Power Equipment Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering replacing my 20+ year old 12 gallon craftsman 2hp compressor. Still works, but you can tell it's getting old.
Would like an opinion between 2 options. The technology, not necessarily the brand,
Both compressors are the same manufacturer, same 20 gallon size, roughly same size motor, noise level, etc.:

1st option: Oil Lube, direct drive 135 PSI max
2nd option: Oil-Less lube; 175 PSI max

I live in a climate that gets pretty cold in the winter, but the compressor is in the garage and with using synthetic oil I don't believe that will be an issue for those rare times it's used when it's below freezing. Part of me leans toward the oil lube, but I know oil-less technology has improved through the years. Also, I like that the oil-less option here as 175 PSI which means more air to work with. The math (and specs) say the oil lube 135 psi will fill faster, but will turn on again more often. The 175 psi will operate longer to fill and refill from cut in to cut out, but will not have to start as often. Almost a wash.

None of my tools, like most others, won't need more than the 135 psi, but the 175 psi tank means more air volume for longer tool operating.

Opinions or thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks
Mike
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hi Mike
I would go with lubricated one and just use your old tank as a buffer vessel if required save the cutting in and out so often oil frees are only ideal if you are working on food or humans ie dentist breathing air etc but overall I find less reliable and more expensive to maintain hope this helps
 

· Registered
Joined
·
455 Posts
I live in a climate that gets pretty cold in the winter
Same here and also out in my garage. I've nothing against oil lubed compressors, grew up with them, I've been running an oil-free unit (26 gallon 125 PSI Campbell Hausfeld) for the past 20 years in all temps with the only issue being the female quick dis-connect coupling on the hose leaking. Typical wear item tho in my experience, I've changed it out at least 6 times (maybe, probably more) over the years. It doesnt have the 135+ PSI specs you're after, but it is oil-less, served me well and (knock on wood) has yet to let me down. I use it for the typical garage tools, some spray painting and also a few different nailers.
The choice is yours of course. I bought this one new in '02 as I had just moved to a new place and because of the price I couldnt turn it down. If or when the time comes that I need to replace it I will probably make the move to one of the oil-free quiet compressors.

Liquid Automotive tire Fluid Bottle Beer
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Same here and also out in my garage. I've nothing against oil lubed compressors, grew up with them, I've been running an oil-free unit (26 gallon 125 PSI Campbell Hausfeld) for the past 20 years in all temps with the only issue being the female quick dis-connect coupling on the hose leaking. Typical wear item tho in my experience, I've changed it out at least 6 times (maybe, probably more) over the years. It doesnt have the 135+ PSI specs you're after, but it is oil-less, served me well and (knock on wood) has yet to let me down. I use it for the typical garage tools, some spray painting and also a few different nailers.
The choice is yours of course. I bought this one new in '02 as I had just moved to a new place and because of the price I couldnt turn it down. If or when the time comes that I need to replace it I will probably make the move to one of the oil-free quiet compressors.

View attachment 13342
Sledman, thanks for the input. I currently have a 20 year old 12 gallon craftsman Oil-Free and it has worked fine. I am tempted to go with the 175 psi oil-free version I mentioned in my original post. But I've know over the years that oil lube is indeed better. However, I am not using this compressor professionally; meaning every day and many hours. Probably 3-4 hours a week. And even then the compressor wouldn't be running those 3-4 hours constantly.

Thus, the big decision. 135 psi oil lube vs 175 psi oil-less. Chances are, if it was super cold; like single digits, I probably wouldn't be in the garage doing much work. And I always have the old 12 gallon I can hold onto and use; and for car tires I have my battery ryobi which will easily inflate tires. The garage compressor is mainly for hobby work, plasma cutter, blowing air to clean the garage, fall blowing out the sprinkler system, etc. So while a big decision, I do have the option of still having the old 20 year old 12 gallon oil-free; until it dies. Thanks for the input.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I finally pulled the trigger. At first, I was looking at an ingersoll. But I sort of had to make a compromise with the wife. Not really the money, but space. Being I still have the 12 gallon 125psi and it works fine for normal stuff (mostly) I couldn't really justify a couple thousand dollars and the space for a 60-80 gallon; when I only really needed about 20 gallons with decent CFM for plasma cutting. The 12 gallon I have simply didn't have the volume. So I started looking at various compressors; dewalt, craftsman, campell, california, etc...

Well, because of a great sale and such, I actually went for a McGraw at harbor freight. I'm not normally a big fan of harbor freight for most things, but they have their place. I don't touch their power tools, but I've had good luck with anything pneumatic and some basic hand tools. And with almost a 50% off deal, I went for it. It's a 20 gallon, Oil Lubed, 135psi compressor. Works great for my needs with the plasma cutter.

My break in procedures are a bit anal and overboard compared to most people, but what I did is the 30 minute break in with the supplied sae 30 non-detergent oil. Then I drained it, and filled again. Did another 10-15 minutes break in (No tank pressure) and then the 5-6 minutes to fill the tank. I then let out the air, let it cool, and did more fill ups. Probably 4-5 complete cycles as well as testing cut in and cut out. I figured with the standard harbor freight warranty of 90 days, I'm going to stress the **** out of it. (Within reason). I also annotated attributes such as time to fill, time from cut in to cut out, db noise level, etc. Everything worked fine and was consistent.

I then drained the oil again. This time I filled it up with quality synthetic non detergent compressor oil. Went through about 4-5 more complete fill up cycles with the cut in / cut out cycles thrown in there. Did this over a couple of days period. I did notice a major change however switching to the synthetic compressor oil. After the 2nd complete air fill up cycle, the reading changed compared to when I was using conventional oil. The fill up time improved by about 20-30 seconds. The cut in / cut out fill time improved by about 10 seconds. Most importantly, the sound. Using a good db sound level meter (i use them at work) with conventional oil I was averaging around 81-85 db at 2-3 feet away. (This is around the stated specs). With the synthetic oil, it averages 75-79 db at 2-3 feet away. Very consistent. Of course this is when the tank is about half full and the cold start valve has closed. (want to make sure of no additional added noise). Anyway, after these 5 or so fill ups, I did one more oil drain and refilled with the quality synthetic oil. Because of the extreme cold here and decent warm summers, I'll be doing 2 oil changes a year. ISO 68 synthetic November - February and ISO 100 synthetic March - October. Definitely more oil changes than required for synthetic oil, but at only 6-7 ounces per oil change, it would take 4 oil changes just to use up a quart of oil. So it's not a big expense.

I thought that maybe my compressor improved in time and noise level on it's own simply from breaking in. But I have a friend who bought the same compressor about 2 months ago. (He has had good luck with it so that was also a factor in my choosing it). He did do noise checks on his. He swears it's the same now as it was on day 1. He has only used conventional compressor oil to date. He is contemplating switching to synthetic. I went synthetic because my compressor is in an unheated garage and in the winter it can get into single digits. Friend's garage is heated.

Anyway; thanks for all the input. The compressor is working great. I've already done 3-4 plasma projects and the compressor keeps up with my cutting just fine. I can get a lot of cutting in before the compressor kicks back on. And by then, I'm either done or needing to take a break to regroup on the project. Thanks again. Mike
 

· Registered
Joined
·
455 Posts
Well, I finally pulled the trigger.
Right on. I had to do a search on the model as (as far as I'm aware) it's not available up this way. Looks and sounds like a great purchase, that price is exceptional IMO.
My break in procedures are a bit anal and overboard compared to most people
Not to me, I'm the same way 👍 Nevermind the price, it's still an investment in my mind. Anything that will aid in good functionality while hopefully adding to it's life expectancy, I'm all for!
Definitely more oil changes than required for synthetic oil, but at only 6-7 ounces per oil change, it would take 4 oil changes just to use up a quart of oil. So it's not a big expense.
Full agreement here. I often see (and hear) many who spend the bucks for a decent item (doesnt matter what) and completely cheap out when it comes to changes and oil. I shrug my shoulders, to each their own.
Great write up and review Mike!
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top