Oil-less compressors are some of the most popular units available on the market. Air compressors from manufacturers like Senco and California Air Tools have even featured right here on Power Tools Ninja. These electric devices offer convenience because they’re lightweight and virtually maintenance free.
Of course when you choose a compressor you need to think about longevity and how a particular unit can meet your needs.
Oil lubricated compressors are known to last longer, be slightly more reliable, and in most cases they are quieter than oil-less units.
In this review we will take a look at the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore compressor. It’s oil-lubricated and may be just what you need for home DIY and automotive projects. Read on to find out if this is a compressor that will work for you.
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Features Quick Overview
- 2.5 HP Motor
- Big Bore Cylinder for Increased Airflow and Less Charge Cycle
- Low amp Operation
- High Quality Construction with Roll Cage
- Automotive Grade Air Filter
- Cast Iron Cylinder
- Dual Quick Connect Outlets
- 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
- Max Pressure 130 PSI, Cut-In at 100 PSI
Who Did Makita Have in Mind When Designing the Makita MAC2400?
Recently we reviewed the MAC700 compressor, which produced 3.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. The air compressor reviewed here is something of a big brother to that unit, and can produce an impressive 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI. What does this mean for the home user?
While we aren’t quite talking about industrial output levels, 4.2 CFM is significant enough that it will allow for high levels of productivity with even some of the most demanding home tools. Most home DIY tasks will be a breeze with this compressor, especially nailing and stapling. Any kind of framing, carpentry, and even roofing work can be completed quickly and efficiently using the Makita.
Professionals will be able to make use of this compressor, providing that continuous use isn’t required. Portability will be a concern for some users, and while this is technically a ‘portable’ compressor, it is on the heavy side. We will discuss the weight more in depth as we progress through the review.
The tools that you want to use will ultimately determine the usefulness of any compressor. Later in the review we will look at exactly what 4.2 CFM allows you to get done.
Here’s a nice video that will help you gain a better understanding of the compressor’s features.
Could You Run the Compressor All Day for Longer Jobs?
Most home users won’t need a continuous use compressor, and even some professionals will only make use of a compressor intermittently throughout the workday. In the case of the Makita MAC2400, the duty cycle is rated at 50%. This means that running the motor in excess of 30 minutes out of every hour is considered abuse.
Running the compressor outside of these guidelines can lead to overheating and premature component failure. Doing so will also void the warranty. This is true regardless of whether you’re performing light or heavy duty tasks, so take this into account when considering this compressor.
How Portable Is the MAC2400?
Any potential buyer needs to understand that this compressor is not a lightweight unit. In fact, it’s the heaviest portable compressor that we’ve reviewed at this time. Weighing in at 80lbs, if you’re not used to moving heavy tools then you could run into trouble with the Makita. The compressor is not mounted on wheels. A dolly would be a worthwhile accessory for those who need to move the unit around the home, a garage, or a workshop.
For those who don’t mind moving an 80lbs device for the odd job, this compressor is built with a heavy duty roll cage with a built-in carry grip. It can be run from a generator or mains power, so it’s also portable in the sense that you should be able to power it almost anywhere that you go.
What Kind of Power Source Is Required?
A standard 15 amp / 110-115 volt circuit will be enough to power this unit, so almost any circuit in your home will do, providing there are no other high drain devices running from the same circuit. At startup the compressor will draw a little over 13 amp, but may peak at up to 15 under high load.
Those in extremely cold climates will need to consider that an oil-lubricated compressor can draw higher amperage depending on weather conditions. Cold weather makes it harder for the compressor to start, and the most extreme climates could cause the compressor to trip a 15 amp breaker. This is essential information for those who plan to run the compressor from an inverter on a vehicle, or from outside. This won’t be a problem if the compressor is inside a garage or workshop.
How Does It Perform in the Real World?
You’ve learned that this compressor is intended for home DIY, automotive, and non-intensive professional use, but you probably still have questions about how it performs with the tools that you want to use.
The compressor is rated at 2.5 HP, but this doesn’t tell the full story in regards to performance. That all important CFM figure is what’s going to determine the tools you can and can’t use with the MAC2400.
Before we look at the tools, remember the limitations of this Makita unit;
- 50% Duty Cycle
- 4.2CFM @ 90 PSI / 4.8CFM @ 40 PSI
- 4.2 Gallon Tank Capacity
With such capable CFM ratings, the tank capacity is probably going to be your biggest concern. The relatively small capacity coupled with the 50% duty cycle means that if you are going to use continuous or near continuous flow tools, you will be limited in what you can achieve.
Even so, a wide range of tools can be used to complete home DIY and automotive jobs quickly and easily. Here are the kind of tools you’re going to be able to run if you choose this Makita compressor.
- Brad Nailer, Pneumatic Stapler, Framing Nailer (all between 0.3 and 2.2 CFM)
- 3/8” Impact Wrench
- ½” Impact Wrench
- Some Pneumatic Hammers and Chisels, depending on CFM requirements.
- Airbrush Tool for Painting
- Riveting Gun
- Grease Gun
- Plasma Cutter
- Tire Inflation Tool
From this list, the MAC supports an impressive number of tools. It is important to consider that for some of the more heavy duty tools like riveting guns and hammers and chisels, the use you get won’t be up to professional levels. These tools will approach the higher end of 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI, so you will run in to recharge cycles with the compressor. This can slow down productivity. The same goes for any intensive airbrushing work or continuous tire inflation.
For the most part, home and automotive users will find that this compressor more than meets their needs, providing that tools are matched to the CFM and PSI rating. Always check the requirements of your tools before choosing a compressor, and for a complete breakdown of CFM and the most common tool requirements, check out our Understanding CFM Air Compressor Output Ratings section.
Is the Tank Big Enough?
As mentioned, total tank capacity is 4.2 gallons. Makita has opted for a twin stacked design, so there are actually two mini tanks linked together behind the roll cage. Tank size will be most important when you want to use air continuously, or when you are using high drain tools like impact wrenches. Continuous airbrushing, tire inflation, and high CFM tools will all reveal the limitations of the tank capacity.
For general use, the tank size will be sufficient, and even during recharge cycles the pressure is regained within 60 seconds.
Is This a Noisy Compressor?
The MAC2400 produces 79dB while the compressor is running. Consider also that being an oil-lubricated compressor, the sound produced is not as grating in the higher frequencies. This means that even though this unit is 19 dB louder than the California Air Tools CAT 6310, the actual tone produced is more bearable, and still below conversation volume.
Are there Maintenance Requirements?
As with any compressor, you will need to bleed the air tank after use. In addition to this, oil changes should be performed when the factory supplied oil becomes visibly darker through the sight gauge. General dusting and care will prolong operating life.
The oil used depends on your climate.
SAE 10W for – 16°C TO 0°C (3.2°F – 32°F)
SAE 20W for – 1°C TO 26°C (33.8°F – 78.8°F)
SAE 30W for climates above 27°C
Is It Easy to Check Oil and Read the Gauges?
The oil indicator window (sight gauge) provides an immediate visual representation of oil color and level. The bright red dot on the window indicates the recommended oil level. All other controls and gauges are of high quality and are easily accessible. Tank and regulator gauges are large and feature prominent black/red on white dial markings.
How Many Hose Outlets Are There?
There are two standard ¼” Quick connect outlets included on the device. The fact that you can easily run two low-CFM draw tools simultaneously adds extra convenience.
Is the Unit Well Made?
Makita is known for quality. Newcomers to the brand will be impressed, while veterans will get exactly what they expect. The majority of the construction is high quality steel, with cast iron used for some of the motor components. There’s a conspicuous lack of plastic, which means that this unit should last for many years. The weight can reduce portability, but it adds stability to the unit. The air intake is also worth mentioning, because it’s an automotive grade pod filter, not the simple cloth filter that can be found on some compressors.
Be aware that some owners have reported problems fitting the filter, where some minor disassembly was required to mount the filter to the manifold, although this issue does not appear to be widespread. Before making any changes to the assembly, contact Makita who will be able to instruct you on fitting the filter.
Are There Accessories in the Box?
Air compressors of this grade don’t generally come with accessories, and the MAC2400 is no exception. All accessories that make up the unit itself are included, such as the air filter, gauges, and connectors. Upon purchase you will need to choose your own hose, any connectors for non-standard tools, and of course the pneumatic tools that you want to use with this compressor.
Some excellent accessories to pair with this unit include;
Documentation was a letdown with the previous Makita compressor we looked at, and the MAC2400 unfortunately comes with some documentation issues too. The instruction manual is lacking in detailed figures and diagrams, which can create confusion around the components mentioned in the text. This is something we hope to see Makita improve with future units.
- Quiet operation, with a mild engine note.
- The oil-lubricated motor improves durability.
- Construction and materials are some of the best in the price range.
- Metal roll cage protects the components in case the unit is bumped or dropped.
- Two hose outlets make this unit more flexible than others.
- High CFM rating.
- The weight of the unit reduces ease of portability.
- Low tank capacity means some users won’t be able to take full advantage of the high CFM rating.
- Some extension cables won’t work with this compressor.
Tips For New Users
We mentioned earlier that a dolly would be useful for those unable or unwilling to lug an 80lbs compressor around by hand. In addition, these tips will help you to get the most from your compressor.
- When using an extension cable, make sure that it is a high quality cable capable of delivering 15 amp. If the compressor becomes unresponsive after using an incompatible extension cable, hit the reset switch which is just above the oil reservoir.
- It’s always better to use an extension air hose rather than a power extension cable. Power quality can degrade over distance, which makes the compressor work harder. This in turn reduces efficiency and output.
- If you’re outside of warranty and are looking for replacement parts, eBay is an excellent resource. Some of the regulator components aren’t proprietary, so you can save money compared to buying the complete Makita assembly. Remember, if you have no experience working with an air compressor or similar machinery, have an approved technician carry out any repairs.
- Drain the compressor after every use. Storing air can damage seals and other components.
Is There a Break-In Procedure?
Breaking your new compressor in will ensure that it is functioning as intended, and it will also prevent damage during first time use. Follow these steps to break-in a Makita MAC2400.
- Fill the oil reservoir for the first time. Remove the cap from the bottle and fill the oil to the red dot on the oil sight gauge.
- Remove the transparent cap from above the oil fill, and install the included pod air filter.
- Next you will need to open the drain valve. This is at the back of the twin tanks. It is a quarter turn valve, so just move the valve until it stops.
- You can now plug the compressor in and run it for 20 minutes. Make sure that pressure is not building, and if it is, ensure you have opened the drain valve.
- After 20 minutes, close the valve and let the pressure build up to 130 PSI by monitoring the tank gauge on the front of the compressor.
- That’s it! The compressor is now broken in. If you won’t be using it yet, make sure you release the stored air by opening the drain valve and tilting the compressor towards the valve to release any moisture.
The largest online retailer has an aggregate 4.6 / 5 rating from 364 consumer reviews, while Home Depot has a 4.7 / 5 rating from over 150 reviews. This air compressor is highly recommended by consumers and professionals alike. Despite some minor shortcomings, there are few compressors in the price range that will do a better job.
We at Power Tools Ninja, after taking into consideration all features as compared to other competitors. decided to give the Mac2400 a 4.6/5 rating.
How Much Does it Cost?
The Makita MAC2400 has a list price in the $400 range, however it can be purchased new at a number of retailers and online merchants in the $300 to $400 range.
Check below for the latest price and offers.
Is the Packing Sufficient to Protect the Compressor During Shipping?
Some older consumer reviews reported sub-par packaging when they purchased online, however these issues appear to be resolved with newer units. If you order a new unit today, you can expect it to be packed in high quality cardboard, with the compressor itself protected by a significant foam surround.
The air filter is included in the package, although it requires installation. This protects the filter from damage in shipping. The oil is also included in the package separately.
Does Makita Provide Good Support?
Although we were let down by the user manual, Makita provides excellent phone support, and service times for repairs are usually within 78 hours. Makita has a strong reputation not only for high quality tools and equipment, but also for excellent customer service.
Our Makita MAC2400 Review: Final Thoughts
It’s hard not to be impressed by this compressor. The CFM rating is definitely a standout, as is the industrial grade construction quality. There are comprises to make with a smaller tank capacity, so make sure that the specs will match all of the tools that you’re thinking of using with an air compressor. Portability will also make or break the deal for some, with 80lbs being at the borderline of portable and permanent.
If you do decide that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, you will find yourself the proud owner of a high powered compressor with industry leading construction, and a brand name that represents trust and longevity.
Still on the fence about the best compressor for your needs? Check out our guides on choosing a portable air compressor for car tires, choosing an air compressor for painting, and finding the best air compressor for home use.
Also, if you want to have a look at other air compressors, check out our air compressor reviews list.
Specs (Courtesy of Makita)
- MODEL No MAC2400
- Horsepower: 2.5
- SCFM @ 40 PSIG: 4.8
- SCFM @ 90 PSIG: 4.2
- Cut-In Pressure: 100 PSI
- Cut-Out Pressure: 130 PSI
- Bore: 51 mm
- Stroke: 44 mm
- Voltage: Single Phase 120 Motor
- RPM: 1720
- Amperage @ max pressure: 12.3
- Tank Size: 4.2 Gallon
- CSA/US: Listed Yes
- Minimum Circuit Requirement: 15 AMPS
Origin: Japan and Taiwan