WTB - Quiet compressor advice

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
For "Really Quiet" Junn-Air makes compressors that make about as much noise as a refrigerator. The one that I have gets used for power carving and brad nailing. I can be working and not hear it running, until it shuts off and the bleed-off dumps. The sudden hiss in a very quiet shop sometimes makes me jump.

Charley
 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
I wanted to replace my aging Devilbiss pancake compressor. My space is limited, so that narrowed my search. I did quite a bit of searching and researching. For whatever it’s worth, my conclusions included these ramblings…

The nearly undisputed pinnacles of best in class in small(ish) compressors are the Makita Big Bore MAC2400 (no wheels) and/or MAC5200 (wheels and a fold-down handle). The 2400 is $320 and rarely on sale. Amazon does, however, have it at $299 right now. The 5200 is $330. They are oil crankcase units, which (some say) last longer under heavy use, but require oil changes. They use the less-common 1,725 RPM motors and a larger (single) cylinder, which contribute to somewhat quieter operation (compared to most of this ilk), but are still noisier than what is a generation of compressors that use low-RPM motor/compressor modules that look like this.

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These remarkably quiet 1,725 RPM, two cylinder motor/compressor modules once seemed to be an exclusive of California Air Tools (C.A.T.). Now, however, they are appearing on compressors offered by other brands. I too read C.A.T reviews that ranged from glowing to "never again", which gave me pause.

I then ran across this unit at Northern Tool.

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NorthStar Electric Air Compressor 1.5 HP, 8-Gallon Vertical Tank, Portable, Quiet Operation | Northern Tool + Equipment

The form factor/footprint was ideal for me. It is very quiet and what noise it does make is less of less objectionable nature. With an 8-gallon tank, it’s smaller than many vertical machines, but is twice the capacity of my pancake unit. Two output connections are a nice plus and the gauges are larger and much easer to read than most. Very robust construction and heavy, but easy to move though (once it’s on its wheels). The Northern Tool store price is $319, but the website lists it as on sale at $249 (12/6/2018). With the common $20 Northern Tool discount card, it was $229. Lastly, the Northern Tool NorthStar warranty is 4-years (4 times than of anything else I shopped for).

I've been using this compressor for over a year now. No issues whatsoever. Far less noise than my previous 4-gal, Steel Driver pancake unit. Smooth running. in other words, it doesn't dance around when running. Plenty of air pressure and air volume for my small shop. I don't run air sanders or grinders and I spray with an HVLP turbine.

Ed
 

bbrown

Bill
User
Ed, that was a super review and very helpful. I'll take a look at the NorthStar.
Thanks so much.
 

Billm0066

Bill
User
Ive been using california air tools for several years. My first one lasted about 3-4 years and wouldnt turn on. I messed with it a bit but couldnt figure it out so I bought a new one. Its been running great for a year now. Its insanely quiet. If anyone is in raleigh and wants my non working unit to mess with send me a DM. You can have it.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
If you get the harbor freight one, you can get the replacement guarantee (1 year) for a small price and take it back for a new one in 11 months, no questions asked. As for me, if its working well, I wouldn't trade it in for a "new" one, but others may differ in their philosophy.
 

NCPete

Pete Davio
Corporate Member
Ive been using california air tools for several years. My first one lasted about 3-4 years and wouldnt turn on. I messed with it a bit but couldnt figure it out so I bought a new one. Its been running great for a year now. Its insanely quiet. If anyone is in raleigh and wants my non working unit to mess with send me a DM. You can have it.
What size is that one Bill? I would be interested in giving it my best impression of Junquecol.
 

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