Whether you’re a professional, a hobbyist, or just someone looking to do basic maintenance, there are endless quiet, efficient air compressors available on the market today. The Makita Big Bore 4.2 gallon electric compressor is the best all-around compressor due to its quiet operation, efficiency, and durability.
|Top 6 Best Quiet Air Compressors||Why It's Best||Rating|
|Makita Big Bore 4.2 Gallon Air Compressor||Ultra quiet, durable, powerful, rapid filling, few vibrations||★★★★★|
|California Air Tools 1 Gallon Portable Air Compressor||Ultra quiet, lightweight, portable, inexpensive, few vibrations||★★★★★|
|California Air Tools 10 Gallon Air Compressor||Quiet, large tank capacity, rapid filling, vertical for easy storage||★★★★★|
|Stealth 20 Gallon Portable Air Compressor||Quiet, large tank capacity, durable, rapid filling||★★★★★|
|NorthStar 8 Gallon Air Compressor||Quiet, large tank capacity, can run two tools at once, maneuverable||★★★★★|
|Foseal Portable Air Compressor Pump||Quiet, inexpensive, portable, compatible with car's cigarette lighter socket||★★★★★|
The Quietest Air Compressors of 2020
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 4.2 Gallon Quiet Air Compressor
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor is an industrial duty air compressor. It is extremely hardy and sturdily built. It has a steel cage to protect the inside components.
Dual pressure gauges near the top of the device allow you to monitor the tank closely.
It is heavier than average, but it should still be able to be carried by one person. A rubber grip on the top of the unit helps make manual transportation easier.
Another nice feature is the rubber feet, which help to soundproof the model. They make vibrations virtually nonexistent.
The tank fills rapidly. Also, the medium capacity tank means the compressor doesn’t have to cycle as often, yet it still saves space compared to a larger model.
The compressor is powerful enough to either be used for construction projects outside or crafts in a home garage. It can handle duties like inflating, cleaning, powering air tools, and more.
The price point is typical of that of an industrial compressor. Note that it is more expensive than weaker models that are solely for small indoor applications.
Overall, the Makita air compressor is the best all-around option due to its medium capacity, rapid tank filling, power, and durability.
EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump
The EPAuto air compressor is an inexpensive, quiet compressor made specifically for inflating car or bike tires. As such, it is light and can be thrown in a trunk for easy access during emergency situations. It has a plastic handle, making this model a breeze to carry in one hand.
It comes with a cable that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter socket in a car.
This compressor also has convenient safety features. It automatically shuts off before your tire becomes overinflated. It also has a built-in flashlight if you ever need to inflate a tire at night.
Keep in mind that this pump is for inflation, so if you need a compressor for other purposes, such as powering air tools, you should look elsewhere.
California Air Tools Portable 1 Gallon Air Compressor
The California Air Tools compressor is much quieter than average at only 56 decibels. This is one of the quietest compressors you’ll find on the market. This makes it ideal for indoor use.
Another feature that makes this model unobtrusive is its rubber legs, which reduce vibrations with the ground.
It is also corded and electric, so you won’t have to deal with fume emissions indoors.
This compressor is for inflating tires and balls, cleaning, and powering air tools. However, it does have a small capacity, so its cleaning abilities will be limited. It also will only be able to power air tools that do not consume much air, such as brad nailers.
The compressor is more lightweight than average, but it will require a bit of effort to transport.
It also has a horizontal tank, which is good for stability, but it takes up more space in a garage than a vertical tank.
Overall, this is an affordable unit for small jobs, but professionals or people who need an air compressor for large projects should look elsewhere.
California Air Tools 8 Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor
The California Air Tools 8 gallon air compressor is a very quiet choice, so you won’t need ear plugs when operating this unit.
It has a higher capacity, so users will have an easier time with airbrushing or other projects since this compressor doesn’t have to cycle as often. However, it is still not quite powerful enough for more professional applications, such as operating air tools that need a high volume of air.
The compressor is corded, electric, and heavy due to its large capacity. However, it comes with a handle and wheels to make transport easier. It is perfect for wheeling around the home or garage, but it may be difficult to lift up into a vehicle.
The horizontal tank makes this a stable compressor, but it will take up more storage space than a vertical-shaped compressor.
California Air Tools 10 Gallon Vertical Air Compressor
When it comes to quiet electric air compressors, California Air Tools dominates the market. This 10 gallon model is no exception.
It is one of the quietest large capacity compressors, but do note that there will still be some noise due to its large size.
The higher capacity also makes this model more expensive, so you should consider if the extra volume is necessary for your projects.
It is heavy and a bit bulky, but it can still be transported by one person due to its wheeled design. And, despite its size, it can still fit comfortably in most cars.
The vertical shape is nice because it doesn’t take up much space despite being a larger air compressor.
This tank is perfect for home garages, but it is still not quite powerful enough for professionals or big jobs. It’s more of a compressor that makes inflation and powering air tools a painless job. The tank fills rapidly, and it’s large capacity enough that you don’t have to deal with it cycling often.
Its two prominent pressure gauges are also a nice addition so that you can monitor the compressor’s output.
Senco Electric 1 Gallon Compressor
The Senco 1 gallon air compressor is lightweight enough to be carried in one hand, and it even has a foam handle for easy transportation.
It is also quiet enough to hold a conversation while it is running.
The compressor is good for use indoors, such as assisting with home repairs. It can be used with most nail guns and pinners.
Other light duties like filling tires are in this model’s skill set.
The rubber feet are a nice addition that dampens any vibrations this compressor puts out.
It comes with a one-year warranty, which should assuage the fears of anyone purchasing this unit online.
Metabo HPT 1 Gallon Air Compressor with Steel Roll Cage
The Metabo HPT Air Compressor is a very quiet air compressor, and design is its selling point.
The steel cage provides excellent protection for the inside components, especially during transport. This is good for people who tend to be rougher on equipment or plan to toss it in the back of a vehicle often.
It’s lightweight, and comes with a rubber grip to make it even easier to carry.
The steel pressure gauges are conveniently placed on the top of the air compressor.
It even has suction cup rubber legs to keep the unit stable and reduce vibrations while in operation.
Overall, this unit is a solid choice for people who need a small, dependable air compressor.
PORTER-CABLE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor
The PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor is good for people who want a larger capacity air compressor for small projects but also want something affordable.
Do keep in mind that inexpensive models tend to have drawbacks. While this model is fairly quiet, it is not as quiet as more premium models.
The pancake-shaped design maximizes stability, although it does take up a bit more space. The rubber feet do mitigate any vibrations the unit puts off.
And, despite its size, the aluminum body makes this unit lightweight enough to be highly portable.
It also comes with a water drain valve to improve performance by getting rid of excess built up water.
It has a maximum PSI rating of 150, which means that it can store more air and thus run longer than less pressurized competitors.
Two pressure gauges at the top mean you always know what the pressure is inside the tank and at the outlet.
Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Air Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor is a very quiet, larger capacity air compressor, so you won’t have to worry about refilling it as often for home projects. It is good for any indoor projects you have that involve airguns or nailers.
It has rubber legs, so you won’t feel excessive vibrations.
It is designed for durability and stability with its steel grip and pancake shape. While it will be long lived, it can be a bit awkward to carry and transport due to the shape and weight.
Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor has a big tank, which makes home projects painless and efficient.
It is very quiet and it has few vibrations.
The large wheels make it easy to transport this piece of equipment without doing any heavy lifting.
A key feature of the Campbell Hausfeld compressor is that it is built for durability. Further, you won’t have to fret with maintenance since this model is electric and oil free.
The air compressor comes with a one-year warranty, which is a welcome inclusion when buying online.
Stealth 20 Gallon Vertical Air Compressor
Despite the Stealth air compressor having a huge capacity at 20 gallons, it is still a quiet choice. Further, the large rubber wheels make transport easy while minimizing vibrations with the ground.
Upon turning on the air compressor, it builds pressure rapidly. This saves you valuable time on projects.
The steel body is fantastic for durability. The only downside is that this makes the unit quite heavy at over 100 pounds. Wheeling the unit around should not be difficult, but lifting it may require multiple people.
This unit can perform standard jobs with ease, such as inflating, airbrushing, and powering air tools. A benefit of its larger tank is that it can power air tools that consume a lot of air.
Foseal Portable Air Compressor Pump
The Foseal portable pump is made specifically for inflating car or bike tires. You can plug it directly into the cigarette lighter socket in your car. Since it is quiet, you can use it day or night.
It is extremely lightweight and portable due to its plastic casing. An added benefit of plastic casing is that it does not overheat as easily as metal, which increases safety.
Plastic also makes the model more inexpensive, though long-term durability may be an issue.
Another safety feature of this device is that it has an LED light if you need to use it at night.
One drawback is that it takes several minutes to inflate a single tire. This is because the model is small and built for cost and portability, not power.
HULK Silent Series Vertical 10 Gallon Portable Air Compressor
The HULK 10 gallon compressor is designed to be as quiet as possible. It is great for a variety of uses, making it a great addition to have to your home garage.
It can be used with impact wrenches, brad nailers, and many other air tools. Of course, it can also inflate tires, balls, and more.
It has a quick recovery time of only a few minutes, which is great for increasing efficiency.
Its vertical design takes up less space in a garage, though stability may be a slight issue. It will naturally be more top heavy than other designs, such as a pancake shape.
Further, its wheels make transportation easier. Otherwise, moving the unit may be difficult due to its weight.
As an added bonus, the air compressor comes with a two-year limited warranty.
PORTER-CABLE 1.5 Gallon Small Hand Carry Air Compressor
The PORTER-CABLE 1.5 gallon air compressor is lightweight and comes with a handle at the top for easy carrying in one hand. It comes with rubber feet for close to zero vibrations.
It’s perfect for tools that need only short duty cycles, such as brad nailers.
It also has a fully enclosed plastic body, which increases safety. You don’t have to worry about you or anyone else being exposed to the hot motor.
As an added bonus, it comes with a 25 foot hose and other accessories for inflating tires. It is a nice addition, and you won’t have to make a separate purchase for accessories.
Stealth 3 Gallon Electric Corded Air Compressor
This Stealth 3 gallon compressor has all the essential features: it’s lightweight, quiet, oil-free, and durable.
It has metal bars around a horizontal tank, which is a nice blend of stability and durability. The rubber feet dampen vibrations.
It’s ideal for typical home improvement jobs involving brad nailers, air brushes, and other tools than run intermittently. Look elsewhere if you need to operate a continuous air tool such as a sander.
The model has an easy tank drain for releasing built up moisture from the air.
One downside in the design is that the horizontal tank and bulky metal bars make it difficult to store. And, while the tank is lightweight for its size, it still requires effort to transport, lift, and store.
Timbertech 3 Liter Airbrush Compressor with Cool Down Fan
The Timbertech 3 liter compressor is a unique offering due to the fact that it is made specifically for professional quality airbrushing. The built-in fan keeps the unit cool so that it can be run continuously by the airbrush.
It is optimized for use indoors. It has low noise and rubber feet for reduced vibrations. The tank is small yet stable, so you don’t have to worry about tipping it over.
The easy water drain valve on the side ensures water doesn’t build up in the tank.
Despite the fact that this is a specialty air compressor, it is reasonably priced for its size.
Puma Industries 60 Gallon Professional Air Compressor
At 60 gallons, the Puma Industries air compressor is the largest compressor I included on this list. This is a commercial quality air compressor built with a cast iron body for durability. As such, it is hundreds of pounds and needs several people and tools to transport.
However, one nice feature is that it has a vertical-shaped tank, so it doesn’t take up too much space despite its large size.
It has several premium features. It fills up rapidly, it’s quiet, and it’s made in America. It’s quiet and compact enough to use in a home garage for a vast assortment of air tools.
Do note that it is not oil free, as it requires oil for lubrication.
Quipall Silent, Oil-Free 1.6 Gallon Air Compressor
At 62 decibels, the Quipall air compressor is an extraordinarily quiet air compressor. The steel tank ensures that the model will last for years to come, and the metal bars surrounding the tank add to that durability.
A control panel on the top has two pressure gauges for easy pressure readings and monitoring.
The compressor is suitable for a variety of projects that use airbrushes, airguns, and other air tools.
It’s lightweight and comes with a handle, so this unit can be moved easily from location to location.
One thing to note is that the unit does not come with an air hose, so that will have to be purchased separately.
Metabo HPT 4 Gallon Twin Stack Compressor
The Metabo HPT air compressor has an interesting design. Instead of being one large tank, the company split it into two tank and stacked one on top of the other.
This helps save space and makes the air compressor great for storing in tight spaces.
The air compressor is electric, but it does use oil for lubrication. Oil-lubricated units are generally quieter than their oil-free counterparts, so this can be beneficial.
However, oil can be messy and difficult to work with.
The twin tanks are made of cast iron, which makes them quite durable.
The unit is not the lightest, but it can still be transported by one person. A rubber handle at the top of one of the tanks makes the compressor easier to move.
It also has an important safety feature. If it is ever overheated, the motor will automatically shut off.
Stealth 4.5 Gallon Oil Free Air Compressor
The Stealth 4.5 gallon compressor offers a nice blend of durability and ergonomics. All Stealth air compressors are built with heavy duty materials, so they tend to be weighty.
This unit is no exception, as the body is made of steel. However, it comes with a collapsible handle and large rubber wheels so that you can easily roll the air compressor from project to project.
The collapsible handle and twin tank design also make the compressor great for storing even in small spaces.
Rest assured that its electric motor is very quiet. The big rubber wheels and rubber legs also lessen vibrational noises.
The unit pressurizes quickly for an efficient experience.
Note that the tank capacity is not large enough for bigger air tools such as impact wrenches. Other air compressors, usually 10 gallons or more, are suitable for air tools that require a continuous flow.
BOSTITCH 1.2 Gallon Air Compressor
The BOSTITCH air compressor is a tiny powerhouse. It’s light enough to easily carry in one hand, but it can output up to 150 PSI. It also operates at 1.5 HP, which is better than even some larger tanks.
Most small units are not built for durability, but this one is an exception. The tank and electric motor are wrapped in a metal cage to prevent damage to its vital components.
However, one small issue with the design is that the handle is narrow and made of metal. This makes it uncomfortable to carry long distances, so consider this if you will be transporting it by hand very often.
It comes with a convenient LED on/off switch so that you always know when it’s in operation. In addition, it has pressure gauges placed prominently on the front of the device so that you can monitor pressure without hassle.
The unit comes with a limited one-year warranty.
NorthStar 8 Gallon Electric Air Compressor
The NorthStar air compressor is a unit with extremely quiet operation despite its larger tank capacity. Expect to be able to easily hear your surrounding when operating the compressor.
It can also run virtually all intermittent air tools. However, you should find an even larger tank if you want to run continuous air tools.
A novel feature of this piece of equipment is that it has two ports, so you can run two tools at the same time.
In addition, pressure gauges at the top of the air compressor allow you to check the pressure inside the tank and right at the outlet. The gauges are larger than average, so you can quickly glance at them and glean all the information you need.
Its wheels are wide set and large, so I expect that the air compressor is easy to maneuver despite its size. The wide set tires help offset the generally top heavy nature of vertical air compressors.
The air compressor is oil free. That makes it virtually maintenance free and less of a mess. However, oil lubricated compressors tend to be more long lived, so there is a tradeoff with an oil free design.
Things to Consider
It is imperative to consider why you’re purchasing an air compressor. Are you an airbrush artist, a mechanic, or a non-technical person just looking to inflate your car tires? Your intended use will greatly impact which model you decide to buy.
If you’re just looking to inflate tires and perhaps do some basic home maintenance, a compressor beyond a few gallons should not be necessary for you.
On the other hand, if you intend to power a wide array of air tools, including some that consume a lot of air, a large tank will be the best option for you. Large tanks do not cycle as often, so they will last long and don’t overheat as often as smaller tanks.
Another consideration is your physical abilities. If you are not as physically fit, consider purchasing a compressor that is designed to be carried in one hand. They are generally exceptionally lightweight and have a built-in handle for comfort.
The only downside to handheld compressors, of course, is that their abilities are limited compared to larger capacity compressors.
If you need a larger air compressor, look for one with large wheels, preferably made of a material like rubber. The wheels make it easy to transport the unit without having to lift it from the ground.
Form and Design
Certain features are great to look for in an air compressor because they maximize soundproofing. One example is rubber feet. The rubber acts as a dampener to reduce vibrations between the ground and the compressor, giving you a much less noisy and bothersome experience.
In addition, look for air compressors that have a noise rating of less than 70 decibels. These compressors will be much quieter than average, though any compressor under 60 decibels will be whisper quiet.
Another consideration is the shape of the air compressor. Some of the most common shapes include pancake, vertical, and horizontal. Pancake and horizontal shapes tend to be the most stable because they have four feet instead of two. However, they are harder to store because they take up more space.
Vertical tanks, on the other hand, make storage a breeze, but they may be more top heavy and unstable than the other compressor shapes.
Also, look for air compressors with steel or cast iron bodies. These materials greatly increase durability and longevity, though they will also increase the weight. Higher quality materials will also generally increase the price.
If durability is not a huge concern of yours, or if you want the most lightweight option possible, then consider a compressor with a plastic casing. Plastic casings have the added bonus of being much cooler than metal casings, which increases safety.
Other considerations are important for ease of use. Look for air compressors with an easy valve to release water that builds up from repeatedly drawing in moisture from the air.
Larger tanks generally make use easier because they do not have to cycle as much as smaller tanks. This is important when you need to use air tools continuously, such as in airbrushing. However, the negative effects of smaller tanks can be mitigated with models that include a built-in fan, as they can run continuously without overheating.
Small air tools like brad nailers consume less air, so you can get away with having an air compressor with a smaller capacity. However, tools like sand blasters consume much more air, so you will need a large capacity air compressor.
FAQs About Quiet Air Compressors
Which types of air compressors are the quietest?
Electric air compressors are quieter than gas-powered compressors. Likewise, compressors lubricated with oil are generally quieter than their oil free counterparts, though it makes maintenance more frequent and time consuming.
In addition, compressors that reduce vibrational noise help reduce the sound level of the entire unit. Feature like rubber feet or rubber wheels are great at dampening vibrations that come from the motor.
Smaller tanks are also quieter than larger tanks, though this comes at the expense of being less powerful and efficient.
What is the best indoor air compressor?
The best indoor air compressors for home projects are electric to reduce noise and oil free to minimize mess. A vertical shape is also nice, though not required, because it takes up less storage space.
Smaller tanks also naturally fit better in a limited-space environment than larger tanks.
It also becomes paramount that a compressor is whisper quiet when you are using it indoors. Look specifically for compressors that are under 60 decibels for a worry free experience.
One air compressor that is specifically designed for indoor use is the Timbertech 3 liter compressor.
Which air compressor type should I get?
There’s a vast selection of air compressor types and even shapes available on the market today.
Positive displacement air compressors increase air pressure by gradually decreasing the volume.
They generally do not have an automatic shut off feature, so you have to watch them to ensure they don’t over pressurize.
Dynamic air compressors, on the other hand, use rotating impellers to pressurize the tank. They are designed to handle larger amounts of air than other types of compressors.
Another consideration is whether you want a gas or electric air compressor. Electric compressors typically use the current in your home, and they produce no fumes. This makes them ideal for indoor use.
Gas-powered compressors, on the other hand, are best for outdoor use due to their increased noise and fume emission.
What should I consider when purchasing an air compressor online?
You might be wary of buying an air compressor from an online vendor, but the process is safer and faster than ever. However, it’s important to keep in mind a few things when buying a piece of equipment online.
First off, think about the size tank you need. Anything over 20 gallons will be difficult to ship and may take longer, though there are some reliable online offerings for air compressors as large as 60 gallons.
If you need an incredibly powerful and large compressor for professional applications, such as use in a mechanic shop, you may be better off purchasing one in person. Yet there are a few commercial models that made this list, such as the 60 gallon Puma Industries air compressor.
However, if you’re a hobbyist or a layperson, you’ll find it easy to find the perfect compressor for you online. Just make sure to look at the online listing carefully.
Sometimes compressors will come without essential components like hoses and nozzles, so look carefully to make sure you’re buying everything you need.
If you’re looking to use air tools, you can save money by purchasing a package deal that comes with an air compressor and an air tool.
Also, it’s a good idea to buy a compressor that comes with a warranty in case your unit comes damaged or defective. Otherwise, you may have to end up paying at least partially to return the unit and receive a working one.
On that same note, make sure to look at seller ratings. If you see good reviews and buyers mentioning excellent customer service, then this is a solid indication that you can buy online from that company worry free.
What tank capacity do I need for air tools?
Virtually any air compressor can perform basic functions like inflating tires. Beyond the basics, some people need their air compressors to perform powerful jobs. If you are one of those people, then consider what jobs you need the air compressor to do.
For brad nailers and staplers, you will only need a tank size of about a gallon to operate. Larger tanks may make the job a bit easier since they do not have to cycle as often, but they are not a necessity.
Basic painting, too, does not require a large tank. An air compressor of only a gallon or more should be sufficient for basic painting.
However, if you are a serious airbrush artist, then consider purchasing a larger tank. 8 gallons is about the minimum for long, serious paint jobs.
This will make it easier to run the compressor continuously without overwhelming or overheating the unit. You can also try a compressor with an integrated fan to keep the unit cool.
For grinding, you should buy an air compressor with a minimum tank capacity of 20 gallons.
Sanding will put the most strain on an air compressor. It is recommended to have a tank with a 60 gallon capacity or higher to perform most sanding jobs.
However, you can’t just look at tank capacity to determine if a certain air compressor will perform the job or not. It is also important to consider PSI and CFM.
Higher PSI and CFM output generally mean that the unit is more powerful. Look for high values if you are looking to do a power-intensive project.
In today’s online market, there is an air compressor out there to suit every interest. There are compressors specifically designed for airbrushing or inflating tires, for example.
Other air compressors are more suited towards professionals and serious hobbyists. The Puma Industries 60 gallon compressor is a huge capacity air compressor made for high-consumption air tools such as sanders and blasters.
The Stealth 20 gallon vertical compressor is another choice for people looking for a new powerhouse addition to their home garage. It is big enough to tackle virtually any home improvement project that you can throw at it.
However, some buyers will have no use for a compressor that large. If that is your story, then there are plenty of smaller and cheaper models out there that still offer great performance.
The Quipall 1.6 gallon compressor is an option for people who just want a compressor that can perform the basics. This compressor can power small air tools and inflate tires and sports balls.
Another option for a basic model is the California Air Tools 1 gallon model. It has all the functionalities of a typical small air compressor. An added bonus is that this is one of the quietest air compressors on the market.
If you want a larger tank capacity but don’t want the noise that comes with a large tank, any of the California Air Tools models are viable options.
If you’re just looking for an overall powerful and reliable air compressor, then I recommend the Makita Big Bore 4.2 gallon compressor. Rest assured that this unit can handle air tools, inflation, cleaning, and a variety of other tasks.
The model is built for longevity, so you can purchase it once and not have to worry about maintenance and replacing the unit for a very long time.
And, most importantly, it won’t disturb you or your neighbors.