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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a small 5 gallon oil-less compressor, it was good for most of my needs. I could inflate tires, spray thinned enamels and lacquer with a HVLP gun, blow leafs and dirt out of lawn equipment, but it could not operate an impact wrench.

So now I'm looking for a replacement, a little beefier. The main question is; do I go oil-less or oil? I don't want anything too large. The biggest one I'd consider is the HD 33Gal model, the smallest I'm looking at is 8 Gal.

What are your thoughts on oiled vs oil-less and cfm delivery rate?
 

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If I remember correctly, impact wrenches want 90psi to do well.

I prefer the oil type for most uses. If you are running an occasional paint
spray operation the oil-less can do fine, but anything heavier does better
with the oil type.

I got a Sears 2hp 20 gallon many many years ago. That, to me is the
minimum. If I needed a new one I would probably go with a little more
hp and probably a 30 gal. YMMV. :)
 

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Oil-less compressors are hot and noisy, but they're cheap to make. Oil compressors (usually belt driven) run cooler and quieter but are more expensive to manufacture. 20 gal tank would be minimum, but a 30 would be better. To save space, look for a vertical tank. All compressors, even little 1 or 2 gallon ones can build pressure of 100 to 125 psi. What you need is "CFM at load". By as much as you can afford. Watch the cfm ratings. The high no load numbers mean nothing. Look at the cfm rating at 90 or 100 psi. A low torque 1/2 impact you will consume 12 to 15 cfm. A high torque impact will consume 21 to 27 cfm. The cfm effects the recovery rate of your compressor. Low cfm gives slow recovery and causes you to stop and let the compressor catch up. As with many things, speed and money go hand in hand. Lastly, run a 3/8 id hose to you air tool. Anything smaller just chokes down power.
 

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The oil-less compressors work fine when new but they don't work well long. I had a 2HP 20 gallon oil compressor for 20+ years and it still worked well when I gave it to my son-in-law. I replaced it with a 30 gallon oil-less one that worked great new but within a year or two, it began to perform poorly and would run for a very long time to fill the tank. I normally skip it and use my little oil pancake compressor that has worked fine for about 15 years. I bought my neighbor a little oil-less pancake compressor used at a auction and it looks new but performs very poorly. I will never buy another oil-less compressor.
 

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I have a 20 gal oil-less Craftsman I bought about 18 years ago. Still works fine but it doesn't see a whole lot of use. I keep it down in the barn and it's used mainly for light maintenance on my tractors and UTV. I was pretty diligent about draining condensation out of the tank for the first few years but I doubt I've done that it at all in the last 3 or 4 years. Too many spiders....
 

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Get oil fill compressor unless you want to buy one every year. They just won't last. I use mine for cleaning out vacuum cleaner to rotating tires - replacing heads on a car. You might not think you will use it much(but you will) get a vertical so it takes less room and get the largest (within reason) for you application
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input guys. I think I've decided on a new compressor. HD has an oilless 33gal 1.7HP 165psi max, 5.1CFM @ 90psi 6.8CFM @ 40psi unit for $270 right now. I wont be using it a lot but when I do I need it to have enough power to operate an impact wrench for the couple of times a year I will need it.

I think an oil lubed would be better overall but I have to take some things into consideration. 1) Painting. oilless will make painting with water based paints less complicated. 2) Cost. If I was operating this every day I'd spring for the oil lubed and get all of the line attachments to trap oil and moisture. The reality is I'll probably only operate this thing 50 hours max annually so no need for commercial duty. 3) Oil lubed requires more maintenance, I'll probably forget to do something, like add or change the oil, and end up ruining it.

Bottom line. The price is within my budget and the duty cycle is certainly way more than the work I'd do with it. It's first job will be painting my smallish house. If it can make it through that job it will surely survive anything else I throw at it.
 

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Thanks for the input guys. I think I've decided on a new compressor. HD has an oilless 33gal 1.7HP 165psi max, 5.1CFM @ 90psi 6.8CFM @ 40psi unit for $270 right now. I wont be using it a lot but when I do I need it to have enough power to operate an impact wrench for the couple of times a year I will need it.

I think an oil lubed would be better overall but I have to take some things into consideration. 1) Painting. oilless will make painting with water based paints less complicated. 2) Cost. If I was operating this every day I'd spring for the oil lubed and get all of the line attachments to trap oil and moisture. The reality is I'll probably only operate this thing 50 hours max annually so no need for commercial duty. 3) Oil lubed requires more maintenance, I'll probably forget to do something, like add or change the oil, and end up ruining it.

Bottom line. The price is within my budget and the duty cycle is certainly way more than the work I'd do with it. It's first job will be painting my smallish house. If it can make it through that job it will surely survive anything else I throw at it.
Don't say you weren't warned. Be sure to come back and tell us what you replaced it with.
 

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If that oilless compressor has an adjustable cut off switch and it's set to 165psi, adjust it down to 140-150psi. Your cycle times might go up a bit but the compressor will thank you for it in the long run
 
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