Rolair JC10 Air Compressor Review

An ultra low-noise compressor for light to medium duty use in the shop or on a job site

Rolair Hand Carry JC10 Air Compressor

Rolair Hand Carry JC10 Air Compressor

Not everyone needs, or indeed has room for, a large stationary air compressor. If you use air tools that require low volumes of air - for example, pin or brad nailers, and you're doing light to medium duty work, then a portable compressor will do you just fine. They are also, of course, ideal for use on a job site, installing cabinetry and trim work.

The smaller air tanks on portable compressors means that they recycle much more frequently than stationary compressors. Depending on the size of the tank, and the air consumption of the tool you're using, this can be as often as every 20 or 30 seconds. If you work in a small shop, it's just more noise pollution to deal with.

One of the main distinguishing features on the Rolair JC10 compressor is it's low decibel rating. At 60 dBA it's the quietest compressor on the market. This is likely due to its low 1750 RPM motor speed.

The 1 HP motor delivers 2.3 CFM @ 90 PSI and has a healthy 70% duty cycle - the actual pump run time per hour compared to the off-time per hour expressed as a percentage. This means that you can run the compressor 7 minutes out of every 10 minutes without the risk of overheating. The 2.3 CFM at 90 PSI rating means that you'll be limited to low air consumption tools like pin and brad nailers, staplers, and small impact wrenches and die grinders. For most avid DIYers and hobbyist woodworkers, that's all the air volume you'll need. Still, it's best to pick out the air tools you plan to use with a compressor before buying the compressor.

As with most portable compressors this one is oil-less - you still have to add to your pneumatic tools, but you don't have to add any oil to the compressor.

The JC10 is a single 2.5 gallon air tank. You'll find a number of portable compresors with larger tanks (for example Rolair's FC2002, which has a 4.3 gallon capacity) but the trade-off will be a much heavier unit.

Compact unit with a robust roll cage design

The JC10 weighs in at just 38 pounds and is a compact 16" wide by 15" high, and 17" long. This makes it very convenient formoving around the workshop, or to and from a job site. The roll cage design provides good protection for the motor and the key compressor components, particularly when transporting it to job site. I found the center mounted handle provides good balance when carrying the compressor. However, the rubber overmold on the handle could have been thicker, which would make it more comfortable.

Rubber feet help absorb vibration

As you'll find on virtually all compressors, rubber feet mounted on the bottom of the frame serve to protect the roll cage from damage, absorb vibration from the motor, and deaden sound.

Easy access drain valve

The drain valve is located on the bottom of the tank. After you shut down the compressor at the end of your work day take a moment to open the valve. Compressed air in the tank will cause moisture to accumulate inside the tank - if you don't regularly drain the tank it will begin to rust.

Air filter

The JC10 comes with an air filter that you attach to the left side of the motor housing. The filter keeps dust from entering the motor and compressor pump, so it's important not only to install it, but to clean or replace it at regular intervals - particularly if you work in a very dusty shop.

(A) Safety valve (B) power switch (C) tank pressure gauge (D) discharge pressure gauge (E) pressure regulator (F) quick coupler

The compressor components on the JC10A are all easily accessible. There is only one quick coupler, which makes sense, as the air tank is much too small to accomodate the use of two air tools at once. While the tank and discharge (outlet) pressure gauges are large and easy to read, you have to stoop down to see the dails - it wold have been nice if the gauges were facing upwards, even 20-degress or so. The pressure regulator is large enough to pull and turn even with chunky work gloves on. 

Pressure switch relief valve

Just to the left of the pressure regulator is a pressure switch relief valve. It's designed to relieve the pressure from the pump head down to the check valve for easier starting. You'll notice that nothing is connected to the top of the valve. That's because the JC10 also has an electronic solenoid valve that takes over the function of the relief valve.

Electronic solenoid valve

The solenoid valve dumps head pressure when the compressor reaches its maximum operating pressure or when it's unplugged. This provides a load-less restart should the compressor become unplugged while it's still building tank pressure.


I've been using the JC10 with both a 16-gauge crown stapler and 23-gauge pin nailer. I can sink an average of twelve 3/8" by 2" crown staples before the compressor needs to recycle, and twenty-nine 1" headless pins. The compressor takes an average of 12 seconds to recharge. This seems pretty reasonable to me, considering the size of the tank. Sure, a larger tank would reduce the recharge times, but given that the JC10 is so quiet, I hardly notice when it kicks in.

I'm very pleased with the performance of the JC10 to date. It provides enough air for my stapler and nailer, it has a quick 10 second recovery time, it's super quiet, and, it's easy to tote around the shop or haul to the truck. 


  • 8 amp, 1 HP motor (peak)
  • Oil-less piston pump
  • 2.5 gallon tank
  • 125 PSI max air pressure
  • 2.3 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 70% duty cycle
  • Cold start valve
  • Auto reset
  • 60 dBA noise level
  • 6' power cord
  • 16" W x 15" H x 17" L
  • 38 Pounds
  • 1 year warranty

COMPANY:Rolair System
SOURCE:Dealer Search

Other Compressor Reviews:
Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Quiet Air Compressor
Crispo 8 Gallon 2.5 HP Heavy Duty Air Compressor
Dewalt 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor
Dewalt Flexvolt 60V MAX 2.5 Gallon Cordless Compressor
Ridgid 0F45150 Portable Air Compressor
Senco 4.5 Gallon Roll Away Air Compressor

Carl Duguay
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!