Which is the Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting


Looking for the best air compressor for spray painting can be a tough task – there are so many models out there that promise to do the best job possible. If you don’t quite know what you should be looking for, it can be easy to accidentally purchase a compressor that is just not compatible with your needs. So we have attempted to make your task a little easier, by offering you some of our recommendations for the best air compressors for spray painting.

Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Review

Rolair JC10 Plus Review

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 2.3 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.35
Sound level: 60 dBA

The Rolair JC10 is one of the smallest air compressors offered by Rolair, but its high quality makes it a great option for spray painting. With a tank capacity of 2.35 gallons and a weight of only 42.9 pounds, you can easily transport this around by yourself. Its small size also makes it easy to keep out of the way when not in use, so you don’t take up unnecessary and valuable storage space.

This is one of the best air compressor for home shop use. Air compressors are always going to be noisy, but this is definitely one of the quietest on the market. If you want to complete your auto spray painting while being mindful of close neighbors or children, this might be the best choice.

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 8 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.4 (Max psi 125)
Sound level: 68 dBA

If you are looking for something with a little more tank capacity for larger spray painting projects, you cannot go wrong with the Campbell Hausfeld DC080500. This model provides more compressed air without having to constantly pause to refill your tank. If you are thinking about painting whole panels, this might be the right choice for you.

Beyond the fact that this model has a decent-sized tank, it also works really well. It has enough power for spray tools, and Cambell Hausfeld is a highly reputable brand. Any air compressor from them should last a long time if cared for correctly, making it a good investment. This air compressor is made from durable steel and the components last “up to four times longer” than those from the average air compressor, thanks to its oil-free pump.

Dewalt DXCM271

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 27 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.1 (Max psi 200)
Sound level: 78 dBA

If you need something with a lot more power, the DEWALT DXCM271 might be the right choice for you. This air compressor is perfect for those who are serious about auto spraying. It has a 27-gallon capacity, perfect for getting through large tasks on a single tank. It’s also a lot heavier and louder, which are perhaps the only two downsides to greater power. If you can handle that, you can handle this tool.

This model is 120 volts and operates with an extension cord, so you can still use it at home from any outlet. The handle also provides protection to the control panel, extending the lifespan of some of the most breakable parts of the tool. DEWALT is another renowned brand when it comes to air compressors, so you are pretty safe purchasing from them.

Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor 2340L5-V

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 230 volts
Tank capacity: 60 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 14.3 (Max psi 175)

This is a great model for heavy-duty jobs, but you do need to be careful where you are using it. It requires a 230-volt outlet, which is greater than the standard 120-volt outlets will allow. As long as you are aware of this and take the necessary steps to prevent an issue, it should run properly. And if you can handle the excess power, the results are definitely worth it. With a 14.3 CFM @ 90 psi, this air compressor is capable of providing enough power to drive commercial-grade spray painters.

This air compressor is designed specifically for industrial use, so it should be able to easily withstand a high level of use with no issues. We recommend this air compressor for people who will really get maximum use out of it, justifying the price.

NorthStar Air Compressor 163CC

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Product Specifications:

Power source: gas
Voltage: Not applicable
Tank capacity: 20 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 13.7 (Max psi 130)

If you don’t want an electric-powered air compressor, don’t worry! The NorthStar 163CC is a gas-powered alternative that you might find more convenient. This model has a Honda GX160 OHV engine, which is more than capable of meeting your spray painting needs. The fact that this air compressor is gas-powered and not electric means that you are not confined to a work location near an electrical outlet, so you have far more range to use this wherever you need to.

This air compressor has been designed for longevity, making it the perfect investment for those who spray paint a lot. The pump comes in a V-shaped cylinder which provides maximum cooling to avoid overheating. This means that you can work for as long as you need without having to take breaks to prevent damage.

Industrial Air Compressor ILA1883054

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 30 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.7 (Max psi 155)
Sound level: 78 dBA

This is perhaps one of the most convenient air compressors that you can use for auto painting. The 30-gallon tank is large enough for you to get through a task without needing to constantly refill it, but it is still small enough to easily transport by yourself if necessary. The heavy-duty tires are also perfect for uneven terrain, so you can take this wherever you need it.

This is a dual voltage air compressor. It can require a 120-volt power source, which means that it can be used with any standard electrical outlet. However, it can also be converted for use with a 240-volt outlet, if that is more convenient for you. This pump does require oil which can increase the level of maintenance that the compressor requires, but the air compressor comes packaged with the oil that you will need, so you don’t need to worry.

Ford Silent Series Air Compressor FCE6150QV

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 15 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.9 (Max psi 125)
Sound level: 59 dBA

If you are looking for a brand that you know and trust, you cannot go wrong with Ford. This company is proud of the reputation they have built when it comes to car manufacturing, and their air compressors are perfect for auto body spraying as well. It has an oil-free pump which will require less maintenance in the long run, and the compressor is built from heavy-duty materials for durability and a longer lifespan.

The FCE6150QV model is on the smaller side with only a 15-gallon tank, but this is perfect for smaller paint jobs. It’s also extremely quiet for an air compressor, reaching less than 60 dBA when on. This air compressor has a CFM of 2.9 @ 90 psi is more than enough to power smaller spray painter tools, so you are not paying extra for unnecessary power or tank capacity.

California Air Tools 4610AC Review

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 9.2 gallons (2 x 4.6-gallon twin tanks)
CFM @ 90 psi: 2.2 (Max psi 120)
Sound level: 60 dBA

If you are looking for one of the best home use air compressor, consider the California Air Tools CAT-4610AC. This model has two 4.6-gallon twin tanks, to create a combined capacity of 9.2 gallons. The low noise level (60 dBA) makes this a perfect tool for use around the home, generating minimal disruption to other family members or neighbors.

The pump on this air compressor is an oil-free model that is designed to have a lifespan of over 3,000 hours. This is clearly an air compressor you can depend on. It also comes with a 1-year warranty (as do most air compressors), so you are covered if something is wrong with it when you first receive it.

Craftsman Air Compressor CMECXA0200141A

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts
Tank capacity: 1.5 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 1.5 (Max psi 135)
Sound level: 87 dBA

This air compressor is truly one of the most convenient and portable models out there. If you only need a small air compressor for minor spray painting jobs, you cannot get smaller than this 1.5-gallon option. It only weighs 24 pounds, making it easy to move around wherever you need it. If you are in search of the best air compressor for automotive painting, you might have considered its super portability. With a CFM of 1.5 @ 90, this is clearly not designed for use with larger tools, but there are many that it is still capable of powering.

This is definitely one of the cheaper options available on the market, and great for people who want quality without the large price tag. The low CFM of this air compressor will make it incompatible with larger air tools, so it might not work with a spray gun. However, it is still one experts classify as the best air compressor for automotive air tools such as cleaners.

Industrial Air Compressor IL1682066.MN

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Product Specifications:

Power source: Electric
Voltage: 120 volts (convertible to 240-volt outlets)
Tank capacity: 20 gallons
CFM @ 90 psi: 5.3 (Max psi 135)
Sound level: 71 dBA

If you are looking for convenience for your best air compressor for spray painting, look no further than the Industrial Air IL1682066.MN. This is a model that contains enough power to supply to automotive tools, while still being small enough to be a cost-efficient choice. The 20-gallon tank capacity is more than enough to ensure you can complete small at-home jobs without having to constantly stop and refill.

This air compressor is electric-powered and is compatible with a standard 120-volt outlet you would have around the home. But the engine can also be converted to 240 volts, which you may find more convenient and easy to use in a commercial setting. Either way, you know that this air compressor will work for you.

Things to Consider about Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting

If you are looking for an air compressor to use specifically for spray painting vehicles, here are some of our top tips. Following these will help to ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for, and it is capable of providing the power that you need to get your tools to work.

Opt for an air compressor that comes with a warranty

Air compressors are designed to last for years and are priced accordingly. You want to make sure you are protecting yourself by getting a compressor that comes with a warranty. This way if something beyond your control goes wrong when you first get the compressor, you don’t have to spend more money fixing or replacing it.

There are so many brands that offer 1 or 2-year warranties with all of their air compressors that this shouldn’t be hard for you to do. Double-check this before you make your purchase so that you are covered in the event of any manufacturing problems with your chosen compressor.

If you are going to use your air compressor at home

Most outlets within the home are 120 volts, meaning they will work perfectly with 120-volt air compressors. However, some air compressors actually require a 240-volt outlet for power. These air compressors are generally the larger models and they tend to be for commercial purposes, not just for home use. If you do end up with a 240-volt air compressor, it is possible to convert standard outlets into generating a higher output.

There are also some air compressors that are capable of converting from 120 volts to 240 volts. These models are great for use within the home where you only have access to standard outlets, but can also be used in commercial shops with 240-volt outlets for greater power. If this versatility is important to you, look out for these kinds of air compressors.

Although electric-powered air compressors are the most common, you can also find a couple of good gas-powered alternatives. This gets rid of any voltage issues you might be having and ensures that your compressor is good to go no matter where you are. If you are concerned about a lack of access to outlets of any kind near your workspace, this might be the way to go.

Consider opting for an oil-free pump

The majority of people prefer air compressors that have an oil-free pump for a number of reasons.

Firstly, they are cleaner to use and less expensive to upkeep. The oil tends to create a mess that can be difficult to clean up, and just adds an unnecessary task to your maintenance list.

Secondly, oil-free pumps tend to last longer. This is because oil air compressors utilize older technology, while oil-free options benefit from new advances that result in a longer lifespan (sometimes up to 10 times longer).

You should also consider your own personal preference for this decision. If you have experience with oil pumps and know how to properly maintain them, then you may wish to stick with what you know. Oil pumps can still function just as well as oil-free alternatives if they are properly cared for, and if you know what you are doing, you will be fine.

How to find the right pump for all of your needs

Air pumps are a diverse tool that can be used to provide power to a range of different appliances. Your priority should be making sure that it meets the requirements for a spray painter, but consider what other tools you might use it with. Purchase an air pump that matches the power needs of your largest tool, so that you can get the most use out of it. There is no harm in purchasing a more powerful air compressor if you know that this will benefit you when it comes to other tasks.

One of the most important factors you need to consider when finding the right pump for your needs is the CFM requirements of your spray gun, as well as any other pneumatic tools that you have. If your air compressor has a CMF that is too low, the tools simply will not function. Purchase the pump after you have purchased your spray gun, or make sure that you get an air compressor that has a high enough CFM that it will work with anything.

Similarly, purchase a pump with the right tank capacity

There is nothing more frustrating than having to constantly pause your task so that you can refill your air compressor tank. Spray painting tools require a constant flow of air, so they can use up a tank pretty fast. For the sake of convenience, consider a tank that is at least a minimum of 20 gallons. This is large enough to get jobs done without constantly stopping, but still small enough to be lightweight and portable.

If you are not concerned with portability, then a larger tank is certainly going to be beneficial. It makes it much easier to complete larger projects so that you can stay focused on the job at hand.

Focus on models within your budget

When it comes to air compressors, the price generally does indicate the quality. There are a number of different companies that create these machines, but they are all priced relatively the same. Vastly cheaper models generally do not last as long, or they provide less power. Trying to save money by purchasing a cheaper air compressor will probably cost you more in the long run in terms of maintenance or replacements. It

If you are concerned that the best air compressor for spray painting model you want is too expensive, do not look for a similar alternative from a cheaper brand. Instead, consider sizing down in a reputable brand. This way, you still get a good air compressor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What CFM should my air compressor be, in order to work with a spray gun?

Any air tool (including spray guns) will have CFM requirements. Your air compressor needs to meet these requirements by outputting the desired amount of compressed air, or the tool will not function. Most spray guns have a CFM of around 10-12. Larger commercial spray guns may have a higher CMF, but a spray gun used for DIY jobs will tend to be around this size.

When you know the CFM of a spray gun, you can then find the best air compressor for spray painting that can match their requirements. A good rule to remember is that your air compressor must provide at least 1.5 times the value of your spray gun’s CFM, in order for it to work properly.

How do I know what CMF an air compressor has?

If you cannot find the CMF requirements for your air compressor, you can manually work this out in just a few steps. Firstly, you need to divide the tank capacity (in gallons) by 7.48 (the number of gallons per cubic foot) to get the size of the tank in cubic feet.

Then when your tank is completely empty, time how long it takes to refill (in seconds). As your tank refills, note down the PSIG value when the compressor starts, and again when it stops. Take the PSIG value from when the compressor kicks out, and subtract the initial PSIG value from when the compressor kicked in, to find the difference. Divide this difference by 14.7. This gives you the amount of atmospheric pressure that was added to the tank as it filled up.

Multiply the size of the tank in cubic feet (step one) by the atmospheric pressure added to the tank as it filled (step two). This figure is the number of cubic feet that your air compressor is capable of pumping in the refilling time frame. You must now convert this value into minutes for the CFM by dividing it by the number of seconds it took to refill the tank, and then multiply that by 60.

What psi should my air compressor be at for use with a spray gun?

Spray guns don’t actually require high pressure in order to function – most of them only require around 70 psi. As long as your air compressor can reach the appropriate CFM at a relatively low psi, it will be fine. However, you should always remember that all spray guns are different and will have different requirements, so check your specific model before you purchase an air compressor, just to be certain they are compatible.

What tank capacity will work best for spray painting?

When it comes to air tools such as spray guns, they require a constant flow of air from an air compressor. This can quickly use up an entire tank, so the larger the tank the better. If you are spray painting large panels, we recommend using an air compressor that is at least 20-30 gallons, but bigger if you have the budget and storage space. Smaller air compressors are better for tiny detailing jobs, but you may find it frustrating having to constantly refill the tank.

Last Thoughts Before Buy

As you can see, there really is a vast range of air compressors that can help you achieve automotive spray painting success. This variation within compressors means that there is something for everyone, but it can also become difficult when attempting to find a model that matches your exact needs.

When you are looking for the best air compressor for spray painting, remember your specific needs. We don’t necessarily have a favorite air compressor that we would recommend to everyone, as people’s needs can be so diverse even when it comes to using a specific kind of tool. For example, if you are seeking for the best air compressor fittings, you certainly would make a thorough research to find out the most appropriate one as there is a wide range of alternatives.

In terms of quality, you cannot go wrong with any of the brands that we have suggested. As long as your air compressor can meet the CFM requirements of your spray gun and has a tank capacity you are happy with, you should find success. There are so many great brands that offer models of all sizes, you will have no issues finding the one that is right for you.

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