My wife saw one of these advertised in our local newspaper for sale at Kragen Autoparts. Only $99 for an oil-less 6.6 cfm (cubic feet per minute), 90 psi 4 gallon, twin tank compressor with a $20 rebate. How cool is that?
Recommend this product?
Those Chinese manufacturers sure know how to make some great kit, don't they? The almost identical Ingersoll-Rand DD2T2 compressor that costs ten times as much only puts out 4.4 cfm at 90 psi. The DeWalt D55153 2 HP that costs 3 times as much only puts out 4.5 cfm at 100 psi.
How do the Chinese do it?
They fake the numbers, that's how. It's all hot air.
But I'm jumping ahead of myself.
I thought having this compressor would be great. A few weeks later, as chance would have it, our Buick sprung a leak in its head gasket.
I'd already bought a Porter Cable air ratchet, reviewed at http://www.epinions.com/content_128634359428. I fired up the compressor. A minute or so later it shut off with a "psst" of compressed air. This is going to be great, I thought. I hooked up the air ratchet, snapped on a socket and set about removing the first bolt holding the torsion bar. Ermm, hold on, what's happening here? The compressor was running again, but the air ratchet was slowing down big time.
I wasn't happy. In fact I was downright angry because I realized now that I'd been duped, whereas before I'd only been sceptical. The ratchet's air consumption is rated 4.9 cfm at 90 psi. If the compressor puts out 6.6 cfm it should be able, easily, to keep up with the ratchet's requirement.
I called my friend, Carl, who brought over his son's ancient (I'm guessing 20 year old) oil-lubricated Campbell Hausfeld 20 gallon compressor. We fired up that old compressor and it was like night and day. The old CH had no trouble driving the air ratchet. It was also noticeably quieter than the Nikota and what noise the CH did make was produced at a more agreeable, lower frequency.
I started looking on eBay and bought my own CH, reviewed at http://www.epinions.com/content_128513576580, a few weeks later. It has no trouble powering the air ratchet, or anything that I've subsequently hooked up to it.
Carl and I took the Nikota apart to see how well it was (or rather wasn't) made. Whereas high pressure fittings are flanged to ensure a good seal, the Nikota uses doubled copper washers to create seals. Wow, this thing really is a piece of junk. The motor uses a single capacitor, whereas American motors use two. Every place we looked corners had been cut. There were so many cut corners it was positively ragged.
I'm really surprised, and angered, that Nikota is able to get away with this. They should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising, but I'll tell you here instead. I reckon this compressor puts out about half the 6.6 cfm it claims to put out. That's based on side-by-side comparison with two CH compressors and various air tools. Furthermore, there's no way that this shoddily-made piece of garbage could put out more air than the comparably-sized DeWalt and Ingersoll-Rand compressors.
You get what you pay for when you buy the Nikota. It's very cheap for what it claims to do. It's still cheap when you gauge the price against the real performance, but it's very cheaply made.
My advice is either buy a good, used air compressor, or pay more and buy a relatively inexpensive compressor from a reputable manufacturer.
Kragen refunded my money or I *would* have pursued this through the FTC.
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