5 Best Quiet Air Compressors For 2021: Different Types & What Is The Best Fit For You

yellow air compressor on the ground

Last Updated: July 6, 2021

Do you undertake tasks like painting, carpentry, or auto repairs? If so, then investing in a reliable air compressor will help you get the job done with ease.

However…

These units can be quite noisy during operation. Fortunately, those that operate quietly without compromising their performance are now introduced into the market.

In this review, we’ll look at some of the quietest ones popular in the market. 

We’ll also highlight the Craftsman CMEC6150 Air Compressor and its features as we believe it’s the best quiet air compressor overall.

The Top 5 Quiet Air Compressors Review

1. Craftsman Air Compressor - Best Overall

Craftsman Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K) Starting off our list is this 6-gallon capacity air compressor from Craftsman. It’s designed to sustain a pressure of up to 150 PSI, which makes it worth considering if you are after a powerful, light, and maintenance-free compressor.

It also has a fast recovery time and can deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI pretty fast. It offers adequate power to operate air tools like a roof, framing, and finish nailers. It’s also suitable for inflating tires, airbrush work, cleaning, and much more. 

Although it has a maximum cutoff pressure, it’s not as quiet as the others on this list, with a decibel level that reaches up to 82.

Nevertheless, it's great quality and super portable product, thanks to its lightweight construction weighing only 32.5 pounds. 

This makes it a viable option if you are always on the go and prefer to carry a power tool along.

Included in the package are a safety nozzle blowgun, a ¼” air hose connector that comes with a female quick-coupler, tire chuck, 3 male quick-connect fittings, and a tire gauge. All these accessories allow you to inflate a variety of things with ease.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Portable and easy to transport
  • Fast recovery time
  • Oil-free pump for cleaner air
  • Low current
  • Necessary accessories included

Cons

  • Not very quiet

Takeaway

The Craftsman compressor is an excellent choice for the average user who wants a powerful air compressor without spending too much. However, you should note that it is not the quietest on this list.

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2. BOSTITCH Air Compressor - Most Quiet Pancake Type

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012) If you are looking for portability that has great performance and low noise, then you may want to consider the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

This compressor is 78.5 dBA-rated, making it ideal for those that are concerned about noise. It’s a 6-gallon capacity that features a narrow tank design. 

This, along with its lightweight design at 29lbs, makes it very easy to carry around. It’s also made possible by its pancake design and a handle that is attached at the top.

The tank can sustain a pressure of 150 PSI and delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90PSI. This power is enough to handle most tasks without making too much noise.

Furthermore, it’s an oil-free air compressor and its motor does not need daily maintenance. Not only does this make it easy to operate and maintain, but it also reduces maintenance costs.

The BOSTITCH Pancake comes with a blowgun, rubber tip, safety nozzle, gauge, chuck, ¼” NPT male plugs, and several inflation attachments. It is also designed with two couplers allowing two users to operate to maximize its performance.

Also included is a 50” hose that is crafted from rubber and PCV. The hose is lighter than most rubber hoses, is resistant to abrasion, and remains flexible even when used in cold temperatures.

Pros

  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Very powerful
  • Simple to run and maintain
  • Lightweight design
  • Portable and durable

Cons

  • The regulator may not be very accurate

Takeaway

Despite the issues with the regulator, BOSTITCH Pancake is still one of the best small quiet air compressors in the market right now. Also, it is super-lightweight and very powerful.

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3. DEWALT Air Compressor - Best For Cold Weather

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126) Dewalt is a reputable company that manufactures high-quality compressors, and this DEWALT Pancake model is no exception. 

This compressor has a maximum power of 165psi and delivers 2.6 SCFM through its 90 PSI pump. This means that it has a long tool run time and recovers pretty fast, which is quite impressive for a portable model.

If you’re worried about using this model in a working environment, you’ll be pleased to know that it has a noise level of 75.5 dBA to ensure a quiet operation. Plus, its pancake-style makes it soundproof while its rubber leg covers absorb vibrations and prevent floor damage.

One notable feature is its high-efficiency motor that is capable of working in extremely harsh conditions, thanks to the built-in cold start mechanism.

So, whether you want to use the compressor in extremely low or high temperatures, it will surely deliver.  

Plus, the motor is universal and can be paired with any type of power source or supply. To help the compressor operate smoothly and seamlessly, it is equipped with high flow regulators and high-performance couplers.

The compressor also features an extension cord that measures 50 ft. Also included in the pack is a nailer tool to help you keep the surface clean and stain-free. It weighs 30 pounds for easy maneuverability and storage.

Another spec that I find impressive is the automatic release mechanism which prevents the air compressor from getting jammed.

Pros

  • Universal and high-quality motor
  • High-performance couplers and regulators
  • Automatic release mechanism
  • Protective rubber leg cover
  • Accurate regulator

Cons

  • Leaky fittings

Takeaway

Overall, this unit may be worth considering if portability, smooth performance, and quiet operation matter to you. It is also a great quiet shop air compressor if you intend to work in cold weather.

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4. California Air Tools 8010 - Best Hot Dog Type

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp, 8 gal California Air Tools is a household name that does not disappoint when it comes to dual-piston compressors. 

The California Air Tools 8010 is one of their most popular options that make only a 60dBA noise level. You can expect 30% less noise compared to other models in the market, making it one of the quietest air compressors.

This unit can provide 3.1 CFM at 40 PSI. Better yet, it has a fast recovery time which takes only 30 seconds to recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI.

It is equipped with an 8-gallon tank and a powerful oil-free pump that reduces the need for maintenance and maintenance costs. It also features a dual-piston pump which can be used in a wide range of uneven terrains and temperatures.

Weighing 48lbs, this steel unit is not as heavy to carry as one would expect. Besides, it is designed with a wheel and handle system for quick and easy transportation from one job site to another.

Upon purchase, you will get an air filter and a wheel kit. 

This unit is a hot dog-shaped compressor that, according to online quiet air compressor reviews, didn’t do that well in the aesthetic department. 

Pros

  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Oil-free engine
  • Includes handles and wheels for convenient movement
  • Ideal for cold temperatures
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a hose
  • Poor design and aesthetics

Takeaway

With 60 decibels of sound, this is arguably one of the quietest models out there. It’s a portable compressor that has impressive features like a thermal overload protector, two pressure control gauges, and more.

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5. Makita MAC2400 - Best Oil-Lubricated Compressor

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor The Makita MAC2400 is the only oil-lubricated air compressor on this list. This means that its pump requires oil lubrication to maintain cooler running temperatures and reduce wear and tear.

At 79 decibels, the Makita MAC2400 is quiet enough for you to complete your tasks without feeling overwhelmed by the noise. 

Besides, the pump operates at a lower RPM of 1730 for improved noise reduction and pump durability.

It has an operating pressure of 130 PSI and air delivery of 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI and 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI. This unit is designed with an engineered pump cylinder, a powerful 2.5HP motor, and a piston that delivers high output and can be used by two nailers.

What I love most is the construction of the tank, which is crafted from sturdy cast iron. This not only reduces wear and tear but also prolong the pump’s life.

There’s also the roll cage design that protects the compressor even when working in harsh environments.

Pros

  • Durable cylinder construction
  • Operates at lower RPM
  • Quiet operation
  • Versatile design

Cons

  • The oil-lubricated pump requires regular maintenance to prevent drips

Takeaway

This oil-lubricated bad boy is worth considering if you don’t mind the regular maintenance required. Ultimately, it is a quality unit that is durable, portable, and designed to be site-ready. Its versatility also makes it the quietest air compressor for the garage.

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What To Consider When Buying The Best Quiet Air Compressor

If you want to buy a reliable quiet air compressor, you have to consider these factors:

Power Source

Generally, air compressors operate on electric or gas power. 

Models that run on electric power can be either 120V or 240V and require a direct AC power supply to run successfully. 

However, if you don’t have an electric outlet nearby, you can opt for smaller electric models that run on generators.

On the other hand, the ones that run on gas power are a great option for completing jobs that need high air delivery. Gas models are also suitable if you are after mobility since they don’t require a direct power supply to run.

Noise Level

Most air compressor models are noisy, and this can be a problem if you work indoors or in noise-sensitive places. Air compressors that produce a noise level less than 75 decibels can already be considered quiet.

However, if you are very sensitive to the noise produced by these units, you may want to look for a quiet air compressor with a noise level of below 60 decibels. 

Another tip is to check its drive style. Models that have a direct drive are noisy compared to those with a belt drive.

Tank Capacity

The tank capacity determines the amount of air that the unit can hold. Air compressor tanks have a pressure rating that is paired with a pump. 

If you are looking to do major projects, then one with a large tank capacity would be ideal.

However, mid-sized tanks can be enough if you are undertaking simple tasks. Besides, you can add an extra reserve tank if your model’s tank capacity is low.

Build Quality

yellow round air compressor

The build quality will greatly determine its quietness. 

For instance, a compressor that is made from thick, solid, and heavily welded parts is quieter and absorbs more vibration than those made from thin materials.

If quietness is a priority, you also need to ensure that it is crafted with a lot of rubber for more vibration absorption.

For instance, the best quiet air compressor should come with pads and thick rubber wheels.

Furthermore, you also should look for ones that are designed with a soundproof box for trapping noise. 

If your model of choice does not include this feature, you can attach your own compressor muffler around the compressor instead.

CFM And PSI

The performance matters and this can be determined by its CFM and PSI. The power from an air compressor is not the air that comes out through the hose but the rate at which the model takes air in.

The CFM is the volume of air that a unit can hold. On the other hand, PSI is the measure of the maximum pressure that the pump can pump into the tank. 

The higher the CFM, the faster the air used will be replaced, and the higher the pressure, the greater the volume of air a tank can sustain.

We recommend looking for a powerful model that will help you work your tools without the need to stop and replace air. A good tip is to check the packaging and ensure that your compressor can handle your tasks.

Oil-Free Or Oil-Lubricated

Oil-lubricated compressors require maintenance while oil-free ones need little to no maintenance. This makes oil-free air compressors easy to maintain and cost-effective in terms of maintenance costs.

Types Of Air Compressors

There are different types of quiet air compressors in the market to choose from. They include:

Vertical Air Compressor

This comprises a single high-capacity tank that features a pump and motor on top. Models that are on the larger side can be fixed to stay in place while smaller models are usually designed with wheels and handles for easy maneuverability.

Hot Dog Air Compressor

Hot Dog-type compressors come with a cylinder-shaped tank, with the pump and motor mounted on top. Also, some hot dog models are designed with a wheel system for mobility.

Pancake Air Compressor

As the name suggests, these models have a round, flatter tank with the pump and motor attached on top. Because of their small designs, these models are very portable and stable, making them the ideal choice for trim carpenters.

Here's a review of the pancake air compressor from BOSTITCH:

Twin Stack Air Compressor

This model is similar to the hot dog type, but the difference is that it comes with two-cylinder tanks stacked on top of each other for additional capacity. Also, the pump and motor are on the front side as opposed to being mounted on the top.

Moreover, some models may come designed with a handle and wheel system, allowing you to move around with ease. You may want to consider this type if you are undertaking larger tasks.

Wheelbarrow Air Compressor

This model features twin high-capacity cylinders that are stuck on the base. This model also has a gas engine for the gas models, handles on opposite sides, and a single-wheel system between the tanks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes An Air Compressor Noisy?

There are several factors that may contribute to its noise level. Nevertheless, most of the noise is caused by friction when the metal slides and hits against each other.

For this reason, the ones that have more moving parts are more likely to make the most noise. Also, gas-powered models are noisier than electric models.

The environment is also a great contributor to the noise produced. For instance, you can expect your model to make a lot of noise if it is located in open spaces and on concrete and hardwood floors since they produce echoes. 

If you want to lower the noise, you can place your unit on a rubber mat.

Does Horsepower Affect How Quiet An Air Compressor Is?

The horsepower is the amount of work that its motor performs. It’s usually determined by the type of work you want to do and may not really impact the noise of the unit.

What Makes Air Compressors Quiet?

blue air compressor in a building

If it is noisy, there are several things that you can do to make it quiet. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Install an intake silencing device to dampen the sound
  • Use rubber to cover some parts like the motor to lower vibrations
  • Place the unit on a rubber mat to lower vibrations from the floor
  • Construct a DIY soundproof box to muffle the noise
  • Opt for a model with a low noise level

Who Makes The Quietest Air Compressor?

While most quiet air compressors are able to achieve low noise levels, it is still possible to find ultra-quiet air compressors. Some manufacturers of low-noise models include BOSTITCH, Dewalt, Makita, Craftsman, and Air Tools among others.

Conclusion

Air compressors can come in handy in numerous situations. Luckily, most manufacturers are now developing models that operate very quietly without damaging your eardrum.

While all of the products in our quietest air compressor review are great, the Craftsman CMEC6150 takes the win for delivering the best results. 

Although this unit is not necessarily quiet, it does offer great value for your money because it is powerful and can sustain a pressure of 150 PSI. Plus, it is packed with all the important accessories you would need.

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