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Thread: Need air compressor advice

  1. #1

    Need air compressor advice

    Hi gang,
    I need a sanity check on a compressor I'm considering. I'm looking at a California Air 2010. LINK I plan to use it for airing up tires (about 75 ft of hose), running a small nailer and a stapler. Very occasionally, I might run an impact wrench. It has a 1 hp motor, 2 gal tank and provides 2.2 cfm @ 90 psi. Max pressure is 120psi. But it's quiet and the price is right ($235).

    Am I going to be disappointed in this smaller compressor for the things I do? I don't want it to take 10 mins to air up a tire, or wait a minute between shooting nails.

    Some more info. My previous compressor was a do-most-things machine. I bought bigger than I needed so I had more than enough.When I bought it I expected to use it for a wider variety of things than I actually did. It was made by Husky but loud as heck. It "claimed" to provide 5.1 cfm @ 90 psi, have a 22 gal tank and provide up to 150 psi. It was about 20 yrs old and in good condition. I just couldnt stand the noise and recently gave it away to a cousin who needed one.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice.

    Thanks,
    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 07-02-2022 at 5:54 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    969
    I think you'd be fine doing the things you list. (I don't have an impact wrench, so for that I don't really know. Everything else I do with mine with plenty of margin.)

    Mine doesn't like a framing nailer I tried once, but I think that's a set point issue with my pressure switch as the gun nailed fine, but stops doing so as the pressure falls to a point still above where the compressor comes back on. I haven't messed with it as I really don't do that often.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I have that exact model. Depending on the tire, it can take a while. I used it to fill a flat 16" trailer tire to 80 psi, and it took a while-more than a few minutes, but not 10. I don't normally use it for that, but that's just the way that morning worked out.

    Stapler and small nailer, yes. Impact wrench- I'd say anything bigger than a 1/4" ratchet wrench, No. Framing nailer, maybe a couple of nails.

    It is quiet. I use it because it's light, Quiet, and its main use is for a finish nailer inside houses when I don't need to drive many nails. It did fine putting up crown molding.

    It is great for what it is, but it is Not a do everything compressor. It's one of five compressors I have and use.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 07-02-2022 at 7:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Find a list of common air tool cfm requirements, easy on google.
    I know those little compressors are quiet but have horrible cfm ratings. Great for brad nailers and low consumption tools but not much else.
    Example
    https://www.compressorpros.com/sizing-guide/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    LI, NY
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    197
    Tank is too small....will not run impact wrench and not good for filling tires...maybe if they only need 15-20 lbs.....my opinion..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    N.E. Ohio
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    6,314
    My Ingersoll Rand "Twin Hot Dog" has a 4 gallon of storage and roughly 4.5 SCFM of air delivery@ 90psi.
    I suspect someone using my Harbor Freight framing nailer could outrun the IR since that nailer needs a little more than 90 psi to function all the time.
    The IR is fine with my Bostitch framing nailer since that one only needs a little under 90 psi.

    I consider my IR to be just adequate & since the specs on what you're looking at are about 1/2 of my IR,,you probably want more.

    If you want quiet and numbers closer to my IR, Makita makes a real nice unit -
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  7. #7
    Thanks everyone! This is very helpful!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Medina Ohio
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    4,284
    I love mine it is the same one yo are looking at and works well for most stuff I do. I only bought it when Home Depot was clearing them out after Christmas for $99 thinking it was a little on the small side. it sure is nice to when doing trim work to be able to hear people talking while it is running.

  9. #9
    I have three ~100 psi compressors and another that goes to 5000 psi (for a different purpose). My biggest one has about the size of motor of the one you are considering but a 6 gallon tank. My pickup used to have a leaky tire and I aired it up once a week for months mainly with this compressor. If I turned it on when I opened the garage door to get the hose out it generally filled the tank by the time I had the pickup in position and would usually air up the tire before the compressor needed to refill. Sometimes it would cycle on but it still had over 40 psi so I could keep filling. Took maybe 30 seconds of actual time spent filling the tire.

    I also used my little battery powered Ryobi and a small Senco that is pretty quiet. The Senco is maybe 1/4 hp and the Ryobi is even smaller. They work but take awhile to fill a truck tire. They both work fine for nailers up to about a 15 gauge but you may need to wait on them sometimes. The one you are considering should work fine on all finish nailers and work if you are patient on framing and flooring nailers. They have tanks and it generally takes awhile to position the next board. The Ryobi would be impractical for any significant project but the Senco could do some work. The one you are considering should be fine for nailers if you accept the number of nails in a row it can do without a break will be limited.

    I think you will be disappointed on a 1/2 inch impact. I use battery powered impacts. Even my biggest compressor runs out of air before most nuts give up. But I do not have a good pneumatic impact either.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Framing nailers need air depending on what you're doing. I bought my first 5hp 2-stage to run a framing nailer with, and kept it in a step van I used to haul tools. I'd still have to wait for it one time nailing down roof sheathing after getting it all on with just a few nails on the edges to hold it all in place before bounce nailing it to the rafters.

    I have one of the twin tank Imgloo models that must be similar to what Rich is talking about. It does move a lot more air than the little California Air that started this thread, but not for keeping up with nailing down sheathing.

    1/2" 18V impact drivers have more power than 1/2" air impact wrenches. I haven't picked up the 1/2" air wrench since buying the 18V. The 1/2" 18v doesn't have the power of a 3/4" air wrench though.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    If that is the only compressor you will have, the tank is way too small. I have the smaller version that I use under my workbench for very minor air useage. But put a blow gun or impact wrench on it, and it will have to go to a very short cycle time, if it even shuts off at all. I have a 2 stage 80 gallon compressor too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hill, NC
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    2,521
    I own several compressors, including a larger version of the CAT that you're looking at. Others have provided good advice regarding the limitations of the tank size and CFM.

    What I'd like to suggest - if you purchase that unit - is to add in an auxiliary air tank. i use one on two of my smaller, portable compressors and they help a lot with running a nail gun. One of my tanks is a Rolair, the other is simply a 10 gallon portable tank that I picked up used for 20 bucks.

    You'll get the most increase in terms of capacity if you plumb the auxiliary tanks into the main tank, instead of into regulated pressure.

  13. #13
    Thank you again folks. Today I saw a sweet little Makita MAC210Q (LINK), whose specs are very comparable to the CAT I was inquiring about. I really like Makita tools, so I bought it. It's really quiet and it fills car tires easily. I didn't run a test, but I expect it will run my brad nailer just fine.

    But I see what you mean about needing bigger tank and more cfm's.The little beast couldnt keep up with my blow gun above a regulator setting of 30psi, and it was running continuously to do that. Not good. So I'm going to see if they'll let me exchange it for something larger. (If not, I'll make due. )

    Thanks again.
    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 07-03-2022 at 10:05 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
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    Tracy, CA
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    Many years ago I had the same situation. I wanted a somewhat quiet somewhat small portable compressor I could use to do remote work (my main workshop compressor is a 80 gallon 3HP Ingersoll Rand). I found the Makita MAC2400 to fit the bill. It is not going to be as quiet as your California Air 2010A, but it's definitely not as loud and annoying as those small pancake compressors. It is more money at $339, but it's a more powerful motor and bigger tank:

    https://www.amazon.com/Makita-MAC240...VPK/ref=sr_1_1

    The downsides are that it is VERY heavy in comparison (80 lbs). And it is an oil lubricated compressor, which means you need to fill it with compressor oil. Need to drain the oil and refill once a year if you use it frequently.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Whidbey Island, WA
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    181
    Compressors are a bit like jointers and planers, get as big of one as you can afford and have space for.
    Timberlight Designs

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