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Looking to buy a small air compressor for the garage. I don't need anything too big, just for small tasks. Any advice on the purchase?

Craftsman has a few on sale. Oil lube, or oil free? PSI? Tank size?

Thanks in advance...
 

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Best tool advice I've gotton so far... Never go cheap on tools.

Find the highest CFM demand and PSI of the tool(s) you want to run. Double the CFM. Find a compressor that can run that PSI and CFM at 75% duty cycle. You should be set for some time. Larger tanks mean less cycling, and more being able to hear yourself think.
 

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I have a Craftsman 1.5 hp compressor with a 15 or 20 gallon tank....I can run my nail guns, touch-up spray gun, 3/8 & 1/2" air drive tools....with the spray gun and impacts I run an additional 10 gal tank inline......it has lasted me for almost 20 years and is just now starting to get tired. For a garage use unit....can't go wrong with a craftsman 1.5 hp
 

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Belt drive, oil-lube tend to be much, much quieter. The oil-free, direct drive units are loud enough to run me out of the garage, but probably OK for running nail guns outdoors. Considering its a tool you'll have around for probably 25 or 30 years, think waaaay ahead to what you might be restoring or working on. After I bought my cheap 60 gallon from Lowes, I later added tools that really need more umph like a a blast cabinet and hvlp gun. I have to take a break sometimes to let the compressor catch up and cool down which is tolerable for most apps since its just a hobby, but for instance, I can't attempt to paint a whole car because its something you can't stop in the middle of.
 

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Yeah, just save up, add another bill or so onto your purchase and step up to a 60 gal tank or so, oiled pump, belt drive, 220V...it is so worth it. Those little compressors can be heard in the next county, constantly run, and can't drive much more than an air ratchet.
 

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I had a small, but not really portable, oil-less one (20 gallons) it was loud as heck, and seemed like it would run after pulling the trigger once. That being said it worked fine for most basic wrenching tasks, but not so good for using grinders, or anything with pro-longed air usage.

That being said I found a STEAL of a deal (less then $300) on a 60 gallon, oiled vertical compressor at Lowe's, it runs on 220, it is significantly quieter, kicks on waaayyy, less often (naturally), and can support pretty much anything I could possibly do in my garage, aside from fully painting a car (that you need a 2-stage I believe). I love it, and wish I would have bought years ago.

Then I also have real small portable air compressor for my nail guns, which works great for air guns, but thats about it.
 

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If you are just airing up tires and don't plan on much use, get one of the Sears units. The oil less ones will drive you crazy with all the noise. I have a Campbell Hausfield 60 gal 5 HP 240Volt and it's good for just about anything, including HVLP painting. I got it at Harbor Freight about 18 years ago, and only paid about $550.00 for it. The only thing that has gone wrong is the drive belt broke last year.
 
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