There’s no lack of noise in the world around us, and silence has become a privilege not many can afford. Almost everything around us produces some level of sound, and we’ve more or less learned to live with it. However, that doesn’t mean we’ve learned to like it. Whenever we get an opportunity to choose a noiseless environment over a noisy one, we’ll choose the noiseless one every time. Discover the quietest air compressor in the following buying guide.
When it comes to purchasing a tool or product, not many of us can honestly say that we consider how much sound it produces before purchasing it. One would imagine that the size of the machine is more important than any noise considerations. And yet, here we are, talking about the best quiet air compressor, because noisy air compressor units always end up becoming an annoyance after using them for a while.
The fact of the matter is that concentration is the name of the game when we’re working with tools or operating machinery. No one wants to work in an environment where their eardrums are being pierced while using an air compressor. That’s a health and occupational hazard we can do without. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the quietest air compressors you can purchase in 2021 to meet your needs without making your ears miserable.
First, we will talk about the whats, the whys, and the hows of an air compressor, and figure out why they produce noise in the first place. We will also outline the key specifications of the quietest air compressors and what terms and numbers you should be looking out for when buying an air compressor unit. Then we will list our top picks for the quietest air compressors of the year along with a relevant description and key features of each one. Read on to find out everything you need to know about noiseless air compressors, all in one guide.
Quietest Air Compressor Reviews
How Quiet is Quiet?
One thing that is worth mentioning is that noise and silence are relative terms. An air compressor isn’t just inherently quiet, it is quiet relative to the noise in the environment. A bell that you find particularly loud might seem practically silent in an industrial setting, and even crickets aren’t soundless in absolute silence. Therefore, what one may define as quiet may not be quiet at all for someone else. To work around this, we use standardized measures of sound such as decibels (dB) to talk about how much sound a particular machine produces. 0 dB is the quietest sound that a healthy human can hear. For reference, a normal human conversation has a sound intensity of 60 dB. Anything more than that will drown out your voice. Long-term exposure to sounds above 85 dB are generally considered harmful for human ears. A noise level below 80 dB is thought to be quiet compared to our surroundings, and that is that threshold used when terming the quietest air compressors. The sound levels of the air compressors on this list are all below 80 dB, which is a feat compared to their counterparts on the market.
The ABCs of Air Compressors
Air compressors are a staple of many households, workshops, and industrial settings. They are necessary for the operation of many pneumatic or air-powered tools. Nail guns, paint sprayers, stapling guns, drills, wrenches, buffers are just a few of many tools that can be paired with air compressors to complete a variety of jobs in your house, garage, workshop, or industries like construction and manufacturing.
How does an air compressor basically work? Firstly, ore and more air is forced into a storage tank through the action of the motor. This increases the pressure of the gas inside the chamber and, depending upon the specifications of the air compressor unit, generates enough energy to power large industrial equipment or household appliances. A hose connects the air compressor to the air tools and compressed air travels to the tool by way of it, effectively powering it.
Why Use an Air Compressor
You may be wondering why you should purchase an air compressor in the first place. Some people tend to think that such machines are only meant to be used in industrial settings, and as such, they miss out on the benefits of using an air compressor. For one, these machines reduce the cost of completing jobs involving tools, making them cost-efficient. One may assume that two machines, an air compressor and an air tool, is more expensive than an electric or battery powered tool. However, the former is more cost-efficient. The combined cost of an air compressor and pneumatic nail gun is actually several hundred dollars less than the cost of an electric nail gun. On top of that, pneumatic tools are more lightweight and easy to move compared to their battery powered counterparts. Therefore, they are more versatile and user-friendly, especially when used for odd jobs around the house. Air compressors can also be used to power tools for jobs like cleaning, using an air blower, and auto repair, using an air ratchet tool. The product is also useful for people who want to connect it to a spray gun for painting, leading to a more even and smoother paint job, while also saving time. As such, there are no restrictive limits to the uses of an air compressor.
Noise by Air Compressor Type
There are 3 basic types of air compressors, and each works with a different power source. These sources are electricity, gasoline, or diesel. To use air compressors with electric engines, you need to connect them to an electricity source. These types of machines operate using induction motors and are best for personal use. Air compressors with gasoline or diesel engines normally have bigger tanks and are used for mid-range or high-end jobs. However, as their name states, they require fuel to operate.
Beyond that, there is also another classification. The way that various air compressors compress air also determine how much noise is produced. Reciprocating compressors are the most common and least expensive, and they use pistons to rapidly pump air in. If a reciprocating compressor is powered by gas, it is bound to be loud. Electrical reciprocating compressors are much quieter, but still have the sound from the pistons to content with. Having a machine with low RPM will reduce how hard the pistons are working and dampen noise. Additionally, having a thicker cast-iron cylinder around the unit will also lessen noise produced through vibrations.
The next type is a rotary screw compressor, which is much more expensive, but also much more noiseless. These include large screws that are continuously spinning and forcing air inside the container. The components in this type of air compressor do not produce vibrations and only limited noise since the screws aren’t actually touching. They also work at lower temperatures and are safer to use with pneumatic tools. Lastly, we have scroll compressors which are the most expensive and best quiet air compressor. They operate using one stationary and one mobile spiral element moving up and down a cylinder, forcing air inside. This type of compressor is exclusively found in commercial factories, where they run continuously.
CFM and PSI
The CFM (cubic feet per meter) and PSI/psi (pounds per square inch) are both ratings that you need to look out for when searching for the quietest air compressor. The CFM rating tells us how much air the air compressor is able to supply (its output rate) when it’s operational. The psi count is a measure of how much force or pressure is applied per square inch, and is equivalent to the power of the compressed air. To simplify it, the CFM is the amount of air supplied, while the psi is the power of air supplied. These two metrics are interrelated. Air compressors specifications will always include these two ratings as they are a testament to the functionality of the machine.
The higher the CFM rating at a standard psi count (usually 90 psi), the better the air compressor. More versatile air compressors are able to deliver different CFM ratings at different psi counts, allowing them to be used for a range of jobs in multiple settings. To give you an idea, a 3.0 CFM is ideal for light tools. 4.0 to 5.0 CFM is the sweet spot for operating different kinds of tools in a workshop, and a CFM for 5.0 is required to power industrial appliances. It is important to find the quietest air compressor that gives the highest CFM airflow required for your tools at a certain psi count. Too high of a CFM rating means extra unwanted noise, and we want to avoid that. This will save you the headache of trying to work with a noisy air compressor down the line.
To Oil or Not to Oil
Friction and noise go hand in hand. If you think of the various moving parts of an air compressor constantly grinding and rubbing against each other, you can almost hear the grating sound they produce, not to mention the incessant vibrations. We present you: oil. Lubrication goes a long way in smoothening the function of an air compressor and protecting the components from wear and tear. Oil lessens the unwanted friction in the machine and ensures that all the parts keep working smoothly. This reduces the amount of sound the air compressor produces while working.
Oil lubricated machines are almost always quieter than machines that aren’t oil lubricated. However, there’s a catch. Introducing oil into the system means regular maintenance, not to mention frequent oil top-ups. You also need to be wary of oil leaks since oil dripping into the air compressor’s storage tank will affect the performance of the product. All this checking and cleaning might not be what you signed up for when you searched for the quietest air compressor. Therefore, we would recommend avoiding oil lubricated machines altogether to save yourself the trouble.
Bigger and Better
The capacity of an air compressor’s storage tank, measured in gallons, is one of its most important attributes. The motor of an air compressor works by filling the tank with air, which is then compressed and supplied to a tool through a hose. There isn’t a continuous supply of air, as one might think. If there isn’t sufficient air stored inside the tank, the pressure and air speed will slowly decrease until you’ll have to pause work so that the motor can turn on and refill the tank. This can take any amount of time, wasting precious minutes. An air compressor with a large storage tank will be able to power a tool for longer in one go, or even power multiple tools at the same time. This feature is especially important when operating tools like paint sprayers. However, one needs to consider that a large storage tank equals a large air compressor that takes up considerable space and is difficult to lug around. Consumers need to select a unit that doesn’t compromise on the tank capacity while retaining compactness and mobility.
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we can get into the quietest air compressors you can buy. Here are our top picks for the quietest air compressors with the best performance and efficiency. This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover most of the best options available in 2021.
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Our list of handpicked silent air compressors kicks off with a leading competitor, the California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet Air Compressor. This product boasts a quality most air compressor manufacturer and buyers chase: virtual noiselessness. This ultra quiet air compressor has sound levels of 60 decibels when it is running, which has the volume of an average conversation. This air compressor is well suited for a buyer looking for a device for home use, and even workshop owners who value a noiseless work environment.
Oil-lubrication is important for machines as it helps manage the noise created by the supply, but California 8010 offers the best of both worlds. This is an oil-free machine that provides the benefit of a quiet air compressor, without the cost of constant, inconvenient maintenance of oil-lubricated products. In terms of the device’s body, it has a considerable 8.0 gallon steel air tank, so it has a high capacity for pressurized air and can last a long session of powering tools.
The high volume of the steel tank does not equate to bulkiness in this air compressor, as it weighs only 48 lbs. The steel structure also adds durability to the machine. Paired with smaller damages to the compressor, the California 8010 has a life cycle of 3000 plus hours before wear. This beats other contenders by a long shot, offering an average of 500 wear-free hours.
The attached wheel kit to this product makes it portable and a must have for homeowners who want to power tools in different areas of the house. The wheels roll smoothly and can operate in different landscapes. If you are using this air compressor for heavy duty work or in multiple areas, you don’t have to worry about power. It requires only 8.5 amps of power, and has a refill time of 165 seconds from empty to full; this machine will not hinder your progress.
This is a powerful air compressor, especially for a 1HP (horsepower) motor. At full capacity, it has a CFM rating of 3.10 at 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI. Excellent performance is also guaranteed with the dual piston pump system that is installed. With such high power and lengthy sessions of use, one may be worried about overheating. This is not a problem with the California 8010 as it is created to dissipate heat faster and comes equipped with a thermal overload protector that switches off the machine when heat levels rise above a certain level.
Those who are familiar with the best quiet air compressor available for purchase are bound to be well-acquainted with Eagle Silent Series as well. The name of the Eagle EA-6500 air compressor includes the word “silent” in it, and it definitely lives up to it. The air compressor unit powered by an electric motor has a decibel rating of only 53 dB, which makes it one of the most noiseless air compressors present on this list. Keep in mind that human conversation has a sound level of 60 dB, and this is significantly less than that. The 20 gallon air compressor weighs in at 132 pounds and has a height of 45.96”, which makes it one of the larger models on this list. This obviously reduces its mobility, but not by much since it has a roll cage design, anti-vibration feet, and never-flat wheels that can scale rugged terrain and allow for the machine to be easily transported. The EA-6500 also makes up for the bulkiness with its exceptional power and performance. The manufacturers cite the low RPM of the machine’s motor as the reason for its limited sound output. We wouldn’t begrudge you doubting the air compressor’s power since it has a low RPM, because we thought the same. However, there is no cause for concern. The Eagle Silent Series 2-HP 20-Gallon Air Compressor has a whopping CFM of 60 at 90 psi and a CFM of 7.9 at 40 psi, which is incredible. As for the motor, it has a running 2 HP and peak 2.5 HP rating. The double piston pump system is oil-free and requires no maintenance. On top of that, it also has a life expectancy that is over 4 times longer than most air compressors that are oil-free. The Eagle Silent Series 2-HP 20-Gallon Air Compressor is also compatible with most household 115V outlets since it only draws 14 amps. The model has a top-mounted control panel with dual gauges. This allows for quick monitoring of tool and tank pressure. Also mention-worthy is the lever-type tank drain valve of the product which makes maintenance straightforward and also extends the life of the air tank. The price is a bit on the high-end, with the EA-6500 costing around $689, but we think the strength and quietness of the product have more than earned it. All of these features make this product a solid option for anyone looking for quiet air compressors for their personal or limited commercial use.
This powerhouse is a machine that is a must-have for workshop owners and industrial projects, as it has the specifications for heavy duty and powerful work. In terms of the quietness of the device, manufacturers decided on a low 1730 RMPs (rotations per minute) for the motor, which limits the noisiness of the machine. At its full power, it creates sound at 79 decibels, which is quite low for a high performance device like this. If this air compressor is operated at a work site, the sound will blend in with the rest of the environment.
The MAC2400’s structure and design may look simple, but it has its fair share of science to it. This air compressor has a big bore cylinder, piston and twin tanks which come in a cast iron frame. This constitution allows faster recovery times and overall better performance. The cast iron cylinder is hard-wearing and protects against wear, thus increasing its life cycle. The cylinder is also removable, so maintenance will not be a nuisance. Apart from durability, the cast iron frame is crucial to uninterrupted sessions of usage. Cast iron is able to lose heat faster and more efficiently, which takes away the risk of overheating. An extra step taken by the Makita manufacturers to ensure a stable temperature is built-in thermal overloaded additional motors. The MAC2400’s roll cage construction is another pro for industrial and work site use, as it provides necessary protection for it to operate in harsh environments. The robust build makes this compressor resilient against wear and tear in severe conditions.
If you are working with power tools, you know the difference between the smoothness of an oil-lubricated air compressor and one without it. The MAC2400’s system is oil-lubricated, that not only makes the device run effortlessly, but the lubricated pump also keeps its temperature reasonable and prevents wear. Worried about leakage? Don’t be, because this air compressor comes equipped with a universal oil coupler.
Moving on to power, this machine has incredible strength. The large twin tanks gloat 4.2 gallons of air inside each of the tanks. The motor has a hefty 2.5 HP motor that can sustain 130 PSI of pressure, and can operate 40 PSI at 4.8 CFM along with 90 PSI at 4.2 CFM. In simple words, this machine means business, and not delivering is not an option. With such high power, the AMPs extracted during start up are kept low to ensure breakers don’t trip.
Formerly known as Hitachi Power Tools, Metabo HPT has put out one of the most compact and economical air compressors on this list. Perhaps the most notable thing about the product is that it is lightweight. It is small, weighing only 29 lbs and having dimensions of 14” x 14” x 13.5”. This makes it very easy to move and even easier to store. It would not be unfair to say that the portability of the EC28M is one of its best features, making it a go-to for garage warriors and people who need to do odd jobs around the house. The product needs to be connected to a power outlet, making it a corded electric air compressor, which makes it even more soundless. The sound level of the Metabo HPT Air Compressor is 59 dB when mid-cycle, which is equivalent to the sound of human conversation. This means that you could talk to someone while the machine runs in the background without being disturbed. Again, while this wouldn’t be that important in an industrial setting, it is a neat feature that allows for this air compressor to be incorporated into a home garage. The Metabo HPT Air Compressor has a steel storage tank of 1 gallon, which is the smallest on this list. This means that it can’t be used without interruption with tools that require a consistent supply or air, much less multiple tools at the same time. The air compressor also has a 0.5 HP and has a maximum psi count of 125 psi. During regular use, it has a CFM rating of 135 CFM at 40 psi and a CFM rating of 0.8 at the standard 90 psi. Therefore, this model performs optimally when used with light-duty tools. Other specifications of this product are that it has a steel roll cage and vibration and shockproof feet that protect the product, allow for hassle-free transport, and reduce the noise output. Additionally, the EC28M has an industrial pump that lends it high durability, along with the promise of producing zero fumes, making a good choice if you expect to be doing upholstery jobs in the near future. The air compressor is oil-free, requires zero maintenance, and comes with a 1 year warranty, all for the economical price of $149, making it the least expensive product on this list. Lastly, the Metabo air compressor also has an industrial regulator and gauges. These make it very easy to read and adjust psi levels.
If you’re a DIYer living in colder climates, you might feel your situation is not included in the specifications of air compressors. DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor will accommodate your needs. This pancake style compressor is dedicated to providing a quiet yet powerful machine that can support your tools in your garage or job site. Need a device that can efficiently power your applications without punishing your or your neighbors ear drums? The DEWALT DWFP55126 operates with a 75.5 db noise level, that is similar to the sound of a radio playing.
This compressor does not disappoint when it comes to pneumatic machines, as it can provide 165 PSI air pressure at its maximum capacity. When being operated, it supplies 2.6 SCFM (standard cubic feet for minute) at 90 PSI. Complemented with a 6.0 gallon tank, this impressive device can last long sessions of intense work without problems. To ensure endurance along with efficiency, the compressor is teamed with high flow couplers and regulators to manage the influx of power from the device and keep it running smoothly.
Productivity in extreme weather conditions is warranted, as the motor is equipped with a cold start mechanism. This means that even in negative degrees of temperature, the machine powers on swiftly and does not need time to warm up. The motor is also reliable, as it claimed to be maintenance free. This is a huge plus in protecting your work surfaces against stains and damages.
This compressor also comes equipped with an incredible 50 foot long extension cord for corded tools. Your mobility is not compromised, as you do not need to stay close to the DEWALT DWFP55126 or carry it along with you to different areas. Along with this, the motor of this compressor is not hindered by power source specifications. Plug it to any socket, and this universal device will power on and be at your service.
The air compressor is not the only machine offered, however, as it is coupled with the DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch in a kit. This product is very useful when bundled with the air compressor as the user does not require any other tools. The nailer provides control to the user with a depth-of-drive adjustable system, therefore it can be modified to fit the requirement of nail size and depth. There are measured dents on the nailer so the user can adjust it according to their needs. To relieve the headache of jammed nails, the DEWALT Brad Nailer kit comes with a jam release mechanism that saves precious time. Finally, the motor of this application is also maintenance free for stain-free surfaces.
We can’t talk about the quietest air compressors without mentioning STEALTH. Super quiet and super powerful, the STEALTH Pro 12 Gal Air Compressor is nothing short of impressive in terms of functionality and features. While not as undetectable as its name suggests, this air compressor model has a tested sound output of only 68 db on its 12 gallon unit. This, as the product description on Amazon states, is 80% quieter than standard induction motors, which automatically makes it one of the best options for anyone looking for the quietest air compressor for personal or professional use. That’s just the beginning. The STEALTH Pro 12 air compressor operates using an electric power source and has units available with capacities of 4.5, 10, 12, and 20 gallons. This makes it a fine choice for a range of operations and situations. Even more incredible is the fact that STEALTH promises no air loss or leakage from any of the air compressor’s components, maximizing efficiency and air output. The tank has a 75 second recovery rate, meaning that it can get refilled completely in that time, which ensures the least amount of interruptions during your job and a seamless user experience. The motor is fully enclosed, which goes a long way in reducing noise and making this model one of the quietest air compressors available on the market in 2021. It is also this quiet without the use of lubricants, and being oil free makes this product practically maintenance free. This is also one of the reasons behind this air compressor’s solid lifespan. Other important specifications of the machine are 1.5 HP and a 4 CFM at a 90 psi count. This is a high CFM rating which makes this STEALTH air compressor optimal for use with a range of pneumatic tools like cleaning tools, nailers, cut-off tools, diy paint systems, drills, hammers, shears, chisels, and so on. On top of that, the air compressor has 2 outlet ports to which you can connect 2 tools for simultaneous operation. The model has 7 inch rubber enforced wheels, which reduce vibrations during use, and an upright roller bag design that makes it mobile and convenient for movement. As far as the size goes, the STEALTH 12 gallon air compressor weighs 95 lbs but has a height of only 28.5″, which makes this product compact and allows it to be easily stored. Other noteworthy features are dual air pumps that work side by side to generate a continuous stream of compressed air with a respectable amount of power. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry at all about the performance of the product. The unit is a little pricey, around $330 on Amazon, but that isn’t too much considering all the excellent features we’re being promised. The STEALTH Pro 12 Gal Air Compressor has great ratings and a satisfied customer base, which should remove any doubts you have.
Campbell’s 6 Gallon Oil-Free Quiet Air Compressor (DC060500) is a front running candidate for best, quiet air compressors in the market. You can forget noisy compressors coupled with noisy applications that make the work process unbearable, as this device is sworn to be 50% quieter than other compressors that are pancake styles. Creating sound at 68 dB, users can be guaranteed their focus on the task at hand.
This compressor requires electricity to operate, however a huge plus point of this product specifically is portability. Furnished with a grab handle on the top, you can easily carry the machine from one location to the other, which is a life saver when you’re working on different parts of your living space. The Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 qualifies as durable and long lasting with it’s sturdy and secure build. The pancake style is a big contributor to its life cycle, and major components can last 4 times longer than other competitors.
A major pro of this air compressor is that it’s oil free. With this product, you don’t need to fuss over routine maintenance checks and oil-lubrication problems; the dual piston pumps are set for a long, issue-free, life. Let’s talk about power, because the DC060500 is not here to mess around. The 6 gallon tank is standard, however the buyer has the option to choose different tank sizes. The motor’s capacity is a staggering 125 PSI of air pressure at its peak. It offers a 3.50 SCFM rating at 40 PSI and 2.4 SCFM at 90 PSI. The compressor needs 7.5 amps of power to dish out phenomenal performance for a variety of applications and tasks. The possibilities for using the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 are endless; use it to inflate sports equipment, tires or pools, art and craft projects and airbrushing surfaces.
Now that we’ve discussed the various options you have for high performance yet quiet air compressors, you have a better idea what to look out for. There is no one size fits all when it comes to pneumatic machines, and the best suited product is heavily reliant on what purpose they’re required for. A buyer who needs a quiet tool for small crafts and projects within their home would gravitate towards the California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet Air Compressor that guarantees the lowest decibel levels available in a compressor on the market. On the other hand, someone who prefers oil-lubricated compressor parts for smooth operation and heat diffusion, the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is the most suitable option best quiet air compressor.
Potential buyers who reside in colder areas also have the option to buy an air compressor specifically designed for their area’s climate. The DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor is also bundled with a DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit to accommodate people who like to buy compatible products that have multiple uses. For clients who have portability and movement as requirements for their compressors, they don’t need to look further than the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 that has a comfortable grip handle to transport the compressor wherever you want. In essence, whatever your individual needs are, there are various competent quiet air compressors on the market that can cater to your needs.