Advice on a new quiet shop compressor

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Forum topic by Woodbum posted 12-03-2012 09:57 PM 2595 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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806 posts in 3031 days

12-03-2012 09:57 PM

I am in the market for a new shop compressor. I want a medium sized portable unit 1.5-2.5 HP—2-4 gal—3-4 CFM at 90-100 PSI. Max air pressure 120-150 lbs. My main concern is noise. I would like a unit around 70-75 db, whicjh would probably mean an oiled unit. Can any of you ladies and gentlemen make a recommendation based on your experiences? I mainly use it for nailers, staplers, misc. small air tools and for sawdust removal. I don’t need to spray with it since I have 2 HVLP units It doesn’t see much use. I have pretty well used up my 1997 Craftsman twin tank, but it has been a great little unit, but loud and getting louder. I have heard good things about the Makita MAC2400, and the GM units, but I am open to any brand that is reliable and quiet in the $250-$300 range. Bostich, Senco, Dewalt, PC or any such units will do. I am having a hard time finding decible ratings on any spec sheets. Have a great day, smile more and work safely.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

15 replies so far

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2650 days

#1 posted 12-03-2012 10:04 PM

in your tank/PSI/price range, I’m not aware of any machine. They are all loud (I think all in the 80-85db category). If you live in a mild climate, you can always put the unit outside and pipe into it.

View DrDirt's profile


4423 posts in 3707 days

#2 posted 12-03-2012 10:19 PM

Rolair JC10 Super Quiet 1HP Oil Less 2.5 Gallon Air Compressor

It is a little light on the CFM only about 2.5 at 90 PSI but is only 60 db.
They get the noise down because it basically runs at 1/2 speed.

Never heard anything about the GMC – good or bad. I like Makita stuff – but the MAC2400 is still ~80 dB so not really that quiet.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Loren's profile


10261 posts in 3613 days

#3 posted 12-03-2012 10:31 PM

View bruc101's profile


1200 posts in 3507 days

#4 posted 12-03-2012 10:56 PM

We’ve got a 25 HP dual stage compressor and an air dryer in an insulated room on the back of the building and can still hear both the units running sometimes when none of the bigger machines are running…nulled a lot but they are noisy

Don’t think there is such thing as a really quiet compressor.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4090 days

#5 posted 12-04-2012 12:31 AM

The one that caught my eye was the Rolair JC10. At 60dB, that’s “talk in a regular voice while it’s running right beside you” kind of volume. It’s only going to be reasonable to drive a nailer or two, but…

But last time I went looking I was able to repair my (super loud) Thomas Ultra Air-Pac, so I just wear the hearing protection in the shop. So I don’t have any personal experience with it.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2975 days

#6 posted 12-04-2012 12:40 AM

Love my Rolair JC10. I use it for everything from running nailers (palm, brad, pin) to vacuum-pressing to texturing drywall…basically everything but spraying finishes (for which I have a HVLP setup). It’s so quiet that it’s not a bother at all when it cycles on.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3956 posts in 2199 days

#7 posted 12-04-2012 12:56 AM

...quiet air compressor is an oxymoron!
The only quiet air compressor I’ve ever seen is the neighbor’s a half mile away. Never hear it!

Probably the best you can hope for is one that doesn’t exceed 70 db at about 10 feet. Good Luck!

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View hamburglar's profile


42 posts in 2064 days

#8 posted 12-04-2012 02:19 AM

The MAC2400 is a good compressor and is quiet compared to others. (Like the MAC5200 we use at work)

If I had to do it all again though I would probably go with the Rolair VT20TB instead, just because the 2400 sucks to lug around by hand.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2598 days

#9 posted 12-04-2012 03:32 AM

I just ordered a 4gal Senco. The amazon reviews were good. Seems like most consider it quiet…. for a compressor. I watched a few YouTube reviews as well which were also favorable.
I’ll let you know after I get a chance to try it out.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3159 days

#10 posted 12-04-2012 05:17 AM

There is no such thing as a quiet compressor….they are all loud, no matter what size you get….I have an oil fed, belt drive Ingersol—-Rand that is 36 gallons portable (if you want it to be), and it ain’t quiet either…..none of them are, but the worst are the “screamers”.....the oilless suckers…. I hate them things….

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2879 days

#11 posted 12-04-2012 09:35 AM

I agree with Rick. They are all loud, so build a shed outside of the shop, insulate it, and run the hose inside the shop. Now THAT would be quiet.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Woodbum's profile


806 posts in 3031 days

#12 posted 12-04-2012 11:53 AM

Thanks all. I am looking at the Rolair JC190 right now, while still researching. It might be a little light, but it is very quiet. Am in no hurry, as the Craftsman is still running-for now

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2815 days

#13 posted 12-04-2012 04:15 PM

You could isolate the portable in an absorbent-panel box and baffle the air at the intake. Seems like a fun project. I can visualize the box being suspended with line and counterweights so lifting it up is easy.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 1991 days

#14 posted 12-04-2012 05:07 PM

Well My left ear is totally gone and my right is at about 40% per the doctor. I wear ear muffs to protect what little hearing I have left. My compressor is a husky from HD, my wife says it’s loud, but the noise doesn’t bother me. LOL
I would figure on setting it up in an outside structure, along with the dust collector. That way any noise from either peice is a minor thing.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3550 days

#15 posted 12-04-2012 05:08 PM

The only ones I know that are super quiet are JUN AIRE and BAMBI the fist is best all round but their expensive the one I just gave my son is a dental JUN AIRE with three heads and cost just under four thousand pounds.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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