You’ll love the Senco PC1010 air compressor if you do just one thing first – make sure you understand it’s perfect operating environment and buy it only for that purpose.
In this Senco PC1010 review of this popular model I’ll explain why some people love it and why others think it’s useless (hint: that latter group misunderstood its purpose!).
You can’t just buy the air compressor that has the best online ratings and think you’ve made a good choice. You have to buy an air compressor suited for the tasks you need the air compressor to handle. This lightweight, 1 gallon Senco is one of the best options for a very narrow range of tasks. Buy it for one of those reasons – heaven. Buy it for something else – like thinking you’ll run your automotive impact wrenches – disaster!
What Is This Air Compressor Good For?
What range of tasks is this best for? Let’s get that out of the way so that if you need something else you can be off and reading another one of my reviews asap.
This powerful Senco Compressor is great for:
• Finish work – small nail guns used to attach baseboard trim, cabinet trim, chair railings
• Electronics – blowing dust out of electronics, computer towers, laptops
• Airbrushing – Light airbrushing (not large sprayers) like you’d need for poster work, acrylic nails, temporary tattoo work, and crafts.
The ideal customer for this product is someone who does wood trim work in clients homes and doesn’t want to drag around a heavier, louder pancake compressor. Or a nail art specialist who does those amazing works of art on fingernails and can’t be blasting a loud, industrial compressor in front of customers. Or the small business person or home owner who needs something to fill small tires like those on a bike. Or the computer tech who repairs computer equipment and needs an alternative to buying lots of cans of compressed air.
To help you get a better idea of what this little compressor can do, in his review, a kitchen and bath remodeler said that the quantity of nails shot with various nail guns before the motor kicked in, was 20 for the 23 gauge, 10 for the 18 gauge, 5 for the 15 gauge and finally only 3 when using a framing nailer.
With a ½ HP operating range and the small tank you could get by using this compressor with an 18 or 23 gauge pneumatic pin nailer. Filling a flat tire on an RV or car would take a lot longer with this compressor than it would with a 3 or 6 gallon model so if you need it for anything more than the above you’ll want to look at something else like the Porter Cable PCFP02003.
The PC1010 is versatile, and if you don’t need a heavy duty compressor you will find plenty of uses for it. As long as your expectations aren’t unrealistic you will find the Senco to be a very capable machine.
Frequency of Use and Durability
Don’t expect to run the Senco for a full day’s work. For that you’re going to need a bigger compressor.
Infrequent use is where this little compressor will shine, and because it can build capacity in just 128 seconds you could even go for periods of 30 – 45 seconds of almost continuous use. (Please note to prolong lifetime you should allow a 15 – 20 minute rest time within any hour of operation).
There’s a 12 month warranty provided with the Senco PC1010, so it’s definitely no toy. It’s made in Taiwan and the hardware is of high quality. Regular users will find that it’s durable enough for light home and professional use.
Portability – The Senco PC1010 Will Go Almost Anywhere
Lightweight, small, and with a heavy duty carrying handle the Senco PC1010 is an effortlessly portable compressor. It can go anywhere that the job requires, and its small footprint means that it would be equally at home on the floor, a sturdy workbench, or even on your RV or boat deck.
Being a small compressor the Senco has a very small power footprint. It’s low amperage and will only draw 4amps @ 115V.
Achieving 125 psi from such a low power draw is quite impressive, and portable users who are running from inverters on boats and vehicles will appreciate this as one of the unit’s strongest points.
As a safety feature, there’s an overload/reset switch on the air compressor that will automatically turn off the motor if it becomes overloaded. This protects the motor from overheating. You can simply press the reset switch once the unit has cooled down in order to return to business.
The power cord is about 6 feet long. This would reach from the floor to an outlet that is counter or workshop height. The manufacturer recommends not using an extension cord but, instead, relying on the length of any connected hose to reach your work area.
Performance Rating – Usage Case Scenarios
So, from the review so far, you have an idea of what the Senco can be used for, but how about some real world applications? Don’t worry, the PC1010 has been put through its paces in a number of scenarios, and these are the kind of cases that will let you know if this is the compressor for you.
Where it excels,
• A pneumatic nailer or stapler will be able to fire up to 20 times before the compressor comes back on to recharge the reservoir tank.
• Air cleaning a moderately sized electronic device like a desktop computer would take up to ten minutes with up to three recharges during that time. Smaller devices like laptops and home entertainment equipment could be completed in half the time with only one or two charges.
• When airbrushing, a full tank could maintain sufficient pressure for up to 30 seconds (for spraying at 30 psi) before the compressor kicks in.
• Blowing up small inflatables can be achieved on a single charge, depending on size.
Where it falls short,
• Any heavy duty power tool requiring continuous operation will be a strain on the compressor.
• Inflating larger vehicle tires could take up to 30 minutes for a set.
• Completing a whole DIY project is not within the capabilities of the Senco, especially if speed is a requirement. Light nailing and stapling is fine, but because the tank is depleted after a relatively small number of shots, an industrial machine would be needed for serious remodeling work.
It’s no surprise that the PC1010 can struggle on larger jobs. The size of the tank should be all you need to tell you that this unit is for light and non-continuous work. In the case where you would need to run it a little bit longer, the 2 minute charge up time means that inconvenience is kept to a minimum.
Watch Senco PC1010 On Video
To gain a better grasp for what this little compressor can do and how it looks, here’s is an online video that I hand picked to complement my review with. It shows a live demonstration of using an airbrush. it also gives you a sense of the volume of noise that it produces
Tank Construction and Capacity
The small tank will hold compressed air up to 125 psi. The tank itself is aluminum with a steel sleeve, so without cutting it in half you can assume this to be a tank inside a shell. The steel means that there’s the potential of corrosion if you don’t drain the unit after use, so that’s one thing you need to keep in mind if you purchase one.
Two gauges on the front of the compressor will show you the reserve air pressure and the pressure available at the outlet at that time.
A turning knob on the Senco adjusts the pressure up or down as needed for your tool.
With a compressor this small you would expect to be relatively quiet. It is, and you could even have a normal conversation standing next to one while it’s running. This is a definite bonus for those with home workshops.
Based on independent testing from various online reviews revealed that the motor produces 83dB, which is an audible 69dB from 3ft distance. Consider that the average shower or dishwasher will produce 70dB and you will get an idea of how quiet the Senco is for a portable compressor. As users have said, it’s not much louder than a small window air conditioner.
In other reviews, some users have commented that they can have it running in the garage, and cannot hear it inside the house with the doors closed. Similarly, they have let it running in the living room and cannot hear it outside the house with doors and windows closed. This is ideal if you hate the idea of bothering your next door neighbors!
Some consumers have noted that it is anything but quiet but, again, we’ve got to set the right expectations. An air compressor makes noise. Some are louder than others. This one is quieter than most others but you’re still going to hear it when it’s filling back up.
Maintenance, Pump, Ease of Use and Outlets
This is an oil-less unit so the only maintenance it requires is draining after use. The pump uses what is pretty much the industry standard now, a single ¼ inch quick connect system. Any hose with an ¼ inch male quick connect will interface flawlessly with the Senco.
Using this unit is a breeze. Plug it in, connect your device, wait two minutes to build pressure and you’re good to go. There is an easy adjustment to change the pressure depending on your needs.
Accessories in the Box
The regulator, pressure gauges, ¼ inch quick connect and an air filter are all included with the unit. All you need to supply is your own hose and the tools you will use.
There’s also an excellent user manual that is illustrated and laid out in clear language. For a unit at this price it’s definitely a bonus to not have to search online for a full manual.
Senco PC1010 Construction Quality
The Senco PC1010 is made from mostly steel and aluminum components. What else can be said? It’s a sturdy little unit that is lightweight and well balanced. Nothing about it looks cheap and it feels like it’s made to last.
Tips for Use
One thing that can’t be stressed enough is to drain your compressor. Never leave air stored when it’s not in operation. Use the release valve to clear air and any condensation that has built up inside. Neglecting to do this can mean tank failures in the future.
What you can also do, is replace the regulator with one that has a built in moisture trap. That way, you prolong the life of the air tools that you connect with your compressor.
If you suspect leaks, use detergent mixed with water and apply it to all fittings and seals on your device. Any air bubbles during operation will reveal leaks. You can also use the same kind of soapy water to clean the air filter, which should be done often if you’re using your unit regularly.
We found the Senco pc1010 to be a great little compressor that does everything it should, as long as you don’t expect miracles from such a compact compressor. The market seems to agree as online reviews for the Senco PC1010 are relatively high.
As long as you’re not expecting the performance of a larger unit, it’s unlikely that you’ll be disappointed with the Senco.
When considering that you can get one of these for a little over $100 in most stores and online retailers, the Senco PC1010 Compressor is a seriously good deal.
However, a discussion about price wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the newer version of this model, the Senco PC1010N .
In terms of performance and build quality it’s very similar with a few, slight upgrades. The body design is different with an included roll cage which may be of value to contractors or those who are going to move this around a lot from site to site. The size is identical but the roll cage adds an extra pound in weight.
The newer model is still a 1 gallon tank but the higher PSI comes with a slightly better cut out of 135 PSI and a cut in of 105 PSI. However, it costs about $45 more than the PC1010 so unless the roll cage and extra pressure are going to make a big difference for you, you’ll get nearly identical performance from the PC1010 and save some money. Considering that it’s far more capable than a similarly priced hobby compressor there is no reason that you shouldn’t choose the Senco for your light DIY, recreational, and home craft needs.
(Courtesy of Senco USA)
Power Source: Electric
Max Amp: 4 amps @ 115V
Horsepower: 1 hp (peak), .5 hp (running)
Max Pressure: 125 psi
Motor Pressure switch setting:
Cut-out Pressure: 120 PSI
Cut-in Pressure: 90 PSI
CFM Air Displacement: 1.4
CFM @ 40 PSI: 1.0
CFM @ 90 PSI: 0.6
CFM @ 100 PSI: 0.5
Pump Up-Time: 0-120 psi: 128 seconds
Recovery Time: 90-120 psi: 35 seconds
Tank Capacity: 1 gallon
Tool Weight: 20 lbs.
Depth (in.): 14
Height (in.): 10.3
Width (in.): 12.5
Senco PC1010 Air Compressor Summary Review
|IMPORTANT FEATURES||PROS & CONS
|-1HP Peak Power, |
-5HP Operating Power
-125 PSI Maximum Pressure
-Cut-out pressure is 125 PSI, Cut-in is 95 PSI
-CFM Air displacement - 1.4
-20 Pounds Standing Weight
-Made in Taiwan
-1 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty
-At 125 psi it’s perfect for light use.
-Short pump up time 9 (128 seconds), rapid recharge (35 seconds).
-It’s more portable than almost any other small compressor available.
-Can be used in a variety of light duty applications.
-Exceptional build quality.
-Great value for the money.
-Stable while operating on a level surface.
-The foam wrapping the handle will deteriorate easily.
-The small tank size won’t suit everyone.
-Can only attach one air hose at a time.
-Continuous use will lead to overheating (this is not what it’s designed for).
-Because of the small compressor, the slightest leak will impact performance.
-Some reviewers have complained of welding points and connections easily forming leaks.