The idea of a quiet air compressor seems unattainable to a lot of people, and until recently that was the case. Now some air compressors are built from the ground up to not only be quiet, but to do so without losing any of their efficiency. This is a big improvement on the older models that were so loud they could wake the neighbors. The introduction of quiet compressors has made things more interesting in the industry when it comes to deciding on the best option for home and commercial use.
Quiet Air Compressor Reviews
There are silent air compressors out there that can give you the full performance you need to get any job done, whether at the office, home, or your work site—all without the noise.
Traditional models can be noisy and disruptive, drowning out the voices of the people around you and even causing hearing damage over time. They can also be dangerous by causing miscommunication on packed worksites, which can lead to accidents and injuries. And to top it all off, a lot of them are bulky and heavy, making them hard to move around and transport to your work site.
If you decide to buy any of these we have listed here, rest assured that they are at least 50% quieter than what you’re used to. Apart from the great reviews from both users and product reviewers online, the competitive pricing of these Dewalt DWFP55130 and California Air Tools CAT 1610A models is another incentive to buy; this is a decision by manufacturers to move the market towards quieter air compressors, proving that they don’t have to be loud anymore. Here, we’ll walk you through what to look for in an air compressor, as well as some of the best models out there so that you can find the best quiet air compressor for you.
1. The Winner
California Air Tools 1P1060S
California Air Tools has a different air compressor for just about everyone. This is one of the quietest air compressors out there. At only 56 decibels, you may not even notice it running as you work. Although it is most notable for its low decibel rating, it is also a highly portable option. Weighing in at 29.5 pounds, you’ll be able to take it to just about any job site. Once you’re on site, the device can easily be moved around, and its compact build makes it easy to fit into even the most crowded work area.
Despite producing little noise, it has a powerful 0.6-HP motor that can power just about any tool. The single-piston pump has a life cycle of over 3000 hours, making this one of the most durable air compressors. Additionally,this air compressor is oil free, so you can use it in just about any weather. Like the Hitachi, this is a great option for those that need performance in a compact device that won’t produce too much noise. It’s perfect for offices and indoor job sites where you’ll need to be able to talk without yelling across the room. It’s a bit heavier than the Hitachi, but also a bit quieter.
- One of the quietest air compressors out there, at only 56 decibels
- Weighing 29.5 pounds, you can transport it easily
- Durable pump with a life cycle of around 3000 hours
- Efficient and powerful 0.6-HP motor will power all of your tools
2. Runner Up
California Air Tools 2010A
California Air Tools makes a wide range of quality air compressors. The 2010A is one of their lightest offerings. It is also one of the quietest air compressors out there, operating at 60 decibels.
This model weighs only 35 pounds. No matter what type of job site you need it for, it can be easily loaded into your van. Despite its light weight, it packs a powerful punch with a 2.0-HP motor that will give you 90 PSI.
The pistons are dual-pump and oil-free. That means that they are efficient and require little maintenance. Plus, the tank fills quickly, only taking 50 seconds to go from empty to full. The tank is rust free, so it can be used on jobs in humid environments without risk of corrosion.
This is one of the best air compressors for those working in tight, indoor spaces where noise is a concern. Its compact design will allow you to use it in even the most cramped environments, making it one of the more flexible options for those looking for a low-noise air compressor.
- 60 decibels makes it ideal for indoor spaces
- One of the lightest air compressors weighing only 35 pounds
- The dual-piston pump has a life cycle of over 3000 hours
- Efficient 2.0-HP motor that gives you 90 PSI
3. Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon
The Campbell Hausfeld portable is one of the best options for those looking for a heavy-duty air compressor that comes on wheels. It’s not lightweight, but can still be easily transported. It operates at 68 decibels. This is louder than some other air compressors here, but the motor is more powerful, and the tank has a much larger volume. That means it can power all of your tools for extended periods.
Although heavier than some of the air compressors reviewed here, it sits on two large wheels and has a comfortable rubber grip that makes it easy to transport. This is great for wheeling the compressor around a job site, although carrying it up stairs will require effort, as the device weighs 67 pounds. The Campbell Hausfeld quiet compressor is an excellent option for those who need a large volume tank. Since it can be wheeled around, it is easy to move around your work site, and is also great for outdoor use.
- At 68 decibels, it is still quiet enough to use indoors
- Wheel design makes it one of the most portable large-volume air compressors
- Oil-free pump and induction motor means you don’t have to worry about maintenance
- Powerful motor produces a maximum of 125 PSI, powering just about any tool
4. Dewalt Air Compressor
Dewalt is known for high-end performance and durable tools. And that’s what you’ll get with the DWFP55130 air compressor. This air compressor has a maximum air pressure of 200 PSI, making it the most powerful device featured here. Most impressively of all, it’s able to offer this performance in a package that weighs just 36 pounds.
Although it’s not the quietest compressor, it operates at a respectable 71.5 decibels. This is louder than a typical indoors conversation,but it’s still quiet enough to use inside—although you may not want to run it in a busy office. This air compressor stands out for it’s top-of-the-line performance and excellent portability. The pump produces a maximum air pressure of 200 PSI. You get all of this power in a device that can easily be carried by one person. That means you can take it to any job site. And with a slim profile, it can easily slide into the tightest spots.
The Dewalt isn’t the best option if you need something that won’t wake the neighbors. But its durable, compact build will keep pumping out high-pressure air for years to come.
- 5 decibel rating is a little higher than other air compressors, but the device more than makes up for the extra noise with outstanding performance
- At only 36 pounds, you can transport it easily
- With a maximum pressure of 200 PSI, this is one of the most powerful air compressors out there
- The classic Dewalt style and color scheme makes this air compressor stand out
5. California Air Tools
California Air Tools 4620AC
The California Air Tools 4620AC is one of the most powerful air compressors out there, offering high-end performance in a relatively compact build. The 4620AC is not small and not that large that it can not be carried by one person, although it will require a bit of effort to get it out of your van or carry up stairs.
The oil-free pump requires little maintenance, and like all of the air compressors made by California Air Tools, you’ll get a life cycle of nearly 3000 hours, making this one of the most durable air compressors out there. It’s a great option for those who need a powerful air compressor that they can move around the job site. All of this combined with some of the best performance of any air compressor makes the 4620AC one of the best all-round options out there, no matter if you need it for a home or worksite. However, since it operates at 70 decibels, it may be a bit too loud for some smaller rooms or offices.
- At 70 decibels, it gives you top-of-the-line power with a noise level that’s just a bit louder than typical speech
- Life cycle of over 3000 hours means it will last you years
- Easy-start valve makes getting the device up and running quick and easy
- Weighing 67.2 pounds, it is still portable enough to move around easily
6. Hitachi Air Compressor
The Hitachi EC28M will not blow away the competition with high-end performance or a wide range of features, but where it really stands out is portability and compact design. At only 25 pounds, you can take this air compressor with you just about anywhere. It will fit easily in any car or van, meaning you’ll have no issues getting it to your worksite. It’s a , ultra-quiet air that can power just about any tool you have.
With a compact and durable build, the Hitachi can take a beating without affecting its performance. A roll cage surrounds all of the critical components, protecting it from drops and bumps at the work site. It has a 1-gallon tank, which is fairly small for an air compressor. However, it is still enough to power most air tools, and the tank refills relatively quickly. For tools such as nail guns, it will give you more than enough air.
Anti-corrosive coatings keep the device free of rust, so you can use it in humid environments, and the rubber feet keep it from sliding, preventing any accidents while using the device. This device is perfect for those who need a quiet unit for indoor use. You won’t get the most power, but it makes up for it with its compact build and quiet operation.
- At only 59 decibels, this is one of the quietest air compressors out there
- Lightweight build—only 25 pounds—means it’s the most portable of all the compressors featured here
- Oil-free pump means little maintenance is required
- Steel roll cage keeps the device protected even on even the busiest job site
7. Excell Air Compressor
This air compressor does a little bit of everything, making it an excellent all-round option for those needing quiet performance in a compact design. Operating at 61 decibels, it is not as quiet as some other models on the list but it’s not too far off. It’s quiet enough that you’ll have no issues running it in your office while having a conversation. The roll cage will protect the critical components from damage from drops. It also doubles as a handle, giving you excellent grip whenever you transport the device.
The SAC22HPE air compressor is able to start at low temperatures, so it’s great for those that need reliable performance in cold weather. It’s a bit less portable than the Hitachi or CAT-1P1060S, but it has more power and a larger tank. With a maximum pressure of 125, you’ll get the performance you need for any job.
- 61 decibels means it’s quiet enough to have a conversation while it runs
- Excellent roll cage allows it to take a beating
- With a maximum pressure of 125 PSI, it gives you enough power for just about any tool
- Low voltage start-up capability so you can use it even when your power supply is deficient
8. Briggs & Stratton Quiet Technology
Briggs & Stratton 074045-00
Briggs & Stratton has a wide range of excellent products with impeccable engineering and design. That expertise extends to air compressors to offer an excellent all-round product that is a great choice for any homeowner. The motor powers a dual-pump system, making it efficient and quiet. It’s a low-noise air compressor that can be carried around just about any job site. It weighs 44.5 pounds, making it just a bit heavier than the lightest air compressors,but it’s compact enough that it won’t get in the way.
The Briggs & Stratton may not be the best option for those who need top-of-the-line performance. California Air Tools offers better performance in lighter packages. However, it is an excellent option for those who need a compact and silent air compressor for use for home projects.
- 60 decibels makes this air compressor suitable for even the smallest indoor spaces
- 3-gallon tank gives you plenty of compressed air for any tool
- Weighing 44.5 pounds, it’s still light enough to be handled by one person
- Oil-free pump so you don’t have to worry about maintenance
You may be thinking that your home, office, or work site could benefit from a silent air compressor. There’s a lot of range in air compressor noise levels. Some sound like a quiet hum, whereas others are as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Quiet air compressors operate at a noise level that is around that of typical speech, so they won’t drown out your conversations and can operate in homes and offices without too much disruption. Here, we’ll tell you all you need to know before you start looking for a silent air compressor, as well as the brands you can trust.
What Make An Air Compressor Quiet?
There is no exact definition for air compressors that are quiet, but models labelled “quiet” do share some common characteristics. Most of these compressors have noise levels lower than 65 decibels, which is around the noise level of a two-person conversation. That means that they are designed so that you can keep on talking even when they’re running.
Those low noise compressors are meant to run indoors, such as in offices or construction sites in apartment buildings,and almost all of them feature electric motors instead of gas, which means they emit no fumes.
About dBA Measurement and Decibel Rating
How exactly do you measure how loud an air compressor is? The most common way is with its decibel rating. Sound travels in waves through the air, and these waves have different forces depending on their amplitude. The decibel rating measures the force of these waves, which tells you how loud a sound is.
Typical speech is around 65 decibels, whereas a whisper is around 15 decibels. As the decibel rating increases, so does the risk to your hearing. Once you get to noise levels near 100 decibels, hearing damage can take place in just over 10 minutes. Traditional air compressors can have noise levels of around 90 decibels. That means they can produce hearing damage in less than an hour. Quiet air compressors, by contrast, are able to operate between 55 and 72 decibels. This means they are well within the safe range of noise levels for the human ear.
Who Should Buy A Quiet Compressor?
Traditional air compressors can get the job done for many people. But sometimes you need something that offers full performance while protecting your ear drums. A air compressor that runs on lower DB that normal compressors are perfect for those who need a device that can run indoors without having to worry about noise. They are perfect for offices, homes, or work sites. They also tend to be more portable than traditional air compressors. This makes them an excellent option for those who need a device that they can take with them to job sites.
They are excellent for construction sites where you don’t want to cause too much noise, such as in apartment buildings. They also allow you to communicate with those around you, making any job site safer. They can also protect your hearing. Traditional air compressors can get as loud as a lawnmower. Without ear protection, noise levels this high can lead to long-term hearing damage if you are exposed for extended periods. A quieter unit is great for those that need a device that will run frequently but don’t want to worry about ear protection. With the best low noise air compressors, you can carry on a conversation while it runs without having to resort to shouting.
How Are Silent Air Compressors Different From Other Air Compressors?
These quiet models are designed to reduce the amount of noise produced by the device as it operates so that they can be used indoors. Many other air compressors are designed to be used outside, and have little to no materials blocking sound. This means they can get as loud as lawnmowers, and can cause hearing problems with extended exposure.
Where The Noise In An Air Compressor Comes From
The noise in an air compressor is caused by a lot of different factors. One of the major ones is friction. When parts in an air compressor move, they make contact with one another, causing friction. This, in turn, leads to noise production. Traditional air compressors tend to have more moving parts, leading to more noise.
Many traditional air compressors are manufactured with essentially no sonic insulation. That means there’s nothing between you and the loud noise that the motor makes. How do you quiet an air compressor, then? Manufactures use a variety of materials to reduce the sound through insulation.
To limit noise, makers of quiet air compressors also use materials such as rubber to reduce vibrations that can cause noise. They also make all of the motors electric, which significantly reduces noise levels. Additionally, they use thicker metals for tanks, which reduces the sound coming from the pumps. They may also use other insulating materials to further block sound waves.
Important Things To Keep In Mind When Buying A Silent Air Compressor
There are a lot of good silent air compressors out there, and some are better at certain things than others. Here are some factors you should keep in mind when buying a silent air compressor.
This is probably the most important number for buyers of a silent air compressor. The dBA rating tells you how loud the device is as it operates. The devices reviewed here range from 56 decibels to 71.5 decibels. That’s the difference between hearing a soft-spoken voice and someone speaking just a bit too loud. Keep in mind that many traditional air compressors operate around 80 to 90 decibels.
If you need a silent air compressor that can be used in an office or small indoor space, you’ll likely want a decibel rating around 60. If you are working on a construction site, but still want something that isn’t too loud, an air compressor with a decibel rating of around 71.5 will produce a comfortable level of sound that will still allow you to carry on with your conversations.
The dBA rating will vary depending on what setting you are running the air compressor, as well as the acoustics of the room you use the device in.
The size of the tank impacts how long a tool can run before the compressor has to turn back on. Devices with smaller tanks will also tend to produce less pressure- although this is not always true. Since they have less volume for compressed air, they won’t be able to power some tools for long. Smaller tanks, however, mean that the device will be more portable.
If you need an air compressor that can power your tools for long periods, then consider one with a larger volume tank: 8 or 10 gallons. If you only need to use tools that use short bursts of air, such as nail guns, an air compressor with a volume of just 1 or 2 gallons will do.
In addition, take note if the device has one or two tanks. Two-tank devices tend to be a bit quieter, as they can produce pressurized air with fewer revolutions of the piston. Fewer revolutions means less noise. However, this comes with the trade-off of more weight, making these devices a bit less portable.
PSI And SCFM
PSI, or pounds per square inch, tells you how much pressure the air compressor produces inside the tank. SCFM, or square cubic feet per minute, tells you how much air is flowing out of the air compressor. You should pay attention to both numbers when you are purchasing a silent air compressor.
SCFM is important for matching tools to your air compressor. Certain tools will have SCFM requirements, meaning they need a certain amount of air to operate. Always check that the air compressor you are considering buying will be able to deliver enough air to power all of your tools.
PSI is an indication of how well the device’s motor can compress air. Many air compressors operate at around 90 PSI, which is usually enough for most tools you would use around the house. Some air compressors, however, can reach a PSI of up to 200, which allows them to power more specialized tools. Most homeowner won’t need this much power, but some contractors might for particular tools or jobs.
Always make sure you check the PSI and SCFM of the air compressor before you buy it so that you get a device that is compatible with your tools.
When you’re looking for a silent air compressor, it is crucial that you check the power source. This will affect how loud the device is. There are two main varieties of air compressor: electric and gas powered air compressors.
Gas motors, relying on combustion, tend to be significantly louder than electric motors. That makes them unsuitable for indoor use. Additionally, they emit fumes, which means they can only be used in areas with good ventilation.
Nearly every silent air compressor will be powered by an electric motor. Without any combustion, they operate with much less noise. They also emit no fumes, meaning they are safe to use indoors. You can run your electric quiet air compressor in your garage without any worries.
However, not all electric motors are the same. They may have different voltage requirements. Many will run when plugged into a standard household outlet, with voltage around 120V. Some, however, may need an outlet that can provide 240V. Make sure your outlets are compatible with the air compressor you intend to buy.
A quiet air compressor may also require other gear and accessories. Before buying yours, check if it is compatible with your tools and accessories. The connectors may vary by brand. The coupler you will need to connect a tool may also vary, so make sure you have all of the ones you need.
The hosing that you’ll require will depend on how much length you need on your worksite. Make sure you have the proper hose when you buy your air compressor.
Also, see what is included with the air compressor, so that you’ll have everything you need to get started once it arrives. This may include hosing, outlet connectors, and anything else you need to connect your devices to the air compressor.
In addition, make sure that you have all the tools you need for whatever jobs you have in mind. The perfect air compressor won’t do you any good if you don’t have the nail gun you need. Invest in quality tools so that you can make the most of your silent air compressor.
Different Types To Choose From
There are a few different types of air compressor that you should look out for. Some tend to be quieter than others, which may factor in to which is best for you.
Piston pump air compressors are the most common type, and the one that will most commonly be used when you need a portable device with a compact design. Like the pistons in car engines, they move up and down, capturing air. All piston pump air compressors are not made the same, however. There are two main types: single-piston and dual-piston.
Dual-piston air compressors tend to be quieter because they can move the air into the tanks with fewer rotations. By rotating less, they are able to produce less noise. This also makes them more efficient and keeps the air cooler than in single-piston air compressors. Most of the air compressors reviewed here are dual-piston pumps, part of the reason they are all so quiet and efficient.
Rotary Screw Air Compressors
These devices are much quieter than piston air compressors, but tend to be much more expensive, and are often used more for industrial applications than for home or offices.
There are two main types of rotary air compressors: oil and oil-free compressors. The oil-based versions are less portable but require less maintenance. Oil-free devices tend to be more expensive, and they often cost more money to maintain.
Whether oil-injected or oil-free, rotary screw air compressors tend to be some of the quietest compressors you can buy. This makes them perfect for workplaces or worksites where you need to carry on conversations while the device is running.
Scroll Air Compressors
These tend to be the most expensive air compressors, but they offer the best performance and produce the least noise of any air compressor. They are designed to run all day, so they are great for any industrial application where continuous use is needed.
Scroll air compressors are not portable, so if you need a device that you can take with you to various job sites, then you will want to choose a piston model. Few homeowners or contractors will require the level of performance offered by scroll air compressors.
Best Brands For Silent Air Compressors
There are a lot of different options out there for those looking for a silent air compressor. Some brands, however, are not reliable, and offer products that don’t live up to their description. Here are brands that you can trust.
California Air Tools
This is one of the industry leaders, making a wide variety of super silent air compressors for different applications. There devices are always reliable, durable, and feature some of the best performance of any air compressors.
They’re not the most elegant, but they offer a level of performance that’s hard to find in other brands. CAT specializes in air compressors, and it shows with every product.
This Japanese company is known for a wide range of quality industrial products and tools. And they offer a few quiet models you can choose from that live up to the company’s reputation in every way.
Dewaltis known for making some of the most durable and high-performance tools you can buy. Everything it makes can take a serious beating, and is designed to give you top-of-the-line performance for years.
In addition to performance and durability, Dewalt also offers some of the best style and design of any of the air compressors featured here, with its signature black and yellow color scheme and user-friendly layout. It makes the most high-powered device featured here.
Known originally as a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, Campbell Hausfeld took its engineering expertise and applied it to air compressors. Its devices are powerful and sturdy. They’re not the best machines for those looking for a light air compressor,but they still offer great portability, and excellent performance.
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton excels when it comes to making small engines. The manufacturers use that experience to design durable, efficient, and high-powered air compressors. Briggs & Stratton unitslack some of the elite performance of brands such as Dewalt and California Air Tools, but its air compressors are perfect for those looking for a device for home projects.
An air compressor doesn’t have to harm your hearing or give you a headache. There are plenty of silent air compressors out there that will give you excellent performance while allowing you to carry on with your conversations and hear your own thoughts.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to buying a silent air compressor that’s right for you. You have to consider a variety of factors before buying.
Do you need high-end performance? Will you be transporting it every day to different work sites? Or are you simply looking for the quietest air compressor out there? The answers to these questions will dictate which type of silent air compressor you should buy.
Whether you’re working on projects at home, or you are a contractor looking for a high-performance device for your work area, you’ll find the best quiet air compressor for you among those reviewed here.