Air compressors can be surprisingly loud, especially if you have a large one that is required to move a lot of air in a quick amount of time. For most applications, sound usually isn’t a factor because they operate in large facilities where workers have plenty of hearing protection to guard their ears. However, there may be some circumstances where a quieter air compressor is preferable.

In this post, we’ll be discussing how to make an air compressor quieter and also discuss a few reasons why you may want to consider it.

How loud can air compressors get?

The best way to measure the noise levels of an air compressor is to use a device to measure it yourself. There are many smartphone apps that can give you a rough estimation, but you can also buy professional tools to achieve a much more accurate result. If you know the exact make and model of your air compressor then you can typically look up data sheets to see how loud it can get. Most manufacturers will have already performed professional tests to measure how much sound their air compressors make,

In most cases, a compressor will be around 80 to 90 dB. This is around the sound level of a freight train or a mildly busy construction site. In some cases, this can be enough to cause hearing loss, especially if you’re exposed to the noise for a long time without hearing protection. Quieter air compressors can be as low as 60 dB, especially if they aren’t being used at full power. These are typically more expensive but can be more convenient and comfortable to use.

What makes air compressors quieter?

Manufacturers use a variety of different techniques to reduce the amount of sound their air compressor makes. This includes air filter silencers, the use of sound dampening materials, and also speed settings to make the air compressor operate at a lower RPM. Keep in mind that this will affect the pressure output of the air compressor and may ultimately affect the performance of your tools or machines. Lubrication tends to make air compressors quieter and it’s possible to use rubber vibration isolation pads to further dampen the sound.

However, much of the sound dampening that makes air compressors quieter will be down to how the manufacturer constructs the air compressor. Different kinds of pumps will generally be more effective at reducing noise.

Can you make an air compressor quieter?

There are a handful of ways to dampen the sounds produced by your air compressor.

Use an intake silencer

The air intake is often the main cause of loud noises from your air compressor. Thankfully, you can buy aftermarket muffling devices that work as a silencing device and air filter. This helps to deaden the sound produced when air passes through the filter. A simple intake silencer can drastically reduce the amount of sound that the air compressor produced, but you’ll have to ensure that the intake silencer is compatible with your air compressor.

Isolate the compressor to avoid vibrations

If possible, isolating the air compressor can be a great way to reduce the amount of sound it produces. For example, rubber isolation mounts can help anchor a stationary air compressor which results in lowered vibrations and reduced noise. Sound-reducing pads are inexpensive and can dampen much of the vibrations, leading to a much quieter air compressor.

Using a soundproof box

You can also isolate the air compressor in its own soundproof box. This is usually a DIY solution that is constructed from some kind of wood that is lined with sound-dampening pads. This can be effective in some cases, but if it’s not possible to build around your air compressor then this can be difficult.

Stand further away from the air compressor

If possible, standing further away from the air compressor is generally considered the easiest way to reduce the amount of noise that affects you. Moving the air compressor as far as possible is generally a great option for reducing the noise, but this can be difficult depending on the circumstances in your facility. In some cases, you can increase the length by purchasing a longer air hose.

Some final words

There are a couple of great DIY solutions for dampening the sound that your air compressor producers. You can also make it quieter with a few additions to the air compressor itself. However, if it’s still too loud then you may want to consider purchasing a new air compressor that is designed for quieter operation from the start. 

Read more about our air compressor services and air compressor installation here.