Compressors Oil or Oil-less??

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by cutworm posted 10-27-2012 01:48 AM 1578 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2816 days

10-27-2012 01:48 AM

My compressor is on it’s last leg. It’s a 3hp 20 gal. CH I bought in 97. The replacement pump is more than the compressor cost new. Time to buy a new one but I can’t decide between oil or oil-less. I use it with my spray gun, pin and brad nailers and that’s about it. It gets a workout when I am spray finishing. Other than that it sees very light duty. Recommendations please.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

25 replies so far

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3569 days

#1 posted 10-27-2012 02:04 AM

I would go with an oil compressor. I had a bad experience with a Dewalt oil-less compressor a year ago. And spraying with a compressor will give the compressor a decent work out. I have looked and Rol-air has some good compressors for reasonable prices.

-- .

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3485 days

#2 posted 10-27-2012 02:05 AM

I had a Craftsman 33 gal upright that was oil less. It was LOUD!! I sold it in favor of an oiled design and am much happier, as are my neighbors. I would suggest an oil bath type especially if in a residential area. I also have a small Craftsman 1.5 gal that I use for the smaller jobs, airing tires, small brad mailing etc and its an oil type. Nice little compressor and very quiet. I have a friend selling a 2 stage compressor pump, send me a message if interested.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 10-27-2012 07:40 AM

You want an oil driven compressor, and the biggest, meanest strongest compressor you shop will run.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#4 posted 10-27-2012 11:17 AM

I have the 33gal Craftsman upright(~2002), and as Ken says it is loud. That said, the larger capacity sure helps “stretch time” between running intervals. Mine still runs strong. The noise doesn’t bother me that much, but since you now have the opportunity to plan this out, why not build an attachment/mini-shed outside your shop and only run the compressor line through the wall? You could design it around whatever model you are considering.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4998 posts in 2516 days

#5 posted 10-27-2012 01:08 PM

I would recommend a reciprocating compressor (pistons/belt driven/oilsump) for the lower noise but longer life as well. Those oiless compressors have their place but if you don’t need those particular features there is little reason to buy on (IMHO).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2816 days

#6 posted 10-27-2012 01:18 PM

Sounds like oil is the way to go. Thanks to everyone for their input. It does help with decisions.
Rol-Air’s look nice Jerry. Thanks for the tip.

Great idea to put it out of the shop Mr. H. I’m not sure how the neighborhood watchdogs would react. They monitor every fart that is let….

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View klassenl's profile


185 posts in 2682 days

#7 posted 10-27-2012 01:45 PM

My next one will be oil filled and belt driven for noise reasons.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#8 posted 10-27-2012 03:23 PM

I have a couple of oil compressors and the reason is
because of noise. A lot of them are made with a high
center of gravity and are “tippy” to boot though, so
when you move them in a truck be careful not to let
the compressor tip over, else it will leak oil.

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 2922 days

#9 posted 10-27-2012 04:55 PM

Oil compressors hands down

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

5908 posts in 3217 days

#10 posted 10-27-2012 05:06 PM

I have an Ingersoll-Rand 30 gallon capacity oil and belt drive that I’ve had for about 15-16 years. In all those years, I’ve had to put a new start capacitor on it…other than changing the oil, and draining the water , it’s been good to go…..It does everything I need it to do, and it even blows up my boat and truck tires…...!!!

EDIT: I had a Cambell-Hausfeld oiless before this one, and I couldn’t stand that sucker…..that high-pitched screaming drove me nuts…..kind of like listening to an old Shop Vac….....The I-R is much, much quiter…...

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2873 days

#11 posted 10-27-2012 07:20 PM

Per Horizontal Mike’s recommendation, you can add a storage tank for more cushion for your spraying. The compressor starts fewer times overall.

And this important tip: For obvious reasons your compressor will come with the drain cock under the center where you have to break your arm in two places in order to reach it to drain. If you spend a few bucks now and plumb that out to where you can reach it, you’re much more likely to drain the tank periodicall,y which is very important.

I live in pretty dry country and I am always amazed at how much H2O comes burbling out when I tap the tank.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#12 posted 10-27-2012 10:36 PM

I do not know why I have not added drain line to mine… I just keep laying down and reaching under to turn the petcock. Sometimes I get the petcock turned off “just right” where I cannot hear it whistling, yet enough to self-drain the h2o from the bottom of the tank as it distills water. I’ve got a folded rug to catch that crap but there never is enough to make a mess (S. Texas is rather dry).

I STILL need to add that extension though… I STILL need to add that extension though… I STILL need to add that extension though….............

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3455 days

#13 posted 10-27-2012 11:00 PM

Mike, after all this time, I thought I’d check back with you. Have you added your extention yet?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2816 days

#14 posted 10-28-2012 01:00 AM

10-4 on the drain valve. I am thinking about keeping the tank to use an an accumulator. Lots of choices out there. I turned mine on today. By the time it hit 60 psi it was too hot to touch. Darn, I was planning on my next purchase being a jointer.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#15 posted 10-28-2012 01:14 PM

Don’t know what compressor you have, but have you seen this recall addressing a fire hazard? I have had mine for 10-yr and mine is on the list:

When I called on mine, they said it had to do with the shroud(s) on the end of the motor restricting air flow.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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