air compressor for small home shop

Jun 20, 2003
Fort Langley, BC
If a guy was going to get a small air compressor for his shop, let's say to do brake caliper work, painting?, nailer, air gun?, whatever around the house stuff -

what would I need in the way of HP and tank size ect....

what attachments would I need?

rough costs to get equipped?

Jun 28, 2002
Colorado Springs, CO
If that is all you want to do, you could get a hot dog or a pancake style compressor for ~$100-150. In the future you may kick yourself for spending the extra money to get something that will power a ratchet/impact etc.
Nov 20, 2003
I would get at least a 12 gallon tank size with a 5 hp motor on wheels. that will take care of just about everything you will need unless you plan on doing some major sanding or blasting. cost is about $300-$400
Mar 28, 2003
Somewhere in NJ
The "standard" size you see at the Home Despots around here are now 5 to 5.5 hp with 20-30 gal tanks. They sell for about $250. IMO, go with a cast iron compressor.

Don't go lower than 5hp with 20gal if you plan on doing any painting or you'll be standing around waiting on the compressor a lot. Nailers use hardly any air, but the impacts, sanders, etc. use a lot (but usually not much more than the sprayers).

Decide what kind of tools you want to run off it, then size it for a bit larger than the tool that requires the greatest amount of air.
Mar 27, 2003
Georgia Tech
I decided that I only wanted to buy a compressor once, so I went ahead and got one that is way overkill for me, but I like it. I do all the normal stuff, air tools, paint, etc etc...
Went to Northern Tool and bought a upright twin cylinder Ingersoll Rand cast iron 120 vac. I can still use it anywhere with 120 vac motor, can run any air tool all day long, it is much quieter than the cheap Home Depot aluminum jobbies.
Definatly go cast iron, and you can never have too much capacity. A good cast iron compressor will last forever.
Air tools last forever, are smaller and more powerful than most of their electric counterparts.
IMO you can't do anything other than fill tires and use a nail gun with the smaller compressors.
Heres what I got from my local Northern.

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