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Great Compressor, Lousy Packing Job, Yay Amazon

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Review by jonah posted 08-03-2015 04:23 PM 6532 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Compressor, Lousy Packing Job, Yay Amazon Great Compressor, Lousy Packing Job, Yay Amazon Great Compressor, Lousy Packing Job, Yay Amazon Click the pictures to enlarge them

For those that have never experienced an ultra-quiet compressor, it’s really hard to overstate how much quieter they are than your average machine. The California Air Tools 2010A I have sounds like an average dishwasher from about 5-8 feet away. In other words, you know it’s on but it does not overwhelm you with noise.

Other compressors I have used (Porter Cable pancake, Harbor Freight pancake & a larger HF wheeled model) are so insanely loud by comparison that I would never, ever voluntarily use one without hearing protection. Now that I’ve experienced the CAT compressor, I would never use one period.

CAT claims 60dB for the 2010A. I don’t have an SPL meter handy, but that sounds about right to me. I wanted something small and relatively light, and the 2010A fits that bill as well. I have only used it with an air nozzle, a tire inflator, and a brad nailer so far, but it has done all three with no issues of any kind. Doing its work quietly and without problems? That’s something every compressor should strive for. Sadly, we have allowed incredibly loud pancake compressors to become the norm.

California Air Tools can clearly make a top quality product. However, their packing job in the box left something to be desired. I ordered the compressor from Amazon and it arrived on a Thursday via UPS looking like the package in the beginning of Ace Ventura. See the pictures above. I had no interest in taking chances with a compressor that could have a hairline crack in the tank and might explode.

I didn’t even open the box, just got in touch with Amazon and asked for a replacement. After I politely but firmly asked for it, they agreed to send the replacement in advance of receipt of the returned compressor. The replacement was delivered via USPS on Saturday (2 days later). The replacement had a similarly-flimsy packing job, but Amazon had placed it into a second box with some air pouches, so it arrived in much better shape.

I’m giving CAT five stars for the product, which is truly excellent, but taking a star away for an incredibly poor job packing their (relatively expensive) compressors into flimsy boxes with no packing material to speak of. Amazon’s customer service remains excellent, and saved the day. The compressor is easily worth its $260 price tag.




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jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days



15 comments so far

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WillardsWoodshop

7 posts in 958 days


#1 posted 08-03-2015 07:45 PM

I had a similar thing happen when I ordered their model 6310 from home depot. There was a small hole in the box. When I opened it at home the regulator was completely broken off. I returned it to the store and they ordered me another one and took another 10% off the sale price. Got the 6.3 gallon for about $150. I have had it for 6 months and it is super quiet, works great. Highly recommend but be prepared wait for a second one.

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marc7101

23 posts in 970 days


#2 posted 08-03-2015 08:34 PM

Glad to see more guys converting to CAT compressors. We did air compressor reviews a few months ago, and the 6310 came out tops in the portable air compressor category. This little compressor is really underrated. CAT solved the weight and noise issue by making it the lightest in its class and by far the quietest. Most people can not believe how quiet this compressor runs(60db).
Thank you for a great review Jonah. Definitely agree with you that after using the CAT, you will never want to use a noisy pancake again.

-- Marc- http://www.thediyhubby.com/drill-press-reviews/

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1293 posts in 3378 days


#3 posted 08-04-2015 03:17 AM

I have this compressor. Very nice. It arrived with holes in box, but content was fine. We used it for indoor presentation where air supply was needed. Worked great due to quiet operation that did not interrupt presentation.

Not a spray paint tool, but good for small jobs.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days


#4 posted 08-04-2015 12:40 PM

I used to be a big fan of the Paslode nail guns, because you didn’t have to deal with a compressor, which was loud, heavy, and annoying. Now the CAT compressor isn’t loud or heavy and having to buy gas all the time seems annoying.

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Mainiac Matt

7636 posts in 2231 days


#5 posted 08-04-2015 02:28 PM

I work as an industrial packaging engineer at an industrial packaging house and your review confirms what we tell our customers all the time…. Your reputation suffers when you deliver an excellent product in crappy packaging.

Often, by the time you add up all the bubble and expanding foam bags (chemicals for these are pricey) and oversized generic boxes (that require even more void fill) and the 20 min. of fussy pack out time, you’ve come close to the price of an efficient engineered pack. But no one measures those other costs, so they’re “invisible”.... where it “hurts” to cut a PO for custom packaging.

We submitted designs and samples to a local outfit that makes these small air compressors as a sub-contractor to one of the big names, and they balked at the price and never ordered from us. Unfortunately, the pricing on those contractor type units is already in the toilet and they had not wiggle room at all.

CAT has a “premium” product that hasn’t been knocked off by the Chinese yet, so I’d think they would fix this up ASAP. Returns aren’t cheep and the damaged reputation is hard to recover from.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days


#6 posted 08-04-2015 09:36 PM

I have to think the returned product wiped out all of Amazon’s profit on the compressor. They got $260 from me. They had to ship the thing to me for free. That probably cost $10-$20. Then they had to ship the damaged one back (another $10-$20), and ship the replacement unit to me at a faster rate for Saturday delivery (probably $30). That’s probably north of $60 just for shipping. They can’t have margins that are that high on an item like this.

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SteveMI

1078 posts in 3197 days


#7 posted 08-06-2015 05:58 PM

I had a CAT compressor on my to-buy list. Couple weeks ago I went to Home Depot and they had them under the “Husky” name. Looks identical to the CAT 4060 compressors with dual tanks. As mentioned in the review, until you actually have one there is no way you can appreciate how quiet they are. You can holding a normal conversation standing alongside. I show it off to everyone that comes into my work shop. Also nice to have two connections on the front.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Silent-4-6-Gal-Portable-Electric-Air-Compressor-4610A/205532432

BTW – My box says country of origin is China and Google search confirmed CAT are from China also. Not sure if it is a CAT design that they license to Husky or they sell to HD with Husky decals.

Steve.

View rg33's profile

rg33

83 posts in 1904 days


#8 posted 08-07-2015 06:26 AM

For what its worth you can download free apps to your phone that have decibel meters. I used one just the other day to measure the loudness of my DC and also my little 6 gallon pancake compressor. It measured at 85dB Yikes!

congrats on your “quiet” new toy

View jonah's profile

jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days


#9 posted 08-07-2015 12:30 PM

Those apps are apparently very unreliable. A friend of mine who is an acoustical engineer said he tried them on a lark and got 6db difference in the same app between two phones.

View rg33's profile

rg33

83 posts in 1904 days


#10 posted 08-08-2015 06:13 AM

may be so Jonah, but for what is being tested here, the free app is probably more than acceptable. If the difference between a quiet and a loud compressor is only 6 dB then the “quiet compressor” company would be out of business quick!

anyway good review, I may be looking into one of these compressors soon, my Porter cable died recently and Im on the search for a good replacement

View jonah's profile

jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days


#11 posted 08-09-2015 12:14 AM

I’ve only had the thing a couple weeks, but so far the CAT compressor has been great. I was over at a friend’s house today doing the brakes for my car and his compressor (some kind of Husky model from the orange box) was so incredibly loud I seriously though about bringing my compressor the next time I went over there for a car project.

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1163 posts in 1922 days


#12 posted 08-11-2015 01:34 AM

I bought a California Air Tools CAT-10020 (10 gallon big brother to this one) a few months back. I’ll reiterate what others said, it makes no sense how quiet it is. I also had to send my first back because of poor packaging. The box arrived beat up and there was a very deep ding (more pinpoint than a dent) on the tank so it went back. Defintely made in china.

View mifon's profile

mifon

11 posts in 1240 days


#13 posted 01-11-2016 04:03 AM

I am trying to decide on an air compressor for my wood shop. I am wondering what limitations you have with a compressor such as reviewed here. For general shop use, would you recommend this compressor or should a larger, more powerful compressor be considered??

View mifon's profile

mifon

11 posts in 1240 days


#14 posted 01-11-2016 04:20 AM

I am trying to decide on an air compressor for my wood shop. I am wondering what limitations you have with a compressor such as reviewed here. For general shop use, would you recommend this compressor or should a larger, more powerful compressor be considered??

View jonah's profile

jonah

1572 posts in 3201 days


#15 posted 04-03-2016 08:28 PM

Sorry for the very tardy reply.

If you need a compressor for either a) working on cars or b) spraying paint/stain/finish then the CAT one I have wouldn’t be large enough. For most any other use, I think it’s great. It has to kick on a whole lot when using big tools like framing nailers, but when I’m framing (once every few years, maybe) I don’t care if the compressor is running a lot.

For running brad and pin nailers in a wood shop, I think the compact CAT unit I have is perfect. It’s small, quiet, and seems very reliable. I don’t use it every day, but when I infrequently pull it out it works great.

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