Some might consider a portable air compressor to be a simple tool when it is, in fact, a source of power for a wide array of power tools. Of course, a portable air compressor is a life-saver when your vehicle’s tires run out of air, but in the fields of construction, woodworking, and auto maintenance, many of their tools rely on air compressors for drilling, nailing, sanding, painting, and other applications.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at two well-known, highly rated portable air compressors – the Makita MAC700 and the Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9. Both of these units come with 2 HP motors for delivering sufficient power in the workshop. Both air compressors are lightweight, easy to use, have very few maintenance issues, and can be used for several years. We will compare the major differences between the two air compressors to help you decide which device would be better for your line of work.
Tank Capacity and Recovery Rate
The size of the tank determines how much air the unit can hold and how long you can work before it needs to re-pressurize air. Generally speaking, the bigger the tank, the longer it’ll take for the tank to recover (refill with re-pressurized air). The Makita comes with a 2.6-gallon tank, making it better for tools used intermittently.
The Ingersoll-Rand comes with a 4-gallon tank which is in the sweet-spot for a reliable portable air compressor. The larger tank size allows it to be used both for intermittently used tools and for tools that require greater pressure to operate well such as paint sprayers and nailers.
Based on each of these model’s respective tank sizes, we feel that you can get more work done with the Ingersoll-Rand. The tradeoff of a large tank is that you need to wait longer for the unit to re-pressurize air, meaning extended downtime. However, with a small 2.6-gallon tank like the Makita’s, downtimes are more frequent.
Air Pressure and Flow Rate
Even though the air pressure and flow rate – measured in CFM and PSI – is an important part of determining which air compressor will suit your workshop best, we can’t make the decision for you. A good rule to follow is finding an air compressor that delivers at least 1.5 more CFM than you need. The Makita has a maximum pressure of 130 PSI and delivers 3.8 CFM at 40 PSI and 3.3 CFM at 90 PSI.
The Ingersoll-Rand can reach up to 135 PSI, but it has a constant 4.4 CFM at 90 PSI. In general, portable air compressors with large tanks will be able to deliver greater quantities of pressurized air.
It’s up to the user to determine which model will work best for his or her power tools. Basically, you want a unit that can deliver about 1.5 CFM more than what you’ll actually need, but you don’t need overkill. We feel that the Ingersoll-Rand would be the better choice since it’s better to have much more power than not enough.
Weight and Portability
Portable air compressors might just be your main compressor if your workshop doesn’t require much, but if you plan on working at multiple sites where pressurized air is essential in completing your job, then you might want a unit that’s easy to carry. The Makita weighs in at only 52 pounds. The roll-bar handle with a rubber grip makes carrying the unit easy.
Because of the large tank, this model is understandably bulkier than other portable models on the market. Out of the box, the Ingersoll-Rand weighs around 83 pounds which isn’t too difficult to lift, but the odd-shaped handle makes it a little difficult to grip with both hands.
With greater power comes added weight, and we see it in the Ingersoll-Rand. Its twin-tank build makes it almost twice as heavy as the Makita, though we feel it’s a fair tradeoff. However, the handlebar of the Ingersoll-Rand is somewhat difficult to grip when lifting with both hands. In terms of portability and maneuverability, we prefer the Makita’s lightweight and roll-bar handle much more.
Quick Disconnect Couplers
Because of their compact size, many portable 2 HP air compressors only feature a single ¼-inch universal disconnect coupler for attaching to your power tool. This isn’t exactly a problem since most portable units don’t exactly pack tremendous amounts of power to operate more than a single power tool at any given time. The Makita is no different – it comes with a single quick disconnect coupler so you’ll need to spend a few moments detaching and reattaching the air hose between units.
The Ingersoll-Rand, on the other hand, is one of only a handful of 2 HP air compressors that comes with two disconnect couplers. The twin-tank setup along with its superior power delivery makes it able to power more than a single power tool simultaneously, though you should still consider the CFM and PSI requirements of your power tools beforehand just to ensure that they’re both being offered enough air.
Makita MAC700 vs Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9: Conclusion
The Ingersoll-Rand’s dual quick disconnect coupler design makes it stand out among the numerous 2 HP portable air compressors on the market. However, for most applications, you probably won’t even need multiple couplers to work with, especially if you’re using tools like orbital sanders or hydraulic riveters. For everything else, the two couplers will really shave minutes off of your total work time.
Between the Makita MAC700 and the Ingersoll-Rand, the clear winner is the Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9. First of all, it features a twin-tank system that has a total capacity of 4 gallons. Second, it has superior maximum performance (135 PSI and 4.4 CFM at 90 PSI). Next, even though it’s not the lightest unit available on the market, it’s still rather lightweight.
However, the odd-shaped handle makes it a somewhat difficult to carry using both hands (which you’ll need to lift this 83-pound unit). Finally, it comes with two quick disconnect couplers, letting users operate two power tools simultaneously. There’s very little downside when you purchase the Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9.
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