|Review by Tedstor||posted 12-31-2012 02:22 AM||3378 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
!!!!Update 4/17/13. SO I’ve been using this product for several months now. Its been flawless. I’ve used it for nailers, inflation, clean-up, and impact wrenches. It runs them all well. I originally mentioned that I disliked the orientation of the gauges. Senco positioned them facing inboard, rather than outboard. However, that hasn’t proved to be an issue in reality. That said, I take-back that gripe.
Anyway, I just thought I’d re-affirm my admiration of this machine now that the “honeymoon period” is over. It works as advertised, is relatively quiet (for a compressor), and is well-built. !!!!
So for the past few years I’ve been using a cheap, 3 gal pancake compressor. Its had an admirable career, but its always been horribly loud, slightly under-powered for my needs, and its developed an ever-worsening leak. All said, it was time for an upgrade.
I wanted a compressor that was fairly portable and had small dimensions. As much as I’d like a 15-20+ gallon unit, I needed a compressor that can be stored in the smaller nooks/crannies of my garage. Fourish gallons seemed about right.
I considered several options, but I narrowed the search down to the Makita MAC700 and the Senco PC1131. Both had adequate specs, but the Senco was advertised to have slightly more CFM output. Of course, the Makita was advertised to be less noisy due to a larger piston bore and slower motor. I was firmly on the fence between the two (but was starting to lean toward Makita), but availability became the deciding factor. My family (wife and MIL) are die-hard amazon shoppers. When it came time to put a compressor on the amazon xmas wishlist, the Makita was out of stock. So Senco got the nod by default.
I had the chance to use the compressor 5-6 times now. I don’t usually publish reviews of tools until I’ve had it for a few weeks, but I’ve already put the tool through most usual tasks and I don’t think my opinion will change much moving forward (barring breakdown).
Setting this compressor up was a little harder than it should have been. For whatever reason, Senco didn’t ship the unit with the air filter per-installed. The problem is, there is very little room to install the filter housing in the inadequate gap between the tank and compressor unit. I had to disassemble the housing, screw the smaller portion of the housing into the compressor, then muscle-jam the other portion into position. This was certainly not an insumountable problem, but I was a professional mechanic for nearly ten years, so I’ve grown a violent hatred of engineering oversights like this one.
It initially fills to 125psi in just under a minute, and recharges in about 15-20 seconds. The regulator and gauges work fine, BUT i hate how the gauges are positioned on the machine. They are oriented inboard, toward the compressor motor (see pics). Not a game changer, but it does make them harder to read. Maybe it better protects the gauges? The product pictured on the Amazon page showed the gauges facing outward. So its a little annoying that the product recieved was different. But admittedly, I probably care more about this detail than most other people would.
Overall performance is fine. Compressors are pretty much a pass/fail tool. It either does what you need it to do, or it doesn’t. This one works well. It charges and recharges quickly (by my standards), and its LESS NOISY than my old oiless pancake. Notice I didn’t say “quiet”. Its not. But being an oil-splash unit, it produces noticably less racket. This is actually the one factor that makes me wish I got the Makita, since it was advertised as being the quietest compressor in the universe. Oh well.
So far, I’ve used the Senco to run trim nailers, tire infaltors, and to blow dust off machines and off the garage floor. Nothing too heavy, but if I expected a compressor to do more, I would’ve got a bigger model. At any rate, the Senco works well. Portability is ok. At 60ish pounds, I wouldn’t want to carry it all day, but its easy enough to position anywhere in my shop/house. Overall fit/finish is good. I had to move the gauge/regulator assembly slightly because the bottom gauge was rubbing against the motor shroud. But that was fixed with a 1/8 turn of a 14mm wrench. Otherwise, no other issues can be noted.
Finally, when you’re done using the Senco, purging the unit is easy enough. There is a pull-ring relief valve mounted near the regulator. And there is a drain valve located on each tank. I actually feel these valves are located a bit too high on the tanks. I’m not sure that water can’t collect at the bottom of the tanks, below the drain valves. And being a oil pump, tipping the machine to allow the water to drain would be ill-advised. I’m not sure if this is even an issue, but it might affect longevity.
Overall, I think I got a decent compressor. There are several compressors available in this class from a number of manufacturers. I don’t see how this one couldn’t be considered a contender among them. At $209, its less expensive than many, while still getting pretty good reviews in most cases.
I hope this helped.