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#4676475 - 02/24/18 12:43 PM HF 21 Gal Compressor
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: South Central PA
Figured I'd give you guys a quick thought about the compressor I picked up at Harbor Freight. This one. I know you're thinking "you bought a compressor at Harbor Freight, are you nuts?" Maybe, but with online coupon it was only $150 plus tax. It is also oil lubricated, which is also a plus in my book. I've never been fond of the oil free compressors. We use them at work and they perform less than stellar. Instructions on initial start-up is to put a fitting on the end and run the compressor for 30 minutes strait. After which you are to change out the oil. Now I know why they want you to do that, this is the oil after the initial 30 minutes:



Refilled with some Castrol Edge 0w30 I had laying around. Figured it would be easier running during the winter in my un-heated detached garage. I know some of you are going to say I should be using a non-detergent oil, but I've been running Castrol HD30 in my small 2 gallon compressor for years. Under heavy (and abusive I might say) use it still works to this day.

My primary use is a blow gun, and my initial impressions are it does very well. With the regulator set at around 100, pressure feels constant. It does stay running while using the blow gun, but that's to be expected. I'm sure impact use would be suitable for this unit as well. Any long-time use tool such as an air sander I probably wouldn't recommend. Long term longevity is yet to be determined, but as a budget compressor I'm impressed. Figure I'd share in-case anybody is looking for something along this line and on a budget.
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#4676503 - 02/24/18 01:00 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
BoxedFox Offline


Registered: 02/02/18
Posts: 7
Loc: NJ
I was actually looking at that exact compressor to replace my 8 gal hot dog. How loud is it compared to other compressors?

Also, that photo is nuts. At first I thought it was a picture of a glass measuring cup with a metal bottom. It almost looks like a vial of mercury with some dust in it.
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#4676509 - 02/24/18 01:12 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6176
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: Delta
Refilled with some Castrol Edge 0w30 I had laying around. Figured it would be easier running during the winter in my un-heated detached garage. I know some of you are going to say I should be using a non-detergent oil, but I've been running Castrol HD30 in my small 2 gallon compressor for years


Every oiled air compressor I own always gets the "crankcase" filled with good, clean used engine oil. I change it every couple years.
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#4676521 - 02/24/18 01:26 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: BoxedFox]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2973
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: BoxedFox
I was actually looking at that exact compressor to replace my 8 gal hot dog. How loud is it compared to other compressors?

Also, that photo is nuts. At first I thought it was a picture of a glass measuring cup with a metal bottom. It almost looks like a vial of mercury with some dust in it.


We must have the same hot dog filter because mine can wake up the dead.

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#4676536 - 02/24/18 01:47 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: BoxedFox]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: South Central PA
Originally Posted By: BoxedFox
I was actually looking at that exact compressor to replace my 8 gal hot dog. How loud is it compared to other compressors?

Also, that photo is nuts. At first I thought it was a picture of a glass measuring cup with a metal bottom. It almost looks like a vial of mercury with some dust in it.


It's probably going to be just as loud honestly. It is a little bit louder than my ancient 2 gallon Craftsman hotdog type. I will say it's quieter than the DeWalt 4.5 gal oil-less though. IMO I would go for it, but would follow break-in to the T. Most other reviews shadow the same thing.
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#4676680 - 02/24/18 03:46 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
SEMI_287 Offline


Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 1338
Loc: Up State NY
At first I thought the pic was some metallic gray paint. LOL
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#4676815 - 02/24/18 06:16 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
DeafBrad Offline


Registered: 05/10/16
Posts: 236
Loc: WA
My last compressor was a HF air compressor. I ended up running it low on oil and seized it up. 100% my fault. I don't know if the drain plug is still the same, but mine had a rubber o ring to seal it. My o ring got damaged and the oil leaked out. If yours is the same design just make sure the o ring doesn't deform and crack when tightened. Or, just replace it with a new one each time you drain the oil.
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#4677184 - 02/25/18 02:05 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
MrWaker Offline


Registered: 02/18/18
Posts: 12
Loc: United State
My first air compressor is the Central pneumatic 21 gallon air compressor from https://bestaircompressorstore.com/central-pneumatic-air-compressor-review/. To greatly growing their lifetime working ability it has an oil-based cooling system which won’t let the pump system and motor overheat. It produces 125 psi max of pressure as a great compressor.


Thanks for the discouson


Edited by MrWaker (02/25/18 02:08 AM)

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#4677314 - 02/25/18 07:50 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
HangFire Offline


Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 2506
Loc: Central Maryland
Using motor oil, or any detergent oil, in an air compressor will eventually gum up the valves.

If you shop around, ISO100 (air compressor oil) can be had for the same price per quart as any other oil.

If you have a very cold shop and need air at below freezing temperatures, you can even do synthetic non-detergent.

You can extend the change interval of any proper air compressor oil letting it sit for 24 hours, and then draining the water off of the bottom.

https://www.amazon.com/Gallon-ISO-100-Detergent-Compressor-Lubricant/dp/B072LXNYJN

https://www.amazon.com/Miles-Gear-Synthethic-Based-Grade/dp/B010V9P4EG

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#4677367 - 02/25/18 08:42 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
dlundblad Offline


Registered: 09/30/13
Posts: 10057
Loc: Indiana
I'll probably get one of these when the time comes unless I can find something older and used.

I hear nothing but good things online.
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#4678604 - 02/26/18 10:49 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
zzyzzx Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 4372
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Non detergent oil in quart containers is cheap at Walmart. I don't see it on their webpage though.

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#4679342 - 02/27/18 12:18 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: HangFire]
user52165 Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: HangFire
Using motor oil, or any detergent oil, in an air compressor will eventually gum up the valves.

If you shop around, ISO100 (air compressor oil) can be had for the same price per quart as any other oil.

If you have a very cold shop and need air at below freezing temperatures, you can even do synthetic non-detergent.

You can extend the change interval of any proper air compressor oil letting it sit for 24 hours, and then draining the water off of the bottom.

https://www.amazon.com/Gallon-ISO-100-Detergent-Compressor-Lubricant/dp/B072LXNYJN

https://www.amazon.com/Miles-Gear-Synthethic-Based-Grade/dp/B010V9P4EG


Bought my compressor from from Sears (their "Best") - made by Devilbis in 1980. Never a problem since with near daily use. Been using Mobil 1 10w-30 for about the last 30 years. Gummed up valves??

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#4679438 - 02/27/18 07:34 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
HangFire Offline


Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 2506
Loc: Central Maryland
Detergent oils + moisture can cause foaming, which gets up into the head and in the valves.

In some more humid areas, it really matters.
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#4679591 - 02/27/18 10:57 AM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 3911
Loc: Guilford, CT
I have a small Campbell Hausfeld compressor and CH actually recommends Mobil 1 5w30, not a non-detergent oil. It came with a small bottle of SAE 30 oil, not sure if it was non-detergent. It would thicken up a lot in cold weather and the compressor often would not start and trip the breaker in the winter. I drained it out after the break-in period and refilled with Mobil 1 5w30. It now has no problem starting on the coldest days.
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#4689983 - 03/09/18 08:16 PM Re: HF 21 Gal Compressor [Re: Delta]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12651
Loc: NE,Ohio
While that is a decent value option.. if you want the real "Hoss"

https://www.harborfreight.com/air-tools/...ssor-61489.html

150psi max gives more room for recovery while providing stable air flow at 90psi (or whatever your tools require)

belt driven pump.

etc etc... still a relative value at <350$ when on sale.
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