California Air Tools model 1610A Ultra Quiet & Oil Free Air Compressor

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Review by MrRon posted 01-04-2014 02:36 AM 15169 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
California Air Tools model 1610A Ultra Quiet & Oil Free Air Compressor No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I just received the long awaited air compressor I bought off Amazon. It arrived in perfect condition by UPS as I was eating dinner. After reading the manual, I plugged it in and flipped the ON switch. I couldn’t believe how quiet this compressor was. Four rubber feet kept it anchored to the floor with no vibration. It uses a two cylinder pump driven off an induction motor. It is oil free and has an aluminum tank. At 35 pounds, even a 79 year old can lug this around without much effort. It was too late to hook up a nail gun, so I may be able to do so tomorrow, or when the weather warms up. I use mostly pin and brad nailers and I’m confident it will handle a finish and even a framing nailer for small jobs. I’m really pleased so far and I give it 5 stars. If in the future, it doesn’t live up to my expectations, I will amend this review. For now, nothing keeps me from recommending this compressor to anyone who needs a quiet compressor. One slight comment I have is the position of the tank pressure gauge. It is hard to read unless you are at eye level. That is almost a non-issue as one usually doesn’t need to know tank pressure. Regulator pressure is clearly visible and that’s all I need to know. One could add an elbow fitting to the gauge if desired.If the pressure is low, it will turn on by itself. The most noise this compressor made was when I pulled the pressure relief safety valve to release pressure.

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17 comments so far

View jeff's profile


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#1 posted 01-04-2014 03:14 AM

Nice review MrRon…My Ridgid mini mobile is loud-I’m jealous…Enjoy…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3777 days

#2 posted 01-04-2014 10:01 PM

Great purchase

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View dustyal's profile


1319 posts in 4249 days

#3 posted 01-05-2014 01:16 AM

Thanks. I need to look into this. Something I’ve been wanting.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View abie's profile


913 posts in 4544 days

#4 posted 01-05-2014 03:37 PM

Great: Where are they made? Perhaps Mexico?

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

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5913 posts in 4017 days

#5 posted 01-05-2014 04:55 PM

I looked all over the compressor, but didn’t find any where it is made info. The unit is very well made though. At the price of $175, it has to be made in China.

View CharlesA's profile


3431 posts in 2571 days

#6 posted 01-05-2014 06:52 PM

Amazon says China

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View nerdkraft's profile


57 posts in 3792 days

#7 posted 01-07-2014 07:26 PM

Just curious if you’ve tried using it yet. I’m thinking of getting one myself to use for pin nailing glue joints. How is it working?

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5913 posts in 4017 days

#8 posted 01-07-2014 08:43 PM

nerdkraft; The temperature down here in the south is below freezing, so I won’t get to the shop until it warms up a bit. I loaned it to my son who is doing some remodeling in his house, so he will be the first to comment on it. He will be using a framing nailer. I’m as curious as you are.

View WhoMe's profile


1568 posts in 4017 days

#9 posted 01-07-2014 09:49 PM

Wow, an oil less compressor that is quiet, that is unique. My small oil compromise is pretty quiet but my 22 gal oil less
Is so noisy, I need to leave my garage when it runs. If I didn’t need that large one, I would be selling it asap.. My next large compressor will not be oil less due to noise.
Glad to hear there are some oil less ones out there that are quiet.
Thanks for the review.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

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57 posts in 3792 days

#10 posted 01-07-2014 11:13 PM

Ron – Talk about an awesome test! My level of usage is going to be 10 nails per day or so :)
Excited to hear the results from your son!

Stay warm!

View CWind's profile


15 posts in 2385 days

#11 posted 01-07-2014 11:56 PM

Thanks for the review. I’ve been struggling between this one and the small Makita. The Makita is quiet, but heavy and about $100 more.


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2121 posts in 4072 days

#12 posted 01-08-2014 04:48 PM

Can anyone speak to exactly what kind of maintenance one is supposed to do on a modern oil-less compressor? I’ve been toying with the idea of springing for this exact compressor but I hate tools that I have to futz around with all the time doing maintenance. I don’t mind cleaning, waxing, and sharpening things here and there, but have absolutely no desire to mess about with a compressor other than to just use it.

View nerdkraft's profile


57 posts in 3792 days

#13 posted 01-08-2014 05:55 PM

My understanding was that oil-less used self lubricating plastic parts (like Delrin) instead of metal so no extra maintenance. The downside is that they will only last 3,000 hours or so. That’s no biggie for me since at 2-4 hours per week, that’s 10+ years. Not so much for a contractor using it 40 hours per week (1-2 years.)

Btw – the manual for the tool is on

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4017 days

#14 posted 01-08-2014 07:57 PM

I just checked on the Rol Air JC-10 air compressor which sells for about $55 more than the California Air Tools and they are identical except for a steel tank and a different tubular frame. The Rol Air is regarded as the best of the ultra quiets and that was what I originally was going to get, but I settled on this one because of the aluminum tank and lower price. The only maintenance listed is to drain the tank after use and change the air filter after a while.

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5913 posts in 4017 days

#15 posted 01-09-2014 12:09 AM

I just got this report from my son who is using this compressor with a framing nailer. He got 6 shots before the compressor cycled, but that only took 10 seconds. He is so happy with my compressor that he doesn’t want to give it back. Obviously this air compressor is not intended for production framing, but for the occasional small job, quite adequate for the job. It’s still too cold for me to go to the shop and use it with pin and brad nailers.

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