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  • air compressor choices

    I'm hoping to purchase a new air compressor by aprox May or so when we move to a new house. I need a much larger unit than my old worn out Craftsman model that's over 18 years old.

    I plan to use it with a blast cabinet, HVLP painting, grinders, cutoff tools, drills, etc. I'm looking to buy a true 5 hp minimum with an 80 gallon tank. I'd really like a 7.5 hp, but that's my dilema...might be out of my financial to stay at $2000 if possible.

    Our local TSC has Ingersoll Rand units, but after looking at them, there not as impressive as I originally thought.

    I found a company in Ohio that custom builds compressors and they have good pricing and excellent heavy duty compressor packages. Here's their link.

    Look under the single phase section.

    I am very interested in buying from them as they were quite helpful over the phone, but I also realize having it serviced would be an easier job if it was bought locally.

    I found two local air compressor sales/maintence companies. Here is what they had to offer.

    company #1.

    Saylor-Beall brand, 5 hp, 80 gallon vert tank, 17.3 cfm @ 175 psi, $1775

    Saylor-Beall brand, 7.5 hp, 80 gallon horizontal tank, 26.2 cfm @ 175 psi, $2935

    The salesman claims Saylor-Beall won't sell a 7.5 hp vert tank in an 80 gallon as they feel it's too top heavy...would have to go up to a 120 gallon vert tank for $300-400 more.

    company #2

    Devair (formerly Devilbiss), 5 hp, 80 gallon tank, $1950

    They didn't give a firm quote on the 7.5 hp, but felt it was approx $2500 or so.

    Eaton compressor sells their 5 hp, 80 gallon vert compressor for $1275 plus $180 for shipping...$1455 delivered total. 17 cfm @ 175 psi and a pump rpm of 800 rpm. This pump is a verticle two cylinder.

    Eatons 7.5 hp 80 gallon model sells for $1780 plus $180 shipping for a delivered total of $1960. This one has 26 cfm @ 175 psi and a pump speed of 600 rpm. This pump is a V4 cylinder arrangement.

    TIP tools in Ohio sells both Quincy & Champion compressors. While their similar, they run at higher pump speeds and don't seem to have as many options built into them as the Eaton deals.

    Now, I have so many choices, but I guess the question is, would you feel safe buying from a company not close to you? Would you feel OK buying from Eaton? I know that many times things are cheaper for a what is it in this case. From what I can tell, Eaton is a manufacturer/parts assembler company, so your buying from a source, not a middle man/distributor.

    I need to take some time to slip into the two local compressor supply houses.

    Any thougths or suggestions?

    I fully intend to buy as big of a machine as my budget allows. In the past, I bought too small of welders and regretted that decision till I finally looked at the purchase of a larger unit as a long term investment. I also want a large enough machine that I'm not beating it to death like my current/old compressor...need it to last a long, long time.

  • #2
    My money is on the Devair. Very well built and last a long time. In the autobody business for some twenty years now, using air systems day in and day out. They cost more but in the long run are worth it.

    From what I read on your queston it sounds like you are going to be using a fair amount of air, I would at the minumum get the 7.5 two stage with 80 gallon tank, ie blasting consumes lots of air.

    I work with compressors that pretty much run non-stop for 10 hours per day five days per week, Devair or Devilbiss.

    Although 10 to 25 hp models seen them run for years without anything more than regular service.

    I bought an Eagle brand compressor 5 hp three cynlinder single phase with 60 gallon tank for about a grand, to use in my part time shop, it lasted two years and crapped out.

    hope this helps
    There's a method to the madness, disregard the method and the madness begins.


    • #3
      While researchin air compressors for myself I ran across some information that I consider priceless. A very smart guy on the Practical Machinist board wrote the following at this link:

      It is probably the very best short treatise on air compressors that you can find.

      Hope this has been some help.



      • #4
        Forrest is one of the smartest persons around,and has good info.I think Roger at this site might give you all the answers about what brand will serve you best.You are on the right track in brands of compressors.Saylor Beall might be your best bet.I have a Curtis 5hp two stage that I am very happy with.Also listen to Wayne at that site,because he knows what is going on too.

        Last edited by Scott V; 01-11-2004, 10:13 PM.


        • #5
          That practical machinist link about said it all.
          Most of the compressors I used were Quinsy, IR , Worthington and others off topic. Good oil lubricated compressor in small shop will last 2 life times.


          • #6
            My compressor

            This is an older Champion. Just got it from my father in law. He bought a new one but I don't know what it is. This was an old compressor when he got it 30 years ago. Works like it looks!
            Thanks Tom


            • #7
              Nice one Tom, I bet this pulls alot of amperage when starting it up.
              Dave Evans


              • #8
                i would recommend the devair too. i've got an old devilbiss that i found at a salvage. probably 10 or more years old but i was able to download documentation from the web and contacted devilbiss in canada and talked to a live person about how to bring this compressor back into service. i can still get parts etc. too. from what i hear, they are still well built and it's hard to beat their service and support...
                hh175, syncro 180 sd


                • #9
                  I have an older Ingersoll Rand 5hp 2 stage (20 years) and have used it fairly hard. Remember that many of the larger units do not come with but need a electrical starter for the unit. You may need to consider that in the purchase price. In mine, I bought a 24 vac control so that I could run class II wiring (thermostat) and remote start and stop the compressor from the front or side door to the garage.

                  Another thing, cold winters in Michigan (minus zero tomorrow). I bought a truck oil pan heater and stuck it on the compressor crankcase for the cold starts.

                  Cold starts, lots of amps. Mine in the summer hits 140 amps for 3-5 seconds. Winter hits (crankcase warm) 180 amps for 5-8 seconds.

                  This is with 200 amp house service, 60 amp 50 ft #6 wire, 40 amp FRN fuses (slow blow) and thermal heaters in the starter.
                  TrailBlazer 302G, MM 150, Weldcraft 20 TIG, ThunderBolt 225 (Self Modified DC), XMT 304, Spoolmatic 185, S22P12 Feeder, XR A Pull Gun/XR Control 50' Feeder, Harris OA Torches and other stuff


                  • #10
                    The shop at work runs on air. Lots of air. My experience has been fairly good with the following, though at the large end of your need:

                    Run a 15HP quincy (about 20 years old) as general air. Provides roughly 60CFM with no problems at all at 120PSI (cut-in is 95PSI). Rebuilt 2 years ago due to leaking gaskets at the outlet manifold from an improper repair many years ago. Never a problem with this one other than that. Two stage, pressure oiled, four cylinder (two low, two high) withou intercooler. Very loud. Sounds like a gunship coming in low.

                    Also have as backup a 10 HP IR of inderterminate age that has, literally, been through the war (Naval yard surplus). Sat in the mud for ten years after being bought, and started right up and ran perfectly with no more than an oil change, air filter, and light cleaning. Two cylinder, all cast iron, with tube intercooler and intermediate relief valve and pressure gauge. Very affordable if you can find one. This cost a couple hundred dollars in the late 80's, parts are available, probably forever, and it is fairly quiet.

                    Either of these makes is a bargain used, as long as the castings and crank are good. Don't have either make more recent than about 20 years old. New valves and gasket sets are fairly cheap (a ful set of valves for the Quincy was about $500, the gaskets about $100, and the oil pump about $100.)

                    We also run a bunch of Gardner Denver (ACM1003 and similar, 150's and 60's vintage) for equipment air. Very reliable and parts are still off-the-shelf. They can be had VERY cheap (a few hundred), but without motor or tank. Tanks are cheap. Motors and pulley may or may not be. Provides about 30CFM as a two cylinder single stage. Places to look would be surplus yards that deal in railroad and heavy construction equipment. Benefits are slow run and long life, drawback is lower efficiency than a good two stage. Splash lube. G-D was EXTREMELY helpful when we needed to rebuild one (it had been run several years with water in the oil. Finally cooked a valve. Rings were still reasonable, amazingly enough), providing the full documentation by FAX.

                    Funny story, of the no one got killed variety: Our old compressor (prior to the Quincy, which we got six years ago) was a 3 cylinder low pressure air (175PSI) compressor from a battleship-we bought it out of Philladelphia naval yard, well used. It went out of service when, after entirely too long without any maintainance and not enough oil, it grenaded. It was on a frame, 8 feet off the floor, and pieces still turn up, usually on the other side of the shop (60 feet or more). When I was on the roof last year doing some repair work, the dents from the where the pieces of the top end hit were a definate trip hazard.
                    I may not be good looking, but I make up for it with my dazzling lack of personality


                    • #11
                      what's wrong with IR? I know they make a pretty good 10 HP cause we've been using it at a auto repair shop for 20 years where 3 or 4 guys are constantly using it. I have seen some lighter duty IR's that seem more for home use, but they have some heavy duty stuff too.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MrFriggsit
                        what's wrong with IR? I know they make a pretty good 10 HP cause we've been using it at a auto repair shop for 20 years where 3 or 4 guys are constantly using it. I have seen some lighter duty IR's that seem more for home use, but they have some heavy duty stuff too.
                        The current T-30 IR's in the 5 & 7.5 hp models use reed valves and also high pump speeds (1500 rpms). According to the "experts" I've spoken with, you want low pump speeds (600-800 rpm) in addition to disc/spring valve setups for a long durable life span. If the cost is the same, I'm gonna go for the heavier duty built machine. I thing in the midrange industrial T-30 compressors like I'm looking at, IR is simply going on it's name and not giving a package of the same level of quality as the competition. I really like their product, expecially air tools, but when I started looking deeping into their compressors, I was not as impressed as I thougth I would have been. The shop where I work has a 10hp/3 phase IR T-30 compressor that's over 30 years's a tank and has been dead reliable. The new stuff just isn't what that old thing was though.


                        • #13
                          I've researched my compressor purchase and wound up with a Quincy Airmaster with QT pump. The QR pumps are heavy industrial units where the QT pump is a more economical light industrial series.

                          After my purchase I did come across Eaton and their compressors do look very good for the money. Their pumps look strikingly similar to Saylor-Beall pumps. I know of import pumps that are a dead copy for Saylor-Beall, parts interchange. I would look for more information on where the pumps are made and if parts interchange with anyone. My only concern would be yours in that parts support and ability to service/warranty your unit after the sale. Overall Eaton appears to be a no nonsense business that markets their products with full disclosure. Will parts be available 25 years from now for your unit???

                          Good Luck