Best Air Compressor for Painting

Getting an air compressor for painting purposes is a necessary investment, especially when you are starting off your career as a painter or are a DIY enthusiast.

In this article, we will cover the best air compressors for painting, in addition to having a glance at various factors which should be kept in mind while making the right choice.

So, without beating around the bush, let’s get started!

Things to Keep in Mind

Undoubtedly, choosing the best air compressor for painting is all about the experience. However, if you are a newbie and have not used a lot of products, you might not know how to make the right choice and what all factors to consider.

Well, we are here for you.

If you have to buy an air compressor, here are a few questions that you must find answers to. Finding answers to these questions would clear your head and would help you in finding the best pick.

  • What are your requirements? For what purpose do you need an air compressor?
  • How much area do you need to paint?
  • How much budget are you willing to allocate for buying an air compressor for painting?
  • Do you need a portable or non-portable compressor?
  • How much horse power do you need?
  • Is there any specific set of functionalities that you need to have?
  • Are you looking for a professional air compressor for painting or for a DIY project?
  • How much air requirements do you have?
  • Is noise a matter of concern for you?

With this in mind, we’re sure, by now, you must have a basic idea of a range of things that you should consider while buying an air compressor for painting.

So, next in line – which are the best air compressors available with us for painting purposes at the moment?

Let’s find out.

Best Air Compressors for Painting

Porter Cable Compressor – Quick Master

Before you notice anything else, here are the two figures you should have your eyes on – 2.6 SCFM and 90 PSI. These specs clearly indicate that with the help of this air compressor, you can spray your area much faster.

What’s more? The tank of this air compressor can withstand a tank pressure of 150 PSI which means that it can store sufficient amount of air for a longer time. This, in turn, means that you do not need to take frequent breaks for refilling the air.

Although manufactured in China, this air compressor is known for its durability and ease of use.

Furthermore, it also comes equipped with an oil-free pump which is durable and long lasting enough. The tank has a large capacity and can handle all your spraying needs perfectly.

The air compressor can be used for a range of applications including painting furniture, car, gate, fence and the likes. You can also keep this air compressor easily in a car garage or workshop.

  • Lightweight and easy to carry around for your varied painting needs
  • It is multipurpose, thus you can use it for inflating air mattresses and other applications as well
  • The motor is durable and starts easily even in cold weather
  • Comes equipped with an oil-free pump which rules out any worries related to spillages and the like

  • A bit noisy

California Air Tools Air Compressor – Durable Painting Air Compressor

This is another air compressor you can rely upon for painting purposes. At 60 decibels, this air compressor is quite when compared to many others.

The product works at 3.1 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI. The compressor has a better duty cycle which makes it durable enough even when you use it continuously for hours.

Like the Porter Cable air compressor which we reviewed above, this compressor is also equipped with an oil-free pump. Thus, no more worries related to oil spillages and leakages.

With high PSI and CFM, it can not only help you in painting fences and provide a flawless finish to your car but additionally, it can also be used for inflating tires. What more could one ask for?

  • Oil free pump ensures that it is easy to maintain
  • Works quietly by generating noise at just 60 decibels
  • Has increased duty cycle which means that you can use it continuously for hours
  • Can be used for miscellaneous other tasks in addition to painting

  • Be very careful while dealing with it as it is prone to catching fire

Dewalt Pancake Compressor – Professional Painting Air Compressor

Dewalt air compressors do not need any formal introduction. Dewalt has always been a symbol of quality, and this particular pancake compressor is no exception as well.

This compressor is known for providing high PSI, 165 PSI to be exact. Additionally, it can deliver 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI which is more than enough.

Talking about noise, it is a bit louder than the previous compressor that we reviewed. It generates 75.5 DB of noise while working.

The product works well even in a colder climate and can also work as an extension cord.

  • 165 PSI ensures power packed performance
  • The motor is easy to operate and reliable
  • Can also be used as an extension cord application
  • High flow regulator ensures best spraying experience

  • Might leak from the pump

Senco PC1010 Compressor – DIYer’s First Choice

If you are looking for an entry level paint sprayer, mainly for interior works, this is it. In addition to being lightweight and portable, this air compressor from the house of Senco delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute.

It is an ideal choice if you are looking to renovate your house or want to undertake small DIY projects.

Although this air compressor might not be a right choice if your equipment needs a higher CFM to operate, it is still one of the best picks available out there for detailing works like interior work and airbrushing needs.

  • Lightweight and portable which means that carrying it from one place to another is not a herculean task
  • Delivers 20 – 44 drives/minute
  • Comes with a one-year warranty, thus assuring your interests

  • Great tool, but parts are not that durable

Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor – Power House of Performance

This air compressor from the house of Bostitch is the power house of performance. It is one of the quietest air compressors that we have ever come across. At just 8 decibels, this air compressor is even quieter than whispers and rustling leaves.

So, if you get annoyed with the noise, this is a perfect fit for you.

The motor starts easily with just a push of a button and can work just fine even in colder climates. Talking about its specification, it delivers 150 PSI when equipped with a 22.7 liter or 6 gallon tank.

The compressor can reach the maximum pressure within a short time frame. Additionally, like many other compressors on this list, this air compressor is oil-free as well.

  • The pump is easy to maintain as it is oil free
  • A 90 PSI pump delivers 150 max PSI when equipped with 6 gallon tank which is great
  • It ensures a noise free operation at just 8 DB

  • You might need to assemble it a bit before using.

Buying Guide

Prefer CFM over PSI

If these technical terms sound like an alien language to you, we feel you. Put simply, PSI stands for pounds per square inch. Basically, it is the pressure that an air compressor provides.

On the other hand, CFM standards for cubic feet per minute.

As a matter of fact, most paint sprayers work just fine at just 10 PSI, i.e., they do not need a lot of PSI in order to operate. Thus, CFM is more important parameter here and this is where your attention should be.

A higher CFM would mean that the compressor would be able to paint up the area faster.

Painting compressor type

In order to get a higher CFM, you would need a 2 stage compressor. Approximately speaking, a 2 stage compressor would be able to provide 4 CFM of air per horse power. On the other hand, a single stage compressor would only be able to deliver 1 CFM/horse power.

Thus, if you are painting cars, make sure that you have a 2 stage compressor with you.

Common 2 Stage Compressors

The most common 2 stage compressors come in 2 types – reciprocating and rotary screw compressors.

Rotary screw air compressors

  • They are easy to maintain when compared to reciprocating air compressors.
  • They do not deliver enough CFM/horse power. This means that they are not as efficient as they should be.
  • In order to maintain such compressors, all that you need include oil and filter changes.

Reciprocating air compressors

  • These air compressors require extensive and frequent maintenance.
  • In order to maintain them, you need to change valves and pistons, as the case might be.
  • They are more efficient and provide more air per horse power.
  • They last longer.
  • Comparatively, they are a bit expensive to purchase.

Tips on Using Air Compressor for Painting

Let’s admit – it would be a bit tough to paint using air compressors, particularly if you are a first timer.

Here are a few tips that would help you out:

Before spraying paint, try practicing by spraying water

  • One of the best practices to get a flawless paint finish is to turn on the spray gun in motion. This would avoid accumulation of thick paint at a single spot.
  • If you are a newbie, brush out the sprayed run with a paint brush immediately and then spray again.
  • Do not forget to wear protective gear like a respirator and eye protection
  • Make sure that you work in a well-ventilated area as paint emits fumes which could be harmful to your health.

Final Words

This brings us to the end of this article. Undoubtedly, there is a wide variety of painting air compressors available out there in the market and choosing one out of them, especially when you are a first time user in no easy task.

We hope that this article would have provided you an overview of top air compressors for painting. Although all the air compressors that we talked about are worth a buy, still if we are to choose one, we would choose Dewalt Pancake Compressor. Dewalt is well-known for the quality that it offers.

Additionally, the air compressor is professional grade and delivers a power packed performance. Its motor is durable as well and works fine even in colder climates. Further, its high flow regulator makes sure that the paint has a wonderful finish!

With that in mind, what are your views on this? Which is your favorite pick? Do not forget to share with us in the comments below!

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I've been working in professional paint service in Hampton, VA for the last 15 years. So i know a lot about painting and spray painters. With my team we made this site with to help you to understand why some spray painters are better than others, and how to find the best one for your type of job.

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