Sanborn Air Compressor Reviews

Did you know that many people own a Sanborn air compressor and don’t even realize it? They make compressors for multiple brands, including Masterforce and Kobalt. You’ll find that although there aren’t many Sanborn air compressor reviews available online, those that are available are very positive about three specific features: durability, longevity, and overall strength.

Although you can’t generally purchase this brand of air compressor through a website like Amazon, it is still a viable solution to your project needs if you have a retail outlet close to your home. For that reason, we’ve put together some of the highlights of the online reviews we were able to locate so you can see what real users are saying about this brand.

They informed me that the oil lubricated pumps will out last the oil less by 10 times. It’s quiet and I get lots of compliments when I loan it out. I think I paid $279 and it included the air hose.

Sanborn air compressors have a strong reputation for long-term durability. You’ll find many owners through online forums and review sites who have been using the same Sanborn air compressor for 20, 30, or 40 years. As one reviewer put it, they’ve used the “dog crap” out of their 1987 3 HP Sanborn air compressor and use a 20+ gallon model as a portable unit.

I’ve got a 5hp/60gal/2cyl since the 70’s; still going strong. It did drop a reed valve while under warranty, and they replaced the valve body. Out of warranty, it did it again, and I made one out of a feeler gauge, and it’s worked fine ever since.

It is true that some Sanborn air compressors are known to need a spare part or two over time, especially if you are using it heavily or renting it out as an extra source of income. Most Sanborn models come with a 2 year or 90 day limited warranty for residential or commercial use and many models go far beyond this time frame before needing to have service rendered.

If it has sat for a while and not run, it could have picked up enough junk that is burning off with the heat from the compressor head.

Sanborn air compressors do have a reputation for overheating if they aren’t properly maintained. Compressing air is going to create heat, which means your tubing and the head mounted on the tank are going to warm up with use. If there is dust, debris, or oil on these areas, then this can enhance the heat being created and cause the unit to overheat. At the very least, it is going to cause the unit to smell really, really bad. Always keep Sanborn air compressors clean and in a well-ventilated environment for the best results.

I have had a small one, 3/4 hp I use to pump up tires with. It doesn’t have a lot of output, but for what I wanted it does OK.”

One of the knocks on the modern Sanborn air compressors is that they just don’t have the same level of output that their predecessors have. Some of this is attributed to the sale of this brand to Coleman back in the 1990s, but many of the models manufactured by this brand are also single stage compressors. This means that you’ll typically receive a maximum air pressure output of 120 PSI. That can be good for many uses, but if you have something that is closer to a commercial need, you may need to have a slightly bigger and more powerful air compressor. 

I’ve got an old Sanborn from Menard’s I bought quite a few years ago, 60 Gal single stage, worked great until the motor went out on it, got another one from Grainger, works great! Only complaint is the air volume, would like to upgrade to 80/120 gal two stage some day. Usually rule of thumb is if you find one with around 13 cfm vol/150 psi working pressure your golden!

The biggest complaint you’ll typically find in the Sanborn air compressor reviews is that the needs for this tool tend to evolve over time and this brand is unable to keep up with the times. For many DIY folks, a Sanborn air compressor is a good first air compressor to purchase. It can teach you how to use this tool properly and let you get some of those first jobs done effectively. When your needs begin to evolve, then you’ll need to step up to a more “grown up” air compressor.

These Sanborn air compressor reviews show that this brand tends to meet specific needs more than general needs, but it does so very effectively. If your project requires light work or this is your first air compressor purchase, then you may wish to give Sanborn a second look.

Last update on 2023-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. James kemp

    I bought a 60 gal Sanborn compressor from princess auto I broke it in like the manual said to changed the oil three times in the 1 year and seven months since I have owned it with the oil they sold me and it just packed it in yesterday and they tell me it’s out of warranty I paid 800$ and change that’s a mortgage payment not impressed. Sincerely Unhappy customer

  2. Fred Waycott

    I’ve had my sanborn compressor for over 28 yrs. It’s a small 2 up and 20 gallon tank. All I’ve done is change the oil and 2 yrs ago, change the belt. I also drained the tank twice a week. It has run Sanders, even though the sander eats up the air, impacts and ratchets, chisel, and grinders without any problems.
    The tank is finally rusting as I can’t get the bleed off valve open any more. I expect to get the same kind again.

  3. David Belitz

    My compressor sounded like it was losing power and then the motor stopped running and there is a constant humming.
    Sanborn 20 gal oiled.

  4. Geronimo Romo

    Not really a comment but a question. I’ve recently acquired a Sanborn model 112B300-22, 3hp. And it runs great, I’ve refurbed it and I’m wondering if anyone here knows what yr it was built or produced? TY.

  5. Big ton

    I currently have a Kobalt 2 cylinder, single stage,cast iron 60 gallon compressor manufactured by Mat ind based on the old Sanborn design. This model has been sold under many names such as kobalt, Porter-Cable, Sanborn and many private labels for companies like Menards and Rural king. I’ve run the Snot out of this compressor, as they say it’s been run hard and put away wet. I added an auto drain to it a few years this compressor and have ZERO keeps up with all my uses 90 % of the time.for the times it cant I have a 2 stage,80 gallon. Highly recommend !!

    1. Adrian Pike

      You might be able to get one from Sanborn, otherwise if the original isn’t too damaged, your local repair and spares store might be able to match it.

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