If you’re looking for an air compressor to use at home or on a small worksite you have probably seen a few of the oil-less units available on the market.
In fact, we’ve reviewed a few of them right here, including models from Senco, DeWalt, and California Air Tools. In our Makita MAC700 review we will be taking a look at something a little bit different. The MAC is an oil lubricated compressor aimed predominantly at home DIY use.
Does a lubricated compressor mean a superior unit, and is the additional maintenance going to be too much for you? Let’s find out as we go in depth with this Makita compressor review.
Application: Who was the MAC700 Designed For?
Sitting at the low end of the power range, and with a moderate SCFM output rating, this Makita air compressor is intended more for the home DIY, automotive, or enthusiast user who has only moderate air requirements. This is not to say that it couldn’t be used in a professional capacity, but tasks would need to be non-intensive.
A large carrying handle indicates that this is a portable compressor, however it’s important to understand that this unit weighs almost twice as much as the average portable air compressor. At almost 60 lbs. this is a hefty unit, however that weight also speaks for the quality of the components and the materials used in construction.
This relatively low powered compressor is not a toy, however it’s important to keep your expectations in line with the power output. Continuous use industrial tools are not suitable for use with this unit. Instead; nailing, stapling, moderate airbrush work, inflating, and other low airflow tasks are where the Makita excels.
As we move on through this review we will take a more in depth look to answer your questions around the tools you can use, and specific applications where the MAC would be suitable.
Is the MAC700 a Continuous Use Compressor?
The duty cycle of a compressor can indicate whether a unit suits you, even before you start looking in to other specifications. It’s important to know that Makita rates the MAC700 with a 50% duty cycle. This means that it should never be used for more than 30 minutes out of every hour.
Doing so is considered misuse and would void the manufacturer warranty. If you need to run a compressor all day for demanding tasks, the MAC700 would fall outside of your requirements.
How Portable is this Makita Compressor?
There’s no denying that this compressor is heavy. At 60 lbs. it is a hefty unit. This helps to make the unit more stable, but it also means it takes some strength to move it around your home, a worksite, or to carry it on a vehicle. Makita have included an industrial quality handle for this very reason. The handle is welded directly to the tank, and it makes moving it that little bit easier, despite the weight. If you need to move around your home a lot with this compressor it is advisable to use a cart or dolly on wheels.
How Much Power does the Compressor Require?
The compressor draws 12.4 amp at maximum pressure, so it’s possible to run it off of a normal home circuit. To prevent tripping breakers or overloading, ensure that no other heavy drain appliances are connected to the same circuit.
How Does it Perform With Common Tools?
At Power Tools Ninja we know that a collection of specs can never tell you the full picture. The true test of real world performance comes from discovering what kind of tools you can run with a compressor. The Makita does a commendable job with a number of mainstream tools, but it does have limitations.
Maximum tank pressure is limited to 130 PSI, and the SCFM outputs are 3.3 SCFM @ 90 PSI, and 3.8 SCFM @ 40 PSI. SCFM, or CFM is the most important indicator when you’re searching for a compressor. You can learn all about CFM with our CFM buyers guide here.
The MAC700 is going to run best with low air requirement tools, especially those that aren’t running continuously. Even some moderately powered tools will work, although you may wait a few seconds between use periods while you wait for the compressor to recharge (less than a minute).
Common Tools Suited to the MAC700
- Brad Nailer, Pneumatic Stapling Gun, Framing Nailer
- Smaller Impact Wrench (3/8”)
- Various Airbrush Attachments
Although the list might not appear extensive, it represents most of what home DIY users need out of a compressor. If you’re doing flooring, repairs on your roof, installing molding, cabinets, or any kind of carpentry, then the Makita is going to get the job done. At most you might have to wait a few seconds between charges for nailing tasks, but considering this is not an industrial device, it’s a small compromise to make.
Automotive airbrushing is possible with this unit, although the compressor is only suitable for detailing or sectional work. The tank capacity is too low to maintain pressure for whole body re-sprays.
Of course this compressor will also perform well for inflation. Vehicle tires, bicycle tires, and even inflatable watercraft or toys are no stretch for the MAC700.
Is the Tank Size too Limiting?
2.6 gallon does sit on the smaller side when it comes to air compressor tanks. The tank will be limiting only when it comes to continuous run tools, or when the tools you’re using are approaching maximum CFM requirements.
For example, larger staples and nails require more air, and because of this you may need more frequent recharges before shots.
Is it Noisy to Run?
For home use, a quiet compressor offers convenience. If you’re worried about sound you will be happy to hear that this compressor barely runs any louder than a dishwasher or garbage disposal.
Just a couple of feet away from the compressor the noise level is below 90db, which is well within conversation volume, although it does mean that this is the loudest compressor we have reviewed to date (by less than 8db).
Does the Pump Require Maintenance?
The oil lubricated pump features a big bore cylinder that allows it to push more air at lower RPM. This is a significant factor contributing to quiet operation.
The downside of such a pump is that it requires oil changes and a break-in procedure to ready the unit for use. Once fully up and running however, it requires only minor additional maintenance compared to an oil-free compressor.
How Easy is it to Operate the MAC?
Even if this is your first compressor, you won’t have any trouble using it. The gauges included are large and clear, so you’ll easily be able to view operating pressure. The sight oil gauge is particularly helpful. It allows you to check the oil level and color from a small window on the side of the compressor.
How Many Outlets are Included?
The MAC700 comes with a single ¼” standard quick connect. Considering the low power output of this compressor, it would not be suitable for running two tools simultaneously. The single outlet reduces pressure loss, and the quick connect couplers mean it is simple to swap hoses out.
Is the Construction ‘Makita’ Quality?
We all expect Makita tools to be some of the best on the market when it comes to construction, and this air compressor is no exception. A welded tubular handle, cast iron cylinder head, large rubber foot pads… considering everything about the unit, you might expect it to cost more than it does.
The unit is designed by Makita and then assembled in their Taiwanese facility. Quality control is obviously maintained and we have found no instances of poor construction on these units.
Since the MAC700 is built to last, with proper oil maintenance you can expect it to outlive most of the oil-less competitors.
Are there Accessories in the Box?
What you will get in the packaging is compressor oil, an intake air filter an oil cap to replace the original temporary one that the unit is fitted with and the instruction manual. You will need to supply other accessories, including the hose that you want to use with the unit.
The accessories you choose to buy depend on what you want to use it for, but there are some that we recommend so that you will get the most out of the unit.
- A high quality hose is essential. Goodyear is a brand that can be trusted to perform, and if you don’t want to move the compressor around you can opt for a 50ft hose.
- An analogue or digital tire inflator.
- A quick connector set for compatibility with a number of tools.
- An inline filter if you’re going to do any airbrushing.
What is the Quality of the Packaging and Documentation?
Units are double boxed, so don’t be discouraged when you see the Makita branding on the outside of your shipping box. On the inside of the actual product box, everything is separated by cardboard, and all of the components are separated by packing bags.
As a matter of fact, if you take a look at earlier reviews on Amazon, you can see that there were a lot of complaints about packaging, people were giving out testimonials to the fact their compressors arrived damaged due to faulty packaging. Fortunately however, Makita were quick to address that problem and now people seem to be satisfied with the overall condition that they receive their orders.
Unfortunately, the manual is not as clearly worded as it could be. Some users have found break-in steps to be confusing, especially considering some of the terminology does not match the parts list. For owners of this unit we have included our own break-in guide, however it would be nice to see an improvement from Makita on a future revision.
Despite a sub-par manual, users of the air compressor attest to the fact that Makita does have an excellent support service. Live support is available over the phone for any difficulties that you have with the product.
Service times for repairs are typically within 78 hours. Because of this, it can be easy to overlook the underwhelming documentation included in the box.
What Tips are there for New Owners?
If you’re a new owner, or are just about to purchase one of these units, these tips will help you to get the most from your compressor.
- Always follow the break in procedure and don’t ignore the 50% duty cycle.
- Although stable when stationary, keep the compressor secured if you’re moving it in a vehicle.
- Use an inline filter for moisture and oil if you’re going to be airbrushing.
- The rubber feet can mark some surfaces, so put down some cardboard, or a square of foam or carpet when using the compressor indoors.
Here’s a nice video I found on youtube that I think I will help you find answers for questions you might have about the unit. It shows all the different parts and gives useful explanations about the features.
How can Owners Perform the Break-In Procedure?
The break-in procedure is essential for efficient operation, and also for achieving long lifetime with your compressor. If you’re confused by the steps in Makita’s user manual, simply follow these instructions to break-in your MAC700.
- Oil up the Compressor – Remove any residual factory oil by opening the oil drain valve and tilting the compressor towards it. Close the valve again and remove the temporary plugs on the top-back of the compressor. You can then install the chrome air filter. The lower plug is then used to fill the oil. Remove the plastic stopper and fill with the oil included in the package, and then seal the hole with the oil filler cap included in the package.
Turn on the Compressor – Plug the compressor in to an outlet. Check that the air release valve at the bottom of the tank is open. This is a quick open valve, you will simply need to slide it a half turn to ensure that the valve is open. Once open, power on the compressor and leave it running for 20 minutes. After waiting 20 minutes, close the air valve at the bottom of the tank, and wait until pressure builds. Once it reaches 130 PSI the compressor will automatically shutoff, and the break-in is complete.
Remember to unplug and release any stored air if you don’t plan to use the compressor at this stage.
Here’s a video that will walk you through the whole process.
What are Consumers Saying About this Compressor?
There are many consumer reviews of this compressor spread across a number of leading online retailers with ratings ranging from 4.5 to 4.6 out of a total rating of 5.
Power Tools Ninja awards the MAC700 an overall 4.5 out of 5 rating.
How Much Will it Cost
Although listed in the $300 range, the Makita MAC700 can be picked up for in the $200 – $300 range, or slightly less, at the leading online retailers.
Remember to purchase from a trusted source to guarantee authentic equipment.
Our Makita MAC700 Review: Final Thoughts
Makita is a name that makes you think of hard wearing equipment. Thankfully, in the case of the MAC700 the name holds true.
Makita have put together an incredibly well built package with adequate air flow for home DIY use. Some things do let the unit down, and may make it less suitable for you. The poor manual will dissatisfy some customers, and the weight will make it impractical for others.
However, if you can look past the faults, you will find one of the best compressors available in the sub-$300 price range.
If you want to learn more about air compressor technical features and what to consider when buying, check out our air compressor buying advice.
Also, if you want to have a look at other air compressors, check out our air compressor reviews list.
Makita MAC700 Air Compressor Summary Review
|IMPORTANT FEATURES||PROS & CONS|
|-2 Horsepower Motor|
-3.3 SCFM @ 90 PSI
-Big Bore Compressor Pump
-2.6 Gallon Storage Tank
-Minor out of box Assembly Required
-Oil Lubricated Motor59 lbs. Standing Weight
-Low Noise Operation
Oiled pump ensures longer lifetime
High quality construction throughout, especially the welded handle
The unit can go from empty to 130PSI in under one minute
The rubber feet mean vibrations are minimized
Can rebuild pressure from cut in, in less than 20 seconds
-Although it’s a ‘portable’ compressor, it’s one of the heaviest on the market -It can be awkward to carry because of the size and weight, so the average person would require a handcart or dolly to assist in moving the unit
-The manual is not helpful for inexperienced users
-The 50% duty cycle is less than the 75% duty cycle of many competing oil-free compressors
- Model: MAC700
- Horsepower: 2
- SCFM @ 40 PSIG: 3.8
- SCFM @ 90 PSIG: 3.3
- Cut-In Pressure: 100 PSI
- Cut-Out Pressure: 130 PSI
- Bore: 47 mm
- Stroke: 44 mm
- Voltage: Single Phase 120
- Motor: RPM 1720
- Amperage @ max pressure: 12.4
- Tank Size: 2.6 Gallon
- CSA/US Listed: Yes
- Origin: Taiwan
- Dimensions: 18x22x10 inches