Quiet air compressors are specially designed to produce as little noise as humanly possible. These are needed when being operated in closed spaces where other air compressors may be too loud.
At 80 Decibels, you should be wearing ear plugs to avoid hearing damage. If you’re working with more than one person, you may want to have a conversation, but can’t due to the noise level. The quietest air compressors will be between 50-70 Decibels. These won’t require hearing protection and can even be used in an enclosed area.
If you’re looking for the quietest air compressor, it’s going to come at a cost of lower CFM. Usually, compressors with high CFM ratings will be larger in size and louder in sound. In this case, we thought that the California Air Tools 15020C had a good balance between CFM and Decibels. However, the EMAX E10V080V1 was a top pick of ours as well due to its ultra-high CFM rating.
Below are 13 of the quietest air compressors we found that were dependable, had good CFM ratings, and had lower Decibels.
|Model Name||Db Rating||CFM @ 90 PSI|
|California Air Tools 8010SPC||40 Decibels||3.00 SCFM|
|CAT-60040CAD||75 Decibels||10.60 SCFM|
|EMAX E10V080V1||78 Decibels||38 SCFM|
|Kobalt Quiet Tech||64 Decibels||3.3 SCFM|
|California Air Tools 8010||60 Decibels||2.20 SCFM|
|California Air Tools 15020C||70 Decibels||5.3 SCFM|
|California Air Tools CAT-20015HPAD||70 Decibels||3.80 SCFM|
|California Air Tools CAT 30020C-22060||70 Decibels||5.30 SCFM|
|Homegreg 56 Db Ultra Silent||56 Decibels||1.8 SCFM|
|Stealth 12-Gallon Ultra Quiet||68 Decibels||4 SCFM|
Quitest Air Compressors
1. California Air Tools 15020C – Best Overall
We chose the California Air Tools 15020C as the best overall because of its 70 Decibels of sound and 5.3 CFM air output.
Sure, this compressor doesn’t have a high CFM output, but it’s certainly one of the quietest for its size. It has a decently large 15-gallon air tank and maximum PSI of 130 that takes 3 minutes to fill from empty and a minute and a half to fill from half to empty. It only runs at 1680 RPM, so there is little noise created with less wear. At 70 Decibels, we could have a conversation from 3 feet away with little strain.
The 2 HP motor has an oil-free dual-piston pump that offers 3,000 hours of life compared to 500 hours of engine hours from other compressors in the same category. The pump helps output 6.40 CFM of air @ 40 PSI and 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. This is more than enough air supply for various pneumatic tools. We used an air hammer, sandblaster, air chuck, and impact gun with ease.
In addition to the low noise level and high lifespan, we found that the compressor was easy to start in a variety of temperatures and terrains. There’s an easy-start valve that releases air from the pump when it starts to produce no-load conditions. We didn’t experience an issue firsthand, but there were many reports of the compressor smoking and leaking from the check valve.
2. California Air Tools 8010SPC – Ultra Quiet 40 Db
If you need something around your garage for smaller projects, then check out this CAT 8010SPC. It’s a portable, easy-to-use, and compact compressor that is stored in its own cabinet.
This compressor has a 1.0 HP oil-less motor. This means it requires minimal maintenance and it will cost less in the long run. Generally, smaller air compressors have high Decibel ratings, but this one surprised us. When we turned it on, we thought it was broken because it made almost no noise.
It puts out just 40 Decibels of noise. The soundproof cabinet has a lot to do with this since it’s insulated with foam for noise reduction and vibration. Even though the overall unit is quiet, the cooling fan is loud.
California Air Tools 8010SPC Ultra Quiet and Oil Free 1 HP Steel Tank Air Compressor in Sound Proof Cabinet, 8-Gallon
1 used from $1,293.00
Even though it’s a very quiet compressor, it does sacrifice CFM. It supplied us with 3.0 CFM @ 90 PSI and 4.0 CFM @ 40 PSI. It’s not significantly low, but there were certain tools we couldn’t use with this compressor. We were able to operate a small impact gun, but a sandblaster was out of the question.
The 8.0-gallon tank can only hold a maximum of 115 PSI. It’s definitely not a lot, but it didn’t take long to fill. From 0-115 PSI, it took just 2 minutes and from 60-115 PSI, it took just 30 seconds to fill. Since this is such a small tank, we feel that’s why it doesn’t take long to fill, but it does mean that it will need to fill more frequently.
One thing we liked the most about this compressor setup is where the connections and gauges are. You don’t have to open the cabinet to get to anything. The outlets and drain valves are on the front of the cabinet along with the gauges and regulator. The cabinet can even be wheeled around.
3. Metabo EC28M Ultra Quiet – 59 dB
If you only need a compressor for small DIY projects or inflating tires, the Metabo EC28M will suffice. It’s a small 1-gallon compressor that weighs just 25.2 pounds. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something that can be portable and stashed on a shelf when not in use.
The Metabo has a noise level of just 59 dB, so we were able to have a conversation with one another just a few feet away. It’s powered by a standard 120V AC supply and uses just 2.8 amps to run its 0.451 hp motor. It has a maximum PSI of 125, which can be easily adjusted on the easy-to-use interface. It took just 1 minute for the compressor to fill its tiny tank from 0-125 PSI.
Since this is such a small compressor, we didn’t expect it to put out a lot of airflow. It supplied us with 0.8 CFM @ 90 PSI and 1.3 CFM @ 40 PSI. This makes it a compressor more for tire inflation than anything else. There aren’t many pneumatic tools that are going to work well with the Metabo since it doesn’t have much of a CFM rating. It does take a little while for it to inflate standard tires. We clocked it at 2 minutes per 35 PSI tire.
Much like other air comparable compressors, the EC28M has an oil-free design for minimal maintenance.
4. EMAX E10V080V1 – Whisper Quiet 80 Gallon Compressor
For something so large and powerful, we didn’t expect it to be as quiet as it was, coming in at around 78 dB. Compared to other air compressors in its class, it produced 25% less noise. In addition to less noise, it runs at a 35% lower temperature with the help of the built-in inner-cooler and aftercooler. This will help reduce any build-up of moisture and extend the life of the pump.
Along with its massive powder-coated ASME air tank, it has a reliable 10 HP, 2 stage V4 1 phase motor that operates at 1,750 RPM. It has a working pressure of 45 PSI and a maximum PSI of 175. At this rate, the compressor has a pump life of roughly 70,000 hours. With the max PSI of 175, we found the pressure to be consistent and reliable.
We didn’t notice any type of voltage fluctuation either when we really put the compressor to the test with some heavy-duty pneumatic tools. We also noted that it took 5 minutes for the tank to fill from 0-175 PSI and 2 minutes to fill from 90-175 PSI.
When we tested our pneumatic tools, we discovered that the compressor supplied them with 38 CFM @ 100 PSI and 34 CFM @ 175 PSI. This allowed us to run multiple tools at once such as a sandblaster, air hammer, impact gun, framing nailer, and more.
Since we’re avid DIYers, this was a huge timesaver. This would have been the perfect compressor for any garage or shop had it been able to move around. It’s stationary, so you have to set it and forget it.
5. California Air Tools 8010 – 8 Gallon Ultra Quiet
It’s no surprise that there are multiple CAT air compressors on our list. They’re well-known for making some of the quietest air compressors on the market, ranking at just 60 Decibels. This particular compressor has a 1 HP oil-free motor and a small 8-gallon storage tank. However, there’s no hose included, which we thought was kind of strange.
California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp, 8 gal
5 used from $212.13
The motor is strong and durable, allowing the tank to fill to the maximum of 120 PSI in a mere 130 seconds and it only takes 30 seconds to fill from 90 PSI to 120 PSI. This is relatively quicker than many other comparable compressors on the market today. We found that this rating allowed a lot of our pneumatic tools to run smoothly without bogging down the compressor too much.
In terms of air output, this compressor performs decently for an 8-gallon unit. It can product 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI and 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI. This range is ideal for smaller DIY projects such as light-duty framing, sandblasting, and tire inflation. We easily inflated standard 17” car tires from 0-32 PSI in roughly 1 minute. We don’t think it will inflate larger, heavier-duty tires, but you could certainly try.
We really liked how portable the compressor was. It weighs just 54 pounds and has wheels so you can roll it from one area to another. In addition to that, it is expected that the compressor will last 3,000 hours as opposed to comparable compressors with a 500-hour life expectancy.
6. California Air Tools 15020C – 15 Gallon Ultra Quiet
This particular CAT air compressor holds 15 gallons of air and has been designed to be the quietest 2 HP compressor available on the market today. It runs at just 1680 RPM and creates little noise and less wear. It is rated at around 70 Decibels, so we were easily able to have a conversation feet away from each other.
This compressor has a strong 2 HP motor with an oil-free dual-piston pump that’s capable of producing 130 max PSI of air.
California Air Tools 15020C Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 2.0 Hp 15.0 gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor
$482.00 in stock
1 used from $608.00
The compressor fills from 0-130 PSI in 2 minutes and from 70-130 PSI in 30 seconds. This was relatively quicker than other compressors, which surprised us. One thing you won’t have an issue with is the compressor not starting in cold weather. Since it’s oil-free, it can be started at a variety of temperatures.
When it came time for us to use the compressor with our pneumatic tools, we were impressed by its performance. It has an output 6.4 CFM @ 40 PSI and 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. This was plenty enough air to supply a variety of our pneumatic tools with adequate airflow. It powered our small pressure washer easily. We were also able to use two of our smaller tools at once without disrupting the pressure or airflow.
We only came across one issue firsthand. We noticed that there was a leak coming from the check valve. We aren’t sure why, as this was a new unit, but it was something that made us scratch our heads. Additionally, there have been reports of smoking coming from the machine by various other users.
7. California Air Tools 20015HPAD – 20 Gallon Quiet Air Compressor
If you haven’t noticed yet, we really like the California Air Tools compressors. This particular compressor has a low noise output of 70 Decibels. It’s quieter than comparable compressors and is super easy to operate.
California Air Tools CAT-20015HPAD Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.5 hp, 20 gallon 175 PSI Two Stage Air Compressor with Automatic Drain Valve
This compressor is equipped with a 1.5 HP motor that operates at 1750 RPM. This is what keeps the noise level low. In addition to this, it requires fewer amps, making it easier to start in colder temperatures.
When running, it puts out a maximum PSI of 175. It takes just 2 minutes to fill from 0-175 PSI and 30 seconds to refill from 90-175 PSI. This is pretty average for a CAT compressor.
Once it has built up enough pressure, it can deliver 3.8 CFM @ 90 PSI and 4 CFM @ 40 PSI. This was able to run our impact gun easily. We used a brad nailer along with the impact gun and found the airflow to remain consistent. We also used it to inflate aan18” car tire. From 0-35 PSI, it took 1 minute to fill.
Add everything above with ease of operation and you have yourself a great running compressor. We were impressed by how well it performed the tasks we threw at it. It would have been a perfect machine had the wheels not seemed too cheaply made and wobbly.
8. California Air Tools 30020C-22060 – 30 Gallon Quiet Air Compressor
This CAT air compressor is another one of the ultra-quiet models, measuring just 70 Decibels. This is around 30% less than comparable compressors not crafted by California Air Tools. When you pair this with its strong motor, ease of use, and durability, it’s a great compressor.
The 2 HP motor operates at 1680 RPM, which helps keep the noise level down but also helps keep the PSI steady. The compressor has a maximum PSI of 125 and a low amperage draw of 7.0 amps.
Two pressure control gauges allow you to monitor the PSI output and regulate it as needed. When we first started up the compressor, it took 2 minutes to fill from 0-125 PSI and 30 seconds from 60-125 PSI.
Once it has reached its maximum PSI, it is then ready to supply you with air. It has an airflow rate of 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.4 CFM @ 40 PSI. We tested the airflow with a sandblaster that required 6 CFM and found that it ran without a problem. We also used it to inflate an 18” tire from 0-35 PSI and it took 1 minute.
If the compressor is properly maintained and doesn’t require a ton of effort, it has a lifespan of 3,000 hours whereas other compressors only have a lifespan of 500 hours. This is all thanks to the oil-free dual-piston pump, 70/30 duty cycle, and low RPMs that we mentioned earlier. You can buy it at walmart.
9. California Air Tools 640040CAD – Ultra Quiet 60 Gallon Unit
We promise that this is the last California Air Tools compressor. This is one of their bigger units. It has a 60-gallon ASME air tank and a powerful 2.0 HP motor. It’s not as quiet as the others, measuring 75 Decibels, but we were still able to have a conversation in an enclosed space while it was running.
The motor only operates at 1680 RPM, which is what helps keep the noise to a minimum and create less wear. As with all the other California Air Tools compressors, this one has a lifespan of 3,000 hours. It doesn’t require oil, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance or additional costs for running the machine.
This compressor has a max rating of 125 PSI and a low amp draw of 14 amps. From 0-125 PSI, it took the compressor roughly 4 minutes to fill and from 60-125, it took 1.5 minutes to refill. For such a large compressor, this was surprising to us that it took such little time.
In addition to the quick fill, it also has a high CFM rating. It produces 10.6 CFM @ 90 PSI and 12.6 CFM @ 40 PSI. This was more than enough to operate our small pneumatic tools such as a framing nailer, finishing nailer, and sandblaster. While we were using the compressor, we noticed the relief valve was leaking. This was a reported problem among other users as well.
10. Homegreg 56 dB Ultra Silent – Oil-Free Air Compressor
The Homegreg 56 dB Ultra Silent compressor is one of the quietest on our list. Its small stature makes it perfect for your small garage or even an RV. Pair this with its quietness and it’s well worth the money.
This oil-less machine requires very little maintenance and costs less to operate. Simply plug it in and wait 98 seconds for it to fill from 0-100 PS. If it’s refilling from 50 PSI, it takes just 30 seconds.
At its maximum PSI, it can fill a car tire from 0-35 PSI in just 1 minute. What we really liked was that the compressor has dual pressure meters that can adjust the working pressure and the pump cutoff pressure.
Once the compressor filled up, it put out 3 CFM @ 40 PSI and 1.8 CFM @ 90 PSI. The compressor could run continuously due to the overheat protection. The CFM of the compressor gave us adequate air supply for many of our small pneumatic tools such as an air chuck, framing nailer, and impact wrench.
Other notable features of the compressor that we feel we should mention are that it weighs just 45 pounds, comes with wheels on the bottom of the unit for easy portability, and long pump life.
11. Stealth 12-Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor – Quiet with Quick Connect
The Sealth 12-Gallon Ultra Quiet air compressor has 2 times the lifespan of other comparable models. It also runs 80% quieter, measuring 68 Decibels. The 1.5 HP motor has dual air pumps and comes with a quick connect, making it a great little compressor for your home garage.
Stealth 12 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor, 1.5 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Pump, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, Long Life Electric Air Compressor W/Wheels for Garage, Workshop, Jobsite SAQ-11215
Not only is the compressor durable, but it’s powerful. The 1.5 HP motor allows the compressor to reach a maximum PSI of 150. It takes just 75-seconds to fill from 0-150 PSI and 20-seconds to fill from 75-150 PSI. It can start in cold weather and with low voltage, so you can use the compressor in a variety of temperatures.
We received an airflow output of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI and 5 CFM @ 40 PSI. It was enough to handle a lot of our smaller pneumatic tools and even a couple of our medium-duty ones. We used an air chuck to fill up a couple of tires. It can fill a tire from 0-35 PSI in 1 minute. We were overall impressed by the performance of the Stealth compressor.
We like this compressor a lot if we’re being honest. It’s oil-free, so it requires no maintenance, reduces the cost of usage, and has a 1,000-hour life span.
12. GSS GSOC 270C – Oil-Free Silent Air Compressor
Oil-free compressors are much simpler to maintain but don’t last as long as compressors that require oil. However, they do cost less to operate. The GSS GSOC 270C is a one-of-a-kind low noise-designed machine. It’s also extremely quiet, measuring just 55 Decibels. It can be used in a variety of places without compromising comfort or performance.
This compressor is ideal for a variety of applications. It has a decent 1 hp motor that operates off of a 200V, 50/60Hz hookup. It only has a maximum PSI of 116, which seems a tad strange, but it is powerful enough for laser & plasma cutting machines, E.N.T equipment, and more. It took just 2 minutes to fill from 0-116 and 30 seconds to fill from 50-116 PSI.
We received an airflow output of 10.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. This easily supplied many of our pneumatic tools with adequate airflow. We used the compressor to operate a sandblaster, which exceeded our expectations. We could easily monitor the PSI and airflow output with the convenient gauges located on the machine.
We honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with the compressor other than that the cabinet was just a little too bulky for us.
13. Kobalt Quiet Tech – Quiet & Portable
Kobalt is a household and industrial name that’s well-known all over the world. They make everything from power tools to toilets and air compressors. This Kobalt compressor is quieter than many others on the market with a 64 Decibel rating.
This compressor works off of a 120V, 1 hp induction motor with two pumps and draws 7.5 amps. There is no oil needed for the pump, so you don’t have to worry about oil levels or a burnt-out motor. An oil-less motor also means less maintenance and costs on your end. Even though the motor is strong, the sound isn’t.
It has a maximum PSI rating of 150 and you can keep tabs on this with the gauges on top of the compressor. There’s also a tool pressure regulator that is large and easy to turn. It only took 2 minutes to fill from 0-150 PSI and 30 seconds to refill from 75-150 PSI, which is quicker than comparable compressors.
We received 3.3 CFM @ 40 PSI and 2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI with this compressor. It’s not a lot, but it was enough to run a finish nailer and inflate larger tires. It took just 30 seconds to fill a flat tire to 32 PSI.
It’s definitely a strong machine with two small air tanks. It can be easily stored away when not in use as well. We found it to be easy to pull around with the solid metal top grip that retracts.
What Makes An Air Compressor Noisy?
An air compressor is supposed to be a convenient machine that you can use to blow up tires, work in the shop with power tools, and more. It’s not supposed to cause you distress by creating enough noise to hurt your ears.
This is why you should consider an air compressor with a low decibel rating. The lower the Decibels, the less noise the compressor is going to create. But what is it that creates the noise anyway?
Friction is the biggest attribute to air compressor noise. There could be metal hitting or sliding against other metal parts within the machine, causing it to be loud. The theory is that the more moving parts there are in the compressor, the louder it is going to be.
It has also been said that a gas-powered compressor is going to be louder than an electric compressor because there is combustion being created and more moving metal parts. Electric air compressors run off of voltage. It’s similar to an electric car. They are quieter than a car that runs on gas or diesel.
Putting friction and power source to the side, environmental factors are what’s left. The environment around your air compressor can contribute to the noise it makes. If your compressor is on a smooth concrete floor in an open area, it can amplify the noise output. If you are working in a confined space with a lot of items in the area, the noise may be reduced.
Does Horsepower Affect How Quiet An Air Compressor Is?
Many things contribute to how quiet or loud an air compressor is, but horsepower is not one of them. Horsepower is simply the measure of how hard the engine can work. However, RPMs and oil are a couple of contributors to compressor noise. Generally, the lower the RPMs, the lower the noise is going to be.
For example, 1,730 RPMs will put out around 79 Decibels of noise. Additionally, an oil-lubricated compressor is going to run quieter as well because there isn’t going to be as much friction as there would be with an oil-less unit.
In conclusion, A quiet air compressor is generally anything under 80 Decibels, with the quietest being in the low 50’s. If the manufacturer doesn’t specify the Decibel rating, it’s probably loud. Out of 100 models we researched, we came up with 13 units, with the best one being California Air Tools 15020C.