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Old 03-15-2012, 05:48 PM   #1
NDLBox
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Default Can someone recommend a good, small compressor?

I'm looking for a small-ish cheap-ish (but decent quality) compressor for light duty work.

Main use will be inflating tires.

Perhaps also running an impact wrench for changing wheels and maybe eventually a nail gun.

I was thinking Harbor Freight or Sears, but am not sure of how large or what model to look at...
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:45 PM   #2
ciper
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The impact "wrench" is what will be the determining factor. Pumping tires and a nail gun are low flow applications.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:25 AM   #3
leecea
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I have a small HF unit that I've used occasionally for a few years - runs and impact and ran a framing nailer.

My unit is not this one, but very similar: http://www.harborfreight.com/air-too...sor-67501.html

The main issue is that you have to wait for it to cycle more often because of the tank size. I never counted the number of nails I could get in before it cycled, but the walls I was framing were small and I was working by myself, so it didn't delay me. If you were framing up a large wall with helpers, you might be waiting for air sometimes.

Impact wrench is no problem. It will generally cycle between wheels (does 5 lug nuts then cycles). I'm using the HF Earthquake impact wrench.

I've added the ability to daisy chain a 10 gals air tank if I need to have more capacity. The tank is also very useful by itself for adjusting car tire pressure.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:51 PM   #4
NDLBox
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Thanks! Exactly what I was looking at, wanted to make sure I was on the right track.

I'm nervous about using an impact wrench so I'm thinking of using an air ratchet to put the lugs on and then finishing them off with my trusty dial torque wrench... anyone do it this way?
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
rkramer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDLBox View Post
Thanks! Exactly what I was looking at, wanted to make sure I was on the right track.

I'm nervous about using an impact wrench so I'm thinking of using an air ratchet to put the lugs on and then finishing them off with my trusty dial torque wrench... anyone do it this way?
Using any sort of air wrench is kind of overkill for putting the lugs on. Get yourself a hand speed wrench.

For me, I've got a well equipped shop, and I've never once used an air ratchet for tires at any point. What I usually do is use the impact to remove the lugs, and then I'll use the impact to spin the lugs on, but stopping before it actually starts torquing it down. (still finish it with a beam torque wrench)


My advice with a compressor is to buy something about 4x bigger than what you expect to use now. Otherwise you will end up buying multiple compressors as you start figuring out uses. In other words, I'm on my 4th compressor, one finally big enough for what I need...

(Makita 5200, 6.5 CFM 120 volts, you won't find a larger one that runs at that voltage.)

Amazon.com: Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor: Home ImprovementAmazon.com: Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor: Home Improvement
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:17 AM   #6
fastnoypi
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Agreed its overkill for an air wrench to do your lugs. If thats as heavy duty as you will get, just get an electric or cordless impact wrench. 24v Goodyear cordless impact that you can get at pepboys is a favorite at the track...then finish off with a torque wrench.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
leecea
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I do the same thing as above. Remove lugs with impact then gently spin them back on with careful use of impact, and finish with torque wrench.

I also have a PepBoys cordless and it handles lugs fine.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:44 AM   #8
travlingnome
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Depends on what you want to spend but I had to pick one up to finish changing the struts on my daughters '96 impreza. It was 179 for a 20gal 155psi Husky from Home Depot. Fits nicely in the garage next to my tool box.
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