A Whisper-Quiet Compressor That’s Worth Shouting About

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This article is from Issue 88 of Woodcraft Magazine.

California Air Tools 4710SQ Quiet Flow Compressor

Overview

  • Quiet, compact, oil-free compressor
  • 1.0 hp motor, 6.5 amp draw
  • 4.7 gallon; 3.0 cfm @ 40 psi;
  • 2.0 cfm @ 90 psi
  • 43 lbs.
  • $142.90

Power-tool woodworking is inherently noisy. But unlike the anticipated whine of a router or a nailer’s percussive report, the ear-splitting chug of an air compressor often rears up unexpectedly. One second you’re in a conversation or listening to music, and the next, you can’t hear yourself think. Although I had devised some noise-coping tricks for my old compressor (e.g., starting it up and then stepping out for coffee, or setting it at the far end of my shop), I still had to keep my muffs within reach. After trying a Quiet Flow compressor from California Air Tools, I discovered the best trick yet: parking my old pancake-style compressor at the curb. 

When tested at arm’s length, the oil-free 4710 SQ registered 74 decibels (dB). Although still louder than normal conversation (60dB), it’s about 25% quieter than the 92dB compressor I had been working with, which is like music to my ears. The noise level difference is partially due to the dual-piston pump. Whereas conventional direct-drive compressors run at 3450 RPMs, CA Air Tools’ compressors operate at 1725 RPMs. In addition to reducing noise and vibration, the manufacturer claims that the slower and smoother running motor means a longer service life. Although my new Quiet Flow provides slightly less air than my old compressor (2.0 cfm at 90 psi vs. 2.6 cfm at 90 psi), this difference hasn’t slowed me down in the workshop or on the jobsite.

If you’re not sold yet, consider that this quiet compressor costs about the same as a noisier conventional model, and sometimes less. So, whether you’re shopping for your first compressor or looking to buy a replacement, here’s your chance to save your hearing, and maybe even save some money.

—Tester, Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

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To hear this compressor in action, check out our 2-minute air compressor challenge video at woodcraftmagazine.com.

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