Air Compressor for Woodworking

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Forum topic by JT Thomas posted 08-13-2007 11:38 PM 5403 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JT Thomas

14 posts in 4160 days

08-13-2007 11:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: air compressors tools

My 25 year old air compressor is giving me problems and I am looking to replace it.

I mostly use for nailers for cabinet and furniture making, but am thinking about getting an HVLP system for finishing. I would also like to get some other tools like die grinders or sanding systems that run on compressed air.

Does anyone have any advice on what to look for on features, size, oil/oil-less, tank size etc?

Any help is appreciated.


-- JT - "It only costs a nickle more to go first class!"

7 replies so far

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4288 days

#1 posted 08-14-2007 02:07 AM

JT … I would not get an oil-less compressor. They have a much shorter life span. As for tank size, that depends upon the application. If you are planning on using sanders, I would go with the largest tank you can afford and fit in your shop. Sanders as well as air hammers etc…use large amounts of air. If you attach one to a small compressor, they will run almost continually, and shorten the life span even for a oil lube compressor.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Aubrey's profile


43 posts in 4174 days

#2 posted 08-14-2007 03:07 AM


Compressors, generally, are measured in two categories. Gallon size of the tank and CFM (cubic feet per minute).

You can buy a compressor which will work just fine to power a nail gun but that same compressor may not have enough CFM to power a sander or grinder.

I ended up with two compressors. One is a large 25 gallon size. The other is a small pancake style portable which I can carry around with me as needed.

Because of budget issues at the time both of my compressors came from Harbor Freight. Their tools, from my experience, are less expensive but perform very well. Your mileage may vary. I don’t know that either of these items will live to be 25 years old but if they don’t then that is OK because I have already gotten my money’s worth out of them.

-- Jesus was a Jewish carpenter.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4372 days

#3 posted 08-14-2007 03:34 AM

I’m a big Harbor Freight fan as well.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4185 days

#4 posted 08-14-2007 04:03 AM

The first tool I ever bought at Harbor Frieght, a trim router, broke last week. The motor still works, but the base busted. Guess I got my moneny’s worth, paid about $19 and it lasted ten years.

Still pissed me off though.

I have two compressors, three really. Largest is about 15 gallons. Wish it had a bigger tank. Runs all the time is noisey. My smaller one is really only good for pumping a tire. Will probably donate it to my son soon.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TomFran's profile


2959 posts in 4197 days

#5 posted 08-15-2007 12:47 AM

I prefer a belt driven compressor. I had a direct drive Campbell Hausfeld that would wake the dead when it started up. I ended up taking it back to get the belt driven model I now have.

How much money you have, and how much room you have will probably dictate which compressor you buy. Buy the biggest and best one you can afford.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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JT Thomas

14 posts in 4160 days

#6 posted 08-24-2007 01:28 AM

Thanks to all for your comments.

Just to let you know, I found a part for my old air compressor on ebay and got the unit working again. Maybe it will last for another 25 years. ;)

No sense spending money if I don’t have to.

-- JT - "It only costs a nickle more to go first class!"

View TomFran's profile


2959 posts in 4197 days

#7 posted 08-24-2007 04:00 PM


Good for you Buddy! That’s great!

Now you have plenty of time to research what compressor you should buy – if that need arises.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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