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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to get a compressor to use to seat tubeless mtb and road tires. What do you recommend for size, max psi, etc?

For instance, harbor freight has simple a 3 gal 100 psi max compressor for $59. Will that be sufficient? Don’t mind going bigger if that’s better. I’ve thought about getting one of those pumps with a canister, but figure a compressor will be more versatile and makes a nice addition to my “shop”, such as it is.

And what do you recommend for a head with a gauge and Presta connector? Park tools? Other?



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The Harbor freight compressor will seat a tire. But a floor pump by hand will also seat a tubeless tire.

Some tires are more stubborn than others though.

I've had great success with 2.35 Specialized tires on Roval wheels.

I've had great success with 2.8" Maxxis tires on WTB rims.
Just 2 weeks ago I installed Vittoria Air-Liner in the 2.8" tire and inflated the tire with hand hand and a floor pump and valve core installed.

If you are going by 'rumors' that you can't seat a tire with a hand pump I'd try it first. If you have bad luck, then go for the harbor freight. a nice thing about the Central Pneumatic pumps is the motors have cast iron rings. Not nylon rings that don't last as long as others (so I hear).
 

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I want to get a compressor to use to seat tubeless mtb and road tires. What do you recommend for size, max psi, etc?

For instance, harbor freight has simple a 3 gal 100 psi max compressor for $59. Will that be sufficient? Don't mind going bigger if that's better. I've thought about getting one of those pumps with a canister, but figure a compressor will be more versatile and makes a nice addition to my "shop", such as it is.

And what do you recommend for a head with a gauge and Presta connector? Park tools? Other?

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This is what I went with from Home Depot. https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/6-gallon-portable-compressor Purchased mine a few yeas ago for $99.00 currently list at $129.00 may be able to find cheaper. Have not heard people having much life span with HF power tools. You can buy the Warr. but the Warr. will not carry over to a new if you need to have it replaced you would have purchase a new Warr. for the replacement.
 

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The Harbor Freight $59 compressor will work great. Walmart might even have similar cheaper. You'll need means to connect it to your presta valves. One of those thread on adapters can work. You want to minimize restrictions to flow if you're trying to get a troublesome tire/rim to catch air. Putting a tube in for a few hours/overnight to shape a new tire often helps. I'll do that with freshly taped rims to form the tape to the rim and ensure it sticks and seals well.
 

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if you already have the batteries...

after deciding between floor pump, tank compressor, and this https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-1...on-Inflator-Deflator-Tool-Only-P731/203060297

and seeing that a lot of floor pumps are just as if not more expensive, and hearing that people don't like to "fire up the tank compressor" just to air the tires for a ride, I chose the ryobi, attached a topeak DX upgrade hose kit to it. I take it with me to the trail.
 

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^^^ kinda a different thing. It doesn't have a pressurized tank which can deliver a quick high volume blast of air to help get problematic tire/rim combos to catch air.
I bought one of those Air-Shot things a while bike and thought it would suck. But it is really easy to use and works 100% of the time. Way more expensive than it needs to be but it works great. Very easy to pump to 160 PSI with a floor pump and has never failed me.
 

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^^^ kinda a different thing. It doesn't have a pressurized tank which can deliver a quick high volume blast of air to help get problematic tire/rim combos to catch air.
good point, was not thinking the problematic tires...

but then, this is also where I got stuck too when I looked into the tank compressors: what's good, how big, what inflator do I use... etc

I found this...

https://roadbikeaction.com/shootout-air-compressor-inflators/

the problem with searching on google for an inflator review is that it hits on so many different products. then typing in "shop inflator" gives you all park tool hits...

and then I don't think there are that many brands to choose from

also found this, where there are more compressor head option beside park tools and prestaflator

https://www.treefortbikes.com/cat/1183/Air-Compressor-Head
 

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Don't think too much about this whole thing.

Just go buy any tank compressor in your budget that will compress air to 100 PSI (or more) and you will have a more than sufficient tool for the job.

a 3 gallon tank will be fine. I think I have a small 7 gallon tank I've had for 15 years. It's big enough for other small jobs like using a brad nailer. not great but it gets the job done. A 3 gallon tank won't do that, if you think you're going to use it for any home improvement stuff for airing up the car tires then get a bigger tank. Other things to consider are an oiled motor vs. oil-less. Oiless are loud and probably don't last nearly as long. At $59 pretty sure you'll be getting an oiless motor, but at that price who really cares. If you own a home and have cars I would personally double or triple your budget and get a Craftsman or similar quality 7 gallon oiled motor compressor. Change the oil every couple years or less depending on use and it will last a lifetime. And be more usable in the long run.

As far as inflating presta valves, go to your LBS and on the counter is probably a small jar full of thread on adapters that will convert it to schrader. No extra fittings or chucks needed. Leave it on all the time or take it off when you're not using it it's up to you. They cost a dollar.

as far as the adapter causing a restriction when airing up tubeless tires I think thats a complete non-issue. I've been using this method since 2005 and can't remember once ever having a problem when using a compressor and an adapter.
 

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I vote to expand the budget and get a oiled compressor 100% "Buy once, cry once".

If you are dealing with inflating tubeless I would not even bother with any of those presta valve converters. Any decent tubless valves should have a removable core. With the valve core removed you hit it with one of these and the beads will snap real quick

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Guardair-Thumbswitch-Safety-Air-Gun-with-Rubber-Nozzle-970RT/301827530

Works 100,000x better than dealing with the presta converters.

The small Makita MAC700 is incredibly quiet and is rated to run at near continuous use. Worth the extra $$ in my book.
 

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I use a cheap Sears Craftsman stepchild EVOL pankcake compressor, it works perfect. I also bought the nice Park Tools INF-2 Shop Inflator and that thing is great. I just take the valve core out and blast air easily through the stem, no need for a converter. It's expensive, but damn, every time I use the thing its hassle free.
 

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If you get a compressor listen to the posters telling you to buy right once. Otherwise don't do it and just use a floor pump type.

I bought a relatively cheap, low volume compressor years ago. It still works but is miserably loud and has a very small tank. So doing just about anything with it trips it on, and then I cringe at the noise. Its so annoyingly loud I wish the thing would just die so I could buy a larger volume, low noise, oiled motor compressor.
 

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If you get a compressor listen to the posters telling you to buy right once. Otherwise don't do it and just use a floor pump type.

I bought a relatively cheap, low volume compressor years ago. It still works but is miserably loud and has a very small tank. So doing just about anything with it trips it on, and then I cringe at the noise. Its so annoyingly loud I wish the thing would just die so I could buy a larger volume, low noise, oiled motor compressor.
I guess it depends how often you use it, I'm only seating a few tires a year so any cheap compressor would be fine for me if that what I was mostly using it for.
 

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I have had one of those Park inflators in my shopping cart at Jenson so many times but it always gets pushed out. I just need to pull the trigger!

I use a cheap Sears Craftsman stepchild EVOL pankcake compressor, it works perfect. I also bought the nice Park Tools INF-2 Shop Inflator and that thing is great. I just take the valve core out and blast air easily through the stem, no need for a converter. It's expensive, but damn, every time I use the thing its hassle free.
 

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I have had one of those Park inflators in my shopping cart at Jenson so many times but it always gets pushed out. I just need to pull the trigger!
If you swap a lot of tires its worth it! I used to use the same method that you did with the nozzle into the valve stem. With the advent of 50T cassettes paired with 203 rotors my annoyance level of fidgeting the tool along with the hose in between everything reached a peak and I just pulled the trigger on it!
 

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Silent Drone, I agree with what others said regarding getting the right compressor the first time, specifically because you mentioned "a compressor will be more versatile and makes a nice addition to my shop".

I have a 21 gallon 2.5 HP 125 PSI compressor (with oil) from Harbor Freight that I bought years ago. It's been running fine for much longer that I expected for the price/brand, and has evolved from being overkill for inflating tires, to running every pneumatic tool I can get my hands on... ratchets, grinders/cutters, impacts, saws, nailers/staplers, sand blasters, etc. All nice additions to my shop. :) Trust me... get the right compressor, and the tools will follow (build it and they will come).

Whatever you get, I recommend getting a compressor with oil. I've never had good experience with oil-less compressors. Even those that cost much more than the above mentioned compressor.
 

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^^^ Back in the day (30+ years) I had a twin cylinder oil type with enough capacity for my air tools (8cfm or something) I was using at the time. It died long ago. For the past 15 years I've been using a small cheapo oilless type in my shop. It's met my needs and is still working. I hate the noise it makes though.

Back then I also had a portable air tank I'd fill with my big compressor and bring with to events etc.. That works, but the cheapo oilless compressor is basically a self filling portable tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone for the feedback and advice. Great discussion and very helpful.

Taking it all in, I’m leaning towards getting an better quality oil compressor with a small-ish tank. Having one that’s relatively quiet and quality made is appealing. There’s just so many out there when you google “air compressor” it’s hard to discriminate. Also, I didn’t realize that for seating you can just blast the air in using a simple nozzle, skipping the presta connector. That simplifies things for me.

I won’t be seating a lot of tires but I want to have a set up that makes it easy when I do. Also I don’t have any air tools but I appreciate those who are pointing out that those might come later, which Is good advice in my case.

Anyone with a particular make/model recommendation let me know what you think. Thanks!


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Noise may be an issue as well. I have had a pancake compressor for at least a decade for construction work. Works fine, but it is so loud. Makes me cringe every time I have to turn it on. I'm looking to get a quieter one.
 
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