Unsurprisingly, when looking at the specs on any selection of air compressors, you’ll find that those with the most power also tend to be those with the highest noise rating.
For example, with a formidable 3 horsepower, the Makita MAC5200 is also the loudest at 90 dBA. Meanwhile, the Makita MAC700, a 2 horsepower machine like this one, ranks at 80 dBA (meaning half as loud as 90, due to the way dBA is measured).
This air compressor, however, is the exception to this rule.
Relatively Quiet Compressor
With a better-than-adequate 2 horsepower, this machine’s noise level is only 70 dBA. While the 80 dBA offered up by the Makita just about falls within the acceptable range for ear safety, it’s best to stick with something between 50 and 70 dBA if you plan on maintaining any sort of conversation. Communication is key on dangerous or complex jobs, so the noise rating of this machine alone puts it ahead of many other air compressors.
Of course, we’ve found air compressors that are quieter, each with their own set of benefits that earned them a spot here on our website. For example, the California 5510SE and Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 all have lower noise levels than this one, but none of them are nearly as capable.
And Powerful, Too
At two horsepower, this compressor packs twice the power of these models. In other words, while almost as quiet as the others, it can run longer, handle heavier loads, and power stronger tools.
This is why, while maintaining the same PSI output of 90, this machine can generate a continuous air flow of 5.3 CFM while the others all hover around the 2.2 to 2.4 range. Anyone with experience using air-powered tools knows that the jump from 2.2 to 5.3 CFM is more like a leap. It’s a game-changing difference that allows you to use a much wider variety of air tools.
A Few Important Extras
At 91 pounds, this is by far the heaviest compressor we reviewed. Luckily, California Air Tools built the unit tall instead of stout to save space, and put it on wheels so that you can move it around when needed.
The extra weight mostly sits in its powerful 2hp motor. All of our high-end compressors (such as the Makita MAC5200 and Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9) tend to tip the scales – to pack more power into a motor, you have no choice but to increase its weight. The increased difficulty in handling will hardly be a sacrifice, though, for those who need a machine that can handle high-power tools for longer periods of time.
- The oil-free pump is easy to manage and won't ruin "dry" projects such as woodworking.
- The 10-gallon tank should have no problem keeping up with your heavy-duty jobs.
- A dual-stage air pump keeps everything optimally pressurized.
- Even with wheels, some people will struggle to move this 91-pound compressor from place to place.
- Its somewhat high price may be more than some people are willing or be able to spend.