Air compressors

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by RookieAtThis posted 09-06-2011 12:14 AM 4738 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RookieAtThis's profile


5 posts in 2896 days

09-06-2011 12:14 AM

Thinking of purchasing my first air compressor and tools. My local HD has these 2 model as special/clearance: Both are pancake style compressors. Although right now, I don’t need a framing nailer but may need it if I do the basement. I do need a brad nailer as I have some trim work to complete. My main concern is who makes the better tools? I would like to get the better of the basic tools. What’s more important? The compressor or the nailers?

Cut and paste details from the respective Companies.

1. Porter Cable CF6161 with framing nailer (FC350a) – no case
The compressor is C2005 which I think is a like the C2002 buy rebadged for this combo.
150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes
2.6 SCFM 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
6 gal Pancake style tank for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet
Low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord
Durable oil-free pump for long life and no maintenance
Shroud, handle and console cover protects vital components, makes unit easier to carry and includes cord wrap
Two regulated, factory installed air couplers to easily support two users
Only 34 lbs for easy portability
Cut-Out Max: 150 PSI
Cut-In Restart: 120 PSI
Air Delivery
40 PSI ISO1217: 3.5 SCFM
Air Delivery @ 90 PSI ISO1217: 2.6 SCFM
Tank Size: 6 gal
Running Horsepower: .8 HP
Voltage: 120 V
Amps: 10 Amps
Pump Lubrication: Oil-free pump design
Decibel ISO3744: 82 dBA
Regulator: Yes
Gauges: 2
Quick-Connect Couplers: 2

Frame nailer
Uses 30° to 34° 2” to 3-1/2” x .113” to .131” paper collated clipped-head framing nails
Power to drive nails (up to 3-1/2” x .131”) into engineered lumber
Compact body design for better balance and style
Consistent power on every shot with internal piston catch mechanism
Selectable trigger – restrictive or contact actuation mode
Tool-free depth-of-drive adjustment with detents for proper setting of nail heads
Better balance with in-line hard coat anodized magazine
Bypass nail pusher allows for quick reloading
Nail lockout mechanism alerts operator to reload tool and prolongs driver blade life
Tool-free adjustable exhaust
Removable non-marring nose tip with on tool storage

Assembled in USA from parts elsewhere

2. Bostitch CPACK 1855 with BT1855K (18 gauge Brad nailer) and case
CAP2000P-OF (compressor)
Oil-free pump requires less maintenance
2.8 CFM @ 90PSI with 150 max. operating pressure for improved tool performance
Large 6-gallon reserve tank with ball-type drain valve for easy drainage
Impact-resistant composite shroud protects gauges against jobsite damage
weights only 38 lbs. for portability

Oil-free operation requires no regular maintenance and eliminates the risk of oil stains
Selectable trigger system converts from sequential to contact operation
Low nail lockout prevents dry firing
Swivel air fitting with internal filter improves maneuverability
Ultra-quiet rear exhaust with muffler directs air away from the user
Reversible belt hook with integrated pencil sharpener
Dial-A-Depth™ control for precise countersinking
Lightweight magnesium design for added durability

Made in China

I noticed that my HD uses the Bostitch tools as rentals. The P&C is $50 cheaper @$150 than the Bostitch $200.

Thanks for looking.

P.S. Is there a SEARCH function for this forum?

12 replies so far

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3781 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 12:31 AM

I don’t like the oil less, because of the noise. If you are using this in a attached garage, your wife will have to turn up the volume on the tv, and you will want to close the main door to keep from bugging the people that live around you. I think that the oil less pancakes are great for contractor use, but I prefer an oil filled compressor in the shop.

Once you have one, you will find that on top of nailers, you will find a lot of other things to use it for. I have a impact wrench for putting the snow tires on the car, a air ratchet, and air chisel as well as a couple other air tools that have uses other than woodworking.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Carl Webster's profile

Carl Webster

82 posts in 2827 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 12:31 AM

If nail guns are the only air tools you plan to use with the two compressors mentioned, either will probably do the job. I have one of the Porter Cable pancake compressors and I use it with several different Portet Cable nail guns (various sizes). If you plan on buying other air tools such as paint guns, air chisels and impact wrenches you need a larger compressor with a lot more CFM (Cubic feet per minute). I agree with Pete_Jud that the oil lubricated compressors are more reliable, will last longer and are quieter than the oilless mentioned in your original post.

-- Carl in SC

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2859 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 01:13 AM

If you want something that will last long term check into Rol-Air.

I have one that is nearly 20 years old, used and abused to the extreme on framing sites, and have had to only put a $17 gasket in it. (along with an oil change now and then). They have not changed much. Just shows that you don’t mess with something that works.

At $319, it’s more money, but will outlast 10 Porter Cables or Bostichs

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View RookieAtThis's profile


5 posts in 2896 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 03:39 AM

Wow, I didn’t consider the noise factor. Are oil compressors than much quieter? I’ll probably get an impact wrench to do the seasonal tire changes. Compressor will probably get used about a half dozen times per year.

GaryL, thanks for the link. That’s some machine and heavy too. I don’t have a permanent workshop as I move my workshop for basement to garage to father in laws. Strong pump (+) and smaller tank (+); but heavy (-) and more than I will spend.

Thanks for all of your replies.

View PutnamEco's profile


155 posts in 3315 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 06:09 AM

Both of these compressors do make a lot of noise and they both take quite a bit of time to fill the tank. I dread when I see one of these compressors show up on the job site due to the noise. You can barely hear a circular saw over the racket these things make. If i had to choose between these two, not being very familiar with either, I would opt for the Porter-Cable, as I see some of the guys I work with on occasion, getting a fairly long life out of theirs.
Porter Cable has come out with newer model the C 2004, which is supposed to be noticeably quieter.

If I was to recommend a compressor for a limited budget, I would be recommending the Makita MAC700, although it would blow your budget for a nail gun, it is a quiet and reliable compressor. If you really need oil less, Thomas is top of the line. Their T-635HT is one sweet little compressor. Their status of being a viable company is in question though, their website has said they are moving shop for a very long while now, and parts are hard to get. The Rolair JC10 is supposed to be a pretty good deal as well, coming in around $200. and Rolair is pretty good about supporting their products.

As for the nailers, I would prefer the Bostich as it is designed for a more common type of nail. Clipped head framing nails are not always well regarded among building Inspectors, and can be hard to find in some locations.

These days, with all the builders out of work, there is a glut of used equipment out there. With a little patience, and some savvy shopping $200 could get you pretty well equipped.

-- “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

View James Clapperton's profile

James Clapperton

35 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 06:33 AM

I really like the Bostitch you’re looking at. I have one for hardwood flooring work and it handles my finish nailers and my cleat nailer quite well. I got mine for $109 reconditioned with a full Bostitch warranty. All oil less pancake compressors are mighty loud. I built an insulated box for mine in my basement or keep it outside of the shop door to keep it from deafening me. You cant beat the portability of the pancake. If you need more air, consider a Craftsman or Husky 25 gallon. They can be had on Craigslist everyday for under $150. In my flooring experience, new Bostitch beats new Porter Cable time and time again. Old Porter Cable tools, however, are highly coveted in my shop. Good luck.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2668 days

#7 posted 09-06-2011 06:51 AM

Either will work for your needs. The PC with the framing nailer is more bang for the buck since that framing nailer usually sells for more than $150 by itself.

If you want to consider a “compromise” for quality and in your budget range (maybe), I suggest this Rolair:

It may outlast you and will not be as loud as the pancakes and it has very low amperage draw (that’s a plus, too at startup).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3341 days

#8 posted 09-06-2011 01:02 PM

When I needed to run my framing nailer, my old oilless would not do it consistently and it was a LOUD compressor.

I ended up going pricier with a dewalt 4 gal that is on wheels. It is a very sturdy compressor and is an oilless belt drive. It is a 200 PSI and fills quickly and does not cycle that often. It will run a framer very well and is so much quieter than what I used to have.

DeWalt 55146 I think is the model number, but it is in the $300 range, which could be the downside for some.

View jerkylips's profile


416 posts in 2599 days

#9 posted 09-06-2011 05:08 PM

don’t have a lot to offer that hasn’t already been said, but I do have a pancake porter cable that I bought several years ago. It is loud, especially inside. I got it because I was trimming out our house when we remodeled, so it was running IN the house. It scared the crap out of the wife & cats (one literally & one figuratively – I’ll let you figure out which was which).

I’ve used it finish nailers, framing nailers, roofing nailers – never had a problem keeping up. The thing I realized later is what has already been mentioned – if you have any intentions of spraying paint, the CFM just isn’t high enough. If I replace mine, it will be for this reason -the noise is irritating, but I can deal with it.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3094 days

#10 posted 09-08-2011 06:15 AM

I have a PC pancake and it works fine for any nailing application from pin nailer to framing nailer. It is not terribly loud IMO. I have a larger standup Craftsman oil-free compressor that is much louder than this one. I framed my basement and ran it a lot over the winter and it did a great job.

-- PaulMayer,

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2864 days

#11 posted 09-08-2011 06:49 AM

I bought the husky staked tank model that uses oil about 4 years ago and I’ve been very satisfied with it, for two of those years I also had the dewalt 25G oil-less model and sold it due to noise and slow fill rate. For a serious job site it might be too small, it usually kicks on about ever 10-12 framing nails, but it does fill very quickly and isn’t too noisy. For 18g staples it’ll kick on about every 25 staples. I also use it for the impact wrench for driveway auto work and found it had no trouble removing head bolts on an already warped head.
I waited to buy mine until they did a Christmas special which netted me the compressor, a 30* framing nailer, and an 18g pin nailer/stapler for 200.00.
The framing nailer isn’t that bad either, I used it to sheath the interior and exterior of an extra-long 1.5 car garage in plywood and lay down 1.5” thick subflooring in a barn with no troubles.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View tlide's profile


13 posts in 2497 days

#12 posted 09-09-2011 10:45 PM

I have the porter cable pancake compressor in my shop. it is loud, however, I have used it with a brad nailer, an air brush, impact wrench, and a touch up spray gun with no problems. I painted the fenders on my neighbor’s semi this past summer with this compressor and a spray gun with no problem. Mine is about 7 years old and has had no issues.


-- Tracy- Waycross, Ga.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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