Northern Tool Air Compressor Single Stage Overview

Northern Tool Air Compressor

Hey today I want to talk a little bit about an air compressor I just purchased

from Northern Tool I had an old Russia wasn’t that old had a Dewalt air

compressor which I’d used for filling up tires and running some tools and things

and he gave up the ghost after less than a dozen he uses not very impressed with

it I bought it that Lowe’s but I went onto amazon.com you know years after the

fact to see what people were saying about it it’s pretty much hate disgust

the whole way around everybody else is having problems with it too anyway at

this point in my life were taught to buy some quality tools that I can pretty

much plan on lasting a long time and being there when I need them so I

figured it was something like a single-stage oil-based air compressor


you know and the under five hundred dollar range and I’ve done some looking

around and seen like this northern tool north starting it was probably pretty

much the best bang for the buck out there essentially what it is it’s a puma

PU ma as a manufacturer that’s put the North Star label on it and what I can see it’s pretty much

equivalent to this PU mapk 502 of VP it put a different paint job want you to

have the Northern Soul from I can see in any case 499-500 dollar list price the

header on sale for 450 and all you have to do is go out onto the Google and

search type in that Northern Tool coupon code and pretty much all the time they

have a coupon code you can enter and get $50 off of any purchase $250 or more so

I got the price down to $400 and of course there’s no sales tax and includes

free freight shipping right to the house so you can’t beat that

alright let’s talk a little bit about the logistics of receiving it hey first

thing I want to show you here is the actual shipping container that this air

compressor comes in as you can see it’s the Northstar 20 gallon electric and

vertical air compressor part item number two five six five three anyway does come

packed horizontally just like you see it and the dimensions on the box just in

case you want know if it fits in your car your van is 45 inches long by 24 inches wide

by 18 inches tall and weighs right around 200 pounds so it’s definitely not

a one-man lift you have basically two choices you can have it delivered to the

local store for free and you can pick it up there and of course my case closed

the stores in Virginia an hour and a half each way so that wasn’t very

practical but they also offer free shipping on this via Freight which is a

pretty nice deal and the guy came with an 18-wheeler and they had to pull into

the cul-de-sac and I have a small subcompact tractor with a front end

loader I just basically put that guy right on the back of his truck and we

put it into the bucket and use a strap and strapped it in away we go if you

don’t have way to get it off the truck they offer a lift gate service to think

you have to pay out an extra 80-90 dollars fourth time when you order this

I imagine you could also if you have am like my 4×4 sits pretty high I could

have probably backed that up to his 18-wheeler and just off of it it slid

right into my pickup bed with the help of somebody else I imagine it probably

depends on the driver and you probably could really can’t count on them to help

you unload it my picker case a guy was very nice but he’s an older gentleman so

didn’t want to have to see him try to lift any heavy amount of weight okay

let’s take a look at the actual machine okay here’s the actual machine sitting

in my shed as you can see it’s pretty attractive if you went this guy’s has a

really nice designer garage with top-of-the-line equipment you shouldn’t

be embarrassed out of this thing there looks pretty good it actually sits 44

inches high from the floor to the top of that red safety cage in the back and

it’s 21 and a half inches across that red safety case just give you an idea as


we mentioned earlier it’s about 200 pounds now when you take it out of the

box there’s very little assembly required essentially all you have to do

is put those two wheels on the bottom and then attach the handle and then also

the two air filters only to sniff separate cylinders so it’s pretty quick and you

also have to put oil into it we’ll talk about that a little bit later here let’s

take a look at this a little bit closer up the finish is kind of interesting I

guess it’s a crinkle kind of finish it’s not a smooth glossy finish

so it’s pretty attractive I guess if you’re in a dusty environment this

crinkle finish is probably going to attract and hold the dust a little bit

more so that’s a one thing to consider one thing I really liked about this unit

is it comes with two flat free tires if you ever dealt with a lot of small

equipment like I have these small utility tires wheels ten inches they

typically don’t hold air very well you’re always either replacing the tires

are putting inner tubes in them or replacing the inner tubes and or filling

them up so this is definitely a nice nice thing to have as I mentioned a

little bit earlier the handle does not come installed it’s no big deal

basically they just slide into these two channels and has a couple bolts to hold

it in place it takes about a minute to put it in there another thing you have

to install are these two canisters which hold your air cleaners one for each of

the pump cylinders and it’s just screws in these are the threaded portion looks

to be aluminum the big thing you have to do when you get this is put oil into the

pump and you can do that we’re just taking this yellow cap off here this is

where the oil goes in there’s a big warning label that comes on here not to

start the pump up before you put the oil into it and then you have a sight glass

down here and essentially the instructions tell you that you want the

oil to be within that red circle and I put mine just to the top of the circle

now you want to use SAE 30 non detergent compressor oil my understanding is you

do not want to use the SAE 30 motor oil and it does not come with any oil

whatsoever which is kind of surprising so I went down to lows this is really the only

place I could find any air compressor oil this is less than five dollars for

16 fluid ounce bottle now the specs say this thing takes a lot 17 points

something ounces but I have just a little bit left after I filled it to

just about the top of that red circle you know a lot of people are anxious

they want to put synthetic in there because they just love to use synthetic

ins going to make the things last longer the instructions are pretty explicit

about that they say they want you to run standard non synthetic oil for 50 hours of use of

course I’m fifty hours they must mean the time that this actual motor

compressor unit is running so this takes about three and a half four minutes to

fill the tank up to pressure from empty so say four minutes it’s going to take

quite a few days depending on usage to give us through 50 hours of usage for me

it’s probably two years or so anyway don’t get over anxious to fill this

thing with synthetic oil at least according to the manufacturer and one

would assume they know best one more thing I forgot to mention as far as the

setup you know after you install your obligatory parts the wheels the air

filters and handles and put the oil in it there’s also a break-in process that

you need to follow up to break the pump in and what they want you to do is open

up that drain valve on the bottom of the tank that we showed you earlier and also

in the end of your air hose just disconnect whatever device you have so

you have air flowing you know out freely and then run the pump for thirty minutes

just to break it in so there’s not building it from the tank now what I do

is I just turn it on when in the house and set the timer for thirty minutes and

came back out and turned it off then once that’s done you can close your

valves up and it’s ready to use just look at this on the back you can see

there’s a safety cage around the flyable which is mounted onto the air pump which

runs over to the motor you look at your fingers in there and lose one or jamb

tool in there and break something one thing you probably notice is a lot of

complaints as he’s Duke seem to come with even bent but they’re not touching

that pulley this should be alright it goes with a nice heavy power wire

although even this thick of this wire is specifications on the jacket say it’s

just a 14 gauge wire also comes with the regulator built in so you can regulate

the pressure from your tank out to your tool as an AC switch here so you can

turn it off and then down here is the pressure on your tank and I’m pretty

impressed with this it’s been sitting at 125 pounds of pressure PSI for about

three days now and doesn’t seem to have lost anything I’ve got the regular set

down to zero so there’s very little to no leak on this whatsoever

the circuit breaker for the motor is over here according to the specs this

will draw a peak or a maximum of 15 amps during startup apparently has some sort

of valve technologies so that will reduce the startup load

so I imagine that when it first starts up the air is probably venting to the

environment instead of being pushed right into the tank that way the

muttering come up speed and then I imagine this valve flips over and the

air starts pumping into the tank itself that’s a nice little feature which

during cold weather should make it easier to start and not draw too many

amps and pull your circuit breaker each cylinder has its own air cleaner

and the air cleaner cancer just is fastened with this wing nut you can pop

that off and there’s a replaceable cartridge air filter I saw that northern

was offering a starter kit which basically gave you two of those filters

on a quart of synthetic oil for about seventy dollars it seems a little bit

steep however they supposedly extended the warranty of this machine by another

year there was some small turn on that if you bought that starter kit at the

time of purchase I don’t know if that’s worth it for me and as far as a warranty

if this is going to be used for personal residential use they offer very nice

four year warranty I believe is if it’s a commercial user going to be in a

professional shop it’s going to be a two-year warranty and I just note that the air compressor

does already come with a quick release fitting on here it says need to go out

and have to buy that extra of course it does not come with any air hoses that’s up to you

and down here we can see there’s the drain plug to drain the oil out of the pump

I haven’t read up yet I’m not really sure what the frequency is they

recommend the oil changes are here’s what’s really nice about this unit, is

it can run on either 115 or to be rewired for 230 volts in the case this

on the motor tag here and of course if you’re running at 115 volts should be

pulling 15 amps max or 230 pulling half of that 7.5 amps so that’s a nice little

feature to have then way down here at the bottom is our mandatory tank drain

valve and you’re going to want to drain this periodically some people say

everyday to get the moisture out of there otherwise you’re going to get some

rust again inside the tank and it’s inevitably you could have a tank rupture

which probably wouldn’t be a pleasant thing to be around if it had a lot of

pressure in there the interesting thing to note here is that these output air

lines coming from the two cylinders the one cylinder daisy change to the second

cylinder and then this goes down and goes into the tank anyway you’ll notice

that the copper pipe is finned and that’s to allow more surface area so it

will cool the pipe down before the air gets into the tank of course as this

pump uses energy to compress the air it’s going to energy is going to turn

into heat and then if the heat goes into the tank and cools off in the tank it’s


going to be a lot of condensation so I guess the theory here is that you cooled

the air before it makes it back to the tank and you have a lot less

condensation in your tank one of the great things about these single stage

oil based F pumps is that they’re not quire than those little inexpensive ones

that you typically pick up from Lowe’s for two dollar they use a small motor with

probably a diaphragm pump and just probably what the sounds like when the

world’s going to come – then listen hellaciously nasty sounding and noisy

and sounds like your brain is rotted on they finally do stop this is quite a bit

quieter yeah it’s not super quiet some people might exaggerate how quiet it is

but we’ll go ahead and let the sink run it’s kinda hard to tell in a video but

just give you an idea it’s got about a hundred 25 psi in there

right now it’s not the drains down there sure what the cut-in is

let’s round a hundred that psi to cut in and that cutoff at about 130 psi but you

can see it’s quite a bit less offensive one that is so-called oilless diaphragm

based air compressors overall I am pretty pleased with it and pleased with

the price pleased with the appearance pleased with the performance very happy

having a four year warranty very happy with having the free freight delivery to

the house and so far so good very possible that I’ll do a new video to let

you know hey before we jump off when we take a few minutes here to take a look

at some of the competition for this unit I just purchased if you go back to the

Northern Tool site for this category of air compressor the to deny and CFM’s

will see the number one seller is the one I purchased here the number two

seller is a Ingersoll Rand garage made it’s taking a quick look at the – it

looks almost like the North Star is a clone of the Ingersoll ran of course the

North Star is manufactured by a puma these specifications are very similar

they’re both 20 gallons – horsepower the North has a little bit better CFM 5.5

versus 5.2 on the ingersoll ran and the other big difference is the price

ingersoll-rand going for about $100 more we then take a closer look a few things

I didn’t like about – here Ingersoll Rand compared to the North Star for one

is it says the tires on this are pneumatic which means it gets to put air

in them which means that they’re susceptible to leaking there and going

flat at this point I am pretty much fed up with always having five tires every

time I want to use a tool the North Star comes with flat free tires which is a

big plus in in my book another thing that took away from the ingersoll-rand

unit is they’re only offering a 12 month warranty on both the parts and the labor

where we’re getting a four year with the North Star so that’s a big difference a

big bonus for me there as well and the third issue was rather small but

nonetheless important if we look at the key specs it seems that the max amps draw on the

ingress all ran in 16 versus the 15 on the North Star and it seems like having

15 is just one less possibility I’m going to blow a circuit breaker and

being outside if I blow a breaker I’m going to run into the house and run down

to the basement to reset that so given those three things actually four things

continue to price I just really thought the North Star was a better fit now

finally if you’re reading my explanation you’re probably also a fan slash

customer of Harbor Freight so let’s take a look and see what it is they have to

offer their unit is very similar with one key exception the tank is twenty

nine gallons versus twenty on the other two they’re both there all three

offering two horsepower motors 150 psi capacity and all three have cast iron

sleeves on the air pumps we see that the Harbor Freight is just a little bit less

expensive three hundred sixty dollars forty dollars not much of a difference

there but really the key item here for me was this warranty the warranty

offered by Harbor Freight is a mere 90 days you know versus that for year again

on the North Star and given the reputation of these chinese-made

products you know sold by Harbor Freight and the complexity of this air

compressor with all the moving parts the pump cylinders the electric motor I’m

not really comfortable with you know going with a 90 day warranty just to

save $40 so it really seems that all things being equal that the North sir

really is the best bang for my dollar.


Source : Northern Tool NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor Overview

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