Compressors for Trim Carpenters

Favorite compressors for a one-man or two-man trim crew. March 26, 2012

I am ready to replace my Porter Cable pancake compressor. It functions fine, but itís loud and awkward to carry. For my work, I donít need a lot of capacity and I work alone and install my built-ins and kitchens roughly once a month. I have been looking around on the web, and see compressors like the Senco, Dewalt, or Bostich but donít know anything about them. Reading the reviews are all over the place on these, so I donít really know how good they are.

I like the idea of the real light weight units that are small and easy to transport. I just donít want to buy something that will die in a year or so and have to replace it, even if it doesnít cost much. Are there any lightweight portables that are of good quality out there? I was looking at a Rol air, but it was still kind of heavy and large compared to these newer lightweights.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor M:
I have been using the little Senco for about three years now and still works fine. I replaced the drain valve about a year ago, and now I need to replace my regulator. It was knocked around in the back of the truck. If you don't mind spending a little extra, look at Thomas compressor. They are small, quiet, and really good.

From contributor H:
I've had the Smurf Senco for about three years myself and I highly recommend it. I install with one other guy and run any trim gun we want. It is laughed at, but is easy on the back (I have two twin tank Hitachi's on the truck and they are never out unless I have three plus guys on site) and is super quiet and maintains good pressure at the guns on two lines. The only downside is running a blowgun, not enough volume but recovers very quickly. I have also used it with my Binks air assisted airless on site for touchup spraying. Itís hard to go wrong with this one.

From contributor W:
The little Senco is a dream, for one guy working alone. Like Contributor H says, you can't use it to clean the whole site with a blowgun, or inflate earth-mover tires, but for one guy/one trim gun/interior work you won't regret it!

From contributor J:
I also work alone most of the time and won't ever part ways with my little Thomas compressor. 26 lbs, made in the USA by the company that invented oil-less compressors, quiet, and unlike most others rated for continuous use (can use it while it's recharging). I had a Senco, and found it insufficient to do any production work with a 15ga nailer. The Thomas also has the CFM for light framing. They cost more, but are serviceable and should last a very long time

From the original questioner:
I am leaning toward the Senco, and the Thomas looks real nice as well. Three times the price of the Senco makes it tough to justify the Thomas.

From contributor F:
I bought the smallest Thomas compressor they make about 20 years ago and I still use it almost every day. I put one rebuild kit in it a few years ago because it was finally getting tired. Itís lightweight and very quiet. It starts when cold. I like the brand so much I bought a new (larger) one a couple of years ago. Itís the only brand I will ever buy. It costs more and worth it.