Review: Rolair JC10 1 HP Air Compressor

We’ve been using air compressors professionally for more than a decade. We’ve used them for home projects for who-knows-how long. When a new air compressor comes our way, it elicits one of two general responses: some excitement or a great big yawn. The Rolair JC10 air compressor gave us a lot of excitement and it met or exceeded most of the expectations we had for it. Here is the overview of our experience with this particular model.

Job Site Durability: Good 

It has a full roll cage, so even if something hits the compressor from above, there’s a good chance that it will withstand the blow. The drain valve is the weakest point of the design for this particular model. We’d give it a “great” rating if the valve didn’t have the tendency to leak on occasion. It needs a new valve probably once or twice per year. 

Job Strength Rating: Fair 

The Rolair JC10 isn’t going to be able to power your air wrenches very well. Grinding isn’t going to happen with this model. Small sanders would work, but after a few minutes you’ll need to let the compressor recover, which means stopping the work. Finish and trim work was satisfactory. Inflation, cleaning, and similar tasks this compressor performs very well. It offers 2.3 SCFM at 90 PSI.

Noise Levels: Excellent 

At 1,725 RPM, this compressor operates right around the 70 dB mark in most locations. It can sound somewhat louder if it is being used in an enclosed environment. With a 2.5 gallon tank, heavier jobs require longer running times, so we still recommend hearing protection. You can still work most of the day without risking hearing damage, but after an hour or so of exposure, you might find your ears beginning to ring.

Maintenance Needs: Good 

The Rolair JC10 features an oil-less design, so this compressor can go virtually anywhere you need to go for work. When working at homes at remote locations, we found this compressor did a great job of helping us get through our work needs. It can be somewhat picky about its power source, so if you work off of a generator, you might find a somewhat lower level of performance from this compressor than other users.

Use For Professional Applications: Poor 

If you do any sort of contracting work that requires power tools, then we would not recommend this compressor. It does a great job for those DIY projects around your house where you’ll need to use this compressor every so often. If you need something that will work 8-10 hours per day so you can lighten your load, then we don’t see this compressor standing up well to the demands that will be placed upon it – even if all you’re doing is finish or trim work.

Overall Impressions: Good 

We felt that this air compressor was able to punch above its weight range, but considering its premium price point, it really needed to do so to justify the cost of it. For automotive work, contracting work, or off-site work, this model can operate as an inflator and that’s about it. If you’re looking for a compressor that will meet most of your at-home needs and you have mostly trim work to do, then we like the potential this air compressor has for you and that’s where we place our recommendation.

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