california air tools reviews

California Air Tools Reviews

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Last update: 4th July 2020


California Air Tools (CAT) is one of the most notable company in air tool industry. The company is established in CA, 2002 by professionals, delivering innovative models like ultra quiet and oil-free air compressors, which allows users to use the products conveniently. Let us review some best models from California air tools to see which one is more suitable for your works and budget.

California Air Tools: Popular models in 2019

There are 3 most popular air compressor models from CAT, includes

Why people choose California Air Tools

CAT air compressors are very highly rated and popular. The best value of their machines relies on 3 greatest benefits: ultra-low noise, high flow air, and less maintenance cost.

  • Ultra low noise – the 1 HP model noise level is about under 60 dB, the 2 HP model noise level is under 70 dB which is among lowest in the industry
  • High flow air rate – this is because CAT uses dual pistons for a faster airflow and recovery.
  • Less maintenance cost – the dual piston pump can run up to 3000 plus hours before wearing while a casual model can only run for 500 fewer hours.

California air tools reviews

California Air Tools 5510SE 1 HP – Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free, 5.5-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor

California Air Tools 5510SE is the most popular option for those who are seeking for a quiet air compressor on the market with a limited budget. The unit highest noise is measured at only 60 dB, which is far lower than other models with the same performance. To achieve such a low noise level, the California Air Tools 5510SE applies a new motor called new SP series of ultra quiet air compressor, which is designed to run continuously for heavy duty tasks.

Another benefit is that California Air Tools 5510SE uses oil-free dual piston pump which is 6 fold more durable than other models with the same performance. Specifically, the California Air Tools 5510SE can run for up to 3000 plus hours before replacing while others can only run for 500 hours or so. This will save a lot of money later on.

The unit is built with Steel air tank (5.5 gallons, 37.5 lbs. ), which is supported with wheel kits so you can transport from in-house to outdoor very easy.

Highlighting spec of California Air Tools 5510SE

  • Total weight: 54 lbs
  • Dimension: 35.5 x 11.5 x 21 in
  • Horsepower: 1HP
  • Sound level: 60 dB
  • Steel air tank, 5.5 Gallon
  • Oil-free with cleaner tools operation
  • Dual piston for faster air delivery and longer lifetime
  • Motor power: 8.5 amp
  • Voltage: 110 V, 60 Hz
  • Safety: ETL certified.

Pros and cons of California Air Tools 5510SE

The unit has a lot of great benefits of a portable air compressor. First, it is an ultra quiet air compressor which is just under 60 dB. The low noise is critical for those who work indoors and in a tight space. Second, this model uses a dual pump piston (2 pistons model) to give faster, more even air flow and faster recovery than a single pump piston. Dual pump piston is important for many tasks which require high air flow in a faster response such as nail gun, paint gun and so. That is why a dual pump piston machine is more likely to worth the money and a bit more expensive than a single one. Last but not least is the overall construction of the machine, the low maintenance cost and the reputation of California Air Tools brand.

On the downside, you may notice it is still a bit weighty (54 lbs.) and since it is well built, the price is higher than some models which use one piston.

Should you buy California Air Tools 5510SE?

The answer is yes if you are looking for the quietest pancake air tools with the limited budget and less maintenance cost later on. It is a small air compressor which does great jobs and the low noise is ideal for those who have to work indoor constantly.

Read more customer rating of the unit on amazon website here.

California Air Tools 5510A 1HP

California Air Tools 5510A 1HP is a variation of California Air Tools 5510Se 1HP, in which the steel air tank is replaced by an Aluminum air tank for lighter weight. Specifically, the 5510A is only 34 lbs. Which is less than the 5510SE model up to 10 lbs. To compensate for the lighter weight, the California Air Tools 5510A is usually 20 dollars higher in price when compared with the 5500SE model.

California air tools 10020c 2HP – 10-gallon compressor

California air tools reviews
Click the photo to view price

The California air tools 10020c is featured as the quietest air compressor 2.0 HP range, with highest noise level is about 70 dB. The unit uses a 10-gallon steel tank offering a high volume of airflow with still keeping the best value of a portable air compressor like low noise, less maintenance cost, moving wheel kits, oil-free, dual piston pump.

To achieve a fast start-up, the model has an easy start valve that allows you to operate the machine easily in cold condition. This is particularly useful if you live in remote areas and cold places.

Highlighting spec of California Air Tools 10020c 2HP

  • Weight: 82.5 lbs.
  • Dimension: 16 x 15.1 x 35.9 in
  • Noise level: Ultra Quiet Only 70 decibels
  • Oil-Free Pump – Cleaner air for better tool operation and less maintenance and Costs.
  • Two pressure control gauges
  • Two universal 1/4 in quick connector
  • Easy Start Valve – For Less Starting Amperage
  • Condor Pressure Switch
  • Thermal Overload Protector
  • 125PSI  Maximum Pressure
  • 220v /50 Hz
  • Low Amp Draw -7.0 Amps
  • Time to fill the tank from empty to full -120 Seconds
  • Recovery time from 95 PSI to 125 PSI -25 Seconds
  • Less heat which dissipates more efficiently
  • 10 Gal. Steel Air Tank With Wheel Kit -Easy to move around.
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty, assembled in the USA

Pros and cons of California Air Tools 10020c 2HP

This unit is a solid-built machine, it is very quiet which is just about 70 dB only. The airflow is super strong and the tank can hold the air for weeks without leaking. Its price is also very reasonable when compared to other brands.

The downside of the model is about the built-in connectors. In fact, you get 2 free built-in connectors in the package but users think they are not very high in quality. The quick connector size is 1/4 in therefore it will not work with 1/2 in tools like an impact wrench.

Should you buy California Air Tools 10020c 2HP

The best value of this machine is the ultra-low noise level, high airflow, high recovery rate and the possibility to run in the cold condition. The California Air Tools 10020c 2HP is also a decent air compressor for heavy duty performance. While it is a bit heavy (up to 83 lbs.) you can move it easily by wheels and it is also very low noise so you will never annoy your neighbors with such machine. As it has a higher performance (2 HP.), it is suitable for not only small-scale uses, it is capable of blowing out water for winterizing the house.


There is another model called California Air Tools 10020 which is also a 2 HP, 10 gallons air compressor. This model is the former design of the product line. While two models California Air Tools 10020 and 10020C has quite similar performance, the California Air Tools 10020C is the newer option which is lighter and more compact, which results in a faster tank fill time (125 seconds vs 130 seconds) and faster recovery time.

California Air Tools features and benefits


The oil-free air compressor is now a more common choice compared with the oiled air compressor because oil-free models are much more convenient for users. You do not need to change, refill or dispose of used oil which can be troublesome for users who are not very mechanical.

On the performance side, oil-free models will be able to use in cold conditions and uneven surfaces, therefore it is more flexible and portable.

Last but not least, the oil can also be a risk to sensitive items on the machine parts. No oil machine is, therefore, a better choice.

Feature:Extra Large Dual Pistons

Piston type is one of the most important factors when looking for an air compressor, regardless of type, and design. The dual piston (2 pistons) will give a faster airflow, faster refill and recovery times. This will affect your intended use. If you use the air compressor for the nail gun, for painting or water removing, a stronger and faster airflow is much more required.

Feature:Aluminum tank

CAT products have 2 tank design: steel tank and aluminum tank. The steel tank version is the basic one, and the price is cheaper. The aluminum tank is designed for longer lifespan and lighter weight.

Feature:Low Amp Draw

Low ampere motor will consume less electricity and it is easier to start up. This is a great benefit for those living in remote areas where electric supplies can be unstable.

Other noticeable features

  • Feature: Thermal Overload Protector
  • Benefits: Reduces motor damage
  • Feature:   Easy Drain Ball Valve
  • Benefits: Easier to drain your air tank
  • Feature:  Teflon Cylinder Rings
  • Benefit: Less friction for less wear
  • Feature: Dual Valve Plate Design
  • Benefit: Designed to produce more CFM
  • Feature:  Induction Motors
  • Benefit:  Brushless motors for less wear & long life
  • Feature: 4 Pole Motors
  • Benefit: Operate at only 1680 RPM, creates less vibration and less noise and less wear for a  longer motor life

Further reading

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