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Air compressor recommendations for home shop

7.3444e

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 19, 2023
Hey guys newb here at practical machinist. I am hoping for some recommendations on a air compressor for a home shop. I've read a ton on the internet but having a problem pinning down a decent compressor that will fit my needs. I am a buy once cry once type of person and usually try to buy good quality that will last a long time. I am just a hobbyist so not looking to spend a ton of money. Wondering if anyone can recommend a decent compressor in the 1000 to $1,500 range, 230 volt, but hoping to find a compressor that turns at a lower RPM. I don't know if this is possible in my price range. From the research I have done a low RPM compressor will not only last longer but is also more quiet. From what I can tell the Quincy's that are in my price range are the higher RPM models ( 3200 RPM?), and are probably not made like the more expensive ones. Looking for something no larger than 60 gallons. If a low RPM compressor is not possible in my price range hoping for some recommendations on a decent compressor to fit my needs. Basically just run air tools but may do some painting once I build a shop at my next home. Been looking at Eastwoods, Quincy's, IR, and a few others but most websites do not list the motor RPMs so it's been difficult to find something. Thanks for any help
 
The big question is new or used? If you look there are always 5hp used compressors around for sale. 5hp will be more than enough for a home shop unless you want to do sand blasting. You are over thinking this. Just find a used 5hp in decent condition and be done with it. If it's got to be new then you likely want a top of the line 5hp and will have to pay up. In my opinion new is not worth it in a hobby shop.
 
I posted about my experience with buying a piece of junk Ingersol-Rand compressor on April 19, 2022. Lasted less than 1 month and IR wouldn't even answer their phone or return e-mails after I had purchased their extended warranty kit. Returned it to MSC for a full refund after they couldn't get IR to respond to their phone calls either. My compressor is on a pressure switch 24-7. I ended up buying a un-mentionable HF compressor and it has been running for over a year now without a single problem and it hasn't lost a drop of oil. I use this for the shop tools and power draw bars. For sand blasting I have a old 10HP IR type 30 that is a great machine. Made when IR made parts in the US instead of buying junk Chinese and India parts that don't last although IR has the balls to put a big sticker on their compressors that reads PROUDLY ASSEMBLED IN THE USA. Read my previous post from 4-19-2022. shaybuilder.
 
The big question is new or used? If you look there are always 5hp used compressors around for sale. 5hp will be more than enough for a home shop unless you want to do sand blasting. You are over thinking this. Just find a used 5hp in decent condition and be done with it. If it's got to be new then you likely want a top of the line 5hp and will have to pay up. In my opinion new is not worth it in a hobby shop.
I did find a Quincy qt-5 80 gallon 2 stage in decent shape for $1,800 , still waiting to hear how old it is but it looks to be in really good shape. This is way more than I need Right now but don't want to be limited in the future. Perhaps I can talk him down in price but I doubt it. I believe these are around 3,400 new. I definitely agree on a used compressor for home shop it's just the not knowing how it was taken care of that makes it a gamble
 
I posted about my experience with buying a piece of junk Ingersol-Rand compressor on April 19, 2022. Lasted less than 1 month and IR wouldn't even answer their phone or return e-mails after I had purchased their extended warranty kit. Returned it to MSC for a full refund after they couldn't get IR to respond to their phone calls either. My compressor is on a pressure switch 24-7. I ended up buying a un-mentionable HF compressor and it has been running for over a year now without a single problem and it hasn't lost a drop of oil. I use this for the shop tools and power draw bars. For sand blasting I have a old 10HP IR type 30 that is a great machine. Made when IR made parts in the US instead of buying junk Chinese and India parts that don't last although IR has the balls to put a big sticker on their compressors that reads PROUDLY ASSEMBLED IN THE USA. Read my previous post from 4-19-2022. shaybuilder.
Yes I believe I did run across your thread when I was researching. Nightmare stories like this That's why I am skeptical. You will read on one thread how people say one brand is so great and then on the next thread you will hear how they've had nothing but problems. Seems like a lot of the USA made stuff now is just Chinese junk that is assembled here. Seems like a crap shoot nowadays
 
I don't paint so I don't know how much air that takes. But for general home shop use running air tools and misc. I used a medium size Craftsman 120 v. with a 20 gallon tank for 20+ years and never felt like I needed something bigger until I bought a blast cabinet. Then I got a big 7.5hp with an 80 gallon tank. Are you sure you really need a 5hp 80 gallon 230v unit? You can run a 3 bay gas station repair shop on that. It is over kill for most home shops but not really big enough to sand blast.
 
In my small shop I have an IR 7.5HP 80-gal two-stage unit, which produces 24 CFM, and I on a regular basis wish I had more CFM for certain air tools, etc.....I am very happy with this unit other than wishing it had more capacity.
 
Everything and anything you can buy new under 15hp is shit today. Quincy qt is shit. Ir is shit.

If you want to buy new, buy cheap HF and run it into the ground. Replace it every 5 years. HF is better quality than the name brands. I ran one of thier silent compressors 24/7 for a month for testing something and it did it. It still works!

If you want something good buy an old Quincy QR series and rebuild it to be like new.

Vote with your wallet. Don't buy China shit.
 
Painting with a 60 gallon single phase motor rig will suck.

No offense to the guys with vertical rigs. They are top heavy and have limited foot prints for the pump and motor.
Compare with the horizontal rigs.

What I see new for under $3000 is ....
Better to buy used and fix it up.

Here is a three phase model that has a two stage pump. The single phase version has a one stage pump.

 
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What's your air requirements? That should be driving the requirement.

If it's low then just get a cheap HF or Home Depot air compressor. And if it goes bad, get another cheapy, and use the tank for spare capacity.
 
First, compressors are like trucks and guns. If you need one, you never need a little one. Good industrial compressors are expensive., but used ones are reasonable. In many cases as a hobbyist, you can get by with a small compressor if you have a large storage tank. In point of fact two storage tanks are better than one, because the first tank will catch all the water, keeping your air supply dry without a cooler. You should size your compressor to match your biggest consumer. Your Chinese air tools will consume about 20% more air than an equivalent American made tool, so keep that in mind. In my experience one hand air tool will take about 100% of the air a 5 HP compressor will deliver at 8 to 9 BAR. A sand blast cabinet at 40 PSI will take twice that volume of a hand tool. You can run a paint spray gun at 40 PSI with 5 HP, but not less.
Lastly buy a used large, name brand recip with at least a 100 gallon tank. Anything less and you will eventually have to replace it. I just replaced my compressor of 25 years, not because it failed, but because it was too small. It was a large 2 cylinder pump with a 4.5 KW 3 phase motor that ran the pump at 750 RPM. It would cycle a 40 gallon tank from 8 bar to 9 bar in 28 seconds. It could only drive one air tool. I replaced it with a 10 hp screw compressor. It now cycles my 200 gallon tank from 8 to 9 bar in 30 seconds.
 
Take a look at Puma V-series (http://www.pumaairusa.com/products-09.html). They're well made but the motor (on mine) was a WEG. I'd heard good things about WEG motors but mine failed after a couple of years and I replaced it with a US mad 5hp Baldor. The rest of the unit has been working hard for many years. The pump turns at about 1,000 RPM. Not exactly quiet but not ratty like the smaller Quincys.

Mine is the PK-6060V, now with a 5hp motor instead of 3hp. I upped the RPM a couple of hundred to make use of the bigger motor but its still well within the specs for that pump.
 
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I did find a Quincy qt-5 80 gallon 2 stage in decent shape for $1,800 , still waiting to hear how old it is but it looks to be in really good shape. This is way more than I need Right now but don't want to be limited in the future. Perhaps I can talk him down in price but I doubt it. I believe these are around 3,400 new. I definitely agree on a used compressor for home shop it's just the not knowing how it was taken care of that makes it a gamble
It does not matter how old it is if it is good shape. For that price it should be in good shape. If there are any problems just fix them and it will last you the rest of your life.
You should add your location to your profile also.
 
Location? are there any used ones around there? Replies seem to be assuming you are in N. America. I have no idea about Gueina Bassu compressor parts availability by brand.
Five Hp, make sure it is two stage not just two equal size cylinders. Five hp is roughly where the extra cost of two stages is made up for more efficiency. A two stage will have a finned after cooler tube connecting the two cylinders and a seperate output pipe. I also recommend a used Quincy. Check the oil for burned smell or milky cream from leaking water.
Bill D
 
I just went thru this last year and this is what I learned. Most of the box store compressors are junk. If you want the compressor to last here are some tips.
I would get an older used compressor and rebuild it. Back then (20years) the quality was a lot better.
Get one with the 7.5HP motor, those run at a little bit higher rpm but are not that loud.
Get the one with the 80 gallon tank if possible and get a extra tank for storage if you have the room.
Starts kill components on single phase, it puts a lot of stress on the start winding and contacts.
Starting at a higher kick in pressure ads even more stress, mine is set at 70 kick in and 145 kick out.
Lower your kick out pressure I don't think any of the normal tools require 175psi this is just wasted pressure and reduces loads on your equipment.

So my system is a husky 7.5hp 80 gallon (home depot) compressor from the early 2000's these were speedaire commercial entry units just repainted red. I rebuilt the electric motor and the compressor, the tank was in great shape the PO had it set at 175KO and burned the contacts he took the compressor apart and left it like that. I got a 120 gallon air tank that was new old stock for scrap price. So now I have a 200 gallon compressor set up, along with the low KI and KO pressures it tends to run a long time when it starts but that is what you want. A long run time allows the compressor and oil to heat up to drive out any condensed water in the oil.

This set up cost me about 400-450 dollars that includes replacement parts and paint. With proper maintenance my son is the one that will have to worry about rebuilding this at a later time.
 
Take a look at Puma V-series (http://www.pumaairusa.com/products-09.html). They're well made but the motor (on mine) was a WEG. I'd heard good things about WEG motors but mine failed after a couple of years and I replaced it with a US mad 5hp Baldor. The rest of the unit has been working hard for many years. The pump turns at about 1,000 RPM. Not exactly quiet but not ratty like the smaller Quincys.

Mine is the PK-6060V, now with a 5hp motor instead of 3hp. I upped the RPM a couple of hundred to make use of the bigger motor but its still well within the specs for that pump.
Had a Weg 5hp single phase and it Wegged away. Capacitor blew up. I had the cast iron cover off of that strong box. Shredded paper all over the place.
No wonder those capacitor box are made so strong. They don't want it to explode.

Previous was a Baldor 5hp single phase that smoked.
Single phase motors on air compressors suck.
Now it's three phase with soft starting and better motor protection via a VFD.
 
Here are the data tags off the Quincy( purchased at Lowe's ) that I've had in my home shop for about eight years now, and runs flawlessly. Runs my air tools, and the blast cabinet just fine. The last photo, is something I would consider a necessity, no matter what compressor you buy. Vibration mounts for the feet. When I installed it in my shop, I bolted it directly to the slab. The first time I fired it up, I thought holy s%#t this thing is loud, I'm taking it back. You could hear it from one end of the house to the other( attached garage ). At work, mentioned it to one of the wrenches in the motor pool, and he asked me "what kind of mounting pads are you using?" Then proceeded to clue me in to vibration isolation pads. I got mine from Grainger. It was like night and day. Our living room shares a wall with the garage, and when the compressor kicks on, it's just a barely audible hum in the house. And plenty tolerable being next to it in the shop. Highly recommended.
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