I have tested the new Senco PC0968 Air Compressor for about a month now and must say that it is a great little compressor. Compressors are of two types, diaphragm, and piston. The former is for light-duty, low output situations. A good example is a 12-volt emergency compressor you carry in the car. It takes a while to fill a tire but it sure beats sitting by the side of the road. Diaphragm compressors are also noisier than their piston cousins.
Piston compressors, like the Senco PC0968, are further subcategorized into single strange and two-stage designs. In a two-stage design, the first piston partially compresses the air and fills a second piston. This further compresses the air to the desired pressure. Multiple stages compress air faster and make it easier to dissipate the heat associated with compressing air, which can be considerable.
Senco PC0968 Air Compressor Features
The Senco PC0968 is a single-stage air compressor; meaning one piston driven by a 1 HP electric motor does the job. That is fine considering the PC0968 is a low volume machine with an output of 2.2 cubic feet per minute at 90 psi. The air compressor is designed for nail guns. These do not draw a lot of air volume and intermittently at that. The 2½-gallon storage tanks provide a buffer allowing the compressor to keep up with even a framing nailer; however, I was working alone. I do not think it would keep up with two. It could supply two, or maybe three, brad nailers in any trim situation.
- Oil-less design for less maintenance and no oil leaks
- Direct drive pump and induction motor for efficient operation
- Weighs 38 lbs., easy hand-carry use
- Twin vertical stack tanks
- Draws only 8 amps, won’t trip circuit breakers
- Cold start valve allows easy start-up in cold climates
- Includes 1/4″ quick disconnect coupler, regulator, tank and outlet pressure gauges
- CSA approved
- 1-year limited warranty
Compressors in general are loud—high on the dB meter noise-wise. The Senco PC0968 is relatively quiet but still requires ear protection with a close-up noise level of 95 dB dropping 85 dB anywhere beyond 6’ in the kitchen in the photograph. I have an aging diaphragm nail gun compressor in my garage that measures 110 dB close up dropping to 95 dB at 6-feet.
Additionally, the garage is a much bigger space without the hard surfaces of the kitchen. This is to say that the Senco is quiet for air compressors. I advise putting any compressor in another room or outside if you possibly can. Army artillery and power tools have taken their toll on my ears, so I sit here wearing hearing aids as I type. Do not let this happen to you; wear ear protection.
I found all of Senco’s specifications and claims for the PC0968 to be accurate but would like to single out the weight and the unloader valve for special mention. It is one of the lightest compressors I have had the pleasure to tote around; a real joy when schlepping up multiple flights of stairs or a ladder. The Senco PC0968 is of an oil-less design, which further adds to its lightweight and portability. Most piston compressors have a crankcase and the oil needs to be regularly checked and occasionally changed.
Final Thoughts on the Senco PC0968
Piston air compressors have a special valve, which brings the cylinder to ambient air pressure when the motor stops. This is because the motor would really struggle to overcome both friction and pressure in the cylinder upon startup. In fact, faulty unloader valves are a common reason compressor motors burn up and a good reason to unplug any compressor when you are not around. Senco’s unloader valve worked splendidly. I also appreciate the plastic shroud around the cylinder to prevent you from burning yourself when grabbing the tote handle.
If you need a small light nail gun compressor, the Senco PC0968 Air Compressor is an excellent choice. Expect to pay around $264 though you may find it for less at some retailers.
Senco PC0968 Air Compressor Specifications
- Current draw: 8 amps @115V
- Horsepower: 1.5 peak (1.0 HP running)
- Pump: Oil-less
- SCFM @ 90 psi: 2 SCFM
- Pump-up time: 0 – 135 psi 82 seconds
- Recovery time: 95 – 135 psi 17 seconds
- Max pressure: 135 psi
- Tank storage: 5 gallon
- Weight: 38 lbs.
- Dimensions: length 16”, height 13.5”, width 15”