View Full Version : Small, cheap, compressor...ideas?

05-07-2009, 07:26 AM
Hi Everyone,

I am looking for a small, cheap, throwaway compressor.

Looking for something that I can mount on my trailer and bring to the track with me. Something that if it gets stolen, destroyed, or breaks, I really don't care. Something in the Sub $100 range.

Would like it to run my impact gun, 4.5scfm @90psi. I know I would probably have to wait for the small tanks to fill, no worries with that, this isn't NASCAR!

Was thinking one of the HF ones would do the job, or possibly the Walmart CF ones. Ideas?


05-07-2009, 07:29 AM
The ones without oil are often cheaper but they make so much noise you can't stand to be near them. I bought one from Sears and then took it back. The racket was simply too much.

05-07-2009, 08:09 AM
Two old ford air conditioning compressors, on a tank w motor between them. SO UGLY, nobody would steal it.

OR? two scavenged bus air-brake compressors? OR??

05-07-2009, 11:02 AM
I don't know that it would run your impact gun long, but I have one of the HF pancake compressors. It's great for running a nail gun etc, but the consumption is lower there. It's quite handy, but I would get the one with two round tanks instead, next time. Other than the tanks the two designs are equivalent, but the pancake model with its handle and the compressor head is too big to fit in the back of my pickup with the tonneau on it.

Most of these small compressors use an oilless compressor, but the HF is oil lubed...a selling point for me. One note of caution...mine was a discounted return...with nothing wrong. The guy in the store said people buy them all the time, ignore the extension cord warnings, plug them into one that is too small/long with enough voltage drop that the compressor has to draw more current and trips it's "overload". They then bring it back with zero hours on it saying "it's dead".

I have never tripped the overload since I have owned it, but I heed the warnings. In fact, I own only one or two extension cords that are smaller than #12 since long-cord voltage drops are never a good thing. I am guessing your access to power may put you in the same situation, so beware.


05-07-2009, 12:46 PM
Every time I go to Harbor Freight I see the 2hp 8 gallon unit on sale. I bought mine maybe three years ago with no problems to date. I don't use it that much but it's not one of the oilless designs. It lists for a hundred forty bucks but I just got another flyer in the mail yesterday and it's ninety bucks with the coupon. SKU #95386 I'll send the coupon to you if you think it might help. Hurry though, my stamps are about to expire!!!:D



05-07-2009, 12:58 PM
Here is a second on the 8 gallon HF model. I bought mine about 6 years ago to run a nail gun and it has been used to build an addition and remodel the rest of the house, build a wood shop, and as an emergency backup for my cnc mill. It leaks oil now and the tank is starting to rot from the inside and out (it stays outside) but it is probably the best thing that I have gotten there.

05-07-2009, 08:55 PM
Porter Cable sells their refurbished pancake compressors direct for about $100.

05-07-2009, 10:24 PM
Don't know what kind of racing you do, but I bought a hundred dollar one at Wal Mart and used it for 5 or 6 years dirt track racing. We only used it ocasionally for an impact. I have a HF batt. powered impact that has given me great service. In fact the impacted parts are often tough to remove with a pneu. one back in the shop. The air comp. is still in use without a moments problem.
People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

05-07-2009, 10:35 PM

05-08-2009, 10:24 AM

That is only for filling tires, motorcycles and such but can be used as an emergency filler for flat car tires.

Can't run any tools off of it.

05-08-2009, 11:49 AM
X2 on buying a quality battery impact. Much more practical solution than the small compressor, hose, lack of volume, noise.

thnx, jack vines

05-08-2009, 07:22 PM
Some questions-
Do you want to run this on 110VAC or 12VDC?
Do you want to leave it out in the rain?
Do you have a tank that it could fill, or does a tank have to come with it?
Do you want to do more than just run an impact gun?

The solutions could be any of the ones mentioned, or a decent 12V compressor with a tank, or a battery impact, or even a 110V impact.

I think you'll probably zero in faster on your solution if you can describe your intended usage with more detail, since there are so many options...

05-08-2009, 09:09 PM
Tippman Industrial- the paintball people made or make a device that fits on the top of a 20 oz co2 paintbll bottle. You can run nailers, fill tires, or run air tools with it. farly good life. Carry mulitble paintball canisters. 3 to 4 bucks for a refill. Think someone ripped them off (china) and sells at lowes.
John L

05-10-2009, 08:46 PM
I built one using a hot water tankm(small model) and a 440 chrysler air compressor pump from a old car . Used a motor without a plug just wires we would poke into the wall outlet for many years. I could get that thing up to almost 170 pounds pressure it also didnt have a pressure switch I let it run till it slowed down then unplugged it. OH it got quite hot the compressor so we had a squirt bottle of water we would spray on it wnen we would sandblast parts with it. Worked very well had about 30 bucks in it.

05-11-2009, 08:50 AM
Everyone; Thanks for the ideas.

Formula Car road racing.

I currently make due with regular rachet set, and one of those small 5gal air tanks for the tires (no compressor). The reason for this addition is so that I don't have to go far to fill the tank when I run out (multi-day events). Just thought air tools would be a nice addition since I am running a compressor anyway.

This would be 115V. My trailer is currently wired for it, and I either plug in the trailer at the track (if avaliable), or run my generator.

I think my biggest issue (thanks for whoever pointed it out) is power (amps). I really don't like running the generator all day, and I am skeptical as to the amount of power is at the track.

The air tool idea would really be a nice feature, I don't do much wrenching on the car at the track, tend to run the same tires too...unless it starts raining.

So I suppose its more of a "would be nice that it could run tools" But if it is on the smaller side, that is OK too.

I would like it be mounted under my trailer deck, but I can find room inside if it is small enough. I've been looking at the electric impacts as well, they do look handy.