I am going to purchase an air compressor from Harbor Freight in the next few days and here is why... I don't have the money to purchase a "real" name brand high dollar compressor. I know you get what you pay for and I am OK with that. I have 3 immediate projects to do with the compressor and if I can get these done and it craps out right after, I believe this $180 purchase is still worth it as opposed to paying someone to come to my garage/house. First, I need to winterize my sprinkler system in the yard. Second, I have some bolts stuck on the jeep and need to try an impact wrench to get these out. Third, I am going to sand and repaint the body and frame of my jeep as I am in the midst of a frame off resto. In all, compressor will be used for sprinkler blow out, impact wrench, sander and die grinder, and if possible a sand blaster. I know I am not getting a compressor large enough to do all this continuously so I understand and expect to have to take time to let the compressor build up pressure every once in a while. I AM OK WITH THIS.
The Question: Here are the two compressors I am between getting. Major difference is the 10 gal tank vs 21 gal tank and a .5CFM difference.
Get the smaller one. For what you are talking about using it for, your tank will NEVER stay full. It will always be in fill mode, so you might as well get the one with the higher CFM that will also fill much faster. Yes it will drain faster, but you will have less down time between blasts.
I use the Husky version of that 10gal as my portable and backup use (to my 60gal) compressor. It is a hoss for its size. I also have a 21gal Craftsman that I burnt up from pushing it too hard. It only has 1.5hp and could never keep up.
For those stuck bolts, make friends with a breaker bar before counting on the impact to get the job done. My 600 ft lb impact can't break some bolts/nuts loose without me giving it some elbow grease of my own. The impact just makes it faster after that.
The CFM ratings are likely BS anyway since they appear to have the same pump/motor. I bought one with a very similar pump with the dual stack tank and it has been fine but I think those CFM ratings are VERY optimistic.
Buy whichever one you would rather move/store. The performance is going to be nearly the same from both.
I think the sander and blasting cabinet are gonna be a lesson in frustration with a small compressor. My 80 gal 2 stage cranks out 15cfm@150psi and it runs almost constantly while using the blasting cabinet.
'80 CJ5 w/AMC360, T176, D44 w/Detroit 4.56, RE 4" YJ lift and 35s..
I have the 8 gallon version of that compressor, with an additional 14 gallon tank. The compressor works fine for air tools like impacts, blowing out sprinkler linesm air ratchets. It barely works good enough for die grinders. you have to sit an wait a bit for it to charge up enough to get "power". its only good for about 40 seconds of sand blasting then you loose your umph. Mine lasted for 10 years with nothing done to it Then I neeeded to replace the pressure switch. Then I gave it to my friend and bought a bigger one.
Thank you all for the opinions. I have been slightly leaning towards the 10 gal higher CFM unit but on the edge until this morning. Got a HF email and this exact unit is on sale, this weekend only, $129.99. I'm going with this one. If i am unsatisfied after all of this I will be able to hit myself a little less harder with this price...
My opinion is that if you are unhappy with the performance of the compressor for the work you are talking about using it for, you will simply be in understanding that you need a much larger compressor (in all aspects). Don't think that this compressor is failing you, it was never designed to perform the work you are talking about using it for. However, be happy that you have a small, portable compressor that is great for light impact use, filling tires, using nail guns, etc. For those uses, you will be satisfied with the unit.