2020 Best Quiet Air Compressors
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 2020 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 2020
California Air Tools
CFM @ 90 PSI
Good Combination of Power and Low Noise.
Great Amazon Reviews!
CFM @ 90 PSI
200 PSI - Highest Pressure of the Top 5 Quiet Air Compressors We Reviewed.
Heavy Duty, Multiple, Simultaneous Air Nailer Support.
California Air Tools
CFM @ 90 PSI
The Quietest We Reviewed, Only 56 dB.
Portable, Small & Light Weight, Only 29 Lbs.
Excellent Compressor for Tire Inflation.
California Air Tools
CFM @ 90 PSI
Most Powerful of the Top 5 Quiet Compressors Reviewed.
CFM @ 90 PSI
Powerful & 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.
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
3" Cut-Off Tool
Air Blow Gun
Air Drill 3/8"
Air Hammer, Small
Impact Wrench 1/2"
Orbital Palm Sander
Ratchet Wrench 3/8"
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
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 Features
California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the 8010 is no exception.
The CAT-8010 is very competitively priced and usually retails for between $150 to $200
60 dB is a very good sound rating for this size unit. One of the quietest compressors in this comparison.
If you are looking for a good quiet air compressor that won't break the bank or your eardrums, then the CAT 8010 is an excellent choice. Overall rating 4.5 stars.
DEWALT DWFP55130 Quiet Trim Compressor Review
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 this unit because it has 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 Features
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.
The DWFP55130 competitively priced with similar trim compressors, and usually retails for between $200 to $300
The DWFP55130 is rated at 71.5 dB which is good for a 3 CFM 200 PSI air compressor.
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
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 1P1060S Features
California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and typically builds good quality units for the price paid.
The 1P1060S pricing is good for a super quiet compressor and usually sells for between $80 to $150.
Emitting a mere 56 dB, the California Air Tools 1P1060 is the quietest compressor in this comparison review.
This 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
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 read 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 allows 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!".
California Air Tools 10020C Features
California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the 10020C is no exception.
The 10020C retails between $300 to $400 which is competitive for similar 2 HP quiet compressor models.
California Air Tools specializes in producing quiet air compressors, at 70 dB the 10020C is no exception.
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
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.
The 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 Features
Since 1940, Campbell Hausfeld has been producing a wide range of reliable, air compressors and pneumatic equipment.
The Campbell Hausfeld DC040500 is competitively priced and usually retails for between $220 to $275.
The DC040500 has a sound rating of 68 dB which is good for a compressor with similar specifications.
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.
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.