An air compressor is a necessary part of any good workshop whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or professional. Compressors power the toe-nailer for laying hardwood flooring, framing and finish nail guns, and allow you put air in your tires! That’s right. I just got back inside from checking and inflating (as necessary) the tires on my car and Jocie’s car. Along with any good compressor, you need to have the right accessories.
Recommended Compressor and Nailers
If you’re in the market for a compressor and nailer combo kit, read about this refurbished Bostitch combo kit for more details. It has all the elements you’d need to tackle most jobs- 6 gal compressor, finish nailer, brad nailer and stapler. Purchasing refurbished tools can save you a significant amount of money and most tools include a manufacturers warranty.
Rob from A Concord Carpenter has a great site filled with solutions for home improvement. He had a recent article about air compressor maintenance that you should read to keep your compressor in tip-top shape.
Simple Air Compressor Accessory Kit
I’d argue that everyone who owns a compressor should, at a minimum, have a basic air tool accessory kit. Simple accessory kits can be found online or at big box stores for about $20. It’s a small but worthwhile investment. One of the most popular compressor accessory kits is made by Campbell Hausfeld- a company known for their air tools. They put together a nice 25-piece accessory kit to get you started.
Air Compressor Hose
Most compressors ship with a sub-standard hose. Even though the pressure gauge reads 90psi, small diameter hoses restrict air flow. Pick up a heavy-duty hose with a 3/8″ diameter.
Air Compressor Tool Kit
If you’re really looking to take full advantage of your compressor, pick up a pneumatic tool kit (in addition to all the nail guns). Pneumatic kits often include impact drivers, impact wrenches, cut-off tools, air hammers and blow guns. Some of these kits require a larger, high-powered compressor so double check the specifications before you buy.
What do you think? Any other must-have compressor add-ons?
I tell everyone I know that is thinking about a compressor for DIY stuff to look at the Refurb cpack3. I don’t know how Bostitch keeps having refurbs but mine has been running strong for 3 years now and can even run framing and roofing nailers with no trouble. The only issue is that I can’t set the minimum pressure level for the compressor to kick on. For the finishing nailers that isn’t a problem but when running ring shanks through a roofing nailer (fiber cement siding) just before the compressor cycles, some of the heads will be proud.
Thanks for the tip about the hose, I had no idea that would matter! I would love to get a paint attachment for our Porter Cable, but I know it’s not powerful enough to support it. It seems the compressors that can handle a paint sprayer attachment have to be the size of a sofa! ha
I’ve tried to use my air compressor for flat-tires and they work-out perfectly, I mean, I’d never really imagined that this tool can fix up tires without blowing it up, I guess I just done play with it much. It’s really good to use this tool for nail guns and paint spraying. It really completes the job with ease. Mine’s a Makita air compressor and I’ve had it for 2 years now.
I have an older Campbell Hausfeld that works great for inflating car tires. Sure is nice, since it seems fewer convenience stations have ” free” air.
Air compressor accessories are wonderful, but I must admit the kits I’ve seen at L*wes/HF/etc leave much to be desired. I’ve gone through a number of their accessories and a few rolls of teflon tape trying to seal leaks, and I’ve arrived at a much better decision – get stuff from Milton off a site like ***zon. US-made accessories that’ll cost you a little more but shoring up leaks is a non-existent chore. I’ve gotten their blo-gun, NPT coupling kit, and tire-filling kit and use them constantly with no leaks, accompanied by a 25 ft hose from Goodyear. A recent acquisition was a retractable air-hose reel mounted on the ceiling above my garage workspace so I’m able to just pull it down from above my head, spray something off, and retract it back up out of the way. The NPT adapter kit has made sure I have a 1/4″ male plug on all my nailers and they simply click-in with no leaks. Using their accessories and a good hose, my air compressor leaks so little that if left idle, it’ll go 4 hours before firing up in the middle of the night (make sure to turn it off!).
As far as a compressor goes, I know people are smitten with CH and refurbished PC/Makita/etc but this is one area I would not overlook HF. Their tools have a certain stigma, but their compressors can’t be beat for the price – I paid 125 OTD for a 2.5 HP (max you can run on 120V) 10 gallon beast that puts out 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI. Granted it’s oiled, but if you leave it in one place or don’t put it in the back of a truck you’ll be fine, just don’t buy any accessories while you’re in there buying the compressor. It doesn’t leak oil and it’s been firing strong for 2 years of weekend projects – about the only thing it can’t do is sandblasting.