Ryobi Air strike vs traditional compressor?

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Forum topic by Razorburne posted 08-19-2015 03:03 AM 1858 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Razorburne's profile


41 posts in 1417 days

08-19-2015 03:03 AM

I am interested in purchasing my very first air nailed and am looking for some advice. I do mostly furniture building and DIY around the house. I was originally thinking the Ryobi airstrike but then got wondering if an actual air compressor would be better. It seems like for my purposes, both options are about the same price point. From those with some experience, any words of wisdom?

More economical compressors seem to get decent reviews but some consistent problems and get knocked for being too loud (ie – Porter Cable 6 gallon 150 PSI combo @ HD)

I do not currently have any Ryobi tools, batteries or chargers, so I would need everything to get started.

As an aside, can I get away with either an 18 or 16 gauge nailed to do furniture work and around the house DIY or do I honestly need both? I have no experience in this department so any guidance would be great

9 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


6710 posts in 2197 days

#1 posted 08-19-2015 03:28 AM

For me it’s not even a question… I couldn’t get by without a compressor. If all you want to do is nail stuff, then I guess it would be something to consider. But with a compressor, you are not limited to a single function. Besides using a nailer… cleaning, inflating and painting come to mind immediately, followed by a long list of other crap you can do with it.

Really nice used compressors show up on CL all the time for dirt cheap. For what you would pay for that airstrike or a new PC at HD, you could get twice the compressor and a couple nail guns. As for noise… are you going to be keeping it in your living room?!? :) I have mine out in the garage and unless I’m using it hard, it doesn’t cycle that frequently and noise isn’t really much of a problem for me (and I keep it on 24/7).


PS: I’ve never owned a Ryobi that was worth a damn… IMHO, they are way down towards the bottom of the quality scale.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View jonah's profile


1700 posts in 3296 days

#2 posted 08-19-2015 12:02 PM

With a compressor, the compressor is expensive but nail guns are dirt cheap and widely available. Harbor freight nail guns work just fine.

With an electric/gas nailer, the nailer itself is expensive.

I’ve not used the Ryobi nailer specifically, but I’ve had Paslode finish/framing nailers in the past. They are really quite nice, but the gas is relatively expensive (~$7-10 a cylinder) and doesn’t last in storage more than a year or so.

I would be wary of the Ryobi, mainly because their stuff typically isn’t very well made. It’s not very much more to get a Paslode brad nailer, which is a much nicer machine. You just have to spring for gas now and then.

I got my compressor for $260 and picked up a Numax finish, brad/stapler, and pin nailer combo at Costco for $80. The only thing I’m missing is a framing nailer ($70 for the same brand on Amazon). Trying to go electric/gas in all those nailers would cost a fortune.

I do think you could get by for a while with just a brad nailer. Sure, you can’t shoot 2 1/2” finish nails to put trim up, but mostly 2” brads will be fine. There honestly aren’t many uses where I can imagine needing the extra length or girth of a 15/16 gauge finish nail over a brad.

View MrRon's profile


4769 posts in 3241 days

#3 posted 08-19-2015 05:04 PM

The 16/18 ga nailers are fine for furniture work and some DIY projects like trim work. There can be situations where you will need to drive framing nails for a construction job and a framing nailer will be needed. That will require a larger compressor. My solution would be a California Air Tools compressor (CAT) for around $300 that can handle any type of air tool. The compressor itself has an aluminum tank (no rust) and is super quiet (68db). Get an 18 ga brad nailer and a 16 ga finish nailer. If you need a framing nailer for the rare occasion, you can rent one. Check the reviews tab for compressors.

View Bill1974's profile


124 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 08-19-2015 05:17 PM

I have a couple and there are pluses and minuses. The plus are there is no separate compressor or hose to deal with. It’s easy to use them anywhere. The minus is there are much bulkier than a compressor driven nailer. Also the Airstrikes can not cycle as quickly, but that is not really an issue. I don’t know of a reason to bump fire a finish nailer. If you already have Ryobi tools and do work around you home they are handy to have and really are not to pricey either.

View HokieKen's profile


4998 posts in 1136 days

#5 posted 08-19-2015 05:56 PM

I’d definitely recommend a compressor. Either a 18 or 16 ga brad/finish gun will likely suit you but you may decide you want both or you may decide you need a framing nailer down the road. Not to mention impact guns, paint sprayers etc. With a compressor, you pick up whatever you want from CL, online or retail stores. With the Ryobi guns, your options are limited to what they offer and at whatever price point they offer it at.

As far as noise goes, you can shoot a lot of nails before you use enough air to cause the compressor to cycle. When it does cycle, it takes less than a minute for it to charge. It’s not something that makes noise the whole time you’re using it. So unless you’re painting, I wouldn’t let that really be a concern.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Razorburne's profile


41 posts in 1417 days

#6 posted 08-19-2015 07:58 PM

Thanks for the responses so far guys. I was looking at compressors and saw HD sells a twin stack Husky 4.6 gallon 120 psi that is identical to CAT compressor (including the quietness of operation) – some online say it is just a rebranded CAT. It sells for $199.

Does that seem like a good deal?

I figured I could start off with just purchasing an18 gauge nail gun (PC or Ridgid) and add as I need to

I know I will need to buy an air hose (but don’t know if there is anything I should look for or look to stay away from). Aside from that is there anything else I need to get started? (Couplings/connectors to attach the hose). Sorry for the noob questions but just want to make sure I have all I need

View MrUnix's profile


6710 posts in 2197 days

#7 posted 08-19-2015 08:04 PM

You won’t be able to run spray guns, impact tools or any other larger cfm tools with that compressor. It should be fine for a nailer though. If you are buying new, most will come with a hose. As for fittings, you can get sets of quick connects pretty much anywhere (HF, lowes, HD, Ace, etc…). If you are only going to have the single nailer, you probably can hold off on those until you get some more tools.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View jonah's profile


1700 posts in 3296 days

#8 posted 08-19-2015 08:08 PM

There’s no reason to buy the hose and fittings at HD. Just hit up Harbor Freight and get the accessory kit that includes a coiled air hose (fine to start with) and a bunch of fittings. It’ll cost around ten or twelve bucks. The exact same thing costs around $20 at the orange or blue box stores.

If you feel the need to have a longer or different style air hose, the Harbor Freight hoses are fine as well.

You’ll also need air tool oil, but that usually comes with nail guns.

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2688 days

#9 posted 08-19-2015 08:40 PM

Depending on how much you plan on using the nail guns you can get the compressor and nail guns at HF for a lot less than HD or Lowes and they actually work just as good as most of the standard quality guns at other stores. I am not saying that you would likely want to use them in a production shop but for home use they are fine. As far noise goes get an Oil lubed compressor rather than an Oil less unit as the Oil less ones make a lot more noise than the Oil ones.
I have the 6 gal 1 1/2 HP compressor from HF and it runs all my tools just fine. 18 gauge brad nailer , 23 gauge pin nailer, 20 gauge crown stapler and even a 21 Deg. framing nailer. The framing nailer will cycle the compressor more than the others but then I don’t use it much anyway.
I have had the compressor and nailers ( all from HF ) for about three years now and have run several boxes of nails thru all of them except the framing nailer only about 30 or so nails total and had no jams or other issues with any of them.

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