California Air Tools 10020C Review - Ultra Quiet Series

The 2 HP California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Air Compressor was our top pick in the best quiet garage air compressor roundup review.

If you need a portable compressor with a ten-gallon air tank, then the California Air Tools 10020C provides a good combination of power and portability with reasonably low 70 dB noise level for a two-horsepower air compressor.

CAT-10020C Quick Specifications:

  • 70 dB Ultra-Quiet Series
  • 2 HP Oil-Free Pump
  • 120 Volts - 14 Amps
  • 125 PSI Max  Pressure
  • 10-Gallon Steel Tank
  • Thermal Overload Protection
  • 0 to 125 PSI in 120 Seconds
  • 5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Dual Filter Silencers
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty
California Air Tools 10020C Ultra-Quiet Review

California Air Tools 10020C - Front View

California Air Tools 10020C - Rear View

California Air Tools 10020C - Rear View

California Air Tools 10020C - UPC 743369710035

Note:  This compressor is now available with a 20-gallon steel tank. The new model number is CAT-20020. Same specifications except for air tank increase from 10-gallon to 20-gallon.


California Air Tools is a major manufacturer of quiet air compressors. The 2 HP, 10 Gallon, 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI CAT-10020 models are from the contractor grade California Air Tools Ultra Quiet Series of air compressors.

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Video

This is a well designed unit, all controls, dual quick connectors and twin air pressure gauges are easily accessible from the rugged front control panel installed on a protective steel roll cage. The dual air connections are easy one-handed push in type with no need to pull back on the collar.

New SP Series Air Pump 

California Air Tools 10020 air compressors use the easily repairable new SP series motor/pump. The 2 horsepower SP-9421 pump's increased duty cycle and improved heat dissipation allows for longer continuous compressor run times before rest. The ultra-quiet 1680 RPM, four pole, brushless induction motor is UL listed and features thermal overload protection. If the motor’s temperature exceeds 275 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermal overload opens the circuit to help prevent accidental damage due to overheating.

The cast aluminum dual cylinder pump features low friction Teflon piston rings to ensure quieter operation. A new, improved valve plate design equipped with Swedish reed valves improves the compressor’s air flow. The long-life, high performance dual piston pump is oil-free, with low maintenance requirements and is rated 3000 hours before repair.

California Air Tools 2 HP SP-9421 Compressor Pump

California Air Tools 2 HP SP-9421 Compressor Pump

For easier, lower amperage starting in cold weather and less wear and tear on the pump and motor this compressor is equipped with an easy start valve. The valve bleeds a small amount of air from the compressor pump during startup which creates a temporary no-load condition. This makes the compressor very easy to start and reduces startup current demand.

The oil-free design allows easy cold weather starting and operation on uneven surfaces since there is no oil in the pump. However, the owner's manual states, "For proper operation, the air compressor must be placed on a flat surface with an incline no greater than 15 degrees", so you wouldn't want to get too extreme with the compressor angle.

CAT-10020C Compressor Pictures

California Air Tools 10020C - Left Side View

CAT-10020C - Left Side View

California Air Tools 10020C - Right Side View

CAT-10020C - Right Side View

The 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI rating of the California Air Tools 10020C offers plenty of capacity to power a variety of garage pneumatic tools that the average person might use such as 1/2 impact wrenches, air ratchets, etc. 

A mid-size steel 10-gallon air tank fills from empty to 120 PSI in under 2 minutes and can quickly recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI in about 25 seconds. The larger size of the tank allows more air consumption before the compressor pump needs to restart.

The high-quality Condor pressure switch is factory set to shut off between 120 to 125 PSI and restart the compressor when the air pressure falls to 90 to 95 PSI.

The vertical steel tank compressor weighs a hefty 82.5 pounds; however, an included wheel kit helps with portability making it easier to move around.

Air compressor tanks should be drained at least every couple of days or preferably after each day's usage to help prevent rust and corrosion from the water that collects in the tank. CAT-10020 models feature an easy to use ball valve tank drain making this task a breeze.

This air compressor is also available with an optional EZ-1-2321 auto drain valve pre-installed at the factory (CAT-10020CAD). This convenient option eliminates the need to periodically manually drain the condensation from the compressor's air tank. The frequency and duration of the automatic drain can easily be configured on the EZ-1-2321 timer.

California Air Tools 10020C

UPC 743369710035

Silencing Intake Filter/Mufflers

CAT-10020C Top View

CAT-10020C Top View

Two silencing air filters are included to help filter airborne particulates and lower the intake noise produced by the compressor. The air filter should be cleaned regularly, by simply opening the filter cover and removing the filter element, blow or brush off the accumulated dust and dirt and reinstall. If the filter element can't be cleaned or is damaged it should be promptly replaced. California Air Tools part number for the filter is Item #: 90260, although it appears to be a standard Solberg silencing filter.

Solberg Silencing Filter

Solberg Silencing Filter Element Removal

 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 good quality air hose instead. Your air compressor will run cooler and last longer when connected directly to an electric outlet.

California Air Tools 10020C Specifications

  • 70 dB Quiet
  • 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 10 Gallon Tank
  • 2.0 HP
  • 14 Amps
  • Oil-Free Pump
  • Dual PSI Gauges
  • 1680 RPM
  • Length 16"
  • Width 11.5"
  • Height 36"
  • 82.5 Lbs.

Our CAT-10020C Ratings


California Air Tools specializes in producing quiet air compressors. 70 dB for a 2 HP compressor is very good. 


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


The CAT-10020C typically retails between $400 - $500 which is competitive for similar 2 HP quiet air compressor models.

Overall Rating :  4.5

This model provides a good combination of power vs sound. With a larger 10 gallon tank and oil-free two horsepower pump it is a popular choice for many. We gave the CAT-10020C air compressor an overall rating of 4.5 stars.


  • Air Flow 5.3 CFM 
  • 10 Gallon Steel Tank
  • Efficient 2 HP Motor
  • Excellent Buyer Reviews


  • Weight 82.5 Lbs
  • Current, 14 Amps

"Designed for the person looking for Power, Air Flow, Less Service and Maintenance with at Least 30% Less Noise!"

California Air Tools

The Bottom Line

With over 1,000 positive reviews, the CAT10020C gets excellent ratings from Amazon buyers. If you are looking for a comfortably quiet air compressor that is powerful enough to power many of the air tools that the typical do-it-yourselfer might need, then take a close look at the specs of the California Air Tools 10020C compressors. This is an adequate size unit for most common air powered tasks, and a 2 HP air compressor with a noise level of only 70 dB is music to the ears when compared to the typical loud compressors you're likely used to hearing. If you are interested in a smaller 4.6 tank version of a 2 HP ultra-quiet compressor you might want to check out our California Air Tools 4620AC review. However, if you need a larger 20-gallon version, it is sold here.

California Air Tools 10020C - ASIN B0188XBTLY

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