LumberJocks

Despite being kind to me, 4 years of use has been unkind to this compressor

  • Advertise with us
Review by paxorion posted 09-08-2014 09:10 PM 4374 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Despite being kind to me, 4 years of use has been unkind to this compressor No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

If there’s one tool I use every time I try to get any woodworking done, it’s my HF air compressor. Everytime I get any woodworking done at home, the first tool I fire up is my compressor. I purchased it on a whim 4 years ago, and was giddy to have pneumatic power for the first time. This bare bones unit has (and continues) to serve it’s duty, driving nails (I have a HF 18 gauge brad nailer/stapler) and blowing compressed air. There isn’t much to say about how well it does it’s job cause, well, it’s a compressor. It charges up and shoots air out whenever I pull the trigger for the connected tool. It’s permanently stored outdoors in a resin shed. Despite doing it’s duty, over what I would consider light use, I opted to give it a 3 star rating because of the number of workable (for the $40 price point) problems that popped up over the course of time.

  1. After a few uses I haven’t been able to charge the compressor past ~90-95 PSI. The first 3 times I fired up the compressor, it hit 100 PSI no problem, but after I’d say 3 months, I noticed it stopped charging past the 90 PSI mark. Despite hunting all of the (sparse) settings, I haven’t found anything that would indicate user error.
  2. The gauges and quick connect coupler isn’t securely fastened and can be easily moved with light pressure. This doesn’t mean functional issue, but is rather disconcerning when you’re trying to connect a tool in. The last thing you want to think is that you’ll be breaking off the coupler/valve. Which leads me to my biggest concern…
  3. After repeated usage, you may create a situation where the air leaks. I first noticed a problem about 2 months ago, when the compressor would keep cycling and never go past 20 PSI. The issue can be circumvented by closing the tank to tool valve, or lightly jiggling the quick connect coupler until it finds a position that doesn’t leak. A major nuisance and consequence of loose product quality/tolerances paired with (sadly light) usage wear and tear.
  4. One may argue this has to do with tank capacity, but I find that the compressor seems to almost always be cycling. At 3 gallons, it doesn’t take much to exhaust the air supply, but it charges very slowly.

Summing all of these things up, and paired with the price, I think it was a fair buy for the price, and a good first compressor to buy IF you are a very time-strapped hobbyist who is almost never in “the shop”. It certainly is workable for the foreseeable future for me, as I don’t use it every day (or every weekend for that matter). But I am starting to worry that it will stop working on me mid-project. Once the unit finally bites the bullet I do not think I will be replacing it with another HF oil-less unit, but rather will spend a bit extra for a better unit.

-- paxorion




View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 2125 days



11 comments so far

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2802 posts in 2105 days


#1 posted 09-09-2014 06:34 AM

Couldn’t at least some of those components (such as the quick connect fitting) be easily and cheaply replaced? Even a pressure regulator should’t be that hard to do (you seem to be saying it doesn’t have one?). It’s simple to adjust those for both maximum pressure and minimum (where it kicks in). And of course all fitting should be done with teflon plumbers tape.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

7636 posts in 2880 days


#2 posted 09-09-2014 12:50 PM

It’s a shame that things don’t last these days. I also have one of these and it’s still fine, but I use it very little.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2298 posts in 2449 days


#3 posted 09-09-2014 01:47 PM



It s a shame that things don t last these days.
- StumpyNubs

They still make things that do, just not compressors for 40 bucks (not bashing HF, I own quite a few things from them).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View brtech's profile

brtech

1035 posts in 3002 days


#4 posted 09-09-2014 02:25 PM

We had an early version of this unit in a traveling kit for a national sport event series (fencing, with swords). For like 8 years this unit sat in a storage case and got loaded into trucks and sent hither and yon across the country. Every month for 10 months it would be in a new city. In about half the events, it got pulled out and used, mostly for replacing rivets. The pressure sensor stopped working after a few years, so it basically always cycled, unless you manually turned it off. Damn thing would not die. Actually, I think it’s still in the kit, but the use for it went away a couple years ago.

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 2125 days


#5 posted 09-09-2014 03:28 PM


Couldn t at least some of those components (such as the quick connect fitting) be easily and cheaply replaced? Even a pressure regulator should t be that hard to do (you seem to be saying it doesn t have one?). It s simple to adjust those for both maximum pressure and minimum (where it kicks in). And of course all fitting should be done with teflon plumbers tape.

- runswithscissors

I do suspect that some diagnosis and tweaking will address point #3, maybe #2. Nevertheless, I stand by my 3 star rating as these developed over time of very light use. I’m unwilling to go lower because it is functional and does a the job at being functional.

-- paxorion

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

440 posts in 2049 days


#6 posted 09-10-2014 05:22 PM

I have that same compressor. About a year ago it developed the same problem you have would not go above a certain psi. I disassembled the compressor end a discovered some debris in the valves. Clean it up and now it works like new.

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 2125 days


#7 posted 09-10-2014 06:19 PM


I have that same compressor. About a year ago it developed the same problem you have would not go above a certain psi. I disassembled the compressor end a discovered some debris in the valves. Clean it up and now it works like new.

- dschlic1

Compressor end? The release valve at the back of the compressor?

-- paxorion

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

440 posts in 2049 days


#8 posted 09-11-2014 04:43 PM

There is one valve in the head (looks like a flat piece of metal, and another I believe in the piston. Valves on these small compressors are usually just a flat piece of metal that rests against a seat. Functions like a one way check valve.

View Todd's profile

Todd

398 posts in 1756 days


#9 posted 09-11-2014 09:50 PM

Had mine for a couple of years with no problems. Used it a lot for finish nailing.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View NormG's profile

NormG

6216 posts in 3084 days


#10 posted 09-13-2014 07:12 PM

I have the tank version it is does pretty good for what I need

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2786 posts in 2376 days


#11 posted 09-15-2014 12:58 PM

”....or lightly jiggling the quick connect coupler until it finds a position that doesn’t leak” – shoot some WD40 or something in the end of the hose. Sometimes the little ball bearings in there get gummy and don’t fully seat.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com