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Quiet compressors (Read 412 times)
 
Mike Nathal
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Quiet compressors
Sep 4th, 2017 at 5:31pm
 
Ultra quiet compressors were mentioned briefly in the "Question of the Week"  topic, I thought I would share the newsletter article that I wrote for our local club. 

"I have owned a 3 HP, 20 gallon compressor for over 25 years, and its high capacity is needed to drive many air tools and a sand blaster.  But man, is it loud!  I can’t use it for prolonged times, even with ear plugs.  So I decided to buy a cheap, oil-free, 2 gallon compressor for the small jobs like blowing off dust.  This was a little quieter, but still required ear plugs, so I wasn’t too angry when it stopped working after a couple years.  Then I bought a slightly larger used Craftsman compressor, off of Craigslist.  This was an oil-lubricated machine, a type which is not very popular these days, but it was much, much quieter than even the small oil free rig.  I was sad when it died recently.   In my research to find a replacement, I discovered that a new technology for ultra-quiet compressors has become available.  Note that a standard oil-free compressor typically produces a noise level of at least 75 dB.  These new ultra-quiet compressors can come in as low as 60dB!  Amazingly, when mine is running, it seems to be only slightly louder than my refrigerator, and quieter than my drill press.  When my dust collector is on, I usually don’t notice when the compressor is running. 
At least three different companies are offering these ultra-quiet compressors:    California Air Tools, Briggs and Stratton, and Thomas Compressors. (I bought a Briggs and Stratton).  The price you pay still depends on the size of the tank and the horsepower, but they are not overly expensive.  I am sure that this ultra-quiet technology will become more and more popular, and more and more products will become available. "
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #1 - Sep 4th, 2017 at 6:47pm
 
Thanks Mike,
I've seen those California Air compressors online and they do seem very nice and quiet. I wished they had a larger capacity tank but as you said they get more expensive the larger the tank.
Years ago, I had a 80gal large V-twin cast iron oiled compressor, it was as loud as you would expect. I located it in another room and simply piped the regulator, drier and connections to where I needed them.
Currently I have a 20gal vertical craftsman and it is way to loud to run without protection IMO.
I would also like to see this ultra-quiet tech become more common place and get the price down.
Thanks for the review.
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robo_hippy
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #2 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 10:33am
 
The one from California Air got a lot of comments after the Oregon Woodturning Symposium. They had one up there for one of the demonstration areas, and the main comment was 'you could carry on a conversation right next to it without having to raise your voice'. I didn't personally verify that, but that was echoed by those who have it. It will be my next compressor...

robo hippy
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #3 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 12:27pm
 
I have a Husky 4.6 gal 1HP dualtank compressor for in the store and it is quiet enought to keep talking with customers while it is running... unlike the pancake one I had originally gotten for the store!!

That was so noisy!!!
It went home for the shop and is in an adjacent shed to the workshop with the hose running thru a PVC pipe along with the plug.

It is so noisy that, at night, with the windows closed and the shed closed, i can still hear it run.

...but it does what I need it to do.

It is next to my dust collector which is also quite noisy.

Will check out the Cali Air.
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Arlin Eastman
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #4 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 1:30pm
 
robo_hippy wrote on Sep 5th, 2017 at 10:33am:
The one from California Air got a lot of comments after the Oregon Woodturning Symposium. They had one up there for one of the demonstration areas, and the main comment was 'you could carry on a conversation right next to it without having to raise your voice'. I didn't personally verify that, but that was echoed by those who have it. It will be my next compressor...

robo hippy



I was going to say the same thing as Reed and Ed said.  But I only heard about it at WoodNet and I know I can not afford them.
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chris lawrence
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #5 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 4:33pm
 
Why not just take the storage tank from your dead compressor and attach it inline with the smaller quiet compressor.  When i used to play paintball the field i played at did similar for there high pressure air compressor.  They had a bank of steel tanks in the room and banks of steel tanks at each of there fill stations to give them more air volume.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #6 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 5:58pm
 

That would solve the volume issue but not the cfm that the motor needs to keep up with using air tools just isn't there.

I need a compressor that has a good CFM rating so I can run high cfm tools and not have the compressor constantly cycling, trying to keep up.
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Chris Neilan
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #7 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 8:46pm
 
I received my 8 gallon California Air compressor a few weeks ago. $185 delivered to my door thru Amazon. Could not be happier. Quiet and blows air! I still have my big one in the garage if needed. It was less expensive (that reads CHEAPER) to buy this compressor than running copper from the garage   to the shop!   Smiley
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Delta 46-460: awesome
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Buck Nemitt
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #8 - Sep 6th, 2017 at 7:55am
 
Awesome Chris, good to read of a positive improvement.
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What the heck,Give it a try---
 
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #9 - Sep 6th, 2017 at 8:37am
 
Just a word of caution for those considering these quiet compressors.
From the ones I seen, they do not have a very high CFM rating.
This means the compressor (no matter how quiet) may not be able to keep up with the demand of the tool being used. It will need to run more often, possibly constantly during some tool use.
Check the CFM requirements for the tools you intend to use before purchase.
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Chris Neilan
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #10 - Sep 7th, 2017 at 8:31pm
 
Ed Weber wrote on Sep 6th, 2017 at 8:37am:
Just a word of caution for those considering these quiet compressors.
From the ones I seen, they do not have a very high CFM rating.
This means the compressor (no matter how quiet) may not be able to keep up with the demand of the tool being used. It will need to run more often, possibly constantly during some tool use.
Check the CFM requirements for the tools you intend to use before purchase.


Absolutely true. My compressor puts out 3 CFM at 40 pounds and  2.2 at 90. Enough for my needs, but not enough for some air tools like sanders. You could seriously overwork a compressor trying to run those.
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Delta 46-460: awesome
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Shopsmith Mark 7: Wonderful! (But I don't use it as a lathe yet)
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lloyd harner
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #11 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 7:40pm
 
really thought i was sready to get one of these now reading up a bit that even a small bead blaster or cool mist for my mill might over run the pump in short order.  im going to have to keep looking around at them
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #12 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 9:02pm
 
You sacrifice  A LOT of cfm for the ultra-quiet feature.
IMO these are great for staplers, finish nailers and tools of that nature, nothing that runs constantly. If you use drills, sanders, die grinders, impact guns, you nay be disappointed.
A quick search for "air tool cfm chart" can be helpful.
Hopefully they will continue to improve, for my uses they are not even close to finding the neighborhood. For me, it doesn't matter how quiet they are if they can't do the work.
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Bruce Kamp
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #13 - Sep 19th, 2017 at 11:04am
 
Just received my California compressor. I cannot believe the difference in the sound as compared to my pancake comp. it runs a lot but sometimes I do not even notice it. Great for what I need.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #14 - Sep 19th, 2017 at 12:13pm
 
While I'm happy for those of you who like these compressors (they don't fit my needs)
What tools do you use with them, since they have such a low CFM rating?
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Bruce Kamp
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #15 - Sep 19th, 2017 at 8:13pm
 
Currently I just use mine mostly for clearing dust, etc. U use electric sanding, I do not do any air brushing yet,  etc. I assume that if I ever expand to using air powered tools I will have to upgrade. Hope they have a big one by then.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Quiet compressors
Reply #16 - Sep 20th, 2017 at 10:45am
 
Thanks Bruce, I also hope that they can scale these "ultra quiet" machines up to a More useful size. IMO they are quite limited.

Just for those curious about this, I was looking into upgrading my compressor.
I looked into the California Air Tools models and here's what i found.
For a somewhat comparable model (20040C, the largest one they make) to the more traditional style I'm considering. (Campbell Hausfeld 80-gallon, 5 hp, vertical air compressor (TQ3104))

CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 20040C
Pro's
It is quieter
Draws less amperage
It's lighter weight, mobile
It's smaller, takes up slightly less floor space
Con's
Smaller tank, (20 gal compared to 80 gal) this means it will need to run more frequently
Less CFM, (10.6 at 90psi compared to 16 at 90) this means it will need to run more frequently
125 max psi compared to 140 max psi
3,000 hour motor life, compared to 10,000 hour
Costs $100-$150 more (prices vary)

I have nothing against the quiet compressors, I just which they were bigger.
Although it is an important part of the equation, there are more things to consider when purchasing a compressor other than dBA levels.
Having an undersized unit for the job means the unit will run longer and more frequently which can negate the lower electrical consumption rating and shorten the amount of time it takes to reach the motor's stated life expectancy.

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m-5hp-208-230v-1ph-tq3104.html
These two units have the same warranty and are in the $1,000 to $1,150 range
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