Need small air compressor.

JOhnH

Touchdown! Greaser!
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
14,105
Location
Florida
Display Name

Display name:
Right Seater
I'd like to keep a small air compressor in my hangar, just to inflate tires occasionally. I don't need it very often, so currently I use a cordless Ryobi inflator that I bring from home. But I'm afraid that it introduces a little moisture every time I use it. I'm not sure if that's really a bad thing, but it worries me.

My thought is a small compressor with a tank that allows me to drain the water before pumping air into my tires.
I'd prefer something not real loud and one that doesn't take too long to come up to pressure.
And of course, I want something that can sit unused for extended periods without rotting or rusting.

Any suggestions?
 
So you want your cake and to eat it also. Lol
I bought a 99 dollar Milwaukee and it does the job. I use it to do leakdown tests and to blow things off. It will run my rivet gun for light work. I have had it 5 years and it is holding up well.
But It’s loud, doesn’t take too long to build pressure cause it is so small. I would use it to fill car, truck and trailer tires if I have to at the hangar.
For air in the airplane and bicycle tires I use nitrogen that is dry and does not leak as fast on the bicycle tires. I have used both air sources and nitrogen last longer.
 
Last edited:
So you want your cake and to eat also. Lol
I guess that was a joke, but I didn't quite get it. I don't think I'm asking for unobtainium or free.
For air in the airplane and bicycle tires I use nitrogen that is dry and does not leak as fast on the bicycle tires. I have used both air sources and nitrogen last longer.
Nitrogen might be a good idea, but I can't seem to find a system that isn't way more than what I need.
Any suggestions?
 
Yeah, I’d like your help finding a new car. I want it to accelerate like a V-8, but be good on gas. It has to look really good. I don’t want anything too big but I need to be able to carry my family of eight. I want to be able to park in small parking lot. Oh, and I don’t wanna spend too much.
 
wtf, he wants a drainable tank, large-ish motor or small-ish tank so it comes up to pressure quickly, and isn't a POS?

Sounds like every pancake compressor I see out there, including the quiet ones at HFT.
 
I have heard good things about the HF quiet compressors.
 
You can buy a regulator and lease a N2 cylinder (125cuft would be a good size) from any welding gas supplier. If used only to air tires it will last a very long time, years perhaps. It won't be as cheap as a compressor but if you want dry gas it would be cost effective. As a young'un, we used an 80cuft N2 cylinder for our gas shocks and tires on motocross bikes and it lasted about a year airing 3 different bikes. Later, I had a 230cuft aluminum cylinder in my race hauler used to air formula car tires and it would last a full season. The cost for refills was not much at all and was less than the hassle factor of hauling the tank in for a refill.
 
I have a small California Air Tools compressor - small tank means fills quickly - stores enough to fill a tire - light enough to carry around - quiet.

Not the exact one I have, but similar https://www.californiaairtools.com/...compressors/1-0-hp-air-compressors/cat-2010a/
fills in about a minute. 35 pounds - can be carried. Enjoy your cake.

I had some small wheeled Calif. Air Tool compersors at school, but they were small enough that they needed an extension on the handle if you wanted to roll it around easiliy.
 
I bought this one about 4 years ago to haul around in my motorhome. Don't use it a lot but I have been very happy with it.

and as a word of warning, before that I had this one and HATED it. LOUD and very slow to fill. It was basically one of those cheap cigarette lighter inflators attached to a tank
do not buy this one or anything like it!
 
I'd like to keep a small air compressor in my hangar, just to inflate tires occasionally. I don't need it very often, so currently I use a cordless Ryobi inflator that I bring from home. But I'm afraid that it introduces a little moisture every time I use it. I'm not sure if that's really a bad thing, but it worries me.

My thought is a small compressor with a tank that allows me to drain the water before pumping air into my tires.
I'd prefer something not real loud and one that doesn't take too long to come up to pressure.
And of course, I want something that can sit unused for extended periods without rotting or rusting.

Any suggestions?
Plenty of important things to worry about, this is not one of them.
 
I guess that was a joke, but I didn't quite get it. I don't think I'm asking for unobtainium or free.

Nitrogen might be a good idea, but I can't seem to find a system that isn't way more than what I need.
Any suggestions?
Just kidding you a bit cause everything you listed is hard to find in a compact compressor that doesn't cost a lot.
I bought my pancake compressor on a whim because I needed it then and home dump was convenient to buy it from since I was there getting other stuff. Not a HF fan although I have bought enough to know from them. I have both stores within a mile of my home and hangar.

Nitrogen is not cheap any way you do it. Hydrotest, refills regulators etc, but worth having IMO. I also use it in my front strut. I also keep CO2 around since it cheaper than nitrogen and we sell it at work. So easy to get refilled. Plus if a beer keg party ever starts up at my hanagr I can keep the beer fresh and flowing.
012_14.jpg

Not even sure if it is a Milwaukee? Ah is says porter cable, sorry for misleading you.
053_6.jpg
 
Last edited:
I have a small California Air Tools compressor - small tank means fills quickly - stores enough to fill a tire - light enough to carry around - quiet.

Not the exact one I have, but similar https://www.californiaairtools.com/...compressors/1-0-hp-air-compressors/cat-2010a/
fills in about a minute. 35 pounds - can be carried. Enjoy your cake.

I had some small wheeled Calif. Air Tool compersors at school, but they were small enough that they needed an extension on the handle if you wanted to roll it around easiliy.
Looks like nice compact compressor, how much does it cost?
As far as noise...it is gonna be used at a airport, how quiet does it need to be?
 
Unless you add an air dryer to your air lines? You’ll always have water regardless of compressor or tank size. I have a Rollair compressor and nitrogen bottle with regulator and Schrader valve filler in the hangar, but use a 12 volt inflator for tires. The nitrogen is for the gas shocks on my Cub. A hangar compressor needs to be big enough to do compression tests and small paint jobs. For painting? Get that air dryer!
 
A air dryer only works on cool air, need a long run of preferable metal pipe to help cool the air before the dryer so it can remove the moisture. I have done lot's of auto and truck painting. I plumbed a 4 bay shop with sweated together copper years ago, it helped cool the air before the dryers.
 
Yeah, I’d like your help finding a new car. I want it to accelerate like a V-8, but be good on gas. It has to look really good. I don’t want anything too big but I need to be able to carry my family of eight. I want to be able to park in small parking lot. Oh, and I don’t wanna spend too much.
Why T F do you have to make it sound like that? What did I ask for that was unreasonable? I didn't mention price, although I don't want to spend more than necessary. What did I ask for that was contradictory or unreasonable?
 
I meant to add this.... I think you might have meant that you want to attach a dryer to your line.... you wouldn't drain your tank BEFORE filling the tire. no point in that.... any water in the bottom of the tank isn't going into your tire.
Thanks for explaining that. Maybe my lack of understanding is what caused a couple of others to criticize my question.
Or perhaps they are just . . .
 
As far as noise...it is gonna be used at a airport, how quiet does it need to be?
It will be used inside a metal hangar with my wife, who doesn't really like loud noises, especially if they last a long time, unless it is an airplane, standing by.

And of course we all know "not too loud" is awfully subjective. I didn't ask for whisper quiet.
 
I have heard good things about the HF quiet compressors.
I have good things to say about the small HF quiet compressor I bought to run my nail gun indoors.
being quiet is a big deal for me, and it works well, I have been using it intermittently for about a year.

When I replace my bigger compressor, it will likely be a HF quiet compressor as well, they appear to me to be a copy of the California air tools compressors.

Brian
 
By the way, did I mention that all I want to do is add a little air to 3 small tires about 2 or maybe 3 times a year?
 
By the way, did I mention that all I want to do is add a little air to 3 small tires about 2 or maybe 3 times a year?
Then pick up just about any compact compressor you like and air the tires when your wife is not there.
I'd rather buy from California compressor then from a company that copied the California design.
 
Then pick up just about any compact compressor you like and air the tires when your wife is not there.
I'd rather buy from California compressor then from a company that copied the California design.
That's probably the advice I'm going with,
But I still want to know if that will actually help keep water out of tires. Florida is exceptionally humid, thus a lot of water in the air. Will the water be squeezed out of the air into a puddle in the bottom of the tank? Or will it still be pushed into the tire, in which case I might as well keep using my cordless, tankless Ryobi. And is this even a consideration?
 
O’Reilley’s. 12vdc tire pump. I bought one in TX because I expected my car tire in AK to be low when I arrived at 3:00 AM. That little pump has been my go-to for tires ever since. Way cheaper than a cheap compressor and so simple to use.
 
Looks like nice compact compressor, how much does it cost?
[/QUOTE]
Looks to be about $200 from the evil mail order empire
As far as noise...it is gonna be used at a airport, how quiet does it need to be?
Quiet enough to not drive you out of the hangar when it's running? :)
 
Will the water be squeezed out of the air into a puddle in the bottom of the tank?
Much/most will condense in the tank. The air coming out of the tank will be saturated (100% relative humidity) and you can get a few drops of liquid as it cools in the hose. I've never found that to be a problem.
 
I have never had water problems airing tires from any compressor. I am sure some water has gotten into the tires but not much. My shop has drains in the low area to drain the water from the air lines and the outlets are above the drains.
When using just a portable compressor it becomes a unknown IMO. If you keep the tank drained you will be fine. I would get the compact compressor, they are pretty handy and you never know when it may come in handy outside of the hangar someday.

I would not use it to air your struts on your plane though.
 
Much/most will condense in the tank. The air coming out of the tank will be saturated (100% relative humidity) and you can get a few drops of liquid as it cools in the hose. I've never found that to be a problem.
That was my thought as well. Couldn't you add a small in-line compartment filled with whatever those crystals are that absorb moisture?

I love this little Dewalt compressor that uses the same 20volt batteries as my other tools. Pre-setting the inflation pressure makes it pretty easy to use and do something else until it stops, although it doesn't take long for small tires.

Clipboard01.jpg
 
I use SCUBA tanks to fill tires. Of course, it helps that I've always got a bunch in the garage, and the partial tanks will fill a lot of tires before I take them back to the dive shop for a refill. The air is extremely dry; SCUBA fill stations drier stacks to keep moisture out of the tanks they fill.

Starting from scratch, you could get a used tank, first stage regulator (the one that attaches to a tank), an inflator hose, and a tire inflator adapter for under $150. Recurring costs would be about $10 a year for the visual inspection a SCUBA shop will require before doing fills, and a hydrostatic test every five years. And you'd either need to convince the dive shop that you'll not use the air fill for diving, or else get a diver to get the tank...but an 80 cubic foot tank at 3000 psi might last you for years on one fill.
 
This sent me down a rabbit hole. I wonder if you could gin something up with a regulator and paintball CO2 tank? Quiet, quick, cheaper than the compressors we're quoting (and certainly cheaper than a CA Air Systems compressor :D )

 
I'd like to keep a small air compressor in my hangar, just to inflate tires occasionally. I don't need it very often, so currently I use a cordless Ryobi inflator that I bring from home. But I'm afraid that it introduces a little moisture every time I use it. I'm not sure if that's really a bad thing, but it worries me.

My thought is a small compressor with a tank that allows me to drain the water before pumping air into my tires.
I'd prefer something not real loud and one that doesn't take too long to come up to pressure.
And of course, I want something that can sit unused for extended periods without rotting or rusting.

Any suggestions?
Race cars benefit from nitrogen in tires because, without moisture, there is less pressure variation with temperature, thus the handling is more predictable.

Aircraft over 75,000lbs are required by FAA to use nitrogen (or other "inert" gas) with less than 5% oxygen to prevent explosions with high temperature.

Your airplane presumably turns corners at fairly low speeds so "handling" of the tires is not important. No sense worrying about moisture from inflating them. Save your money and keep using the Ryobi.
 
Why T F do you have to make it sound like that? What did I ask for that was unreasonable? I didn't mention price, although I don't want to spend more than necessary. What did I ask for that was contradictory or unreasonable?
I am sorry that my posting upset you. I won’t do it again.
But for what it’s worth, all small air compressor that I am familiar with are loud and take a long time to come up to pressure. The only compressors I know that are relatively quiet are belt driven and they are not cheap nor small. I suggest a nitrogen tank. But between the tank and the regulator you’re probably looking at at the very least $150 plus the initial filling.
 
Bostitch 2.8 cfm is the highest cfm in a compact portable. My favorite of small compressors.
BOSTITCH Air Compressor for Trim, Oil-Free, High-Output, 1.2 Gallon, 120 PSI (CAP1512-OF) https://a.co/d/3xEhnPz
 
The Harbor Freight one listed earlier is very quiet and has worked well for me for what @JOhnH is wanting it to do.
 
I have one of the Craftsman oil-less pancake compressors and it is extremely noisy. Just this week I picked up a small Makita compressor for our attached garage. It is advertised at 60dB and that seems about right. Looks well made in terms of welds and fittings. You get what you pay for, the difference between $129 and $380.
 
Last edited:
Go to Harbor Freight and purchase something reasonable. $100 should do the trick. Or pay attention to Craigslist and Marketplace for a nice used one. I’ve picked up a couple really high end compressors for little of nothing this way.
You’re always going to have some moisture with compressed air. There’s no getting around that. I built up a small nitrogen setup similar to what Gary posted. It’s well worth the expense. If you end up going the nitrogen route check out Schmidty Racing. They quickly built up a gauge, regulator, and hose combo to my specs for a reasonable price.
No affiliation. Here’s a link.
 
Back
Top