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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:08 PM   #1
MiNi Beast
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Default What size compressor for the basic garage?

Looking for what size compressor that would be ideal for the basic garage air tools, cut off wheel, air gun, air ratchet, etc? then what is the difference in 1 and 2 stage compressors?
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Old July 6th, 2009, 05:47 AM   #2
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Noise, a two stage is quieter. At least the ones that I've owned. How much are you planning on using it and how much do you want to spend? I just bought an 80 gallon, 220v, 2 stage, oil-lubricated Ingersol Rand from Tractor Supply and other than crappy service from them I've been happy with the compressor. It replaced a noisy 20 gallon, 110v, 1 stage vertical, non-lubricated from Sears that worked fine it just hated running a cut-off wheel. My old one cost like $250 and the new one was a grand.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 06:44 AM   #3
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Two stage basically takes a one stage compressor and compresses it again. I've heard it's a multiplicative effect (if the first stage compresses by 10x, and the second compresses by 10x, you'll have a total compression of 100x), but I haven't looked into it, so I could be wrong. What that means to you: faster "pump-up", higher CFM ratings, quieter operation (2 stages don't have to run as fast or as long to get to operating pressure).

As far as what size to get, look at the CFM rating (air usage in cubic feet per minute) for all of your tools and see which one takes the highest. It's typically your "rotary" tools, like your grinder, cutoff wheel, etc. Paint guns also have higher CFM because most are "high volume, low pressure" which means they move a crap-ton of air, but only at like 30-40psi.

Anyways, take that CFM rating of your tools and shoot for the high end of it, preferably higher, and go with that. You'll see some smaller tank, small engine compressors with high CFM ratings, but those are mostly for roofers running 3-4 nailers at a time. If you go with a bigger tank, you'll be able to go longer between "pump ups" but it'll take longer to get to the shutoff pressure. That's where a bigger compressor comes in, as higher displacement pumps move more air, thus pumping up faster and filling your tank faster.

So... meat and potatos point of the post; For the cost, availability of parts, and size, you're probably good for a 5hp 60gallon 2 stage. That's a good starting point and it's right around what every hobbyist will have.
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