My oil free Craftsman air compressor crapped out after many years of service. Rather than try and fix it I decided to upgrade to a better quality, more expensive compressor suitable for running just about any air tool a home mechanic would use. After many hours of research and comparing specs of air tools and specs of compressors and prices of compressors turns out for my purposes the Ingersoll Rand Garagemate seems to be one of the best offerings in its class based on price/performance.
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I'm a big fan of Sears. Craftsman hand tools have lifetime guarantees and it's very easy to walk into any sears and get a replacement if a tool breaks and walk out. Big fan of their stores and on floor service and being able to ask questions and deal with a person and see/inspect items before I buy so all things being equal I like to buy from Sears whenever I can. I'm 50 and my dad was a big fan of Sears so I'm probably one of the last generations to feel this way about Sears.
Went to the store and inspected all of their compressors after doing my online research and the Garagemate did not disappoint when I inspected it in person. It's a vertical oriented compressor with an top mounted electric motor with belt that requires oil. Compressors requiring oil are generally quieter and last longer than oil free which is the type I had previously which was very loud.
After inspecting the compressor and speaking with a sales associate I decided I would buy a Garagemate. Northern Tool is the other place I buy lots of stuff and Northern offers free shipping to your door on this compressor and has one of the best "regular" prices. Turns out it was on sale at Sears and there were a couple of online coupons available and there were a couple of nearby stores with the compressor in stock so I bought it on line for $500 plus tax and went and picked it up at a local store. The guys at Sears loaded it up for me and I got it off the truck and onto a hand truck and wheeled it into the garage....only to find one of the external cooling fins on the compressor motor broken! So back it went for a replacement unit. The second compressor was good to go.
Assembly takes ten minutes. Insert the handle into the bases and tighten the set screws to keep it in place then bolt the wheels onto either side of the stand. Pour in the oil provided and screw the two air filter housings into the motor and that's it.
The compressor is extremely quiet which is as advertised and built like a tank. Very heavily contructed and reminds me of how appliances/tools were built in the good old days. This thing appears like it could last two lifetimes.
Been using it in the garage for a few weeks and I love it. Comes with a three way quick connect and does a great job powering my air ratchet, air impact gun, blower and tire inflator which are my biggest concerns. Wheels around the shop easily and takes up very little room when stored because of its vertical orientation. Plugs directly into 110 so no hard wiring necessary. I get the sense this is a shop quality compressor and I think this is good enough for professionals running a small garage.
When I started my search I thought I would be spending about $350ish on the kind of compressor I needed but I didn't want to buy one and find out I couldn't break lug nuts or operate a powerful impact gun so I stepped up and spent more than I really wanted to and bought the I/R because of I/R's reputation and the build quality of this unit and the nearly universally favorable reviews including by some professional shops.
It's early in the game and reliability remains to be seen but based on price, quality and performance I'm a big fan of this compressor and encourage anybody looking for a really good quality compressor for $550 or less to give this one a close look.