When you spend a lot of time working in your garage or workshop, you will most likely want the tools you are using to be as quiet as possible. Of all the workshop tools you may own, air compressors are one of the hardest tools to soundproof. An air compressor can be used for various tasks, including inflating tires, blowing sawdust off a bench, or even spray paint, making purchasing or upgrading to the quietest air compressor a priority.
What is a Quiet Air Compressor?
A quiet air compressor is a pneumatic tool that uses an electric motor, diesel or gasoline engine that transforms power into potential energy, stored in compressed air or pressurized air. A compressor will force air into a tank and therefore increase its pressure. When the air stored in the storage tank reaches an engineered upper limit, the air compressor will automatically shut off.
When the compressed air in your storage tank gets used up or reaches an engineered lower limit, the air compressor will turn on again and repressurize the tank. The air compressor noise is measured by a decibel rating (dB), where the higher the rating, the noisier the air compressor will be.
- 40 dB- This is considered as low noise and is found in small air compressors or compressors meant for domestic use
- 60 dB- This is the safest level of noise for air compressors
- 85 dB and Over- This noise level can be dangerous, especially when exposed to it for long periods.
Even the quietest air compressors will not be completely silent, but the noise can be reduced by choosing a noise compressor model. Read on to find the best quiet air compressors on the market today with their pros and cons.
1. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
- Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
- Oil-Free pump for less maintenance & costs
- Lightweight for easy transporting - 29 lbs
- 1.0 gallon steel tank
- Powerful 0.6 HP (rated / running) - 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is the best quiet air compressor if you work on a budget while working on your DIY projects. It is ideal for the small air requirements such as blowing out computers blowing up balls, beds and toys. It can also be used to perform trimming work that needs little intermittent air, and since it is ultra-quiet, it is ideal for use in the garage or in-house.
The portable air compressor features a small .6 horsepower motor that operates at 1680 RPM but will work quickly. In addition, the engine has an oil-free single-piston pump design meant to give a 'before wear' lifecycle of over 3000 hours, making it a more efficient and durable compressor.
However, the quiet compressor is lightweight and small, and it comes with a weak motor. Although it still has a high operating pressure (PSI threshold 120), it might take longer to refill. This might make it challenging to run all air-guzzling tools for long periods without waiting for the compressor to catch up.
2. BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor
- The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free, maintenance-free pump for...
- 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI pump enable...
- BOSTITCH high efficiency motor of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for easy start...
- 78.5 dBA** operational noise level for a quiet work environment
- 29 lb. weight makes unit easy to carry and store
BOSTITCH BTFP02012 is the best air compressor if you need an affordably priced option that will give you maximum value for your money. It reaches a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and a high-flow regulator, great for running small pneumatic tools. Unlike other air compressors, this compact compressor features 2.6 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM).
Like with many of the quietest compressors, it has an oil-free low-maintenance design and a 6-gallon air tank capacity with a lot of volumes to keep you working with no interruptions. Although it is large, the quiet operation tool weighs only 29 pounds making it the best portable air compressor.
BOSTITCH BTFP02012 operates at 79.5 dB, meaning it is quiet enough not to distract you while having a normal conversation, but you may need to raise your voice a little bit. However, it will be difficult to find a portable compressor or a quieter compressor with similar features and specs for the price.
3. Makita Mac2400 2.5 HP Air Compressor
- Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster...
- Powerful 2.5 HP 4-Pole motor produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity...
- Roll-cage construction provides complete protection to withstand extreme jobsite...
- Low AMP draw reduces incidences of tripped breakers at start-up
- Pump is oil-lubricated for cooler running temperatures and reduced wear
Makita Mac2400 2.5 HP is a quiet portable air compressor at 79 decibels as a dual-stacked tank machine with a total capacity of 4.2 gallons. It has the design and power of the Big Bore motor, where it sustains an operating pressure of 130PSI.
It is the best quiet air compressor if you are looking for industrial power, and it's enough to keep two nailers simultaneously. A solid compact steel roll cage design offers durability and protection for its components. In addition, the Big Bore cast iron cylinder's design reduces the RPM to 1750, reducing the recovery time while producing less noise.
Makita Mac2400 is an oil-lubricated machine that will reduce machine heat and water accumulation in your gallon tank when combined with a copper finned discharge tube. Also, the extra-large ball drain valve will empty the tanks efficiently and quickly.
4. Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
- ✅【ULTRA QUIET & 3 TIMES LONG LIFE】STEALTH innovative quiet system air...
- ✅【COLD WEATHER START & QUICK RECOVERY】Easy cold weather start and low voltage...
- ✅【OIL FREE & MAINTENANCE FREE】Peak ¾ horsepower induction safe guard your...
- ✅【STABLE STRUCTURE& CONVENIENT FOR MOVEMENT】Stable heavy duty housing use Q235B...
- ✅【WHAT IN THE BOX】Stealth SAQ-1234 Air Compressor x 1, 6’ Electric Cord x 1,...
Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor is an oil-free dual-piston pump system that delivers quiet and quick refills at only 68 decibels. The oil-free pump claims a 70-second refill from empty to full and a pump life that is three times longer than the standard air compressors.
The machine delivers more air and enough pressure to run most air tools, including more than one simultaneously. In addition, the oil-free compressors have a motor that minimizes cost and maintenance where all you will need to do is plug into a 15 amp outlet.
Stealth Ultra Quiet compressor features a solid steel stand and a steel roll cage style motor cover with rubber wheels and a handle. It is safe for use in a workshop or construction sites, and it has been designed to stand vertically, meaning it will take up less space.
5. California Air Tools 8010SPC
- Ultra Quiet only 40 Decibels
- Oil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs
- 8.0 Gallon Steel Tank
- Sound Proof Steel Cabinet with Swivel Wheels
- 3.00 CFM at 90 PSI,4.00 CFM at 40 PSI
California Air Tools 8010SPC is a super quiet compressor that will operate your pneumatic tools with no hesitation. It can be stored practically anywhere, and it won't stand in your way when in use. It features a 1.0 hp industrial motor that operates at 1400 RPM, and since it needs no oil, it will need less maintenance.
It is the best quiet air compressor at only 40 decibels, making it among the quietest industrial motors on the market. In addition, it has an insulated, soundproof cabinet with foam which reduces vibration and noise.
California Air Tools 8010SPC has 8-gallon machines with a maximum PSI of 115, which is enough power to run your power pneumatic tools. In addition, the tank is made of steel which makes it more durable than aluminum.
However, this is one of the stationary compressors meaning it cant be moved around. Instead, it has caster wheels located under your compressor housing to allow you to move it from one place to another even while weighing 125 pounds.
What are the Methods of Air Compression for Quiet Compressors?
a). Roto Dynamic/Turbo Air Compressors
Roto-Dynamic air compressors include axial and centrifugal compressors. These two types feature a rotating component that imparts kinetic energy to the air, eventually converted to pressure energy. These compressors use a centrifugal force produced by a spinning impeller to accelerate or decelerate the captured, pressuring it.
b). Positive Displacement Compressors
These compressors force air into a chamber where volume decreases to compress air. When maximum pressure is achieved, a port or valve opens, and then air is discharged to an outlet system from its compression chamber.
What are the Types of Quiet Air Compressors?
There are different air compressors on the market today, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. In addition, different types of compressors use different ways to collect, compress and store their air.
a). Reciprocating Air Compressors
This is the most popular type of air compressor, and it's a straightforward machine that uses a piston to power its motor. The piston moves up and down quickly while capturing air.
These compressor types are either single-stage or duplex models where the duplex is quieter because they can produce extra air with few revolutions and allow better cooling. If you opt for this compressor type, ensure you look for low compressors equipped with an aftercooler.
b). Rotary Screw Air Compressors
These compressor types are quieter than the reciprocating models. Instead of choosing a piston that will capture air, these rotary screw compressors feature a pair of matching helical screws that operate independently of each other.
Since the screws operate independently, this helps to keep these models very quiet while preventing them from overheating. In addition, rotary screw air compressors are suitable for small spaces because they can be mounted close by and do not need any hearing protection.
c). Axial Air Compressors
These types are mostly found in high-speed engines like ships or planes, and they are highly efficient but are quite expensive than other compressor types. Since they deliver a lot of horsepowers, they are meant for aerospace research.
d). Centrifugal Air Compressors
These are known for slowing and cooling incoming air in a diffuser to build potential energy. Unfortunately, the multi-phase compression process usually results in a small machine's high energy.
Centrifugal compressors don't need much maintenance compared to the maintenance needed with rotary screws and reciprocating compressors that produce oil-free air. As a result, they are mostly found in demanding construction sites like chemical plants or steel manufacturing plants.
What Makes Air Compressors Quiet?
You may wonder how companies are making quiet air compressors when most of them are noisy. It is done in several ways, starting in the manufacturing and designing process. By swapping several materials in the compressor's construction, the noise level can greatly be reduced. Some include:
a). Rubber Components
Some compressor sounds from your air compressor are not from operating the pump. Instead, a lot of the sounds you hear during an operation are the interactions of the tool and the floor it has sat on.
So, companies add rubber isolation pads, which reduce these vibrations and the noise they cause. But, while it may seem simple, the pads only help reduce the noise level by a small amount, like from 90dB to 70dB.
b). Sound Dampening
If you check the pump of an older compressor model, you will notice that some of these old compressors had nothing covering the pumps. This allowed the loudness to spread throughout the environment easily.
Nowadays, manufacturers are making compressors using thick steel or aluminum, which helps in reducing noise levels. Moreover, sound dampening enclosures will completely cover the pumps used in modern compressors. Notably, they help to reduce the noise level by a small amount.
c). Power Source
When it comes to air compressors, you will have two power choices: a gas-powered compressor or a compressor that operates on electricity. Most gas-powered compressors are portable but slightly louder than the electric models. This makes electric compressors the best quiet air compressors if you need to keep them as quiet as possible.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Quietest Air Compressor
An air compressor is a tool that should last you for years, if not decades, and therefore, it is good to purchase a good quiet air compressor. To help you narrow down your choice, we have listed some things you will need to look out for to determine what model will best fit your space.
1. Tank Capacity
Tank volume is the amount of air your compressor can store at any given time. The amount of tank volume depends on the type of work you want to use the compressor.
Single tank air compressors on the market have small storage capacities than models with two tanks. So, if you plan to use it at home, where your compressor will only be moderately used, you can choose a smaller tank.
If you need a high-performance level from your compressor, you might need to use two tanks. They are necessary if you need a compressor all the time, like in an industrial setting to meet your needs. Although they are more expensive than a single tank compressor, they have a high air storage capacity making it possible to complete more work in less time.
2. Power Source
When choosing a quiet air compressor, you will have two options powering it, where you can choose a gas-powered or electrically powered compressor.
Quiet air compressors that operate on gas are more portable than electric models. However, they are louder since they use a combustion engine to power their pump to compress air.
On the other hand, electric compressors might not be as portable, but they are still quite effective. In addition, they are cheaper to run than the gas-powered models and also quiet to operate.
Several factors affect the performance of your compressor, including the CFM, PSI and power of your motor. However, they should all line up because otherwise, you won't complete the work you need to get done.
PSI is the amount of pressure an air compressor can create where the type of work you plan on doing will determine the amount of PSI you need. For example, if you are only filling tires or running some small air tools, a compressor with a lower PSI will get you by than running more powerful tools.
CFM, also known as a cubic foot per minute of a compressor, is meant to describe how quickly a compressor can refill. Pneumatic tools have particular airflow needs that should be met for them to operate, but you need to know the airflow the tools you intend to use require.
The higher the CFM number, the faster your compressor will refill during use. Find a compressor that offers about 1.5 times as much airflow as your tools will need.
Notably, you will need to pay slightly more for a higher CFM, so consider how often you will need to use your air compressor before making your final decision.
The motor's power is described as horsepower or HP, where the higher the number, the more powerful the motor will be. Likewise, the more powerful your motor, the louder the compressor.
Like with all engines, air compressor pumps need some lubricant, and there is an option to choose a model that uses oil or one that uses a special type of Teflon for its lubricant.
If your compressor uses oil for lubrication, you will need to add some oil every once in a while. These oil-lubricated compressors are the best for heavy use and are quiet to operate.
However, oil-lubricated air compressors cost more to run since you need to buy oil to keep them lubricated.
Oil-Free Air Compressor
These oil-free air compressors use a band of Teflon to keep them lubricated during your operations. They are slightly more expensive upfront and louder than most air compressor models that use oil, even though there are some quiet ones.
No matter how you plan to use your air compressor, you need to ensure that you purchase the best quiet air compressor, and it should also last you a long time. Ensure you pick one that is well manufactured and designed with high-quality materials. Compressor models that use a less powerful motor turns out to be the most durable.
6. Usage Types
The best thing about air compressors is that they are super versatile and can be used with many tools, making them suitable for a workshop or an industrial setting. However, not all compressors can be used to tackle every job.
When buying your compressor, ensure you understand how much PSI and CFM the tools you intend to use will need. This way, you can ensure you buy a compressor that will deliver all the power you need.
This is important to remember, especially with an Emax quiet air compressor or other air tools that don't have as high of PSI threshold as the other louder compressors.
No matter how durable your air compressor is, you should always look for a compressor model with a good warranty. This is because even the highly durable models might have parts that fail even if the whole compressor doesn't fail.
Opt for a compressor model with a clear warranty, and some warranties only cover certain parts for a long period while other parts are covered for a short time.