Overall great first compressor but with a design flaw

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Review by Eric_S posted 09-12-2011 04:27 PM 15837 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Overall great first compressor but with a design flaw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased this from Home Depot for $199 which includes the compressor, 10ft of pretty flexible hose, and a nice 16ga Porter Cable Finishing Nailer that takes straight 16ga nails up to 2 1/2” and operates from 75-120psi. The finish nailer alone is worth around $160.

This was my first compressor I’ve purchased. Overall for a first small use compressor I really liked it at first. The pressure builds up very quickly. Gets to 150psi in about 3 min or so. I’ve heard it is quieter than some other oil free compressor’s but I still think its very loud(although at a lower frequency) in my garage when the motor is running. When ever I upgrade, I’ll be sure to get the ones that take oil as I hear they are much quieter.

It is fairly light weight at around 23lbs and is easy to move around. The drain valve is located in a good location that doesn’t require tipping to drain or anything like that, but its very close to the ground since the compressor sits on little rubber padded feet so that could be an issue for some?

I followed the break in instructions which before first use require you to keep the drain valve open all the way and let it run for 15 minutes to remove any condensation that built up during shipping and storage. After that, close the valve and pressure builds up quickly to 150psi. I adjusted the regulator valve and it worked great with the nailer which also is nice for my first finishing nailer gun I’ve owned.

I’ve drained the air at the end of each day of use like the manual and common compressor safety says.
After a few days of using, I come back, turn it on, pressure builds fine as usually, BUT the output pressure wont go above 0psi. I adjust the regulator knob, and still even when its maxed out the output PSI is 0. I tried both quick connects and both give 0psi. Uh oh. I research the hell out of it and find other users with a similar issue. It seems the regulator knob has a faulty design in it with the spring being too long or something so the plastic piece that pushes inward can losen up when dialing back the knob.

I called Porter Cable customer service since they have a nice warranty and they were very helpful, agreed that it was the regulator knob and I’d need a replacement manifold piece shipped to me or I could bring it to an authorized service center 10 miles away and they’d fix it free within 5 days. So I’ll be bringing it in for servicing after work and hopefully won’t have any more issues. While it was working I enjoyed it thoroughly but was dissapointed it failed after little use.

First, I must say I give their customer service 5 stars. They were very helpful, asked me to try a few things and then after said they agreed it was a faulty regulator. They gave me the service center info to call (which was also very friendly and helpful). They would have shipped the part for me to replace for free but its quicker for me to just bring the compressor 10 miles away and have it returned in 5 days.

The compressor I do enjoy for a first, I’d give it 4 stars if it wasn’t a faulty regulator, but hopefully after fixing it this week it will be good to go for a long time.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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1565 posts in 4041 days

18 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4518 days

#1 posted 09-12-2011 04:32 PM

Congrats, I have a Bostitch Trim Air oilless compressor. Its quite, and it has gave me good service so far.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4041 days

#2 posted 09-12-2011 04:36 PM

Cool CJ. I picked up a bostitch brand brad nailer over the weekend, but thats when I found out the regulator wasn’t working anymore lol. So I can’t review that one yet. It comes with a 7 year warranty though.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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Matthew Cecil

2 posts in 3294 days

#3 posted 09-12-2011 07:16 PM

I have the same compressor and like it for all the reasons you mentioned. Now I should premise this by saying that this almost certainly isn’t what’s going on with your compressor, but I also turned mine on the second or third time I used it and got zero pressure. The problem in my case was operator error. The drain valve works opposite of the way you might think. When it is turned so it is flush with the fitting (righty-tighty), it is open. It isn’t closed until it is turned left all the way. In other words, it is closed when it is extended. It just seems backwards to me, and as dumb as I am it took me a few minutes that time to realize that I needed to close the valve by extending (lefty loosey) it.

Again, I suppose it’s far more likely given a new piece of equipment that yours is simply malfunctioning, but I thought I would share my tale of confusion, for what it’s worth.

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1565 posts in 4041 days

#4 posted 09-12-2011 07:31 PM

Matthew, the first time I used it(break-in) the motor stopped after 3 minutes when it should run for 15 without problem. I wasn’t sure what was going on, sure enough it was the drain valve’s design. I thought I had it open when in fact it was close. So I had the same issue as you lol. Lesson learned though. My issue is definitely regulator/manifold related :( Dropping it off after work today.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 3439 days

#5 posted 09-12-2011 10:24 PM

You will probably need to put a piece of threaded rod through the handle eventually.The two halves of the plastic housing tend to pull apart.Just drill out the countersunk plastic and remove the screws and slide in a piece of threaded rod and a couple of nuts and washers and you got a strong lifting point.I don’t know why they didn’t do this in the first place?

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3816 days

#6 posted 09-12-2011 11:01 PM

I have the same compressor as well. I have run every size nailer from 23ga pin to 11ga framer and it works great. Better to use 1/4” hose for the big guns; faster recovery.

The rubber hose from the compressor to the tank will probably need replacing with copper tube eventually. Mine gets hot enough to smoke.

View Tenderfingers's profile


6 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 09-12-2011 11:16 PM

I bought this same compresser from Home Depot about a year ago as part of a larger package of compresser and three nailers. First used it for baseboards while laying a floating floor, and have used it to build cabinets and small furniture. Also got some accessories to fill tires, blow away sawdust, etc. Yes, it’s loud and prone to operator error while getting used to it, but it still seems rock solid and a great buy.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4041 days

#8 posted 09-13-2011 01:18 AM

Chipy, thanks for the suggestion, I’ll keep that in mind if I see it coming apart. I don’t move it too much but I could see this becoming an issue based on the vibrations when the motor is on.

Crank, I really like the compressor, I’m just not happy with the regulator knob failing after little use. I brought it to the service center today and he hopes to have it fixed in 2 days if he has the part, if not it may be longer. I believe the hose it came with is a 1/4”. As far as the hose to the check valve goes, I’ll be sure to keep an eye on it. I wouldn’t think this would need replacing but then again I didn’t think a regulator knob would need replacing after a few hours of use. Thank you.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Tango's profile


105 posts in 4398 days

#9 posted 09-13-2011 02:35 AM

I had this very same and was really happy with it. Sudden death sent it to the trash….and guess what…it was 1(one) YES! ONE DAY AFTER the warranty expired….

Sometimes i think they built-in a concealed timer…..

Good luck with yours!

View SCABrown's profile


18 posts in 3387 days

#10 posted 09-13-2011 05:09 AM

I’ve had the same compressor for a little over a year and a half now, it has worked fine up untill the last few weeks. Its leaking air back through the motor/compressor area. I have gave several calls to PC about the problem but I have had no luck yet.

-- Aaron

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4533 days

#11 posted 09-13-2011 05:19 AM

So far , I’ve had mine for 5 years with no issues : )
”let it run for 15 minutes to remove any condensation that built up during shipping and storage”
Instructions told me to run mine for that period of time so the compression rings would seat into the cylinder, also known as “the break-in period”. Nothing about possible moisture build up . Strange,ay ?
These oil free compressors certainly are noisy , but also very handy : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4041 days

#12 posted 09-13-2011 01:19 PM

Dusty, I think you are right. I thought that was what the breakin was for, but it doesn’t say in my manual the reason. I remember reading that somewhere though. Your reason actually makes more sense than mine as it says its “required before the compressor is put in service or when the check valve or a complete compressor pump has been replaced.”

SCABrown, do you have a service center nearby?
Also what number are you calling? I had no issue getting through to them (888) 848-5175.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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11859 posts in 4533 days

#13 posted 09-13-2011 11:17 PM

SCABrown, not positive , but I seem to remember PC having a recall for that issue.
I believe it is a check valve that you need.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View 1958's profile


20 posts in 3296 days

#14 posted 09-21-2011 05:13 AM

five years agoI bought a Porter Cable 150psi,6 gallon with a 18 ga nailer, from The Tool Place. I paid $225 which I think I over paid.I’ve always used the 18ga nailer. Have your ever used anything other than the 16ga. thinking of adding a 16ga. If you have both, which do you use the most

-- measure twice,cut once,hope for the best

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1565 posts in 4041 days

#15 posted 09-21-2011 02:20 PM

1958, I’m still pretty new to compressors and nailers. These are the first ones I’ve owned. I’ll pretty much be using the 18ga brad nailer mainly for furniture. The 16ga I have(included with compressor) is more for heavier duty holding. I was thinking of using it on the crown molding in the bathroom remodel I’m currently doing, but that crown is thin pine, so I dont know if its too much power, although it can hold 2 1/2” nails while my 18ga brad can only hold 2” 18ga brads or 1 7/8”x 7/32” thin crown staples.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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