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Harbor Freight Air Compressor Review – Top 5 Products

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Harbor Freight Air Compressor Review

Air compressors are a worthy investment. You can use them in various ways, plus you do not need any professional skills to use one. In this Harbor Freight Air Compressor review, we shall cover important information about this product.

Harbor Freight has a reputation for quality, an aspect that the manufacturer has extended to air compressors. We have singled out five Harbor air compressors for review. As we review each one, we shall draw your attention to features such as the maximum PSI, tank size, material, and compressor type.

Choosing air compressors requires some skill. We are confident that this review will steer you towards the best equipment for your task.

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

The engineering concept behind the Makita MAC2400 consists of a combined piston and bore cylinder technology. It also has a low AMP draw for reduced tripping of circuit breakers. The compressor boasts of a 4.2-gallon tank with a 130 PSI operating pressure. Concerning pressure delivery, the product delivers capacities of 40 PSI and 90 PSI.

Also, the pump features oil lubrication that helps cool the unit and reduce the product’s wear and tear. To help withstand the rough nature of work environments, the MAC2400 has a roll cage construction. Besides, it has an automotive-style air filter. Such filters help increase air intake while also boosting efficiency.

The cast-iron cylinder not only reduces wear and tear but also provides for ease of maintenance. You can remove it during servicing. The MAC2400 also features an oil sight glass to help you monitor the oil levels.

The pump runs off a 2.5 Horsepower motor that generates 1,730 rotations per minute and low noise at 79 Db (Decibels) — the lower the RPMs, the less the sound a piece of equipment produces. By having a big bore cylinder, the unit can take in and compress more air at a single stroke.

MAC2400 is ideal for nail guns and stapling tasks like decking and sheathing. Whether you are a remodeler or carpenter, the product can handle both large and small-scale projects. You can work with it in residential areas without causing noise pollution to other inhabitants. Besides, its sturdy roll-cage protects it from damage in case someone or another object knocks it over.

Pros:

  • It runs quietly
  • It has a lengthy lifespan; cast-iron cylinders can last for decades
  • It has a 4.2-gallon tank which is suitable for its size
  • Compact size for any site
  • Offers value for money

Cons

  • It is bulkier than other models and may pose challenges when moving in between locations

Central Pneumatic 2.5 Horsepower

The Central Pneumatic features a 21-gallon tank with an oiled pump. It also has a pair of wheels and foot stabilizers. It boasts of a 2.5 Horsepower motor that produces a maximum pressure of 125 psi. At 40 psi, it delivers 5.8 CFM (cubic feet per minute) while at 90 psi, it shoots at 4.7 CFM.

A pair of 6-inch wheels and rubber foot stabilizers not only contribute to the product’s portability but also its durability. Besides, with the conveniently built handle, you will have no hassle while moving the compressor to the desired place. Concerning maintenance, the Central Pneumatic has an oil-level window indicator.

The compressor weighs 97.7 pounds with dimensions of 45 x 18 x 18 inches. It is electric powered and requires an output of 120 volts. By featuring an oil-based cooling system, the Central Pneumatic pump does not overheat. Besides, it enhances the pump’s lifetime.

Also, the reduced vibrations from the motor are a sign that the parts don’t get loose and get damaged. It means that you do not spend on replacements and repairs. One thing you will consistently note about products in this Harbor Freight air compressor review is that they are a perfect choice for light-duty work environments. It has a consistent flow and a good recovery time.

Pros:

  • The oil-lubrication in the pump helps cool the compressor
  • Rubber foot stabilizers at the base of the component are superb at reducing vibrations
  • The two wheels plus handle provide comfort and facilitate easy transportation of the equipment
  • It has an oil level indicator window for monitoring and maintenance
  • The 2.5 HP delivers 125 psi pressure and air compression
  • When you need user support, you can find the parts quickly and cheaply

Cons:

  • The vertical design can pose space challenges in storage and working areas
  • The product does not work efficiently in dusty areas or spaces where clean air is scarce
  • Can only operate at a power output of 120V

 

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor

The Bostitch BTFP02012 features a 0.9 HP motor producing 2700 RPMs. It requires only 15 AMP meaning that you can power it from a common source at home or workshop. The pump is lubricant-free and does not need oil.

With such a pump, you do not need to keep checking the oil levels. Also, you do not struggle when starting the pump in cold weather. Concerning the air tank, Bostitch BTFP02012 has a 6-gallon tank the shape of a pancake. With such a capacity, you can power medium-sized carpentry tools.

Besides, the BTFP02012 produces 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. Such power can perform tasks such as frame nailing, upholstery stapling, and tire inflation. The product can also power impact wrenches. It has a removable console cover for ease of maintenance and a cord wrap that comes in handy during storage.

However, compared to other compressors featured in our Harbor Freight air compressor review, the BTFP02012 is not a quiet machine. It produces noise levels at 78.5 decibels. Nonetheless, 78.5 decibels are not too much. The human threshold is 110 decibels. At this level, you begin to feel pain in the ears.

Bostitch BTFP02012 has a compact size and only weighs 29 pounds. It has dimensions of 17 x 17 x 19.2 inches and comes with a one-year warranty. The product is in the category, often referred to as pancake compressors. The term derives from the unit’s oval-shaped tank. It is suitable for DIY homeowners and small workshops.

Pros:

  • It is light and easy to carry around
  • Oil-free and maintenance-free
  • There are no oil-spillage risks
  • It lasts long
  • It provides an easy start-up in cold weather

Cons:

  • It runs at 78.5 decibels which is a bit noisy for most work environments
  • The power cord is too short meaning you need to work near a power source

1/3 Horsepower 3 Gallon 100 PSO Oilless Pancake Air Compressor by Central Pneumatic

This Central Pneumatic Pancake air compressor comes with a three-gallon tank and an in-built space for storing accessories. The tank also has a conveniently located drain valve.

The product has a visible glass-covered pressure gauge dial for easy reading. It is possible to single-out this compressor among other units from its signature red color and the name Central Pneumatic printed in black and white bold letters.

The product delivers maximum air pressure of 100 psi. Its compressed air delivery specifications are:

  • 6 CFM at 90 psi
  • CFM at 40 psi

Its motor has an output of 0.03 Horsepower and runs on electric power.

Besides, going by its oil-free design, you have the added advantage of incurring lower maintenance costs. The pancake shape and rubber studs at the base provide for stability during use. You can place it on rooftops without worrying that it will topple over.

The motor housing is fully enclosed, plus the product also features a carry handle. An enclosed motor protects the parts from tampering and dust. The item weighs 21.2 pounds add the lightweight to the perfectly designed handle, and you have no hassle carrying it to the site of your liking.

The equipment’s size makes it suitable for small tasks around the home or workshop. A 120V and the 2.6-amp motor does not cause issues during startup, so you will not struggle. Besides, 21.2 pounds is not too heavy. You can carry it easily or store the item when not in use.

Pros:

  • The compressor is small and lightweight making it very portable
  • The engine starts without problems even during cold weather
  • It has an oil-free pump
  • The briefcase handle design provides for carrying comfort
  • It is easy to store owing to the small size

Cons:

  • The 120V is a low capacity power for tasks that rely on air compression

DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

The DEWALT DWFP55126 made it to the Harbor Freight Air compressor review owing to its high-efficiency motor that has an easy start-up during cold weather. It weighs 30 pounds, which is manageable to carry around the worksite, garage, or basement. It has a 6-gallon tank which is a large capacity plus it can deliver a maximum pressure of up to 165 psi.

With a 6-gallon tank, you can inflate tires without having to wait for pressure to build-up. Besides, the same capacity can power nailing tools for floors and other woodwork tasks. However, this product cannot handle powerful tools like the leaf and debris blowers.

At the same time, you must allow for the compressor to cool down. After an hour of continuous operation, allow between 10 to 15 minutes before resuming. Storage is not a headache as the unit’s footprint is only 23 by 34 inches. You cannot fail to find a place to keep the equipment.

Concerning power output, you only need 120 volts which you can find in household and commercial power sources. When it is running fully, the compressor draws about 1200 watts and requires around 15 amps. With a portable power source such as your car’s inverter, you can still power this device.

You can use the DWFP55126 with tools such as:

  • Framing nailers
  • Impact wrench
  • Brad nailer
  • Airbrush

However, if you have other large appliances, this pancake compressor is unsuitable for you. It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Pros:

  • It has easy to read gauges
  • It is oil-free and does not require regular maintenance
  • Its large capacity tank allows longer working hours
  • It is highly portable
  • It has a small footprint hence easy storage
  • The unit is relatively quiet while in operation

Cons:

  • It cannot support heavy tasks like sealing or painting
  • It only supports small tools and cannot generate enough compression needed by heavy appliances

Factors to Consider When Buying an Air Compressor:

Horsepower

Unless exaggerated, the Horsepower rating is always the best way of determining your compressor size. The best way to differentiate between a real and overrated HP-rating is by looking at the electric power needed. For instance, a 5HP motor draws 24 amps when connected to a 220V circuit.

All the same, a compressor’s Horsepower does not necessarily translate to performance. From this Harbor Freight air compressor review, we can safely tell you that the Horsepower rating is like saying how much power or the lack of it is in an engine. A high HP rating means that your compressor will fill the air tank efficiently and reduce recovery time.

What you intend it to do

You cannot wake up one day, walk into an industrial equipment store, and walk out with an air compressor at random. You must think through a few things. If your type of work entails moving to different areas, then you need compressors with wheels.

Also, you must be prepared to make some sacrifices. For instance, portable compressors have less power than stationary ones. Besides, small units require that you keep them running for long. In the process, they consume electricity plus their parts wear out quickly.

The tank sizes

Before you consider the tank size you must bear in mind that compressor tanks do not produce air, they store it. As far as the dynamics go, you should opt for equipment with a high-capacity motor and pump. With such a consideration, you will always have the quantity of air needed irrespective of the tank size.

Some situations, for instance, occasional use, warrant seeking a small compressor but shooting for a large tank. Take, for example, where you have a 1-inch impact wrench that you do not use often. A small compressor with a large tank will serve you perfectly. However, for steady work, you need compressed air at every turn.

Maintenance or maintenance-free

Concerning maintenance, oil-less compressors require very little. However, their counterparts, for the ones that use lubricating oil, you must keep monitoring them frequently. Nonetheless, both types of compressors have some basic requirements that you must keep up with for them to keep running.

The air intake filter is an essential component of the two types of equipment. The concept used here is a simple one. The filter protects the unit from taking in dust and other contaminants. So, as the filter traps more of these, it gets clogged, causing the compressor to lose its capacity. You need to change filters and carry out other checks regularly.

Life expectancy

All the brands in our Harbor Freight air compressor review do last long. Our advice is never to buy a compressor unless you are clear on its life expectancy. Ask your dealer or find reviews that provide such information.

If you still cannot find it, visit the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the manufacturer directly. Oil-lubricated compressors last longer than the oil-less ones. The former category stays a lot cooler than the latter, meaning less wear and tear.

FAQs:

What size air compressor do I need to run air tools?

Air tools such as the sandblaster require a constant air supply. You, therefore, need compressors with a large air tank. First, you must understand the meaning of these terms:

  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute): means the rate of air delivery to a tool
  • PSI (Pounds per Square Inch): this is a measure of the air pressure or the force of an airflow

Most, if not all, air tools in your possession indicate their PSI and CFM requirements.

We strongly advise against assessing your air compressor requirements by the size of the unit. Instead, examine a unit’s air delivery capabilities measured in CFM. As a rule of thumb, air compressors manufactured for air tools have a delivery range of between 30 to 140 Cubic Feet per Minute.

Is Central Pneumatic a good air compressor?

Central Pneumatic is a subsidiary of Harbor Freight, a popular store chain in the US. Harbor Freight began its operations in 1977. Since then and up to the present, the company has offered quality power tools. In 1982, the company launched Central Pneumatic as its subsidiary. The latter specializes in air-powered machinery.

Each Central Pneumatic branded air compressors must first undergo a series of endurance tests. Another thing is that these are ideal for beginners, people who are perhaps looking for their first product. Besides, the brand is cheaper compared to other models. Therefore, to answer your question, yes, Central Pneumatic is a good air compressor.

Where are central pneumatic air compressors made?

The Central Pneumatic air compressor brands come from Taiwan. After manufacture, Harbor Freight Tools ships them to the US for sale. These compressors are quite popular with DIYers and homeowners. Even the pros buy them too. The products have lower pricing than other brands, yet they provide even better quality than other competitor models.

Conclusion:

From the above Harbor Freight air compressor review, we have only focused on five air compressors. However, there are tens of others stocked by Harbor Freight. Central Pneumatic will cater to your needs when you need a compressor for light work. Also, if you are on a tight budget, you can procure the brand as a game-starter.

For online purchases, you can safely use Amazon or other sites verified by Harbor Freight. Even as you do so, we recommend that you read the reviews posted by past users of a similar product. On the other hand, if you live in a region serviced by a Harbor Freight outlet, ensure that you enquire about the replacement policy. You can also count on warranties.

Nonetheless, regardless of the brand, you need to do your homework correctly. Determine your needs by assessing the work the compressor will do. After that, research the different equipment available. You will be amazed at the choices available. Compare the features and see how best or far off they are from your expectations.

There must be sacrifices that you will make as each product has its flaws much as it has its strengths. Evaluate the positive points keenly. I satisfied that they exceed your expectations, therein you have found your compressor.

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