In this Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 Review you’ll find out what makes this air compressor so enduring and worthy of the price. No, it’s not the cheapest air compressors but it’s certainly one of the best that your money can buy. Let’s dissect it to find out why — for starters, it’s quiet at only 78dB, which is impressive for an air compressor this size.
Whether you’re a professional, a hobbyist or a weekend DIY guy or girl, this air compressor is a great choice if you have the budget and more importantly, the need for reliable air compressor.
The name Ingersoll Rand has always been associated with heavy-duty industrial equipment. In the air compressor market, this is a brand worthy of recognition. When reviewing the Ingersoll Rand SS5L5, single stage, 60-gallon air compressor, we’ll also cover the history of this brand.
As a kid, Ingersoll Rand was one of the first brands I recognized. Go figure. I suppose this stems from an in-born fascination with big machines. On road-building projects and construction sites, one will usually see an Ingersoll Rand diesel, or gas air compressor supplying the heavy-duty jackhammers and other construction equipment. It is from this observation, that I became familiar with the brand, long before I had any real understanding of engineering and machinery.
VIDEO — Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 (Tractor Supply)
Note : Ingersoll Rand has really stepped up their game with their new air compressor videos. You’ll see another one later in the article for their classic 2-stage 2475N7.5 (Tractor Supply). I think a lot of big traditional industries fail in their ability to product slick informative content. I’m happy to see that Ingersoll Rand has become a leader in marketing. Let’s be honest, air compressors aren’t that sexy but Ingersoll Rand has truly pulled a rabbit out a hat. Well done!
Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 Review
I suppose, in a way, reviewing the Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 hails back to a childhood fascination with growling machines that did super-cool stuff. The no-fuss industrial appearance of this air compressor certainly does this image justice. Though, I won’t be reviewing this machine based on looks but, rather, its specifications and performance. On the whole, I’m suitably impressed with the SS5L5 air compressor. There are some concerns that I’ve seen mentioned in customer reviews and discussion forums. I’ll be discussing these too.
Basic overview ► Ingersoll Rand SS5L5
- Durable cast-iron cylinders, heads, and frame are designed for continuous operation and extended pump life
- Oversized belt wheel provides reliable design and cooler operation
- Ingersoll Rand synthetic lubricant provides 2,000-hour oil change intervals(four times longer than mineral-based lubricants
- High-efficiency stainless steel finger valves are simple, efficient, and easy to maintain
- Manual thermal overload protection of the motor
- Durable cast iron construction with precision engineered quality components.
- Warranty on the pump extends to 2 years with the use of appropriate start-up kit (see below). U.S.A.
- CFM at 90 PSI: 18.1, Max. PSI: 135, Volts: 230, Amps: 22.5 at full load; 120 at startup;
- recommend 60 Amp dual pull breaker,
- HP: 11.5, Air Tank Size (gal.): 60,
- Tank Description: Vertical,
- Pump: Single-stage oil-lubricated belt-driven,
- Air Outlet Size (in.): 1/2, Portable or Stationary: Stationary,
- Dimensions L x W x H (in.): 20 x 30 x 71
The Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 is a powerful 5HP, singles stage air compressor with a 60-gallon air storage tank. Despite the pressure limitations of the single stage pump, the SS5L5 has a rated 100% duty cycle. Recovery rate is 18.1 CFM at 90 PSI and maximum pressure is 135 PSI. The large storage tank, and double piston pump make this a perfect air compressor for multiple pneumatic tools in a commercial shop and spray booths.
I guess most DIY guys might want something a little smaller, perhaps more portable. The Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 is a big, industrial machine, standing 71” tall, with a weight of 310-pounds. Even though this is not your average DIY air compressor, I can see it being used in the home shop of a serious enthusiast. If you’re frustrated with long waiting times for your portable air compressor to regain pressure, this machine will be a dream come true.
It is also much quieter than I’d have expected. Not that an industrial 5HP air compressor will ever be quiet. If you’re going to be using this compressor in a home shop or garage, you’ll need to keep in mind that it requires a 230V single phase power supply. I calculate a running amperage of just over 16A. Though, it would probably require a high startup current. So, I’d recommend at least a 35A breaker to supply the air compressor.
A STEP UP — Ingersoll Rand 2475N7.5 (Tractor Supply) / 2-Stage
The oversized pump drive wheel is partly responsible for the great performance delivered by the Ingersoll Rand SS5L5. The pump runs at 920RPM, forcing more air through at a faster rate than pumps that run at lower RPM. While this makes the Ingersoll Rand air compressor a powerhouse, it has created some unwanted issues, which I’ll be discussing later.
As we’ve all come to expect from the brand, the Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 is all about heavy-duty robust design and build. The cast iron pump is an indication to the nature of this formidable beast. Using the recommended Ingersoll Rand synthetic lubricant, this pump should last for decades, without too much maintenance. Oil change intervals are specified at 2,000 hours, which is fantastic. The oil filler and drain plugs are positioned for easy maintenance and the oil level view window helps you keep an eye on the oil level at all times.
The air intake has large industrial air filter, which is also easy to replace. Since this is a truly industrial-grade air compressor, all the pipes and fittings are of the highest standard. This means copper pipes and brass fittings.
Now it’s time to address the not so great news concerning this machine. I’ve read of some people experiencing a pressure loss from the pump after a few years of use. Because some folks have gone for years with no issues, I did some research into why others have not been as fortunate. The cause of the problem seems to be the higher than average RPM, which generates more friction and, therefore, more heat in the pump. If the compressor does not have adequate cooling, say in a poorly ventilated area, the pump will overheat. It can become so bad that the gasket will blow prematurely.
VIDEO — Troubleshooting : Leaking Air / Air Compressor
As is the way of gaskets, they always break at the thinnest point. This is usually between the two cylinders. When this happens, the two pistons are pumping air to one another, instead of feeding the outlet to the tank. The result being no air pressure. Fortunately, the gaskets (you’ll need to replace the full set) are not expensive, and easy to obtain. It isn’t a difficult task replacing the gaskets either. Just remember to torque the pump cylinder head correctly when the job is done. Then recheck the torque after running the pump for long enough to reach operating temperature.
Ideally, though, you don’t want this inconvenience or additional maintenance costs, albeit not that much. You should be able to avoid the overheating issue entirely, with a little care. First, you’ll need to confirm whether you actually need to take precautions. If your SS5L5 air compressor is running cool enough, there’s no need for any additional measure to be taken.
After the compressor has run continuously for about an hour, feel the area close to the top of the pump. Obviously, you should not touch the pump, as it can be dangerously hot. Fortunately, a protective metal cage prevents you from getting too close to the working machinery, but the pump cylinder head protrudes above this cage. If you suspect that the pump is overheating, you need to take measure to improve cooling. Check that you have good ventilation around the air compressor. Remember that cooling is of greatest importance over to top of the pump, as this is where most of the heat is concentrated. Installing a fan to blow cool over the top of the machine will be the best way to ensure that it never overheats.
If your air compressor has been running at high temperatures, you should do a bit of preventative maintenance before problems arise. Expansion and contraction, caused by extreme temperature changes, may cause bolts to loosen. Check the torque on the cylinder head bolts, to make sure that the compression inside the pump has not been affected.
VIDEO —- Maintenance / Ingersoll Rand Air Compressors
In conclusion, I have to emphasize that this heating issue should not be cause for alarm. I’ve experienced this with other air compressors in the past. It’s one of those things, if you increase the performance of a machine, it will have side effects and heat is usually one of them. Not everyone will experience this. It will have a lot to do with the ambient temperature, colder areas won’t easily experience any heat issues. It will also be affected by the installation of your air compressor, always ensure adequate ventilation. If the air compressor doesn’t run continuously for long periods, you will probably never experience heating issues.
When all is said and done, this is a truly tough machine, from one of the best industrial air compressor brands. It is built to last and doesn’t require much maintenance. The large volume, 60-gallon tank, and fast recovery rate means that you can work continuously without downtime. That’s what we are all looking for in a professional grade air compressor.
Brand History — Ingersoll Rand
The brand derives its name from two inventors, Simon Ingersoll (1818 – 1894) and Addison Crittenden Rand (1841 – 1900). Ingersoll patented a rock drill in 1871, which would come to replace the traditional hammer and chisel for construction and mining. Although, Ingersoll was never at helm of the company, his name was given to the Ingersoll Rock Drilling Company, established in 1874. Ingersoll was not a businessman. He was an inventor and farmer. To this end, he was never to see any profits from his rock drill invention, which was improved upon by Henry Clark Sergeant. The original drill, invented by Ingersoll, was powered using steam. Sergeant improved the design, to make the drill more practical and durable. He also substituted steam with compressed air.
In 1885, Sergeant developed a new, and entirely different type of drill, founding the Sergeant Drill Company. In 1888, Sergeant Drill Company and Ingersoll Rock Drilling Company merged, to form Ingersoll-Sergeant Rock Drill Company.
Around the same time as Ingersoll was developing his rock drill, primarily for the construction and roads industry, Rand was engineering his own version of the rock drill. Addison Rand had a brother in mining industry, which was the reason for inventing a drill that could be used for underground mining. The Rand Drill Company was a manufacturer of rock drills, specifically aimed at the mining industry.
By the beginning of the 20th century Ingersoll-Sergeant Rock Drill Company supplied the construction and road building industry, whereas Rand Drill Company supplied the drills mostly for mining. The two companies coexisted without competing in the same field.
In 1905, both companies were acquired by W.R Grace & Company. A new company was incorporated, Ingersoll-Rand Company. The first president of the new enterprise was an engineer, William Lawrence Saunders. He was responsible for inventing compressed air drilling equipment for the oil industry. This would form a large portion of Ingersoll Rand business until the oil crisis of the 1970’s. Yet, oil drilling equipment would always be part of the Ingersoll Rand legacy, as they remain world leaders in this field.
In the early 20th century, Ingersoll-Rand focused on expanding their expertise in the air compressor and pneumatic tool industries. New innovations in the area of diesel-powered air compressors, drilling equipment, and tools, like the jackhammer, saw this become a worldwide brand. In the 1920’s Ingersoll-Rand supplied diesel engines for train locomotives, manufactured by General Electric and ALCO. In 1933 Ingersoll-Rand developed a portable air compressor, which would be improved upon in the 1950s.
Through the rest of the 20th century the company continued to expand internationally. By 1960 Ingersoll-Rand operated 36 US facilities and 17 in other countries. Acquisitions, included several rock cutting and drilling enterprises, as well as construction equipment companies. Ingersoll Rand expanded into Canada, Asia, and Africa, to become largest heavy construction and drilling company in the world.
In 2020, Ingersoll Rand, now trading as a brand owned by Trane Technologies, merged with Gardner Denver Inc. Gardner Denver is another American industrial machinery manufacturer, dating back to 1859. The company was involved in the development and manufacture of, among other things, industrial air compressors, vacuum technology, and mobile transport products.
Learn more about Trane Technologies.