California air compressors’ main advantage over other compressors is their ultra-quiet operation. The California Air Tools (CAT) manufacturer is producing reliable, powerful and quiet air compressors. As a matter of fact, some of their air compressor models have been proven to have a noise level of only 60dB. Since its foundation, the brand has been offering consistent quality and durability in all its top-rated ultra-calm oil-free air compressor models.
The various California Air compressors are designed to suit different applications. To get the right one, you should consider such things as the horsepower, air tank capacity, CFM, and duty cycle. Reviewed below are the top eight air compressor tools by California Air Tools.
Best California Air Compressors 2020
|Air Compressor Model||Power||Tank Size||CFM|
|California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free Air Compressor||2.0 HP||10 Gallons||6.40 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 4610AC Air Compressor||1.0 HP||4.6 Gallons||3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD Compressor||4.0 HP||60 Gallons||12.80 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 10.60 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 20040DCAD Air Compressor||4.0 HP||20 Gallons||12.80 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 10.60 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 20040CAD Air Compressor||4.0 HP||20 Gallons||12.80 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 10.60 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 10020SPC Air Compressor||2.0 HP||10 Gallons||6.40 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 10TL Ultra Quiet Tankless Air Compressor||1.0 HP rated and 2.0HP peak||No tank||3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools CAT-5510A Portable Air Compressor||1.0 HP rated and 2.0HP peak||5.5 Gallons||3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI, and 2.20 CFM @ 90 PS|
1. California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free Air Compressor – Best California Air Compressor Model Overall
The California Air 10020C is powered by a 2.0HP motor that has a maximum speed of 1,680 revolutions per minute (RPM). The lower motor speed reduces wear and noise levels produced by the air compressor to about 70dB.
It features an Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System for improved performance and durability. The oil-free piston pump design of the unit delivers a life cycle of more than 1,300 hours before wear. Again, technology makes it possible for the unit to be used under adverse temperature and terrain conditions.
This California Air compressor model features the renowned no-load startup technology by the manufacturer. This is coupled with the Easy Start Valve feature, which releases a small amount of air from the pump at startup. As such, the 10020C requires fewer amps to start even in cold temperatures.
2. California Air Tools 4610AC Air Compressor – Best Lightweight California Air Compressor
If you are looking for California Air tools quality and reliability in a lightweight model, get the 4610AC Air Compressor. The air compressor is fitted with a 4.6-gallon aluminum tank, making it one of the lightest products in this category.
In total, the unit weighs about 45.5 pounds. The 1.0HP motor used on this electric air compressor runs at a speed of about 1,680 rpm. This speed is enough to deliver the desired performance while lowering the noise level to about 60dB. The SP-9413 motor has been designed for increased duty cycle and longer continuous run times. .
The model is equipped with an oil-free pump to minimize the need for maintenance and allow for better control. The model features two pressure control gauges and a thermal overload protector for enhanced safety.
3.California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD Compressor – Best Commercial California Air Compressor
If you would rather get a powerful commercial unit with a high-capacity stationary air tank, the CAT-60040CAD air compressor will be a great choice. The model is powered by two 2.0HP motors, delivering a combined power of 4.0 horsepower.
The two SP-9421-22060 motors have been designed to offer longer continuous run times. The oil-free Dual Piston pump mechanism used on the CAT-60040CAD allows for enhanced durability. It will offer you a life cycle of more than 3,000 hours with minimal maintenance.
The air compressor is coupled to a 60-gallon steel ASME Air Tank, which is large enough for a large garage or repair shop. This air compressor is essentially designed for anyone looking for power, less service, lower noise levels, and steady airflow.
4. California Air Tools 20040DCAD Air Compressor – Best Ultra-Quiet Air Compressor
Despite being a powerful 4.0HP air compressor, the CAT 20040DCAD is relatively quiet in operation, with a noise level of 75dB. Again, it requires only 14 amps to start as a result of the innovative no-load start technology by the manufacturer.
The compressor comes with a large 20-gallon steel air storage tank that fills in about 150 seconds. At 40 seconds, the recovery time required by the model to move from 95 PSI to 125 PSI is comparatively short. As compared to other air compressor models in its class, this California Air tools model produces less heat and dissipates it more efficiently.
The CAT 20040DCAD is fitted with an Aftercooler and a dryer. In its functioning, the air Dyer removes up to 80 percent of moisture from the compressed air. This goes a long way in protecting sensitive pneumatic tools and machinery.
5. California Air Tools 20040CAD Air Compressor – Best Two-Stage California Air Compressor
Equipped with a 20-gallon air storage tank, the CAT-20040CAD is suited for almost any application. It will take the air compressor about 150 seconds to fill the tank from empty. The model features an automatic drain valve, eliminating the need to drain your air compressor air tank manually.
It comes with an inbuilt timer that allows you to set the duration and frequency of the automatic draining process. The Ultra-Quiet compressor produces only 75dB of noise in operation and features two pressure control gauges. It comes complete with four air filters and a universal 1/4″ quick connector.
For enhanced safety, the CAT-20040CAD air compressor is fitted with a Confirmation pressure switch and a thermal overload protector. The unit is backed by a one-year limited warranty by the manufacturer.
6.California Air Tools 10020SPC Air Compressor – Best Sound-Proof Air Compressor Pump
Enclosed in a soundproof cabinet, the CAT-10020SPC is one of the best Ultra-Quiet air compressor models in the industry. The 2HP, SP-9421 motor used on the unit is designed to deliver a maximum speed of 1680 RPM, which is efficient on electricity and lowers noise production.
The model has a noise level of about 58dB and has been proven to have a longer duty cycle. As some of the leading California Air compressor models, the CAT-10020SPC features Easy Valve technology. This feature is meant to reduce the load on the motor while starting the air compressor. As such, the model only requires less current to start.
This California Air compressor model comes with a 10-gallon steel tank, which is suited for almost any commercial application. The sound-proof cabinet of the air compressor features two latching doors and two exhaust fans.
7.California Air Tools 10TL Ultra Quiet Tankless Air Compressor – Best Tankless California Air Compressor
The CAT 10TL ultra-quiet tankless air compressor is suited for use in places where only a minimal amount of noise is acceptable. The unit is powerful enough for use in an array of applications, including airbrushing, inflating, and powering different air tools.
Unlike many of the leading air compressor models in this category, the 10TL tankless air compressor features a bleeder valve that is relatively easy to use. With this valve, you will be able to regulate the pressure to between 0 and 100 PSI. The valve will bleed excess pressure continuously, preventing the unit from stalling or having a hard start when restarting.
It is also fitted with a Powerful peddle, making it convenient for you to control the air compressor using your foot. Since it is a tankless model, this California Air compressor model is designed to run continuously for up to an hour. The attached water trap helps to remove moisture from the air.
8.California Air Tools CAT-5510A Portable Air Compressor – Portable California Air Compressor Option
Are you looking for a powerful air compressor that is portable and may be used indoor as well as outdoor? The CAT-5510A Portable Air Compressor will be a great choice, offering up to 120 PSI as well as a lightweight and portable design. In an effort to make the unit lighter, the manufacturer uses a 5.5-gallon aluminum tank on this model.
In addition to being lightweight, the tank will last longer than a steel alternative as aluminum does not rust. In total, the air compressor weighs about 37.5 pounds. However, it comes with an easy-to-use wheel kit, making it easier to move around.
The model is also loaded with a myriad of innovative features the manufacturer is known for. For instance, it features an oil-free pump system, two pressure gauges, and a thermal overload protector. The product delivers exceptional performance and is capable of filling the tank in less than 120 seconds.
Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a CAT Air Compressor
Air compressors come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, types, and power sources to suit an array of applications. Whether you are a heavy-duty mechanic, a contractor, an automotive technician or just a serious hobbyist, there is a model out there to suit your needs.
To get the right Compressor from California Air Tools or any other air compressor brand, here are some of the main considerations you need to make:
Air Pressure (PSI)
The air pressure produced by an air compressor is expressed in pounds per square inch (PSI). The right PSI rating will depend on the tools you will be connecting to the compressor. On average, most air tools need about 90 PSI to run properly. To maintain this PSI, you will need a compressor that has a higher shut-off pressure rating.
If you are looking for an industrial model, it is advisable to go for the ones with a two-stage model. Such a model builds up to shut-off pressure in two stages, the first one being 90 PSI, and the other one 175 PSI. If you are a hobbyist, a smaller air compressor model will suffice.
In such a case, you should go for models with a shut-off pressure rating of between 125 and 135 PSI. This may sound too high, but you should bear in mind that most models kick in at about 100 PSI. Again, you also need to factor in the pressure drop caused by restrictions in the couplers and hose.
Horsepower (HP) is often used to express the power or size of the air compressor. Although some brands may exaggerate the rating to market their products, commercial models are often labeled correctly. To tell whether the labeling is correct, you need to assess the amount of electrical power required to run the unit.
For instance, a true 5HP motor draws about 24 amps when connected to a 220 Volt circuit. If overrated, a 5HP air compressor can only run on a normal 15 amp, 110V circuit. This rating is a bit different in gas-powered air compressors. For instance, you will need a 10 HP gas-powered air compressor to produce as much air as an industrial 5 HP electric compressor would.
Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
In addition to the HP rating, pneumatic tools require a certain volume of air to run. The volume of air produced by an air compressor is expressed in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Some air compressors have several CFM ratings at different g pressures, which can be really confusing. For smaller air compressor models, the most important CFM rating is the one at 90 PSI as it is the pressure required to run most air tools.
Single-Stage Vs. Two-Stage Compressors
Single-Stage air compressors can only have one or two cylinders pumping air directly into the tank. However, a two-stage compressor cannot have less than two cylinders. In a two-stage compressor, the air is pumped from one cylinder to another, and finally into the tank.
A conventional two-stage air compressor moves the air through a cooling tube, and then into the second-stage cylinder at 90 PSI or so. The air is finally transferred to the reservoir tank at about 175 PSI. A two-stage air compressor will only be necessary if you need higher pressure. While many people think that a two-stage compressor is of better quality than a single-stage compressor, this is not necessarily the case. The right air compressor will only depend on your air pressure requirements.
You also need to consider the duty cycle before choosing the right air compressor. The duty cycle in air compressors is expressed as a percentage. It shows the number of minutes the unit is allowed to run out of ten minutes. For instance, smaller air compressor models tend to have a 50% duty cycle.
In such a case, the unit should not run continuously for more than 5 minutes within any 10-minute period. Exceeding the duty cycle of any air compressor model causes it to overheat, which tends to have an effect on its durability. A good number of the California Air Tools commercial air compressor models have at least a 75% duty cycle.
Some of the leading brands even have models with 100%, meaning that you can run it continuously for up to ten minutes. The right duty cycle will depend on several other factors. For example, a 5 HP compressor that has a 100% duty cycle can produce more continuous air than a heavy-duty 7.5 HP compressor.
Air Tank Capacity
The air reservoir or tank is often mounted on the air compressor unit and its capacity actually matters. With a large enough motor and air pump, you will never run out if air even if the air tank is a bit small. if you use air intermitted, a smaller pump coupled to a larger tank can save you a considerable amount of money.
In such a case, the compressor will have to build up enough pressure by the time you need to use the tools again. If you need to run a pneumatic tool continuously, such as a sander, you will need to get a unit that produces as much air as you need in real-time. In such a case, it would be advisable to get a smaller air tank. A smaller tank makes the compressor more portable and builds up to the required pressure faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are California air compressors any good?
A: Yes, California Air Tools are some of the best in the industry. As a matter of fact, their air compressors feature the latest technological advancements. This makes them some of the best oil-free air compressors in the industry, with regards to reliability and ultra-quiet performance.
Q: Where are California air compressors made?
CAT air compressors are produced from the manufacturer’s certified UL facility that is based in San Diego, California USA.
Your preferred air compressor model should offer the right CFM, PSI, air tank capacity, and duty cycle for the intended applications. California Air Tools produces some of the best air compressor models in the industry, with regards to quality, and performance.
All the California Air compressor models reviewed in this guide are fitted with oil-free air pumps. This ensures that you always have clean air for your tools. All in all, the best California air compressor model will depend on what you will be using it for.