Air tools are becoming popular among people as an alternative for electric or battery powered conventional tools. They use compressed or pressurized air to create the equivalent effect of electrically powered tools. Air tools and more specifically, air compressors can be many times louder than other types of tools. In this article, I will talk about how to make air tools quieter using different types of soundproofing techniques.
Air tools are also known as pneumatic tools, “pneumatic” refers to the process of using compressed air. Air tools allow users to perform all the routine tasks that can be accomplished with a usual electric tool ranging from painting, nailing, sawing and screwing. They support the tools with an equal amount of energy generated from the air compressor.
How Pneumatic Tools Work
To generate such a large amount of pressure, air is squashed into smaller particles, probably eight times smaller than their normal state. Once a massive volume of these air particles released, they generate a large amount of pressure that converts into energy to run a tool.
The air compressor concept is based on Boyle’s law which states that smaller volume proportionally creates higher pressure at a constant temperature.
There are plenty of tools that can be powered by compressed air. Any device that runs with battery or main power supply can be an air powered tool.
Some examples are Drills, Angle grinders, Sanders, Saws, Chipping, hammers, Nail Guns, Spray guns, Air Ratchet, Tire inflators, Impact Wrench. Some other tools that can only perform with air compressor power are Air gun, Sandblasting gun, Air shears, and Pop Riveter.
Air tools gain popularity in recent years due to their numerous user-friendly features. They are lightweight, usually, less in mass compared to standard electric tools that carry bulky motors and parts on the side. Hence, it became the most convenient tool for construction workers who have to hold them all day along.
Moreover, conventional tools that run with an AC or DC has high potential to produce sparks when in contact with the metal. It can be deathly in the presence of flammable substances whereas air tools are a much safer option due to their spark-less characteristics when in contact with metals.
Why Air Tools Are so Noisy
Though in many ways air tools sound convincing as a better alternative for electric devices, on the downside, air compressors make harsh noise as air escapes from the exhaust port on the tool. The power is immense but a loud air tool or a noisy air compressor can make someone want to exchange that noisy air tool with its electric counterpart!
If you’re wondering how noisy, an air compressor can be then you would require a decibel meter. Decibel meters (dB) are measurement unit for sound and noise. Generally, an air compressor can make 70d to 90dB. Anything that falls in the range of 80dB to 90dB is going to pierce your eardrums.
Some of the common factors that lead to noise production are the vibration of the air compressor. An air compressor that has many hollow sections tends to produce more noise than the one with fewer hollow parts. Apart from that, the material in which the air compressor is made of influences the noise production.
Any good quality compressor that is made of high-quality materials that are thick and dense will generate minimum noise compared to the ones made of thin, less dense materials. Lastly, air compressor releases considerable noise due to its loudest components known as exhaust.
An exhaust on an air compressor releases all of the byproducts from the machine alongside with some sickening noise. As we already talked about the factors that make noise, now let’s dive deep into the ways to reduce it.
10 Ways to Make Air Tools Quieter
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to make air tools quieter in seconds. I will be listing out a few Do-It-Yourself tricks and alteration that you can make together with some external devices that you can purchase on Amazon to make your air compressor and pneumatic tools quieter.
1. Install Rubber Grommet on the Air Compressor Motor
As we all know, rubber is an excellent sound insulator. It absorbs the energy produced by the loud air compressor and prevents it from making an echo. You can install a rubber grommet on your compressor or even on the motor.
Moreover, the vibration of the motor is one of the main factors that lead to deafening noise. Thus, covering the engine with rubber is an excellent choice since it will dampen and absorb the vibrations produced during the energy release and eventually reduce the noise spread.
You can get these Rubber Grommets Sets From Amazon, and they come in various sizes and shapes, which will easily fit into your air compressor and motor.
Installing rubber grommets in your air compressor and the motor is an easy yet time-consuming project.
Here is the step-by-step guide for the installation of rubber grommets on a loud air compressor.
- loosen the mounting nuts and slide the new rubber grommets into compressor’s mounting feet. It can be quite challenging since the compressor is heavy and can hardly be moved up due to rigid connections of hose all around.
- After that, you need to make sure that the holes of the new grommets line up correctly to match and cover the compressor.
2. Install a Muffler on the Compressors Intake
These simple, low-cost mufflers (Amazon) are easy to install and are very popular for use with the air compressor to quiet the exhaust stroke. They are available in various sizes to match all types of compressors.
If you don’t have a muffler, then investing in one will save your ears from a lifetime bleeding. Certain heavy-duty mufflers are made of corrosion resistant aluminum and aligned with sound absorbent foam. These mufflers can provide noise reduction of up to 20dB with little to zero pressure drop.
Now for the installation process, you need a muffler that is suitable for your air compressor and two heavy duty air hoses. Just use one of the hose to connect the intake and muffler at two ends, and then attach it back with the other hose.
Now, the sound has to pass thru the muffler before hitting the exhaust port which will lead to the least amount of noise production; And hopefully a quieter air tool.
3. Bring the Intake Component Outside
Moving the intake component of the air compressor to a broad and open space will aid in noise reduction. It is because generally, we will store the air compressor in an enclosed space such as a garage or basement where the intake is much nearer to the compressor and motor and thus, producing intense noise.
By taking out the input away from the compressor to an open space like your backyard or garden may allow the compressor to suck air from the external surrounding with minimal noise. Creating an adequate distance between the compressor and intake alone can reduce the noise as much as 25% (Source; Michigan Air Solutions).
For this method, you need to purchase a;
- Rubber Hose
- Push the hose into the intake component tightly and secure it with a bracket.
- You can also make use of the rubber grommets from the set listed above. You can use the grommets to secure the hos even further by bringing the quantity of noise down another notch.
- Now the compressor’s intake is ready to bring outside and fix at your desired place.
4. Buy a Quieter Air Compressor
If you’d rather not bother with the extra work of fixing the noise issue of your compressor, then opting for a quieter air compressor might just be your best choice.
An excellent and quiet air compressor will generate noise in the range of 60dB to 75dB.
There are few air compressors designed exclusively with noise reduction in mind, and California Air Tools Portable Air Compressor (Amazon) is one of those quiet air compressors. Most compressors from California Air Tools can be bought at a surprisingly affordable price.
So, if you have the budget and feeling tired with your noisy air compressor, then it’s time to shop for a new one. We have also handpicked and listed some quieter air compressor models in the market for your reference.
5. Buy Quiet Air Tools
Just like a loud air compressor, if you don’t want to bother with loud air tools, then opting for a quiet pneumatic tool is a good choice.
Aircat has an array of quiet air tools at affordable prices. They are not only an all-around quieter air tool, but they are also well made and sturdy. Browsing through numerous positive reviews gives me no hesitation in recommending Aircat air tools.
6. Placing the Air Tool in a Soundproof Enclosure
As we know the fact that air tools make a hell of a noise, so keeping them in a quiet space will clear the issue in a snap.
Creating a soundproof enclosure is a piece of cake, given that it is made of sound insulating materials aligned all over the area. The link will lead you to a complete guide on how you can build your very own air compressor quiet box.
7. Wearing Earplugs
For those who work near noisy air tools, wearing earplug is vital since it adds an extra layer of safety to prevent from suffering any physical damage due to hearing loss.
Always act smart by wearing earplugs while working near any noise creating machines or devices including air tools. Exposure to loud noises regularly can impair your hearing over time. Standing near loud air tools producing harsh sound can eventually weaken your eardrum in the long run.
Thus, wearing earplugs whenever you decide to approach an air compressor or any types of air tool will not only avoid the excessive sound entering into your ears but also preventing your eardrums from suffering long term damage. Opt for good quality earplugs that are made with high external sound resistant features. Check our these Ear Plugs from Amazon!
The most effective noise reduction method is a soundproof enclosure, soundproof blankets or even heavy duty moving blankets are also an effective form.
Placing a soundproof blanket over the air tool or the air compressor can do a reasonable job in muffling the high and mid-range frequencies. Soundproof blankets have become popular soundproofing method for home recording studios and any types of areas where outside noise becomes an issue.
One use of soundproof blankets is to place the air compressor into a corner with a double-sided enclosure under these types of sound blankets.
Another way to use soundproof blankets or moving blankets is to place the air compressor inside a box or big enough cupboard and hang sound blankets over it.
9. Install an Air Line Filter
An air line filter should be installed for the purpose of trapping water, dirt, rust, and scale that is commonly present in compressed air lines. U should often drain the air line filter through the valve at the bottom of the bowl. You should certainly install an air line filter ahead of an
You should note that even the tiniest of air leak will add to your overhead if you’re using these types of air tools in your business.
10. Install an Air Line Silencer
One thing I often forget about when thinking of how to make air tools quieter is how loud tank draining can become.
There is an inexpensive and effective way to make air tank drainage quieter by installing an air line silencer.
The Parker Acetal Plastic Exhaust Air Line Silencer is easily attachable to the air tank drain and can reduce how loud it is venting the system by upwards of 25%.
Important Maintenance Tips for Air Tools and Air Compressor to Limit Noise Production.
Similar to any machines or devices that make noise while it functions, air tools and compressors can generate more noise compared to the beginning if left unattended.
Thus, regular maintenance is crucial to prevent air tools from making more noise and losing its functionality. Simple maintenance like lubricating the moving parts, cleaning out the air filters and some professional support yearly will enable your loud air tools to run efficiently with less noise with an extended life span.
1. Regular Lubrication
Proper air tools lubrication is an important preventative maintenance requirement. It is expected that upwards of 80% of air tool failures can be traced back to poor lubrication.
Everyone that owns a car should know the undeniable necessity of oil in an automobile engine. Application of the same lubrication standard to air tools would help reduce the principal cause of loud air tools and premature failure.
Many types of air tools develop a motor speed of 12 500 R.P.M. or more. Sustained operation at such speeds not only require filtered air nut also requires adequate lubrication.
Most portable air tools out there have built-in reservoirs, but in use, these specific features are virtually never used. It is not feasible to attempt to include reservoirs in smaller portable air tools.
Consequently, air motors can effectively be lubricated by means of conventional air line oilers. Such oilers usually have a minimum volume of a pint. A transparent bowl provides visual inspection of the oil level.
Lubrication not only reduces the resistance between the moving parts of the air compressor and discharges the heat created from it. Failing to provide sufficient lubrication to these types of air tools will prompt the bearings and other parts of the air compressor to begin to corrode. After corrosion begins and comes into contact with each other; it results in a very noisy air tool!
2. Cleaning out the air filters
You have to make sure that the air compressor cylinders are always dirt free. Thus, cleaning up the oil, dirt and dust particles trapped in the air filter is an important step. If the filter is left clogged, then it will prevent the external air from entering into the compressor.
Moreover, the existing specks of dirt will wander into the compressor causing more blockages at its moving parts. At worst, the compressor will start to make more and more noise. It is ideal for clearing out dirt from the inlet filters for every 12 months once depending on the operation capacity of the compressor.
3. Professional Maintenance
Air tools life span can be extended drastically with proper maintenance. The owner can only perform simple maintenance like lubricating and air filter cleaning. However, in the case of more significant issues, it is good to leave your expensive air tools and air compressor to trained professionals.
Generally, you need frequently replace compressor parts such as belts, gaskets and valve plates to prevent them from getting damaged over the course and become terribly noisy. Thus, bringing your air tools to a nearby maintenance center to do a thorough check-up once a year is a smart choice.
We hope that this article can be an eye-opening one for the air tools and air compressor users who suffer from the ear piercing noise created from these devices.
For those who are planning to buy any type of air tools, be it for industrial work of for simple home improvement project, research on which ones are the quietest without compromising on power.
It is important to note that proper maintenance of air tools can be much more effective in noise reduction than giving up and buying a new quieter air tool.
Let us know in the comment section below which of these steps you chose and if you have any suggestions we might have missed in making air tools quieter.