What to look for in a used air compressor

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Forum topic by Camper posted 12-12-2010 03:11 AM 3212 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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232 posts in 2851 days

12-12-2010 03:11 AM

Good evening, I did a quick search and could not find anything on this on the web or on LJs. Besides the basics such as power, cfm, size and oil/oiless what should one look for when buying a used compressor? What should I check to avoid costly repairs in the future? I have never owned one…

I am going to look at one tomorrow morning. It is an Ingersoll Rand 3hp 20 gal 7 cfm @90psi (this cfm seems too high for a 3HP unit but then again I do not know much about air compressors) and here is a picture.

Thanks in advance

-- Tampa-FL

4 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10377 posts in 3643 days

#1 posted 12-12-2010 06:12 AM

Look for a real cheap price. A lot of people don’t oil air compressors
except when selling them. Same with air tools. I don’t usually
advocate buying new with tools, but considering the maintenance
air tools need (and often don’t get), buy new or buy used real cheap.

I have no comment on oil-less tools. Never used them.

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3190 days

#2 posted 12-12-2010 06:23 AM


What you have to look at is not only cfm but, cfm at what psi. The cfm increases inversely proportionally to the pressure on any compressor.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View traupmann's profile


124 posts in 2782 days

#3 posted 12-12-2010 07:17 AM

There is little manner for checking rust inside. I had a neighbor try to sell me a compressor he said was having a few problems, but worked OK. When I checked it out, there were many pinhole rust spots that were letting out small amounts of air. Basically it was a useless tank.

Ping the tank with a hammer and listen for the flaking of rust inside. Fill it with air, and let it out the relief valve and see if it is red (moisture will accumulate inside). Most will be somewhat red, but if there are chunks it isn’t worth ten cents…

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

View Camper's profile


232 posts in 2851 days

#4 posted 12-12-2010 07:25 PM

thanks for the comments…did some research and it seemed to be about 20 years old, tough it was in fairly good shape. Decided to pass on it since I do not have an immediate need for one…I guess I will keep looking

-- Tampa-FL

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