In today’s day, it’s difficult to imagine any factory or workshop and even most home garages that don’t have a big air compressor tank sitting in the corner to help make quick work of tasks. While they seem quite common now, they’re a pretty recent innovation which is why they’re getting better and better all the time. And by better, we mean smaller and much quieter.
Air compressors are used for a broad variety of uses including power drills, grinders, nail guns, sanders, spray guns, and staple guns. All of these could be used manually which would take considerably longer and cause a lot more physical strain on the body. With the addition of air compressors, construction and production in workshops and factories have grown exponentially over the years.
Why is it important to have a quiet air compressor though?
Anyone who’s been in a busy garage or factory know that things start to get loud really fast, especially around large air compressors that are used for long durations. The noise levels of these air compressors can be too much if used for long durations which causes damage to the ear.
A quieter work environment also makes it easier on all aspect of the work being completed. Loud noise levels in a workshop or garage make it more difficult to communicate with the other workers on the site which can cause miscommunication, accidents, or even injuries.
Additionally, when choosing a quieter air compressor not only is the noise level reduced, but it’s also important to understand that the quieter the model typically translates to a greener and more cost-effective piece of equipment. Most loud models are typically gas powered that uses large amounts of oil to work. These ones typically make a lot of noise and require quite a bit of manual upkeep in order for them to work properly. The quieter models, on the other hand, don’t require gas or oil and run strictly on electricity (although not all).
A quiet air compressor should be at least less than 60-80 decibels which are around the noise level of a conversation between two people. This means that even if it’s running, you’ll still be able to have an audible conversation with someone. A quiet air compressor doesn’t need a separate cooled/ventilated room as they are not meant to make noise or heat up too hot.
We’ve reviewed many different quiet air compressor models and we’ve come up with a list of our favorite models from some of the best manufacturers on the market.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
- High quality 2.5 HP Motor
- Roll cage built-in
- Max pressure of 130 PSI
- 50% duty cycle
- Cast iron cylinders with automotive grade air filter
The Makita brand is centerstage on the market for not only power tools, hand-held tools, but also great factory/garage equipment to make your life easier! With the MAC2400 they’ve really created a high-quality air compressor that is both compact and quiet but yet still powerful enough for professional work. This model is one of their newest high-performance compressors that reach near industrial power and performance with yet a price tag that is still affordable.
The Good/What I like: Overall this compressor produces a max of 79 decibels of sound which is still slightly lower than conversational level. For the abilities that this air compressor has, the sound level is incredibly low! The capacity of the tank on the MAC2400 is 4.2 gallons which is held in a twin-stacked design so there are two stacked tanks inside the roller cage.
This size is considered big enough for 50% usage so out of every 1 hour, it can be running for 30 minutes max. You’ll love the fast recharge of the tank within 60 seconds it’s back to max capacity.
Makita is well known for making high-quality products and this unit continue to impress users with quality steel construction, cast iron for most of the motor components, and barely any plastic used which means you can rest assured this will last you for many years to come.
The Bad/What I don’t like: You’ll find the biggest downfall of this unit is the weight of the unit. This compressor is heavy coming in at 80lbs so it is quite difficult to carry, however, it’s housed inside a metal cage so it’s easy to create a simple platform to place it on a dolly to make it portable enough to move around.
Additionally, we found many extension cords won’t work with the compressor so you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate cords and connectors to ensure it works properly.
Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 – 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
- 6-gallon pancake model tank
- Weight of 55 lbs with a top handle
- 1 HP oil-free motor
- 80% duty cycle
- Max PSI 125
This quieter piston style compressor from Campbell Hausfeld has been designed to cut the noise in half which is important for loud workshops to reduce risk to your health and productivity. Operating at 68 decibels it allows operators to not wear noise cancelation earphones and yet still produces a strong output. With a 6-gallon tank pancake model tank, this one weighs a bit lighter than most models on the market for its size.
The Good/What I like: You’ll appreciate the small size of this compressor with the pancake style tank offering up to 6 gallons. Having this larger air tank ensures that you have a longer reserve of air at the pressure needed for a longer duration.
With an 80% duty cycle, you can run it almost non-stop with a short break every now and then to ensure the maximum longevity of the unit. You can count on a max of 125 PSI but suggested 100 PSI to maintain optimum temperatures.
With a 1 HP motor and using 120 volts, you can expect optimum performance without a lot of noise from the motor. This is an oil-free motor which helps to reduce the amount of maintenance time needed but, on some units, increases the noise. Campbell Hausfeld, however, made sure that even with an oil-free motor you still can enjoy peace and quiet.
With a noise level of only 68 decibels, you can take this into a small shop, home, garage, or just about anywhere without causing havoc to the noise level of the environment.
The Bad/What I don’t like: There’s not much to hate about this unit as it’s got a low noise level, high performance, and isn’t too heavy to move around, but there is a bit of a design flaw in the safety valve as it’s hidden inside underneath the motor which for big hands it can be hard to squeeze in there to give it a pull when testing.
The only other aspect to this compressor that does worry us a bit is there are quite a few plastic parts which are prone to wear-and-tear, but after a couple of years most units are still running strong so this isn’t a deal-breaker.
DeWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor
- 165 max PSI
- 6-gallon pancake style tank
- Two ports for multitasking needs
- Portable with a built-in handle on the top
- 30 lbs weight
There aren’t many portable air compressors that are worthwhile to invest in for a little over $100 but this one from DeWALT is definitely one to invest in! Coming with a 6-gallon pancake style tank, this air compressor can give a maximum of 165 PSI which is enough to keep you chugging along through most jobs. You’ll find the noise level is still low enough to be considered quiet and conversation level at 75.5 decibels which are perfect for most garages, workplaces, and homes.
The Good/What I like: To start with, this air compressor is made by DeWALT so the name alone will tell you that this is a high-quality piece of equipment. With a 6-gallon pancake style tank, it’s surprising that the weight is only 30 pounds total. This means it’s extremely portable and doesn’t require a dolly or wheels to carry it between workplaces. It also can be handled and carried by those not strong enough to carry the equivalent competitors that weight anywhere from 50-75 pounds.
With two ports that can be used for multiple pieces of equipment offering a max of 165 PSI, you can count on it to get the job done for most DIY and professional tasks. Since the noise level comes in at only 75.5 decibels you can count on a quiet operation from this compressor which will ensure not only your safety and health concerns are met, but also you can communicate while on the work sites.
The Bad/What I don’t like: While this air compressor packs a punch in terms of pressure, it’s not ideal for large continuous jobs like spray painting and sanding as the pressure is reduced quickly. Overall, it’s quick to refill but you can count on getting about 10 nails hammered in before it starts to only get them partially in.
Expect small delays if you need to do large continuous projects or a reduction in pressure.
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
- 125 max PSI
- Incredibly portable at 20 lbs weight
- Electrically powered with only 4amps used
- 75% duty cycle
This Senco 1-gallon compressor is the perfect handy little machine that makes you a power tool ninja! While this small tank compressor can’t handle large complex tasks, it’s the perfect size when you need a quick hitter that’s portable and easy to move around from place to place. Weighing just under 20lbs it provides a max pressure of 125 PSI with its 1 horsepower motor. It’s perfect for airbrushing, electronics blowing dust, and small finish nails to attach trim and baseboards.
The Good/What I like: This compact little compressor is incredibly easy to operate with simple couplers with quick disconnection. It has a 1HP motor at it’s peak and is oil-free which makes maintenance and operation much simpler. For a small compressor, it can get a max of 125 PSI which is very impressive for its size.
While the 1-gallon tank won’t last you for a long time, it’s got a 120-second pump up time so you can get right back to work quickly in between. This model isn’t designed for large/continuous tasks which is why it’s so light coming in at 20lbs which is light enough for almost anyone to carry around between locations.
The affordable price and the lightweight are what makes this model ideal for DIY and enthusiasts who need an air compressor to get jobs done around the house and garage.
The Bad/What I don’t like: Of course, with any small compressor, the tank size is one of the biggest limitations and downfalls. This unit only has a 1-gallon tank so do not expect to be able to stand up to continuous spray-painting jobs, sanding jobs, or to be able to fill up a large truck tire in short time. This Senco model should be purchased if you need quick-hit jobs like finishing nails on cupboards or to fill up a car tire.
DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor
- Quiet motor producing only 71dB of noise
- Can be used horizontally or vertically
- Low amp usage of 12amps
- Lightweight design with a sturdy and strong build
- 2.5-gallon tank with up to 200 PSI
- 50% duty cycle
For those looking for a sleek designed air compressor to get all of your indoor, garage, and carpentry jobs done in a breeze, this DeWALT model may be perfect for you. Coming in at 36 lbs it’s very light to be portable from room-to-room with ease. You’ll also find it’s extremely quiet at only 71 decibels so you can count on it not hurting your ears or make your family go running every time you use it and still be able to hold a conversation while on a work site.
- Quiet model with only 71dB of noise
- Exceptionally sleek yellow design
- Strong construction with high-quality materials expected to form DeWALT
- The lightweight design of 36lbs
- Slow to build pressure
- Small tank so it cannot be considered for large continuous jobs
The Good/What I like: The DeWALT DWFP55130 is a really heavy-duty model with an oil-free pump which reduces the hassle and labor involved in cleaning and maintaining the unit. You can use it with little to no maintenance. This also ensures it’s more efficient and lighter which you’ll find it only weighs 36lbs which is perfect to carry around between the garage and home.
With a 2.5-gallon tank you can expect it will last through most quick-hit jobs and handling a max PSI of 200 it’s got quick a punch behind it! With a 50% duty cycle, you can expect it to perform quite exceptional but requiring a recharge every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t overheat.
Utilizing a standard 110v outlet, it can be used anywhere in your home or garage easily especially since it only uses 12amps so it won’t trip your breaker.
The Bad/What I don’t like: While using this model we did feel it is a bit slow to build pressure, however, it’s a smaller tank model with a high-pressure output of 200PSI so this is a bit to be expected. If you’re expecting to use this for large spray/sanding jobs, this may not be the best model but it’s great for quick-hitting jobs that need strong pressure.
California Air Tools CAT-1610A Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 Hp 1.6-Gallon Aluminum Tank Air Compressor
- 1.6-gallon air compressor tank
- 120 max PSI with a 1HP motor
- Quick 50-second tank fill rate
- Very quiet 60dB sound level
- Max of 90 PSI output
- Lightweight 35lb design
California Air Tools have definitely outdone themselves again with the CAT-1610A model with their ultra-quiet design that has a decibel level of only 60 which is one of the quietest models we’ve ever encountered. We’ve found it to be able to be used even when others are sleeping without causing any disturbance! Enjoy it’s quick 50-second refill rate of the 1.6-gallon tank pushing out a max of 120 PSI.
The Good/What I like: For such an affordable price you’d think this model has a catch, but after using this compressor we found it performed exceptionally well! With a 1HP motor, this 1.6-gallon tank compressor really out-performs some of its competitors with the same specifications. Pushing out a max of 90 PSI, you’ll be able to accomplish most home tasks with a breeze including finishing nails and electronics cleaning.
You’ll also be surprised with how fast this 1.6gallon tank refills in just 50 seconds letting you jump back to work quickly. Even with such a fast refill rate, the compressor motor only puts out 60 decibels of sound which is quieter than almost all other models we’ve reviewed letting you use it even when the family is around without worry.
The Bad/What I don’t like: This little air compressor has a lot of great qualities for the low price, however, many users were slightly turned off by the unrefined design. The looks of this California Air Tools model seem cheap and unattractive, however, upon use you’ll quickly find that it performs just as good if not better than its competitors for a lesser price. This is also because the air pump was manufactured in China which helps in the reduction of the cost.
DEWALT D55140 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max Trim Compressor
- Oil-free pump
- Low noise producing less than 69 decibels
- Roll cage for protection
- 2.6-amp motor with a 1-gallon tank
- Compact and lightweight coming in at 24 lbs
Compressors are really great pieces of equipment to keep around any home and garage for a multitude of reasons including filling tires, knocking in nails, light spray painting and much more. DeWALT’s D55140 is a perfect companion for most homeowners who need a simple and light air compressor to tackle those tasks. With a 1-gallon tank, and oil-free motor and low noise production, you’ll be happy you picked this model!
The Good/What I like: While the tank of this model isn’t very big, it’s considered the perfect size for most homes and garages as it can reduce your need for having to manually pump tires and hammer in finishing nails. This model comes with a 1-gallon tank so you can’t expect long-term continuous usage, but it wasn’t intended for that.
This is a very compact DeWALT model which is why it’s so light at just 24 lbs so you can carry it around your home, yard, and garage when trying to accomplish simple tasks. It’s also great because it’s one of the lowest noise levels of air compressors on the market with only a 69-decibel rating which is below the level of a conversation between two people. Overall, if you need simple at home tasks completed and don’t want a really expensive compressor, this one from DeWALT is perfect for you.
The Bad/What I don’t like: While this unit isn’t the strongest in terms of the tank size, it was designed to be compact and lightweight. Having a 1-gallon tank that can produce a max of 135 PSI is perfect for small jobs but you will not be able to complete large spray painting and sanding jobs.
You can do quick spray jobs but you’ll need delays in between which can cause consistency errors in the paint/sanding. Expect to use this as a DIY home enthusiast and not in a professional environment.
Air Compressor Buying Guide
Now that you know most of our favorite quiet models, let us help in explaining the different aspects of air compressors so you know the best way to determine which model is best for you.
How to Choose A Quiet Air Compressor?
The first step when choosing an air compressor is determining what the purpose of getting the air compressor is. There are different types of compressor that have different tank size and power which both are important. Typically, you’ll make a choice between a small tank and a large tank.
Once you’ve determined what you typically will use the compressor for, then it’s time to check the other aspects of a compressor.
The noise level of an air compressor is an extremely important aspect as when air compressors were invented, they were typically very large and extremely noisy. In an industrial space the air compressors can be so large they require a separate room that is ventilated and has multi-level wall thickness to reduce the noise they produce.
The silent air compressors that are used in smaller indoor spaces typically should be under 90 decibels sound level to reduce the damage to your ears. Loud noises can often cause long-term hearing damage and can also impact your ability to effectively work with others if you can’t hear them. In the quiet air compressor models, we recommend trying to get ones between 60-75 decibels as these will ensure they are “conversational level” sound which means you can still talk to others and won’t disturb those around you.
Tank Size & Pressure
While the focus of this article was on quiet air compressors, it’s important to know and understand what the tank size means and how it affects the compressor’s performance. The size of the tank determines how long a tool can run until the compressor has to turn on again.
Compressors with smaller tanks tend to produce less pressure (although some small tanks have been designed to still produce high pressure). Since a smaller tank has less volume of compressed air, they won’t be able to power tools for a long duration like spray painting and sanding which means that the motor will need to turn on and refill the tank again.
On the up-side, a smaller tank will mean it’s much lighter in weight which portability can be very important. A smaller air tank of 1lb might mean the compressor is just 25 lbs total, whereas a large 6lb tank may range up to 75lbs in weight. There is a big difference in that weight if you’re carrying it between work sites often.
This term may be unknown to you prior to handling an air compressor but the PSI or pounds per square inch tells you how much pressure the air compressor is producing inside the tank. The PSI is a great indication for you on how well your motor is compressing air. This can often range anywhere between 90-200 PSI which most power tools will require.
On the high-level, 200 is usually way more than needed for home-DIY tasks. A homeowner can typically target nearer to 90-120 range.
You’ll find that there are different types of air compressors including some that use gas/oil and some that use strictly electricity. The difference is important because the gas motor engine will rely on combustion which is typically much louder than an electric motor.
Additionally, a gas-powered model will emit fumes which can also be dangerous without proper ventilation indoors. Most of the time if you need a quiet model, you definitely won’t go for a gas-powered model.
Going for an electric model will mean it’s not only quieter but also more efficient and cause you less maintenance in the long run. Each electric motor is different and while most can be plugged into a standard household outlet of around 120V, there are some that may need a 240V outlet so it’s important to check that the outlet is compatible prior to purchasing your compressor.
Each air compressor is different in terms of the maintenance needed. Most quiet air compressors are electric which means it will require little to no maintenance on the compressor. The most important aspect to understand is if the unit is oil-free or not. Oil-free models are typically much easier to maintain as you don’t need to drain/replace the oil and filter. If you want the least work, go for an oil-free model.
It’s also important to check if your compressor has a warranty as each compressor may not arrive perfectly and you may need support from the manufacturer post-sale. It’s important to always go for a model that has at least a 1-year warranty. This way if anything breaks, a seal isn’t keeping strong, or it stops working then you can get a replacement quickly and easily.
Conclusion and best pick!
No matter if you’re just a home-owner or you work in a garage where you continuously use an air compressor, having a quiet model is extremely important for both your health and safety while doing work. Choosing the best quiet air compressor for you will all come down to if you need it for quick-hit jobs or for long-term continuous use.
Overall, we felt the DeWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor was one of the best quiet models on the market today. Check the price here on Amazon.com.
Why it’s the best?
- Lightweight at 30lbs
- Large quantity tank of 6-gallons
- Portable design with a handle on top
- The high pressure of 165 max PSI
Not only does this air compressor have a large 6-gallon tank, but it only weighs 30lbs which is incredible. This means you can enjoy a long continuous flow but it’s super portable since it’s so lightweight. On most models, if you get a larger tank you typically have to sacrifice heavyweight in the process. So in this model, you get the best of both worlds as well as high pressure of 165 max PSI so you can knock out almost all tasks both in the home and garage.