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10 Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting in 2022

Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting

Last updated on May 25th, 2023 at 08:21 am

Spray paint looks so fun and is actually so fun while doing it. It colors the surface beautifully without leaving ugly brush marks.

But for the proper functioning of a spray painting gun, it is important that you choose the right air compressor. A good quality air compressor maintains set pressure at all times for flawless paint application.

So we’ve picked the best air compressors for spray painting that will help you finish various painting projects like a pro.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of air compressors available in the market today. And this is both good and bad for a buyer.

While you get a lot of options in choosing the best air compressor, at the same time it creates confusion on which one to pick. Also, not all air compressors are suitable to use for spray painting.

Here are some of the best air compressors available in the market that you can use for spray guns.

1) CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free pump
  • 2.6 cu ft/min
  • Max pressure: 150 bars
  • Weighs 32.5 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

Finish small DIY projects like a pro with the Craftsman pancake air compressor. This small unit is great for household use or recreational work. Equipped with a high-performance motor, the unit starts quickly even during cold weather. Small air compressors like Craftsman CMEC6150K take much recovery time, especially while working on a large project.

But thanks to the oil-free pump of this small air compressor that reduces recovery time as well as eases maintenance. And even with the oil-free pump, the machine is capable of producing up to 150 MAX psi. Therefore, enough to use the machine for a variety of applications.

The small pancake air compressor comes with a couple of accessories to help you get started. Apart from the main machine, it includes a 25’x1/4″ PVC air hose with a coupler and plug, a tire chuck with a plug, a blow gun with a plug, a tire gauge, a blow gun with an OSHA safety nozzle, rubber tip, and 3 inflator adapters. Thus, there are enough objects to work on various projects around the house.

2) Air Compressor, Portable, 3 Gallon Horizontal, Oilless

Key Features:

  • 3-gallon tank
  • Airflow capacity: 0.36 cu ft/min
  • Oil-less pump
  • Max PSI: 110 bars
  • Weighs 21.3 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

Is painting large walls or fences, not your area of interest, and wish to own a unit for smaller jobs? Then this portable air compressor by Campbell Hausfeld is just perfect. The small 3-gallon tank produces 0.36 CFM at 90 PSI. Therefore, making it ideal for small-scale painting jobs. The best part is, that you can start using the unit straight out of the box.

Despite the small design, the Campbell Hausfeld horizontal air compressor provides consistent power. And consistency is much needed while doing painting jobs. The compressor boosts 0.5 CFM @ 40 PSI and 110 maximum PSI for tackling most small DIY jobs. This includes stapling, painting, and inflation jobs.

The unit comes along with accessories to start your projects right away. The mini air compressor comes fully equipped with a 25 ft recoil hose, blow gun, air chuck, and much more. Besides, the tank eliminates the pulsations caused by piston actions. Thanks to the smart placement of gauges that allow for easy monitoring of air pressure.

3) WEN 2289 10-Gallon Oil-Free Vertical Air Compressor, 150 PSI

Key Features:

  • 10-gallon tank
  • Oil-free lubrication
  • Max pressure: 150 psi
  • 1.5 HP
  • Weighs 71.5 pounds
  • Limited 2-year warranty

Redecorate the walls of your home with ease using the Wen 10-gallon vertical air compressor. Do not let the standing design of the unit confuse you. Think of it as a hotdog air compressor but in an upright position. Such a design is great while spray painting walls of a room as you need to move the unit around. Also, the Wen 2289 is equipped with wheels on the bottom that helps with mobility.

Just like a majority of the products, this portable air compressor also features an oil-free pump. Therefore, no need for external lubrication. Also, it reduces recovery time as well as keeps the motor running for long to complete large projects in time. The large 10-gallon tank is constructed with reinforced steel to generate a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.

Besides, the motor runs consistently to provide airflow rates of 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI. There are 2 pressure gauges for user convenience. One monitors the internal pressure of the tank and the other one helps to regulate the rate of airflow. As a result, you get constant pressure for easy spray paint applications.

4) California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor

Key Features:

  • 1-gallon capacity
  • Oil-free pump
  • 1.2 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Universal quick connector
  • 0.6 HP
  • Weighs 29 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

Spray painting isn’t just limited to walls and cars. People in various fields use a spray gun for painting a small part or detailing work. So we’ve picked the California Air Tools quiet portable air compressor that is perfect for small detailing paint jobs. California Air Tools is a popular name in the industry, known for manufacturing quiet air compressors. And this mini 1-gallon tank is a perfect example of quiet working and portability.

The oil-free pump requires less maintenance and provides clean air for better working. Its durable steel tank weighs only 29 pounds which eases storage and transportation. Besides, it can produce a maximum pressure of 120 PSI which is good enough to carry out small spraying jobs. It is ideal for spray glazing with small guns and pencils.

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S silent air compressor is loaded with safety features. Therefore, the unit features a thermal overload protector, external current protector, dual pressure gauge controls, and much more. And all these features contribute to making it one of the best air compressors for professional and home use.

5) Stark USA 65151 Air Compressor w/Adjustable Pressure 3.5hp 10 Gallon 125PSI Gas Heavy Duty

Key Features:

  • 10-gallon capacity
  • Max PSI: 125 bars
  • 3.5 HP
  • Large air filter
  • Cast iron cylinder
  • Weighs 55 pounds

Keep up with HVLP paint action with Stark USA’s large air compressor. Equipped with a 10-gallon tank, the unit offers a boosting maximum pressure of 125 PSI. Therefore, the unit is ideal for a variety of jobs including nailing, bolting, stapling, inflation, and hobby painting. To ensure safe operation, Stark USA electric air compressor features an automatic shutoff.

This feature stops pumping air when the object is fully inflated. Therefore, then you can safely use the pressurized air for your project. Even with a large tank, the unit operates 50% quieter than comparable models. This gives you the confidence to use the air compressor indoors at any time without waking up neighbors.

The flow of clean air is a must for uninterrupted work. And to ensure clean airflow, Stark USA’s 10-gallon hotdog air compressor features a large automotive-style industrial air filter. On the other hand, a durable cast iron cylinder reduces wear and increases pump life. Therefore, minimizing maintenance.

6) DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 165 MAX psi
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi
  • 0.9 HP
  • High flow regulator
  • Weighs 30 pounds
  • Limited 1-year warranty

Looking for a portable air compressor for recreational activity during the holiday season? Then Dewalt has your back. Dewalt is another popular name in the tool industry and if you’re a fan of the brand then you might like this 6-gallon pancake air compressor equipped with a high-efficiency motor for spray painting jobs. The motor is made up for an easy start in cold weather. Thus, no more pulling cords or struggling with buttons to start the motor.

Consistent performance is what makes an air compressor worth the money. And you do not have to worry about the performance of this small Dewalt pancake air compressor as it consists of a high flow regulator and couplers. These work together to maximize airflow. Besides, the console buttons are well covered to protect against external elements. Thus, you can take the unit outdoors confidentially for spray painting jobs.

Despite having a portable design, Dewalt DWFP55126 features 2 universal couplers. In short, two users can work on two different projects at the same time without worrying about airflow consistency. And once the work is done, simply release the drain valve for draining the tank. This is an important step to avoid motor clogging.

7) Makita MAC210Q Quiet Series, 1 HP, 2 Gallon, Oil-Free, Electric Air Compressor

Key Features:

  • 2-gallon tank
  • Max psi: 135
  • 1 HP
  • Oil-free lubrication
  • Weighs 44 pounds
  • Limited 1-year warranty

Finishing DIY projects outdoors during tough weather can be quite challenging. Also, it is a terrible idea to use a loud unit indoors. But noise is not an issue with Makita MAC210Q oil-free air compressor. This quiet series from Makita is designed to run at only 60 dB for operator and crew comfort. Therefore, you can use the machine indoors without wearing noise-canceling headphones.

The robust construction of Makita MAC210Q makes it worth every single penny. Its complete roll cage metal construction provides maximum protection against weather, job site, and storage conditions. Therefore, you can confidently carry your machine to various job sites.

Makita’s oil-free dual-piston pump is designed for maintenance-free operation. Speaking of the pump, the motor operates at lower RPM extends runtime as well as creates less load on them. Besides, low AMP draw reduces the incident of tripping breakers at start-up for a flawless and smooth start of the motor.

8) BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon
  • Oil-free pump
  • Airflow capacity: 2.6 cu ft/min
  • High flow regulator
  • Weighs 29 lbs
  • 1-yr limited warranty

Pancake air compressors are usually lightweight and recommended for home use. And if you’re looking forward to spending your weekends or holidays pursuing your spray painting hobby then here’s a perfect pick for you. The Bostitch 6-gallon oil-free compressor, equipped with a high-efficiency motor, is good for home use. It produces 150 max PSI and 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI for longer runtime and quick recovery time.

The motor is designed for a quick start-up even during cold weather. Besides, the motor runs quietly at 78.5 dBA which is quite normal for a 6-gallon pancake air compressor. Though it is not exceptionally quiet you can use it outside your garage or in a large shop.

Just like a majority of tools, the Bostitch pancake air compressor also features 2 universal couplers. Therefore, allowing two users at a single time. And do not worry about pressure disturbance even when 2 persons are using the machine at the same time as Bostitch BTFP02012 features a high flow regulator and couplers to maximize air performance. Therefore, aiding for a professional finish no matter how small the project is.

9) CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 20 Gallon, 1.8 HP, Oil-Free Air Tools

Key Features:

  • 20-gallon tank
  • Max pressure: 175 psi
  • Airflow capacity: 5 cu ft/min
  • 1.8 HP
  • 1 safety valve
  • Weighs 89.8 pounds
  • 1-yr manufacturer warranty

Big spray painting projects require a powerful and reliable unit. And Craftsman 20-gallon air compressor is perfect for spray painting walls. Offering a powerful 1.8 HP horsepower, the unit delivers 4 SCFm at 90 psi. Therefore, this allows for quick compressor recovery time. In addition to that, you can rely on this large vertical air compressor for big spray painting projects.

Thanks to its 20-gallon big tank, made of stainless steel and rubber feet that shows durability during big projects. And in spite of its large size, the unit features an oil-free pump for smooth functioning of the motor with minimal to zero maintenance. The large tank is capable of working over 300 hours continuously.

Craftsman 20-gallon electric air compressor features one automatic air tank pressure valve for safety. Besides, there are dual couplers on the unit’s body to power multiple tools at the same time. The couplers can fit 1/4 NPT size connectors which is quite a common size in the market. And you can keep an eye on the tool and tank pressure with the 2 built-in air gauges on the top.

10) Master Airbrush 1/5 HP Cool Runner II Dual Fan Tank Air Compressor

Key Features:

  • 1/5 HP compressor
  • 0.8-gallon capacity
  • High air volume: 0.8 cfm
  • 2 built-in cooling fans
  • Weighs 12.21 pounds
  • Full 5-year warranty

Homeowners would spend a few extra bucks for a quiet air compressor. And this is understandable as you’ll mostly operate the tool in or around your home. While California Air Tools are best known for their quiet performance, they are very expensive. And if you’re on a budget search then the Master Airbrush dual-fan tank air compressor is the right pick. It runs super quiet at 47 dB which feels like two adults conversating in a closed room.

Normally, you need to stop the unit for a few minutes after continuous usage in order to cool it down. But thanks to 2 built-in fan cooling fans that allow the motor to run longer than usual. Besides, the unit has a long duty cycle and premium rotor windings that increase the lifespan of the compressor.

Master Airbrush corded electric air compressor features a unique “air on demand” system. This feature automatically shuts off air when the unit is not in use. Therefore, saving time and increasing motor efficiency. The machine is preset to shut off when it is 57 psi and turn on automatically as soon as it hits 43 psi.

Some FAQs

What size air compressor do I need to paint?

The size of the air compressor for spray painting depends on how big the project is. For example, you’ll need an air compressor with higher CFM for continuous spray painting work. This includes painting walls and cars. On the other hand, a small air compressor with lower CFM is good for intermittent or hobby use.

To summarize, you’ll need a good-quality air compressor delivering up to 7.5 CFM @ 40 PSI. Also, 40 PSI is the minimum requirement of many good quality HVLP spray guns. And HVLP spray guns are common when painting cars and walls for a factory-like finish.

Small air compressors with tank sizes up to 3-gallon can also be used for spray painting. They provide up to 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI which is good for small essential jobs around the home. However, they are more suitable for detailing and small painting jobs. For example, painting a door, wooden chair, and small metal pieces are best done with a portable air compressor.

How many CFM of Air do I need for a paint gun?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. CFM of an air compressor indicates its airflow or output. And different types of work require you to set different CFM. Here, in the case of a paint gun, experts recommend the compressor be at least 12 CFM.

However, there are many air spray guns that work on a rating of 10 CFM. But it is better to set the pressure up to 12 CFM as it nullifies the chances of nozzle breakage as well as maintains constant performance. And this helps you finish the project like a pro.

How big of an air compressor do I need for an HVLP spray gun?

HVLP spray guns are of high quality and thus, require plenty of air. So one sure thing is, that you cannot use a small pancake air compressor to run HVLP spray gun. For a flawless, factory-like finish, you need an air compressor with at least 2.5 to 3 horsepower with 20-gallon tank.

Will a pancake compressor run a paint gun?

Different paint guns work on defined CFM. You’ll get to know the supported CFM of the paint you buy. However, pancake air compressors do not produce enough pressure or CFM’s to run a paint gun. You’ll have to look for bigger options that can run paint guns. Generally, an air compressor offering 30 cfm or more is ideal to work with a paint gun.

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Final Thoughts

Air compressors are a versatile tool and using them for spray painting is one of them. Using air compressors for spray painting leaves no brush marks. Also, they are quick and handy to use. It takes only a few uses to get your hand on the spray painting with the right air compressor. And now that you know what CFM and size you need for spray painting jobs it’ll be easier to pick the best air compressor. Happy painting!

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