Air Compressor

When I first got started with this whole build an airplane in your garage thingy, I had a ton of questions about two things. Priming and which air compressor is best for the home builder. Mostly, my biggest concern was the noise of running the compressor late at night when wifey and baby are trying to sleep. I knew that if I woke up either of them very often, my building permit could be revoked late at night. Yikes!

I already had an air compressor like the one below. It is a 25 gallon CH that I bought several years ago to blow out my sprinklers and air up bike/car tires etc. It is one of those non-oil, easy maintenance blah blah. It served that purpose well. I only used it a few times throughout the year. I had one complaint with this compressor and it was a big one. This thing is freaking LOUD! Like turn it on and the house rattles loud. I was determined to use it though because after spending a small fortune on aircraft tools, I was not will willing to part with the $300+ for a new compressor.

As luck would have it, after about two or three days of building, it developed a small leak somewhere up under the top cover. I would go out to the garage in the morning and all the air would be gone. It seemed to cycle for a long time and the motor was having a hard time filling the tank to the 120 psi cut off point. The motor would overheat and trip the breaker. I decided it was a perfect opportunity to justify the cost of a new one. I ended up selling this on craigslist for $100. The buyer was not concerned about the air leak. Great for me and saved me a trip to the landfill.

From what I could tell, a lot of guys were running the Husky or Sears compressors. The thing I didn't like was neither the salesmen at Sears or Home Depot could tell me the db sound ratings on any of their products. I was definitely not into building a sound proof box to put over the top of a noisy compressor. I wanted a 120v compressor to. My garage is not wired for 220v. I did a lot of searching around and learned that you really need an oil bathed motor for two things:

1) Noise. All things being equal. They are quieter. I don't care what anyone tells you. I have listened to several now. They also have a different sound that is not so high in pitch as a non oiled compressor.

2) Life. They will last longer. Period.

I stumbled upon the Kobalt series compressors at Lowes. I liked the Kobalt brand because they publish the db rating on the tag of each compressor. The sales guy was very knowledgeable about air compressors (to my amazement). I bought the one below.

Here is a shot of the tag that was on my compressor. Sorry for the flash. 74 db is about the lowest db rating I can find on any compressor this size. DeWalt makes one that is 74 db but it is oil-free. So far I am really happy with this setup. I can run the compressor continuously in the garage and you can't even hear it in the house. I know the oil bathed head will last a long time too. I ended up paying about $350 for this setup but not having to wear ear plugs in the garage is well worth it. This compressor combined with the relatively quiet Sioux drill is a great setup for anyone trying to minimize noise output from using air tools in the garage. My wife can hear a slight whine from the drill from in the house but it is tolerable.

Here is the air filter/pressure regulator setup I am using. These parts were purchased at Lowes as well.

I have a short 3ft leader hose that has another pressure regulator and inline silicon air dryer. I connect my tool hose to this fitting. I can remove the 3ft hose and regulator when priming or spraying paint.


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