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  • More air compressor advice please

    I am looking for a portable air compressor. Its intended use will be for airing tires, blowing off debris and running a myriad of air tools. this compressor will be used primarily for on the job type tasks, such as, air nailers, some die grinding, 3" cut off tool etc.

    I do have a large 240vac 60gal compressor in my work shop so this will not be the primary air compressor.

    I am looking at the porter cable line c-3551 [oil], porter cable c3151 [oilless]
    the ridgid of45150 [oilless] and the ridgid ol50135 [oil]

    The specifications are all quite similar 4-5 gallon tank, 3 to 3 1/2 hp
    12 amp to 15 amp and their weights are also close.

    The price range is as low as about $259 to a high $359.
    Depending where you read the spec sheets you'll see a range of 4.25 to 6.25scfm @ 90psi

    I like the ridgid line, but I also like the portability big wheels on the porter cable design and the detachable panel.

    I know the oil types run quieter than the ones without oil. I also know they likely last a lot longer.

    Since this is a weekend warrior type need, the compressor won't run 8 hours a day 5 days a week at a construction site.

    I like the 6cfm @ 90 psi rating for the cut off tool and die grinder. I know nailers do not require much!

    I am looking for user advice, also any thoughts on factory refurbished VS new?
    I can save $50 to $100 if I go the refurbished route.

    I do notice on E-bay, there are a significant number of refurbished porter cable c3151 compressors running around $149 to $169 plus $70 shipping.
    This makes me wonder about if that model is not one to consider?

    Any positive input is appreciated

    Cactus Man

  • #2
    If it is not your primary compressor I would just go with the cheapest model. If quality and power are a concern I would stay away from the oiless. In my opinion the oil fill models are stronger have bigger motors and pumps as long as you take care of it oil etc. it will last forever. The Ridgid compressors you mentioned are made by Campbell Hausfeld and carry CH wtty's. The Porter Cable on E-bay you mentioned is not a bad compressor I have seen very few in the shop. They have a decent size motor and I don't know of any contiuing problems they have other than the frame being week at the axles.


    • #3
      more air compressor advice

      You should take a long look at the ingersoll rand DD2T2 I have one and it is great. It's on sale at sears in the US for $249 I paid $440 Can apx. It has a 100% duty cycle rating and is very quiet.


      • #4
        One other benifit of an oil compressor is that a small amount of oil is in the compressed air which is good for air tools, but a no no if you use it for painting. I have an oilless compressor and am going to add an oil injection filter to it.
        SSG, U.S. Army
        K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.


        • #5
          I made my decision....

          Well folks, I decided and went to Lowe's and purchased the porter Cable C3151 air compressor.

          I looked at the ridgid OF45150 but I was not very impressed with the dual tank design. I really do not understand the benefit of two small tanks VS one large 4.5gal tank.
          I believe draining moisture from one 4.5 gallon tank is better than hoping what moisture is in one tank drips into the other etc.

          I was also confused with the ridgid specs as it has been discussed on these forums and by seeing the model live. I see 4.3cfm at 90psi or whatever, and I see 6.0cfm at 90psi

          I saw a similar conflict with the porter cable compressor too. I am aware the method of measuring CFM has recently changed so who knows if these specs are peak or average!

          Portability was a strong influence as both models are heavy from 74 lbs to 90 lbs.
          Noise is also an issue but I never saw a noise db level on the ridgid. The Porter Cable is 90dba [loud!] low pitch not a high squeal.

          Ridgid locally was $259.00 the Porter Cable was $297.00
          The Ridgid compressor offers a better long term warranty, The Porter Cable is the standard type warranty.

          I chose the Porter cable because it has the low profile, the large pneumatic wheels for very nice portability. I Also like the ability to remote the control panel if noise in the work area is an issue.

          I will also point out its weaknesses:

          1. You can not store it in a vertical position. I will make a hinged type leg to
          allow vertical storage when not in use.
          2. When the motor runs you have metal to metal vibration noise. I addressed
          this by removing the top panel and installed rubber grommets into the
          holes. I also wrapped the metal bar with split rubber hose.
          3. I also added some rubber washers to the wheel axle to reduce wheel slap
          or vibration when running.
          4. The power cord 14ga is a weird length! It is five feet long! They do not
          recommend using a long extension cord because of the voltage drop. I
          may buy some 12 gauge power cord and replace the supplied cord, thus
          making the power cord about eight feet long. This will allow me the ability
          to reach my electrical outlets. The extra 3 feet makes a huge difference.

          I chose oil less to oil type because of availability and the CFM rating. For some reason the oil types of the same size and horsepower deliver a much lower CFM rating at 90psi.

          I hooked up a 3/8 X 15 foot hose with disconnects and tried using my dust blow gun. It was excellent and I ran it at 100psi
          I tried my pneumatic stapler and 18ga nailer ..perfect!
          I tried my framing nailer..perfect!
          I tried my 3cfm @ 90psi pneumatic cutter and the compressor does cycle often.
          I tried my pneumatic file and hack saw and the compressor did cycle often.

          I expected this is due to the 4.5 gal tank. But, for small jobs, projects away from my 60 gallon 240v compressor in my shop, I think this will be a nice compressor.

          I have learned long ago to try and avoid buying certain tools used or even reconditioned. Simply, you really have no clue as to why the unit was returned? what failed? etc. Even with a factory reconditioning, often you will find minor flaws that passed QA but a new unit does not exhibit.

          I also followed the proper break in instructions to ensure the piston and Teflon parts seat correctly.


          Cactus Man
          Last edited by cactusman; 12-20-2006, 04:28 PM.


          • #6
            Cactus Man

            How about a 6 foot 14-3 extension cord made for use with a room air conditioner? Normally ACE Hardware, Home Depot and Lowes have them. That might save you both time and $$$.


            The .JPG file is a good picture of one. I hope this is helpful to you.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              update on my new compressor

              I replaced the 5 foot 14ga power cord with a 12ga 10 foot cord type SO. I had to file a small amount so the new Heyco strain relief will fit where the molded strain relief was. I also scraped the paint off the ground connection to ensure better contact.
              Now with ten feet I have access to any and all ac outlets!!!

              The comments about noise is indeed accurate. I notice the "cover" part number D28350 vibrates and being sheet metal has resonance and is noisy when the motor runs. I pulled it and put rubber grommets in the screw holes and reinstalled it. I noted a decrease in noise but it is still loud. If I put my foot on the cover the compressor runs quiet, well, except for the usual compressor noise.

              I contacted Porter Cable to see what they suggest....I'm not expecting very much.

              Tomorrow I'll pull the cover and either put 1/4 plywood or 1/4 foam under the metal and see if that dampens the noise.

              the only other comment right now is I'm trying to figure out how to store this thing vertically instead of horizontally as you see it. Vertically would take up much less of what limited space I have. I may just secure a really big hook and half the thing up 1/2" off the ground.

              Cactus Man


              • #8
                final comments on reducing compressor noise

                the metal cover, part number D28350 on the Porter Cable model C3151-1 compressor acts like an amplifier. The normal run noise causes the cover to resonate and is an awfully loud metal metal noise.

                The specifications indicate a 90DBA level..which is not acceptable and is painfully loud!

                I installed 1/4" foil covered foam on the covers underside. I glued up two pieces. One on the underside of the cover between the sides and on the inside of the lower lip, the side with the large decal.

                I also used metal tape along the edges to ensure the glue would not fail from vibration. This is all installed in such a manner as it is not visible, thus no compromise on external appearance.

                I also installed some 1 1/8" foam pipe insulation along the rails where the torx holes are. I also installed rubber grommets in the cover holes where the torx screws install. This exercise essentially isolates the cover from the frame.

                I now have a quieter compressor. The noise is now a much lower frequency rumble.
                I used a Radio Shack analog 33-2050 SPL meter and stood 12" to 18" away from the compressor. I pointed the tester towards the center of the cover and now get 82DBA for a noise level. This is much more acceptable.

                I sent Porter Cable my results and asked them to pass it along to their design engineers. I think if they redesign the stamping of the cover or install sound deadening this will become a super portable compressor.

                For those of you saying Geez! return it! Why bother! That is not the way of us tinkerers! We strive to take stuff and make it better.

                Sorry no diggy wiggy camera here so I can't pass along photos


                Cactus Man


                • #9
                  It's good to see I'm not the only one that likes to try and improve things. I must warn you that you may no longer have a warrenty on your air compressor. Companies do not like modifications being made. I hope you gave it a good test run first and that no problems come up. Do be sure there is still good cooling air flow. That machine runs hot and needs all the cooling it can get. Maybe sometime you can either take regular pics and have someone scan them, or borrow a digital camera. I think anyone with this air compressor would be interested in your handy work. I guess P-C wanted to boost sales of hearing protection. 90 DB is pretty darn loud. I have heard several other high speed air compressors that run way too loud. I like my old timer stationary that spins about 600 RPM and has an intake filter-silencer on it. I just hear a nice deep throbing sound and the motor humming.

                  For anyone interested, here is a device that does a good job of lowering noise and is also a good intake filter. You will need a way to use it with a standard size pipe thread on the intake of your air compressor. This works out for stationary models in many cases, but the portables may need some real work to make an adaptor. Please have a look and maybe some of you can use this type of air filter. It really does lower the noise.


                  They have several versions, so you may want to prowl some around their web site.


                  • #10
                    Hello all,
                    I just brought home a twin stack 150 PSI 2hp/ 5gal. oiled "portable" compressor from Costco for $149. It states it will produce 5.6cfm @90psi and 6.8 @40psi. It is reasonably quiet, about as loud as my shop vac, and much more quiet than an oil-free. The compessor runs at 3450 rpms and it has a 50% service rating. It takes about 90 seconds to fill from empty. Just brought it home today so no info on how often it cycles on throughout a job. The build quality is excellent, except it has no wheels (weighs about 80lbs. so I'll have to build something for it.)

                    I needed a compressor as I just picked up the Ridgid 2-nailer combo from HD for $118. The brand is "Master Power" by Cooper tools. I did a little research as I'd never heard of Master Power, or Cooper for that matter. Cooper is the parent company for Crescent, Nichols and other hand tools I've seen in HD.

                    The Master Power subsidiary makes industrial production air tools, so I was quite relieved. The warranty is 3 years and that says something. In any case, I asked Costco if their lifetime satisfaction guarantee applies to tools and they said yes. A win win. Don't get me wrong though, in the last 15 years, I've only returned one thing to Costco, a bug zapper that was broken out of the box.

                    This compressor is a keeper, and it's half the cost of the Makita Mac5200 I was eyeing. I can do without the wheels for my needs. It did fine with the nailers, we'll see how it does with an HVLP.


                    • #11
                      I sold my PC pancake compressor over the weekend, simply because of the sound and recharge time.

                      I helped my sister-in-law pick out a compressor for my brother's Christmas gift. I bought the Hitachi pancake at Lowes for $135 ($150 minus 10% off), and also ordered a Thomas AirPac pancake compressor from Amazon before their $50 off deal expired.

                      I figured I would just keep whichever one my brother didn't get for Christmas. So now I have the Hitachi, rated at 75dB. Not only is it 17dB lower than the PC, it also fills up about a 45 seconds faster (PC was over 2 minutes), and recharges in less than half the time.

                      The Thomas was a little quieter, but filled up in less than a minute, and recharged in about 17 seconds (really neat). It's also twice as heavy as the Hitachi.

                      All in all, if I was about to do a major addition or was on a jobsite, bar none, I would go with the Thomas. For my needs, I'm more than happy to replace my PC with a much nicer Hitachi.