While an air compressor is useful in many scenarios from blowing up balloons to adding air to tires, their constant noise can become pretty annoying.
Unfortunately most air compressors operate at an extremely high noise level, and this can be irritating, or even unhealthy, especially if you regularly use your air compressor.
How can you make an air compressor quieter? We cover a few useful tips on reducing air compressor noise.
How Loud Are Air Compressors?
Air compressors can emit noise at a variety of different noise levels, and the best way to figure out how loud your particular air compressor is, is by taking a look at the owner’s manual that the manufacturer would have provided you with at the time of purchasing.
Generally speaking, though, most air compressors will tend to operate at a sound level rating of anywhere between 70dB to 90dB. For context, a quiet blender is around 70 to 80dB and a gas lawn mower is around 90dB.
It is also worth noting that air compressors are not often designed to be quiet while in operation, although there are more and more manufacturers catering to this need as the demand for air compressors grows.
You can read our reviews of the quietest air compressors here.
How Do You Make An Air Compressor Quiet?
Here are a few compressor noise reduction tips. You can also check out our tips on how to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor.
1. Use An Intake Silencer
One of the biggest culprits of that loud noise that your air compressor makes while in operation is due to the large amounts of air that the compressor takes in every second.
As the air compressor takes in large amounts of air, the air is then rotated by the compressor and pushed past a flapper valve which then vibrates upon each pulse of the compressor.
This is where the magic of an intake silencer comes into the picture! In a nutshell, an intake muffling device is usually made of a combination of two components, which consist of a silencing device and an air filter.
When installed into an air compressor, instead of the process which we mentioned earlier, the intake air will then be passed through sound-deadening materials and layers that will help to deaden the loud noise created by the large amounts of incoming air being pulled through by the air compressor.
Need a recommendation? No problem. We recommend turning your attention to the Thread Connector Muffler Filter, which will be able to help keep your air compressor sound to a minimum, while also ensuring that you don’t break the bank, either!
When purchasing an air intake silencer, ensure that you know the pipe thread size on the intake head of your compressor. Intake silencers tend to come in standard NPT male pipe thread sizes (¼”, ⅜”, ½”, ¾”, 1”, etc).
It is also possible to use a bell reducer and a short pipe nipple when installing a larger silencer.
However, in this case, you will want to use an undersized intake silencer that can restrict the air intake flow to your compressor.
It has been documented that air compressors become quieter when the silencer is fitted on one or two 90-degree street elbows.
This is when your mileage may differ so you need to experiment with various configurations to find out which setup quietens the compressor best.
You can also plumb the air intake into a remote filter box or through an exterior wall. This will further reduce the noise coming from the loud-mouthed air compressor.
2. Place The Compressor Further Away
If you don’t want to spend any money on additional sound-muffling components, then another way that you could opt to help quiet the sound of your air compressor is by simply opting to keep it in an area of your home or workplace that is far away from you, and won’t cause any disruptions due to the loud sound it emits.
As an example, one way that you could choose to try this method out is by moving your air compressor into another room of your home that is the furthest away from the central areas.
Alternatively, you could even opt to keep it in a garage, basement or garden shed that will ensure that any sound emitted from the air compressor won’t be heard by you or cause any disruptions.
On the flip side, if your air compressor is integral to your work, then you could also achieve this by purchasing a longer air hose that will then allow you to move your air compressor some way from the area in which you work.
To give you an idea of how much quieter your air compressor to be by trying out this method, if you moved your air compressor just one room over, then you would likely see a reduction in sound levels produced by the air compressor up to 35%.
It’s definitely worth a shot, especially if you’re looking for the most cost-effective method. This is also effective even if you're using a quiet airbrush compressor.
3. Keep The Compressor Inside An Soundproof Box
Another great way that you can try out to keep your air compressor noise level to an absolute minimum is by simply opting to place your air compressor inside a box that will be able to help muffle the sound of the air compressor while it is in operation.
To achieve this, you have two different options to choose from. The first option is to simply buy a box made to measure, although this is likely to be very costly, as you’ll have to pay extra money to get the box made to fit the specific size of your air compressor.
The other option you have available is to simply opt to build your very own air compressor sound muffling box from scratch, and it’s not as difficult as it sounds!
To make your very own DIY soundproofing box, you will first need to decide whether you want to make your soundproof box out of concrete, wood, or some other kind of material.
Many people who make these types of soundproofing boxes opt to make it out of wood as it’s cheaper and then line the interior of the box with sound muffling pads to ensure that the sound inside is unable to escape.
If you’re interested in using acoustic tiles to line the interior of your soundproof box, then we recommend checking out the Fstop Labs Store Acoustic Absorption Panel Set.
Offering plenty of value for money, this set comes with 12 tiles, which will allow you to cut and adjust the tiles to fit your soundproofing box with ease, as well as have some leftover in case you need to use them for anything else!
4. Lubricate The Bearings
Any machine that has moveable parts, like an air compressor, will usually have some bearings.
Therefore, as an air compressor is running, the bearings will move in all different directions.
During this process, friction between the metal can occur.
The result? Heavy noises, especially if the metal is not well maintained. This can also lead to the metal deteriorating meaning the air compressor will wear out pretty quickly.
To combat this, you can lubricate the bearings to minimize any friction as well as noise levels.
Thankfully, there are many products available that can smooth friction between metals. One example is Cal-Hawk’s lubricating oil.
Just apply the grease (oil) properly to the metal and allow the machine to rest.
After a half-hour, or so, start up the air compressor. A simple and effective way of reducing noise levels with an air compressor.
5. Place A Sound-Muffling Matt Underneath The Compressor
Like we mentioned above, one of the biggest ways that air compressors emit so much noise comes down to the way that they pull in air and then pass it through the system, which can cause a lot of rattling noise. However, that’s not the only way that air compressors emit noise!
The second biggest culprit for loud air compressor noise comes down to the vibrations that travel through the floorboards or surface on which the air compressor is placed on top.
So, to help ensure that sound vibrations are stopped in their tracks, one of the easiest ways that you can deaden the vibrations created by the air compressor while it is in operation is by placing either a sound muffling blanket or a sound suppressing fabric directly underneath the bottom of the air compressor.
By doing this, there will then be a thick barrier in between your air compressor and the surface that it has been placed on top of, which will in turn help to prevent any vibrations from traveling through the connected surface to prevent sound from traveling and disrupting you!
One of the most popular mats used to serve this purpose is the Siless Liner Sound Deadening Mat.
Featuring closed-cell foam, this sound-deadening mat features a patented Siless fabric with an adhesive layer across the surface, which will help to ensure that all vibrations created by your air compressor will be effectively deadened as soon as they travel down onto the mat.
Another good option to reduce vibration induced noise is to use anti-vibration mats.
This will then ensure that you are able to use your air compressor without having to put up with frustrating, loud noises that distract you from your work.
On top of that, the Siless Liner Sound Deadening Mat also features a heat blocking layer that will ensure that 98% of heat transfer is resisted. This works well to reduce compressor noise of quiet garage air compressors too.
Thanks to this premium-quality thermal insulation, you’ll be able to use this mat underneath your air compressor with the peace of mind that the mat isn’t going to become overheated from the compressor and potentially become a fire hazard!
While it's always best to buy a quiet compressor to start with, there are ways to make your compressor quieter. Try the noise reducing tips above and always remember to use ear protection when working close to your compressor.