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Old 08-10-2021, 06:50 PM   #1
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California Air Tools

I am now officially fed up with trying to find air at service stations so found myself shopping for air compressors. I need a unit that'll go to 120psi, need something quiet so I don't have wife and neighbors yelling at me. I have room to store it, and ready access to AC power, so I didn't need DC capability. Also I didn't want to spend more than $200.

I came across the California Air Tools 1 gallon compressor on Amazon and figured I would give it a whirl.

I wouldn't call it super portable, it takes up a bit more than one cubic foot of space, and is a little heavy (although not awkward to carry due to a well placed handle). I keep it in a forward compartment close to an AC outlet, and bought enough hose to go all the way around the rig (the unit does not come with hose or accessories). It does feel very sturdy and well made.

It runs really quiet, wife can't hear it at all in the rig and I can just barely hear it on the other side of the rig.

It has a governor, which kicks in at about 85psi and shuts off at 120psi. Since the reservoir only holds a gallon, you want to catch the compressor on the way up. So, when airing up my front tires, I bleed off enough air to get the governor to kick in, wait till it gets to 115psi, then start pumping real quick, and hold it there until it cuts off. I can't quite get 120 in my front tires, which is fine, I'm shooting for 115 anyway. Same procedure for my rear tires, gotta catch the governor on the way up.

The other morning I found myself 3 psi low due to a change in the weather. Only took a few minutes to air up before I took off for the day. Although the rears call for less pressure (95psi vs 115 for the front) it took about the same amount of time on either one. I shudder to think how much time it would take to put 10psi in either set -- it's not a high flow unit -- but to top it off with 3 or 4 psi it takes a reasonable amount of time, once you figure out the governor, and beats pulling off the freeway three or four times looking for a station that has air.

I would say this compressor would be good if
- You don't want to spend a lot of money
- Like to top off your tires frequently
- Must have a quiet unit
- Don't need more than 115 psi

It would not work if
- You need 120 psi (or more)
- Need D/C power (and don't want to use your inverter)
- Need a light, portable unit
- Need a high-flow solution

I could have bought a pancake compressor (such as the Porter-Cable 6gal unit) for about the same money, and rather suspect it would have been a better investment if I needed more capacity. The California Air Tools device is enough for me, and I really dig the quiet.

So, there's an option for ya.
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Old 08-10-2021, 08:35 PM   #2
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I bought the same unit last year. Whisper quiet and it works - don't let the "California" moniker on the brand prejudice your buying decision.. (lol)
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Old 08-10-2021, 09:09 PM   #3
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don't know what it cost but a few weeks ago the guy in the space next to ours needed to air a tire on his FW. he bought this. v-e-r-y quiet

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Old 08-10-2021, 09:16 PM   #4
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I picked up one of these for the house a few months ago. Super fast and quiet.
https://www.harborfreight.com/2-gall...sor-64596.html
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Old 08-10-2021, 09:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77Ti_o_ga View Post
don't let the "California" moniker on the brand prejudice your buying decision.. (lol)
Had the same thought. Was picturing something that runs on kale.
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Old 08-11-2021, 07:19 PM   #6
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California Air Tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by TampaDave View Post
………It has a governor, which kicks in at about 85psi and shuts off at 120psi. Since the reservoir only holds a gallon, you want to catch the compressor on the way up. So, when airing up my front tires, I bleed off enough air to get the governor to kick in, wait till it gets to 115psi, then start pumping real quick, and hold it there until it cuts off. I can't quite get 120 in my front tires, which is fine, I'm shooting for 115 anyway. Same procedure for my rear tires, gotta catch the governor on the way up. ……
With a little more margin between your desired pressure and the max compressor output you wouldn’t have to tap dance with your governor like that, but I do like the quiet thing!
I needed a compressor about 8 years ago. My DS takes 110Lb front and 95Lb rear. I bought this Harbor Freight unit for $99. Has served me well these 8 years, including some pneumatic tools I use, but is a tad loud.Click image for larger version

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Old 08-15-2021, 10:15 AM   #7
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Which model did you buy? CAT has a few one gallon compressors, although only two models under $200.
Ah, same specs 1/2 hp, 1.2 SCFM @ 90 PSI. I can see why it takes some time to air those tires up, but good to know it can get the job done.
The 1 hp 2 gallon models from CAT, Makita, Fortress, Husky are all similarly quiet and put out over 2 SCFM at under $200, but add another 10 pounds, except for the Fortress Lt. Dan mentioned which is only 3 pounds heavier.
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Old 08-17-2021, 07:52 PM   #8
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I've had the "commercial" pump model little ca. Air for 4 years. Love the quiet, love the light weight. I couldn't stand bringing those pancake compressors into homes or around people. They are obnoxious.
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Old 08-19-2021, 03:23 PM   #9
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Same as Lt. Dan has, works great and is quiet. Bought on sale at HF for $139.
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