I'm on my fifth compressor, and will be picking up a sixth tomorrow. The first was a CH I got at HD ($300)that died after a couple of months so I exchanged it for something else. Don't remember much about that one.
Next had a Senco 2000 (1999 model) that had plenty of air but which didn't like extension cords or cool weather and had lousy drain valves, regulator gauges and hose fitting and liked to walk around a lot.
Sold it after several years and got a Dewalt/Emglo 55155 ($350, I think). Much quieter but heavy with a stiff hose fittings and stiffer regulator . Built like a tank though, but no wheels and I got sick of lugging it around.
Picked up a Dewalt 2 gal 55141 (oiless) a few years ago for light duty stuff and it became my go-to compressor. Sold the 55155 and the Senco. The 55141 is about half the weight and I can light frame with it (just) but it struggles to keep up with a siding gun for Hardi. Pretty quiet and good air pressure, but I had to put an in-line water filter on it for cabinetry and trim as it spat a lot of moisture(main reason I'm getting rid of it) and you cannot talk over it indoors. Not a do-it-all compressor, but I managed to get by with it for a few years and my back thanked me.
I have never used or seen Thomas compressors, but no-one sells them round here so I gave up investigating.
Got a Rolair JC10 ($200) last week from a local dealer and, so far, am hugely impressed. At first I thought it was faulty because it made so little noise. You really have to (not) hear it to believe it. Oozes quality.
It is not quite as ergonomic as the 55141 and a little heavier but produces more air and I'm hoping it will fill the gap that I've had for 15 years between light, portable and quiet and a do-everything compressor. Very high quality fittings and guages. Easy enough to carry upstairs and no-one will complain if you use it in their home.
The grip on the handle needs an upgrade, and I've already fitted a 90 degree brass elbow so the pressure gauge points upwards so I can see it without tipping the compressor on it's side, but it's definitely a keeper. Time will tell if it does all I need. It's not a shop or two man compressor though.
One thing to note... this, and most of Rolair's small compressors are 100% made in China, not the US.
Getting a Makita MAC2400 tomorrow. Got a great price so couldn't say no. It will replace my 55155 and live in my shop most of the time(hopefully) but will be there if the Rolair can't keep up (fingers crossed - I have high hopes for that little thing). I've seen several Makitas on job sites and framers seem to love them! They are extremely well built, and quieter than you could wish for, for the air you get.
A good compressor (for me) is occasionally the difference between a good day and a frustrating day on the job but sadly, there are too many shoddy compressors on the market. I'm hoping this JC10 lives up to my expectations. I know the Makita will.
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