Best Air Compressor For Painting in 2022 with Buying Guide

Air compressors are a big deal when it comes to working with things that require high and compressed airflow. Buying the best air compressor for painting is not as easy as pie! If you have the best air compressor, you can help yourself in a variety of task accomplishments in both professional and personal projects. If you are thinking of spray painting, using nail guns, or even painting your car, an air compressor can do that all!

Either you want to place it in an industrial site or your home, you don’t have to think about the weight and size. There are quite a several air compressors available in the market, such as fixed ones or portable ones. They also come with different features and abilities which differ from one another.

Below, we will discuss the best air compressor for painting walls, best air compressor for auto body work, the difference between psi and CFM, best air compressor paint sprayer, best air compressor for airbrush, mini compressor for painting, and exclusive tips for buying the best one for your work. So, let’s go!

The Best 3 Air Compressor for Painting

California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free
  • Horsepower: ½ HP
  • Pump type: Oil-free
  • Operating PSI: 125 PSI
  • CFM @ PSI: 0.7 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 1 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • Noise Level: 73 dB
  • Tank size: 1 Gallon
  • Fuel Type: Electric
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Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor
  • Horsepower: 1 HP
  • Pump type: Oil-free
  • Operating PSI: 125 PSI
  • CFM @ PSI: 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • Noise Level: 60 dB
  • Tank size: 2 Gallon
  • Fuel Type: Electric
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California Air Tools 2010A Oil-Free Air Compressor
  • Horsepower: 1HP
  • Pump type: Oil-free
  • Operating PSI: 125 PSI
  • CFM @ PSI: 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Noise Level: 60 dB
  • Tank size: 8 Gallon
  • Fuel Type: Electric
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The Best 3 Air Compressor for Painting

1. California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  1. The ultra-quiet feature is worthy of considering buying the California air tools cat-8010. You can use it in your home without disturbing anyone with obnoxious noise.
  2. High portability allows you to move the California air compressor 8010 around quickly. This is a great advantage when you’re painting.
  3. The dual-piston pump makes this tool durable. You don’t have to stress a bit about its lifetime.
  4. It has 1 Horsepower and can peak at 2HP. This power is more than sufficient for painting guns.
  5. This air compressor is oil-free, so you don’t have to invest your money and precious time on maintenance.

Features and Description

Tank size: California Air Tools 8010 can carry 8 gallons of juice and weighs only 48lbs. This means it is quite lightweight and very much portable.

Operating PSI: The California Cat-8010 tool is the best air compressor paint sprayer that operates at 120 PSI. That’s all you need when you’re doing a paint job. 120 PSI is sufficient to ensure a perfect painting experience.

CFM @ PSI: When it comes to painting, you don’t need intense level power from your air compressor. California Air Tools 8010 can provide 2.2 CFM @ 90 PSI and 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI. This amount of power is enough to run any air gun.

Noise level: 60 dB checks the box for the least noisy air compressor out there. You are free to use it almost anywhere with this noise level.

Fuel type: Along with all these great features, the California Air Tools 8010 machine is also oil-free that makes it the best air compressor for auto body work. You don’t have to spend any extra money on oil or maintenance.

Pump type: The pump is extremely durable as it is made of the dual piston. The life cycle of 3000+ hours surely exceeds the competition by a considerable margin.

Horsepower: The robust motor runs with one horsepower and capable of going up to a 2HP peak. It uses 120 Volts and 8.5 AMPS that reduce your electricity bill and provides the best performance.

Warranty: The california air compressor 8010 comes with one full year of warranty. You can use the compressor freely without any stress with its more extended warranty period.

*The issues california has had with overheating and starting fires.

  • The ultra-quiet feature gives you the freedom to work for longer hours without killing your ears.
  • The 8-gallon tank provides excellent air supply that makes it a good air compressor.
  • It contains two pressure gauges that show accurate pressure.
  • Relatively low electric usage doesn’t  break your bank.
  • It only needs 165 seconds to fill up the tank.
  • Lightweight and highly portable because of the wheels.
  • Only 2.2  CFM @ PSI.
  • The build quality could be improved.

2. Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  1. Senco PC1010 has the least sound out of all air compressors available in the market. You can turn on the switch anywhere without disturbing other people.
  2. The Senco air compressor tool is extremely light and portable. You can even carry it around with one hand.
  3. The Senco air compressor PC1010 provides an excellent service at painting smaller objects as it is relatively low in power. This is a unique feature of this air compressor.
  4. It is oil-free. Hence, you don’t have to bother with its maintenance.
  5. One year of warranty certifies your purchase to be a safe and smart decision. It will surely stay with you like the best air compressor paint sprayer for an extended period of time.

Features and Description

Tank Size: Senco PC1010 air compressor comes with a 1-gallon air tank. This small tank makes the compressor ultra-lightweight and highly portable.

Operating PSI: It is the best air compressor for airbrush containing 125 PSI. You can power up any painter gun with this compressor.

CFM @ PSI : The motor can provide 0.7 CFM at 90 PSI. It can also do 1 CFM at 40 PSI. You can change and use them as you need.

Noise Level: The noise level is definitely on the lower side of the spectrum. It marks 73 dB, which is remarkably low compared to other giant air compressors.

Fuel Type: As it is oil-free, you don’t have to use any oil to keep it running. Therefore, the best cheap compressor saves you from all sorts of maintenance costs.

Pump type: Senco PC1010 has a great pump motor considering its price range. The body is small yet durable. And, has enough force to provide quality service.

Horsepower: It comes with ½ HP. Hence, you can’t do heavy-duty work where higher air pressure is required. However, it is able to do a great job when low pressure is demanded.

Warranty: The Senco air compressor PC1010 is the best air compressor for airbrush as it is secured with one year of warranty. So you’re to have no tension or whatsoever about it’s service time.

  • Ultra-low noise.
  • Highly portable and light-weight.
  • Great for painting small objects.
  • It is oil-free.
  • The capacity of Maximum 125 PSI.
  • One year of warranty.
  • It is not powerful enough for high duty work.
  • CFM @ PSI could be improved.

3. CALIFORNIA AIR 2010A Ultra Quiet- Oil-Free

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  1. CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 2010A is ultra-quiet with just 60 dB of the noise level. This feature offers you to use it anywhere you prefer without getting complaints from nearby people.
  2. The weight of the cat-2010a tool is only 35 lbs. Thus, highly portable and easy to maneuver.
  3. This California air compressor 2010A tool runs without any fuel. Consequently, it provides cleaner air and needs close to none maintenance work.
  4. Just 50 seconds is required to fill up the tank. It helps to get your job done rapidly.
  5. This aluminum tank air compressor can run up to 60 minutes, depending on the CFM @ PSI you choose to use. You can change the power according to your need.
  6. The life-time is marked at 3000+ hours. You can definitely use it for a very long time with no technical issue.

Features and Description

Tank Size: California Air Tools 2010A has a rust-free aluminum tank that can carry 2 Gallon of air. Therefore, this air compressor is exceptionally lightweight and highly portable.

Operating PSI: Its maximum operating PSI is 125. This power is great, considering the size of the machine.

CFM @ PSI : It can do 3.10 CFM @ 40 PSI and also 2.20 CFM @ 90 PSI. You can interchange them based on the requirement.

Noise Level: This model is undoubtedly one of the lowest noise-producing compressors available. The noise level is only at 60 dB. This feature is both unique and useful to any user.

Fuel Type: This tool needs no fuel to operate. So, you’re stress-free from maintenance and extra cost.

Pump Type: Dual-piston pump makes it sturdy and long-lasting. It is built to last long and provide high performance along the way.

Horsepower: It uses 1 Horsepower for running. It can also peak at 2 HP for maximum power.

Warranty: You get one year of limited warranty for this air tool. Therefore, you have the relief to use it freely from the beginning.

  • The low noise is a great feature.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • It needs less maintenance as it is oil-Free.
  • Dual-piston pumps ensure high durability.
  • It Comes with one year of warranty.
  • The plug wire is too short.
  • Internal parts quality could be improved.

3 Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, Oil-Free
  • Operating PSI: 150 PSI
  • Noise Level: 78 dB
  • Pump Type: Oil-Free
  • Tank Size: 6 Gallons
  • CFM @ PSI: 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Horsepower: 0.8 HP
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DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor
  • Operating PSI: 165 PSI
  • Noise Level: 75.5 dB
  • Pump Type: Oil-Free
  • Tank Size: 6 Gallons
  • CFM @ PSI: 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Horsepower: 0.9 HP
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Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor
  • Operating PSI: 140 PSI
  • Noise Level: 90dB
  • Pump Type: Oil Lubricated
  • Tank Size: 5.2 Gallons
  • CFM @ PSI: 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Horsepower: 3 HP
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Top 3 Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars

You might be wondering, ”What spray gun is best to paint cars?” Nowadays, there are plenty of air compressors for painting cars in the business. It is quite tough to decide which one to buy as there are many options available. Below, we will compare three of the best air compressors in detail and help you choose the best air compressor for spray painting cars.

4. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  • This 30 lbs PORTER-CABLE air compressor is easily movable from one place to another. It is highly suitable if you are working either at home or at a job site.
  • It is the best air compressor for cars for its low maintenance feature. Meaning, it will provide a lifelong performance without causing many headaches!
  • In comparison to other air compressors, it is quite an affordable one. The Porter Cable Pancake Compressor works just as efficiently as the highly-priced ones and doesn’t even require much maintenance.
  • The porter cable is the best air compressor for auto body work for its easy to use feature. Moreover, it comes with a manual that explains all the operations in detail.
  • The Porter-Cable PCFP12234 air compressor is also quite flexible in attempting several various jobs other than only painting.

Features and Description

  • Tank Size: The pancake-style stable 6-gallon tank will help paint your car evenly in every way with the required air pressure.
  • Operating PSI: 150 PSI is one of the major plus points you might think of while buying it. It reaches up to 150 PSI within a few minutes that ensures faster task compilation and also a smooth run.
  • CFM @ PSI: Its 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI allows the compressor to recover quickly. So you’ll have an effortless experience while working.
  • Noise Level: The noise level porter cable compressor is 78dB, which is considerably low.
  • Fuel Type: As Porter-Cables fuel is electric power, it saves both oil and your money that makes it the best car paint gun and compressor. Operated in an oil-free way, it also ensures less mess in the workplace.
  • Pump Type: The porter cable 150 psi pancake compressor comes with an oil-free pump that ensures its durability as well.
  • Horsepower: The 0.8 HP induction motor is enough to perform efficiently for painting your car.
  • Warranty: The porter cable 150 psi air compressor has a 1-year limited warranty on components of the compressor.
  • The porter cable air compressor is sufficiently flexible.
  • It is a good air compressor for painting cars for its affordable price.
  • The Porter-Cable is a portable air compressor for painting easily.
  • Long-lasting lifetime
  • Performs efficiently
  • It can be loud while in operation.
  • Short extension cord is not the best air compressor for auto body work.

5. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  • The 30lbs DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor is easy to carry. If your job requires working at different places, it can be a viable option.
  • The pancake compressor is not a mini compressor for painting. Its oil-free pump makes it last long without requiring much maintenance.
  • A console cover is placed above the controls to protect them so that they do not come in direct contact with you while the compressor is in operation. You can remove the console cover to repair any dysfunction as well.
  • The motor is highly efficient to start up quickly, even in cold weather. It comes with couplers and flows regulators with high efficiency to maximize the performance of the air tool.
  • The DEWALT 6 gallon air compressor has 165 PSI, and 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI that ensures the tool to run efficiently for a long time. That’s why it is the best air compressor for auto painting.

Features and Description

  • Tank size: The DEWALT pancake compressor has a 6-gallon tank that enables the tools to function with full efficiency. It also lets the compressor recover quickly.
  • Operating psi: This auto painting compressor comes with a max 165 PSI. It is quite sufficient for the tools to function correctly.
  • CFM @ PSI: The 2.6 SCFM makes sure of max air pump @ 90 PSI.
  • Noise level: 75.5 dB noise level helps keep the work surrounding quiet and lets you work calmly.
  • Fuel type: The Dewalt pancake air compressor has an electric run universal motor that works at 120V. So, it doesn’t require any oil to run and also lets the compressor at its best efficiency.
  • Pump type: This compressor’s pump is oil-free, meaning it can work with its full potential without requiring any oil. It also saves your workplace from spilled oil everywhere.
  • Horsepower: The peak horsepower in the DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor is 0.9 HP, which is sufficient for this compressor to run fine.
  • Warranty: This 30lbs DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor comes with a 1-year warranty with a 1-year free service and 90-day money-back guarantee.
  • Easy to carry due to lightweight
  • Efficient performance
  • The paint compressor is easy to operate.
  • This air compressor can cause leakage sometimes due to manufacturer fault.

6. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor

Benefits and Reasons To Buy

  • If you are looking for an air compressor with which you can complete a variety of tasks, then Makita MAC5200 is the one for you. It is designed for multitasking and that is a huge plus point if you are thinking of using it professionally.
  • Its high-end compressors ensure its long lifetime. You can use the Makita air compressor MAC5200 for decades without any issues.
  • The Makita air compressor weighing around 90 pounds is very easy to carry or move from one place to another with the rugged wheels attached to it.
  • The quick tank refill feature allows the compressor to reach CFM 0 to 140 within 2 minutes. It is a very essential and time-saving feature that is required by professionals.
  • Though it is a bit pricey then the other two air compressors discussed above, but makita is the best air compressor for painting cars.

Features and Description

  • Tank size: The 5.2-gallon tank is perfect for multitasking. It can work at the same time with two nailers with high airflow.
  • Operating psi: Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor comes with the operating PSI of 140 that refills the tank within 2 minutes. It saves your time and also provides uninterrupted airflow at the same time.
  • CFM @ PSI: The 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI makes the MAC5200 air compressor work at its finest. It increases the productivity level of the air compressor.
  • Noise level: This air compressor causes sound up to 90dB, which is per any other professional high-end air compressor, and not a mini compressor for painting.
  • Fuel type: The Makita compressor has an electric run motor that draws 120v of output power. It runs the 3HP engine with efficiency.
  • Pump type: The pump type of air compressor is oil lubricated.
  • Horsepower: The 3HP motor is sufficient to work with at least two nailers at the same time.
  • Warranty: It comes with a 1-year warranty of parts and labor from the date it is purchased.
  • Can be easily moved
  • Quick air refill
  • Powerful 3HP motor
  • Recovers faster after releasing air
  • Long-lasting lifetime
  • May not be appropriate for households or small workplaces.

Best air compressor for painting house

Are you looking for the best air compressor for painting walls of houses? Then Rolair VT25BIG 2.5 HP Wheeled Compressor is for you.

7. Rolair VT25BIG 2.5 HP Wheeled Compressor

Rolair VT25BIG 2.5 HP Wheeled Compressor is your most valuable pick as it is the best air compressor for painting houses. First of all, Rolair VT25BIG machine is built with cast-iron that makes it sturdy and highly durable. It will be with you for a long time. Secondly, the Rolair compressor VT25BIG is very portable because of the wheels attached to the bottom. They provide excellent support while moving the machine.

Along with this, the motor can go up to 3400 RPM. The pump uses splash lubrication and helps to increase the life-span of the engine. Speaking of life-span, this tool has a history of lasting 5000+ hours! So, once you get your hands on it, you don’t have to spend a dime on an air compressor anymore.

Now, let’s talk about the other essential aspects, such as the tank size. It can carry 5.3 gallons of air and takes only 67 seconds to fill up fully.

Furthermore, the VT25BIG air tool requires 2.5 Horsepower to run. The maximum limit of operating PSI is 125. The engine can do 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI. This amount of power can support any painter gun you choose to use.

Lastly, Rolair VT25BIG is the best air compressor for painting walls for its overload protection. So, in-case anything goes sideways, you can manually reset it with ease.


Best Air Compressor Paint Sprayer

Campbell Hausfeld DH420000AV is the best air compressor paint sprayer on amazon. Do you want to know why? Then let’s go through.

8. Campbell Hausfeld DH420000AV

The Campbell Hausfeld DH420000AV air compressor provides great value for the money. This paint sprayer works like a charm when painting small houses and staining. One of the best features is that It can convert from pressure-feed to siphon-feed on command. You can use enamel, latex, primer, lacquer, or any coat with the Campbell Hausfeld paint sprayer. So, it is usable on different types of painting projects.

Moreover, It can be converted to bleeder from non-bleeder and supports both standards. As a result, you can work on bigger projects along with small ones.

This Campbell compressor has a unique feature called fluid control. It can adjust the sprayed material. This offers you to save a lot of paint from wasting. It is one of the top 10 air compressors on amazon.

Keeping up, all it needs is 2.0 SCFM @ 40 PSI. It enlarges your painting potential by changing paint viscosity. You can place it anywhere between the low and high points.

Lastly, it has a 1-Year limited warranty. So you’re not to worry about any technical difficulties.


Best Air Compressor For HVLP

Don’t anymore search for the best air compressor for HVLP because you have found one right now. Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 is the best air compressor for HVLP. 

9. Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray

Fuji 2203G Semi-pro 2 is an exclusive high volume low pressure (HLVP) sprayer in the market. No other air sprayer is offering as much value as this one.

A 1400-watt motor provides roughly 5 PSI, that’s enough power to spray any kind of coating. The metal turbine body makes the Fuji semi pro 2 sturdy and durable. Overspray limit is minimized using a long 25 ft Hi-flex hose that includes an air control valve. hvlp compressor

Its non-bleed feature puts restrictions on any air leakage that makes the tool the best HVLP compressor. The screw-on cup can hold up to 400 CC of juice. A 1.3mm air cap is attached to the body. You can also change the fan size according to your need using the fan pattern control.

Moreover, its cooling system works great to keep it running for a long period of time. The cleansing procedure is easy for the Fuji 2203G semi-pro 2 automotive HVLP spray gun. You can detach the cup and spray it with the nozzle.

Finally, the Fuji 2203G Lacquer Spray Gun is secured with two years of warranty. You are sure to use this tool for a long time.

What is an HVLP air compressor?

An HVLP air compressor is a powerful compressor that provides an accurate, smooth painting experience and saves a lot of material from waste.  HVLP stands for High-Volume Less-Pressure.

Best Spray Gun For Car Painting

3M Accuspray ONE Spray Gun is the best spray gun for car painting. Let’s dig into the details.

10. 3M Accuspray ONE Spray Gun

3M Paint Gun is a single, all-around tool to fulfill all your needs. This is the most light-weight, versatile, and multi-skilled painting air gun available on the market. Firstly, the 3M spray gun is a one-piece body and free of any complications. Therefore, it is easy to use and requires a little to no maintenance, which makes it the best compressor for cars.

Secondly, you get the option of using different size nozzles that are easily interchangeable. They are of various sizes, from 1.2mm to 2 mm. No matter what coating you’re using, the replaceable top is made for ideal automation.

Moreover, Every single head can run for at least ten times. You are free to use any type of coatings, such as primer, gel coats, enamels, or clear coats with these nozzles. The 3m disposable paint gun makes the painting experience more enjoyable.

When you’re using an air gun to paint your car, you want it to be fast and efficient. 3M Paint Sprayer has all the features that make it quick and effective. It sprays the perfect amount of material and leaves a smooth finish on it.

Best Air Compressor For Painting Furniture

Best Air Compressor for painting furniture is the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor. Let’s see why it is the best!

11. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

Bostitch BTFP02012 is powered using a high-efficiency motor that’s capable of maintaining 150 PSI at max. It can provide 2.6 SCFM* @ 90 PSI. With this amount of power, you are able to do your furniture painting with comfort.

Some of the air compressor’s engines get jammed due to lower temperature. Not this one! Bostitch 6 Gallon Air Compressor motor can boot-up easily during cold weather.

Besides, The 6-gallon air tank can supply pressure for a longer period of time before refilling. Moreover, the oil-free pump needs no extra maintenance cost.

Generally, the noise level of air-compressors is a massive aspect for many users. The Bostitch Compressor has meager rates of the noise level of 78.5 DBA. This is a preferable range for any quiet workstation.

Furthermore, BTFP02012 can easily be carried because of its 29 lb weight. It increases flexibility during your painting. This air tool also has two universal couplers that support two air guns at the same time.

Best Air Compressor For Framing Crew

Craftsman Air Compressor is the best air compressor for framing crew. Here’s why it is the best for framing crew for everyone.

12. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free

CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150 is a highly portable yet durable air compressor. It weighs only 30 lbs and is able to capture 6 gallons of air. You’re able to move the Craftsman Compressor around without any force.

The engine doesn’t require any oil for running. Thus, Craftsman Electric Air compressor is much more durable and needs less attention in the maintenance section. The motor of craftsman Compressors’ can start up quickly, even in the colder environment.

Moreover, The craftsman 6 Gallon Air Compressor has 150 max PSI capacity. The tool is powerful enough to provide top-notch service. It provides 3.5 SCFM @ 40 PSI and 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI. You can use this tool on various projects and get precise, accurate results.

However, the noise level is slightly on the higher side. The engine’s noise level touches 82 dB. The horsepower is only 0.8, along with 120V and 10 Amps usage.

The Craftsman Air Compressors is backed up with one year of warranty. You can work for a long time without any difficulty using this air compressor.

Air Compressor Buying Guide

Among many types of air compressors in the market, you should choose according to the air tool you wish to use. There are some factors you should consider while buying an air compressor. Following is a guide about factors to consider when choosing the best air compressor for painting cars, homes and furniture. This guide will make it easier for you to choose the best air compressor.


The efficiency of an air compressor mostly depends on its motor. If the motor is not sufficient or it does not have great horsepower, then the compressor won’t be very productive. That’s why, before buying an air compressor ensure it sports an engine with considerable force esteem.

If you are looking for a good enough compressors, then you could buy a compressor with a 1.6 horsepower motor. But if your budget is high and you are looking for something more than good, then you should buy a compressor with a 3.0 horsepower motor. 1.6 horsepower is enough for painting homes and furniture. For painting cars you need at least a 2 horsepower motor.


Air pressure in an air compressor is an important thing to watch out for. The air pressure in an air compressor is measured by PSI (pounds per square inch). 90PSI is the least number for most compressors to work properly. But you definitely need to go over 100 PSI to work without any hassle. If you don’t want to spend much on the compressor, then 125 PSI is the number you should choose.

You can paint your car, house or furniture using 125 PSI. It will work just fine. But it is suggested that you should use at least 135 PSI while painting your car. After all, the higher the PSI the better work you can do.


CFM means cubic feet per minute. The capacity of air compressed by an air compressor in a minute is counted as CFM. CFM is a major thing to think about, before buying a compressor. For those who do paint jobs with air compressors, CFM is most important. If the CFM isn’t correct, the whole paint job may get hampered.

At first, you have to know how to calculate the required CFM of your air tool. You can get your required CFM by multiplying your tool’s needed CFM by 1.2. If your tools required CFM is 5.6, then multiply it by 1.2. So 5.6×1.2 = 6.72.


A machine’s performance perfection always lies in each machine’s tools individually. So to have a wonderful service, one needs to know about all the measurements and key functions subsequently. Such an occurrence is put on light about the air compressor is PSI VS CFM. Though both of the operations indicate the ability of the air compressor, unlikely they are not the same. You might get confused over these two acronyms which need to be crystal cleared before graving.

Here are the differences between PSI and CFM measurements.

PSI Stands for Pounds per Square InchCFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute.
Basically it defines How many pounds of pressure are utilized in an inch of area.This measurement refers to the amount of air that is gained at a given pressure.
It is the indicator of the output of the force for the compressor.CFM represents the airflow,the more airflow it gives,the more applications are applied for.
90 pounds per square inch is optimum measurement, but differs for larger applications and so onAir compressors with higher CFM ensures required airflow and better performance.

What is paint compressor?

A paint compressor is a type of spray gun that uses compressed pressure to paint. In this case, an air-pressurized spray gun is filled with liquid paints and when the trigger is pushed, this liquid paint mixes with compressed air and released as a spray.

Air compressor for painting-

One of the most popular ways to paint is to paint with an air compressor. In this way, an air-pressurized gun is used. When you pull the trigger, the liquid paint of the spray gun chamber will mix up with compressed and the paint will come out.

Air compressor for paint sprayer

To choose a suitable air compressor for paint sprayer, you need to consider 3 factors:

  1. CFM: CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute which is the volume of air produced by the air paint compressor. First, check the CFM requirement of your paint sprayer. You will need to check the CFM of your air compressor and buy the one that has higher CFM than your paint sprayer to be in a safe side. Another important issue here is the PSI rating. PSI stands for Pounds Square Inch which determines how much of force the air compressor will be able to deliver.
  2. Pressure: Check if your paint sprayer uses HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) or LVLP (Low Volume low pressure). With these in mind, choose the air compressor that suites your paint sprayer. You should also check out the HP (Horsepower) rating of your spray paint compressor to know if the air compressor can maintain the needed pressure and flow.
  3. Tank Size: There are so many sizes of tanks depending on your work purpose, ranging from 1 gallon to 60 gallons. However, larger air tanks are often advised because with that, you can paint for a longer period.

Air compressor requirements for spray painting

For spray painting, you will need to consider these three things: CFM, Pressure and Tank size. The higher the CFM from your paint sprayers’ CFM, more opportunity to get maximum out of your paint sprayer. Secondly, your air compressors pressure should be on per with your paint sprayers’ requirements on whether it uses HVLP or LVLP. Lastly, depending on how long you are going to use the air sprayer or how much do you need to paint in a single session. Additionally, look out for the PSI and HP of the air compressor for more precision.

What is the smallest air compressor for painting

Usually an air compressor comes with a 30-gallon tank. You still can paint the whole car with this, but it will definitely take a lot of time because of the lack of size as it will take longer to fill up. Plus you also should consider the CFM and PSI of the air compressor if a small compressor can provide these. So, in this case, the safest take on the smallest air compressor should be 55 to 60 gallons with a decent CFM that suites your spray gun and can provide a formidable pressure for longer period.

Air Compressor Size For Painting:

Here’s a table for air compressor size for painting and their benefits.


Gallon in Digit





To avoid uneven and incomplete painting.

No worries for overspray



Mostly, electric compressors are used in home. So you need a proper power supply.

You won’t break your circuit while spraying.



It needs a balance gallon digit to make sure the work is not messed up.

It provides even spraying experience.

Paint sprayer


It requires 12 CFM to spray. A 20-30 Gallon air compressor provides the expected CFM.

Provides thorough spray.

Framing crew


It provides powerful performance.

No intensity for power.

How to size an air receiver tank?

Air receiver tank sizing is an uncomplicated and straightforward procedure. The rule is taking the appropriate tool with the highest CFM@psi and then multiplying the CFM by 1.25/1.5. Lastly, it requires assembling to the nearest gallon size.

 How much CFM is my air compressor?

To test the air compressor CFM by own, you need to follow some steps as below.

Step  #1 :

Note the gallon size of the air compressor, which is over the wall of the tank. Now get the Cubic feet, dividing the gallon size by 7.48. This value denotes the airflow in Cubic feet.

Step  #2 :

For further testing, note the time of releasing the air and, after that, fill the tank again. The refilling time is most important, and another thing is to pay attention to the gauge when it kicks in and kicks out. Note these two times and subtract the values.

If the air compressor kicks in at 50 psi and kicks out at 75 psi, the difference is 25 psi.

Step  #3 :

Following the next step, the difference value is divided by 14.7, and the value is the atmospheric pressure, which was added in the time of refilling.

Step  #4 :

Now multiply the pressure value from step three with the air volume in cubic feet gotten from step 1. This value resembles the cubic feet at a certain time it took to refill (step 2)

Step  #5 :

Finally, to have your CFM or cubic feet per minute, divide the value of step four by 60.

And in the end, it is your machine’s ability parameter or CFM value.

How an air compressor fails

Important note:

There are a lot of ways an air compressor can fail, and some of the switches they use can make arcs or sparks even under normal conditions.

Even if you use it every day, and even if you buy from a “trusted” brand, you should always unplug a compressor when you’re done so working it doesn’t start running when you aren’t around.

The failure rates California model aren’t much worse than other brands, as far as we could tell in our research. (5% one-star reviews is, as sad as it may be, a pretty low rate of failure compared to the major brands.)

Types of paint sprayers

There are seven types of paint sprayers. These are, Air gun paint sprayers, Electrostatic paint Sprayers, Electric fan, automated linear paint spray systems, automated flat line paint spray systems, Airless spray guns and spray booth.

  1. Air gun paint sprayers
  2. Electrostatic paint Sprayers
  3. Electric fan
  4. Automated linear paint spray systems
  5. Automated flat line paint spray systems
  6. Airless Spray gun
  7. spray booth

1. Air gun paint sprayers

General Process-

Uses an air pressurized gun sprayers. When the trigger is pushed, the liquid paint is mixed with the compressed and creates a paint stream through the nozzle.

Components- Air compressor, Nozzle and A paint basin

Type of technologies-

HVLP: High Volume Low Pressure. In this technology, the gun sprayer uses a compressor to supply the air, but the gun itself works in a lower pressure.

LVLP: Low Volume low pressure. Just like the gun sprayer, the overall system also works in low air pressure.

Specially used in painting-Cosmetics, architectural coating, decorative, marine coating and automotive industries. 

2. Electrostatic paint Sprayers

General Process-

In electrostatic spray painters, otherwise named powder coating, the paint particles are atomized and electrically charged, so that they repel each other and evenly spread after leaving the nozzle.

Components- A spray nozzle, a paint supply reservoir

Type of technologies-

Direct Charging: The electrode is inserted into the paint reservoir

Tribo Charging: It uses the friction energy of the paint that is forced through the paint sprayer.

Post-atomization charging: The paint fluid is atomized and put into an electrostatic field from the outlet nozzle.

Specially used in the painting-Car body panel, bike frame

3. Electric fan

General Process-

The sprayer combines the paint with air or convert the paint liquid in to tiny droplets to accelerate out of the nozzle.

Components- A spray nozzle with a mini fan attached, a paint supply reservoir

Type of technologies-

Hot spray: In this type, the paint in the reservoir is heated to 60-80 °C in order to apply thicker coat.

Air assisted spray guns:

In this case, the fluid pressure is raised to 300 to 3000 pounds per square inch for the atomization of the coating.

Specially used in painting-Walls, wooden and metal objects

4. Automated linear paint spray systems-

General Process-

The automated linear paint system is heavily used for recovering paint. In this process, the spray gun is placed above the product and paint using the water-based or solvent-based coating.

Components- A spray nozzle, a paint supply reservoir

Type of technologies-

This incorporates paint-saving technology in order to decrease the amount of paint and gives the capability to reuse the paint.

Specially used in painting-Window frames, baseboard casing, trim stock, wood molding

5. Automated flat line paint spray systems

General Process-

Flatline paint sprayers aligned above a largely automated conveyer belt for painting small and complexly shaped materials.

Components- A spray nozzle, a paint supply reservoir, An automated conveyer belt, Air compressor

Type of technologies-

In this case, the paint sprayers are put above the conveyer belt. The conveyer belt is automatically moving and the sprayers’ auto move for covering all the side of the material evenly with the paint.

Specially used in painting-Wooden, Plastic and kitchen products.

6. Airless Spray gun

General Process-

Airless sprayers use a high-pressure pump to pressure the atomize paint coating inside the paint reservoir.


A spray nozzle, a paint supply reservoir, high-pressure pump, or air compressor for power generation.

Type of technologies-

In this process, the paint in the reservoir is provided with a negative charge and atomized. By attaching a high pressure, pump providing 300 to 7500 pounds per inch. After that, the paint is sprayed with use of a nozzle.

Specially used in painting-Heavy-duty industrial painting, chemical and marine coating, and linings.

7. spray booth

General Process-

A spray booth uses a pressure-controlled environment for efficiently painting a large or small object safely from distance.


Pressure Controlled closed environment, paint sprayers (Automated or manual), Intake and exhaust filters

Type of technologies-

There are 5 types of paint booths. Crossflow, side downdraft, Semi Down Draft, Full Downdraft, and open-face industrial booth.

Specially used in painting-Auto Body shops

What is compressor paint gun?

A compressor paint gun is an air-pressurized spray gun that uses compressed air, mixed up with liquid paint in the chamber to generate paint spray for painting a certain portion. You can use the nozzle that comes with the paint gun to adjust the width of the paint radius.

Spray paint compressor function

In a spray paint compressor, there are 3 parts: a nozzle, air compressor and a paint basin. You take your desired paint in the paint basin. Based on the use, you can use any kind of thinner, like Acetone to make the paint lighter. After pressing the trigger of the spray gun, the paint will mix up with the compressed air, coming from the air compressor and paint will come out from the nozzle as a fine spray. Based on use and the object that needs to be painted, the nozzle can be adjusted, like full cone, hollow cone or flat stream.

How to Setup Your Air Compressor Kit with a Spray Gun?

Step  #1 :

Unpack your spray gun and clean the oil. This oil is for avoiding any corrosion that is used for its protection for packaging. Then next, take the air nozzle, remove it and flush thinner into it. Flush it until it is clean.

Step  #2 :

To clean the cup, take warm soapy water and fill it to the halfway. Fasten the warm water to the gun and shake well for cleaning the cup and the syphoned tube.

Step  #3 :

Clean the spray gun with thinner or alcohol to clean any remaining junk.

Step  #4 :

Take the tank based on your demanded size and clean it with thinner. Dry it up and then add the paint.

Step  #5 :

You need to connect your air compressors hose with the spray gun. Take the male air hose coupling, connect it with the spray guns air connector, and adjust the air pressure with respect to the hose length. Pull on the ring on the safety pressure-relief valve of the tank to make sure it operates freely. Close the air supply valve after that and tighten the tank lid clamps.

Step  #6 :

Open the main air supply and observe the regulator air gauge. If it shows any pressure, then reduce the pressures to zero.

How to Paint a Car Using an Air Compressor?

Step  #1 :

Prepare your workspace by cleaning the place and removing any waste.

Step  #2 :

To remove the existing paint from your car, sand it with a 600-grit sandpaper first. After the majority of the paint has been removed, change the sandpaper to 1500-grit and thoroughly sand to remove any remaining paint or rust.

Step  #3 :

If the body has any kind of dents or holes, repair it with a putty. Allow the puty to dry for 1 hour. After that, rub the applied putty with a 1200-grit sandpaper and make the surface smooth.

Step  #4 :

Clean the surface with a dry cloth. If there are any remaining stains or wax marks clean it with a thinner and wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Step  #5 :

Use tape to the part where you do not want to paint.

Step  #6 :

Set up your paint gun with your compressor by attaching the male air hose coupling with the paint guns spray connector. Use thinner with your paint to get desired viscosity and put it in to the clean paint reservoir. Attach the paint reservoir with the paint spray gun.

Step  #7 :

Put on safety glass and mask and start painting the car.

Why cheap tools make you frustrated?

A local air compressor company performed an analysis determining there was insufficient capacity. It was decided additional compressors and dryers were required to solve the problem. The solution was in excess of $100,000.

The graph below shows the pressure in the air compressor room and in the silos. The black line represents the pressure in the compressor room while the red line represents the pressure in the area of the plant where the valve failures were occurring.


best air compression review
Best air compression review

How to paint a car cheaply

  • A cheap yet popular method of painting car is the use of spray cans. In this way, you can evenly apply paint in specific areas. Nevertheless, it will absolutely take a longer amount of time plus a lot of preparation and effort for the perfect finish.
  • Additionally, painting using rollers and brushes is a popularly cheap method for painting your car. However, it takes more effort, paint and obviously, time for a good finish as the chances of a botched paintwork is higher.
  • Another way you can cheaply paint your car with a spray paint. With decent sized air compressor with a good CFM, a paint sprayer can easily cover your car within a very short time. Apart from any other technique, finishing with the paint sprayers are better, there are less amount of paint is wasted and it is less time consuming.

FAQ on Best Air Compressor For Painting

What size air compressor to paint a car?

The recommended size of an air compressor to paint spray your car is 50 gallons or more. If you have the budget, you should definitely go for the bigger capacity for painting most of the car in a single iteration.

What size air compressor do I need to paint a car?

The minimum size air compressor for painting a car is 30 gallon. A decent spray gun with good CFM and an air compressor that can deliver commendable PSI, you will acquire the minimum requirement to have a decent spray-painting session for your car.

What is a good size air compressor for spray painting?

Any air compressor with a more 60-gallon capacity or more is good for you. As with the bigger tank size, the air compressor will be able to produce more air and thus you will be able to finish the painting in a single session.

How big of an air compressor do I need to paint a car?

From a minimum of 30 gallons to a decent 60-gallon tank air compressor, you can easily choose between your budget. But definitely, the advise would be to take air compressors with bigger tanks for better performance, decent CFM, and a good amount of deliverable PSI.

Can you paint a car with a 30-gallon air compressor?

Yes, you can paint a car with a 30-gallon air compressor. But you will also need a suitable spray gun with your air compressor that will be able to match its CFM. Also, you are certainly going to need a lot of time.

Is there a spray gun that doesn’t need air compressor?

A straight NO. Why? Because a spray gun pushes the paint with the help of air pressure. An air compressor is one of the most efficient motors to generate this air pressure for a long time continuously with higher precision.

How many CFM is my air compressor?

Read the tank volume in gallons while full and divide it by 7.48 to get the tank volume in cubic centimeters. Next, release the air pressure and count refilling time to get the psig. Now, take the psig in the compressor tank gauge and subtract it with the psig when the compressor was emptied. Divide the difference of psigs by 14.7 for getting the pressure added during the tanks filling cycle in terms of atmospheric pressure. This is in cubic feet on how long it took to fill the tank. Convert the final number in how many seconds it took to pump the amount released. Multiply the seconds with 60 and you will get the CFM of your air compressor.

Wrapping it up

Several air compressors come with different features and efficiency. We have discussed the best air compressor for painting. The compressors listed above are mostly portable and lightweight ones. If you are a DIY person, or a professional, you can easily choose the best one for your projects from the listed options above.

Better CFM@psi, HP, Tank Type, Fuel type, Noise level, etc. are leading things you would want to know about at the beginning of your purchase. Not to forget about the price, they also come in different ranges. Moreover, all these compressors come with at least a 1-year warranty, and most of them will last long and provide longer runtime without requiring much maintenance. The Best air compressor for painting is extremely easy to operate, whether you are a novice or a professional worker. Therefore, the best air compressor can save you more time while providing you with efficient services.

Confused about Oil Air Compressors which are more durable & more functional over oil-free compressors? Oiled vs. Oil free Air Compressor, which is best? Read more to know which has a longer life and greater air capacity.

Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor

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