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4 Top Air Compressors

Super quiet

Rolair JC10, $240, (above)

2.5-gallon tank
Fill time from empty: 60 seconds
Recharge time: 17 seconds

This compressor combines quiet operation, quick tank fills, and compactness better than any other. Its oil-free, twin-cylinder pump runs at a crazy-quiet 62 decibels. The solidly built unit weighs 40 pounds, but you can carry it easily enough.


Makita MAC700, $220


2.6-gallon tank
Fill time from empty: 60 seconds
Recharge time: 22 seconds

With an oil-lubricated, cast-iron pump, this compressor should last a decade or more. That heavy metal makes this 52-pounder tougher to lug around than most, though its cushioned handle helps some. It ran at a reasonable 75 decibels, but its relatively low pitch keeps it from being bothersome.

Fast filler

Bostitch CAP1512-OF, $150


1.2-gallon tank
Fill time from empty: 37 seconds
Recharge time: 12 seconds

Although this oil-free compressor runs at 82 decibels, it fills the tank so quickly, you’ll hardly notice the racket. And it fills to 150 psi, giving you longer periods between recharges than similar-size models that top out around 135 psi. This 24-pound compressor carries easily and includes a convenient cord wrap.


Makita AC001, $170


1-gallon tank
Fill time from empty: 2 minutes, 15 seconds
Recharge time: 53 seconds

For its weight (23 pounds), this unit does a nice job keeping up with brad nailers and pinners. Larger nailers could need more pause between shots, depending on your nailing speed. It’s nearly as quiet (63 decibels) as the Rolair, and easier to carry. 

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