7 Quietest Air Compressors to Get in 2018 – Reviews and Buying Guide

One of the essential tools for a professional or a DIYer is an air compressor. They allow you to work with so many different kinds of tools and provide tons of power that will last you all day long. The only real issue with them is that they can be extremely noisy. Some models out there would be simply deafening in a small workshop. Which is why you need to make sure that you find the best quiet air compressor on the market today if you want to use it without damaging your hearing.

Now, as you might expect, finding a good quiet air compressor is easier said than done. First off, if you’re in search for a quiet air compressor – as quiet as it can be, you need to take into account the number of decibels that the compressor puts out while it operates. Also, you need to consider whether you want a compressor that needs oil or is oil-free – as it affects both durability and ease of use of an air compressor. The types of tools you intend to use the compressor with and the PSI that you need are also critical for a perfect pick.

Top 7 Air Compressors Review 2018

Luckily for you, we have done all of that hard work for you. We have spent countless hours researching hundreds of real customer reviews to find the best quiet air compressors on the market today. If you already know what you are looking for in a compressor, then you can go right to our detailed reviews and table to find the right one for your needs. On the other hand, if you are just starting your search, then you’ll want to check out our buying guide, as this will tell you everything you need to know to find the right compressor for your needs.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. California Air Tools 5510SE (Editor’s Choice)
Large compressor with a 5.5-gallon tank and a high enough CFM to power almost any tool
California-Air-Tools-5510SE
2. California Air Tools 8010DSPC (The Quietest Air Compressor)
Extremely quiet air compressor with a high PSI threshold and a large tank
CaliforniaAirTools8010DSPC
3. California Air Tools CAT-4610AC (Best Quiet Garage Air Compressor)
Dual-tank air compressor with a powerful motor ideal for almost any garage tasks
California-Air-Tools-CAT-4610AC
4. California Air Tools 2010A
Portable and relatively small air compressor with a rubber grip, perfect to carry around
California-Air-Tools-2010A
5. Hitachi EC28M (Best Quiet Compressor for Home Use)
Highly portable air compressor that is easy to use and maintain
Hitachi-EC28M
6. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S (Budget Pick)
Small and lightweight air compressor that comes at a great price
California-Air-Tools-CAT-1P1060S-2
7. Excel SAC22HPE (Best Quiet Air Compressor for Inflating Tires)
Relatively small compressor suitable for lighter jobs
Excel-SAC22HPE
Features
  • Noise level: 60 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded
  • Tank capacity: 5.5 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 120
  • CFM: 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI, 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: 1.0 HP
  • Warranty: 1 year, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.8 out of 10

This just might be the best all-around quiet air compressor on the market today. It has a larger than average tank, which makes it more likely that it will be able to keep up with you while you are working, even if you choose to operate tools that consume a ton of air. The powerful motor helps with this task, as does its durable and well-designed dual-piston pump. The motor only runs at about 1,680 RPM, which not only helps it to work quietly but will also make it more durable and long-lasting.

Even though this compressor is on the larger side, it is still remarkably quiet. It operates at only about 60 dB, making it one of the quietest compressors available. It also has a built-in cooling feature that helps to keep it from overheating during operation, even if it is run pretty much continuously.

This compressor is also much more portable than one would expect for a tool of its size. Even though it weighs in at about 50 lbs, this compressor can easily be transported from place to place. This is because it has large wheels, which allow it to be rolled about much like a wheelbarrow.

PROS:
  • Quiet
  • Large tank
  • Powerful motor
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to transport

CONS:
  • Short warranty

Features
  • Noise level: 40 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered
  • Tank capacity: 8 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 115
  • CFM: 4.0 CFM @ 40 PSI, 3.0 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: 1 HP
  • Warranty: 18 months, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

If you are truly in the market for the quietest air compressor around, and the cost is not an issue, then this is the model for you! It operates at an insanely quiet 40 dB, which is equivalent to the noise level you would find in a quiet library setting. This makes it an ideal choice for a smaller size area since it is so quiet.

This compressor also has one of the most powerful motors and large tanks on the market for a quiet model. It will be able to handle pretty much any tool or job that you can think of. It also has a cooler that helps to keep it nice and cool, even if it is operated continuously. This even works if the compressor is placed in a confined space, which is because the compressor is already enclosed in a cabinet.

Though this cabinet would work well in a small space, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be used in a large shop as well. Since it has casters on the bottom, it is simple to move along with you, as long as you have a long enough extension cord. It is also a basically maintenance free model, since it does not require any oil for lubrication.

PROS:
  • Extremely quiet
  • High PSI threshold
  • Large tank
  • Easy to maintain
  • Cool quickly

CONS:
  • On the pricey side

Features
  • Noise level: 60 dB
  • Type: twin tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded
  • Tank capacity: 4.6 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 120
  • CFM: 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI, 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: 1.0 (running) – 2.0 (peak) HP
  • Warranty: 1 year, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.3 out of 10

The best thing about this compressor, aside from its quiet operation noise level of only 60 dB, is the fact that it has two tanks. This double tank system helps to keep it well supplied with air so that you should not have any trouble at all of running pretty much any tool that you want to off of the compressor. This compressor also has one of the more powerful motors out there, as it can run at 2.0 HP if necessary, which is ideal if you need to use it often.

This compressor is also oil-free, making its sound level even more impressive. This oil-free operation also makes this compressor basically maintenance free, which is always ideal. The dual piston pump is designed to have a life cycle of over 3,000 hours, making this one of the longest lasting, and hardworking, compressors on the market.

While it would be possible to carry this compressor around with you while you work, it certainly isn’t the most portable compressor around. With its dual tanks, this compressor weighs about 50 lbs. The fact that it doesn’t have any wheels also makes it more difficult to transport, though it could be done.

PROS:
  • Dual tank
  • High PSI threshold
  • Powerful motor
  • Easy to maintain
  • Quiet

CONS:
  • Short warranty
  • Heavy

Features
  • Noise level: 60 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded
  • Tank capacity: 2.0 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 120
  • CFM: 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI, 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: 1.0 (running) – 2.0 (peak) HP
  • Warranty: 1 year, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

While this compressor from California Air Tools only has one tank, it will still be able to handle pretty much any work that you have in mind. This is because it has one of the most powerful motors on the market today, which can operate at 2.0 HP at its peak. In fact, it only takes this compressor about 50 seconds to fill itself before operation and only 14 seconds to refill while you work.

The powerful motor does not have any effect on the sound level, however. Even though this compressor has a powerful motor, it only puts out 60 dB of sound, which is about as loud as a dishwasher when it is running.

This compressor is also much highly portable. Even though it doesn’t have any wheels to pull it around, it is light enough to carry from place to place with no trouble at all. All you would need to do is be sure that you have a long enough extension cord and you’ll be set to operate it pretty much anywhere. The comfortable rubber grip makes it a comfort to haul from place to place, even if you have to carry it a great distance.

PROS:
  • Powerful motor
  • Easy to maintain
  • Quiet
  • Portable

CONS:
  • Short warranty

Features
  • Noise level: 59 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded, 120V/60Hz
  • Tank capacity: 1 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 125
  • CFM: 0.8 CFM @ 90 PSI, 1.3 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • Motor: induction, 0.5 HP
  • Warranty: 1 year, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

If you are looking for a good compressor that is also quiet for your home workshop, then this model might be a good option. It only puts out about 59 dB, making it a nice and quiet choice for smaller jobs. This noise level puts it at about as loud as a normal conversation, making it safe to use for long periods of time. It is also effortless to maintain, since it does not use oil for its lubricant.

This compressor is also one of the most portable, quiet compressors on the market today. It only weighs about 25 pounds, making it simple to carry with you wherever you need to get your work done. Of course, it can also be stored in the same location all the time, even if space is a bit tight. It has a built in overload protection circuit to protect it from overheating during continuous operation.

The only real drawback for this compressor is that it is not very powerful. If you intend to use this with air gobbling tools on a constant basis, this compressor might not be able to keep up. The motor is a bit undersized, and though the PSI threshold is nice and high, it might not be able to keep the tools running during extended use.

PROS:
  • Quiet
  • Easy to maintain
  • High PSI threshold

CONS:
  • Short warranty
  • Weaker motor

Features
  • Noise level: 56 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded
  • Tank capacity: 1 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 120
  • CFM: 1.60 CFM @ 40 PSI, 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: 0.6 HP
  • Warranty: 1 year, limited

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

If you are looking for a compressor that is nice and quiet and light enough to carry around with you while you work, then this just might be the right compressor for you. This minuscule compressor weighs in at only 30 pounds, which makes it super simple to transport. It is also nice and quiet, as it only puts out about 56 dB of sound during peak operation.

This is also one of the most durable compressors on the market, which is not a big surprise with California Air Tools. The engine features a single piston design that makes it more durable and efficient. It runs at about 1,680 RPM, making it less likely that the motor will wear out on you. It is also oil-free, which helps to make this compressor basically maintenance free.

Of course, there are a couple of drawbacks to having a compressor that is this small and lightweight. First of all, it has a bit of a weaker motor. While it can still operate at a pretty high PSI threshold (120), it will take it a bit longer to refill. This might make it challenging to run air guzzling tools for a long period without having to wait for the compressor to catch up.

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • Quiet
  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight

CONS:
  • Weaker motor
  • Small tank
  • Short warranty

Features
  • Noise level: 61 dB
  • Type: one tank, oil-free
  • Power source: electric-powered, corded
  • Tank capacity: 2 gal.
  • Maximum PSI: 125
  • CFM: 3.0 CFM @40 PSI, 2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Motor: induction, HP not specified
  • Warranty: not specified

OVERALL RATING: 8.7 out of 10

This is another nice and quiet compressor that operates at about 61 dB. It has a relatively high PSI threshold, as it can max out at about 125 PSI. It has a good sized tank and uses an oil-free motor, making it simple and easy to maintain.

The motor on this particular compressor is not quite as powerful as some others on this list. It takes a good minute for it to fill with air and about 30 seconds to recover any air that you use. This makes it more suitable for lighter jobs, such as filling tires or using a finishing nailer. It is not designed to take on heavy amounts of work, and will struggle to keep up should you try to use more heavy-duty tools with it.

This compressor is also on the heavier side. This probably won’t be too big of a deal if all you intend to do with it is use it every once in a while. Since it weighs around 50 lbs, it would be too heavy to carry around with you all over the place, especially since it doesn’t have any wheels.

PROS:
  • Quiet
  • High PSI threshold
  • Easy to maintain

CONS:
  • We couldn’t find any information about the warranty

Buying Guide

Although now you know that there are several great quiet air compressors on the market, you probably need more information at hand to make a perfect choice. In this section, we explain what makes these air compressors so quiet, as well as what features you need to consider before buying.

Quieter is better, but why?

Now, you may be asking yourself, why exactly do I need a quiet compressor? What makes them so much better? To understand this, you first need to understand the rating scale for sound. Units of sound are measured in something called decibels, which is written as dB for short. The more dB produced, the louder a sound. Obviously, the higher the dB count, the more likely that the sound can cause some permanent damage to your hearing over time.

However, what lots of people don’t understand is that even a moderately loud appliance, such as a vacuum cleaner, which is usually only about 60 dB, can cause permanent hearing loss over time. Most standard air compressors emit about 80-90 dB, making them a poor choice if you want to operate them over long periods of time without using hearing protection.

To put it plain and simple, the biggest reason to get a quiet compressor is to try and protect your hearing. The last thing you want to do is damage your hearing permanently just because you were working in your shop. A quiet compressor will also make for a happier neighborhood and household. Some of the compressors, like the California Air Tools 8010DSPC, only operate at around 40 dB, which is as quiet as a library!

7 Quietest Air Compressors to Get in 2018 – Reviews and Buying Guide

What makes these compressors so quiet?

So, you might be wondering, exactly how do companies go about making their compressors so quiet, when most of them are so noisy? They do this in a couple of different ways. It all starts in the manufacturing and designing process. By swapping out a couple of materials in the compressor’s construction, the noise level can be greatly reduced.

Rubber components – Some of the sounds that come from the compressor are not actually from the operation of the pump itself. Lots of the sound that you hear during the operation the compressor is the interaction of the tool and the floor it is sitting on. By adding rubber isolation pads, companies are working to reduce these vibrations and the noise that they cause.

While it might seem like a simple step to take, these pads can help reduce the noise level quite a bit. They can take a compressor that would usually operate at 90 dB, which is quite dangerous for our hearing over time, and reduce it to around 70 dB, which is only as loud as a normal conversation!

Sound dampening – If you were to look at the pump on an older model compressor, you would quickly notice something troubling. These older compressors had nothing covering up their pumps, which allowed all of that loudness to quickly and easily spread throughout the workspace.

Nowadays, manufacturers are starting to make compressors with thicker steel or aluminum, which helps to reduce the noise level. Sound-dampening enclosures that completely cover up the pumps are also used in modern compressors, which again help to reduce the noise level by quite a bit.

Power source – When it comes to compressors, you have two different choices for how you want to power it. You can either choose a gas powered compressor or one that runs on electricity. While gas-powered compressors are more portable, they are also substantially louder than electric ones. This makes electric compressors a much better choice if you are looking to keep it as quiet as possible.

Key Features

It should come as no surprise that there are several key factors that you need to keep in mind when you are looking for a quiet air compressor. In this section, we’ll review everything that you need to know to find the right compressor for your needs.

Compressor type

Reciprocating Quiet Air CompressorThere are a couple of different compressor types that you can choose from. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that make them unique from each other. They use different methods to collect, compress, and store air.

Reciprocating – This is by far the most common type of air compressor. This is a straightforward and simple machine that uses a piston to power its motor. This piston moves up and down quickly and captures air.

These types of compressors can either be single-stage or duplex models, with duplex being much quieter. This is because they can produce more air with fewer revolutions and allow for much better cooling. If you choose this type of compressor, be sure that you look for low compressors that are equipped with an aftercooler.

Rotary Screw – These compressors are much quieter than reciprocating models. Instead of having a piston that captures the air, these compressors have a pair of matching helical screws which operate independently of each other.

Since these screws do not touch each other, this helps to keep these models really quiet. It also helps to prevent them from overheating. Rotary screw compressors are great for small spaces since they can be mounted close by without requiring any sort of hearing protection.

Scroll – These are, by far, the quietest and most efficient types of air compressors. They are also the most expensive to purchase. These types of compressors use two spiral-shaped pieces of metal to compress the air. One of the pieces rotates around the other in a circular motion, which creates the desired compression.

This type of compressor is meant for continuous use, though they don’t have a high CFM capacity. They are very quiet, however, and will not overheat, even if they are run all day long.

Number of tanks

cat-two-tankThe number of tanks that you need on your compressor is largely dependent on what you intend to do with it. You can get a quiet compressor with one or two tanks, depending on your needs.

One Tank – Single-tank air compressors usually have much smaller storage capacities than models that have two tanks. This makes them a good option for light use around the house, but not quite as effective in an industrial setting.

Two Tanks – If you are looking for a higher level of performance from your compressor, then you might want to get one with two tanks. While they are more expensive than a single tank compressor, they have a higher air storage capacity, which makes it possible to complete more work in less time.

Lubricant

Like all engines, air compressor pumps require some lubricant. You can choose a model that uses oil or one that utilizes a specialized type of Teflon for its lubricant.

Oil – If your compressor uses oil for its lubrication, you will simply need to add some every once in a while. These compressors are usually better suited to heavy use and are also much quieter to operate. Their only drawback is that they will cost a bit more to run since you need to purchase the oil to keep them lubricated.

Oil-free – These compressors use a band of Teflon to keep them lubricated during operation. They are usually a bit more expensive upfront than a model that uses oil. They are also louder than oiled compressors, though some models are still pretty quiet, as the California Air Tools 8010DSPC.

Power source

California Air Tools 8010DSPC Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free

When you are selecting your compressor, you have two options to consider when it comes to powering it. You can either go with a gas powered or electrically powered compressor.

Gas – Air compressors that run on gas are more portable than electric models. They are also a bit louder since they are utilizing a combustion engine to power their pump and compress air.

Electric – Electric compressors might not be as portable as gas compressors, but they are still quite effective. They are much cheaper to run than a gas-powered model and are also much quieter to operate.

Tank volume

The tank volume describes how much air the compressor can store at any given time. The amount of volume that you require is completely dependent on the type of work that you intend to complete with your compressor.

If, for instance, you only intend to use it in a home workshop where the compressor will only see moderate use, you can probably go for a smaller tank. On the other hand, if you are going to be running your compressor all the time in an industrial setting, then you will want to get a higher capacity tank so that your needs are met.

Performance

Several factors will affect the performance of your compressor. You need to make sure that the PSI, CFM, and the power of the motor all line up with your needs, or you won’t be able to complete the work that you need to get done.

PSI – The PSI is the amount of pressure that the compressor can create. The type of work you intend to do will help you to determine the amount of PSI that you need. If you only want to fill up air tires or run small tools, you can get by with a lower PSI than if you’re going to run more powerful tools.

CFM – The CFM (cubic foot per minute) of a compressor describes how quickly the compressor can refill. The higher the number, the faster the compressor will be able to fill itself during use. You will also pay a bit more for a higher CFM, so keep in mind how often you will use your compressor before you make your purchase.

Motor – The power of the motor is described as horsepower or HP. The higher the number, the more powerful the motor. Of course, the more powerful the motor, the louder the compressor is probably going to be.

Compressor MotorDurability

No matter how you intend to use your compressor, you want to make sure that you get one that will last a good long time. Make sure that you get one that is well designed and manufactured with high-quality materials. Models that use a less powerful motor tend to be the most durable.

Warranty

No matter how durable your compressor might be, you should always keep on the lookout for a model with a good warranty. Even highly durable model is going to have some parts that fail, even if the whole compressor itself doesn’t.

You just need to make sure that you select a model that comes with a clear warranty. Some of the warranties offered on compressors only cover certain elements for a long period, while other parts are covered for a shorter amount of time. Make sure you read the fine print, so you are aware of how long of a warranty you are actually getting.

Usage Types

The good thing about air compressors is that they are so versatile. They can be used with a large range of tools, making them ideal for the home workshop or a more industrial setting. Of course, not all compressors can be used for every job.

When purchasing your compressor, be sure that you understand how much PSI and CFM the tools you intend to use require. That way, you can make sure to get a compressor that can give you the power you need. This is especially important to keep in mind with a quiet compressor since they do not have quite as high of a PSI threshold as other, louder compressors.

Maintenance

The other good thing about an air compressor is that they don’t usually require a ton of maintenance. If you get a model that needs oil, make sure that you add it regularly. If you decide to go with an oil-less compressor, keep a lookout for signs of wear on the Teflon, as this will need to be replaced every few years.

FAQ

The purpose of a water separator is to help keep water from condensing inside of your tools while you are using them. While you could most certainly get one for these compressors, they are not a necessity, unless you intend to use your compressor for painting. If not, as long as you release the condensed water every once in a while, you should be just fine.

The number of gallons that you need for any given tool is largely dependent on how often you intend to use it. If you are going to be running your impact wrench constantly, as you would in a professional garage, then you will need a larger compressor that can store more air and has a higher CFM rating. If you are only going to be working on one tire at a time on your personal vehicle, then you should be fine with pretty much any size of compressor.

Unlike other air tools, such as an impact wrench or driver, nail guns use a very small amount of air each time they are run. If you only intend to use a nail gun every once in a while, you can get by with pretty much any size of compressor, from a 1-gallon tank and up.

Our Verdict

There are tons of different air compressors on the market today. The three that are listed below are what we consider to be the best of the best when it comes to quiet air compressors.

Of all the different compressors that we looked at the California Air Tools 5510SE is probably the best quiet air compressor available today. It has a powerful, yet durable motor that is still nice and quiet. This compressor is also highly portable, making it ideal for both using pretty much anywhere with pretty much any tools.

If you are truly looking for the quietest compressor around, and you are not worried about the cost, then you’ll want to check out the California Air Tools 8010DSPC. It operates at only 40 dB and can be used pretty much continuously. Though it is extremely expensive, it is well worth it.

On the other hand, if you are looking to save as much money as possible, then you will want to check out the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S. It is much cheaper than other quiet compressors, but is still powerful enough for day to day use. It is also highly portable, making it great for use in the house or the garage.

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