Quieting Air Compressor: How to Make A Loud Air Compressor Quieter

How You Can Effectively Reduce the Noise Coming from Your Air Compressor

An air compressor is a type of machine that can help in a variety of ways around the house.

Per Air Compressor Talk, the aforementioned piece of equipment will prove useful if you want to complete some home repair projects. They are essential if you are looking to use air ratchet tools or spray-painting equipment.

A good air compressor should also help you tidy up around the yard more efficiently, and of course, it will be good for inflating different objects that your kids play with from time to time.

Having an air compressor at home sure beats having to head over to a shop downtown whenever you need something re-inflated.

Given the benefits of owning an air compressor, one would think that more people would see the wisdom in buying one and bringing it home. 

Air Compressor Quieter

There are reasons for why that’s not the case however, and it goes beyond just the price tag that is often attached to these machines.

For many homeowners, the biggest issue they have with air compressors is that they can really cause a racket.

Here are the items featured in this article:

Product
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen - HFZP3850YW2
Thrush 17651 Welded Muffler
Craftsman 25ft x 5/8in Premium Rubber Garden Hose (69601)
Accessbuy 180-Piece Rubber Grommet Shop Assortment
CLIMATEX 9G-018-36C-6, 36" x6' Indoor Outdoor Rubber Scraper Mat, x 6', Black
Preview
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen – HFZP3850YW2
Thrush 17651 Welded Muffler
Craftsman 25ft x 5/8in Premium Rubber Garden Hose (69601)
Accessbuy 180-Piece Rubber Grommet Shop Assortment
CLIMATEX 9G-018-36C-6, 36″ x6′ Indoor Outdoor Rubber Scraper Mat, x 6′, Black
Prime Benefits
Product
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Preview
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Prime Benefits
Details
Product
Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen - HFZP3850YW2
Preview
Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen – HFZP3850YW2
Prime Benefits
Details
Product
Thrush 17651 Welded Muffler
Preview
Thrush 17651 Welded Muffler
Prime Benefits
Details
Product
Craftsman 25ft x 5/8in Premium Rubber Garden Hose (69601)
Preview
Craftsman 25ft x 5/8in Premium Rubber Garden Hose (69601)
Prime Benefits
Details
Product
Accessbuy 180-Piece Rubber Grommet Shop Assortment
Preview
Accessbuy 180-Piece Rubber Grommet Shop Assortment
Prime Benefits
Details
Product
CLIMATEX 9G-018-36C-6, 36" x6' Indoor Outdoor Rubber Scraper Mat, x 6', Black
Preview
CLIMATEX 9G-018-36C-6, 36″ x6′ Indoor Outdoor Rubber Scraper Mat, x 6′, Black
Prime Benefits
Details

Why Do Air Compressors Produce a Lot of Noise?

According to Chicago Pneumatic, the main reason why air compressors tend to produce plenty of noise is due to friction. Look inside the interior of an air compressor while it is in operation and you will notice that there are metal components in there that are moving all over the place.

Those metal components then hit and scratch against the metal interior of the air compressor. As that goes on, the sounds only get louder and more disruptive.

why Air Compressor Noise

There are also parts of the air compressor that are notorious for being noisy. The air intake is one of those parts. It becomes particularly noisy when it starts sucking the surrounding air.

Other parts of the air compressor such as the exhaust and the screws can be noisy, but they don’t produce as much noise as the air intake.

Take note that the reason why the air compressor is so loud may go beyond just the machine itself. The surrounding area in which you are using the air compressor can affect how noisy it is.

Certain types of flooring can effectively amplify the amount of noise coming from your air compressor. Open areas are similarly conducive to spreading the sounds produced by the machine.

You don’t have to live with ear-splitting noises if you decide to keep an air compressor at home though. There are ways for you to significantly reduce the noise coming from it.

The Different Methods for Making an Air Compressor Quieter

The challenge of reducing the amount of noise produced by an air compressor can be approached in a few ways. Some of the methods are relatively simple while the others will require you to study up on certain procedures and possess some level of technical knowledge.

We’ll start by highlighting the easier methods and then move to the more difficult ones from there.

Purchase a Different Air Compressor

One thing about air compressors I haven’t mentioned so far is that not all of them emit the same level of noise. Going back to Chicago Pneumatic, the site notes that the sound range for air compressors on the decibel chart can go from around 40 decibels on the low end to as high as 100 decibels. To give you a better idea of just how wide that range is, if you find yourself in an environment with a noise level measured at around 40 decibels, that is comparable to a library setting. In other words, the sounds are relatively mild and you’ll be able to concentrate properly even if there are some murmurs going through the air. On the opposite end of the sound range, an air compressor producing sounds registering at 100 decibels will simulate a noisy lawn mower fairly accurately. You probably don’t need me to say anything more about how painful it can be to listen to a lawn mower. Hopefully, the air compressor you’ve already bought is closer to the low end of that previously mentioned sound range so that you won’t have to purchase a replacement. If you want to get an accurate read on just how noisy your air compressor is, you can use a decibel meter. As an aside, you should not hesitate to invest in a good decibel meter because it is crucial that you get precise measurements. A decibel meter will also be able to help you determine if you should avoid certain environments because they are too noisy. Pick up this decibel meter from Meterk if you want a quality item on hand at all times. With a decibel meter in your possession, you can now check how loud your air compressor is.
Sale
Decibel Meter, Meterk Digital Sound Level Meter, Range 30-130dB(A) Noise Volume Measuring Instrument Self-Calibrated Decibel Monitoring Tester(Battery Included)
  • 【Min/Max/Data Hold Function】 - Note: This noise meter has been calibrated at the factory and is calibrated to a standard source. The Sound Level Tester records the minimum and maximum sound decibels around any given time range and freezes the current measurement readings.
  • 【Large LCD Display】 - Clear readings and easy to use at night, widely used in factory, transportation, car, baby room and audio system office, sound quality control in home, school and construction site
Now, something you should know about air compressors is that their price is a pretty good indicator of the quality of work they provide. A less expensive air compressor is going to be very loud and will likely register at the higher end of the decibel range. You’re still getting the expected functions out of it, but your eardrums may have to pay a price too. A more expensive air compressor is capable of operating quietly. You shouldn’t worry about running it even during those lazy weekend afternoons because it will not disrupt your neighborhood. The CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor from California Air Tools is a great purchase if you want a useful machine that will not cause a ruckus.
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
  • Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
  • Oil-Free pump for less maintenance & costs

Change the Area Where the Air Compressor Is Set Up

Earlier, I mentioned that the area surrounding your air compressor can also affect how much noise it produces. Air compressors vibrate and when they move around, the surfaces they come in contact with may also start shaking and producing noise themselves. So, the obvious solution is to somehow mitigate the vibrations and prevent them from getting out of hand? There are different ways for you to do that. First off, you should really avoid placing an air compressor on top of floor tiles. The tiles may combine to make up your entire floor, but they are still individual surfaces. As soon as the air compressor powers up, it can shake those tiles up and cause them to rattle. Since air compressors are typically used along with other tools, they are often housed inside residential workshops. The problem with that is that screws, nuts, and bolts lying around may start rattling too as a result of the vibrations coming from the air compressor. Now imagine how noisy things can get if you are using an air compressor in a messy workshop with a few loose tiles. You may hear a ringing sound in your ears even days after you used the air compressor.

Take the time to find a good spot for your air compressor before you proceed with whichever projects you are planning to undertake. Your garage or workshop should be a good enough spot for using an air compressor as long as it has been thoroughly cleaned and organized.

Before starting though, you can further dampen the noise by laying down a rubber mat on the ground. Rubber is a great material to use for reducing sound because it absorbs vibrations pretty well. Use this rubber mat from Climatex together with your air compressor and you’ll see the kind of impact that small change can have to the noise level.

CLIMATEX 9G-018-36C-6, 36" x6' Indoor Outdoor Rubber Scraper Mat, x 6', Black
  • RUBBER SCRAPER MAT: Corrugated ridges trap mud, water, sand, and dirt to keep floors mess-free and provide traction – designed for high traffic areas and able to withstand most indoor and outdoor environments
  • INCLUDES: One heavy-duty, commercial grade 36 inch x 6 foot black rubber scraper mat made with a proprietary blend of rubber materials

Make Adjustments to Your Air Compressor

Sometimes, the air compressor you just bought or have been using for a while may perform in a way that is not congruous to how it was advertised. The manufacturers may have billed the machine in question as a quiet operator, but then you turn it on, and it’s just unpleasantly loud.

Were the manufacturers just selling you a defective product? There’s a chance that’s the case.

Alternatively, you may have failed to notice something wrong with your air compressor. More specifically, some components of your air compressor may not be fastened as tightly as they can be.

The bolts and screws used all over the air compressor may not have been tightened properly or they may have come loose over time. The good news is that you should be able to address that problem by using a few tools.

Other parts of the air compressor such as the clamps and pulleys can also come loose after a while. Adjust those as needed if you want to reduce the noise produced by the machine.

Use Rubber Grommets to Absorb Sounds

If you still find that the air compressor is producing excessive amounts of noise after you changed where it’s located and inspected its different components, it may be time to introduce other items into the equation. You can start by using rubber grommets or eyelets. According to Heyco, rubber grommets can be used in a wide array of applications. Rubber grommets can sometimes work as covers for the edges of a metal object’s opening. They act as protective barriers and allow materials to be passed through the opening without being damaged.

They have also been used to protect cables and wires.

For the purposes of lowering the volume on your air compressor, we can use the rubber grommets on the part of the machine that makes contact with the ground. The idea here is to use the rubber grommets as shock absorbers that basically prevent the mount of the compressor from being in full contact with the surface.

Thanks to the rubber grommets, the vibrations will have to pass through several items before they can reach the ground and make noise. These rubber grommets from Industrial Tools should work fine together with a variety of compressors since the pieces are available in different sizes.

Accessbuy 180-Piece Rubber Grommet Shop Assortment
  • 180 quality rubber grommets in 8 sizes in see-thru organizer case with snap-close lid
  • Essential for automotive, boat and RV wiring and repair jobs

Create an Extension for the Air Intake

Some folks may prefer to continue their projects inside their workshop and avoid working outdoors. That’s fine, but it also means being subjected to the at times unbearable noises created by the compressor’s air intake. It would be great if you could find some way to move the air intake away from you so that you won’t have to deal with the noises coming from it. There is a way to do that and you can pull it off by using a rubber hose. What you’ll want to do is place the rubber hose over the air intake. Secure the rubber hose in place by using either a bracket or a rubber grommet. Make sure that one end of the hose is completely covering the air intake and then position the other end so that it is facing outside. Craftsman’s Premium Rubber Garden Hose should be a huge help for this particular application.

Reduce the Air Compressor’s Noises with the Help of a Muffler

Last up is a method that will also focus on reducing the amount of noise that emanates from the compressor’s air intake. This time around though, we will be using a muffler to cut down on the noise. You can begin by picking up some heavy duty air hoses. Consider this air hose from Flexzilla as it possesses the kind of durability you need for this project.

Connect one end of the air hose to the air intake of your compressor. If there’s another intake, you may have to purchase another air hose or cut one down into two segments. Check to see that the air hose fits snugly over the air intake.

Run that hose down now into the muffler to significantly reduce the noise coming from the compressor.

According to How Stuff Works, mufflers work to eliminate noise by using multiple tubes. After the sound waves enter the muffler from the center tube, they will start to move around and are eventually reflected through a hole.

Sale
Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen - HFZP3850YW2
  • EXTREMELY FLEXIBLE – All weather flexibility (-40 Degree to 140 Degree F)
  • Field Repairable ends with Bend Restrictor
The sounds will continue to pass through numerous holes until they make it to another chamber known as the resonator. The resonator is then responsible for creating waves that will cancel out sound waves at a specific frequency. With all of that happening, the sounds that enter the muffler should come out significantly quieter on the other side. A muffler from an old car is suitable to be used here. You can also get this welded muffler from Thrush to complete your improvised noise-reduction system.
Thrush 17651 Welded Muffler
  • Two chamber design provides a deep aggresive tone
  • Available in 2.25 inch inlet and outlet

Conclusion

Air compressors are very useful pieces of equipment, but using them can sometimes be an unpleasant experience due to just how noisy they can be. If you’re among the people who have shied away from using air compressors because of the noise they produce, just know that you don’t have to live with that.

The different methods for reducing air compressor noise detailed above are relatively easy to follow and they should help you get the most out of that specific machine.

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