Garage Tech: Air Compressor vs Battery Power?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dgi, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. dgi

    dgi NRA Life Member

    Sep 10, 2011
    I've been looking forward to buying a 60 gallon air compressor for my garage since my old one broke a couple years back but moving into a new house and getting everything set up pushed the compressor purchase back.

    Now with all these neat new battery powered ratchets and impact guns available from reputable companies, are Air Compressors still "needed" in a DIY garage?

    I'll need a compressor to evac my oil drain and fill tires etc, but i'm debating if I cant get by with a little 6 gallon Rigid and just buy a bunch of Milwaukee Ratchets, etc. I've got a pair of Snap-On Battery Impacts that i've been using for a while that are holding up fine.

    Figure by the time I buy the compressor, filters, regulators, lines, set up etc. Maybe I'd be better off with battery power?

    Thoughts from the DIY'ers?
  2. nmbuzz

    nmbuzz Livin Large

    Apr 9, 2013
    Do what all of us Addicts do when confronted with an either/ or......... go with BOTH!:)

  3. DukeSoprano

    DukeSoprano Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Jan 17, 2013
    Aside from painting cars, a small one works
    Babboonbobo, Capthobo and dgi like this.
  4. DukeSoprano

    DukeSoprano Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Jan 17, 2013

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    dgi likes this.
  5. dgi

    dgi NRA Life Member

    Sep 10, 2011
    This puppy sure would clean up my work bench... 1495ACEC-9148-4D15-88A8-C243FC0D6863.png
  6. Otherside

    Otherside Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2019
    I think a 30gal. would be sufficient from roofing, drilling, grinding,cutting and so on. It's a do it all piece of equipment. My neighbor has a battery powered impact I borrow from time to time and it is excellent also. For me buying attachments for the compressor gives me more bang for the buck and choices. Good luck with whatever you choose. Both would be great. I know buying the seperate attachments can get expensive fast.
  7. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Where I go on the ranch I have to have an impact wrench with me among every other tool Sawszall, drill etc....... This one will do what the air ones will and is portable. I stopped using air tools years ago. It is even programable and there is a app for the phone so you do not snap off bolts or studs (1200 and 1500 is not always needed or wanted) from too much TQ. Little expensive but cry once as they say. All of the other tools I carry are Milwaukee as well and use the same battery system. Have used this on some ugly stuff and using a lower setting easy thing like lug nuts on vehicles.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  8. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    I have a little pancake compressor that I plumbed into my older compressor's tank and mounted it on top. 30 gal of air on hand. Works well enough. That said the brushless battery stuff is amazing. I'm a dewalt guy but others at work and my father bought into the Milwaukee line. I still have an aircat 1/2" gun that is way better than my old snap on but the dewalt 1/2" has way more torque. Still need a compressor but it's not nearly as important anymore for me. They now make battery powered air compressors....just sayin.
  9. azpoolguy

    azpoolguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
    And a media blast cabinet. I’m planning on a buying this soon. 0145BD30-05A0-4844-B2A7-A19D80052870.jpeg I have a corner of my new garage already set up for it with power to hard wire and then I’m going to use this. 5D99E644-F15B-4D8D-B990-C513C95C6350.jpeg And run air to my blast cabinet as well as the two work bench areas with some spare locals along the way.
  10. john_anch_ak

    john_anch_ak Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 7, 2017
    I had a 60 gallon air compressor for many years. It worked great but took up a lot of space in my shop/garage. I ended up getting a small compressor that took up much less room. Got rid of the big boy and am glad I did. Batteries are getting better but how long they last before needing recharging is a concern for me. Seems like they always run out of power when I need them the most and then it takes a couple of hours to fully recharge.
    I'd go with a small compressor but I guess it depends on how much you use air powered tools.
  11. khend1

    khend1 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Mar 10, 2013
    If you go the cordless Milwaukee route, that charger is the way to go. It will simultaneously charge three 18v batteries. Don’t get the 6 bay 18v charger as it only charges one battery at a time in succession.

    If using these in a home garage, they’ll probably last for years. At work, we have a very large variety of them and love their power and portability. Most last about a year or so before parts start breaking, but get run hard and in the elements of snow and rain. 1/2” impacts and hex drive impacts are the first to give out, but Milwaukee often times fixes them for free. The chargers we try our best to keep dry since they strongly dislike moisture.
    cwoods and dgi like this.
  12. Capthobo

    Capthobo NRA Endowment member Supporting Addict

    Nov 9, 2016
    60 gallon may a bit of overkill for home garage. 20-30 should suffice.
    Batteries have pros and cons. But air and electric are a lot cheaper than those batteries are.
    Besides nothing gets my wife’s attention more than a 1/2 inch impact wrench at full speed. Lol
    Babboonbobo and dgi like this.
  13. SVG

    SVG Well-Known Member

    Mar 9, 2019
    Just one thing to keep in mind when running CA piping in your shop/garage. Flammability.
    If you're running a plastic piping system it will melt during a fire. The pipe ruptures and fans the flames for a time. Not good. This is why I never seen a plastic system installed in a commercial building (I retired from a 30+ year career in the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union). It's not compliant with code (at least not in California). Brazed copper is the standard. It's quite a bit of $$ though.

    This is what I plan to do (Cu piping) in my shop in MT. This is my toe-tag place.

    Probably overkill for most though.
    dgi likes this.
  14. dgi

    dgi NRA Life Member

    Sep 10, 2011
    Thats an excellent tip! Thanks
  15. Greg45acp

    Greg45acp Double Secret Banned Supporting Addict

    Oct 31, 2016
    Cordless tools are appealing but are kinda toys.

    110v out of a power cord beats all the batteries. The batteries themselves lose performance in a few years and you won’t want to spend the $ to replace them.

    I have a 60 gallon compressor, total overkill for my needs but it’s tucked away.
  16. Babboonbobo

    Babboonbobo Avatar is back to my favorite things!

    Nov 18, 2014
    This was exactly what I was going to say!

    Really copper on an air supply line? Never seen it heard of that. I’ve slways seen/used black pipe. Did not know you could use copper.
  17. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  18. azpoolguy

    azpoolguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
    I had not thought about the issues involved with poly tubing. I have seen another kit with Alum piping. I will look into that as well.

    But most shops still have rubber hoses to attach tools so I’m not sure how big of a concern it is?
  19. Greg45acp

    Greg45acp Double Secret Banned Supporting Addict

    Oct 31, 2016

    I don’t need any more things to spend $$$ on :D
  20. Howe45acp

    Howe45acp Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2017
    I have a 60gal Ingersoll compressor in my garage. It does everything I need it to do.
    I also have the Bostitch pancake compressor shown above. The pancake runs nailguns just fine but trying to inflate a flat 20” SUV tire takes forever & the compressor struggles to keep up.
    I asked a couple of pipefitters from work about the poly airline kits shown above. They advised against any type of plastic for piping air. If a plastic or poly line blows out, an X-ray will not pick up the shrapnel like black iron or copper.

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