Central Pneumatic Air Compressor is a familar brand for anybody who's been doing their research for a new compressor or replacement parts. Whether this is your first air compressor or not, it's critical to have a good understanding of all the available brands, as well as their compatible accessories.
Aside from the quality of machines produced by Central Pneumatic, they also offer a solid range of air compressor parts and accessories. When it comes to finding compatible accessories for your new compressor, the more parts a company offers the less guesswork on your part. If you're looking for a high-quality air compressor known for performance and reliablility, then Central Pneumatic is a brand that should definitely be on your short-list.
About the Company
In the early 1980s Harbor Freight Tools introduced the Central Pneumatic brand. They had one simple goal: Create a line of air compressors, accessories, and tools that would meet the quality of leading brands like Makita and DeWalt, but offer them at prices that would be more competitive and within reach of both home DIY enthusiasts and construction professionals.
More than 30 years later, the company has definitely met their initial goals, and in doing so, they have become a trusted name in air compressor technology.
Central Pneumatic offers a range of different devices, including pancake compressors, large portable upright compressors, and automotive compressors in the familiar long barrel shape. Along with their main units, they also provide high-quality air tools which are used by both professionals and homeowners who are looking to find a great performing tool at a competitive price.
Before we dive into Central Pneumatic and what they have to offer, let's take a look at the different types of compressors available on the market today.
Types of Air Compressors
There are three basic types of air compressors: Reciprocating, rotary screw, and rotary centrifugal. Each type has it's own set of specifications including the number of compression stages, cooling method, drive method, lubrication, and whether they are packaged or custom built.
In addition, air compressors are available in either oil or oil-less designs. Central Pneumatic tends to target smaller workshops, the DIY market, and the automotive repair market. They offer at least one model that's gas powered, and their largest tank size is 60-gallons.
Top 2 Central Pneumatic Air Compressor Models
Let's take a look at two of Central Pneumatic's most popular air compressor models. If you'd like more information on these and some of the companies other popular models you can read our article: 5 Best Central Pneumatic Air Compressors List.
Central Pneumatic 2 HP 125 PSI Air Compressor
As a general rule, if you're looking for a large air compressor with a tank capacity of over 6-gallons, you're jumping into a fairly high price range. But that's not the case with the Central Pneumatic 2-hp Portable Air Compressor.
This air compressor is made with a strong iron tank, and is easy to transport with integrated wheels and a push/pull handle. It also has the performance that can even satisfy professionals. The direct drive electric motor produces 2-horsepower and can move 4.5 CFM of air at 90 PSI, or 5.5 CFM @ 40 PSI.
The unit exceeds reasonable expectations, receives strong customer reviews, and can compete with air compressors from leading manufacturers in the $200-$300 price range.
Central Pneumatic 2-hp Portable Air Compressor
The 8-gallon tank and 2-hp motor makes this portable air compressor a favorite for both professionals and hobbyist. At 88db at 1-meter, it is realitively quiet for a air compressor at this price.
Central Pneumatic 1/3-HP Oil-Free Hotdog Air Compressor
If you're not after high power and large storage capacity, then you might be interested in an affordable low power compressor with a smaller tank. This 1/3-hp hotdog air compressor delivers 100 PSI and has a 3-gallon tank, and can deliver up to 1 CFM @ 40 PSI, or 0.6 CFM @ 90 PSI.
Although this air compressor is on the lower end of the scale, it still has plenty of power for inflating, air cleaning, and hobby airbrushing. It even works great for a light-duty nailer or stapler for DIY projects or hobby work.
Despite it's low price point, this hotdog air compressor from Central Pneumatic compares nicely to smaller units from Porter Cable and other similar brands.
Central Pneumatic 1/3-hp Oil-Free Hotdog Air Compressor
Weighing in under 20-pounds, this 3-gallon oilless air compressor is portable and easy to use. It's an excellent choice for tasks such as stapling, inflating, air brushing, and brad nailing.
Central Pneumatic Air Compressor Parts & Tools
When buying a new air compressor, one of the most important things to consider is the availablity of parts and accessories. Central Pneumatic replacement parts are easy to come by thanks to a large dealer network within the United States and plenty of online retailers where the parts can be purchased.
In addition, when it comes to purchasing high-quality pneumatic tools, Central Pneumatic is a great choice. They offer competitively priced pneumatic tools that are a favorite among both consumers and professionals.
Central Pneumatic 20-Piece Start Kit
If this is your first air compressor, you'll definitely want to pick up a 20-Piece Air Compressor Starter Kit. Central Pneumatic offers the 20-piece kit to accompany any of their portable units, and it'll be a suitable accessory and spare kit for any compressor which uses 1/4-inch couplings and fittings.
The Central Pneumatic starter kit (pictured above) includes an air hose that can handle up to 130 PSI of pressure; a blow gun for cleaning; various adaptors and nozzles; and tire inflation attachments. There's also Teflon sealing tape for attachng permanent connectors, and quick connect plugs for hot-swap tools.
You can use this kit to get started with your air compressor, and because it's so affordable, you could keep another one on hand as spare Central Pneumatic air compressor parts. Click HERE to learn more.
Central Pneumatic 18 Gauge 2-in-1 Nailer/Stapler
One of Central Pneumatic's most versatile tools is their 18 Gauge 2-in-1 Nailer/Stapler.
It's lightweight and only requires 0.5 CFM of operating pressure, meaning it would be compatible even with the company's smallest compressor. It uses a standard NPT 1/4-inch connector, which allows it to also work with a range of compressors from other manufacturers. Click HERE to learn more.
Central Pneumatic 5-Piece Solid Brass Industrial Quick Coupler Set
The company also produces individual hardware pieces for their devices, including a 5-Piece Solid Brass Industrial Quick Coupler Set. In addition, they even offer individual hardware pieces for custom air compressors or repairs. Click HERE to learn more.
Central Pneumatic 145 PSI 5 HP Twin Cylinder Air Compressor Pump
The Central Pneumatic 145 PSI 5 HP Twin Cylinder Air Compressor Pump is one of the Central Pneumatic replacement parts that has been designed for use with gas powered air compressors. Click HERE to learn more.
Even for some parts not directly offered from the manufacturer, it'll be possible to purchase OEM spares. Such as this NYKKOLA Air Compressor Pressure Switch Control Valve. It's identical to the air compressor pressure switch used by Harbor Freight on a number of past and current Central Pneumatic models. Click HERE to learn more.
If you're performing repairs on a custom gas unit, or even one from another manufacturer, then you'll often find that you can find high-quality generic parts from Central Pneumatic, at prices that are below what you might expect to pay for direct replacements from an orginial manufacturer.
Parts from one Central Pneumatic air compressor can often be used with other compressor models in this brand. Other more common replacement parts that can be easily found for these air compressors include: Pressure switches, guages, regulators, PRV's, and check valves. Many of these parts are also similar to the parts used on other brands of air compressors.
Maintenance and Repair
Whether you want to maintain an air compressor you already own, or you want to know there are parts available for future upgrades or repairs, Central Pneumatic air compressor replacement parts are widely available and relatively affordable.
The fact that this company also produces a number of compatible nail guns, die grinders, impact wrenches, airbrushes, and other air accessories, makes them one of the best choices when it comes to a low cost, capable portable air compressor.
Despite not being as popular as some more expensive brands, and lacking the prestige of top brands like DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch, Central Pneumatic still holds a strong and relevant place in the market. Which is a testament to the effort, research, and development that Harbor Freight has put into the brand.
How to Maintain a Central Pneumatic Air Compressor
Fixing vs. Buying a New Air Compressor
No matter what brand of air compressor you own, at some point one of its components will fail. Many companies urge you to purchase costly replacement parts for the unit. However, with Central Pneumatic, you'll find that it might make more sense to purchase a new air compressor.
Since Central Pneumatic is an affordable and budget-friendly brand, you can take advantage of the situation and upgrade your air compressor without breaking the bank. Or, if you choose to make the repairs, the parts are typically easily assessable and reasonably priced.
Central Pneumatic is an excellent entry level air compressor, and if you decide you want to replace a broken unit, you may want to move to a more expensive brand. This is especially true if you use your compressor daily for bigger jobs. However, many owners prefer to stick with Central Pneumatic air compressors for their budget friendly prices and excellent reliability.
Troubleshooting Central Pneumatic Air Compressors
Even the best air compressors have problems, but in many cases you can identify and solve the issue yourself. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding how to troubleshoot your Central Pneumatic air compressor:
What if my air compressor stops building pressure?
If you find that your pancake, oil-less air compressor stops building pressure, it could be a valve issue, or a gasket has blow out. If you have an oil lubricated air compressor that won't build pressure and runs continually, it could be a bad power supply, intake valves, pressure valves, gasket failure, or bad piston seals.
Central Pneumatic won't start: What do I do?
While it might sound silly, you still need to check - if the air compressor is plugged in? Before moving on, make sure that it is plugged securely into the wall socket and it has not fallen out. Next, you want to check and see if any breakers have been tripped.
If so, you can reset the breaker and change the fuse. If none of this works, there may be another kind of electrical problem which could possibly be a pressure switch shorting out or a failed start capacitor.
Why is my air compressor bogging down while in use?
Always ensure that the air compressor is using power without an extension card and check the intake filter to make sure it is still clean. If you find that your motor begins to overheat, then it could be other problems related to the motor, or the power supply,