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Sick of wrenching with hand tools so want to make life much easier and get a kit of air tools and a compressor. Which brands do you guys like? What should be the ratings of the tools that I should look for? Want to get some tools that will cover all the basics but want to make sure they are strong enough and have enough power to get the job done. Same for the compressor. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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mark67ss,

While there will be a great debate on which compressor to look at, I will throw this comment in. One of the most used air tools in my toolbox is a 3/8" Snap-on imapact wrench that I picked up a local pawn shop for $40.00. I have many other air tools, but it seems that I use this one most. Even more than my air ratchet.

Best of luck and happy hunting


Tom
 

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You can try a search on this topic. It has been discussed many times. IMHO, I bought a 5hp 22 gallon Devilbis from Lowes on sale. It is an "oilless" which I don't recommend because they are very loud. It is a 110 volt, perfect for my garage and I have used it heavily. For power tools, I have a collection from Harbour Freight. I bought them cheap, I abuse them, and they still work. I have a DA sander, 1/2" impact, 3/8" rachet, drill, and splitter. My compressor has no problem keeping up with them. I also have a small sand blast cabinet. Again, no problems. If you blast alot, you may have to wait for air to build up but I found this to be a minor inconvienence. Others recommend a bigger compressor and better, name brand tools. For my use, as a weekend player, mine have worked very well and I am happy both with the cost and their performance.
 

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I love working with my air tools. So much so that I will spend an additional 5-10 minutes looking for the right socket to work with my 1/2" impact, or searching for the reducer instead of simply picking up a hand tool. I have learned that with air tools, I am far less likely to end my day with cut up hands, wrists, and forearms as well. In addition, I have saved myself countless burns.

Lot's of great reasons to go pneumatic in my opinion. There was a time I did not mind laying in an oil spill wrenching in poor light, with no eye or hand protection with manual tools. Those days are OVER!

I am smarter now, and expect my tools to work harder for me. Remember most any air tool you use will require the use of eye, ear, and hand protection.. Some tools you should even use a respirator with (sanders, paint sprayers), so you should consider purchasing good gloves, a respirator, and eye & ear protection when you get the air tools. Trust me-these items might not come to mind immediately, but if you are smart you will buy them and use them.

When it comes to compressors, every one will tell you bigger is better, two-stage is better than single stage. But you have to stop and think about your needs. I would recommend looking at the tools you plan to use most, and then base your compressor size on those tools needs. Most tools will have specific CFM ratings right on the packaging. That way you can see if the compressor you are looking at will support those ratings.

I have two compressors. The smaller of the two is a 3.5 horse Campbell Hausefeld that puts out 6.9 CFM at 90 PSI, on a 20 gallon tank which is large enough to run most of my power tools. Don't buy simply based on the HP ratings! I compared my CFM ratings to other non-name brand units and even at 5HP they could not produce the same ratings as mine. Look specifically at your CFM capabilities.

Here is a good tip for you. Go to the Sears web site and look at their close out, and auction items. You can sometimes find really good deals there on the Craftsmen line.

You will enjoy the air tools if you end up going that route.

Best of luck.
 

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You may want to go to Home Depot and check out the Husky brand line of air tools. I have bought several of them and the cost is reasonable. They advertise having a lifetime warranty, and all you have to do is return them to the store. I don't know of any other air tool at any cost that advertises a lifetime warranty.
 

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Ingersol Rand makes a "reactonless" 3/8" air ratchet. It won't pull your hand into something and bash your knuckles. It costs around $110. but it is much safer.

I was showing the difference to my wife, had her hold the IR ratchet while the drive was clamped in a vise. The ratchet rattled while she held it.
I then put a regular air ratchet in the vise and when she hit the trigger it flew out of her hand!

She was sold!
 

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I don't use my air rachet much at all. But I get alot of use out of my impact wrench. Next in use is my die grinder. There have been times the air splitter saves my butt. Ditto for a cutoff wheel. Almost makes exhaust systems fun. Good gloves, eye and ear protection too. I buy from Sears, Lowe's and Home Depot. A few drops of oil every time I go to use them and I've never had a failure. Well, I did replace my impact wrench after about 15 years.

[ 12-22-2003, 04:15 AM: Message edited by: RickD ]
 

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On air compressors, I had a 2 hp Craftsman 220 volt that I bought in 1985 it worked for everything that I needed, I painted several cars and used all my air tools with it but it wouldnt keep up with my big grinder. Last year I bought a new oiless Craftsman 5 hp 110 volt 60 gallon tank, I hate it. It is VERY noisy, kicks the internal breaker when it gets hot (my old one NEVER did that) or kicks the breaker in my garage. I wish I had my old one back but I gave it away.
Shop around.
Ron
 

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I've had the same results with my Craftsman 6hp, 30 gal, 110 compressor. Works great when I first start it up. But after it shuts off, i use up some air, and it tries to kick back on, it kicks the breaker in the garage. Have to bleed off pressure to below about 40 psi before it will turn over without kicking the breaker. Neighbor just bought the same exact compressor and has the same results.
 

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Mark -- I feel your pain. I finally broke down and got the Sears & Robeck Craftsman 6hp 30gal upright compressor, along with thier 1/2' impact, 3/8' rachet and an air hammer. I have been very happy with the unit. Got on sale so th e cost was reasonable at $267. Since I've had it, (about 2-3 months now) I have trip the braker in my garage once. It's a little on loud side when it runs, but somehow I have even gotten used to that. It's a pretty darn good compressor for the money. Good luck in your hunt ... but you have to go with getting a compress if you in to this stuff...
 

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Just saw a Husky at Home Depot. It is a 5.2 horsepower, 150 psi, 25 gallon (I think). Oilless. Comes with 1/2 impact, sockets, 3/8 ratchet, grinder, hose, tape, paint sprayer, air blower, tire inflater, and more. All for $299. What do you think?
 
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