If you are in the market for a portable, electric air compressor that is capable of powering medium-duty air tools, read our Senco PC1131 air compressor review. We’ll examine the top features and the details you need to make an informed decision.
The Senco PC1131 air compressor is a compact, portable machine that features a 4.3-gallon tank. Despite the small tank, this machine delivers more flow than your typical portable compressor.
Peaking at 2.5-horsepower and generating 4.4CFM at 90psi, the Senco portable air compressor is perfectly suited for a wide range of uses – including framing and finishing.
Motor and Pump:
With the PC1131 air compressor, you get slightly more flow than similarly priced portable compressors. It features a 2.5 HP, direct drive motor with a cast iron, oil-lubricated pump system, in order to deliver 4.4CFM at 90psi and 4.3CFM at 100psi.
The compressor pump is a single-stage cylinder with splash lubrication. The oil capacity is listed at 12-ounces and you should only need to change the oil every 3 months. While the cylinder is cast iron, the head and crankcase are aluminum. This could be to help with heat dissipation. Though, a few similar models feature a cast iron head.
The compact 4.3-gallon tank prevents you from getting an uninterrupted flow. Luckily, the recovery time for the Senco is quick, which is part of the reason why this machine is so popular with contractors. You need the tank to refill quickly so that you can continue the job.
Recovery time to go from 90 to 125 psi is about 16 seconds, while the pump-up time is 67 seconds. This makes the Senco compressor useful for air tools that require intermittent use.
Design & Build:
The Senco PC1131 air compressor has a twin tank (hot dog) configuration. This limits the footprint, especially when compared to pancake style compressors. Though, the machine is relatively heavy – coming in at about 60 pounds. This is not unmanageable, but you definitely won’t want to be lugging this machine too far.
The Senco PC1131 air compressor is electric-powered and only draws 14 amps. This means you can use it from a standard outlet without tripping the circuit. It also features an electric overload protection switch, to keep it from overheating.
There are a few minor issues related to the placement of the housing and gauges. The air filter does not come attached, yet the pump and motor assembly are ready to go.
So, you will need to disassemble the housing in order to squeeze on the air filter. Also, the gauges face inward, instead of upward.
As mentioned, the gauges face inward – towards the center of the machine. This can make it a little awkward to read the gauges. Though, it should be mentioned that the average user is not going to spend a lot of time reading the gauge. You’ll use your tool until you run out of pressure and then simply have to wait until the tank recovers.
Some users have mentioned that the Senco should have come with better instructions. It is true that the instructions are not very helpful when it comes to setting up the machine.
Although the manual does not indicate any break-in procedure, as with all new machines, we do recommend running the compressor with the drain valves open for twenty minutes.
But, they do a thorough job of explaining how to use the Senco. They even give you a checklist for pre-operation use. As far as operating the machine, it has a simple start/stop switch.
The PC1131 portable air compressor does not come equipped with an air hose. This is fairly standard. When setting up your machine, it is recommended that you do not use an extension cord. This could result in a loss of power and potentially overheat the motor. Instead of using an extension cord, you should use a longer air hose.
Noise can be an issue when shopping for a portable air compressor. When you’re working around the house, you want to keep the noise down. The Senco PC1131 oil-lubricated compressor has a dB noise level of 77. Most customers tend to agree that it is quieter than an oil-free compressor.
Maintenance and Upkeep:
The Senco PC1131 air compressor is a durable device. With proper use, you should be able to keep this handy machine around for years to come. In order to help you out, Senco has provided a basic maintenance chart.
They let you know when to inspect parts and how to keep the pump lubricated with oil. The recommendation is to oil the pump after the first 50 hours of use and then every 3 months.
In the event that a component breaks down, you get a one-year warranty for most parts of the compressor. Any defects in materials or workmanship are covered, except for the motor, which is covered by a separate warranty. The pressure gauge and pressure relief are only covered for up to 90 days.
- Powerful compressor for its size (4.4CFM at 90psi).
- This is a durable machine with a cast iron cylinder, oil lubricated pump.
- Intended for contractors, but also suitable for home use.
- Not enough room between the air tank and motor to install the air filter housing without disassembly.
- Relatively heavy – weighs about 60 pounds.
Overall, the Senco PC1131 air compressor is a well-built machine. It packs a lot of pressure, which should be enough to power a wide variety of air tools. This includes most nailers, along with drills and hammers. Though, it may not be sufficient for large tools, such as a sander, grinder, or saw.
Only a couple of minor drawbacks could be found and they are simply minor inconveniences. This includes the installation of the air filter housing and the 60-pound weight of the machine.
These are easy to problems to get used to. You will only need to deal with the air filter during initial installation and the weight is not overly cumbersome.
The bottom line is that the Senco is a great buy for DIY hobbyists or contractors that are in need of a portable air compressor. Though, the average homeowner may not need this much power.
If you are going to be performing the occasional DIY project, you could go with a smaller machine. But, if you need the 4.3CFM at 100psi the Senco PC1131 is one of the best “value for your money” air compressors and well worth checking out.