When it comes to innovation in the power tool world, Milwaukee is the leader. They aren't afraid to invest in new tools and new technology. While some manufacturers are just trying to lose the cord on nailers, Milwaukee is trying to not only lose the air hose in the nailer segment but also the power cord in the compressor segment. Even though cordless nailers are extremely popular, there are still lots of contractors who have and desire pneumatic tools. So Milwaukee set out to create a compressor for those tradesmen who still want pneumatic tools but don't want to be constrained with having to deal with power cords.
What do you think of when you think about compressors? For me, I think heavy, noisy but a must-have for so many different reasons. You can use a compressor for your nailers, filling tires, running power tools and so much more. Today we are going over something that is rather unique, the Milwaukee cordless compressor. Yes, a cordless compressor. You may be having some questions so let’s dive in and take a look at our Milwaukee Cordless Compressor review and see if this is something to invest in or stay away from.
Milwaukee Cordless Compressor Review Overview
I am sure when you first saw this title and what tool we were reviewing you might be asking yourself, why would anyone need a cordless compressor when power tool manufacturers are designing and marketing cordless nailers. Sure that is the way the industry is going but there are still those tradesmen who want to stick with their pneumatic nailers. They either love their nailers or don’t want to spend the money on upgrades.
There are also jobs where you might be nailing something in a tight area and since the pneumatic nailers are smaller, it’s easier to get in those tight areas. What about weight? Cordless nailers tend to weigh more so if you are using the nailer all day, maybe you want something that is powerful but doesn’t weigh a lot.
Heck, just take the nailer out of the equation and there are plenty of items you would want a cordless compressor for. What about keeping it on your truck? There are plenty of jobs where you might not have power such as a mechanic who is on the road fixing vehicles and they need to fill up tires. What about the maintenance person who needs it around the building for various duties. Well, the list goes on and on so yes, while cordless nailers are getting more popular, there is still a use for small compressors like the Milwaukee cordless compressor.
The Milwaukee cordless compressor, model number 2840 is built around a brushless motor that delivers longer runtime and longer motor life. What makes this compressor shine is how quiet this unit is when running. Get this, this compressor only produces a 68 dBA which is extremely quiet and about the level of your normal voice during a conversation.
The compressor delivers 1.2 SCFM @ 90 psi which is perfect for brad nailing and even finish nailers. Milwaukee designed this compressor with an oil-free pump so there isn’t much maintenance needed for this tool.
The unit is powered off the Milwaukee M18 battery platform. One great feature is how easy it is to access the battery for quick changes. The battery is located right in the front making it easy. The compressor will fire up to the following brad nails:
- 1,600 brad nails with a 12Ah battery
- 1,000 brad nails with a 8Ah battery
- 600 brad nails with a 5Ah battery
The compressor is compact and protected by a cage.
The compressor features a steel 2-gallon tank with a max of 135 max PSI.
A user can bleed the tank when not in use by easily accessing the ball valve on the bottom back of the hot dog tank.
The rubber handle makes it easy to carry around and doesn’t cause as much stress on your back compared to other compressors that have the handle on top.
The compressor weighs in at 31.25 lbs so not too bad for a professional compressor that is built tough.
The air hose inlet is located on the side of the compressor. The compressor uses a quick connect system. No need to pull back on the collet. Just push in the hose and it will automatically lock into place.
On the front of the compressor, the sealed on/off is located. To me, this is a great feature as you don’t have to fumble around the back of the compressor looking for the lever like other compressors.
One feature that is different than other compressors is how you regulate the pressure. Normally you would use a dial and set your pressure. When you set your pressure, you would see a clear glass with a needle to know where your pressure is set. However, sometimes they are a little finicky.
Milwaukee removed this system and just implemented a dial set. Just turn the dial to your desired pressure and you are set. No more messing around and trying to move the regular up and down. This is just a set and forget system.
The tank pressure still uses the needle system which is tried and true. For me, I like the contrast with the black background and white number.
There are two features that make this compressor stand out, the noise level and the removal of the power cord. If you look at just those two features, this compressor shines and hits every mark. The compressor is extremely quiet and you get great run times for your finish or brad nailer. So in that aspect, Milwaukee hit a home run. However, there are other items we want to look at such as power and ease of use.
First, this compressor is extremely easy to transport. The carrying handle makes it easy to move around and not kill your back. When you pick this up, the weight is close to your body and you’re not fighting the weight with having it farther away from your body as you do with other compressors.
Second, the low profile is a great design as you can lay it in your back seat, or even if you have a truck cover, it’s not going to get in the way.
As far as ease of use, seriously, it can’t be any easier. Just turn it on with the large sealed button in the front. No bending around the back and trying to flip a switch. Second, it’s easy to set your desired regulator. Sure some will want a clear dial so they can see exactly the PSI but with the dial type Milwaukee went with, it’s easy to see where you want the PSI set.
So now let’s talk power.
The first thing I noticed was how quickly the tank fills. We have used other compressors and it takes a while to fill. The Milwaukee went from empty to full in about 1 minute and 49 seconds. Not too bad for a cordless compressor.
Milwaukee claims you can shoot up to 1,600 18 gauge nails per charge (12 Ah battery). Either way, that is a heck of a lot of nails per charge. But what I like most about this compressor, besides the noise level, is that I don’t see any issues with it keeping up with your workload of firing finish or brad nails.
As you can see above, we just fired a bunch of brad nails into pine wood. Yes, we can get it so the PSI is being used faster than it can refill but we were going crazy. We shot all those nails and it was still hovering around 90 psi from 135 psi. You’re never going to be firing that fast so if you use this like you normally would use your finish or brad nailer, this will have no issues with keeping up with you. So when it comes to power and performance, this compressor is great.
You can pick this up at your local Home Depot or Home Depot online for $349. At first, I understand if you think this is expensive, especially because it’s a bare tool. Sure you can buy other compressors for around $130 to $250 but the Milwaukee gives you something that most other compressors can’t, the freedom.
Yes, you can get other compressors that are extremely quiet but with the Milwaukee compressor, you get the freedom to move around and still be able to use your Pneumatic nailer. How nice is it to just place your compressor in the center of the room and start nailing up trim. Then pick up and go into the next room. No worry about dragging a power cord or trying to find power.
So for me, I think this offers a great value.
- Quality – The compressor received a 3.5 because while we love the quality, our unit has some paint chips on the frame, black marks on the plastic, and a crack where two pieces are snapped together. The welds are tight and clean, the tank is sturdy and the frame offers plenty of protection.
- Features – The ability to lose the power cord gives this unit high marks, the only deduction was because it would be nice if it was a hybrid for those who might want a power cord. Yes, we understand the point of a cordless tool, but it’s nice to always have that option of being able to plug an extension cord into the compressor.
- Performance – The tank fills quickly, the unit is quiet and we were able to jam non stop with both brad and finish nails. Sure if we go all out we can get it where the tank can’t keep up but in the real world, you’re not going to be nailing this fast with finish carpentry. So for performance, this hits high marks.
- Design – The user panel is laid out nicely and you can see it while standing over it. The power button is large and easy to turn on and off. The different ways a user can set the unit up or carry it around is well thought out and nicely designed. Again, Milwaukee hit the target with the design.
- Value – I think the value is great and what this compressor offers, it’s worth the money. However $350 is a lot for an investment and may stop the tradesman who is on the fence from buying it so we had to move the rating down a little. Still overall, worth the money in my opinion.
I know some people might not see the point of having a cordless compressor with everything going the way of cordless nailers. But this is why I love Milwaukee, they aren’t leaving anyone behind. They know and understand there are certain tradesmen who still own and love their pneumatic nailers and they created a way to make their life a little easier. Let’s face it, there are places a pneumatic nailer will shine over a cordless nailer, especially tight spots and for weight reasons.
The Milwaukee compressor is quiet and performs like a champ. Anyone looking to keep their pneumatic nailers but wants the freedom of not worrying about power, the Milwaukee cordless compressor is the way to go.