Compact Stackable Compressor
Rolair's Airstak compressor is built into a convenient Systainer box, making it easy to stack in your truck and carry onto the job site.
When Rolair first released a compact compressor in a Systainer, the tool storage system I already use, I immediately put it on my wish list. Two years later, I’ve had a long time to use the Rolair Airstak and learn its strengths and weaknesses. The compressor’s controls and ﬁttings are recessed, as is the power switch, and the power cord is detachable and quickly stows inside. The setup is about the same weight as similarly sized and powered compressors, and its now-familiar Systainer shape has an ample handle that makes it easy to carry and pack in and out of vehicles and job sites. There’s also room enough inside the Systainer for some small bags and boxes of nails.
With only a 1-hp motor and 1.6-gal. tank, the Airstak is no framing compressor. However, it is perfect for trimwork and pickup framing. It has a fairly quick recovery time and isn’t too loud. The compressor is unattached to the plastic Systainer, so it rattles a bit when it’s running, but I found that sticking a few small pieces of rubber underneath it help keep down the noise. One downside is that the controls are hard to get to, especially when wearing gloves. The drain valve is practically impossible to access, so I just grab a pair of pliers and reach in to get to it.
The Rolair compressors I’ve used over the years have been well-built and functional, and the Airstak is no exception. There are similar-sized compressors for about half the cost, but for someone like me with a compact pickup or someone who puts a premium on space savings and stackable storage, I think it’s worth the cost.
Paul Johnson, owner Paul Johnson Carpentry and Remodeling in Portland, Ore.
Appears in Fine Homebuilding #302 titled “Compact Compressor”