Senco PC1010N Review

My crew and I use pneumatic nail guns most every day of the week, whether it’s installing doors and trim, or framing walls and roofs. Usually our setup involves a twin stack compressor running multiple air hoses to different areas of the jobsite. But there are times when we just need enough air to do some pickup work, install a few pieces of crown molding or some other relatively small job. In this review we’re going to take a look at what I think is the best small portable air compressor on the market, the Senco PC1010N. If you’re looking for a larger air compressor, check out my review of the best air compressors for home use here.     

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The Controls

The PC1010N comes with a ¼” quick disconnect coupler already installed so it will accept a standard air hose right out of the box. Next to the quick disconnect is the pressure regulator knob. Turning this knob will adjust the amount of air pressure you are sending to the tool. The two gauges above show the air pressure reading for the tank and the amount that you’ve dialed in for the tool.


The Handle

Even though it only weighs 21 pounds, Senco selected a super soft handle for carrying it around. Compared to a full size, double stack compressor (around 50 pounds), the PC1010N is an absolute pleasure to transport to any job.


Motor/Pressure Switch

This is the switch that starts and stops the air compressor. In the on position, the motor will come on automatically whenever the pressure in the tank drops below the factory set level. The motor will run until hitting the factory set cut out pressure. It takes about 2 minutes to fill a completely empty tank and about 30 seconds to recover to full strength during use. Also note the pressure release valve on the side of the switch. This is the valve that gives us the familiar whoosh sound of a tiny bit of air being discharged at the end of every pump up cycle. Discharging that little amount of air makes it so the motor can start freely the next time it comes on.


Motor Overload Breaker

The motor is equipped with breaker to protect it from excessive spikes in the power supply. If tripped, the stem will pop out of the housing. Simply press it back in to reset.


The Pump

At the heart of any air compressor is the pump. It works by moving a piston in a cylinder. On the down stroke, air is drawn in through an air intake valve. On the upstroke, air is compressed and then forced through the discharge line into the tank. The PC1010N has a .5 horsepower motor, which at first glance might seem kind of small and wimpy, but it is powerful enough to allow for a maximum of 137 psi- more than enough to run any brad nailer or other air tools. It’s also oil free, so it’s virtually maintenance free. Speaking of maintenance…


Air Intake Filter

The air intake filter is located on the inside of the pump and should be removed and cleaned periodically with soap and water.


Tank Drain Valve

The other maintenance item that should be done daily is opening the drain valve to remove any moisture from the tank.


How does it Perform?

The Senco PC1010N is not the compressor you would need for projects that need tons of air, like spraying wall texture or stapling off underlayment in a large room, but it wasn’t designed to be that compressor. It was designed to be small, portable and super lightweight. It can supply plenty of air to drive brad nailers and most other air tools. It’s 1-gallon tank is small, so the pump will kick on a lot more often than versus a full sized double stack compressor, but at least the motor is on the quiet side (68 dBA) when talking about compressors. While I don’t use mine every day, it is a few years old now, and has performed reliably every time I call it into service.  

If you’re a pro looking for a small portable air compressor for pickup work and small jobs, or a DIY-er looking to start your air tool collection with a well-built small compressor, you can’t go wrong with the PC1010N.

PS: If you are a DIY-er on a limited budget, Senco offers the PC1010- almost identical to the PC1010N except for the lower maximum air pressure of 120 psi for about 20 bucks less.

Click here to see today’s price for the PC1010N on Amazon

Click here to see today’s price for PC1010 on Amazon

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Senco PC1010N
Senco PC1010

Steve Wright

Steve Wright is a general contractor who over the last 30 plus years has built hundreds of new homes, ranging from first time affordable homes to multi-million dollar custom homes and everything in between.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rusty

    I really liked this compressor, but after using maybe a dozen times, it quit on me. So don’t expect it to last that long. Pretty sure this is made offshore. The Senco name doesn’t mean what it used to.

    1. Steve Wright

      Hi Rusty, you are correct that the Senco name is not the same one that used to make top of the line nail guns in the US. I have a SFN1 that still works as good as the day I bought it back in the early 1990’s. Luckily, my PC1010N still works great. Hope you were able to take advantage of Senco’s 1-year warranty on your compressor.

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