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 awhile to fill a tire but sure beasts 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.
The Senco PC0968 is 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.
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”
Senco PC0968 Air Compressor Features:
- 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, many off 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’. 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 there 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 weight and the unloader valve for special mention. It 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.
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 for single, or at the most two, person use the Senco PC0968 Air Compressor is an excellent choice.