Kobalt 4.3 Gal. Quiet Tech Air Compressor

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Kobalt Quiet Tech compressor

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

Dual compressor
Dual piston compressor

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.

Quieter is good.
Quieter, you say? I’ll be the judge of that!

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.

Pancake noise
First, take a look at the db level for a typical pancake…
Kobalt Quiet Tech noise
… now compare that to the Kobalt Quiet Tech compressor.

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.

Fill’er Up!

Quiet Tech size comparison
Size compared to an average sized 6 gallon pancake compressor.

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.

Quick fill
The dual piston pump of Kobalt’s Quiet Tech air compressor fills the tanks in no time.

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

Handle extends to 38”.
Handle in storage mode
Handle collapses to 24” for compact storage.

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”.

Handle latches
Flip style cam latches allow for quick handle adjustment.

Quiet Tech Control Panel

Control panel
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.

Output gauge
Regulated pressure gauge.

Tank You, Kobalt.

Dual tanks
Dual tanks for compact footprint.

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.

The tool-less ball valve petcock makes it easy to drain the tanks. “She said” jokes not included.

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

The pressure is on!
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.

Buy Now - via Lowes

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About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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9 thoughts on “Kobalt 4.3 Gal. Quiet Tech Air Compressor”

  1. I bought this unit after standing in Lowes and reading this comment. I absolutely hate the sound of high RPM oil free compressors, and so when I saw this I was excited. I was literally shocked when I turned it on, and can verify that it is very quiet and silky sounding. It has a very pleasant sound that is soft and mellow not a hard metal ringing sound like all compressors. It’s about 50% quieter which makes all the difference. You can hear it but it’s not obnoxious and you won’t need hearing protection. It pumps up really fast too. This compressor’s main selling point is that it uses labatory hospital grade pumps, there are two pumps hooked together in series, in a two stage configuration, giving more pressure and performance than one pump. We purchased a $1200 hospital air compressor for our old shop that used this same exact pump design. I was shocked to see that Kobalt is way ahead of most other sir compressors right now, technology wise. No leaks and no issues that I’ve noticed except it is very heavy, and has a really terrible hard plastic power cord. But the handle is excellent and makes it extremely easy to move around with very little effort. The power cord could be easily upgraded. The hoses and fittings are all high quality and the pressure switch uses metal lines not plastic like most compressors now days. I’ve built and designed my own air compressors so I’m very happy and impressed with this 4.3 Gallon dual tank compressor.

  2. Just wondering how you still like it after a year and a half. Does it still work? Our past kobalt purchases haven’t held up past a year.


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