The easy play that comes naturally to most folks when they look at a set of tools that’s not the utmost in professional quality is to declare it junk, cite a scenario where the tool in question won’t work, and move to the trumpeting of the favored brand or product. Campbell Hausfeld’s FP260097 combo kit sports a large “kick-me” sign. We liken it to the rep the “smart” kids suffered from in high school — it’s largely undeserved.
The list of tools is rather mundane and many of the pieces in it were already in the shop and of little curiosity:
Kit (Model FP260097) includes 2 gallon air compressor, storage bag and:
2 in. 2-in-1 Nailer/stapler
Blow gun and nozzle
25 ft. air hose
BONUS Caulk Gun
The rationale to keep in mind here is this isn’t aimed at pros, contractors, established shops or longtime DIYer’s. This kit, without question, is pointed squarely at newcomers in the project market who need to get a project done and have no place to start.
Let’s start with the meat of the kit, the compressor. It’s small. So small, in fact, that if it weighed a little less you’d be able to palm the bottom of the tank like a basketball. It features gauges for tank pressure and hose pressure so you can dial in what you need and the whole rig would fit neatly in a large toolbox.
However, the system’s hidden virtues are revealed after we stop laughing at the form factor. Sure, it will only drive twelve 1” nails before the compressor needs to kick back on to air it up, but it’s uber-quiet when it does so. No one cared that it was on and off all day during my cabinet project recently, and all I had to do was close the door. You couldn’t hear it in the next room over the moderately loud TV. The day spent nailing with the 18 brad nailer was just like the higher-end models, only a bit heavier.
The air fittings were a pleasant surprise for the other half, who took the compressor and fittings to the nephew’s soccer game. After showing her how to use, it she popped it in the car and took off, confident she had it down. The same could not be said for any other compressor in the shop that’s been offered up for the same purpose.
I hate caulking with the power of a thousand suns; however the piece I had the most fun with in the kit was, indeed, the caulk gun.
Just pop a tube in the barrel and set the pressure to 35 psi and pull the trigger. You get a flawless bead every time. I played around putting a bead on the inside of one of the cabinet doors, then drug the whole unit to the back bedroom to caulk the crown I’d been putting off for 3 years. It’s that quick.
Let me say in black and white that the FP260097 combo kit isn’t for pros. It doesn’t have enough features or sport a big enough compressor to get the job done in a production environment. What it does do well is get a novice that may be apprehensive about tackling a DIY project at home armed with the gear to get moving. Within ten minutes of opening the kit you can be set up and working — and there’s something to be said for that. Throw in the other cheap-o hand tools that come with the combo, and it’s a decent deal. It won’t change your life, but for $140 it might help change your outlook on what’s possible around the house.
Model FP260097 Home Improvement Kit [Campbell Hausfeld]