National Hardware Show Tool Roundup: 3 Air Compressors

May 31, 2016


Quiet, rust-free, light-weight compressors for jobsite, shop, or finish carpentry projects


Because you couldn't break away from the job, I went to the National Hardware Show in your place. I found 29 cool tools worth writing home about, and here are three of them: all air compressors from California Air Tools. Next week, I'll post another dozen or so along with more video, and the following week I'll post the rest.


California Air Tools Compressor 4620AC

This new 2-HP model from California Air Tools puts out 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI while producing only 70 dB of sound, a level well below that of most compressors of its size. Noise was reduced by using a pair of oversize pistons driven by a motor that runs at only 1,680 rpm.

The tanks hold 4.6 gallons and are made from aluminum—to prevent rust and reduce weight. The oil-free pump has a life cycle of 3,000 hours and is designed to be easily serviced. Features include a regulator, twin air gauges, and two 1/4-inch quick connects.

An easy start valve bleeds pressure at startup to prevent tripped breakers.

Price: $349.


California Air Tools Compressor 10020C

The 10020C has the same pump and motor as the 4.6-gallon twin tank compressor as the 4620 AC. Designed for the garage or shop, it has a 10-gallon tank made from steel. The option exists to equip the tank with an auto-draining valve to prevent rust and water buildup.

The compressor puts out 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI and has a 2 HP motor that runs at only 1,680 RPM, which allows it to produce only 70 dB of sound. It has a dual-piston pump rated for 3,000 hours, two 1/4-inch quick connects, and a panel with a regulator and twin air gauges.

An easy start valve bleeds pressure at startup to prevent tripped breakers.

Price: $349.


California Air Tools Compressor 2010ALFC

This ultra-quiet trim compressor has a 2-gallon aluminum tank and 1-HP motor that draws 7.6 amps. Rated at 3.0 CFM at 90 PSI it puts out a mere 60 dB, a level of sound equal to that of normal conversation.

One of two very similar models, this 35-pound machine is designed for industrial use and has a pump tested for a minimum life of 4,000 hours.

Price: $250.


—David Frane is a freelance editor and a good buddy of ours. Formerly, he was editor of Tools of the Trade magazine and website. He lives in Northern California.