PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor
In the ultra portable category is this low priced 1.5 gallon Porter-Cable product that is 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI with water drain valve and rubber feet. Max PSI is 150 so with the already small tank you will have to wait considerably less for it to recover. The pump on the inside of the unit is the standard oil free version requiring little to no maintenance over the years you will have the air compressor. You won’t break your back as it’s at the 20 pound mark, with a handle making it as easy to carry as a backpack. The luxury of this particular unit is that it has accessories galore with a 25 foot coil hose and 8 piece accessory kit. You’re sure to find the piece you need when you reach that crossroads of doing a unique job.
As with many of these units the warranty is only 1 year on compressor components, so depending on your situation it’s a pretty hit or miss warranty. The customer support is still tops, and you won’t waste any unnecessary words getting to the root of a problem if one arises. Noise is a minor issue, although it isn’t too loud at 79 dBa, but it isn’t exactly quiet either. There are a multitude of tasks this air compressor can handle, but be warned it isn’t for air tools or other devices that would require a more steady burst. If using this for general inflation duties you won’t be disappointed, especially since it can fit in the trunk of any car. There are few that come with this many accessories to start you out, and even without the accessories the compressor itself isn’t half bad.
Power vs. Portability
This is a great argument for this particular unit, because its incredible portability really takes eyes away from the fact that it’s really meant more for inflation rather than work tasks. The 1.5 gallon tank was ideal in keeping it at 20 pounds, but I would’ve loved to add in extra 1.5 gallons and even it out to a full 3 gallon tank. Not only is this little bugger powerful enough to handle a 3 gallon tank, but I do believe it would thrive since in a setting where it has to inflate several objects back to back. You would even open up the option to be able to use small air tools like a brad nailer.
This is all wishing here, but there really was a good opportunity to add an extra 1.5 gallons and still keep it at about 22 pounds in total weight. As is with the 1.5 gallons you have a pretty powerful unit with a 120 low amp motor that can start in cold weather or adverse conditions. Cut in restart is at 120 PSI while running HP is .8 at a low 10 amps when at full peak. The built in regulator does really good job of managing everything and keeping it going without any hiccups, and for such a small unit it really does an efficient job. Hopefully they’ll update this model down the line with a larger tank while still keeping some of the core features of the original.
Some questions to the quality of said included accessories, it still doesn’t change the fact that you don’t have to purchase extra pieces with this product. It’s ready to go out of the box, coil hose and all. The 25 inch coil hose is a real treat, as no shortcuts were taken with the construction of it. The quality is the same as if you had walked into a Home Depot or Lowes and bought it off the shelf. The same can’t be said for the 8 piece accessory kit, which includes a horde of adapters for your abusing, but are notches below in quality to the coil hose and the air compressor itself. All of the included materials can easily be replaced with higher grade materials if you choose to go that route, but unless you’re a perfectionist the cheaply made accessories do a good enough job to be worth keeping them around. The gauges are pretty solid and won’t cause you to get angry at bad PSI miscalculations, although some caution is necessary.
Like many air compressor units that stand up this one works best when put on a flat surface so it can’t move around. The 79 dBA isn’t a major noise concern except if you’re in an environment where people are trying to relax or sleep. What I mean by this is if you’re using during a family bbq there won’t be any complaints at all. Try using it in an RV where everyone is trying to sleep inside and you’re going to get some angry stares. It’s about average when compared to other air compressors, so it’s not too big of an issue to concern yourself with.
Porter-Cable was gracious enough to include a lot of pieces with one unit to help out a lot of customers that just wanted an air compressor ‘starter kit’ rather than a project which involved buying one. You’re ready to go out of the box, and the manual is very clear and easy to understand. There are some gripes about the tank size, but for what it’s worth everyone thinks the same of any tank size that ‘a little bit bigger and it would be perfect’. You can’t go wrong with this air compressor if you’re looking for an all in one inflator, and at the very least it’ll save you the extra money on accessories.