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Old 04-21-2019, 09:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New (small) Shop Air Compressor - Best Options for 2019

For the last 20 years I have been using this 30 gallon craftsman oilless compressor in my garage. It pumps 8.6 scfm at 40 psi and 6.4 scfm at 90. Its a tad undersized for my needs, but never enough to justify an upgrade.

Now that Ive moved from the mountains to suburbia, I’m conscious as to how loud this unit is. You can hear it 5 houses away.

I’ve noticed in the last 2 years a number of ‘quiet’ scroll compressors coming out, with the prices getting reasonable. I picked up the eastwood unit for work, and it pushed me over the edge to replace mine. If it were $600, not $1800 I’d buy the same one for home too.

Do you have any recommendations for a home air compressor in the 6-8 scfm range that are quiet enough for a neighborhood? I’m looking for a sub-$600 solution.
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Last edited by GRMhick; 04-21-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Unless you're wanting something REALLY quiet, you aren't asking for much really. Anything oil lubricated will be quieter than the one you've been using. Even a cheap one like this would do what you need, and be a big improvement. https://www.harborfreight.com/29-gal...sor-62765.html
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You want a belt drive compressor.

Even direct drive oil type compressors are loud, although not as loud as an oil less compressor.
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Lean View Post
Unless you're wanting something REALLY quiet, you aren't asking for much really. Anything oil lubricated will be quieter than the one you've been using. Even a cheap one like this would do what you need, and be a big improvement. https://www.harborfreight.com/29-gal...sor-62765.html
Thats a really interesting option. I hadn’t noticed that one when I previously searched. Thats a good option. And its considerably quieter than anything else at that price point.

Does anyone have any experience with california air tools? They look like a reasonable solution.

Here are the compressors I’m currently considering:
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Last edited by GRMhick; 04-21-2019 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And if I want to go bigger, these have also hit my radar.
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also, don't laugh too hard, but Ive considered buying two of these and hooking them up together. Is this a completely laughable thought?
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Somewhat watching this.

Are you sure on the rating of that Craftsman? I've got the same exact one including the screwed up power cord.
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Also, don't laugh too hard, but Ive considered buying two of these and hooking them up together. Is this a completely laughable thought?
For shop work, you don't want those. Even 2 hooked together

Those are great for interior trim work.
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That California, and the 30 gal Husky both look like oil-free direct drive again. (just from the pics...)
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Lean View Post
That California, and the 30 gal Husky both look like oil-free direct drive again. (just from the pics...)
I think you may be right, but the california is 70db and the husky is 78db.

From the youtube videos I've watched, the California is very quiet
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I bought on of these used of FB Marketplace for $80. They don't sell this model anymore, but it's considerably quieter than the 220v 80 gallon, single stage, 19cfm model I have in the shop.

30 gallon cast iron tank. 1.6 hp, 120 volt, 15 amp, 60 Hz, 1 phase electric motor. 5.3 scfm @ 90 psi. 6.2 scfm @ 40 psi

It's super quiet. You can easily carry on a conversation right in front of it. I bet it runs at 30 ish Decibels.
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Old 04-21-2019, 04:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Definitely following this as I need one myself. Would like to find an appropriate one myself. Don't intend to do any painting or Blasting but enough to run some common tools
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action Fab View Post
I bought on of these used of FB Marketplace for $80. They don't sell this model anymore, but it's considerably quieter than the 220v 80 gallon, single stage, 19cfm model I have in the shop.

30 gallon cast iron tank. 1.6 hp, 120 volt, 15 amp, 60 Hz, 1 phase electric motor. 5.3 scfm @ 90 psi. 6.2 scfm @ 40 psi

It's super quiet. You can easily carry on a conversation right in front of it. I bet it runs at 30 ish Decibels.
We bought one of those at work last summer. When new it was surprising quiet. 10 months later it is probably twice as loud and synthetic oil gets very dirty very fast. The pressure regulator went bad a few months into using it. I think it is junk
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil'John View Post
Somewhat watching this.

Are you sure on the rating of that Craftsman? I've got the same exact one including the screwed up power cord.
I double checked and was wrong. Its actually more powerful than I quoted (I edited the post.). Its 8.6 scfm at 40 psi and 6.4 scfm at 90.

Quote:
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It's super quiet. You can easily carry on a conversation right in front of it. I bet it runs at 30 ish Decibels.
No way is it that quiet. My front yard, with no one around and no cars passing by is 50db. The inside of my wife’s new Toyota is 80db at 70mph.

I could buy 75 to 90db, but no way is that 30db. I think my toaster is louder than that.
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Last edited by GRMhick; 04-21-2019 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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As a point of comparison, my old compressor is 95db.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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What tools do you plan on using? Remember that air tools use 5x what ever they are rated at, lol.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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We bought one of those at work last summer. When new it was surprising quiet. 10 months later it is probably twice as loud and synthetic oil gets very dirty very fast. The pressure regulator went bad a few months into using it. I think it is junk
Huh. Seems like a decent unit, the few times I used it. It's definitely the quickest compressor I've ever heard run.

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I double checked and was wrong. Its actually more powerful than I quoted (I edited the post.). Its 8.6 scfm at 40 psi and 6.4 scfm at 90.

No way is it that quiet. My front yard, with no one around and no cars passing by is 50db. The inside of my wife’s new Toyota is 80db at 70mph.

I could buy 75 to 90db, but no way is that 30db. I think my toaster is louder than that.
Perhaps you are right. I'll try out one of those DB phone apps later and see what it actually runs at. It's no louder than a vacuum cleaner, that's for sure.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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What tools do you plan on using? Remember that air tools use 5x what ever they are rated at, lol.
I run the following tools, but always 1 at a time:
  • 1/2" Impact
  • 3/4" impact
  • Sandblaster
  • Die grinder
  • Cut off wheel
  • Air chisel
  • Fill tires

By the numbers, my current compressor should be 2x the current size to work. But my experience is that it works fine for my needs. This is why I think 6-8 cfm at 90psi would work fine for me. My guess is that anything bigger would need a 1/2" air line to use the volume anyway.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I double checked and was wrong. Its actually more powerful than I quoted (I edited the post.). Its 8.6 scfm at 40 psi and 6.4 scfm at 90.
Thanks for the picture. Turns out that was buried on mine

Mine is over 20 years old and while it works, some of the tools you list don't work well for me(impact gun sometimes doesn't have the grunt). The mini-desktop blasting cabinet from harbor freight just barely works.
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Old 04-22-2019, 03:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I run the following tools, but always 1 at a time:
  • Sandblaster

I don't care what size compressor you have, it's not big enough.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I just tested it. You're right my ambient noice level was about 38db.

The compressor was sitting at the opening of my garage door.

Inside the noise level was basically 69db.

Outside it was 63db

Both readings were taken from 10ft away.

From 30ft it was 49db

From 50ft it was 47db

From 50ft and on the otherside of the garage wall, not looking towards the open door, it read 42db. A dog park from 100ft pinged 80db
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I don't care what size compressor you have, it's not big enough.
Heck even a teensy 3"-4" cutoff tool and normal die grinder will have a 15 CFM compressor cycling very often if not have it run continuously.

GRMhick, from that list of tools, you need 25+ CFM. No lie.
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Watching as I need to replace my tired Husky compressor. Since it has a 29 gallon tank, I might just replace the motor.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I bought on of these used of FB Marketplace for $80. They don't sell this model anymore, but it's considerably quieter than the 220v 80 gallon, single stage, 19cfm model I have in the shop.

30 gallon cast iron tank. [Damn, that's heavy!] 1.6 hp, 120 volt, 15 amp, 60 Hz, 1 phase electric motor. 5.3 scfm @ 90 psi. 6.2 scfm @ 40 psi

It's super quiet. You can easily carry on a conversation right in front of it. I bet it runs at 30 ish Decibels.
I just paid $200 for that model on FB. 2007 vintage. Oil-lube and portable are hard to find used.

I'm doing this. Remains to be seen if it's worth $100 in parts. COOLER Not my pic- I'm not using compression.
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:04 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Depends on what you're doing as others have noted, but I can speak to the California Air Tools compressor. It looks like it has the same head on it as the unit that I have, though I have a smaller tank.

It is quiet, and it is SLOW to fill with the smaller tank, so I would imagine it would suck with a larger tank attached to it. But since I rarely use air tools at this point having gone all electric, it is perfect for airing up the random tire or blowing off some stuff. The once in a blue moon that I need to drag out an air hammer, I just deal with the slow fill times. If I had to do that every day, I would be looking at the other options.
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