Having an air compressor is the feather in any DIY-enthusiast’s cap, allowing you to turn your back on hand tools and take up a life of leisure using powered tools instead.
Air compressors can be really noisy though and are one of the leading causes of hearing loss. No wonder that more and more people are looking for a quieter alternative to these regular air compressors in order to protect their hearing.
To help you find the right air compressor for you, we’ve reviewed 7 of the quietest air compressors for garage use.
We’ve also given a few extra examples of the benefits you can expect after investing in an air compressor, as well as putting together a buyer’s guide that will walk you through some of the most important considerations that you will need to factor into your decision.
With any of the air compressors we’re about to show you, you’ll be back at your DIY bench in no time and you won’t have to worry about regular use ruining your hearing.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick is this California Air Tools steel air compressor which comes with a wheel kit and air filter.
You’ll need to purchase a hose separately, however, as this is not included, and a ¼” universal/industrial male quick connector is required to attach it to the compressor.
You’ll have no problem hearing conversation as the noise level remains at around 60 dBA when it’s running which is ideal for indoor use.
It has a continuous run time of 30-60 minutes depending on the PSI setting and CFM, drawing around 2,500 running watts of electricity.
The oil-free pump requires minimal maintenance which in turn reduces the cost of upkeep, and its durable construction means you should be able to use it for years to come.
The fact that it’s oil-free also means you can use it in practically any temperature and uneven terrain.
Despite having a large 8-gallon capacity steel air tank the air compressor is lightweight at 48 lbs so it’s easily transported between locations.
The wheel kit also helps improve portability as you’ll be able to smoothly maneuver the compressor without having to lift it up or drag it.
- Great value for money: It performs to a high standard, is a durable and well-constructed compressor, and has a lot included with the purchase.
- Whisper quiet operation: This makes it a perfect choice for indoor use where noise levels will be a bigger concern.
- Standard connections: The air compressor runs off 110V (AC) power.
- Convenient: It’s highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications.
- Versatile: You can use it in cold temperatures thanks to a low amp start-up draw.
- Defective parts over time: Some customers have reported issues with the motor burning up with excessive use or after prolonged periods of time.
This might not be the quietest air compressor we’ve included in this round up, but it’s one of the best value for money options with some excellent features and a standard 71-dB noise rating.
Made in the USA using high-quality materials, this Craftsman pancake air compressor is designed to be easily portable and can be transported between construction sites or around the home as you need thanks to a convenient and comfortable carry handle.
You won’t need to pause and refill the tank too frequently as it can hold a capacity of 6 gallons, which is big enough to keep you going for some time whilst still being small enough not to hinder its portability.
It’s also easy to store thanks to its compact shape and size.
It’s maintenance-free, oil-free, and long-lasting, with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI that guarantees decent cut-inch pressure.
In addition to all this, it comes with an accessory kit included which consists of extra safety bits, plugs, and adaptors, among other things as well.
- Fast recovery: It features a quick compressor recovery time at 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI.
- DIY sidekick: This air compressor is the perfect choice for low-demand home use.
- Portable: Its design is small, compact, and lightweight, as well as having a convenient carry handle for easier transportation.
- Minimal maintenance
- Inconsistent quality: Some customers have reported that the quality control for this product could be better.
- Not the quietest: This is a louder option compared to other models we’ve included in this list.
If you’re looking for something even quieter than our top pick, then there’s also this air compressor from California Air Tools for you to consider.
This model has a decibel rating of just 56 dB which is one of the quietest models currently available on the market.
Just like the first air compressor we looked at from California Air Tools, this is a low-maintenance option with minimal associated running costs, featuring an oil-free pump that is powerful without being big and bulky to accommodate this.
Weighing in at just 29.5 lbs, it’s one of the lightest models we’ve looked at which is ideal if you’ll need to transport your air compressor from place to place, or even just to maneuver it to wherever you’ll be using it. However, this does also mean that it’s also less powerful.
The 1-gallon steel tank will need refilling frequently in order to use it for very long, but it’s best reserved for low-demand household work anyway.
For DIY and hobbies, the 0.6 HP rating with 1.20 CMF @ 90 PSI is still more than powerful enough to get the job done.
- Estimated long lifespan: The oil-free single piston pump has an estimated lifespan of 3000 plus hours which is more than the average air compressor has to offer.
- Versatile: It’s perfect for powering tools like staple guns, nail guns, airbrushes, and blow guns.
- Quiet operation: The low decibel rating means it’s quiet enough to use inside and won’t disturb the entire household.
- Lightweight: Easy to carry and transport to different locations.
- Dull design: It doesn’t have the best fit and finish compared to other models.
Next on our list, we have the Stealth ultra quiet air compressor.
It is larger and more powerful than the other compressors we’ve included up until now, which makes it a great choice for those looking to complete bigger DIY jobs around the home or for garage and job site use.
Compared to a compressor with a standard induction motor, the Stealth air compressor has been proven to be up to 80% quieter and can last up to 3 times as long in terms of lifespan.
Despite its ultra quiet performance, this is a powerful tool and the generator can run on 1.8 HP with a short 70-second recharge time for the air tank, and it has a capacity of a whopping 20 gallons meaning you can power through your work without stopping for refills.
It’s designed for durability and portability with a hard-wearing housing structure to help protect it against damage and 8-inch rubber reinforced wheels for easy mobility.
It’s also sturdy enough that it supports both cold weather start and low voltage start.
- Quiet operation: It has a decibel rating of 68 dB which is ultra quiet for a compressor this powerful.
- Durable and long-lasting: The life expectancy for this air compressor is over 1,000 hours, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it before it shows signs of wear and tear.
- Use it when it’s cold: You can easily start it in cold weather and with a low voltage start.
- Safe: It’s ETL certified.
- Minimal maintenance: It features an oil-free dual piston pump which provides improved performance.
- Buy with confidence: Your purchase is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
- Incorrect product information is provided: The drain valve on this air compressor is manual, not automatic as described in the product specifications.
Another good example of whisper quiet performance is provided by this Makita MAC100Q air compressor which is part of their quiet series.
It’s a smaller compressor with a lightweight design and it’s intended mainly for carrying out smaller DIY jobs around the house.
Even though it performs pretty powerfully, the decibel rating falls below 60 and averages at about 58 dB, making this air compressor a great choice for indoor applications where you’ll be more conscious about keeping the noise level down.
It’s convenient to use and easy to travel with thanks to its compact size and clever features, such as the cord wrap storage area and its complete roll cage construction.
This oil-free, electric air compressor also requires very little maintenance, saving you time and money.
Although it’s less powerful than some of the other air compressors we’ve included in this list, it has a lower running RPM that sits at around 1,750 which will extend the lifespan of the compressor’s pump and motor.
The complete roll cage construction helps to protect the air compressor during transportation and heavy use, which also ensures a longer lasting lifespan.
- Multiple features: Additional features like the low AMP draw, which prevents accidents like tripped breakers when the air compressor starts up, make this an air compressor that focuses on safety and convenience for the user.
- Minimal maintenance: The oil-free dual piston pump allows for maintenance-free operation.
- Plug it in and use it: It can run off your vehicle’s 110V electrical outlet without issue thanks to its low start-up power.
- Limited tank capacity: It will require refilling more often as this air compressor has a smaller tank capacity.
- Less versatile: More limited applications due to being smaller and less powerful than some options.
The second Stealth air compressor we wanted to show you is the 10020C which runs off a corded electric power source and provides high-volume air delivery at low-level noise volumes during operation.
It has a decibel rating of 65 dB, which is slightly louder than some of the models we’ve included throughout this article, but it’s definitely not the loudest option.
Constructed using durable steel, this air compressor is designed to withstand heavy-duty applications and frequent use.
It delivers 2.5 CFM @ 90 PSI, or if you’d prefer to stretch out the running time for longer, 3.5 CFM @ 40 PSI which helps encourage a quick recovery.
The Stealth portable air compressor is powered by a 1.0 HP motor which is packing more than enough power to suit the basic needs of anyone looking for a compressor.
However, it also has a low amp start up draw of 120V which means it can easily start in cold weather.
It has a nice, medium-sized tank capacity that can store 3 gallons, and the hotdog air tank design allows for hand-held capability.
It also means it’s compact enough to travel with as well as being able to store it in small spaces.
- Multiple bonus features are included: It has useful features like a universal quick connector and a pressure control meter for added user convenience.
- Large tank: This compressor has one of the biggest tank capacities we’ve included in this list meaning you can cut back on the time you spend refilling it.
- Longer periods of operation: There’s a running time of up to 60 minutes depending on the PSI and CFM.
- Minimal maintenance: It features an oil-free pump for cleaner and improved operation.
- Affordable: Reasonably priced and offers great value for money.
- Limited applications: This air compressor won’t be able to handle jobs that are too demanding as it’s less powerful than some of the other options we’ve looked at.
Last but not least, we thought we’d round off this list of the best 7 quiet air compressors the same way we started it - with an air compressor from California Air Tools.
This is a more expensive option than our top pick, but with more power to justify the increase in price.
That does also mean that it has a slightly higher decibel rating which hovers at around 70 dB, but this is still a lot quieter than many of the air compressors with similar specifications.
Although it has a powerful 2.0 HP motor, this air compressor also has a low amp draw of 7.0 amps which means it can easily start up in cold weather.
It has a 6.40 CFM at 40 PSI or 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI. It also features a dedicated 15-amp outlet with a 14 gauge 25ft cord.
Depending on the PSI and CFM, you can expect the compressor to have a running time of around 30 to 60 minutes without stopping.
The 10-gallon capacity tank means you won’t have to pause too often to fill it back up, either, meaning you can work on it uninterrupted.
- Large tank capacity: It has a tank capacity of an impressive 10 gallons.
- Highly portable: The wheels and carry handle make it easily portable despite being larger than some of the other models we’ve looked at.
- Minimal maintenance: Less maintenance is required as it has an oil-free motor.
- Multiple features: There are useful features included to improve the user convenience, such as the easy start valve and no-load start up.
- Dull design: It doesn’t have a sleek, attractive design like some of the other options we’ve included here.
- Low quality components: The built-in connectors aren’t very high quality.
Best Quiet Air Compressors Buying Guide
Now you’ve seen a few of the best available offerings that are currently on the market when it comes to quiet air compressors.
If you’re still not convinced, however, or if you need to be pointed in the right direction of which factors you should consider, and which you should prioritize in order to find the perfect air compressor that’s quiet enough for your needs.
First, we wanted to remind you about some of the great benefits that are associated with having your very own air compressor.
After that, we’ll then get straight into what you should look out for when making your decision about which compressor you’re going to opt for.
What Are The Benefits of Having an Air Compressor?
Although we hinted at a couple in the introduction to this article, there are a number of different advantages to having your own air compressor.
Provides power for your hobbies and DIY projects
If you enjoy carpentry, crafts, or DIY of any kind, there are plenty of tools that can be powered by an air compressor which will make it much easier for you to complete various parts of the project more efficiently, making an air compressor a convenient tool to have.
Turns big jobs into smaller jobs
Jobs around the home, like spray painting the walls or the fence in your backyard, can be made into light work with the use of an air compressor.
In fact, after buying one of these tools there’ll soon be nothing left that’s untouched by paint, as covering cabinets, furniture, and even smaller pieces will become a breeze.
There’ll be no more need to hire a professional painter every time you notice a patch that’s starting to show peeling, as you’ll find it easy enough to complete these jobs yourself, which will be a lot cheaper than paying a professional to do the work for you.
Versatile use means it can help you with a number of different jobs
The fact that air compressors can be used for so many different applications makes them a hugely versatile tool that any home DIY enthusiast or hobbyist will greatly benefit from.
Some examples of what your air compressor can do include the following examples:
- To power tools like drills, hammers, and compactors on construction sites and in industrial settings.
- They can be used in manufacturing to power rotary screw equipment to ensure that products are sealed tightly and free from contaminants.
- Air compressors can power tractors, sprayers, pumps, crop conveyors, and a number of other pieces of equipment that are used for farming and agricultural purposes.
- Used to heat or cool vehicle engines as well as pumping air into the brakes of bigger trucks.
- You can run your pressure washer using your air compressor which will pump high pressure water through the washer to effectively clean areas like concrete surfaces, hard floors, and brickwork to remove stains.
Plus a whole lot more!
The combination of versatile use and durability means that air compressors work out as being pretty cost-effective when you consider the whole picture.
Often constructed using high-quality materials, the majority of air compressors will provide long-lasting use.
Need to make some DIY repairs? No need to bother calling your regular handyman!
As we mentioned earlier, by making certain jobs easier, having an air compressor will allow you to tackle these by yourself instead of having to hire a professional to do it all for you.
Establishing the intended purpose behind your air compressor will help you choose the right one for you and your needs.
It determines which specifications you should look out for as well as giving you some indication of how noisy the air compressor will be when it’s running.
The reason behind your purchase will also often dictate your budget and how much you’re happy to spend on a new tool.
As a side note, the quieter models do tend to be a little bit more expensive in general compared to air compressors that make more noise.
Speaking of such...
Given the fact that you’ve found your way to this article, we’re guessing that noise level is going to be a big factor in making your decision about which air compressor to get.
It can be tricky to measure noise level, especially when you’re buying online with no way to test out the product before you purchase it, but most products will have a dB rating listed.
The decibel rating will give you an indication of how loud your air compressor will be.
The difference between 30 and 40 dB might not seem like much, but the volume level doubles with every increase of 10, so 50 dB is around 4 times louder than 30 dB, for example.
Another way of gauging how loud an air compressor will be during operation is to check out what other customers have said about the noise volume in the reviews section.
Long term exposure to sounds below 70dBA is unlikely to lead to hearing loss so aim below that. Long or repeated exposure to noise over 85dBA will damage your hearing.
Whenever you’re buying new tools to store at home, you need to think about the space you have to store it in, as this will have to inform your decision about which size you should get.
It’s one of the most obvious factors to consider as it’s one that can make a huge difference.
If you’re someone who is living in a small apartment or if there’s a limited amount of room for storage in your home, you’ll be forced to choose a smaller unit that will be suitable for the available space.
There is a wide range of air compressor sizes to suit a range of applications, with models like a pancake compressor being the best for small spaces as it can be stored on a shelf.
Remember though, that a smaller compressor will only be capable of smaller jobs.
If you have the room and you think you’ll be using your air compressor for more heavy-duty applications, why not opt for a larger model?
You won’t be able to overwork your compressor if you underestimate your needs, so if your budget can accommodate one, investing in a larger air compressor will widen the scope of the future DIY projects you can complete.
Speaking of size, it’s important to think about the size of your air compressor’s tank. The tank capacity is typically given in gallons and will determine how often you’ll need to refill.
You should choose a tank size depending on what you’re planning to use your air compressor for most often.
Less demanding jobs, such as powering tools like a brad nailer, will typically only see short bursts of use, and therefore you won't require a tank that big.
Spray painting, on the other hand, is a larger job that will take a lot more time to complete, meaning you’ll be using your air compressor for a longer period of time. In this case, a larger tank will be beneficial as it means you can go for longer between refilling the tank with paint.
When choosing an air compressor, you’ll need to decide between one that’s run on either electricity or gasoline.
The majority of electric air compressors can be run off a 110-120V standard household current and are ideal for interior DIY work.
Comparably, gas-powered air compressors are a good option for outdoor use where you may have more difficulty finding a reliable source of power to run your air compressor.
They’re also the more portable choice of the two, which is useful for traveling purposes.
Oil-Lubricated vs. Oil-Free
The next important decision to make is whether you’d prefer an oil-lubricated or an oil-free air compressor.
Oil-lubricated compressors tend to last for longer before showing signs of wear and tear as the lubrication prevents the moving parts from becoming damaged.
As you could probably work out from the name, oil-free air compressors are free of any oil. Groundbreaking, we know.
The fact that they’re smaller and more lightweight than oil-lubricated compressors means they don’t require oil and makes them a popular choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are air compressors so loud?
There are actually a few different reasons that contribute to the noise volume produced by air compressors that are in use, but it’s mostly due to the friction created by the vibrations.
The noise level can depend on the model you opt for and how simple or complex its construction is, as when there are more components to move together it does typically tend to result in a louder operating volume, and this also applies to the motor.
Air compressors that are powered by electricity therefore tend to be quieter than gas-powered compressors, as these contain a higher number of moving parts.
How can I make my air compressor quieter?
Even when you buy an air compressor that’s been specifically designed so that it will operate at a quieter noise volume, you may still wish to reduce how loud your air compressor is when it’s running.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can make your air compressor quieter.
This includes the following options:
Put it further away:
If possible, put the compressor further away from you. Get a longer hose and wire the switch near the area you'll be working in. If you soundproof the room that the air compressor is in then it'll be even quieter.
Use rubber to cover certain parts of the air compressor, as this can help to reduce the level of vibration that’s produced which results in quieter operation due to its insulating properties.
This is also useful for absorbing some of the impact from use which helps to keep any echoing to a minimum. Not all rubber coverings will work the same, however, so make sure you choose the right type for your air compressor.
Cover or Change the Ground’s Surface
Due to the vibrations that your air compressor experiences when it’s running, being in contact with hard surfaces can result in loud noises because of the movement.
To combat this, cover the ground on which your air compressor is going to be standing with a rubber mat or choose a location with a different surface to see if this improved the sound. You can also mount the air compressor and/or pump on rubber grommets to reduce noise.
Make a Few Modifications
With some air compressor models, you can modify or change the intake and exhaust systems which can alter the level of noise it produces when it’s in use.
For example, installing an intake silencer will drastically reduce noise volume during operation.
Build a Soundproof Box
If you’re still not happy with how much noise your air compressor is producing, you can construct a containment box that can work to effectively muffle the noise produced by your compressor for a more soundproof effect.
Whether you opt for a design that is simple or complicated, your containment should always be made using fire resistant materials for additional safety. Also, be careful not to restrict the airflow around the air compressor unit, otherwise, you could cause it to overheat.
Something similar to our DIY generator quiet box would work too.
What is the loudest air compressor?
As a general rule, air compressors tend to be louder the bigger in size they are. This is because they’re usually more powerful as they’re designed for more heavy-duty applications.
Whilst there are plenty of models committed to quieter performance, like the examples we’ve listed throughout this article, a lot of air compressors operate at a fairly standard dB rating.
It’s hard to pin-point one single model that’s the loudest air compressor of all, but at the louder end of the spectrum, you’ll find some air compressors that produce up to as much as 90 dB, which is incredibly loud when you remember how decibels are measured.
Can air compressors be dangerous?
It is highly unlikely that there will be safety issues with your air compressor, as long as you use it appropriately and in the correct manner.
Misusing air compressor tools can, of course, result in a higher risk of injury as well as potentially being dangerous for the user.
Some of the dangers associated with air compressors include:
- Air embolism
- Ruptured eardrums
- Ruptured organs
- Dislodged eyeballs
- Temporary hearing loss
Should I drain my air compressor after every use?
Yes, you should definitely drain your air compressor after every time you use it. This is to prevent water pooling in the tank, as this could lead to corrosion or rust, and it could even potentially weaken its structure.
To drain your air compressor, simply release the air with the drain valve open and allow any condensation to drain out of the tank.
It’s also a good idea to leave the tank facing downward while you let it air in order for it to fully dry on the inside.
Now that we’re nearing a conclusion, we hope that you have found this article useful.
If you aren’t already sold by one of the examples we’ve provided, then at least you’re now armed with enough knowledge about air compressors to go out and find the best one for you. Buy one of the quiet air compressors reviewed above and your ears will thank you even after longterm use.