Of all the pieces of equipment, on all the job sites, in the entire world, you’d probably never pick air compressors to be the quietest. But finding a quiet air compressor that allows you to get your work done quickly and effectively while not shaking the neighbors out of their beds, is just a mouse click away.
Every job site and project is different and finding equipment, especially an air compressor, that is reliable, quiet, and effective may seem daunting. But by considering several factors and doing a little research can net you a quiet air compressor that will keep working for you even when the job itself is a little daunting.
So let’s go through the details of several great, quiet, reliable air compressors that can help you get your next job done. In addition to the details and links to buy your next best piece of equipment, there’s also a buying guide that will help direct you through any additional questions you might have about a quiet, purring air compressor.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Air Compressor Quietness: Side-by-Side Comparison
|California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ 4710Sq Quiet Compressor
|California Air Tools 2010A 2-Gallon Air Compressor
|Hitachi (Metabo) EC28M Ultra-Quiet Portable Air Compressor
|60 dB loudness -4.7-gallon tank
|60 dB loudness -2-gallon tank
|59 dB loudness -1-gallon tank
|Bostitch Pancake Air Compressor BTFP02012
|DeWalt 200-PSI Heavy-Duty Air Compressor
|California Air Tools 4620 Quiet Air Compressor
|79 dB loudness -6-gallon tank
|71.5 dB loudness -2.5-gallon tank
|70 dB loudness -4.6-gallon tank
|Campbell Hausfeld 8-Gallon Low-Noise Compressor
|Kobalt Quiet Tech Air Compressor
|DeWalt 15-Gallon Low-Noise Air Compressor
|68 dB loudness -8-gallon tank
|65 dB loudness -4.6-gallon tank
|78 dB loudness -15-gallon tank
|California Air Tools 10020C 10-Gallon Air Compressor
|California Air Tools 8010 Compressor
|70 dB loudness -10-gallon tank
|60 dB loudness -8-gallon tank
Quietiest Air Compressors
If you’re looking for a quiet air compressor that will get the job done while not overwhelming your conversations, this is a great contender.
The overall loudness of this air compressor only gets to the same level as a conversation and comes in a small package, just 37.5 pounds. There are two options for the type of tank on this air compressor, steel, and aluminum. Both are great options. The aluminum is less structurally strong as steel but isn’t subject to rust or corrosion. The steel tank is heavier but structurally more sound although can fall victim to rust or corrosion over time.
The cost for this air compressor is affordable and this compact piece of equipment will fit into your truck or trailer easily to transport from job site to job site. The tank is larger and keeps you working longer. The only drawback is that this air compressor isn’t very pretty. While for lots of people it won’t matter what the actual equipment looks like, if you’re looking for something that fits in or looks good on the job site, it might be worthwhile to look elsewhere.
This tiny beast is a quiet air compressor that works hard while not needing much maintenance, even over years of continued use. On top of the small size that makes it convenient to use, it also only produces 60 dB of working noise which keeps your work area neat and quiet.
The 2-gallon tank is made of aluminum and features an oil-free engine guaranteed to run for 3,000 hours before you see any issues. The dual-piston motor features Teflon cylinder rings and stainless steel valves that give the overall tank a longer and more reliable life for all of your projects and job sites.
One nuisance is that the power cord and the air cord both connect near the same place. This might cause the air cord to leak if the power cord rubs up against it enough. This can easily be fixed though by using a zip tie to tie down the power cord.
This small compressor works great for jobs that require concentrated cubic feet per minute quietly and reliably. California Air Tools also offers a 1-year warranty on this product if any issues were to arise while you’re out working.
Great things come in small packages as this quiet air compressor proves.
First off, the Metabo (Hitachi) air compressor runs at an ultra-quiet level of only 59 dB which allows you to have a normal level conversation while out working on the job site. In fact, it’s one of the quietest air compressors on the market today. But its 0.4 horsepower engine is smaller than some others, yet it will still work hard for nearly every project you have in front of you.
The engine features an oil-free pump and an industrial quick-coupler which allows for a one-handed connection. There is also a regulator and gauges to help you keep track of the air pressure and other levels while out working.
The image of the compressor as a whole is relatively attractive with a steel roll cage covering the whole thing, protecting the internal tubing and components. So the roll cage provides both an aesthetic and practical purpose for this compressor. While the overall effect is positive, the smaller tank and horsepower make this compressor a bit pricey for the size.
This portable pancake air compressor makes working in any area easy.
As one of the quietest air compressors on the market, this bigger machine still comes in at only 30 pounds for easy transportation from site to site. The compressor comes with a handle that makes it easy to move around on the site and from place to place despite the larger tank.
The motor features an oil-free pump and comes with a high-efficiency start. This allows the compressor to start easily if you’re using a long extension cord or if you’re trying to start in cold weather. The compressor starts up, keeps running relatively quietly, and works hard for you day in and day out.
One of the best parts of this compressor is the price. For a larger air compressor, they’re offering this equipment at a very affordable price so you can keep working without shelling out tons of money. This air compressor is a bit louder than others on the market coming in at 79 dB which might make you shout when it’s running but the value and size make it a worthwhile consideration.
DeWalt is a heavy-hitter in any type of construction game and its products are easily available just about anywhere. Their heavy-duty air compressor continues the long-running tradition DeWalt has had over the past few years.
While the 71.5 dB working noise is louder than other compressors on this list or the market this DeWalt air compressor has lots of great features that make it an excellent choice. And the overall noise level is still lower than many traditional compressors.
The overall compressor is fairly lightweight, coming in at just 36 pounds overall and has a roll cage that keeps the whole compressor protected and looking good for every job. The roll cage allows the compressor to be used in either a horizontal or vertical position for whatever job you’re presented with. Offering a supply of 3.0 cubic feet of air per minute allows this equipment to run serious tools including several different tools at a time.
California Air Tools works hard to make sure their equipment is compatible with your job site and that includes offering equipment that stays quiet while you’re working. This air compressor is no exception.
While it operates at a higher decibel loudness than other California Air Tools products on this list, there’s still a huge number of benefits even if you have to talk a little louder at your job sites. To begin with, this compressor looks good and offers an oil-free system that runs on 2 horsepower.
The design of this compressor is a little different: two tanks are stacked on top of each other with each tank made of rust-free aluminum to keep you working for years with this trusty compressor. The equipment as a whole is powerful and allows you to run several tools at once through the tank.
When it comes to moving this compressor from site to site, it’s a bit of a lug, weighing in at 67.2 pounds. So while it’s not as portable as other tanks, it’s almost double the capacity for a few more decibels of noise.
This air compressor is heavy duty and comes with a large tank for any job you need to complete. The compressor comes with a full kit so even if you’re just getting started in this business you’ll have everything you need to get started on a job.
Complete with an oil-free, dual-piston pump that produces just 68 dB of working noise, this air compressor works hard and lasts a long time. The compressor components are designed to last 4 times longer than other compressors and the company backs up that claim with a 1-year warranty.
Overall the system looks great and works hard. You have the option of purchasing the complete kit that includes an air hose, accessory kit, and a 3-in-1 gun, chuck, and gauge for inflations. While the weight and portability of this air compressor leave a few things to be desired, it doesn’t do badly being maneuvered from site to site to keep up with the workflow. The Campbell brand makes quality products and has no problem backing up that guarantee.
With a large tank that puts out only a small amount of noise, this air compressor works great for running tools or anything else that may come upon a job site.
The larger tank gives you plenty of power to work with for running tools around the job site but may take some time to refill to hit maximum PSI. The large wheels make moving this 61.7-pound beast around from place to place and site to site much more bearable.
The Kobalt brand has a great reputation for running quietly and efficiently during any job it’s put up against. For the most part, it runs well and quietly, just as advertised. There have been a few reports of the product overheating when in operation but they tend to be few and far between.
This DeWalt compressor is a beast and gets the job done with trademark style and performance.
With the large tank, this compressor offers nearly unlimited air supply and can run several bigger tools for a long time. It works well for spray-painting and several different types of nail tools and comes with a high flow air regulator to make sure each of those tools is working at maximum capacity.
The pump on this compressor is also oil-free and backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty. Just like many other DeWalt tools, this compressor has been designed well with a handle that doubles as a hose wrap and a display surface that’s easy to manipulate and read.
While it does have a large tank and is quite a bit heavier, the compressor is still easy to move around the site and from job site to job site due to the wheels attached. The compressor is quite a bit heavier weighing in at 120 pounds but it has almost unlimited air supply and great power for running any tools you’ll be needing.
This compressor can be more expensive but if you’re looking to complete a large job in a short amount of time, this equipment can handle the pressure.
California Air Tools does it again with this low noise air compressor and large tank space that will get any job done with ease.
The overall design of this tank may seem a bit awkward at first but many features work to your advantage while out on the job site. There are a handle and wheels that make moving this tank from place to place a breeze and the aluminum tank includes a manual drain valve to give you the control you need.
While not as quiet as other types of California Air Tools products, this tank is larger and does a good job of keeping air topped off in the tank to supply you for any project. The initial filling time for the tank is about 2 minutes and each time the tank needs to be topped off it runs for about 25 seconds. In addition to the quick fill time, this tank provides 6.4 cubic feet per minute of pressure at those lower noise levels.
The design of this tank is handy with easy to use controls that include a regulator, tank pressure gauge, regulated pressure gauges, and two universal quick couplers. The company that has brought so many great products to our list continues doing great things with this compressor and backs up their product with a 1-year warranty.
And last (but not least) on our list is another California Air Tool’s hard worker.
This air compressor has a large tank and doesn’t put out much noise for the power that you’ll find in this package. The motor is oil-free for a low maintenance compressor with a dual-piston pump to get more air into the tank for when you need extra pressure to get the job done.
The power behind this pump will bring you 3.1 cubic feet of air per minute to tackle any size job on any site. With the dual piston pump, the compressor continues to push air into the tank to keep it filled while you’re working, so you won’t meet with a massive lag in work time, waiting for your tank to fill. Most importantly, it delivers all of this power to you while only being about 60 dB of working noise so you won’t wake the neighborhood if you head out to the job site early in the morning.
The overall design of this compressor is a little lacking in style but with the wheels and handle easily positioned for mobility it will maneuver its way from place to place on any job site.
Quiet Air Compressors Buying Guide
Maybe you’re a die-hard DeWalt fan and the review above just confirmed why you love the company. Maybe you’ve been a one brand user for your whole life and never knew that other, quieter products were out there on the market. Either way, we’re here to help you narrow down your needs and choices for the quietest air compressor that will work for your business and projects.
As with most products, the bigger the air compressor, the more expensive it will be. So take some time to evaluate what you’ll be wanting to use your air compressor for regularly. In addition to the cost, mobility, power, and materials are all factors you should consider when buying your first or next quiet air compressor.
Making sure your next purchase comes in at or under budget is crucial as you’re shopping for a quiet air compressor. Smaller air compressors will end up being between $175 and $200 each and they’ll do the job for smaller projects and running small to medium type tools.
For larger projects that may require more pressure and force, you’ll want a larger compressor that can run around $350 to $500. These tanks tend to be heavier and may not be as portable so make sure you take into consideration how you’ll want to be using them and where they’ll end up being.
Many brands and places that sell air compressors do also offer monthly payment options. So if you can’t put down $350 or $500 for a large tank that you need, you can break it up into payments and still get the product for your project.
Paying a slightly higher price for a quality, the quiet air compressor will keep your operation running smoothly and silently for a long time to come.
One of the biggest considerations you’ll want to look at when buying an air compressor is what projects and jobs you’re looking to tackle. Every air compressor is different and will uniquely handle jobs.
For bigger jobs that will require a longer air hose and more pressure, you’ll want to look into a bigger tank air compressor like the DeWalt 15-Gallon Low-Noise Air Compressor. This large tank compressor keeps the pressure on even if your hose has to stretch and your project takes a long time. The downside to this one is that it’s much larger and heavier and harder to move from job site to job site.
If you’re looking for something that will do smaller projects like trim, be very mobile, and be ultra-quiet around the job site, you’ll want a smaller tank compressor like the Hitachi EC28M Ultra-Quiet Portable Air Compressor. In addition to being portable, it’s also the quietest compressor on our list at only 59 dB which makes it ideal for tighter spaces, smaller projects, and moving from job site to job site with ease.
A mid-range compressor like the Campbell Hausfeld 8-Gallon Low-Noise Compressor is mobile and keeps the pressure on for just about any project. The tank isn’t as large as others so running two nail guns or other high-pressure tools wouldn’t work very well but for smaller projects and transporting from site to site, it works very well.
3. Cubic Feet per Minute
Rather than measuring air compressor power based on the type and number of tools it runs at a time, cubic feet per minute or CFM is a more scientific method for determining power. The CFM and PSI are closely related and the CFM can only accurately be measured when you know the PSI that it’s been measured against.
The standard for measuring CFM against PSI is the coming up with the total at 90 PSI. But make sure you double-check what the CFM is and what PSI it is measured against. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the compressor will be. But some manufacturers don’t use the 90 PSI as a standard. This can lead to numbers that don’t quite match up and can lead you to purchase an air compressor that seems strong on the label but doesn’t live up to the hype.
Another standard you’ll want to keep in mind is standard cubic feet per minute. While air pressure can vary based on temperature and humidity, air compressors are tested and rated in a standard manner that allows for easy comparisons across the market.
For CFM the bigger the number the better the air compressor because it will keep the pressure up for whatever job you’re attempting to tackle. Keep an eye out for the CFM number and how it is rated against PSI to get a standard number that you can compare across brands.
4. Oil-Free Pumps
If you’ve ever had to do maintenance on equipment, you’ll know that changing the oil, while a simple job, can be frustrating and messy. Most air compressors run oil-free pumps so you’ll never have to stop and change the oil in your compressor.
This doesn’t mean that there is no oil at all in your air compressor, rather, that the oil is sealed in a compartment that keeps the motor running. This keeps the engine running smoothly and keeps the oil clean so that it won’t need to be changed.
On top of the sealed oil, most of the moving parts in an air compressor pump are the coated in Teflon. This tough substance that has found its way into nearly every area of our lives and keeps the moving parts of the pump moving with little friction so it won’t overheat or need oil.
The downside to an oil-free pump is that over time the Teflon coating can wear off, causing the pump to fail or overheat. While oil-free pumps, coated in Teflon will save you oil costs and the time needed to change the oil, they typically only last about a decade. Oil pumps can last much longer.
The oil-free or oil-using pumps should factor into your choice of air compressor. If you’re planning to keep the air compressor moving fast from site to site and won’t have much time to maintain by changing the oil, going with an oil-free pump might work best. An oil-using pump might work better if you’re planning on investing more money and time into an air compressor that will work for you for decades.
5. Tank Size
There’s an air compressor for every job and every worker and knowing how the size of your tank can impact your job is valuable information as you shop for a compressor.
The larger the tank, the longer you can work without losing the pressure as the tank refills. The amount of noise that an air compressor puts out is directly related to the size of the tanks, the larger the tank, the larger amount of noise they make.
In addition to the amount of noise the air compressor makes, the larger tank also makes the overall compressor heavier and harder to move. If you’re planning to utilize your air compressor for big jobs or long periods, you’ll want to pick a more heavy-duty air compressor with a larger tank. If you’re just planning to use it for small projects or around the garage, a smaller tank will work just fine.
6. Noise Level
The most important aspect when searching for a quiet air compressor is how loud it is and how that affects you.
Nearly all air compressor noise levels are given in decibels and those measurements are taken when you’re 10-20 feet away from the machine itself. When you’re standing right next to the machine, it may be a lot louder than the official rating.
An ultra-quiet air compressor has a decibel rating of 55-65. These are about as loud as a normal conversation and can go up to the noise level of having a conversation in a busy restaurant. Air compressors that fall into this decibel level are very quiet and can come in a variety of sizes. Many times they have a smaller tank size and therefore might not be quite as powerful. But if you’re putting the noise level as your number one priority, these air compressors will work well for you.
At the upper end are air compressors that range from 66-75 decibels. On a practical level, these air compressors sound like a vacuum cleaner running on the low end and can get as loud as garbage disposal. If air compressors get any higher in the decibel range, they’re not quiet anymore. Larger air compressors may be louder in the decibel range but they will often have more power and a bigger tank to run your projects.
In addition to buying a quiet air compressor, you can add a set of earphones to help block the noise and protect your eardrums. Other types of air compressors can be kept in an enclosed container to keep the noise levels to a minimum.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What type of CFM do I need to run pneumatic tools?
- For the most part, heavy-duty tools require a CFM of about 5. But smaller tools may only require a fraction of a CFM. Double-check any tools you’re looking to run off your air compressor to make sure they’ll be compatible.
- Is there a brand that works best?
- All brands differ and people have different experiences with each one. Many large home improvement brands offer some type of air compressor, whether large or small, but companies like California Air Tools specialize in these types of machines making them attractive choices to get you through any job.
- Where can I buy a quiet air compressor?
- You can find quiet and ultra-quiet air compressors online and in many home improvement stores around the country. Double-check prices to get the best bang for your buck on your new quiet air compressor.
Whether you’re planning to do some work in tight spaces or you just want to keep the noise levels down, investing in a quiet air compressor can save you energy and damage to your eardrums.
While almost all home improvement brands offer some type of air compressor, companies like California Air Tools specialize and take pride in providing quiet air compressors that do the hard work for you. Keep in mind as you shop for your next quiet air compressor that a typical conversation is around 55-65 decibels and an air compressor that fits within this category will be one of the quietest you can find.
To make sure that your air compressor can get the job done, start to finish, compare the CFM and SCFM ratings from brand to brand. The higher the CFM, the more power the air compressor will deliver to your project.
Tank size is important to your air compressor and can make it louder and heavier than you may need. The bigger the tank, the longer you can work without the tank needing to refill. But this makes the overall air compressor louder and heavier for transporting and using at your job sites.
Oil-free pumps can save you time and maintenance costs but may not last as long as pumps that use oil. Evaluate your time and needs to make sure that you pick a pump that will work best for your job. If you’ve got the time to spare to change the oil and want your air compressor to work for the next few decades, you may want to search out one that requires oil.
There are so many factors that work hand-in-hand to create a great quiet air compressor. As you comparison shop throughout this list and into the real world, keep the decibel level, tank size, and CFM ratings in mind.
Being able to rely on your equipment and enjoy using it are hallmarks of great machines. Whatever you need to get the job done effectively and quietly is waiting for you.