When Kobalt offered the chance to review their 4.3 gallon Quiet Tech compressor, I was attracted to its built-in portability and deep blue charm. But really, it’s an air compressor. If you’ve used one you’ve used them all, I thought. That is, until I plugged it in and toggled that large red rocker switch. All alone in my shop, I actually said out loud to myself “Damn!” Damn indeed. It turns out “Quiet Tech” is more than a marketing tag line. Let’s take a closer look – and listen – and hear what the Kobalt Quiet Tech compressor is all about.
The Kobalt Stork Paid A Visit
Arriving home from the post office, I was enthusiastically greeted by the Kobalt 4.3 gal. Quiet Tech compressor perched upon my front porch. As I began to lift the box it was immediately clear that it contained a lot more gravity than I expected. My little 6 gal. pancake is way lighter – that’s for sure – by nearly half. Delivering this baby took the strength of both arms. But once it was out of the box the ample 6-1/2” wheels took care of the rest.
Shhh, Don’t Wake The Baby.
I think it’s safe to say that the biggest selling point of the Quiet Tech air compressor is its surprisingly low noise level. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still get dirty looks from the librarian. But if you’ve ever spent time around a portable air compressor, the Quiet Tech purr will be music to your ears.
The photos above show a free noise level meter app on my cell phone, not a calibrated db meter. I can’t vouch for its accuracy and use it only to illustrate how much quieter than your typical pancake compressor the Kobalt Quiet Tech really is; it’s a matter of relativity. You may not intuit the difference 14db makes. But trust me – to your ears and voice box – it will not go unnoticed. You can actually carry on a conversation right next to the Quiet Tech compressor without yelling. The neighbors may not hear it at all.
When you see why the Quiet Tech compressor is so heavy you’ll see what suggests there just might also be something to Kobalt’s “up to 2x longer motor life” claim. There’s a beefy 1HP induction motor driving a dual piston single stage pump. It’s also oil-free, meaning no maintenance other than draining water from the tank, which is unavoidable (because of science and stuff). And no droplets of oil contaminating the output air.
The dual pumps fill the tanks faster and cut down on motor run time. From completely empty to completely full (tank pressure of 125PSI) took just over 1-1/2 minutes. Not bad at all.
That’s How The Kobalt Quiet Tech Rolls
Moving the Kobalt Quiet Tech compressor around the shop is a breeze, thanks to the 6.5 inch wheels and extendable handle. Unlike some other roll around tools with short handles that force you to contort your posture, the 38” reach on this one is easy on the backbone. For me at least; I’m 5’8”.
Quiet Tech Control Panel
The Kobalt 4.3 gal Quiet Tech compressor has the usual pair of gauges: one for tank pressure and one for tool pressure. The large, flattened regulator knob adjusts effortlessly and the power switch is large and in charge. And, of course, there’s your standard 1/4” quick connect air hose coupler.
Tank You, Kobalt.
You may wonder why the compressor has two tanks instead of a single larger one. The dual tank design helps conserve floor space by allowing for a smaller footprint. And since the tanks are stacked, there’s only one petcock to drain at the end of the day.
In case you’re new to air compressors, compression and decompression of air affects its dew point. Some of the moisture in the air ends up condensing and pooling in the bottom of the tank. Not only can water in the lines eventually rust and damage your air tools, it can do the same to the interior of the tank. So it’s recommended by all compressor manufacturers that you drain the water from the tank at the end of each workday.
The Pressure Is On
So, how well does it work? Pretty darned, actually! Of course, the tools you use and how you use them are going to affect your experience. According to the product specs, the Quiet Tech can supply 3.3CFM @ 40PSI and 2.4CFM @ 90PSI.
The 4.3 gallons of compressed air is going to deplete quickly (cut-in pressure is fixed at 95PSI) if you try running an HVLP paint sprayer, air sander, die grinder or other air hungry tool. But it’s perfectly suited for most nailers – from pin to framing – making it perfect for the home workshop, handyman jobs or light to medium construction tasks.
Priced at $199.00, the Kobalt Quiet Tech air compressor has a lot going for it and pretty much nothing to complain about. And I think the neighbors just might agree.