Best California Air Compressors – 2021 Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

Tool Tango is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

California Air Tools is a favorite choice of both first-time and more seasoned air compressor users. Regardless of where you’re standing, its ultra-quiet, oil-free, and lightweight models will catch your eye.

Yet, to make the best choice from its many different options, consider the following buying guide's information.

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are some of the best California Air Compressors:

  1. California Air Tools 10020c
  2. California Air Tools 5510se
  3. California Air Tools 2010a

Comparison of Best California Air Compressors

Product

Our Rating

Price

California Air Tools 10020c

  • 2.0 HP
  • 10 Gallon Capacity
  • 120V

California Air Tools 5510se

  • 1.0 HP
  • 5.5 Gallon Capacity
  • 110V

California Air Tools 2010a

  • 1.0 HP
  • 2.0 Gallon Capacity
  • 110V

California Air Tools 8010

  • 1.0 HP
  • 8 Gallon Capacity
  • 110V

California Air Tools 4620ac

  • 2.0 HP
  • 4.6 Gallon Capacity
  • 110V

Who is California Air Tools? 

To know more about these products, a look back into their history will shed significant light. Just like the name suggests, the company was established in California, in Stan Diego, to be more specific. The project started back in 2002. It was only in 2009 that the company introduced its Ultra Quiet product line that makes it famous.

As a project of industry professionals, California Air Tools aimed to innovate and exceed customer expectations early on. Air compressors are known to be loud and often oil-lubed. But that’s not the case with CAT’s air compressors. Even though a bit more expensive, these are quieter and easier to work with and maintain than other products of the same size.

How Does California Air Tools Compare to the Competition? 

The company pops up in many different searches. And there’s a reason why they have at least one product to match any intended use. Below, we’ll outline some of the top aspects that make CAT products raise above their competitors:

Quiet Operation

Most of the California Air Tools air compressors reach a maximum of 60 dB noise level, which is the equivalent of a normal conversation. They also have a few options at around 70 dB, part of the same Ultra Quiet series, which is still very well compared to the approximately 80 – 90 dB you’d get from most of its competitors.

Wide Range Of Sizes

Just because the company aims for comfortable operation, it doesn’t imply limiting users on the tank size. From a 2-gallon to a 30-gallon, and even a 60-gallon Ultra Quiet air compressor, you have plenty of options.

Motor Power

Another exciting feature of the CAT models is that while they run with low noise, they are still backed by powerful motors. To your surprise, you might notice they have small units with a 2-gallon tank and a 2 HP motor, working at 60 dB, a combo you’ll hardly find in other brands.

California Air Compressor Review 

Next, we’ll share our findings after carefully testing some of California Air Tools’ best-rated air compressors. The good, the bad, and the outstanding are all detailed for each chosen model. Make sure you read through it all before you make up your mind!

California Air Tools 10020c Review

PROS

  • Requires less maintenance
  • Relies on a powerful motor
  • Built for quiet performance
  • Allows easy & safe operation
  • Good maximum pressure & airflow

CONS

  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Not the largest tank you can find

Our Review:

The 10020c air compressor sized at 16 x 15.1 x 35.9 inches features a 10-gallon tank and weighs 82.5 lbs. The 2 HP motor requires as little as 7 amps and can reach up to 125 PSI at about 70 decibels. The oil-free pump makes for smooth operation, with minimum costs and maintenance efforts.

The vertical design takes less space, while the two wheels allow you to carry it around. It comes with two quick connects, each one at 1/4-inch. And it makes a good choice for those interested in a quiet air compressor for occasional, smaller jobs.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Part of the California Air Tools’ Ultra-Quiet series, this air compressor strikes an attractive balance between the powerful 2 HP motor and the quiet 70 dB noise level it generates. It is also portable, and even though a bit heavy, the wheels facilitate comfortable maneuvering. Not to mention it has an upright tank, something that frequent users prefer.

California Air Tools 5510se Review 

PROS

  • Good maximum PSI for this size
  • Very low noise level even at full capacity
  • Powerful operation with dual-piston pump
  • Ideal for working in small, enclosed spaces
  • Easily maneuverable, lightweight & wheeled

CONS

  • Suitable for small tasks only
  • A bit pricey compared to similar models

Our Review:

The 5510se California Air Tools compressor is one of the quietest you’ll come around. Small and with a sleek design, it weighs 46 lbs and measures 25.5 x 11.5 x 21 inches, packing a 5.5-gallon tank. Paired with a 1 HP motor, it’s amazing that it stays at 60 dB even when running at full capacity.

For your convenience, the unit is equipped with an oil-free, dual-piston pump made of cast aluminum. Effective, durable, and with low-maintenance, it perfectly complements the motor, allowing it to reach a maximum PSI of 120.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

At 5.5 gallons, this is a small-sized air compressor, suitable for small jobs, yet its motor is surprisingly powerful. This translates into great performances when used as intended by the manufacturer. Plus, it makes for a low maintenance product, significantly less subjected to tear than average air compressors in the same class.

California Air Tools 2010a 

PROS

  • Low amp draw
  • Rust-free aluminum tank
  • Very quiet, for indoor operation
  • Really small size, ultra-portable
  • Powerful motor and oil-free pump

CONS

  • Only 1-year limited warranty
  • Plug wire could be a bit longer

Our Review:

For those familiar with California Air Tools air compressors, this model will stand out as a small, lightweight, and easily-maneuverable unit. It measures 18.5 x 14 x 13.5 inches at 35.3 lbs, comes with a one-handle design, and features a 2-gallon, no-rust tank made of aluminum.

This tool supports high air delivery, with 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI and 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI. It features overheating protection. And can reach a maximum pressure of 120 PSI. The 2 HP 4-pole motor goes only up to 1680 RPM, and it benefits from ETCL and UL certifications.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The California Air Tools 2010a is the saving choice for working in small spaces where noise is an issue. It is small and so lightweight that it doesn’t even need wheels. It has a powerful motor that kicks in without going over 60 dB. What’s more, the oil-free dual-piston pump ensures a life cycle of at least 3000 hours, compared to only 500 hours you’d get from similar models.

California Air Tools 8010

PROS

  • Works with low amp draw, for cost-effective operation
  • Motor and pump facilitate fast fill-time and recovery time
  • Ultra-quiet model that still reaches a high maximum PSI
  • Highly-portable, suitable for frequent use in different locations
  • Works well indoor and outdoor, with reduced pollution footprint

CONS

  • Could use a bit of extra horsepower
  • Operation conditioned by the presence of a plug socket

Our Review:

For an 8-gallon air compressor, this portable unit catches the eye in many different ways. It is a corded-electric model with a 1 HP motor, an oil-free pump, and a maximum PSI of 120. It measures 26 x 14 x 23 inches and weighs 54 pounds. And it is super easy to maneuver, thanks to the sleek design and solid wheels.

Just as you’d expect from a model in the Ultra-Quiet series, this one, too, stays to a 60 dB noise level when fully functioning. The low amperage draw and the fast tank refill time make it a convenient choice. Thanks to the low-maintenance pump, even the first-time users will get the grasp of it pretty quickly.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This air compressor works with a low amperage draw, which facilitates cost-effective operation for frequent users. It is very quiet, which means you’ll hardly draw attention when using it, either in a closed space or outside. And it goes from completely empty to a full tank in as little as 165 seconds.

California Air Tools 4620ac

PROS

  • Powerful motor with low RPM
  • Works with less noise and less wear
  • Performs well in various temperatures
  • Starts easy and runs with low amp draw
  • Equipped with a dual-piston pump, oil-free

CONS

  • Could use better finishing touches
  • Somewhat heavy, relatively portable

Our Review:

Yet another popular model from California Air Tools’ Ultra-Quiet series, this 4.6-gallon, twin compressor with a 2 HP motor runs with only 70 dB. It measures 20.7 x 18 x 21 inches and weighs 68 lbs. And thanks to its oil-free pump system, it promises up to 3000 hours of optimal functioning.

The easy-start valve, fast delivery time, low amp draw, and powerful operation translate into 5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI, respectively 6.40 CFM @ 40 PSI. Whether hot or cold, indoor or outdoor, it works as intended and keeps a low noise level.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

CAT’s 4620ac 4.6-gallon air compressor is a great twin-tank unit that delivers more than decent power. At the same time, it is compact and relatively portable, designed with features that should make operation straightforward. Above all, it is so quiet that some users will have a hard time believing it’s actually an oil-free compressor.

Quick Take: Best California Air Compressors

In summary, here are the best California Air Compressors from this review:

  1. California Air Tools 10020c
  2. California Air Tools 5510se
  3. California Air Tools 2010a

Comparison Overview 

Even though California Air Tools manufactures air compressors of different sizes, you’ll occasionally encounter very similar models at the same size. If you’re considering one of their 5 to 10-gallon models, chances are you’ll have questions about the following air compressors: 

California Air Tools 5510se vs 6310

Both the 5510se and the 6310 models have a 1 HP motor that stays at 60 dB noise level. They both deliver a maximum of 120 PSI, with the pretty standard 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI. And they are designed with a horizontal tank and wheel kit.

However, the California Air Tools 5510se vs. 6310 comparison comes down to the size and the sturdiness of the tank. If the 5510 has a 5.5-gallon aluminum tank, the 6310 has a 6.3-gallon steel tank. The smaller model also weighs only 37.5 lbs, compared to 49 lbs the larger model.

California Air Tools 10020c vs 10020

From a distance, both the 10020c and the 10020 models have a 10-gallon tank, a maximum 125 PSI, and a 2 HP 110 V motor that supports a 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI. Even the noise level is the same, at around 70 dB. So, what’s the difference?

In a nutshell, the California Air Tools 10020c vs. 10020 can be summed up to the New vs. Old 10020 model, since the manufacturer discontinued the latter. The 10020C version has a new type of motor that should increase the duty cycle and ensure longer continuous operation times.

Conclusion 

Just by looking at the above reviews and comparison overview, one thing is clear. Just because CAT sells so many different air compressors, it doesn’t mean your choice will be easy. But with a bit of patience and the information we already summed up for you, you’re getting closer to deciding for a particular model. They’re all quite similar, with tank size and motor power oscillations.

People Also Ask

Almost sold on the California Air Tools air compressors but wondering how come you don’t know much about the company? The following answers to brand-related questions will scatter the doubt.

Where Are California Air Tools Products Made?

The California Air Tools products have been made in San Diego, California, ever since 2002. Starting with 2019, the company expanded its factory in Mexico.

Who Makes California Air Tools Products?

The CAT products are manufactured by the company with the same name, California Air Tools Inc, a relatively young presence on the market.

Who Owns California Air Tools?

California Air Tools is privately-owned by a group of professionals from the air tool industry. The founders and owners aimed, from the very beginning, to design, engineer, and manufacture products that innovate and that are easy to work with for the end-user.

How Long Has California Air Tools Been Around?

The company started in 2002 by forming the team that researched, designed, and engineered revolutionary air compressors.

Why are California Air Tools Products so Popular?

The products manufactured and sold by California Air Tools stand out as low-maintenance, high-power units with noise levels as low as 60-70 dB. The fact that they work with oil-free pumps also makes them particularly attractive.

What Kind of Warranty Does California Air Tools Offer?

The California Air Tools products are backed up by a limited, 1-year manufacturer warranty.

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.