Best Air Compressor For Auto Body Work

In this article, we’ll concentrate on the automotive service sector, particularly car repair and auto body shops and facilities, and provide you some straightforward, practical advice and tools to support your decision-making when sizing and choosing an appropriate air compressor for your individual requirements.

One of the American sectors with the highest growth rates is the auto body shop. The need for the tools used in the procedure is rising along with the demand for vehicle body repairs. Today’s market offers a wide range of air compressors, each built to fulfil an unique need. Making the best compressor choice for your company may increase production while saving time and money.

See our related buying guides for more great air compressors for auto jobs:

Our picks for the Top 5 Best Compressors for Auto Body work are below the list of contents.

Top 5 Best Air Compressors For Auto Body Work

Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor

★★★★★
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Makita
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Included Components: ‎Air Compressor Oil (181122-A), 2 1/4" Universal Quick Coupler, Male (447013-E)
  • Item Weight: ‎75 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎3 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎5.2 Gallons
  • Color: ‎Factory
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎29 x 19.5 x 19 inches
  • Style: ‎MAC5200 air compressor
  • Amperage Capacity: ‎15 Amps
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎5 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎3 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Manufacturer: ‎Makita
  • Part Number: ‎MAC5200
  • Item Weight: ‎75 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎29 x 19.5 x 19 inches
  • Item model number: ‎MAC5200
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Size: ‎One Size
  • Horsepower: ‎3
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎1 Year Parts & Labor

Description

  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster recovery time for improved performance
  • Powerful 3.0 HP motor produces 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity
  • Pump is oil-lubricated for cooler running temperatures and reduced wear
  • Durable cast iron cylinder reduces wear and increases pump life; removable for easy maintenance
  • Folding handle with low profile design for easy storage with handle folded

2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor (230/3)

★★★★★
$2,099.99
Buy On Amazon
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Features

  • Brand: ‎Ingersoll Rand
  • Voltage: ‎230 Volts
  • Power Source: ‎Air-powered
  • Included Components: ‎Air compressor; User manual
  • Item Weight: ‎430 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎60 Gallons
  • Color: ‎Beige
  • Material: ‎Metal
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎24 x 33 x 69 inches
  • Style: ‎Compressor
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎2340L5-V 5hp 60 gal Two-Stage Compressor (230/3)
  • Manufacturer: ‎Ingersoll Rand
  • Part Number: ‎45464955
  • Item Weight: ‎430 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎24 x 33 x 69 inches
  • Item model number: ‎45464955
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Size: ‎230 Volt, Three Phase
  • Horsepower: ‎5
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎12.07 Bars
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎1 year

Description

  • Long-Life: Durable cast iron construction, long-lasting extended pump life designed for over 15,000 hours of trouble-free use
  • Maximum Power and Flexibilty: 100% continuous duty, 5 hp 2-stage air compressor, 175 psig maximum operating pressure and a 60 ASME reciever tank provide plenty of punch for the most demanding applications
  • Easy to Service: Individually cast cylinders, overhung crankshaft and one piece connecting rod simplifies maintenance and service
  • Reliable Operation: All Season Select synthetic lubricant increases efficiency; with 2,000 hours of service between changeouts, it performs four times longer than petroleum-based lubricants
  • Two-Year Warranty Available: Purchase an All-Season Select lubricant start-up kit, and receive all the parts you need for start-up and the first year of maintenance, along with an extended pump warranty

NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor - 2 HP, 20-Gallon Vertical, 5.0 CFM

★★★★★
Buy On Amazon
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Features

  • Brand: ‎NorthStar
  • Voltage: ‎230 Volts
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Sound Level: ‎80 dB
  • Maximum Power: ‎2 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎20 Gallons
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎5 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎2 Horsepower
  • Manufacturer: ‎NorthStar
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1

Description

  • 2 HP 115V/230V 15/7.5 Amp dual voltage induction motor
  • 2-cylinder cast iron single-stage pump
  • Delivers 5.0 CFM @ 90 PSI; 6.0 CFM @ 40 PSI
  • Comes wired for 115V operation with a 6ft. cord and plug
  • Can be rewired for 230V by a qualified electrician

Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor,1.8 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Compressor, 6CFM @ 40 PSI 5 CFM @ 90 PSI Long Life Electric Air Compressor Wheel for Garage, Jobsite SAQ-12018

★★★★★
$379.99
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Stealth
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Sound Level: ‎68 dB
  • Included Components: ‎User Manual x 1, Electric Cord x 1, Stealth SAQ-12018 Air Compressor x 1
  • Item Weight: ‎121.4 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎1.8 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎20 Gallons
  • Material: ‎Alloy Steel
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎20 x 18 x 42 inches
  • Style: ‎Air Compressor
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎5 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎1.8 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎SAQ-12018
  • Manufacturer: ‎STEALTH
  • Part Number: ‎SAQ-12018
  • Item Weight: ‎121.4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎20 x 18 x 42 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎SAQ-12018
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Wattage: ‎1440 watts
  • Horsepower: ‎1.8
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎150
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎Limited Lifetime Warranty

Description

  • 🚀 Arrive on Time in 3-5 Days When Purchase from JND Clean Direct
  • ✦【ULTRA QUIET & 3 TIMES LONG LIFE】STEALTH innovative quiet system air compressor have been tested to be up to 80% quieter and qualify to 3 times longer life than standard induction motors
  • ✦【POWERFUL & 20 GALLON CAPACITY】High quality induction motor generates the 1. 8 horsepower power, time of recharge the air tank from empty to full only 70 seconds. 20 Gallon capacity enable your innovation work continue without break
  • ✦【ULTRA QUIET SERIES& LONG LIFE CYCLE】Working noise only 68 decibels, ultra quiet and long-life cycle working hours more than 1000H. More quieter and save more money and time to replace new device
  • ✦【DIVERSITY and VERSATILE】Peak 150 PSI, 6 CFM @ 40 PSI and 5 CFM @ 90PSI, Support inflation, finishing nailer , angle grinder, cut-off tool, impact wrenches, drill, hammer, chisel, sander, polisher, crease air tools etc
  • ✦【EASY COLD START & STURDY】Support cold weather start and low voltage start. Housing structure build with Q235B alloy metal heavy duty design, Pass ETL certification. 8 inch rubber reinforced wheels features easily mobility

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor, 2 HP

★★★★★
$462.00
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎California Air Tools
  • Voltage: ‎110 Volts
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Sound Level: ‎70 dB
  • Item Weight: ‎82.5 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎2 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎10 Gallons
  • Material: ‎Metal
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎16 x 15.1 x 35.9 inches
  • Style: ‎Manual Drain & Auto Drain
  • Amperage Capacity: ‎14 Amps
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎6.4 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎2 Horsepower
  • Manufacturer: ‎California Air Tools- Home Improvement
  • Part Number: ‎10020C
  • Item Weight: ‎82.5 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎16 x 15.1 x 35.9 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎Mexico
  • Item model number: ‎10020C
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Size: ‎2 Hp - 110V
  • Style: ‎Manual Drain & Auto Drain
  • Pattern: ‎Air Compressor
  • Horsepower: ‎2
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎1 Year Limited Warranty

Description

  • Ultra Quiet, only 70 Decibels
  • Oil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs
  • Powerful 2.0 Hp with Low amp draw - 7.0 Amps
  • 6.40 CFM at 40 PSI & 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI. Dedicated 15 amp outlet -14 gauge 25ft cord - Min. 5500 Watt Generator. Maximum continuous running 30-60 min. (Depending PSI & CFM)
  • 10 Gallon Air Tank with Wheels.125 PSI maximum pressure
  • Dimensions: 16" L x 15.1" W x 35.9" H

Why Do You Need An Air Compressor For Auto Body Work?

An air compressor is one of those things you don’t think about until you actually need one. But once you realize how useful it is, you’ll never want to live without one again.

First of all, air compressors are able to keep a consistent air pressure, ensuring the paint will always have a smooth and even appearance. If you’re working on a vehicle, this is especially important since it prevents air pockets from forming under the paint. These air pockets can cause inconsistencies in the finish, making it look uneven.

Secondly, air compressors provide plenty of air for tools like drills or ratchets. When you’re doing auto body work, having access to lots of air is crucial. With an air compressor, you won’t have to worry about running out of power while drilling into metal.

Finally, air compressors allow you to use less energy during auto body work. Instead of heating up the air manually, you can just turn on the compressor and let it take care of everything.

What Tools Are Needed For Auto Body Repair?

Auto body repair is one of the most common types of repairs performed by auto mechanics. There are many tools needed to perform this job correctly. These tools range from simple hand held devices such as hammers and screwdrivers to complex machines used to sand and polish parts.

Air tools are used for cutting, grinding and polishing metal parts. They are very handy for auto body work. There are many air tools available in the market today. Some of them are listed below.

Cut Off Tool

A cut off tool is used to remove excess material from a surface. A cut off tool has two blades. One blade cuts the material while another one removes the waste. Cutting tools come in various sizes.

Buffers & Polishers

These tools are used to buff out scratches and polish surfaces. A buffer is used to smooth rough edges and a polisher smoothes out the finish. These tools are made up of soft rubber pads.

Disc Sander

This tool is used to sand away unwanted bumps and dents. It comes with three discs. Two discs are fixed and the third disc rotates. By rotating the disc, you can easily adjust the speed of rotation.

Paint Spray Gun

It is used to apply paint onto a surface. The nozzle size varies depending on the model. Small nozzles are good for fine details whereas large nozzles are suitable for larger areas.

Grinder

This tool is used for grinding metal parts. It consists of a motorized shaft that spins a wheel. The wheel grinds away any unwanted material.

What Type Of Air Compressor Is Best For Auto Body Repair?

There are two types of air compressors available today: reciprocating and centrifugal. Reciprocating compressors use pistons to move the working fluid back and forth inside the cylinder. Centrifugal compressors use vanes to spin the working fluid around inside the cylinder. Both types of compressors work equally well for auto body repair applications.

Factors To Consider When Buying An Air Compressor For Auto Bodywork

Size – Smaller sizes are better suited for smaller jobs while larger sizes are better suited for bigger jobs.

Power consumption – Lower power consumption means less energy usage and lower operating costs.

Noise level – Higher noise levels may cause problems with hearing and concentration.

Warranty – Warranties vary depending on the manufacturer and model. Some warranties cover parts only while others offer full coverage.

Safety features – Safety features include safety switches, pressure gauges, shut off valves, and emergency stop buttons.

Pressure gauge – Gauges should be accurate and visible.

Capacity – The maximum air volume the compressor can store. Capacities range from 1 cubic foot per minute (cfm) to 1000 cfm.

Price – Prices vary widely depending on brand, size, capacity, warranty, and accessories.

Efficiency – Efficiency ratings range from 0% to 100%.

Features – Look for features like automatic start/stop controls, adjustable speed control, variable output, and remote controls.

What Is CFM?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It measures the air volume produced by an air compressor. The size of the air compressor determines how many cubic feet per minute (Cfm) it produces.

A typical car has two tires, each measuring 14 inches in diameter. Each tire requires approximately 1 pound of air pressure to support itself. Therefore, a car uses 2 pounds of air pressure per tire.

See our full guide What Is Air Compressor CFM? for more detail.

How Much Cfm Do I Need?

You need to know the CFM needed by the tool, the air compressor’s rated capacity (in pounds), the speed at which the compressor is running (in revolutions per minute or rpm), and the ambient temperature in order to compute the air compressor CFM. The CFM may then be calculated using these figures.

Therefore, in order:

  1. Find the air flow (CFM) that is necessary for your particular air tool. The user manual for your tool or the manufacturer’s website will have this information.
  2. Find out the ambient temperature, the speed (measured in revolutions per minute, or rpm), and the rated capacity (in pounds) of the compressor.
  3. You must multiply the needed CFM of your tool by 1.5 to get the minimum CFM of the compressor. In order to account for headroom, we multiply a tool’s required CFM by 1.5 instead of 1, which informs us that we need a compressor with a minimum CFM rating of 9.75.

6.5 CFM x 1.5 = 9.75 CFM

If you’re planning to run many tools, you’ll need to multiply the individual CFM of each instrument. The vast majority of home compressors can only power one tool at once. On larger, more industrial air compressors, numerous tools may be operated simultaneously and efficiently.

It’s also important to keep in mind that compressor manufacturers usually get a bit creative with the CFM ratings they assign to their products, and that in the real world, it’s common to find that the compressors don’t operate at the levels promised.

How Many Cfm Does It Takes To Paint A Car?

In comparison to other air tools, paint guns often need a greater CFM rating. Typically, a spray gun runs between 0.3 and 12 CFM.

Additionally, it means that you need a compressor with 4 to 19 CFM of airflow (both for touch – ups and undercoating).

Note, a low CFM air compressor is not advised since it may result in splattering or uneven paint flow.

Most paint shops recommend using a compressor with a maximum output of 40 CFM. Some paint shops even prefer 50 CFM.

How Much Air Pressure (PsI) Do I Need?

Your HVLP spray gun PSI will probably be between 20 and 35 PSI for things like utilising an air compressor to spray automobiles, up to 40 PSI in certain circumstances when more atomization is required. It’s imperative that you read the guidelines for your individual model.

See our article about Air Compressor PSI for more information.

How Much Horsepower (Hps) Do I Need?

Hp is measured in horsepower. The horsepower rating of an air compressor is usually printed on the side of the unit.

It’s recommended to pick yourself up a compressor with 5-6 HP for most auto body repair work.

However it’s worth noting that an air compressor rated at 5 HP may not actually output 5 hp. Some manufacturers rate their units conservatively. Others overrate them to attract customers.

What Tank Capacity Do I Need

Tank capacity refers to the amount of air volume inside the tank. There are two types of tanks available: single-stage and dual-stage. Single-stage tanks hold only enough air to complete one job. Dual-stage tanks allow you to use them for multiple jobs.

Single-stage tanks usually cost less but require more frequent refills. Dual-stage tanks are more expensive but last longer due to the larger tank capacity.

For most auto body shop work, a 40 – 60 gallon tank is really important, especially for something like painting a car where you need a steady consistent stream of air.

This means the smaller, portable air compressors are likely out of the question for this work. A nice big rotary screw compressor is the most likely choice for auto body work.

For more information on the size of air compressor you need, see our comprehensive guide What Size Air Compressor Do I Need?

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need To Change Tires

Tire machines requires a compressor with a minimum capacity of 5 cubic feet per minute (CFM). Most air compressors sold today range between 10 and 15 CFM.

A standard car has four wheels, each requiring 1/8th of a cubic foot of compressed air per second. That means you’ll need 4 x 0.125 .5 cubic feet of air per wheel per second. Multiply that times 4 and you get 2 cubic feet of air per second.

That’s why you need a compressor with a minimum of 5 CFM.

You may want to buy a larger size of air compressor if you plan to do heavy duty work such as spraying paint or sanding bodywork.

For more information, see our guide What Size Air Compressor Do I Need To Fill Car Tires?

Can You Paint A Car With A 20 Gallon Air Compressor?

Yes! You can use a 20 gallon compressor to spray paint a vehicle, but the larger the better. Just remember to keep the nozzle clean and clear of debris.

What Cfm Does A Paint Spray Gun Need?

The CFM requirements for paint guns vary depending on the type, with smaller spray guns requiring a lower volume of air (CFM) than larger alternatives. While some air spray guns have a CFM rating of less than 10, we advise having a compressor with at least 12 CFM for spray painting.

The most essential thing is that you have examined the CFM requirements for your spray gun and selected a compressor that surpasses those needs. For experts, this amount may need to be greater.

What Is A Good Size Air Compressor For Spray Painting?

If you’re looking for a good size air compressor for spray painting, you should consider the following features. First, the compressor should be powerful enough to provide sufficient pressure. Second, the compressor should be able to withstand the heat generated during operation. Third, the compressor should be safe to use. Fourth, the compressor should be durable. Finally, the compressor should last long.

For more detail, see our complete article What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Painting A Car?

What Is Better Hvlp Or Lvlp?

There are many types of air compressors available today. Some are designed specifically for use with paint sprayers while others are used for general purpose applications such as nail guns, sandblasters, and power tools.

HVLP

HVLP stands for high volume low pressure. These systems provide maximum performance compared to standard LP systems. They allow for better control over the amount of paint being sprayed and reduce overspray.

Benefits of HVLP

• More accurate application of paint

• Less waste due to less overspray

• Lower operating costs

• Faster drying time

• Increased productivity

• Improved safety

• Reduced maintenance requirements

LVLP

LVLP stands for low volume high pressure. These systems are similar to HVLP systems but offer lower pressures. They produce a fine mist rather than a spray pattern.

Benefits of LVLP

• Fine mist reduces overspray

• Improves adhesion

• Reduces dust

• Increases productivity

• Decreases downtime

• Reduces cost

• Easy to clean

• No need for filters

• Can operate at ambient temperatures

• Requires no special equipment

 

 

 

Jeff Stelling

Jeff Stelling is an air compressor obsessive who has been working with compressors for over 25 years, since he was an apprentice engineer in the mid 90’s. He designed Aircompressorcompare.com to offer technical guidance and buying advice for compressors.

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