Grip-Rite 2.0 Gallon Twin Tank Oil-less Compressor (GR152CM)

The GR152CM offers good value if you need a compressor for intermittent use and for pneumatic tools that require low volumes of air


Grip-Rite 2.0 Gallon Twin Tank Oil-less Compressor (GR152CM)

A large stationary compressor is great to have when you need a lot of air pressure for sustained use, or for air hungry pneumatic tools, such as sanders, grinders or impact wrenches. However, if you primarily use tools that require low volumes of air consumption - pin and brad nailers, staplers, blow guns and spray guns - then a compact, portable compressor is a good choice. And, of course, if you want to use air tools on a job site, then you'll be looking for a portable compressor.
The Grip-Rite 2.0 Gallon Twin Tank Oil-less Compressor (GR152CM) is one of the smallest portable compressors that I've looked at. It weighs just 39 pounds — almost half the weight of a 4 gallon twin-tank compressor — and is a compact 13" H x 14" W x 20" L. The GR152CM has a pontoon-style design with dual tanks astride the motor, while a stiff metal roll cage frame provides a fair degree of protection for the motor. This design gives the GR152CM a low center of gravity that makes it very easy to lift and transport, and makes it quite difficult to inadvertently tip over.
An 8-amp 2 HP motor delivers 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. It's an oil-less compressor, which means that it doesn't have oil in the piston chamber. While less expensive than an oil-lubricated compressor, it has a shorter life span, and is generally noisier when running. Still, for intermittent use it makes a good choice. The 2.6 CFM rating on this compressor means that you'll be limited to using tools that require fairly low air requirements.
Grip-Rite doesn't specify the duty-cycle on this compressor — the actual pump run time per hour compared to the off time per hour expressed as a percentage. Most compact compressors seem to be in the 50% range,  which means that the compressor pump shouldn't run for more than 30 minutes out of every hour. Otherwise, the pump will have to work too hard, overheating it, and reduce the life of the compressor. Of course, if you use the compressor on an intermittent basis, this shouldn't pose a significant problem.
Convenient tool tray
There are two textured rubber handles on the top of the roll cage that facilitate lifting the compressor. There is also a handy top-mounted tray that will hold fasteners and other accessories - which, of course, you don't want to use as a step stool.
Rubber feet provide stability and reduce vibration
There is a metal frame on the bottom of the unit as well. Four rubber feet protect the frame from damage, and probably help deaden noise and vibration. At the end of the frame is another handle that you can use to drag the compressor across the floor, tilt the unit upwards slightly so you can better read the dials, or use as a handle to carry the compressor to and from a job site.
Pressure switch is easy to access
The all important pressure (on/off) switch is located at the back of the unit. Because it's such a small compressor the switch is easy to reach. I know a lot of guys who leave the switch permanently in the 'on' position, and activate the compressor by plugging and unplugging the power cord. Ostensibly, they do this to prevent premature failure of the pressure switch - a situation that I've never experienced.
The power cord is abysmally short, barely 6 feet long. Maybe it's not such a big deal in a workshop, but on a job site it means carrying an extension power cord along, or an extra long air hose.
Valves are easily accessible
On the top of the rear tank is the safety release valve, which you should, of course, pull before opening the air release valves. It will enable most of the compressed air to evacuate the tanks. 
There are two air release valves located at the bottom of each tank. It's a good habit to open them at the end of each day after you're finished using the compressor — failing to do so could cause the inside of the tanks to rust, and plug-up the air lines. Don't expect your warranty to cover this kind of damage. Besides, the whole process takes about 15 seconds — no big deal.
Very good fit and finish
I looked carefully at all the welding on the compressor - everything looked ship shape. Likewise, all the bolts and screws were properly tightened, and the wires and hoses secure and in good nick.
Grip-Rite provides instructions for breaking-in the compressor before you first use it. It's straightforward and takes about half an hour. After completing the break-in I pressurized the tanks to 125 PSI, and then turned the pressure switch to the 'off' position. After four hours I checked the tank pressure — there was no loss of pressure. So, no leaks on this compressor.
Well laid out control panel
The control panel is straight forward. The dials are recessed, making them less likely to be damaged, and large enough to clearly see the numbers and division lines. However, I found it necessary to grab the lower handle and tilt the compressor upwards to read the dials. Otherwise I would have to squat down to read the dials.
There is only a single outlet fitting on the GR521CM, which is understandable given it's 2.0 gallon tank capacity. There's no way you could simultaneously run two tools on this compressor.
At the back of the regulator is a captive nut (red in the photo above) that enables you to quickly adjust he regulator to a maximum setting. I always use this compressor with either a small brad or a pin nailer that only need 90 PSI and found it convenient to be able to adjust the captive nut so that the regulator won't turn past the 90 PSI level when I'm adjusting the discharge pressure. A handy feature.
Compressors can be fairly loud, but with a claimed decibel level of 75 dBA, this unit is fairly quiet (the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, considers noise levels below 85 decibels to be safe.). 
It takes less than a minute for the tanks to fill up, and it has a 10 second recovery time, which is fairly quick. I found that, on average, I could shoot 37 1" brad nails at 90 PSI before the compressor needed to recharge the tanks. Not too shabby for such a small compressor.
The Grip-Rite 2.0 Gallon Twin Tank Oil-less Compressor (GR152CM) is a durably built unit that is ultra compact, and relatively quiet in operation. While it only has a 2-gallon storage capacity, it has a quick recovery time. And even though it's only delivers 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, it has sufficient air pressure to run pin, finish, and brad nailers, as well as some narrow-crown staplers.
In my view this unit is ideal for a DIYer, craftsperson, or woodworker who has a small shop, needs a compressor for intermittent use, and uses pneumatic tools that require low volumes of air. It would also suffice for a tradesperson who's looking for a light, compact compressor for occasional use on a job site.



  • 8 amp, 2.0 HP (peak)
  • Oil-less piston pump
  • Aluminum crank case
  • 2.0g/7.56L tank
  • 150 PSI max air pressure
  • 3.4 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 50-second pump-up time
  • 10-second recovery time
  • Overload protection
  • 75 dBA noise level
  • 6' 4" power cord
  • 14" W x 13" H x 20" L
  • 39 pounds
  • 3 year warranty

MADE IN:Taiwan
SOURCE:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
Carl Duguay, February 2013

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