With multiple nail guns in action, the author would typically need to use a gas compressor on this site, but the Metabo HPT EC1315S 8-gallon portable compressor suits his needs perfectly.
Tony Blue With multiple nail guns in action, the author would typically need to use a gas compressor on this site, but the Metabo HPT EC1315S 8-gallon portable compressor suits his needs perfectly.

Cordless jobsites? Not quite … at least, not today. It’s hot, probably 90°F. Locusts buzz in the nearby remaining pine tree. We’re just outside Lake George, N.Y., in an early 2000s suburban neighborhood, the kind with no sidewalks on a road that purposefully meanders back and forth. Our company was hired to fix significant damage to a house, mainly the front porch and garage, caused by a large pine tree crashing down onto the roof earlier in the summer.

My guys will perform all the work themselves: framing, siding, roofing, decking, and so on. Rick’s white work van is parked on the side of the road, a little rust in the usual spots. He opens the squeaking rear doors and grabs the rolled-up polypropylene hose off the hook. Rick is older; he’s been around the block more than once and has built hundreds of houses. Jon is younger, more life left in his body. “I already got my battery nailer out, old man,” Jon jokes. Rick replies, “You can use it—that damn thing is too heavy.”

A couple of months earlier, I had been asked if I had some projects in the works on which I could try out Metabo’s new electric 8-gallon wheelbarrow compressor. While I didn’t have a specific project in mind, I knew we would use it. What I didn’t realize was how perfect a compressor it was going to be for us, already replacing our workhorse gas compressor on a couple of jobsites.

We perform most of our work in-house, and for small jobs, our cordless framing nailers are spot on: not much setup, with extra batteries already on the site. Sure, they are heavier than our pneumatic nailers, but for occasional use, their weight is not enough of an issue to bother us. After a couple of hours or more of continuous nail-gun use, though, weight and speed of the tool become a concern.

Specs. In the past, we have had to pick between the lesser of two evils: a small pancake compressor that runs all day just to keep up and even then may not have enough power, or a powerful gas compressor that we have to listen to just the same, as well as purchase fuel for every couple of days. Queue “The Tank,” the name that Metabo has given its model EC1315S mobile, electric wheelbarrow compressor. A single-tank, 8-gallon, 225-psi high-capacity compressor that we can plug into a standard outlet? Well, that porridge is just right, my friend.

We still use a compressor to power positive placement and framing nailers, as well as roofing, flooring, and coiled siding nailers for clapboards. Having one that is somewhat mobile and not too large is important to us. Although the Metabo is a little heavy—at 93 pounds—for one person to load into a work van or trailer, when stood upright, it fits in well with our other equipment.

Performance. In use, it held all the air we needed to run two nailers of any kind without continuously kicking on and off. In our experience, 5 cfm at 90 psi is pretty good for a portable electric. In our testing, the compressor went from zero to shut off (225 psi) in a little over three minutes. During operation, recharging from 175 psi to 225 psi took about 39 seconds. At a reported 76 dB, it is noticeably quieter than our gas compressor.

One day, I swung by the site to empty the dump trailer. A couple of the old tires were squatting and the Metabo made quick work of standing them up again, even with the weight in the loaded trailer. Eight gallons is comparable to most gas compressors. Starting at 225 psi, I should not have been surprised at the volume of air it sent into the tire before kicking on.

The rubber tires and metal handle feel sturdy and well built. We would, however, like to see the drain valve more accessible toward the outside without the user having to flip the compressor upright. And I would also love to have some type of holder for an air hose and connections; what stays attached to the compressor won’t get forgotten and left on a nearby shelf.

Whether or not you are a Metabo loyalist, I think this compressor is a good value. For a powerful, portable, reliable jobsite compressor, $460 is a reasonable amount to pay. metabo-hpt.com

Photo by Tony Blue.