 gal). Others are such air hogs that you need a lot of continuous CFM to run them properly.

I have a 110V vertical 30-gal Kobalt that I bought at Lowe's. It is actually a rebranded CH. It's rated at 5.5 CFM @ 90 PSI and I've ran some CFM tests and it comes out very close to that. I can run a 1/2 impact, air ratchet, and cut-off tool for long enough to typically get the job done. I also once ran a large framing nailer which was no problem. The cut-off tool is the biggest air hog. Once when cutting tire chains I had to keep stopping every minute or so and let the air build back up. It was a bit of a PITA. I ended up getting a cheap electric cut-off tool for $19 from Harbor Freight and it worked MUCH better. :)

 

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Get a stationary compressor and plumb up some air distribution lines. A little bit of hard plumbing will make it easier to keep hoses shorter and neater.

The first 18-24" of pipe off the tank should be metal pipe either threaded steel or copper pipe will do. After that transition to 3/4" PEX tubing to distribute air around your shop. You can then have drops that have both regulated and un-regulated air flow. Need an oiler for some tools but what clean air for others? No problem just tie in a new fitting. It is much easier to move the air and leave the compressor where it is. Also the more piping in your distribution system you have the larger your overall storage volume is effectively making your tank bigger.

As for which brand to get, at a residential consumer level there really isn't much difference. Most of them are all using the same compressor heads and just painting them different colors. The design for oil lubricated piston compressors hasn't changed in a very long time. Even a cheap harbor freight oil lubed compressor is going to run for decades for your average residential user.

If you are doing commercial work or painting its worth moving to a commercial duty compressor. A commercial duty compressor will be designed with extra cooling to allow for continuous run times without overheating the pistons. The price jump to a commercial duty compressor like a Quincy compressor is staggering. Quincy reciprocating compressors are fairy bomb proof and they haven't changed much since they were first built in the 1930's or so. Search craigslist for a used industrial compressor from a shop that is closing. You will get something that will last you the rest of your life and outperform most anything you can buy new at any big box store.
 

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Get a stationary compressor and plumb up some air distribution lines. A little bit of hard plumbing will make it easier to keep hoses shorter and neater.
He stated he wants it to be portable so he can use it over at the house when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm not overly concerned about getting a true 10cfm from the small compressor, but wanted those specs as the 5-6 cfm 110v units in that size would be that less powerful.
The intended use is the KEY factor. You mentioned inflating tires and some air tools. Do you have any particular air tools in mind? A home user can usually get by with less compressor than say a commercial shop because you don't have to run the tools all day long. With some air tools you can get by with less CFM and a larger tank (say 30 gal). Others are such air hogs that you need a lot of continuous CFM to run them properly.

I have a 110V vertical 30-gal Kobalt that I bought at Lowe's. It is actually a rebranded CH. It's rated at 5.5 CFM @ 90 PSI and I've ran some CFM tests and it comes out very close to that. I can run a 1/2 impact, air ratchet, and cut-off tool for long enough to typically get the job done. I also once ran a large framing nailer which was no problem. The cut-off tool is the biggest air hog. Once when cutting tire chains I had to keep stopping every minute or so and let the air build back up. It was a bit of a PITA. I ended up getting a cheap electric cut-off tool for $19 from Harbor Freight and it worked MUCH better. ?

That's pretty much how I'll use it. Impact would be the main tool and extremely occasional use of a cut off or air saw. I figured I'd go 220v since I could get a higher cfm when required.

I had a 60gal. CH at my old place and it did everything I ever needed. But it took a really long time to fill for what I did. That's why I think a 20 or 30 would suit me better.

Selection and service is limited in my area so I think I'm bound to the common residential brands.

So if I went with a 20gal, it'd just kick on more if I was using a lot of air? Size wise it'd fit better along the garage wall.
 

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He stated he wants it to be portable so he can use it over at the house when needed.
Nothing stopping you from running a pex line over to the house for permanent air....

Really though if you put an air outlet on the garage at the closest point to the house and just run air hose over for the odd time you need it there its going to be easier than trying to find a 220v outlet at the house he can plug into.

More to that point however as was already pointed out at the size air compressor that is being looked at it really won't matter if its 110v or 220v. You don't gain any performance by going to a higher voltage you just lower the camp draw of the motor making it easier on your building wiring. If you stay with a 110v compressor on wheels you will be able to plug it in anywhere.

Also given the desire to stick with portable the 20gal tank will be easier to move. Going to a 30 gallon tank isn't going to make much difference in cycle or run time for that size compressor.
 

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So if I went with a 20gal, it'd just kick on more if I was using a lot of air? Size wise it'd fit better along the garage wall.
In my experience, along with running more, there could be times that you would simply run out of air pressure and have to stop and wait for it to built back up enough to run the tool. A 20 gal tank will run out of air sooner than a 30 gal tank given the same air draw.
 

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I have a Dewalt 15gal that I picked up for filling tires and blowing clean spots. All my impact tools are 20v so I don't use this much. If I was a bigger user I would have picked up a 30gal portable. Although I love CJ's idea of a stationary compressor and multiple drops around the garage and house.

My current small portable

https://www.dewalt.com/products/gear-and-equipment/air-compressors/16-hp-continuous-225-psi-15-gallon-workshop-compressor/d55168

If I really needed a large portable

https://www.dewalt.com/products/gear-and-equipment/air-compressors/30-gallon-oil-free-direct-drive-compressor/dxcmla1983012
 

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I went back and forth, and ran a 20 gallon for years it wasn’t big or small but was a pita to move.

Now I have an 80 gallon in the garage, and a 4.5cfm 8 gallon to move as needed. That’s worked great on all fronts. I have an oil version of this that I think was $80 on sale. It’s upstairs right now for doing trim.



https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-8G-150-PSI-Hotdog-Air-Compressor-0300816/302862402

My garage one is a 220v porter cable? 17 cfm. I got it cheap on eBay, it will run air hog tools near 100% duty cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the replies. 60gal is just way too big for what i do. The one I used to have took a long time to fill just for tire top ups and occasional impact work.

Any residential compressor in the 20-60gal with high cfm seem to be really noisy, so I might build an enclosure around it to save the eardrums. It worked well on my old 60gal.

IR doesn't seem to have a good site with specs was hoping they may have a quality one. I think I'll end up with the CH 30gal.
 

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I did build an enclosure, and I usually leave the tank full even if I turn it off, and just drain it periodically. It keeps enough air to fill tires, even from empty for months. I couldn’t tell you when I last turned it on this fall/winter.

Having a small portable can do quick fills without running endlessly, even unplugged and used as an air tank.
 

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If you want power portability and don't want a lot of noise than you want a Makita air compressor.

I own the Makita MAC700 and I can tell you that thing is a powerhouse.

You want quiet you can stand next to it while its running and not raise your voice.

Portable, while it does weigh 50 lbs, the carry handle is well designed and balances the unit in your hand making it easy to carry.

Runs off any standard 110v 15amp circuit and will not trip the breaker.

Very powerful for its size. 3.3 CFM @ 90psi and will deliver that all day long and not break a sweat. It easily keeps up with my framing nailer and can fill my truck tires to 80psi in a very short time. For an all around portable jobsite compressor the Makita compressors are hard to beat.

Its expensive for its size but its worth every penny when compared to any other similar compressor.

The small tank size would make it a poor choice for most rotary air tools, ei large impact gun or angle grinder, as it simply doesn't have the reserve capacity in the tank.

If you want one that will run an impact or small die grinder check out the Makita MAC5200
. You will need a 20 amp circuit to run it but it will put that Husky compressor to shame. It even comes with wheels and a hose holder.
 
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