Which compressor should I get - Oil-less or Oil?


I’m looking to get a compressor to hang up some paneling in our house with a brad nailer but I would also like to use it in the future for filling up tires and possibly some other light air tools when working on my car. At home depot they have the Porter Cable 6 gallon for $99 but that is a pancake oil-less model. Would it be wise to step up to the cylindrical 8-10 gallon models which take oil? There is a Husky at Home Depot for $149 and also a very similar one at Harbor Freight for $119. I’m tacking this project next week while I’m on vacation so unfortunately I cannot wait for an amazing deal and will need to get it locally or with fast shipping through Amazon.


I use a Bostitch 6 gal oilless(twin sister to the porter cable) and put it through the ringer. I do full home framing, roofing, trim and flooring with it and it serves me well. I frequently run 2 framing or roofing guns off it and works just fine. In my humble opinion the Porter Cable will meet your needs more than amplely. I personally would only get a large oil one if I where to set it permanently in a garage to run air wrenches and impacts.



I’m with you on this. A oil-less compressor is generally more noisy - but less maintenance and not as finicky. No need to worry about how cold (within reason) it is outside and not to worry about leveling it. But most of the small jobsite compressors are more suitable for running nail guns rather than air hogs (high cfm users) line air sanders, scalers, pneumatic chisels and some impact wrenches and ratchets. BTW I have an old Emglo which has given spectacular service.

If the use is really going to morph into a compressor for a home automotive shop - then you might want to look at the CFM requirements of you prospective tools. You probably can still get away with a small compressor - using short bursts of tool use - with the compressor cycling on frequently - but down the road you may need to upgrade. Meanwhile you will have had the use of the smaller more portable and affordable machine.


It used to be the oil-less models were noisy, but now there are a number of quiet ones available, so I would go with a small quiet oil-less option for light weight and portability and reconsider the need for air hungry air tools on the car. I have a 20 gal compressor in the garage, but most times I reach for hand tools or a cordless tool it if just spinning a nut/bolt. I think it’s been over a year since I’ve turned on the compressor.