Best Quiet Air Compressor
What is the best quiet air compressor at the end of a day? If you are looking for a quiet, energy-efficient, compact, and high-performance air compressor, you will probably need to get a reciprocating unit. Another good thing about them is that you can use them intermittently, which is suitable for home or small business users. On the other hand, there are rotary screw air compressors, big and noisy machines consuming a lot of energy. But you don’t need such a compressor at your home, right?
Air compressors are the machines you need to get your air tools working. As they come in different shapes and sizes and with a variety of features, picking the right one may seem difficult at first. You will see models with small capacity and dimensions or voluminous compressors for more supply of compressed air. You certainly will find something for you! Then, we will help you differentiate between reciprocating and rotary screw compressors so you understand which type you will actually need.
That’s why we are going to review 10 best quiet (=reciprocating in the case of the home or small business uses) air compressors you can buy. On today’s review/guide, we will try to make things a little bit easier for you. Make yourself comfortable as we are going to start right away!
|Preview||Product Model||Customer Rating|
|California Air Tools 5510SE||Rating: 4.7 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|California Air Tools 10020C||Rating: 4.2 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Briggs & Stratton Quiet Power||Rating: 4.5 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor||Rating: 3.6 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Campbell Hausfeld 4.6 Gallon||Rating: 4.2 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 15 Amp||Rating: 3.5 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Campbell Hausfeld 20-Gallon||Rating: 3.2 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Makita MAC2400 Big Bore||Rating: 4.6 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Makita MAC5200 Big Bore||Rating: 4.5 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
|Central Pneumatic 21 Gallon||Rating: 3.1 / 5||Buy on Amazon|
Top 10 Product Reviews
California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0-HP 5.5-Gallon Steel Tank Best Quiet Air Compressor
⇒ Looking for an Extra quiet air compressor? Then maybe the first model on our review of the best quiet air compressor will quite interest you. It features noise level of only 60 decibels, but don’t think that this air compressor lacks performance! That’s easily possible as the 1-hp 110V motor of this model works at only 1680 RPM. The large dual piston pump is designed for faster air delivery specifically. The oil-free pump is perfect if you require cleaner air for your applications. Besides, the motor heats up less, which helps with dissipating heat more efficiently and increases its lifetime.
The California Air Tools 5510SE will be able to deliver 120 psi maximum pressure, 3.10 CFM at 40 psi & 2.20 CFM at 90 psi for a variety of tools and tasks. To fill up the 5.5-gallon fully, you will only need to wait for 130 seconds. Besides, the recovery time from 90 psi to 12 psi is 50 seconds. Another great thing is that you can choose between a model with either aluminum or steel tank.
Having dimensions of L (23.2″) x W (10″) x H (19.7″) and weighing 54 lbs., this air compressor is quite compact and easy to move around. The safety and the quality of this product are certified by UL. At last, 5510SE is backed up by 1-year limited warranty.
If you want to take a larger model than California Air Tools 5510SE You can see the next model California Air Tools 10020C. It is also best quiet air compressor.
- This 60-decibel air compressor is super quiet.
- 120 psi maximum pressure.
- 10 CFM at 40 psi and 2.20 CFM at 90 psi.
- Oil-free pump to deliver cleaner air.
- Fill up time of only 130 seconds.
- Compact and lightweight.
- 1-year limited warranty.
- Complaints on low durability (particularly, leaking, overheating, and burning of the motor).
- Works with 110V only.
- Not shipped outside the contiguous US.
California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Best Quiet Air Compressor
The next product in our review of best quiet air compressors is another efficient model by California Air Tools. This air compressor is pretty similar to the previous model, the difference being the more powerful 2-hp motor and more capacious tank. That’s the reason for the increased sound level of 70 decibels, although the motor of this model has RPM of up to 1680 as well.
As you would expect from this model, it delivers 125 psi of maximum pressure sufficient enough for the majority of your home and small business applications. Besides, the motor of California Air Tools 10020C produces 6.40 CFM at 40 psi and 5.30 CFM at 90 psi. The oil-free pump ensures delivery of clean air for such tasks as painting or any other application requiring air without oil. This motor is durable thanks to its efficient heat dissipation. Another great thing is that you can get a model with either 110V or 220V motor to surely get it working with your current. It is also a quality portable compressor.
Filling up the voluminous 10-gallon tank takes only 12 seconds. Besides, the recovery time from 95 psi to 125 psi is just 25 seconds. Unlike the previous model, 10020C has an upright design, as you could notice from its dimensions of (L (16″) x W (15.1″) x H (35.9″)). As you would expect, this model is heavier, weighing 82.5 lbs.
Besides the motor’s current, you can choose California Air Tools 10020C with either manual drain or auto-drain features. Finally, this model comes backed by 1-year limited warranty.
If you want more than 80% quieter air compressor you can see the next Briggs and Stratton air compressor reviews which is Quiet Power Technology best quiet air compressor.
- Powerful and quiet – only 70 decibels with a 2-hp motor.
- 125 psi of maximum pressure and 6.40 CFM at 40 psi & 5.30 CFM at 90 psi.
- Comes with either 110V or 220V motor.
- Oil-free dual-piston pump system.
- Large tank yet quick fill up.
- 1-year limited warranty.
- An upright design will have its own limitations of space and convenience.
- Again, complaints on the low durability of the tank and motor.
- More capacity means more weight.
Briggs & Stratton Quiet Power Technology Best Quiet Air Compressor
Want a more compact air compressor? Take a look at the model by Briggs & Stratton. This Briggs and Stratton air compressor comes with either 1.8, 3, 4, or 4.5-gallon tank, so you will be able to make the most convenient choice for you in terms of capacity and compactness. This makes the air compressor perfect for home or DIY projects.
This model is 80% quieter compared to standard Briggs & Stratton air compressors. Besides, you won’t have to worry about premature replacement of this piece of equipment as its lifetime is longer up to 3 times than standard air compressors of this manufacturer.
The 1-hp (0.75 in the case of the 1.8- and 3-gallon models) induction motor with oil-free pump delivers 125 max psi. A great thing is that the max pressure is the same regardless of the tank’s capacity you choose! The 1.8- and 3-gallon models provide 1.8 CFM at 90 psi, the 4- and 4.5-gallon ones deliver 2.4 CFM at 90 psi. Nice amount of pressure and capacity makes every model a good choice for its specific applications. The oil-free pump system, once again, is perfect if you require cleaner air for your works.
Know what’s another great thing about the Briggs and Stratton air compressor? Its motor doesn’t need high amperage to start! This is exceptionally useful in cold weather conditions or if your tool is going to be stored outside.
The models have following dimensions and weight from low to high capacity – 16 x 12 x 16 inches & 44.5 pounds, 19 x 14 x 18 inches & 51 pounds, 22 x 19.5 x 12 inches & 55 pounds, and 20 x 17 x 23 inches & 61 pounds. The last model features rugged wheels and collapsible handle for easier transport and storage. All models are backed up by 1-year limited warranty with available extended warranty.
To get small air compressor please check our next model Campbell Hausfeld 2 gallon air compressor on the review of the best quiet air compressor.
- Compact and lightweight yet high-performance.
- Much quieter and more durable compared to standard Briggs & Stratton air compressors.
- Oil-free pumps for delivery of cleaner air.
- Limited vibration helps with extending the motor’s lifetime.
- Capable of starting in cold weather.
- 1-year limited warranty and available extended warranty.
- Works with 120V current only.
- Bad placement of the AC cord, which can easily fall into hot components and melt.
- Low capacity of smaller models.
Campbell Hausfeld Best Quiet Air Compressor, 2-Gallon Hot Dog Oilless .36 CFM .33HP 120V 3A (FP209000AV)
The next model on our today’s list of best quiet air compressor is a model by Campbell Hausfeld. The most compact air compressor on the list is a great choice for those who don’t need too much tank capacity and are concerned with their storage space. The tanks of Campbell Hausfeld 2 gallon air compressor is a good choice for applications requiring short and powerful flows of air, such as car and bike tire, sports ball inflating, powering of air/brad nailers, installing trim, and completing furniture upholstery. That’s easily possible thanks to the model’s 120V 0.33-hp motor with an oil-less pump delivering 110 max psi. Besides, the motor provides 0.36 CFM at 90 psi.
Another nice and convenient feature of this product is its integrated control panel to choose air power to not waste more air than you need for your current task. That’s what this tool’s high efficiency is about! Besides, this machine comes with a great set of convenient tools such as
25-foot recoil hose, needle, needle adapter, 2 inflator nozzles, air chuck, and onboard storage to keep all your accessories organized and on hand.
At last, this tiny compressor comes covered by 1-year limited warranty!
Are you looking for another model of Campbell Hausfeld? Don’t worry! you can choose the next Campbell Hausfeld 4 gallon air compressor model.
- Measuring 11.3 x 10 x 16.7 inches and weighing 16.1 lbs., this model is highly convenient for storage and transportation.
- 2-gallon tank delivering 110 max psi and 0.36 FCM at 90 psi is a good choice for short but intense applications.
- An oil-less pump system for those demanding cleaner air.
- Efficient thanks to its integrated control panel for air power management.
- Comes with a nice set of 17 accessories and built-in storage space for their secure and convenient storage.
- 1-year limited warranty.
- The lowest capacity among the models on this list.
- Quite loud for its size.
- Low-quality plastic hose.
- Only supports 120V.
- Not shipped internationally.
Campbell Hausfeld Best Quiet Air Compressor, Lightweight, 4.6 Gallon, Half the Noise and Weight, 4X Life, All the Power (DC040500)
Yet another model by Campbell Hausfeld, but this one comes with three different tanks – 4.6-, 6-, and 8-gallon. All of the models deliver 125 psi of max pressure sufficient for the most of your equipment and tasks. The 4.6-gallon model delivers 2.2 CFM at 90 psi and 3.2 CFM at 40 psi, while the more capacious models provide 2.4 CFM at 90 psi. Particularly worried about the noise level? That’s not a problem for either of this quiet air compressors as they operate at only 68 db., up to 50% quieter than analogous compressors. It is also the high performance best quiet air compressor with a high-efficiency motor.
Each of the units comes with the oil-free pump system, allowing you to get a supply of cleaner air for your more specific requirements. These units are concretely designed for painting, inflation, fastening, stapling, and nailing.
Want to have something more with your air compressor? These models come with the same 17-piece accessory kit as the previous model by Campbell Hausfeld. Besides, the 4.6-gallon lightweight air compressor comes with a 50-ft. air hose while the other ones come with the exact same 25-ft. air hose as the aforementioned air compressor.
At last, we will present you with the dimensions and weight of each model from low- to high-capacity units – 20.9 x 17.3 x 20.9 inches & 38 pounds, 16 x 23 x 16 inches & 62 pounds, and 11 x 23 x 26 inches & 67 pounds. Quite lightweight for their capacity, isn’t it?
Are you looking for larger air compressors than this model? So it is not okay to be late, look at our next Campbell Hausfeld 60 gallon air compressor model. This is also more quiet air compressor.
- You can choose between three air compressors with different tanks for your needs.
- Compact and lightweight.
- All of the models deliver 125 max psi.
- Thanks to the high capacity and oil-free pumps, these models are capable of completing any of your in-home painting and fastening/nailing tasks!
- The noise level of only 68 db.!
- The 8-gallon model features large wheels and rubber-grip steel handle for more portability.
- The 25-ft. air hoses of the more capacious models are low-durable.
Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 15 Amp 3.2-Horsepower 60-Gallon Oiled Vertical Best Quiet Compressor
Now on our list of best quiet air compressor, we are going to present you with the most voluminous model on today’s review. Meet VT6275 by Campbell Hausfeld! This vertical-design air compressor is what you exactly need for your high-volume or continuous applications!
The high-performance 240V 3-hp motor of Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 delivers 11.8 CFM at 40 psi and 10.3 CFM at 90 psi for a wide variety of tools and applications. The oil-lubricated cast iron twin cylinder pump system has excellent durability thanks to its highly efficient cooling. You can forget about worrying about overheating and burning of the motor!
Speaking of great durability, this product’s lifetime is up to 5000 hours based on b-10 bearing rating. Certainly, that is enough to not worry about getting a new air compressor for a very long time.
This Campbell Hausfeld 60 gallon air compressor is quiet and efficient model comes with high-volume 60-gallon ASME code tank for prolonged applications and safe air delivery. VT6275 measures 27.5 x 30 x 71 inches and weighs 254 pounds only. At last, this Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 model is backed up by 3-year limited warranty! To know more information about this Please click on Campbell Hausfeld VT6275.
Do you like this model? If not, then What kind of air compressor do you want? Do you like single-stage air compressor? Then you can see Campbell Hausfeld 20 gallon air compressor from below of the next model. Maybe you would like.
- The most voluminous model on our list for your most extended and high-volume tasks!
- Huge tank capacity 60-gallon air compressor.
- Powerful 3-hp motor delivering 11.8 CFM at 40 psi and 10.3 CFM at 90 psi.
- Compact upright design for easier storage and transport.
- The oil-lubricated pump system is more temperature-efficient.
- The lifetime of up to 5000 hours based on b-10 bearing rating.
- 3-year limited warranty.
- As you would certainly expect, 60-gallon tank makes this air compressor very heavy.
- The upright design might not be the most convenient choice for some people.
- This air compressor doesn’t have wheels or convenient handles, so its transport is quite complicated.
- Supports the only 240V.
- Oil-lubricated machines are not suitable for those who require clean air.
- Doesn’t come with oil.
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor, 20-Gallon Horizontal Portable Single-Stage 5.5CFM 2HP 120/240V 1PH (VT6290)
The next air compressor on our list of best quiet air compressor is VT6290 by Campbell Hausfeld. A particularly notable feature of this model is its capability of operating on either 120V or 240V current. This makes it a good choice for both houses (in countries with standard 120V current) and business use. The Campbell Hausfeld 20 gallon air compressor is one of the most famous compressors around the world for its longer life durability and high power motors.
The 2-hp motor of Campbell Hausfeld VT6290 is capable of delivering 135 max psi and 5.5 CFM at 90 psi for a vast majority of DIY or more intense business applications. The oil-lubricated two-cylinder single stage pump built of cast iron is extremely durable and efficient thanks to its better cooling. Besides, the product life is measured up to 5000 hours based on b-10 bearing rating. The durable and safe ASME code tank and fully enclosed metal belt guard greatly contribute to this model’s reliability. As a Quiet air compressor it is most popular around the world.
The 20-gallon tank makes VT6290 perfect for those requiring not as much volume as the aforementioned 60-gallon air compressor. The capacious tank of this model makes it highly efficient for more high-volume and longer jobs. You won’t have to constantly think about waiting for the tank to refill with this air compressor!
The horizontal design and semi-pneumatic wheels make this model highly portable and convenient for transport. Have to move the air compressor around quite frequently? Maybe, Campbell Hausfeld VT6290 will be a greatly suitable choice for you! Besides, dimensions of 37 x 21 x 30.5 inches and weight of 150 pounds are at the very base of this air compressor’s nice portability!
VT6920 is covered by 3-year limited warranty.
- Dual-voltage air compressor for both house and business applications.
- Oil-lubricated pump system makes it more heat-efficient.
- Designed to be extremely durable.
- Max psi of 135 and 5.5 CFM at 90 psi for a broad range of applications.
- Voluminous 20-gallon air compressor.
- Wheels for much easier transport.
- 3-year limited warranty.
- Complaints on the quality of the package and issues with shipping.
- Again, not suitable for such jobs as painting due to its oiled pumps.
- No oil is included.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Best Quiet Air Compressor
Weren’t quite satisfied with the previous compact air compressors on today’s review of best quiet air compressor? Now, we will present you with MAC2400 by Makita, one of the various quality products of the manufacturer. The 2.5-hp powerful motor of Makita MAC2400 delivers max operating pressure of 130 psi and 4.8 CFM at 40 psi and 4.2 CFM at 90 psi. The large automotive-style air filter ensures increased air intake and high efficiency. For its power, the noise level of 79 dB. is quite low! So we can say it is a best silent air compressor. Am I right? That’s possible through the motor’s max speed of 1730 RPM. Looking for a little powerful air compressor with tolerable noise levels? This model might be just for you!
The cast iron pump system with big bore cylinder and piston will provide you with great performance with less heating and wear. The oil-lubricated cooler is what makes the pump system so reliable! The overall durability of Makita MAC2400 is ensured by roll-cage construction protecting the components of the tool. Besides, the onboard thermal overload is designed for additional motor protection.
The power of the motor of Makita MAC2400 paired with the air compressor’s 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank makes this model quite suitable for the most of you do-it-yourself or small business applications. You might think that it’s not that much, but that’s what you would expect from a compact model, right?
Did we mention that this model is easy-to-operate? The lever handle ball valve/tank drain valve is more convenient compared to standard petcock design. Besides, it facilitates maintenance.
This Makita MAC2400 compact air compressor measures 19-3/8″x18-3/4″x18″ in dimensions and weighs 77 lbs. Quite heavy, but don’t forget about the powerful motor! At last but not the least, this model is backed up by 1-year parts and labor warranty.
If you want to see the others best portable and best quiet model of Makita you can see the next powerful model Makita MAC5200.
- Compact and lightweight, but don’t think it lacks any power!
- The 2.5-hp motor operates quietly at only 79 dB.
- Reliable oil-lubricated pump and roll-cage construction.
- 2-gallon tank is sufficient for the majority of applications.
- Comes with compressor oil.
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Only supports 120V.
- Quite heavy due to its motor.
- Low capacity and power might make you run out of air pretty quickly.
- The delivered compressed air is not clean enough for painting.
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Best Quiet Air Compressor
Once again, a powerful yet compact air compressor on our review of the best quiet air compressor. The powerful 3-hp motor of Makita MAC5200 produces 140 max psi and delivers 6.5 CFM at 90 psi and 6.9 CFM at 40 psi. The cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston will allow you to recover air extremely quickly. By increasing the air intake, the large automotive style industrial air filter further contributes to MAC5200’s high productivity.
Worried about durability? The oil-lubricated pump system heats up less and is subject to less wear during operation. Besides, the roll-cage design of the air compressor adds more protection to the pump and motor assembly. You will no longer have to worry about frequently replacing components or buying a new machine for your needs.
Another great feature of Makita MAC5200 is its portability and convenience. The folding handle and low profile design make the model compact for easier storage. The rugged wheels will aid you to easily transport this compact air compressor. Don’t want to have your tools and accessories scattered around the job site? Onboard storage compartment and tool hangers will help you make it more organized and will let you easily reach for them.
The 5.2-gallon air compressor has dimensions of 29″x19″x19-1/2″ and weight of 88 lbs. All this beauty is backed up by 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- 3-hp motor with a max psi of 140.
- Efficient oil-lubricated pump system and air filter for increased and quick air intake.
- Reliable and durable thanks to its roll-cage build.
- Wheels and retractable handle for excellent portability.
- Includes compressed oil.
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Supports 120V only.
- As with the previous model, the tank’s capacity might be insufficient for you.
Central Pneumatic 2.5 Horsepower, 21 Gallon, 125 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Best Quiet Air Compressor
And the last model on our today’s review of best quiet air compressor is a 21-gallon vertical model by Central Pneumatic. Its high-performance 2.5-hp motor produces 125 psi of max pressure and delivers 5.8 CFM at 40 PSI & 4.7 CFM at 90 PSI. More than enough for the most of your house or small contractor appliances!
This Central Pneumatic 21 Gallon air compressor is quite durable thanks to its oiled pump system, heavy-duty motor, and reduced vibration through foot stabilizers. The oil-based cooling won’t let the pump system and motor overheat, greatly increasing their lifetime. Reduced vibration is crucial as the components won’t get loose or get damaged thanks to it. In long run, that means that the probability of a breakdown is significantly lower. Besides, you won’t have to spend as much as you would in the case of faulty components or the whole air compressor.
If you are concerned with comfort, this model sure doesn’t lack it. Quite a convenient feature is an onboard oil level indicator for easier maintenance. Is oil management great? Of course, it is! Another touch of comfort is the wheels and handle of the air compressor. Thanks to that, you won’t have to worry about frequent tours around your house or the workplace with this model.
Remember how much the previous two air compressors weighed? How much will this model weigh? The answer is only 97.7 lbs.! Dimensions of 45 x 18 x 18 inches complete the list of conveniences and great features of this air compressor!
- Powerful 2.5-hp motor delivering 125 max psi.
- Durable components and reduced vibration for the increased lifetime.
- Onboard oil indicator for convenient oil management.
- Handle and wheels for easy transport.
- Compact and lightweight vertical design.
- Supports 120V only.
- As with other oil-lubricated tools, not greatly suitable for painting and other similar jobs.
- Doesn’t include oil.
- If you are going to buy your first compressor, you will probably get confused initially. Our Best Quiet Air Compressor reviews will help you to select the right Compressor to buy. There are so many models with various specifications that you might think picking the right model for you is an extremely complex and long process. But there is one thing you need to know – you can make it much easier for you. How? In this section, we will give a number of cues on how to choose the best air compressor for your needs.
- The very first thing you need to know is what you need an air compressor for. Do you want to use it for home applications, your small contractor company, or large business? What set of tools will you be using with your air compressor? What will be the frequency and duration of your works? Answering these and other similar questions will set the starting point in your searches.
- Regardless of the type of air compressors, they all have two primary characteristics – pressure and capacity. Pressure is either expressed in psi or bar and capacity is usually expressed in CFM (cubic feet per minute), cubic meters per hour, or liters per second. What do these impact exactly? Simply put, the pressure is “how strong” your air flow will be and capacity is “how much” compressed air can a compressor’s tank pump out at given pressure in a given period of time.
- Keep in mind that capacity is NOT how much a given tank can hold in liters or gallons. So if you see an air compressor with a 200-liter tank, don’t get confused. The capacity of the air flow is much more important as it shows how efficiently the air compressor can supply your air needs. Remember that the capacity of the tank alone doesn’t mean anything.
- To understand how much capacity you need, add up the requirements of your all air tools and machines you have. That sum is the capacity your tools will need if all used at the same time (not usually the case).
- The pressure you will need depends on the kind of tools and/or equipment you will be using. To get an idea of what you will need, look into the specifications of your instruments. Manufacturers usually put the required air pressure in the descriptions of their products, so you will be able to generally know the pressure you will need your future air compressor to provide you with. Aim at the pressure required by your biggest tool. If you don’t have tools yet or otherwise don’t know what pressure you will need, aiming at 100 psi should be safe for you as most hand tools and machinery operate at 100 psi.
- Now that we are done with capacity and pressure, let’s talk about types of best quiet air compressors. There are two most common and popular types out there today – reciprocating and rotary screw air compressors. There are other types such as scroll, turbo, and rotary vane compressors, but as they are designed for more specific applications, we will focus on reciprocating and rotary screw models only.
- Those types are quite different, so understanding your needs is crucial for you to get the right type. By the way, all compressors on our today’s review are reciprocating as you can only find a quiet machine among them.
- What type of compressor will you need for your tools and tasks? For simplicity, we will now show general characteristics and suitable spheres of application of these two types.
Reciprocating air compressors compress air with one or more cylinders/pistons. With these models, air is compressed with the pistons reciprocating (moving up and down or back and forth). We won’t look into the mechanism too deep, so let’s instead focus on its features:
- Low to very high pressure (7-1000 bar or 100-15000 psi).
- Generally Low capacity.
- Usually Low power consumption.
- Designed for intermittent use.
Reciprocating air compressors are much more compact, lightweight, and quiet compared to rotary screw compressors. That’s caused by their less powerful motors (up to 10 hp. (7 kW)).
Reciprocating models are best for:
- Workshops, small businesses, or construction work.
- DIY or home applications.
Their suitability to the aforementioned applications is quite obvious as it would be inappropriate to get a huge compressor for your small house needs. So buying a reciprocating air compressor for similar needs is a much better choice.
Rotary screw compressors
Rotary screw air compressors compress air by two screws (rotors) running in opposite directions inside the housing. Air is compressed by getting trapped between the rotors. As for its features, they are directly opposite to the ones of reciprocating air compressors:
- Low pressure (7-15 bar or 100-215 psi).
- High capacity.
- High energy consumption.
- Designed for continuous use (even 24 hours a day every day).
Rotary screw models are big, which makes them not suitable for small needs. The power of their motors goes up from 10 hp. to more than 1000 hp. (700 kW). These air compressors should be used in bigger businesses which will use them constantly.
Which one do you choose?
Reciprocating air compressors are great if you are not going to use your model continuously. Even if you have some bigger tools, you should purchase a bigger reciprocating air compressor rather than rotary screw one if you won’t use it constantly.
Another advantage of reciprocating air compressors is their high pressure. If you need high pressure and won’t be using your compressor too frequently, you should get a reciprocating model. At last, reciprocating air compressors are much quieter, more compact, and consume less power compared to screw rotary models. See useful question and answer about choosing air compressor.
If you don’t need quietness, compactness, low power consumption, and high pressure, you should look for a rotary screw air compressor. They are the perfect choice for those requiring continuous airflow at lower pressures. Just keep in mind that rotary screw compressors don’t tolerate standing still as they easily get rusty. Know the management system of a compact air compressor.
After we have generally understood what each of these two types does and who should get one or the other, it’s time to look into them one by one to understand what you will need to look for in the case of both types. Let’s start with reciprocating air compressors!
What to look for when buying a reciprocating air compressor?
As we already mentioned, reciprocating compressors are great for those who need:
- Low noise level.
- Less energy consumption.
- Compactness and lightweight.
- High pressure.
- The possibility of intermittent use.
There are three basic types of reciprocating air compressors:
- Single-stage units.
- Two- or multi-stage units.
- Duplex units.
In the case of single-stage reciprocating air compressors, the unit has only one piston/cylinder and the air is compressed in 1 stage. Single-stage compressors are cheaper and more simple in design compared to the other two types. Their capacity and pressure go up to 20 CFM and 140 psi (10 bar) respectively.
Single stage reciprocating compressors are good for home or light commercial uses. However, multi-stage compressors will be a better selection for commercial application.
Two-stage models have two pistons/cylinders (one low-pressure and one high-pressure). The low-pressure piston pumps up the air to about the half of end pressure. The air then gets cooled and compressed fully by the high-pressure cylinder.
Double-stage units have more capacity and deliver higher pressure. With two-stage reciprocating air compressors, the capacity and pressure reach up to 50 CFM and 175 psi (12 bar) respectively.
These models are much more suitable for smaller commercial or industrial uses such as workshops, automotive shops, or other small businesses.
A Duplex compressor is just two separate compressors paired with one tank. Those compressors are typically single-stage. The capacity and pressure of duplex units go up to 70 CFM and 175 psi (12 bar) respectively.
You may ask, what’s different between two-stage and duplex compressors. Duplex units usually have bigger capacity while two-stage compressors produce higher pressure. Another advantage of duplex units is that even if one of the compressors breaks down, you will be able to continue to use it with the same pressure. It’s just the capacity that will get cut in half.
Besides the aforementioned types, compressors can be oil-free or oil-lubricated (or oil-flooded). Oil-free compressors are more expensive, require more maintenance, and are noisier. You will only need an oil-free compressor if you need cleaner air for such jobs as painting. So if you don’t really need an oil-free reciprocating compressor, don’t worry about it too much.
Another characteristic of reciprocating air compressors is their power supply. In this regard, you can either find an electric or gas powered air compressor. They both come in the same design (single- or dual-stage, or duplex).
Gas powered air compressors are ideal for work sites with no electrical power. A downside of these compressors is that they have higher noise level and produce exhaust fumes. Keep in your mind that not all gas-driven compressors are portable as some models can weigh up to 600 lbs. (272 kg). You should choose a gas-driven compressor if you are going to have issues with electricity on your job sites.
What to look for when buying a rotary screw air compressor?
A rotary screw compressor is a perfect choice for larger businesses and constant use. But how do you get a rotary screw air compressor with the right pressure and air capacity? To start, we will examine a couple of cases and give tips for each of them.
- First air compressor. In this case, you will have to find out the sum of air consumption of all your air equipment first. That will be the capacity (CFM) you will need. As for the pressure, look for the tool requiring the highest pressure among the tools you have or will be using. That will be the pressure your rotary screw air compressor will have to deliver.
- Replacement for an old rotary screw compressor. If your old compressor’s pressure and capacity were sufficient, look for a new best air compressor with the same features. Don’t forget that you might need a slightly bigger unit as you may expand your business in the future.
- You need more capacity. How much capacity will you need? Apply the same method – calculate the total of the air consumption of your equipment. This works if you have added a new tool to your set and discovered that you need more capacity from your compressor. You can either get a new compressor or buy an additional unit to put alongside your main compressor. If your old compressor is reciprocating, don’t forget that rotary screw units don’t like inactivity. Besides, remember that you might need to expand your company!
Rotary screw compressors come in different shapes, sizes, and with a variety of accessories. You shouldn’t buy those options which you don’t really need. But how do you know what you should get? Let’s take a look at a couple of accessories of rotary screw compressors!
Integrated air dryers and filters. Some models come with integrated air dryers and filters. They are actually quite useful as compressed air is wet and dirty by nature, especially with oil-lubricated compressors. Clean air will keep your equipment safe from premature breakdown. Keep in mind that dryers and filters cause the pressure drop in the system, resulting in more energy consumption to compensate for the pressure drop. With these accessories, your electricity bill can increase by additional hundreds or thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your unit.
Electronic condensate traps. Best Quiet air Compressors usually come with mechanical traps. If you don’t want to bother with them, get an electronic condensate traps. This can make your life much easier actually. Condensate is one of the most important maintenance issues with rotary screw compressors, so an electronic trap will add some easiness into the task of keeping water away from the system.
Variable speed drive (VSD). This device matches the output capacity to your actual needs, but it will only be really useful if your compressor constantly runs under different loads. Otherwise, it will be inefficient as it will increase the energy consumption.
Without an aftercooler, the compressed air leaving the compressor is usually too hot for most air tools. Besides, aftercoolers remove big amounts of water from the air, which would otherwise stay in the compressed air and create condensate inside the unit after cooling.
At last, energy consumption is crucial to businesses using rotary screw air compressors. You should always get a more energy-efficient model even if it is more expensive. That will surely save thousands of dollars in the long run. Over the lifetime of a unit, purchase cost will be only 10% of your total expenses. 15% will be maintenance costs, and the rest 75% will be energy expenses. Besides, be careful with its accessories as they can cause more energy consumption without really helping with your job.
So how do you choose the right compressor? Remember what we said about capacity and pressure? It applies not only to reciprocating compressors but rotary screw compressors as well. Pair it with the features of these both types of air compressors, don’t forget about your needs, and you will be able to get the best air compressor you can.
Benefits of Buying the Products
As we already mentioned, reciprocating air compressors are the best choice for home use or small businesses. But what are the exact benefits of such air compressors? Let’s examine them!
- Reciprocating air compressors are much more compact and lightweight compared to rotary screw units. That is quite obvious as their tank capacity is significantly lower! That makes them a great choice for those seeking for easy-to-transport and –store air compressor!
Low noise level
- You certainly don’t want to have an excessively noisy device at your home or small workshop. Once again, reciprocating air compressors deliver noise levels suitable for your home. Your neighbors won’t get too annoyed when you do some works at your home or workplace with your best quiet air compressor! You should definitely get a reciprocating compressor if you don’t want to have a too loud machine at your home.
- Lightweight means convenient transport. You surely cannot carry around a 100-pound compressor easily! For those looking for portability, there are some pretty light models out there! Besides, some compressors come with wheels and/or handles to aid with their transportation! This makes reciprocating air compressors much more suitable for carrying than bulky and stationary rotary screw compressors!
- Reciprocating air compressors deliver much higher pressure compared to rotary screw units. If you use some big instruments requiring a lot of pressure at your home works or in your business, getting a reciprocating air compressor is a right thing to do.
Low energy consumption System
- What you certainly don’t need to get with your air compressor for your home or small business are astronomical bills for energy. You need something more modest and energy-efficient for your small needs. As reciprocating compressors have less powerful motors, they consume significantly less energy than rotary screw units. A great reason for getting a reciprocating air compressor!
You can use reciprocating air compressors intermittently
- You don’t need to worry about constantly running your reciprocating compressor. Just drain the compressor’s tank and store the unit until you need it for your next job!
Great for starting a small business
- Thinking about starting your own workshop? If you will be using air tools (but not continuously, otherwise, buy a rotary screw model), get a reciprocating compressor as it is cheaper, more compact, more quiet, more energy-efficient, and delivers higher pressure. Use it until you discover that its features aren’t enough for you so you purchase a more powerful one or just switch to rotary screw compressors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should the oil be changed with oil-lubricated reciprocating air compressors?
Generally, you would need to change the oil approximately every 3 months. That will depend on your model and the frequency of use.
When should the air intake filter be replaced?
Assuming that you use the compressor 3 days a week, you should clean it on a weekly basis. Replace the filter if you notice any tears or holes or the debris is becoming harder to clean out.
What type of oil should be used with reciprocating compressors?
You should use non-detergent oils suitable for use in reciprocating compressors. Do not use detergent oils as they will foam and cause excessive oil carry over past the piston rings. That results in the compressor not getting lubricated enough.
When would I need a rotary screw air compressor?
Rotary screw air compressors work better under constant load. If you slowly move towards more frequent and even continuous work, you should start thinking about a rotary screw air compressor. That will probably never happen if you use your machine at home only, but small businesses can expand in the future. Besides, rotary screw compressors will be more suitable for you if you don’t need as much pressure but need more capacity.
Do you now see why we picked reciprocating air compressors for our today’s review of best quiet air compressor? No other type can give quietness, compactness, lightness, and energy-efficiency so necessary for your home or small workshop applications. You probably won’t want to pay thousands of dollars for power during the lifetime of your air compressor. That’s why a reciprocating air compressor is a good choice for you.
All models on the review are reciprocating compressors. Take a look at each of them to get an idea of what you like or/and what you need. But don’t make your final choice blindly as you need to buy a compressor to satisfy your requirements. Don’t chase big numbers or nice appearance. You don’t need extra accessories if they aren’t going to really help you in the long run. Wrap your head around the issue, know what you are looking for, leave some room for future improvements, and you will be able to find the best air compressor you can buy.
That’s it for our today’s review/guide. We hope that it will really help you or at least will set some foundation for your searches. We wish you to find the most suitable air compressor for your requirements! Good luck!
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