Air Compressor Scout

Reviews and General Information
on Air Compressors and Air Tools

California CAT-5510SE Air Compressor Review

One of the Quietest Air Compressors You Can Find

Here’s the thing: Most people in need of an air compressor underestimate how important it is to have a relatively quiet unit you can use indoors so it won’t damage your ear drums over time. Of course, the whole point of having an air compressor is to complete your work in less time and in a professional manner, so power is always at the top of the list.

Among the quietest compressors on the market is the California Air Tools CAT-5510SE Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free 1.0 HP 5.5 Gallon Air Compressor, but it does have other features too.

California Air Tools CAT-5510SE
Check Price on Amazon

Info, Features and Specs

Produced with the intention of being one of the quietest air compressors you can find on the market, this unit is rated at an impressive 60 decibels. Most of it has to do with the 1.0hp motor which works at just 1680 RPM meaning less noise, less wear and tear and a longer life.

This is the first time I have come across a dual-piston oil-free pump. Dual-piston design ensures high-end performance, and the oil-free pump makes the whole maintenance process much easier. Since the pump doesn’t need any oil in order to function (unlike oil-lubricated models), the compressor can be used on uneven surfaces and in different temperatures.

Power, Size and Performance

The 1.0hp motor provides you with enough power to facilitate most tasks, and the 5.5-gallon tank makes sure there is plenty of pressure at all times. The tank is fabricated out of steel, and comes with transport wheels and a handle for better portability. It also provides a maximum pressure of 120 PSI, or 90 PSI at an air delivery rate of 2.20 CFM (also 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI) which is suitable for powering nails guns and staplers.

Another good thing about this compressor is it has a low amp draw of 7.6 amps which allows for easy start-ups, and a fewer number of breaker tripping incidents. It can also be hooked up to an extension cord as well. Apart from being very resistant to voltage drops, the motor also has a thermal overload protection mechanism which cuts off the power once the internal operating temperature of the compressor exceeds 135C.

Dual-Piston Pump

There is also the advantage of a dual-piston pump which is able to compress more air than its single-piston cousins. Let me just give you this number: The pump is able to fill up the tank top to bottom in just 120 seconds! Recovery time is also pretty snappy: Just 50 seconds to go from 90 to 120 PSI. Another plus is the extended pump life of 3000+ hours. The dual-piston design is also better because of reduced pulsation.

Noise Reduction

One of the strong points of this compressor is its quiet operation. “Ultra-quiet” in the name is there for a reason. Since the average conversation is about 65db and this unit only produces 60, I would call that quiet wouldn’t you?

You may not think noise is big deal because after all, this is a compressor but exposing yourself to sound levels above 90db for prolonged periods of time can lead to some serious damage to your hearing. Also, if you plan to use this air compressor indoors, you won’t have the neighbors breathing down your neck while you’re doing repairs in your home or workshop.


The hot dog tank design is especially convenient if you are going to be moving the compressor around a lot. Thanks to the aluminum construction the entire thing weighs just 37.5lbs which makes it very light for a compressor of this size. You can carry it from one place to another without breaking your back in the process. On top of that, the tank is fitted with transport wheels, and you get a carrying handle as well.

Additional Information

Among the things I should mention about the CAT-5510SE is the pressure gauge which informs you about the pressure inside the tank and the regulator which allows you to control it. It also comes with 1/4″ quick connector so you can attach standard air tools. Compressed air is full of moisture which can build up inside the tank causing it to rust, so it’s nice to see this particular model has a ball drain valve. This unit is very low-maintenance, and really the only thing you need to worry about is replacing the air filter after 5000 working hours.

The Verdict

I think this air compressor has many things going in its favor, and being extremely quiet is only one of them. The unit is able to carry out most tasks, and it’s very low-maintenance thanks to its oil-free dual piston-pump which is very efficient.

Apart from the low amp draw, this compressor also has overheating protection which shuts down the motor, keeping the compressor intact. You can find this ultra-quiet compressor on Amazon and often at a discount price!

Back to Top