2021 Quietest Air Compressor for Garage or Shop

    2021 Quietest Air Compressor for Garage or Shop

    Quiet Garage Compressors - Updated 01/27/2021

    We selected and reviewed the 2021 top 5 quiet compressors for your garage or shop that not only have the size and power to operate common air tools, but also feature low dB ratings that are much easier on the ears than your standard loud noise-box compressor.

    The quietest garage air compressors are a little pricier than comparable CFM output models that are much louder. However, in the long run, your ear drums will appreciate the fact that you chose a low noise compressor.

    Most major brands such as Porter Cable, Dewalt, Rolair, Campbell Hausfeld, Ingersoll-Rand, etc. offer low dB models. Some manufacturers, such as California Air Products, specialize in ultra- quiet air compressors that are a great fit for typical home garage or workshop use..

    The compressors reviewed here have higher CFM outputs and larger tanks to provide plenty of air power and capacity for your garage or small shop. If you are looking for smaller, more portable quiet air compressors, we featured them in a separate review.

    Top 5 Quietest Air Compressors for Garage or Shop

    Item

    Specs

    Rating

    Price

    Quietest Air Compressor for Garage - CAT 10020C

    California Air Tools

    10020C

    Quietness

    70 dB


    CFM @ 90 PSI

    5.3 CFM


    Tank Size

    10 Gallon

    Good Combination of Power & Low Noise for Garage or Small Shop


    Great Reviews!

    78 dB DEWALT D55146 225-PSI  Compressor

    DEWALT D55146 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels

    Quietness

    78 dB


    CFM @ 90 PSI

    5 CFM


    Tank Size

    4.5 Gallon

    225 PSI - Highest of Top 5 Quiet Garage Compressors


    Heavy Duty & Portable

    79 dB Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

    Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

    Quietness

    79 dB


    CFM @ 90 PSI

    4.2 CFM


    Tank Size

    4.2 Gallon

    Rugged Design

    Cast Iron Pump


    Good For Most Garage Air Powered Tasks

    California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 2.0 hp 4.0 gallon Aluminum Twin Tank Electric Portable Air Compressor

    California Air Tools

    4620AC

    Quietness

    70 dB


    CFM @ 90 PSI

    5.3 CFM


    Tank Size

    4.6 Gallon

    Quiet, Powerful & Portable


    Twin Aluminum Tanks

    Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

    Ingersoll Rand

    Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

    Quietness

    79 dB


    CFM @ 90 PSI

    4.3 CFM


    Tank Size

    4 Gallon

    100% Duty Cycle


    Oil-Lube For Quiet Operation


    California Air Tools 10020C

    CAT-10020C Ultra Quiet Series

    The 2 HP California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Air Compressor is a top pick in our 2021 best quiet garage air compressor roundup review.

    If you need a portable compressor with a 10-gallon tank, 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-10020 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.

    The pump includes two silencing air filters on the air intake to help quiet pulsating intake noise. The filters are clearly visible  mounted to the rear of each compressor pump head in the CAT-10020 top view picture below.

    California Air Tools 10020C Top View

    California Air Tools 10020C Top View

    The mid-size 10-gallon air tank fills from empty to 120 PSI in under 2 minutes, and recovers from 90 PSI to 120 PSI in approximately 25 seconds. 

    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.

    This air compressor is also available with an optional EZ-1-2321 Auto Drain Valve. This convenient option eliminates the need to periodically manually drain the condensate from the compressor's air tank, however at the time of this review we considered the option a little too pricey to rate it as a top 5 pick.

    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.

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

    CAT-10020C Resources

    California Air Tools 10020C Features

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

    Our 10020C Ratings

    Quiet

    California Air Tools specializes in producing quiet air compressors and it shows with this CAT-10020C air compressor.

    Quality

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

    Cost

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

    AIRpsi.com

    Overall Rating :  4.5

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

    Pros:

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

    Cons:

    • Louder 70 dB 
    • Current, 14 Amps

    California Air Tools 10020C - UPC 743369710035 - ASIN B0188XBTLY


    DEWALT D55146 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels

    If you need a relatively quiet air compressor for home shop use with plenty of power and 225 PSI pressure then the DeWALT D55146 qualifies as a top contender for the money.

    One unique feature of the D55146 is its vertical or horizontal stand feature. It saves space and allows for easy transporting due to a collapsible handle that allows you the option of either hand carrying it in tight spaces or easily rolling the compressor around on its 10" no-flat foam filled tires. If portability is one of your key concerns, this model should score high on your short list.

    DEWALT D55146 no-flat foam filled tires

    DEWALT D55146 No-Flat Foam Filled Tires

    The 4.5 gallon air tank seems much larger due to the 225 PSI pressure that the D55146 operates at. The higher pressure operation lets you use more air out of the smaller tank before low pressure switch restarts the compressor pump to re-pressurize the tank.

    The  DeWALT D55146 is powered by a 1.6 HP motor and belt driven pump which provides 5.0 CFM @ 90 PSI which is adequate for average home & garage use.

    This is definitely a rugged, well designed unit with a well laid out and protected control and attachment panel that features dual high-flow quick air connects and supports operating multiple air nailers simultaneously.

    Dewalt D55146 Regulator, Gauges and Dual Air Connectors

    Dewalt D55146 Regulator, Gauges and Dual Air Connectors

    Although the D55146 is not the quietest air compressor that you can buy for your garage, it is relatively quiet and offers some unique features not found in the quieter competitors.

     - Excellent 3 Year DeWALT Limited Warranty - 


    DeWALT will repair, without charge, any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for three years from the date of purchase.


    DeWALT will maintain the tool and replace worn parts caused by normal use, for free, any time during the first year after purchase.

    DeWALT D55146 Features

    • 78 dB Quiet
    • 5.0 CFM @ 90 PSI
    • 4.5 Gallon Tank
    • 1.6 HP Belt Drive
    • 225 PSI
    • Oil-Free Pump
    • Heavy Duty
    • 3/1 Year Warranty
    • Length 33.5"
    • Width 44.8"
    • Height 24.5"
    • 80 Lbs.

    Our D55146 Ratings

    Quiet

    This compressor is quiet, however other models offer quieter operation.

    Quality

    DeWALT builds good quality tools and backs them up with a great warranty. 

    Cost

    The DeWALT D55146 usually retails for between $350 to $400 which is competitive for comparable heavy duty units.

    AIRpsi.com

    Overall Rating :  4.5

    This DeWALT air compressor offers some unique features that make it stand out from the crowd.  We gave the DeWALT D55146 unit an overall rating of 4.5 stars.

    Pros:

    • Higher Pressure 225 PSI 
    • Collapsible Handle
    • 3 Year Warranty
    • Excellent Buyer Reviews

    Cons:

    • Small Tank 
    • Could be Quieter

    DeWALT D55146 - UPC 028877562124 - ASIN B000HZJLV2

    Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor Review


    Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

    The 2.5 HP Makita MAC2400 features a heavy duty design and is packed with features that would make it an ideal choice as a small shop or garage air compressor.

    The MAC2400 incorporates a large bore oil-lubricated pump with a removable cast iron cylinder for longer life and increased durability. Air flow is maximized by using a large automotive style air filter for greater efficiency.

    The unit operates at 130 PSI and the high compression, big bore pump delivers 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI into its twin-stacked 4.2 gallon air tanks providing enough capacity to operate two nailers.

    The sturdy roll cage helps to protect the compressor & controls from damage.. Additional features include a ball valve tank drain with a convenient lever handle to easily  drain the condensation from the air tanks . 

    With built-in features such as a super quiet motor that draws only 12.3 amps to operate, a lower 1720 RPM rating and a heavy duty Intake Air Filter system like no other, its easy to see how this unit will out last and outperform everyone else."  - Makita - 

    Makita MAC2400 Features

    • 79 dB Quiet
    • 4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
    • 4.2 Gallon Tank
    • 2.5 HP Big Bore
    • 12.3 Amps
    • Cast Iron Cylinder
    • Heavy Duty
    • Oil-Lubricated Pump
    • Length 19.5"
    • Width 18.8"
    • Height 18"
    • 77 Lbs.

    Our MAC2400 Ratings

    Quiet

    79 Db is reasonably quiet for a 2.5 HP model, however not the quietest garage air compressor in this review.

    Quality

    The MAC2400 is a heavy duty. well built air compressor with a rugged protective roll cage. 

    Cost

    The MAC2400 usually retails for between $300 to $350 which is competitive for 2.5 HP models.

    AIRpsi.com

    Overall Rating :  4.5

    This compressor is a reliable high quality workhorse.  We gave the Makita MAC2400 an overall rating of 4.5 stars

    Makita MAC2400 - UPC 088381053532 - ASIN B0001Q2VPK


    The 2.0 HP California Air Tools 4620AC Ultra Quiet Series makes an excellent garage air compressor.

    The CAT-4620AC uses the same 70 decibel, 2 horsepower California Air Tools SP-9421 pump as our top rated garage compressor, the CAT-10020C. Notable differences are the twin horizontal aluminum air tanks, a smaller footprint and lighter weight of 67.5 pounds.

    The powerful ultra-quiet pump produces 5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI and pressurizes the air tanks from 0 PSI to 125 PSI maximum air pressure in around 60 seconds. Recovery from the air pressure switch kick-in setting of 95 PSI to a full 125 PSI is only 20 seconds.

    Two air pressure gauges, dual universal ¼” quick air connectors, and the pressure regulator controls are conveniently mounted on a steel control panel. The compressor features rubber feet on the tubular steel frame and a padded carry handle. A handy ball valve tank drain makes condensation draining a breeze.

    There is no wheel kit, so you’ll need to use the carry handle to move the compressor around. The unit is portable, but at 67.5 pounds many CAT-4620AC reviews list being heavy as a con. Though most 2 HP and larger reduced noise air compressors are somewhat heavy, so this complaint is not entirely unexpected.

    Complaints from CAT-4620AC customer reviews included poor packaging and a less thin steel control panel.

    CAT-4620AC Top View - Silencing Air Filters Installed

    CAT-4620AC Silencing Air Filters

    CAT-4620AC Silencing Air Filters

    This compressor includes two silencing air filters. Don’t forget install them. The filters are easy to overlook at the bottom of the packaging.

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

    CAT-4620AC Resources

    California Air Tools 4620AC Features

    • 70 dB Quiet
    • 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI
    • 4.6 Gallon Tank
    • 2 HP SP Series
    • 14 Amps
    • Cast Aluminum Cylinder
    • Oil-Free Pump
    • 1680 RPM
    • Length 19.1"
    • Width 16.7"
    • Height 19.6"
    • 67.2 Lbs.

    Our CAT-4620AC Ratings

    Quiet

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

    Quality

    California Air Tools is a leader in the quiet air compressor industry, and the quality built into the 4620AC is no exception. 

    Cost

    The CAT-4620AC typically sells between $270 to $300 which is competitive for similar 2 HP quiet air compressor models.

    AIRpsi.com

    Overall Rating :  4.5

    This model provides a good combination of power vs sound. We gave the CAT-4620AC air compressor an overall rating of 4.5 stars.

    California Air Tools 4620AC - UPC 743369740209 - ASIN - B005SOD08M

    Ingersoll Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 Review


    Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

    Ingersoll Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9

    The Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 portable air compressor features a compact yet rugged design.

    This is not your average, cheap compressor that can only run for a few minutes without needing a cool-down period. The P1IU-A9 is designed for continuous operation with a 100% duty cycle rating. It incorporates a splash oil lubricated pump with a heavy-duty cast-iron cylinder for prolonged use and long life.

    The 2 horsepower 120-volt pump motor requires 15 amps to operate and has a 75” long power cord. There are dual 2-gallon tanks in a twin-stack configuration for a total of 4 gallons of air tank capacity. It only takes 60 seconds to fill the tanks from empty to the full maximum operating pressure of 135 PSI. Air delivery is 4.3 SCFM @ 90 PSI, which is adequate for a many applications. You will want to check your tool’s specifications to see how many CFM of air it requires at a given operating pressure.

    The compressor is well designed, with a convenient control panel that houses the gauges, regulator and two quick-connect air couplers. The steel roll cage helps protect the internal components and has heavy rubberized feet and a carry handle.
    While, the Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 is compact & portable, it does weigh 77 pounds, so you wouldn’t want to lug it long distances

    Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 Resources

    IR P1IU-A9 Features

    • 85 dBA
    • 4.0 Gallon Tank
    • 2 HP Motor
    • 4.3 CFM @ 90 PS
    • 15 Amps
    • Cast Iron Cylinder
    • Oil-Lubricated Pump
    • 100% Duty-Cycle
    • Length 19"
    • Width 19"
    • Height 19"
    • 77 Lbs.

    Our IR P1IU-A9 Ratings

    Quiet

    79 dB is not super quiet for a 2-HP model, however this is not marketed as a ultra quiet air compressor.

    Quality

    Ingersoll Rand has 140 years experience building quality. This is a continuous 100% duty cycle unit.. 

    Cost

    The Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 retails for around $300 which is competitive for 2 HP continuous duty models.

    AIRpsi.com

    Overall Rating :  4.5

    This compressor is a 100% duty-cycle heavy duty model.  We gave the Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9 an overall rating of 4.5 stars.

    Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 - UPC 678384729499

    Why Do I Want A Quiet Garage Air Compressor?

    In case you didn't know, air tools are more powerful, run cooler and are less expensive than their electrical equivalents. In addition to having the ability to operate the more efficient pneumatic tools, you can also use compressed air for dusting and blowing out machinery, spray painting, tire inflation and many other useful tasks that are too numerous to list here.

    Having a quiet air compressor in your garage or home shop will enable you to perform all the useful tasks described above without having to sacrifice your hearing in the process. All of the top 5 garage compressors we selected in our round up review are powerful enough to provide plenty of CFM to accomplish most typical noncommercial tasks. You can review the pneumatic tool CFM requirement chart below to determine air compressor sizing for your needs. 

    If you are looking for a quiet compressor for a commercial repair garage or large shop that requires more than 5 CFM of continuous air flow than you'll need a larger air compressor than those reviewed here. Take a look at our review of California Air Tools, specifically the Industrial Series and Continuous Run quiet air compressors that are designed for commercial, high CFM usage.

    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

    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

    Use the table to add up the total CFM of all the air tools that you want to use simultaneously. If you are only going to use one tool at a time take the highest CFM requirement.  Now multiply the CFM value by 1.5. This will insure that the compressor you choose will have adequate air to power your pneumatic tools properly.

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

    Top Features to Look For in a Quiet Garage Compressor

    The top features that you'll want will depend on a couple of factors. In addition to how quietly the compressor operates, which is obviously one of the main attributes that you are interested in if you are reading this article, you'll also want to consider these:

    • Portability Are you going to want to frequently move the compressor out of your garage or shop or will it stay in one location for long periods.
    • Tank Type & Size - Compressor air tanks can be constructed of aluminum or steel. The aluminum tanks are lighter and rust resistant Bigger tanks can hold more air to operate higher CFM tools that need a larger volume of air to operate properly.
    • Pump TypeCompressor pumps can be oiled or oil-free. Heavy duty pumps usually feature cast iron sleeves and use oil for lubrication and quieter operation.
    • Size & WeightIf portability is a desired feature, than size and weight can make a dramatic difference when comparing various brands and models of compressors. If you are going to leave the compressor in the garage and infrequently move it around then compressor size & weight will be much less of a factor.
    • Volts & AmpsYou'll need to provide power to your compressor in your garage or shop. Air compressors that operate on standard 120-volt 15-amp household electrical circuits are the most convenient and portable. For larger 240-volt or high current compressors you’ll need a special dedicated electrical circuit installed for the unit.
    • Duty CycleDuty cycle is expressed as a percentage. An air compressor with a 50% duty cycle can run for 30 minutes and then needs to rest and cool for 30 minutes. Heavier duty air compressors have higher duty cycle ratings meaning they can be run continuously for longer periods without stopping to rest.

    The Bottom Line

    Any of the compressors in this review will offer powerful and reasonably noise free solutions to solve your quest to find the quietest air compressor for your garage or home shop. The 2021 top 5 winners are top selling brands with a plethora of excellent 4 and 5 star Amazon reviews and provide the best power to noise ratios of all of the garage compressors that we reviewed.

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