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docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 8:42 a.m.

I'm about to buy a Bendpak 4 post lift and a bendpak bridge jack.  Both the lift and the bridge jack need an air source, the lift to run the air locks, the bridge jack to go up/down. 

The lift locks don't take much air, but the bridge jack does.  A search on garage journal shows that guys are getting it done with 20-30 gallon tanks and 4hp compressors.

When I look tho, I can't seem to find any compressors with motors in the 4-5hp range.  Most of them have a 2hp motor, or even less, even the ones with a 50-60 gallon tank.

So, are there compressors out there (that don't cost thousands) that have a 4-5hp motor and have a 30 gallon tank?  If not, what should I get instead?


rslifkin SuperDork
3/27/18 9:04 a.m.

Does the jack list a CFM requirement?  If you're looking at 120V compressors, you'll be limited to about a 30 gallon tank and 2 hp or less (so about 5 - 6 SCFM at 90 PSI).  If you go to a 240V compressor, you can find ones with a bigger motor that'll put out 10 - 15 SCFM at 90 PSI and will often be in the 60 - 80 gallon range.  

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
3/27/18 9:04 a.m.

While they do exist, single-phase motors over 1.5 to 2 HP are rare, and not very good.  So that is probably responsible for what you're seeing in the marketplace.  Any motor over 3/4 HP, and certainly anything over 1 HP, deserves to be three-phase.  It's just a better, more efficient motor.  And did I mention cheaper?

But assuming you don't have access to 3-phase, I'd get this one:



Single phase, but you'll need a 230-volt supply.  And you WANT a 230-volt supply, because a single-phase, 115 volt motor requires about 15 amps per HP, vs. "only" 7 amps for the 230-volt.


docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 9:17 a.m.

Forgot to mention that I'd like it to be 110V, I really don't want to have to pay an electrician to come out and wire 220-240V into my garage. 

Not sure of the CFM it needs, I just looked it up and there's no mention.  That ingersoll-rand is a nice piece of equipment, but far more than I want to spend and way more than I need.  A hobby-ist compressor should be able to get it the job done.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
3/27/18 9:27 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Yeah, the 115 requirement will limit you to 1.5 to 2 HP, and a 30-amp circuit.  Or 1 to 1.5 HP and hope a 15-amp circuit will run it.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
3/27/18 9:28 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

You will NOT get a 4-5 HP electric motor on 110V.

I bought this 20 Gallon 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI Porter Cable from Tractor Supply last fall, to replace my ancient similarly sized worn out Speedaire.  I've been pleased so far. 

It's fairly regularly on sale for ~$300, was when I bought it, and had been for at least 2 months before I finally pulled the trigger.  They have a similarly specced 30 gallon vertical tank version, if that's more suitable to your needs, that costs a little more.

docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 9:33 a.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82 :

That Porter Cable looks good!  I hear you guys on the 110V limiting the power.  I have a dedicated circuit run for my lift, I can Y off of it for the compressor, but its 110V as well.

rslifkin SuperDork
3/27/18 9:36 a.m.

If the jack just needs a lot of air in shorter bursts and not continuous air supply, look at something like the compressor bigdaddylee linked or a 30 gallon version of something similar.  You can always add more tank capacity for a bigger burst of available air at the expense of longer recharge times.  

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
3/27/18 9:38 a.m.
docwyte said:  That ingersoll-rand is a nice piece of equipment, but far more than I want to spend and way more than I need.  A hobby-ist compressor should be able to get it the job done.

I hear ya!  I was hoping to live vicariously through you!

I had my eye on the I-R, but the wifey wasn't sold.  I ended up with the "Husky Pro" from the big box.  I just ran out and looked at it for the particulars:  60-gallon, 2.3 HP, 230-volt, single-phase, 10.2 SCFM @ 90 psi.  As big as that sounds, a DA sander will run the tank empty in minutes.  I was lucky enough to have the builder wire the garage for 230-volt.  It's been years since I bought it, but I think the compressor was right around 400 bucks.

docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 10:28 a.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

Yeah, but jack only needs air when it's lifting, so I think I'll get the 30 gallon version of what was linked....

rslifkin SuperDork
3/27/18 10:42 a.m.
docwyte said:

In reply to rslifkin :

Yeah, but jack only needs air when it's lifting, so I think I'll get the 30 gallon version of what was linked....

That's probably a good bet (and the same compressor I'll likely be buying some time in the near future).  And if it turns out that you empty the tank before you've lifted it far enough, you can just add another tank for a bigger / longer burst of air before needing to stop and re-charge.  

docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 11:03 a.m.

Next question.  I need to add in a distribution  block and regulator.  Two lines need to go to the lift and I want another line free for air tools, filling tires, etc.

how can I accomplish that?

egnorant SuperDork
3/27/18 11:34 a.m.

Your lifts require a set amount of air to do a job. That is a tank size and pressure formula. A larger compressor will run for a shorter amount of time to recharge the tank so you just choose how long you want to hear the compressor run.

I would run a single line to the lift and split it there to power the lift and block jack. Are you going to be running both at the same time?  I started with a compressor with a single disconnect, added a few valves and Ts when I hooked up my tire machine. Plumbed in a 3rd line with a regulator to head over to where I run the paint stuff. Got a bigger compressor (bigger tank too) when I added a sand blaster. I have room so I kept the first compressor plumbed in for volume but set the low pressure switch so it rarely runs, but is still available should I sling a belt or something on my primary.

I built my air system to meet my needs. I wish I could have just thrown down for the well planned system from day one, but I am just cheap or poor or something. In 5 years I went from only having a jump box compressor (jump start stuff was dead) to a 20 gallon roll around to my very flexible system I use now.

My old 20 gallon blew up and now it is plumbed in on the other side of the shop and Is extra capacity most of the time or I can haul it out to the field to pump a tire if needed. I even have a little 110 portable that sits where the pump was on the 20 gallon that I can just chuck in the trunk if needed.

I added 2 retractable reels along the way and even upgraded my 12 volt compressor as sometimes it is just the ticket!


Make a good plan! You may not get everything at once, but that is the beauty of building a system. I bet my 12 volt will operate the lift...eventually.



3/27/18 11:55 a.m.

Small compressors are no joy.  They're usually direct-drive, and they're so noisy.  But at least the tank is small and they run all the time.

Get the biggest one you can fit, and make sure it's a belt drive.  Much quieter and lasts much longer.  Here's mine:

I bought it used off Craigslist a few years ago, and it's been awesome.  It's a 60 gal unit, that is labeled as 5 hp.  You'll find the compressor manufacturers lie about hp numbers.  It's really more like 1-1/2 hp, if you look at motor ratings.  I put a new head gasket on it, and had to replace the pump hose, but otherwise it's a work-horse.

I know running 220 is a hassle, but that is also worth it.  Opens up a lot of options for welders and plasma cutters.  I even have a phase converter and use that to run a 220 3 phase milling machine.

You'll need to put together a simple manifold for air lines.  I use industrial hose and push-tee fittings, though you can make one up from brass fittings at Ace Hardware.  Just don't use pvc!  It'll explode.

Don't you have an existing lift?  What are you doing with it?

docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 12:26 p.m.

I needed a lift that lifted higher, so I sold my current one and will be ordering a Bendpak HD7-W. 

The lift and the bridge jack don't require air at the same time.  Once the locks are set, air won't be needed for the lift, then I'll be using it for the jack. 

Bigger tanks are definitely better, just not sure I have room in my garage for a 60 gallon setup...

codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/27/18 5:01 p.m.

I have the Bendpak HD7 (non-wide).  The safety latches don't require any air flow, just 80-ish psi of pressure (the pressure retracts the latches, then it blows off when you release the valve).  The bridge jacks (I have two) do require some flow, but not all that much.  They run just fine off my 30 gallon 110v Craftsman compressor (rated at 2hp and 6-ish CFM at 90 psi nominal).  If the tank is full I can run them both up all the way without it even turning the compressor back on.

I don't necessarily recommend this compressor, but that's because of the noise rather than the capabilities.  I've been pondering one of the 2hp California Air Tools compressors (http://www.californiaairtools.com/ultra-quiet-series-of-air-compressors/2-0-hp-air-compressors/cat-10020c-22060/), but haven't pulled the trigger yet.  They come in both 110 and 220 versions, and are supposed to be really quiet.  Specs aren't quite at the level of my Craftsman, though.

The Craftsman in question is lurking in the corner in this shot:

docwyte SuperDork
3/27/18 5:15 p.m.

Direct experience!  Awesome!  Ok, well that certainly opens up the field then. 

rslifkin SuperDork
3/27/18 7:38 p.m.

The California Air Tools stuff is said to be good (and very quiet), but it's $$$.  A good compromise is an oiled compressor instead of an oil-free one.  The oiled ones are usually only slightly more $$$ but a good bit quieter. 

tuna55 MegaDork
3/27/18 7:49 p.m.

I hemmed and hawed but eventually added 220V to my garage... twice. It really isn't very hard.

Vigo UltimaDork
3/27/18 9:30 p.m.

1hp = ~750 watts (not accounting for efficiency/losses).  5hp is ~3750 watts. Watts is amps X volts.  So, 3750w divided by 110v is 35 amps, which is higher than pretty much any 'normal' 110v house circuit. Plus, motors take more current to start than to stay running, so a 5hp 110v motor would pull way over 35 amps while starting. 

I also recommend going 220. It's really not much different than running a 110v circuit and you will never regret the time/money invested to do it. 

Trolley jocks do have pretty big cylinders but their total volume is still only a few gallons and you only air them UP (dont need air to go down) once in a great while (in compressor duty cycle terms).  Pretty much any 20+gal compressor will do this job easily. Still recommend 220.. room to grow. laugh

Kreb GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/27/18 9:37 p.m.

If you only have one circuit going to your garage, you probably want more circuits anyway. If you have multiple circuits, converting one from 110 to 220 is no big deal as long as you have room for the circuit breaker. Basically you just wrap black tape over the neutral wire and turn it into a hot. Voila! 

WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/27/18 11:36 p.m.

As for plumbing, there's a few of us here that have used the rapidair system.  I'm really happy with how great it's been.  Pair that with Milton V-type connectors and you're good to go. 

SkinnyG SuperDork
3/27/18 11:46 p.m.

Yes - Milton V!  They turn a blow-nozzle into a two-handed affair.

That..... sounds a bit dirty. I didn't mean it that way.

mlwebb New Reader
3/28/18 2:51 a.m.

Anything large and belt driven and you will be happy. Direct drives are annoyingly loud. 

Run 30-40 ft of black pipe around the top of the wall with a couple drops will do a lot to dry  and clean up the air (before filtering). 

docwyte SuperDork
3/28/18 9:05 a.m.

In reply to mlwebb :

Have I mentioned that my garage is a 3 car side loader with 14' ceilings?  Not so easy to run plumbing up there!

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