Quietest Air Compressors 2018: Reviews and Buying Guide

When you’re a passionate DIY-er or an experienced garage warrior, you know that efficiency is the name of the game. No matter what people say, bigger isn’t always better. But bigger is certainly louder. This goes for the air compressors as well.

Or, does it?

People use these machines for a variety of tasks. These things save your time and money. As my recent research shows, a competent air compressor can save your ears from an exposure to constant noises in the garage or at the shop as well.

But the trick is to find the right product. In this post, you’ll find a shortlist of the quietest air compressors that go well with any kind of air tool and have longer lifecycles.

Of course, there’s the buying guide tucked in there for good measure as well. There, I’ve gone into great details about how to pick the ideal product for your household and professional duties.

Product

Specs

Price

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

  • 4.8 CFM @ 40 PSI and 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI 
  • 79 decibels
  • 20 x 18 x 18.8 inches

California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

  • 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 60 decibels
  • 25.5 x 11.5 x 21 inches

Campbell Hausfeld Quiet DC060500 Air Compressor

  • 2.4 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 68 decibels
  • 16 x 23 x 16 inches

DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor

  • 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 75.5 decibels
  • 17.2 x 16.6 x 20.1 inches

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor

  • 1.4 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 65 decibels
  • 14 x 13 x 10 inches
quietest air compressors

Why to Go for A Quiet Air Compressor?

According to many of us, these products are a good fit for the industries and not household jobs. Contrary to what you think, an air compressor can power up a lot of tools for you guys at home and make your lives easier than before. How so? Let’s take a look!

  • Air compressors can drive power to the nailers. People use corded or battery-driven nail guns and end up spending too much. Pairing a pneumatic nail gun worth $50 - $300 with an air compressor is a lifesaver. It could save you $200 - $300. Pneumatic nail guns are lightweight too. You won’t have trouble moving them around.
  • These things can be a great source of power for spray guns. I know people who use brushes for painting walls and furniture of their houses. Of course, there’s nothing wrong in doing that. But using an air compressor with a spray gun saves you time.
  • Air compressors are quite handy when it comes to auto repairs as well. These things can help you in removing different bolts when working in a congested place. Just attach an air ratchet tool with one of these products and get the job done in seconds.
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    Compressors can be used to run air blowers to clean stuff at the garage as well.

How to Choose A Quiet Air Compressor?

Choosing the ideal air compressor for your day-to-day work or professional gigs can put you in a pickle. You need to be careful and judge these products according to their merits. You’ll have multiple options to go on. But the best in the business feature distinguishing traits that you need to identify. What are those? Let’s find out!

Get a Fix on the CFM Rating

When buying air compressors, CFM or Cubic Feet Per Minute ratings are crucial. These ratings tell you the amount of air these things will be able to supply when at work. Low CFM rating means your product won’t be able to supply the air needed for the gig.


Too high means you’re going overboard with it. It’s important to strike a balance. Remember, pressure per square inch or psi is also associated with the measurement system. The higher the CFM rating at a certain psi count, the better the machine is.


These devices do a test keeping the psi count to 90. My advice would be to go for a product that has anywhere between 0.6 to 5 CFM at 90psi to get a good deal.


I must mention the fact that 0.6 to 2.0 CFM is great if you’re using the unit as a supplementary compressor for a larger one. You should go for 3.0 CFM if you’re using the compressor to power up light tools. 4.0 to 5.0 CFM is great for a workshop using a multitude of tools. Anything above that is for industrial usage.

Consider the PSI count for a Minute

Don’t get me wrong, CFM rating is the only thing I pay attention to. But if you are a nitpicker person and want to go the extra mile, I suggest you look at the PSI count too.


Mid-range to high-end machines are built in a way that they can deliver variable CFM ratings at different psi counts. This allows users to do multiple DIY projects or professional gigs that need different pressure levels.


Most compressors follow the modest rout of 90psi as I mentioned earlier. The variable psi options are just in case someone needs diversity by his side.

How Big/Small is the Tank?

Okay, now we’re back looking at the important stuff. You’ll see various designs of the air tank with different capacities. I’d go for the largest one for the category of compressors that I need. Air compressors work by filling the tank with air first. Bigger tanks hold more air. It’s that simple.


If you end up choosing products with smaller tanks, the air will deplete while you’re on the job. Pressure will start to decrease and airspeed will decrease with it. Then the motor will turn on to refill the tank. As you see, it can be a long pause and loss of valuable time.


Also, bigger tank means you can operate two or more tools simultaneously with the compressor.

What Do You Need the Machine For?

Your day-to-day projects or job site requirements pretty much decide the machine type for you. People should go for smaller units if they’re looking to tinker around their house doing various things. Household air compressors don’t require big tanks as the jobs are not that complicated.


If you need a compressor for professional purposes, go for heavy-duty machines with large tanks. Garage warriors or house maintenance guys like spray painters need one with big tanks to make sure the air doesn’t run out too soon and in the middle of a job.


While you are at it, decide if you need a portable machine or not. If you’re a hobbyist running around the house doing DIY projects and fixing things, you NEED a portable machine, my friend. If the compressor is for your place of work, stationery will do.


Again, both types have their positives and negatives. You might have to compromise on the tank size for portable units whereas The stationary air compressors are bulky and heavy.

Oil Lubricated or Oil-Free? Which Way to Go?

This is a tricky decision to make. As you know, air compressors can come in two varieties. There’s the oil-lubricated option where a tiny amount of the oil is used to lubricate the parts. Then, there’s the normal version where no traces of oil or lubricants are present.


Lubricated parts of an air compressor help with managing the sound level. So, oil lubricated products are quieter than those without the lubrication. But… there’s a tradeoff.


These products need constant checking and regular maintenance. You need to be on guard so that oil doesn’t drip into the tank. It’ll hamper the gig. The users have to clean the valves and crucial connections at regular intervals.


I do have both types of machines on my list. However, I’d go for the ones without lubrication. Don’t worry about the sound. There are ways to pick a silent product.

Picking a Quiet Air Compressor

The funny thing is, these machines are already quiet. Take a look at my list and you’ll see the decibel levels ranging from 60 to 75 (at best). As per industry experts, anything below 80 decibels is quiet compared to the surroundings of man.


If you want to nitpick and go the extra mile to pick the quietest air compressor out there, look at the motors. Motors with oil lubricated parts are quieter than normal as you already know. But these come at the cost of constant maintenance.


I’d go for products with magnetic motors. These will cost you a bit more than usual. But magnetic motors don’t make too much fuss.


If you are into larger products, search for belt-drive motors as they’re quieter than normal ones. These are direct drive motors with a belt wrapped around the rotating wheel. However, I wouldn’t put them in the “Ultra-Quiet” category.


If you’re into portable products, I’d suggest looking for an isolated rubber chamber to nullify the sound. Nearly all the portable units have that nowadays.


People who don’t mind spending the extra dime on these machines should find mufflers on high-end devices. These mufflers make the machine soundproof.

You’ll find numerous air compressors with different designs and functionalities. While every product has its own specialty, very few can stand the test of sound. Here’s my list of noiseless air compressors that should do your bidding while remaining silent.

Best Quietest Air Compressors 2018

One look at this mean machine and you’ll immediately fall in love.

Makita is known for sturdy construction and an efficient motor.

Makita MAC2400 takes care of the recovery time by giving users a big bore cylinder and twin tanks in a cast iron frame.

Cast iron gives away heat quickly to be ready to pump air when needed. That’s one big plus for the makers in terms of the efficient design.

The twin tanks each stack up to hold 4.2 gallons of air inside.

I’m in awe of the power this compressor gets to run things smoothly. Makita MAC2400 comes with a 2.5HP motor. It’s a 4-pole motor and can work up to 130psi of pressure when conjuring up air. It can dish out air at 90psi (4.2 CFM) and 40psi (4.8 CFM) in need.

You’d immediately notice the cage-like build of the machine. I won’t deny that it’s heavy but “Roll Cage” construction as makers call it, gives the product some much-needed stability and sturdiness to pull thorough wears and tears due to extreme conditions.

Why extreme conditions you ask? Well, this mean machine is a perfect candidate for working within job sites. Hence, it’s well-equipped to take on any threat head-on.

The design is an improvement over the usual “Petcock” design that I’ve grown accustomed to. You have lever handle ball valve and a tank-drain valve for easier operation and maintenance as well.

Staying on the same note, this tool starts off by drawing low on AMPs. Thus, it won’t trip any circuit breakers and cause a short circuit in place of work.

It’d be a pain if Makita MAC2400 suddenly dies on a job site due to overheating. Makers realized the threat and have put in a circuit breaker inside to guard against thermal overloads that could result from operating it for a long time.

This is great! But how noisy is the product considering it’ll take care of the job sites for us? As it turns out, the motor gives us 1730 RPMs which is low for a machine like this. It makes 79 decibels of noise at its peak. Considering all the commotions of a job site, this is pretty low!

I loved the effort put into designing the large-scale air filter for this compressor. If you’re into “Automotive Style” filters, this is the one to go for. It increases the amount of air this machine takes in. Also, it keeps impurities away. So, no complaints from me whatsoever.

The MAC2400 is oil lubricated. This is a blessing when people want to work with power tools. Thanks to the lubrication process, the temperature of the machine stays manageable all the time.

If you want a compressor that’s reasonably quiet and gives Makita a run for the money, I’ve got just the thing for you.

Try California Air Tools 5510SE machine.

It’s an oil-free machine. Just to be clear, I’m reviewing the one with the steel tank and not Aluminum.

While an oil-lubricated machine is good for power tools, the oil-free ones aren’t so bad. In fact, these machines require less maintenance on the user’s part. People won’t have to spend hours to pick this thing apart and make sure they’re functioning at the top of their gear.

Also, oil-free machines give you the privilege of working on various terrains, unlike the lubricated machines that have limitations.

As far as the build goes, Steel is a bit heavier than other materials. I’m not denying that. Yet, it’s durable when it counts. Fewer damages to the compressor mean higher efficiency levels and a longer lifecycle.

One more thing contributing to a continuous operation is the motor. It’s efficient and quiet. I mean, “Very Quiet”. The sound level I measured stacked up to be 60 decibels when the compressor is at full throttle. This is on the level of normal conversations at home.

This is not to say the motor is any less powerful. This nifty tool can work within 130psi of pressure when at the peak of its capacity. It can dish out 2.2 CFM of air at 90psi of pressure and 3.1 CFM of air when the pressure is 40psi. For a 1HP motor, this is incredible!

This motor requires little power to function. Just supply it with 8.5 amps of power and you’re good! One advantage of this low power is the fact that there won’t be any circuit tripping due to overloads caused by voltage surges.

Worried about capacity? Don’t fret! This little machine comes with a 5.5-gallon tank. It’s enough for an entire session if you’re tinkering with tools in your garage.

Don’t let the price startle you. This thing goes a long way when it comes to delivering quality service. Thanks to all the mechanisms working in tandem with each other, the California Air Tools 5510SE provides more than 3000 hours of action for people.

Yes, it is portable as well. There’s pair of wheels attached to this machine. Just push it a bit and take it wherever you’re working. The wheels roll well on any kind of terrain.

If you’re worried about the machine overheating, don’t sweat about it.

The construction keeps heat buildup to a minimal level. Also, people have a thermal overload protector to work with. This technology allows for the machine to shut down when the temperature reaches a certain point during continuous operation

Our quest for the quietest air compressor brings us to Campbell Hausfeld and its DC0600500 model.

To tell you the truth, it’s every bit worthy of the price people pay.

People will need electricity to make this device work.

Give it a 15-watt circuit and it’ll function just fine. If someone is thinking generators, a 2000-watt generator should be more than enough to power this thing.

You get multiple options of different tank sizes eligible for work in close quarters of the house to a full-fledged job site. Operate small power tools, do some woodworking, pump air into car tires or give the engine some much-needed air. There are endless possibilities.

Nailing, bolting, and painting are some things you can do with this incredible tool. However, I must tell you, this tool is better at some things than others.

Yes, this thing is portable as well. One can easily move it around thanks to the carry handle on top. Don’t worry, grabbing and carrying the product won’t hurt your palms or fingers in any way. My research shows that the pancake design plays a huge part in portability too.

Before you ask me, “Is the Pancake design gonna last?” Consider the fact that Campbell Hausfeld put their best minds at work here. The components are neatly joined, welded, and stacked together to form a durable unit. The components have 4 times longer lifespan than competing products of different franchises.

Okay, the design is great. But what about the motor?

Well, this motor gives you a maximum pressure output of 125psi. The dual piston technology allows people to have 2.4 CFM of air at 90psi of pressure when working with normal mode.

Don’t worry about the noise either. The motor is apt enough to handle all the load and it never complains. Campbell Hausfeld is 50% quieter than other pancake portable air compressors. It generates 68 decibels of sound when working at full capacity.

One thing that could’ve been better is the voltage capacity. This little machine runs smoothly on 110V capacity but it can’t accept a 220V connection. People may run into problems while running this thing outside the USA.

The DC060500 comes with additional accessories to make your life better than before. For example, you have a hose to use with this machine. Also, there’s a wrench included helping people set up this compressor. There’s a paint sprayer as well.

Campbell Hausfeld made this compressor to be oil-free. As you might’ve guessed by now, this thing requires very little maintenance compared to its competition.

When it comes to silent air compressors with immense power, no one dares to leave Dewalt out of his/her shortlist of products.

I didn’t either.

This pancake-style air compressor grants you power and pressure to work with comes with a nailer kit, AND it’s silent too!

This 30-pound compressor can deliver a maximum of 165psi of pressure when at its peak. Normally, you’d get 2.6SCFM of air at 90psi of pressure when working with it. This is Standard Cubic Feet per Minute we’re talking about. It’s tested in exact conditions.

The motor is a winner in the sense that you get to work with it in extremely cold weather. Yes, it features a cold start mechanism. This little machine has an extension cord for corded applications. The cord is 50 feet long. So, people can have a flexible machine.

Also, this motor is universal. Pair it with any kind of power source in any corner of the world and it’ll run smoothly without ever causing troubles.

As far as the tank is concerned, you get one with 6-gallon capacity. This is enough for everyday jobs and even for some serious job site projects.

So, how quiet is the machine? As it turns out, you can maintain a normal environment with this machine turned on. It makes a sound of 75.5dBA. This is reasonably quiet considering the power of the motor and modern household and factory noises.

The DEWALT DWFP55126 comes with high-performance couplers and high flow regulators that ensure top-notch performance without compromising the quality.

As I mentioned earlier, the compressor isn’t the only thing you get with the bundle. There’s a nailer too. This tool features a maintenance-free motor. It helps to keep the surface stain-free when people go about their activities using the compressor.

This nifty tool works with 18-gauge nails from 5/8-inch to 2-inch sizes. The fact that you get to work with Pneumatic mode of power makes perfect sense why the makers chose to offer this little product in a bundle with the DEWALT air compressor.

People won’t need the tools for anything in this machine. There’s a depth-of-drive adjustment system for nailers. Users have dents that adjust themselves according to the need and the nail size.

 Even when things get jammed, there’s a release mechanism in place so the work is not halted by any means. There’s a rear exhaust in place as well. It works well in keeping contaminants away from the working surface.

If you want to get your hands on an efficient machine without chewing through your wallet, Senco PC1010 is the answer.

This air compressor comes with a 1HP motor that may seem an underachiever but isn’t!

The interesting part about the motor is that it can generate a maximum pressure of 120psi. This is way too much for its size.

This is not the only feat this tiny machine is capable of. It’s an oil-less machine. So, the compressor needs little to no maintenance. This motor supplies 0.5HP when running at a normal speed and 1HP at its peak. It enables people to take care of their household jobs.

This thing comes with 1-gallon tank. I know that this is a compressor meant for lightweight chores around the house and not heavy lifting like the big boys on my list.

Feel free to do a bit of nailing, bolting, sanding, and occasional inflating of the smaller tires if you like. Senco PC1010 will have your back. Even with this small tank, Senco comes with two separate gauges for in-tank and regulated output pressure measurement.

This little thing comes with a ¼-inch disconnect coupler. The job of this tiny object is to regulate the pumping of air between the tank and motor according to the need of the user.

Don’t go by the size of the machine. It’s quick at its job. This compressor takes 128 seconds to reach from 0 to 120psi in time of need. That’s quick! Furthermore, the machine delivers anywhere between 20 to 44 drives per minute when someone needs it to.

This tiny machine draws 4 Amps of power only. Since it takes so little amount of electricity, there’s no threat of the circuits being overloaded with current flow.

However, this thing can quickly heat up and cause problems. It seems like the makers are aware of this issue as well. They installed a thermal overload protector to stop the machine when it gets too hot to handle.

Small things tend to be quiet and this is no exception. I measured the sound to be 25.5 dBA when running at 0.5HP. When running at full power, the sound rises to 71dBA from an inch away. Seems to loud? Drop back to a foot or two and you’ll see the sound reach 65dBA. This is the sound of a normal conversation between two people.

Besides being one of the quietest air compressors, this one is portable as well. Have you noticed the built-in handle on the top of this thing? It’s there to help people carry it to whichever part of the house they’re working on. It’s lightweight so lifting isn’t a problem.

On the Best Quietest Air Compressors

Didn’t find any of the options I mentioned? Don’t worry, there are ways to manage the sound level of an air compressor too!

Now that we’re done speaking about the quiet air compressors, it’s up to you. Make no mistake, these tools are great companions in a DIY project or a professional gig as I keep mentioning. With proper maintenance, you can get a lot of work hours out of these things.

With all these options, you won’t find it hard to pick the best one for the job. However, if you want my opinion, I’d keep Makita around me for all my professional needs. The one from California Air Tools stays at home for some tinkering at the garage. 

You’ll find some tools with a higher price tag than others. These things come with additional perks like “Cold Start” feature or portability. If you can’t decide between the models, by all means, do your own research. Take the help of my buying guide if you would.