10 Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting 2021 | Reviews & Guide

Tired of using a brush or roller for your painting projects and having to worry about an irregular-looking painting job?

A paint sprayer with an air compressor can solve all your problems and prove to be a more thrilling, time-efficient alternative, which many professional painters choose.

Tools that make use of pneumatic air e.g., paint guns and sprayers ensure a smoother painting job, ridding you of issues such as roller marks on the painted surfaces and give a more even and brushed out finish along with saving your time.

But the right air compressor that delivers the most suitable pressure and volume of compressed air is essential for any successful painting project.

Therefore, let’s look at the best air compressors for spray painting available and their pros and cons so that you can find an air compressor that caters to all your spray painting needs.

Buyer’s Guide

The primary objective of this buyer’s guide is to provide you with the basic know-how of air compressors used for spray painting, enabling you to make a better choice and analysis when you are provided with several products and their discussed features.

Pressure

Spray guns that use compressed air usually come in two types: HVLP (high volume low pressure) and LVLP (low volume low pressure).

Both these types have low-pressure requirements, which are important to keep in mind when considering buying an air compressor so that it is suitable for your spray gun to perform well.

CFM Rating

CFM is the volume of air that the air compressor produces per minute and refers to the quantity it can produce at a certain pressure.

It is the most important factor to consider when thinking about using an air compressor for spray painting.

Make sure you check the CFM requirement of the equipment you want to use with the air compressor.

You’ll be able to find this information from the manual or technical specifications of the spray gun.

Make sure your choice of air compressor produces more air volume than the CFM requirement of your spray gun.

Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be the same, ignoring this factor can be very problematic and would result in the spray gun working inefficiently.

Weight

It is always a good thing to keep in mind the portability of a product. Looking at the weight of the air compressor can help in making your performance better.

So if you intend to work on a larger painting project, you may prefer an air compressor that is easy to lug around to different locations as when painting, you have to move your spray gun around.

But keep in mind that a bigger option may be better if you want to use it for a longer period.

Tank Size

An air compressor with a huge tank is better for paint sprayers as they need a continuous flow of compressed air.

As air compressors utilize more amount of air at the same time as compared to other pneumatic tools.

It is great to have an air compressor that has a tank capacity of at least 50 gallons and above to with the spray gun.

Versatility

The best thing about air compressors is that they are multi-purpose and can be used with various air tools.

Even though we aim to assess air compressors that are appropriate for spray painting, it’s always better to find one that can be used afterward for other purposes.

Top 10 Air Compressors for Spray Painting

For most people, air compressors may seem complicated equipment to purchase. However, to help you out, we’ve listed down the top recommendations from me.

All the below-mentioned air compressors have been tested as per parameters mentioned in the buyer’s guide so you get the best value for your money.

1. Campbell Hausfeld 3 Gallon Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld is renowned for providing a wide variety of air compressors, air tools, and accessories.

The 3-gallon portable air compressor comes with a CFM of 0.36 and a range of 90-110 maximum PSI, which is plenty for smaller home projects.

This compressor can handle all your DIY project needs and works best for stapling, painting, and inflation purposes.

With a lightweight design, weighing only 21 lbs. The product is perfect for anyone who’s looking for convenience and portability.

However, it may not be suitable for painting jobs that require a larger surface area such as spray painting cars, etc.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Low maintenance

Cons 

  • Does not have the capacity for heavy operation

2. Porter-Cable 6 Gallon Pancake Air compressor

Porter-Cable is well acclaimed for its air compressors and is frequently recommended when it comes to buying air compressors.

Porter-Cable 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002) air compressor is one of most sold models. It has a 6- gallon capacity and is designed in the pancake style provides high-level stability.

It also comes with an oil-less pump that does not require any maintenance promising a long life span and optimum performance.

The air coupler and plug are both preinstalled, saving you time while at the same time making sure that no leakages take place.

What makes this cable even better is the fact that it has a low amp motor that can be started in even cold weather hassle-free.

You really can’t go wrong with this purchase as it only weighs around 30 lbs.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • High Stability
  • Maintenance-free
  • User-Friendly Design

Cons

  • Does not have the capacity for heavy operation

3. Makita MAC2400 HP Air Compressor Air Compressor

The compressor has two-cylinder air compressors that are on top of each other to provide maximum volume and air pressure while keeping portability in mind.

This air compressor is the right pick if you are looking for a device that has a strong air compressor, providing 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI, making it one of the strongest air compressors we have reviewed so far.

It is efficient in design as the couplers let you connect and disconnect quickly from air hoses to aid in your painting projects.

The downside, however, is that the device is oil-lubricated and is significantly heavy weighing around 81 lbs, which is why it scores less in terms of portability.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Higher output
  • Efficient
  • Quick connect couplers
  • Small footprint
  • Heavy Duty

Cons 

  • Expensive
  • Maintenance required
  • Not portable

4. California Air Tools 8010 Tank Air Compressor

California air tools are famous for being very suitable for home users, especially for air compressors.

Not only can you find a relatively powerful machine that has good ratings but also a relatively good price.

Additionally, it is one of the quitter compressors running at only 85 decibels. What’s even better is the fact that the product comes in stainless steel and aluminum, making it far more durable and long-lasting.

Even though this compressor is not as portable, the design offers back wheels that make it easier to move around and maneuver.

The California air tools 8010 ultra-quiet and oil-free air compressor seem to be perfect for mid-range spray painting projects, especially if you tend to work inside where noise is a major problem.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Less noisy
  • Relatively portable
  • Durable
  • Relatively higher capacity and powerful
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • Weaker than other models

5. DEWALT DWFP55130 Compressor

Dewalt tools are a household name known for their high quality and durability.

Its design includes a collapsible handle and a vertical stand that makes it transportable and does not take too much space.

The power cord attached is small, however, but can function well with the use of extensions.

The presence of dual connections also makes this product significantly versatile as you can use several tools at the same time.

Make sure to get your hands on this air compressor that is lightweight, less noisy, and packs a power.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • 78-decibel operation
  • Versatile
  • Portable

Cons 

  • Short power cord

6. Rolair JC10 Gal Electric Air Compressor

This is probably the most affordable and quiet air compressor operating at only 60 dB I have reviewed so far.

Its lightweight and portable to carry around have an integrated roll cage that prevents any kind of damage.

It has a two-cylinder pump, which is powered by a 1700 RPM motor, which facilitates easier start-up during cold weather.

However, it does have a very small 5-gallon capacity, which is not sufficient for larger painting jobs.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Portable
  • Takes less space

Cons 

  • Not compatible for jobs requiring more air volume

7. California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

California air tools do not disappoint with its 10020C Air Compressor in terms of functionality, especially for spray painting projects.

The product is best in terms of overall functionality. If you’re looking for more power, better airflow, and less servicing time, this is the best choice for you.

Its oil-free piston dual-piston pump allows for stability, and an easy start valve system can save you time despite working at lower temperatures.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Steel Air Tank includes a wheel kit for portability
  • Makes up to 30% less sound than comparable air compressors
  • Different options offer buyers flexibility

Cons

  • Heavy tank

8. Stark Portable Quiet Air Compressor

This product is liked by many and is considered to be one of the best when it comes to using it for spray painting.

The air tank has a larger capacity and is stable in design due to the big wheels. The motor is really efficient and comes with thermal overload.

It is also less noisy compared with others of its size and caliber. A durable cast iron cylinder also allows for less wear and tear, increasing its overall life.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Relatively cheap
  • The low noise of this compressor is impressive
  • Portability compressor

Cons 

  • The compressor requires oil lubrication

9. Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld makes up for all the problems in the earlier mentioned air compressor with this product.

It’s multipurpose, durable with a guaranteed x4 longer life span because of its dual-piston pump and oil-free maintenance, portable thanks to large wheels and a rubber grip steel handle, and well suited for spray painting due to a larger capacity cylinder.

The product for its functionality is reasonable for its pricing, especially since the unit is ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects as it is also relatively quiet.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Portable

Cons 

  • Doesn’t hold air as long as some of its rivals

10. WEN 2289 10-Gallon Air Compressor

After reviewing so many air compressors, we saved the best for the last. This Is a vertical air compressor which not only gives it more stability as compared to hot dog compressors but also packs in more volume.

This is the most powerful product we have reviewed yet. However, the price range is a bit expensive, but it makes up for that with its oil-free compressor saving you from the hassle to clean it frequently, it also comes with 7-inch never-flat tires that are just a cherry on top.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros 

  • Powerful
  • High volume
  • Rubber gripped handle built-in large wheels for transportability
  • Oil-free compressor

Cons

  • Heavy

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will look at some questions which are most frequently asked by the beginners and try to answer them in the best way possible

What size air compressor do I need to spray paint?

It is ideal to have an air compressor that has a larger tank capacity as spray painting takes a lot of air. Above 50 gallons is preferred for longer usage.

How do you set up a compressor for spray painting?

Connect the air compressor with a suitable power source and then attach one end of the air hose to the air compressor whereas the other to the pressure regulator, finally Connect the disposable air filter to the HVLP gun connect the gun to the airline Connect the disposable air filter to the end of HVLP gun using a wrench and connect the gun to the airline.

Can you spray paint with a pancake compressor?

For painting, you can’t use a smaller compressor; you’ll need at least 15 gallons (they tend to have a large enough motor).

Just match up the paint gun to the compressor.

Air volume decreases when operating pressure increases, so users should check the air requirements for their tools before purchasing a pancake compressor.

So it isn’t the best option for spray Painting.

Can you use an air compressor to paint it?

Yes, air compressors are used for spray painting with the help of tools such as air hose and spray guns

How do you spray paint with an air compressor?

An air compressor is used with a spray gun or an air hose to spray paint on surfaces such as cars or even fences.

What is CFM required for spray painting?

CFM is the abbreviation of cubic feet per minute, which is a highly crucial factor that you should seek before making a purchase. Make sure cfm is higher than that of the spray gun being used.

What is the best size air compressor for painting?

It is best to choose an air compressor that has a large tank capacity as spray painting requires a continuous usage of compressed air.

It is better to have a larger air compressor with a 50-gallon tank, at least for a large project, to ensure the best application.

Conclusion

We gave you our top ten picks for the most suitable air compressor for spray painting.

I hope you’re ready to buy an air compressor after reading the product descriptions buyer’s guide provided.

If you’re still confused, we recommend going through the buyer’s guide once more so you can figure out the features you’re looking for in an air compressor.

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