We’ve come a long way in the restoration of the Parker Street neighborhood of Lakeland, Florida, but gaps still exist in the infrastructure. Sometimes there’s no access to electricity in the homes we work on. Often the wiring is so poor before a rehab that a large tool would trip a breaker. For our framing and repair work, we needed a compressor that was independent of the grid. On top of that, we also wanted a product that was mobile and powerful enough to run all of our pneumatic tools. The Ridgid MobilAir 8-gallon gas compressor came up for review, and it seemed to fit the bill. The review was also timely, as we needed to run some Ridgid framing nailers to build a pair of disabled access ramps with platforms.
. First Impressions
There are a ton of features to talk about with the Ridgid MobilAir, but some stand out more immediately than others. The overall build quality is solid and sturdy. The design resembles a steel wheelbarrow that allows you to maneuver the machine on 10-inch flat-free wheels. When it’s time to pack things up for the day, the handle folds down to create a protective cage over the top.
There are two 4-gallon tanks. The grey lower tank is stationary while the orange upper tank can remain part of the machine or detach from the unit for portable use. Each tank has its own gauge for independent use. The hose connecting the tanks has a metal wire tether so it doesn’t move far from where it should be.
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The oil gauge is easy to quickly see and access. Believe it or not, that’s been a point of frustration on other compressors I’ve used. It’s seems like they often try to hide them, but I need to access them before each use to check oil levels quickly.
Pro Tip: Check your compressor’s oil level before each use. It only takes a few seconds, but it will save you hundreds of dollars in repair or replacement the first time you realize it needs a refill.
The belt assembly is protected by a cage that’s placed between the tanks and the motor. This is ingenious. Many compressors I’ve used have the belt assembly on the side which can lead to several issues.However, the central design means you can’t accidentally bump or get caught in the MobilAir’s belt. There are no exposed moving parts that can harm or be harmed. The potential issue here is access—how easy will the belt be to change when the time comes?
The MobilAir’s gas power is probably the most exciting feature. If there’s a hurricane or even strong afternoon thunderstorm that knocks out power (a threat we have to consider every summer in Central Florida), we can still do a roofing job.
At first blush, the Ridgid MobilAir 8-gallon gas compressor seems to have a lot of features that you wish your other tools had. I was anxious to see it perform.
Ridgid MobilAir 8-Gallon Gas Compressor Key Features
Removable tank design – Allows you to separate the tank and still have it connected to the compressor with a standard air hose and allows you to regulate the air where you’re working and reduces line dropZero gravity design – Allows for maximum ease of transport and balanceLow-profile compact design – Fits beneath the cover of virtually any full-size pick-up truckEnhanced protection – Full wrap around roll bars and overhead steel grate protect componentsCast iron pump cylinders – For longest life in the toughest job site conditionsIntegrated slide rails – Allows the user to roll the unit down a truck tailgate without scratching the paintLocking regulator knob – Ergonomic design locks at desired setting to maintain consistent pressureHigh flow 3/8 in. sized air line construction – allows for high air flow to tools to prevent power drop off during high demand usageQuick couplers – 2 universal push style couplers accept 1/4 in. industrial, automotive and ARO plugs with easy single-hand connection10 in. flat-free wheels – Allows for easy maneuverability in tough job site conditionsBall valve tank drains – Easy quarter-turn operation for fast and trouble-free drainingControl panel – Convenient access to air regulation near the work area when tank is removed and connected with hose extension to stationary tankBelt tightening feature – Allows for easy maintenance and setting of proper belt tensionASME certified pressure vessels
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Ridgid MobilAir 8-Gallon Gas Compressor Specifications
Model: Ridgid GP80150RTPower Source: GasolineMotor: 5.7 horsepower, oil lubricatedApplications: Framing, roofingCapacity: 8 gallonsFuel Capacity: 1 gallonMaximum Pressure: 150 PSIAir Delivery at 90 PSI: 10.2 SCFMStyle: Twin tank, wheelbarrowWeight: 173 pounds
The Compressor Professor
On site, we fired up the compressor, and it filled up the tanks. Once the tanks are full, the compressor turns off and the motor downshifts to a low idle. It will only run again when the tanks need to be filled. If it doesn’t start when you turn it on, it’s likely that the safety mechanism is preventing a dangerous level of pressure buildup.
It’s easy to detach the orange tank for portable work. You can use the orange tank as a standalone air source or daisy chain it to the gray tank with a hose. The first option allows complete portability without a refill while the second allows a hose-length radius of work with automatic refilling. Using a hose to extend your reach is particularly helpful if you have the entire machine in the back of your truck. You can reap the benefits of Ridgid’s Subaru-powered 8-gallon compressor for the size and weight of a 4-gallon tank – not to mention the noise reduction for interior work.
The Ridgid MobilAir 8-Gallon Gas Compressor is powerful. We easily ran two framing nailers at the same time. I’ve used smaller portable compressors that can’t keep up with that kind of work. The larger ones can, but they aren’t portable. We easily completed both ramps and platforms without having to refill the 1-gallon fuel tank. All told, the compressor ran for a solid two hours without draining our fuel. To have this much capacity and power in a reasonably compact package has been a huge boost to our productivity.
When you close the handle, the orange steel fence covers the instrumentation and protects the gauges from damage. The cage is not load-bearing, but it will defend against the errant tool landing on the gauges. The machine also sits on a solid platform. The design creates a roll cage to protect the components, minimizing the risk of damage during transportation.
The handle folded to show cage protecting the machine.
The Ridgid MobilAir 8-Gallon Gas Compressor is hefty, but at 173 pounds, it’s similar in weight (or lighter than) its counterparts from DeWalt and Makita. Like any compressor in this class, I would have a hard time lifting it into the back of my truck by myself. I’ll probably end up mounting the machine in the back of the truck and using the portability of the orange tank both daisy chained and free, so the weight is less likely to be an issue.
Everything on this compressor is in the right place and easy to reach. Ridgid has done a great job balancing power with portability. Sturdy wheels and a solid frame make moving around the jobsite simple. Ridgid really thought through this design well—it’s a great jobsite compressor. If you stay on top of maintenance, this should last a long time