jump to example.com

Considering that just last week I waited until 10 a.m. to fire up the big compressor in the garage (which can wake the dead) just to air up my truck tires, the press release for this little compressor couldn’t have landed in my inbox at a better time. Take a look at the above video to see what I mean. I’ll wait.

Pretty impressive, huh? Its stats seem pretty standard for a small pancake compressor: 3.8 CFM at 40 PSI or 2.35 CFM @ 90 psi (plenty to drive a pneumatic brad nailer or two). But unlike my old Harbor Freight which checked in at around 90 dB, the GMC Syclone 3010 claims just 60 dB. That sounds about right compared to what we see in the video.

The price is a bit different as well. Expect to pay around $235 for one, compared to $150-$190 for comparable (yet noisier) Porter Cable or Bostitch models.

But hey, this could be just the thing for an urban remodeler — or anyone with noise-sensitive neighbors. Hopefully we can include it in our upcoming major compressor roundup.

Syclone Series Compressors [GMC Generators]
Via Amazon

Street Pricing [Google Products]


16 Responses to A Quiet Pancake Compressor

  1. Tom says:

    That is pretty amazing.

    Apparently I am not so understanding. I will crank the compressor to fill tires at 7am if I need to. If I am not in a hurry I will close the main door and run the hose out the pedestrian door.

  2. Toolhearty says:

    @Tom So YOU’RE that guy.

  3. Fong says:

    Knowing decibel ratings is a logarithmic scale is one thing. Hearing the difference is still always surprising. That’s incredibly silent but I’m with the gardeners. If they can fire up their mowers and blowers at 7 AM, then no one’s going to complain about my compressor.

  4. Chris says:

    Heh. GM took the Syclone name from a truck and stuck it on a pancake compressor?


  5. Mike says:

    I definitely understand reluctance to make a lot of noise–my workshop is only 15′ from my neighbor’s bedroom.
    I have my little PC compressor in a cabinet with the air hoses routed through the face of one of the cabinet doors. I lined the cabinet with acoustic foam, and it’s really not that bad. I don’t use it very often though.

  6. mikedt says:

    I’ve found that putting my Porter Cable pancake compressor in the trunk of my car while it’s pressurizing quiets it enough that I won’t wake the family or neighbors.

  7. DeadGuy says:

    I just got a Porter Cable C6110 and I highly recommend it. Great power, above average CFM at both 45 and 90 plus it is conversation quiet. It has turned into a real workhorse and the 25 gallon tank means it doesn’t kick on as often. I’ve been very pleased with it and can run all of what I need, though it won’t run an in-line or jitterbug sander very well, though they do run.

    I have very sensitive ears from a diving accident, so I really appreciate quiet running machines and have upgraded several tools to get quieter ones. The big gains were the DeWalt SCMS and this compressor. Now if I could just scrape up the funds for a quiet table saw, I’d have the main ones covered and could deal with the rest.

  8. fred says:


    I’m guessing that this compressor has little more to do with General Motors than the probability that GM licensed the vendor the GMC name.

    Porter Cable pancake compressors seem to be ubiquitous on the jobsite – we have a few – along with more Emglo twins stacks and hot dogs. My ears think that they all make a racket.

  9. PutnamEco says:

    They may be onto something, using quietness as as selling point. I bought both my small compressors (Mac700 and Thomas T-2820ST) based on how quite they are. The featured compressor motor looks like it shares the same layout as the Thomas compressor I have. I wonder if they cloned/licensed the design from them.

  10. R47 says:

    They also make a 10gal 6310 model. I don’t have either but would love a mini stand up 25 or 30gal with higher cfm. The 8052 apparently *was* an 80gal, but there’s no mention of quiet operation in the ad copy…and it was killed dead.

  11. Brau says:

    My compressor always seems to kick on at about 2AM (when it’s coldest in the basement). Doesn’t happen often but when it does, geez! It scares the crap out of us.

  12. Cameron Watt says:

    For quiet operation a big slow speed pump is nice. The 5hp Devilbiss at my shop rolls over at about 600RPM and is much less offensive than my other high-speed compressors; hard to overheat too.

    @mikedt: You beat me to it! I close my small oil-less compressor in the cab of my truck and it makes a dramatic difference.

    @Brau: Don’t you turn it off at night?

  13. kyle says:

    @Cameron Watt: actually a rotary screw is the absoulte quietest compressor avalible-it will be a great day in industry when the technology is adapted to portable compressors

  14. Cameron Watt says:

    @kyle: Amen! However….I’ve seen all sorts of portable rotary screw compressors: Mounted on trucks, skids, and trailers. 😉

    There’s a company near where I live called Vehicle Mounted Air Compressors (VMAC) that manufactures rotary screw air ends suited to portable applications; they manufacture the pumps for the Lincoln Air Vantage welders.

    As for noise, any portable rotary screw compressor I’ve encountered has had a diesel engine running it; whether directly, through a PTO driven hydraulic setup (common on service trucks), or a site power van. The air ends themselves are quiet but so is a quality reciprocating pump. It seems to me the distracting element of the sound put out by reciprocating compressors is that is pulses(or buzzes with the higher RPM pumps); the rotary units, vane or screw, just hum.

    Rotary screw compressors are lovely machines in terms of output and longevity in a compact package but in my experience a 20 CFM compressor will do just fine for a mechanic or welder working in the field and small reciprocating compressors are quite adequate for the job. Now, if you want to run a breaker….

  15. Toolfreak says:

    I can’t stand this ‘GMC’ stuff. Sears sell a miter saw under the GMC brand, walmart has a road bike under the GMC Denali name. Geez. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Anyways I’ve been on the lookout for a quiet compact compressor in case I have to replace my tankless Craftsman that has now been reduced to working in 1-2 second spurts. If I can’t fix it or get the parts to do whatever it needs, I’ll be getting a newer compact.

    The $200+ price seems rather high though, considering you can get crappy Craftsman pancake models for just over $100, and a Porter+Cable at Lowe’s/Home Depot for $169.

    I think I’m also going to get a small portable inflator or two. Firing up a compressor just to air up tires or do light inflation work seems to wear them out a lot quicker.

  16. JohnT says:

    Well, 60 db isn’t very quiet. Maybe “reduced noise level”. Quiet? try a pancake with a 1/2 HP freezer (or A/C) compressor replacing that so-called “quiet” compressor/motor. Try about 35-40 dB – the level of a conversation, almost whispering. For every 3 dB after that the sound is doubling. Think about that. GMC sucks, nothing but a made-in-china compressor, that ISN’T QUIET. They need to be told that oil-less compressors are nearly always noisiest. second, it take REAL engineering to make something whisper quiet and efficient. Any chinese lunkhead can make a noisy knockoff.

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