20​20 ​Best Quiet Air Compressors

2020 Best Quiet Air Compressor Reviews

Choosing the best quiet air compressor for your needs can be a daunting task. We'll help you determine the features, size and capacity you'll need to perform all the air powered ​jobs that are most important to you. You'll find honest, unbiased air compressor buying guides, tips and useful information that will empower you with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision on which quiet air compressor model is right for your needs and budget..

Why Do I Need a Quiet Air Compressor? - ​Pneumatic air tools are not only lighter and more powerful than their electric equivalents, but they also run cooler and last longer. Air power can also be used for ​painting, blowing out dusty equipment, filling tires and inflatable toys and a plethora of other useful tasks.

Unfortunately, until recently you had to live with the deafening sound produced by most air compressors. All compressors produce some level of noise despite marketing claims such as silent, ultra-quiet, noiseless, etc. ​Compressor manufacturers have come a long way in reducing the ​level of sound that their products produce.

​Our 20​20 top 5 winners ​​reviewed in this section need to be quieter than 72 dB to be considered as a low noise compressor. For comparison, a normal conversation is typically between 55 to 65 dB. These quiet units are also very portable, larger low noise air compressors will be compared in another review. If  you want the ultimate in  portability and want a super compact ​solution check out our small quiet compressor review.

Our Top 5 Quiet Air Compressors of 20​20

Item

Specs

​R​ating

Price

Get CAT-8010 Price

California Air Tools

​8010

Quietness

60 dB


CFM @ 90 PSI

2.2 CFM


Tank Size

​8.0 Gallon

Good Combination of Power and Low Noise.


​Great Amazon Reviews!

DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor

​DEWALT

DWFP55130​

Quietness

​71.5 dB


CFM @ 90 PSI

​3.0 CFM


Tank Size

​2.5 Gallon

200 PSI -​ Highest Pressure of the Top 5 Quiet Air Compressors We Reviewed.


​Heavy Duty, Multiple, ​Simultaneous Air ​Nailer Support.

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

California Air Tools

CAT-1P1060S

Quietness

56 dB


CFM @ 90 PSI

​1.2 CFM


Tank Size

​1 Gallon

The Quietest ​We  Reviewed, Only 56 dB.


Portable, Small & Light Weight, Only 29 Lbs.


​​​Excellent Compressor for Tire Inflation​.

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful 2 HP Air Compressor

California Air Tools

10020C

Quietness

​70 dB


CFM @ 90 PSI

​5.3 CFM


Tank Size

​10 Gallon

​Most Powerful ​ ​of the Top 5 Quiet Compressors Reviewed.

Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 - Half the Noise and Weight

Campbell Hausfeld

DC040500

Quietness

68 dB


CFM @ 90 PSI

2.3 CFM


Tank Size

​4.6 Gallon

Po​werful & Light Weight, Only 38 Lbs.

Please note that quiet compressors are generally more expensive and produce less CFM than their noisier competitors, we will discuss the details of “why this is?” in further detail later in the article.

​Quick Air Terms Glossary

​​​​​​To compare air powered equipment and tools you'll need to understand a few basic terms.

  • dB - (Decibel) - Sound Level - This is the most important term when considering quiet air compressors. The lower the dB the quieter the unit will sound. Decibel uses a logarithmic scale, for example a 70 dB compressor is twice as loud as a 60 dB unit.  
  • ​PSI - (Pounds per Square Inch) - This is the pressure that the air in the tank is compressed to. Generally air compressors are set to shut off at 120 PSI which is plenty for most applications. One advantage of heavy duty higher PSI compressors is that they can perform the same jobs with a smaller air tank size. For example a 1 gallon tank at 200 PSI will have as much air capacity as a 2 gallon tank at 100 PSI.
  • CFM - (Cubic Feet per Minute) - This is the one value that matters the most when determining what size of compressor to buy. CFM (sometimes expressed as SCFM - Standard Cubic Feet per Minute or even ACFM - Actual CFM) is the rate at which your machine can pump air. The larger the CFM the more you can do with a specific compressor. Using high volume air tools such as a air grinder or jack hammer will require a air compressor with a high CFM output and a larger tank. 
  •  Air Delivery - (A combination of PSI and CFM) Ratings are typically expressed as a CFV value at a specific PSI. For example: 5 CFM @ 90 PSI.
  • Air Tank Capacity ​- Air tanks are measured in gallons. Larger tanks can deliver more air before the pressure drops and the pressure switch starts the compressor back up to refill the tank. For air tools that require continuous air delivery such as an air sander, you will need a larger tank.   ​​​
  • Amps - (Current Draw) - Electric air compressors draw a varying amount of electrical current depending on the size of the motor and the voltage. High horsepower (HP) compressors will use more current for a given source voltage. For example a typical 1 HP compressor needs about 8 amps @ 120 volts. If you purchased a 1 HP,  240 volt unit it would only ​use around 4 amps to operate.  

How to Choose the Best Quiet Air Compressor?

When you're shopping for quiet air compressors, you might feel a little overwhelmed. You'll need to deal with specifications such as PSI, SCFM, HP, etc. and choices such as horizontal or vertical, aluminum tank or steel tank, oil-free or oiled, and a multitude of other jargon that might seem very confusing. Some words you'll encounter such as pancake or hotdog make it sound like you’re ordering off the menu in a restaurant.

Don’t worry, we’ll help you simplify the task by determining your needs, and then giving you the best options for your specific situation.

Answer These Two Simple Questions:

1. Where are you going to use the compressor?

Air compressors come in all different shapes, sizes and weights however, there are basically two types of units, stationary and portable.

Important Note: Portable can vary wildly, from you can manage move it with two strong men to easy to carry by an 80-pound child.

Will you locate the compressor semi-permanently in a garage or shop and not frequently need to move it or would you prefer something very light and portable that is easy to carry around.

Where are you going to plug it in? If you do opt for a small, ultra-portable quiet air compressor, you can easily power it from a standard household electrical outlet or even using the proper sized extension cord. On the other hand, if you are going to purchase a stationary air compressor or a high horsepower portable model you may need to have an electrician install a dedicated circuit for the compressor.

2. What do you want the compressor to do?

Are you just going to inflate car tires or inflate toys or sports equipment, or do you need to run heavy air tools such as air hammers, etc?

You will need a higher CFM compressor with a larger tank for large volume air requirements. Here is a chart of typical air usage for a variety of common air operated tools and devices.

Air Tool CFM Requirements

Air Tool​​​​

​Min​. CFM

3" Cut-Off Tool

​4.0

Air Blow Gun

0.6

Air Drill 3/8"

4.0

Air Hammer, Small

6.0

Brad Nailer

1.0

​Finish Nailer

1.5

Framing Nailer

2.5

Impact Wrench 1/2"

​5.5

Orbital Palm Sander

10.5

Paint, Airbrush

0.6

Paint, Auto

12.0

Paint, HVLP

6.0

Pin Nailer

0.4

Ratchet Wrench 3/8"

5.0

Reciprocating Saw

8.0

Sandblaster, Small

12.0

Tire Inflator

0.4

Note: These are the average minimum CFM requirements for household air tools with a 25% duty cycle. For simultaneous operation of multiple air tools or professional use you'll need a larger air compressor.

California Air Tools ​8010 Ultra Quiet Review


CAT-8010 Front View

​The California Air Tools ​8010 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0-HP ​8Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor is our top pick in the Best Quiet Air Compressor category.

We picked this unit because it had the best combination of quality, power, low noise level and of course price. You can read our full CAT-8010 review here.

​CAT-​8010 air compressors use the new California Air Tools SP series motor/pump, which is easily repairable. The new one horsepower SP-9413 pump increases the compressor's duty cycle allowing for longer continuous run times without overheating. The thermally protected AC motor spins at a lower 1680 RPM which creates less noise and increases life of the unit. ​The oil-free, dual piston pump provides high performance with minimal routine maintenance requirements and features a 3000 hour life cycle before repair rating.

​It takes only 165 seconds to fill the ​8-gallon air tank from empty to 120 PSI, then the recovery time from 90 PSI back to a full 120 PSI is around 60 seconds. 

The unit is rated at 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI or 3.1 CFM @ 40 PSI, which is great for inflating car or truck tires and provides enough ​capacity to enough to run most air nailers and some small air ratchets and impact wrenches. If you need to run large air tools that require high CFM, such as air sanders and grinders, then you should opt for a considerably larger compressor.

California Air Tools ​8010 Air Compressor Owners Manual - PDF ​​

​California Air Tools ​8010 Features

  • ​60 dB Quiet
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • ​8 Gallon Steel Tank
  • ​Dual Pressure Gauges
  • ​8.5 Amps
  • Long Life
  • ​1 HP Dual Piston
  • ​1680 RPM
  • ​Length 2​6"
  • Width 1​4"
  • ​Height 23"
  • ​48 Lbs.

PROS

  • Ultra Quiet, 60 dB
  • Low Current - 8.5 Amps
  • Low Price - Under $200

CONS

  • Not for High ​CFM Applications
  • Only 2.2 CFM

Quality

​California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the ​8010 is no exception.

Price

​The ​CAT-8010 is very competitively priced and usually retails for between $150 to $200

​Quietness

​60 dB is a very good sound rating for this size unit. One of the quietest compressors in this comparison.

​Our Rating

​​​If you are looking for a good quiet air compressor that won't break the bank or your eardrums, then the C​AT ​8010 is an excellent choice. ​Overall rating ​4.5 stars.

DEWALT DWFP55130 Quiet Trim Compressor Review


DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor

​The ​DeWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor ​is an excellent choice if you are looking for a portable air compressor to power multiple air nailers.

We ​chose t​his unit because it ha​s some unique heavy duty attributes not found in other compressors in this category.  

This unit is rated at ​3 0 CFM @ 90 PSI, and operates at 200 PSI which ​allows its 2.5 gallon tank perform as well as a lower PSI unit with a larger tank.​ There are two quick air connections ​that enable the DeWALT DWFP55130 ​to easily operate ​two nailers at the same time.

​Unfortunately, all of this this air power comes at a price. At 71.5 dB, the DWFP55130 produces ​more noise then other models in this category. However, please note that this compressor still emits much less noise than standard (non-quiet) models.

Dewalt DWFP55130 Owners Manual - PDF

​​​DEWALT DWFP55130 Features

  • ​​71.5 dB Quiet
  • 200 PSI - 3 CFM
  • ​2.5 Gal. Tank
  • ​Dual ​Air Outlets
  • ​​12 Amps
  • Heavy Duty
  • ​1.1 HP
  • ​​Oil-Less Pump
  • ​Length 20.5"
  • Width 12.7"
  • ​Height 16.4"
  • ​36 Lbs.

PROS

  • Dual Air Connections
  • Heavy Duty - 200 PSI
  • ​36 Lbs - Very Portable

CONS

  • Not as Quiet as Others
  • Higher Current - 12 Amp
  • Over $200 Price Tag

Quality

​​The DEWALT name is legendary when talking about tools. This unit is as well or better built than most air compressors in this price range.

Price

​The ​​DWFP55130 competitively priced with similar​ trim compressors, and usually retails for between $​200 t​o $300

​Quietness

​​The D​WFP55130  ​is rated at 71.5 dB which is good for a 3 CFM 200 PSI air compressor.

​Our Rating

​​​If you're looking for a heavy duty ​​compressor that balances power and portability​, then ​​DEWALT's DWFP55130 Quiet Trim Compressor ​is a top choice. We give it a respectable rating of 4.5 stars.

CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Air Compressor Review


California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor

​At a whisper quiet 56 dB, the California Air Tools 1P1060S is not only the quietest but  also the smallest and lightest ​air compressor in this roundup review.

If you're looking for a ultra-portable super quiet compressor, then the California Air Tools ​1P1060S ​is a clear winner.​ This model is great for inflating tires and other items and powering finish and pin nailers or small airbrushes, However with only 1.2 CFM and a small 1 gallon capacity air tank don't expect this unit to power larger air tools other than nailers with small CFM consumption rates.

The 1P1060 features the new 1P series motor with thermal overload protection and a large single piston pump which has a 3000 hour life cycle before ​wear rating.

It takes ​​​only 50 seconds to fill the 1 gallon air tank from empty to 120 PSI, then the recovery time from 90 PSI back to a full 120 PSI is ​a speedy 15 seconds. 

In addition to being ultra-quiet, this compressor is also ultra-light and portable, weighing ​just 29 pounds. The CAT-1P1060S ​draws a mere 4.5 amps, enabling you to plug it in almost anywhere around the house, outside or in the garage.

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Owners Manual - PDF ​​

​California Air Tools ​1P1060S Features

  • ​56 dB Quiet
  • ​1.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • ​1 Gallon Tank
  • 0.6 HP
  • ​4.5 Amps
  • Long Life
  • ​Single Piston
  • ​1680 RPM
  • ​Length 12.5"
  • Width 14.7"
  • ​Height 14.8"
  • ​​29 Lbs.

PROS

  • Quietest - 56 dB
  • ​Light Only 29 LBS
  • Small & Ultra -Portable

CONS

  • Only 1.2 CFM
  • Small 1 Gallon Tank
  • Seldom Under $100

Quality

​California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and ​typically builds good quality units for the price paid.

Price

​The ​1​P1060S pricing is good for a super quiet compressor and usually ​sells for between $80 to $​150.

​Quietness

​Emitting ​a mere 56 dB, the California Air Tools ​1​P1060 is the quietest compressor in this comparison review.

​Our Rating

​​Th​is is a ​​super light and ultra portable small air compressor. We ​gave this unit an overall rating ​of 4.5 stars

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Review


California Air Tools 10020C

The 2 HP California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Air Compressor is the largest and most powerful in our best quiet air compressor roundup review. You can re​​​​ad our California Air Tools Review for more information on the manufacturer.

If you need a larger portable compressor, then the California Air Tools 10020C provides a good combination of power and portability with reasonably low noise level for a 2 HP air compressor.

​CAT-​1020 air compressors use the easily repairable ​California Air Tools SP series motor/pump. The ​2 horsepower SP-9421 pump's increased duty cycle allow​s longer continuous compressor run times ​before rest. The quiet 1680 RPM brushless induction motor features thermal overload protection to prevent damage from overheating. ​The long-life, high performance ​dual piston pump ​is oil-free, ​with low maintenance requirements​ and is rated 3000 hours before repair.

It takes 2 minutes to fill the 10-gallon air tank from empty to 120 PSI, then the recovery time from 90 PSI back to a full 120 PSI is around 25 seconds. 

The 10020C is rated at 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. This is plenty of capacity to power many household air tools that the other products in this review would struggle with. Two air pressure gauges, dual universal quick air connectors and a Condor pressure switch are standard on this model.

You can get this air compressor with an optional EZ-1-2321 Auto Drain Valve. This option eliminates the need to periodically manually drain the condensate from the compressor's air tank.

This unit needs 14 Amps to operate, so you won't want other electrical devices on the circuit or be able to use light duty extension cords. Truthfully, I would not recommend using an extension cord at all on a 2 horsepower or larger compressor. If you need to use air a greater distance from the electrical source, then get a longer air hose instead. Your air compressor will run cooler and last longer when connected directly to an electric outlet.

Quote from California Air Tools - Designed for the person looking for Power, Air Flow, Less Service and Maintenance with at Least 30% Less Noise!".

Read our Full California Air Tools 10020C ​​Review

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Owners Manual - PDF

​California Air Tools 10020C Features

  • ​70 dB Quiet
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • ​10 Gal. Tank
  • ​Dual Pressure Gauges
  • ​14 Amps
  • Long Life
  • ​2 HP Dual Piston
  • ​1680 RPM
  • ​Length 16"
  • Width 11.5"
  • ​Height 36"
  • ​82.5 Lbs.

PROS

  • Higher Capacity 5.3 CFM
  • Larger 10 Gallon Tank
  • Powerful 2 HP Motor

CONS

  • ​Not as Quiet, 70 dB
  • ​Current - 14 Amps
  • ​Retails $300 ​to $400

Quality

​California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the ​10020C is no exception.

Price

​The​ 10020C retails between $​300 to $400 which is competitive for similar 2 HP quiet compressor models.

​Quietness

​​California Air Tools specializes in producing quiet air compressors, at 70 dB the ​10020C is no exception.

​Our Rating

This compressor offers a good combination of power vs sound. We ​gave the CAT-10020C unit an overall rating ​of 4.5 stars.

Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 Quiet Compressor Review


​Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 ​Quiet Compressor Review

​The ​Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 Air Compressor is ​a quality twin-stack compressor with half the noise of the standard competition. We ​chose the DC040500 unit for its unique balance of power, low noise and quality. 

​The lighter 4.6-gallon aluminum twin-stack air tank design helps keep the weight down to only 38 pounds. This model is very compact and easy to lug around.

Th​​e CH DC040500 1 HP compressor features a long life, oil-free dual piston compressor rated at 2.3 CFM @ 90 PSI or 3.2 CFM @ 40 PSI, which provides plenty of power for inflation and dusting applications, with enough ​capacity to power nailers and some small air ​tools.

The noise level is a respectable 68 dB for this size unit which is much quieter than standard air compressors.

Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 Owners Manual

​​Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 Features

  • ​68 dB Quiet
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • ​4.6 Gallon Capacity
  • ​Dual ​Stack Aluminum
  • ​7.5 Amps
  • 4X Long Life
  • ​1HP  - 2.3 CFM
  • ​ Dual Air Couplers
  • ​Length 22.6"
  • Width 22.7"
  • ​Height 18.3"
  • ​38 Lbs.

PROS

  • ​Light & Portable  - 38 Lbs
  • ​Half the Noise and Weight
  • ​Aluminum Twin-Stack Tanks

CONS

  • ​Won't Power Large Tools
  • Louder than Quieter Models
  • ​Priced Over $220

Quality

Since 1940, ​Campbell Hausfeld has been producing a wide range of reliable, air compressors and pneumatic equipment.

Price

​The ​​Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 is competitively priced and usually retails for between $​220 to $275.

​Quietness

​​The DC040500 has a sound rating of 68 dB which is good for a compressor with similar specifications.

​Our Rating

​This compressor offers quality construction and good portability. We ​gave the ​DC040500 an overall rating ​of 4 stars.

Air Compressor Noise Reduction

A wide range of noise levels is produced by today's pneumatic equipment.  Average dB values can vary between a whisper quiet 40 dB and a ground shaking 90 dB. Remember that sound levels use a logarithmic scale, which simply means that 80 dB is twice as loud as 70 dB and a whopping four times louder than 60 dB.

Companies that manufacture quiet air compressors use many methods to reduce the noise produced by their machines such as:

  • Sound Dampening Enclosures
  • Silencing Intake Air Filters
  • Rubber Vibration Isolation Pads
  • Dual-Piston Reciprocating Pumps
  • Rotary Screw Compressors
  • Scroll Air Compressor Pumps
  • Reduced Friction
  • Lower RPM Operation

and many more. You can currently get a compressor that is considerably quieter than one manufactured 5 or more years ago.

All of these sound reducing methods cost money and raw performance takes a hit, this is the primary reason that standard compressors of a given CFM rating are typically less expensive than quiet models with the same CFM air flow rating.

How To Make Your Compressor Quieter

By nature, air compressors are loud, thus the rapidly expanding market for low noise compressors. If you can't afford or don't want to purchase a new quiet air compressor, here are a few tips to reduce the sound of your existing compressor noise-box.

Solberg Air Compressor Silencer Review

​How to make your Air Compressor Quieter - Intake Muffler

  • ​Intake Muffler Installation - ​​You can ​reduce the sound produced by the compressor's air intake by installing a baffled muffler. Either purchase an air compressor silencer or, if you are the ambitious type, you can build one yourself. If your compressor is stationary or semi-stationary you can further reduce the annoying high frequency noise by piping the air intake silencer through an outside wall. Another trick that is sometimes effective is to use a 90-degree street elbow to change the angle of the air filter or intake muffler.
  • Distance is Your Friend - ​dB levels drop significantly ​​​​as you move greater distances from the source of the sound. Buy a long air hose, they are relatively inexpensive, and move your compressor as far away as you can (preferably in another room or outside). This will make a dramatic difference in the audible noise level.  
  • Wear Hearing Protection - Repetitive exposure to sound levels above 80 dB can permanently damage your hearing. Ear plugs or muffs are cheap insurance against hearing loss and will make it much more comfortable to work around loud noises.  While wearing hearing protection won't quiet the air compressor, it will dramatically reduce the dB level of the noise you hear.
  • Use Isolating Enclosures or Walls - You can build a sound blocking enclosure for your compressor to reduce the noise. Construct the enclosure of materials that absorb noise. This can be simple or elaborate, take a look at this sound proof enclosure constructed of solid concrete. However, be careful not to restrict the airflow around the machine, or it will overheat and possibly cause damage or catch fire. A simpler solution is to get a extra-long air hose as suggested above and put as many walls as possible between you and the air compressor.

Bottom Line

Bottom line is, quiet air compressors are great. Just be aware that the silence comes at a price. Compressors that are specifically designed for less noise pollution cost more and typically produce lower CFM than their noisy counterparts. This is due to many factors such as compressor pump RPM, lubrication type, sound deadening materials, etc.

Another factor to consider is the noise produced by the air tools or attachments that you are using. For example, inflating a car tire produces very little sound and the compressor will be louder than the inflation task, by contrast using a jackhammer or air impact gun would undoubtedly be substantially louder than the compressor contributing to the overall noise level.

>