I'm looking into buying an airbrush for miniature painting. For this I need a compressor. I would be using this in the house and would like to do so without the noise disturbing the rest of the family too much.

I'm not familiar with how loud this equipment is, and whether the noise would generally be in the range of other household noises. People who use an airbrush in the house will have a sense of how loud and disturbing it is, and perhaps have gotten feedback from family members about whether the noise level is objectionable and disruptive.

Do at least some models have a noise level in a range that is reasonable for use inside without bothering other people? I'm aiming for a mid level type, and I'm willing to pay some extra for quietness. I realize that situations differ as to how much noise is bothersome to different people. But noise levels can be compared to other household appliances.

  • This could be answered objectively if someone has a decibel meter to test a compressor. It'll depend on the brand, likely, but could give a rough idea.
    – user24
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 7:21
  • 1
    If you have the space, consider putting the compressor in another room (even in a sound-dampening enclosure) and running the air line to where you need it. You can also fill a large air tank and work silently for a bit between fills.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 0:47
  • working with a couple of different compressors, i can tell you that the majority of airbrush compressors are about the same volume as a conversation so about 50-60db but some are quieter and some are louder. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Your question is almost impossible to answer, since we don't know how much noise will disturb your family (small baby sleeping? kids running around? partner concentrating on a difficult math problem?). But normally the sound level is shown on compressors and here is some references to help you imagine how much it means:

  • 0dB Weakest sound heard
  • 30dB Whisper Quiet Library at 6'
  • 60-65dB Normal conversation at 3'
  • 80dB Telephone dial tone
  • 85dB City Traffic (inside car)
  • 90dB Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic
  • 95dB Jackhammer at 50'
  • 95dB Subway train at 200'
  • 90 - 95dB Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss
  • 98dB Hand Drill

Source: The Relationship of Voltage, Loudness, Power and Decibels

You might also be interested in this article on quiet compressor: Quiet Air Compressor – Some Facts You May Want To Know

  • 1
    there are also different types of compressors which likely sound differently
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 15:27
  • 1
    It's also useful to be aware that secondary noise can be caused by vibration of a compressor that's, e.g., standing on a wooden floor. Isolating it as far as possible can help, especially if you're getting complaints from downstairs...
    – helveticat
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 16:54
  • my bad. withdrawn. sadly vote got locked... :-(
    – rebusB
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 23:35

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