How to make an air compressor quiet

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Despite making great strides over the years, manufacturers are yet to invent what we have all been looking forward to: a super quiet compressor that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

And so you still have to rely on personal solutions to make your unit run quieter.

This article will introduce you to air compressor tips and tricks that can bring the noise down to bearable levels.

Here is how to make an air compressor quiet.

diy quiet air compressor

How to make an air compressor quiet: simple tips and tricks

The following hacks will help you work in a reasonably quieter environment.

Air compressor muffler kit

Here you get a larger muffler kit and connect it to the inlet (the admitting port) of your air compressor.

They generally work wonderfully and it can be a very handy option.

I love that these types of mufflers are quite straightforward to install- it should be a breeze even if you’re not passionate about DIY stuff.

Perhaps the only downside is that you have to spend, but it’s definitely worth it since it can lower the noise tremendously.

Check this example muffler for oil-less air units.

Get yourself an air compressor silencer

Another increasingly popular option is the use of an air compressor silencer and you can explore it if mufflers have been a letdown.

In fact, the best ones can even decrease the noise by as much as 50% meaning that you can easily converse with a mate while standing next to it without shouting yourself hoarse.

Just like a muffler, the silencer is designed to be fixed on the inlet of compressors and people report a real difference after installing them, even on the powerful (and simultaneously extremely loud) two-stage compressors.

A nice model to try is the Ingersoll rand air compressor silencer.


Built a room around the unit

Well, if you’re still unhappy, you can go all out and build a little room for your annoyingly noisy air compressor.

I know that it’s not the most affordable alternative but it works like a charm.

The idea is to build some little dedicated ‘noise’ room for your compressor using ordinary materials like concrete blocks in a suitable location.

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Be sure to cover any ‘noise-leaking’ openings in the blocks since you want it to retain noise ‘in-house’.

Also, provide for the inlet and also seal it-you can use Styrofoam or any other noise absorbing material.

Learn how you can supercharge your air compressor  here

Build an air compressor sound enclosure

An air compressor enclosure is, arguably the best course of action.

I say so because an air compressor noise reduction box can lower the noise to a mere whimper, as long as you get its construction right- by this I mean you vent it appropriately to prevent heat buildup.

The best thing about the close project is that it shouldn’t be as expensive as the previously explained compressor ‘noise room’ construction.

Materials you need:

  • 2×4’s wooden blocks/mdfs
  • Ventilation fan
  • Foam board
  • Wood glue
  • Sealant

General guidelines:

  • Cut the board to the exact measurements depending on your compressors height and width, while leaving some space allowance (20-30%) between the unit and the MDF panels.

Pro Tip: I suggest that you double plate the panels – including the top panel and the base-for the best noise retention before joining them.

  • Next, you glue the pieces together (but the lid) and leave the box to dry for about 24 hours.
  • Now cut the foam (as per the panels’ measurements) and stick 2 or more layers all around (inside plus on the lid).
  • Cut out a hole for the power cord as necessary and ventilation (this can be at the top or any other ideal place).
  • Place your compressor inside appropriately and seal the box with the lid.

You should be careful when fitting since you don’t want to leave gaps through which noise can escape. And you should apply a good quality sealant to any visible gaps.

For the most part, this totally does the trick.

Note: You’re free to use your creativity to improve on the above design. For instance, the more layers of foam, the better the noise cancellation.

Air compressor sound blanket

You can as well buffer your air compressor noisy operation with sound blankets if you don’t want to get a heart attack once your reciprocating compressor kicks on.

You simply attach a sound blanket like this securely or invent a similar design with substitutes such as sound reducing mats/carpet.

This could be a great way of muting large compressors and the best thing is that your compressor will continue performing optimally.

Tuck it away

You can move it further away to the farthest corner and stick noise absorbing foam to the surrounding walls behind it.

You should additionally reinforce the other 2 sides with extra sheets of foam –stick them on properly sized pieces plywood and place them strategically to barricade the ‘open’ sides.

How to make an air compressor quiet: Other useful considerations

Here are some more actions that can help minimize the sound your machine makes.

Go through them and implement those you feel could be beneficial.

  • Take the compressor’s air intake outside- a lot of noise comes from the intake and having it outside (in an open space) the workshop helps.
  • Add rubber to the motor- the motor is also a major contributor and wrapping it in rubber can help dampen the noise at the source.
  • Place it on rubber mats– this diminishes the machine’s vibrations and is also worthwhile.
  • Tune it up– having loose parts, dirty air filters, and insufficient lubrication triggers unwarranted noises variously and won’t make your job of muzzling it easier. Check all these.

Wrapping it up

Overall, the best way of suppressing a noisy air compressor is constructing an air enclosure (or buying a sound dampening cabinet).

But you can survive with some of the other solutions including wearing earplugs (your colleagues will, however, still be suffering!) until you afford time and resources to build a soundproof box.

Having said that, most of the inexpensive compressors are louder (since their pumps turn at faster speeds) and you might eventually have to budget for a heavy-duty replacement –if your work situation demands so.

Meanwhile, see if the above helps.

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