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I run a coolant mister on one of my benchtop CNC mills. The mister provides cooling to the toolbit as well as clearing the chips away from the cut, reducing the chance of the bit jamming (I use small end mills) in deeper cuts. The problem is, I have an old horizontal air compressor in my attached shop supplying the air. When the thing kicks in (usually every 15 minutes or so for at least 5 minutes, and programs typically run a half hour to an hour) the noise is deafening, even in the house. So I figured I’d ask what fellow Toolmongers suggest. I need around 60-80 psi and a relatively good flow, although I sometimes run the mister through a timer system. I also like to use it with an air gun to blast chips from finished parts, dry things off, etc.

If I had an unlimited budget I would likely buy a Jun-Air, Silentaire or Apolloair but my budget is just that — budget. So that leaves me wondering about compressors like the Campbell Hausfield Quiet Compressor, the Husky that was reviewed here a while back, or this All-Power compressor.

So for a guy on a budget, what do you guys suggest? I know I could rewire and plumb my air compressor to run in a little shed outside, but I prefer to keep things inside, this being Oregon and moist. My current compressor is definitely on its last legs anyway, so I’ll need to find a replacement eventually.


Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor
[Air Compressors Direct]
Campbel Hausfeld Air Compressors Street Pricing [Google Products]
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressors Via Amazon [What’s This?]
All Power Quietzone Air Compressor [All Power America]
All Power Quietzone Air Compressor Street Pricing [Google Products]

 

25 Responses to Quiet Air Compressor? I Could Use One!

  1. Shopmonger says:

    I have one of these small units i use for crown molding and small household project. My large compressor is loud… But this little guy is very nice. Actually putting in under a bench with a small sound box around it would make it almost unnoticeable. My father an i made a sound box for his generator on his boat, using marine ply (overkill for the shop) and some rigid foam insulation. We made a hinged door for access, and man it was amazing how quiet it is.

    ShopMonger

  2. Toolaremia says:

    Is your current compressor oilless? If so, that’s why it’s so loud. Switch to a belt-driven, oil-lubricated compressor and the volume is cut in half. 20-ish gallon, 120 volt version with 6-7 CFM can be had for $3-400 new, or less than half that from Craigslist or feeBay.

    As shopmonger says, another alternative is building an insulated (but ventilated) box around the compressor.

  3. bdstevens says:

    I had a Makita MAC700, and I liked it so much that when it was “liberated” from my garage, I replaced it with the slightly larger MAC2400. They’re oil lubed, 1720 RPM units, so they’re much quieter than most “little” compressors. I “upgraded” because the MAC700 seemed a little shy when running my air impact wrench, but it looks like that is due to using that “small”, yellow coiled hose – it’s too restrictive! I think they’re GREAT little compressors. I also have an Ingersoll-Rand 60 gallon, 5 HP for bigger stuff (although that was a mistake; I’d do the 7.5 HP, 80 gallon next time).

  4. Nick Carter says:

    It’s a belt driven oil-lube compressor, it’s just old and worn. But I need something quieter even than a regular belt drive. Needs to allow conversation and such.

  5. fred says:

    There is quite a bit of difference between what you install in a a commercial shop and what you might do at home. I’m not sure what size shop you have, how its wired and what your budget is. Based on what we have in 2 different shops – we’d buy another Sullair rotary screw compressor. Ours is V-belt driven, enclosed, 20 years old and still quiet. For a home shop this would be totaly impractical (how many homes have 460V available) This CH unit is probably aimed at home users – who want to run an ocassional pneumatic tool. I think the prior comments are probably correct in that an oil-lubricated compressor is likely to run quieter than an oil-less – but have no experience in which ones are most quiet.

  6. John S says:

    Nick, el. al – I went through this exercise earlier this year for my benchtop CNC coolant system and am INCREDIBLY happy with the product that I found: http://www.castair.net/garage-commercial.html. I have their G1518P20. It’s 4.6cfm @ 90 psi and runs at 1725 rpm. It’s quiet enough that in my 120 sq ft workshop, I can comfortably talk while it’s running. They claim it is 72 DB, but I hesitate to even mention that because other compressors make DB claims which are likely bogus.

    You can read more about it on my blog at
    http://www.nyccnc.com/Herbie/HERBIES_BLOG/Entries/2009/5/28_New_Air_Compressor_%26_Coolant_System!.html

    and a video here:
    http://www.nyccnc.com/Herbie/HERBIES_BLOG/Entries/2009/7/5_Milling_1018_steel_with_my_TAIG!.html

  7. Toolaremia says:

    This is a little off-the wall, but look at dental air compressors. Seriously. They are low-volume, but sounds like you don’t need much, and they are dead-quiet. Been in a dentist’s office, right? There’s a closet somewhere in there with a compressor in it.

    This one delivers 4 CFM at 100 PSI and might sell for $400 new. If you search feeBay and other sources, you might find a used one for much less.

  8. DentalTech says:

    Toolaremia is correct.

    Most dental air compressors are very low volume high pressure applications.
    If you are looking for quiet try Junn-air or an older copeland twin head ( Apollo, Air Techniques, Dental-EZ, Midmark, Pelton&Crane) just to name a few. I personally have a TechWest that runs around 65db so it is easily one of the quietest on the market, and that is with no sound cover. Unfortunately dental air compressors are a little expensive to maintain, oil, air filters, dryer systems are all custom made by the manufactuers so parts can be hard to come by and be a little on the expensive side.
    But mine has no problem running any air tool I have put to it.

  9. DentalTech says:

    Oh Yeah

    Oil-less systems are eay to quiet down if you do a remote air intake system. Sealing up the intake and haveing it pull from outside air will easily cut your volume in half!

  10. Brice says:

    CO2 tank and a regulator. Perfectly quiet operation. A big regulator runs $150, the tank deposit is about 200. Refills under $20. Oh, and the air is already nice and cold. It’s what I use in my work truck. I can drive a 1/2 air impact almost continuously for an 8 hour work day.

  11. ambush says:

    Belt driven compressors are much, much quieter. and although you pay more for them you usually get a bigger tank and more airflow. Its sort of a mid-end and up feature.

  12. Brau says:

    Hmmm. My Bro-in-law is a dentist. This suggests he might be actually good for something. 😉

  13. Michael Pendleton says:

    Brice- please tell me more of your CO2 contraption! How big a tank do you need for that length of use? I have always looked at paintball gear with a speculative eye, but I’ve never pursued further than that…

  14. Jason Verheyen says:

    Kobalt
    Portable Compressed CO2 Regulator

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=166441-61735-J-6901-100

    I have one and love it. You can get the tanks filled at any paintball store for around $3.

  15. Barri says:

    I wouldnt touch CO2 after the trouble it caused all my tools. 99% of air tools are not designed to run on CO2. You better of with a 3500psi system with regulator. Much better system for your tools.

  16. Toolaremia says:

    OK, Nick, the ideas are in, ball is in your court. You have to let us know which path you go down!

  17. lens42 says:

    This was the quietest small compressor I could find (without getting into dental equipment or the little airbrush compressors)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009RAX6
    It’s still somewhat loud in my small garage, but I haven’t found anything quieter yet.

  18. rick says:

    well, for me the solution was easy, my compressor is in the garage, and I have an airhose run into the basement. It is an easy solution and lets you use whatever compressor you have. Works for me….

  19. turbogeezer says:

    I’m late to the comment party, but I’m putting in another vote for the MAC700. I worked in a custom photo lab for several years. We had air piped all over the lab, and I got so used to having compressed air always available, that I got a small compressor for home use. It was a CH – much like the one pictured at the top of the post – and ran about $90 from the big box. It lasted two or three years of light use, then died. Unrepairable – no parts available. And when I took it apart to see if I could fix it, I realized it really was kind of a toy compressor. So, when I re-bought, I looked for something better. The Makita 700 hit my quality/price/air volume point. It’s small, but seriously well-engineered. The only issue was that I took a long time to come around to the Makita, because I *knew* (from my photo-lab background) that I needed an oil-less unit, yet at the same time, I realized that an oil-lubricated unit was going to last much longer. Dilemma solved by going over to Grainger’s and picking up an in-line oil separator. An unexpected benefit was the quietness of the Makita. Check out the Amazon reviews – the only negatives are from shipping damage from inadequate packaging. I avoided that by buying local from a contractor/lumber yard shop.
    I love the small & brawny MAC700.
    The “Handyguys” (a podcast I regularly catch) also love it:

    http://www.handyguyspodcast.com/the-handy-guys-store

    I’m also inspired by that sound-insulated/ventilated box that Toolaremia linked to above, I’ll be building something along those lines, for sure.

  20. william coffey says:

    there is a company semi-near me that makes some very quiet compressors. eaton air compressors are located in …..well you guessed it eaton ohio.
    he uses a larger head unit than normal for each size of compressor so he can spin then slower and this creates way less noise. they have a web-site but i know he markets them through ebay too.

  21. william coffey says:

    whoops………………… they have moved and grown again since i bought my last compressor . they are now located in clayton ohio

  22. Michael says:

    I have one without the carrying handle. I don’t know why but there’s a leak somewhere by the + – knob. I have to set it at 40psi to make it stop like it’s about to spew. Very handy to have around, can someone tell me if this thing will blow up because of the leak?

  23. chris says:

    if anyones got a broken one of these, i just broke my handle to pick the thing up… and would love to get a replacement plastic handle… i could crazy glue it with epoxy steel but it probably wont hold the weight — ill just end up picking it up and having it break on me again, i got the air pressurizer as a gift from my dad (thanks dad) if anyones got one that is non functional and wants to sell me the handle… email me!

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