Best Air Compressor For Spray Painting

Air compressors are great tools for applying paint to large areas quickly and efficiently when used to power an LVLP spray gun. However, LVLP and HVLP guns have specific requirements when it comes to the air compressors needed to power them, but this guide should help you choose the right compressor for the job.  Additionally, smaller compressors can be used for air-brushing, so we have included our top picks for these too.

Scroll down to see our top picks for air compressors for spray painting, or use our contents menu to read more about the requirements you’re looking for. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • CFM is the most important factor – as most guns need between 4.5 and 12 CFM
  • Tank size is also very important – 10 gallon tanks are the bare minimum to look for
  • Two-stage air compressors are best for commercial use – but powerful single stage with high CFM and large tanks are fine for home

8 Best Quiet Air Compressors For Spray Painting

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

★★★★★
$235.95
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎California Air Tools
  • Voltage: ‎110 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Drilling, Air Brushing, Spraying, Nailing
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Sound Level: ‎70 dB
  • Special Feature: ‎Oil-Free
  • Included Components: ‎Filter
  • 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
  • Special Features: ‎Oil-Free
  • 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

California Air Tools CAT-20015HP Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.5 hp, 20 gallon 175 PSI Two Stage Air Compressor

★★★★★
$627.00
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎California Air Tools
  • Voltage: ‎110 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Drilling, Air Brushing, Spraying, Nailing
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Sound Level: ‎70 dB
  • Special Feature: ‎Oil-Free
  • Included Components: ‎Air compressor
  • Item Weight: ‎113 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎1.5 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎20 Gallons
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎19.3 x 19.5 x 46.7 inches
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎4 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎1.5 Horsepower
  • Manufacturer: ‎California Air Tools
  • Part Number: ‎CAT-20015HP
  • Item Weight: ‎113 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎19.3 x 19.5 x 46.7 inches
  • Item model number: ‎CAT-20015HP
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Horsepower: ‎1.5
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎175 Bars
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Special Features: ‎Oil-Free
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

DeWalt DXCMV5076055 60 gallon 5 hp Two Stage Air Compressor

★★★★★
$1,699.00
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎DEWALT
  • Voltage: ‎230 Volts (AC)
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Drilling, Air Brushing, Spraying, Nailing
  • Power Source: ‎Corded Electric
  • Included Components: ‎Air Compressor
  • Item Weight: ‎400 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎60 Gallons
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎40 x 31 x 80 inches
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎DEWALT
  • Manufacturer: ‎MAT Industries
  • Part Number: ‎DXCMV5076055
  • Item Weight: ‎400 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎40 x 31 x 80 inches
  • Item model number: ‎DXCMV5076055
  • Horsepower: ‎5
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎12.07 Bars
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎2 Year Limited Warranty on oil lubricated pumps. 1 Year Limited Warranty on all other components.

Description

Air Compressor, 80 Gallon Vertical Tank, Single Stage, 16 CFM, 5HP, 1PH (Campbell Hausfeld CE4104)

★★★★★
$1,754.00
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Voltage: ‎230 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Sanding, Grinding
  • Power Source: ‎AC/DC
  • Sound Level: ‎86 dB
  • Special Feature: ‎Metal Belt guard
  • Included Components: ‎Air Compressor
  • Item Weight: ‎460 Pounds
  • Maximum Power: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎80 Gallons
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎35 x 44 x 84 inches
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎16 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎5 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎Campbell Hausfeld 80 Gallon Vertical Air Compressor (CE4104)
  • Manufacturer: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Part Number: ‎CE4104
  • Item Weight: ‎460 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎35 x 44 x 84 inches
  • Item model number: ‎CE4104
  • Size: ‎80
  • Horsepower: ‎5
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎140
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Special Features: ‎Metal Belt guard
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎3 Year Limited Warranty

Description

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

★★★★★
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎NorthStar
  • Voltage: ‎230 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Air Brushing
  • 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

Air Compressor, Portable, Horizontal, 20 Gallon, Oil-Free, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, 150 PSI (Campbell Hausfeld DC200000),Blue

★★★★★
$590.00
$546.78
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Drilling, Air Brushing, Spraying, Nailing
  • Power Source: ‎AC
  • Special Feature: ‎Oil Free
  • Included Components: ‎20 Gallon Portable Air Compressor (1)
  • Item Weight: ‎92 Pounds
  • Capacity: ‎20 Gallons
  • Color: ‎Blue
  • Material: ‎Alloy Steel
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎31.5 x 14.9 x 30.3 inches
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎4 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎1.3 Horsepower
  • Model Name: ‎Campbell Hausfeld 20 Gallon Oil-Free Portable Horizontal Air Compressor (DC200000)
  • Manufacturer: ‎Campbell Hausfeld
  • Part Number: ‎DC200000
  • Item Weight: ‎92 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎31.5 x 14.9 x 30.3 inches
  • Country of Origin: ‎China
  • Item model number: ‎DC200000
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Size: ‎20 Gallon
  • Horsepower: ‎1.3
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Maximum Pressure: ‎10.3 Bars
  • Measurement System: ‎Metric
  • Special Features: ‎Oil Free
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No
  • Warranty Description: ‎1 Year Limited

Description

  • 20 Gallon portable air compressor with horizontal design for easy transportation
  • Durable oil free pump provides extended, hassle-free operation
  • Max Pressure of 150 PSI and delivery of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Steel handle & large wheels provide portability
  • Optimally placed, easy to read panel for complete control of air manipulation

Master Airbrush Model TC-77, Super Quiet High Performance Airbrush Compressor with a 6 Foot Braided Hose with Mini-Inline Moisture Filter

★★★★★
$89.99
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎Master Airbrush
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Air Brushing
  • Sound Level: ‎47 dB
  • Special Feature: ‎Moisture Filter
  • Included Components: ‎Filter
  • Item Weight: ‎4 Pounds
  • Capacity: ‎18 Liters
  • Color: ‎1/8 HP Compact Airbrush Compressor & Hose, Quiet
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎7 x 6 x 6.5 inches
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎18 LPM
  • Hose Length: ‎6 Inches
  • Manufacturer: ‎Master Airbrush
  • Part Number: ‎TC-77
  • Item Weight: ‎4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: ‎7 x 6 x 6.5 inches
  • Item model number: ‎TC-77
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: ‎No
  • Color: ‎1/8 HP Compact Airbrush Compressor & Hose, Quiet
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Certification: ‎CE
  • Special Features: ‎Moisture Filter
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

  • Quiet Powerful 1/8 Horsepower Compact Compressor That Delivers (18 Ltrs/Min) of Air Flow; Precise Air Adjustment with Regulator and Gauge; Portable with The Built In Handle
  • Compressor Has A Small Air Tank The Allows It To Deliver Air with Constant Pressure & Zero Pulsation!
  • An Ideal Compact Work Station Compressor! Includes A Built-In Airbrush Holder and A 6' Braided Air Hose with A Mini-Inline Moisture Filter
  • Supports Airbrushing For Most Airbrush Types, Applications, Paint and Color Media and Levels of Users From Beginner To Advanced Artists
  • Suitable For Hobbies, Crafts, Nail Art, Auto Graphics Temporary Tattoos, Tanning, Cake Decorating, Etc...

Timbertech Upgraded Airbrush Single-Piston Oil-free Mini Compressor ABPST08 with Cooling Fan, 3L Tank, Regulator, Moisture trap for hobby, tattoo, graphic and so on

★★★★★
$83.99
Buy On Amazon
amazon.com

Features

  • Brand: ‎TIMBERTECH
  • Voltage: ‎120 Volts
  • Recommended Uses For Product: ‎Spraying
  • Sound Level: ‎50 dB
  • Included Components: ‎Receiver
  • Maximum Power: ‎0.17 Horsepower
  • Capacity: ‎3 Liters
  • Air Flow Capacity: ‎23 LPM
  • Motor Horsepower: ‎0.17 Horsepower
  • Manufacturer: ‎AIRGOO
  • Part Number: ‎ABPST08
  • Item Weight: ‎12.23 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: ‎14.5 x 13.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Item model number: ‎ABPST08
  • Size: ‎14*6.3*11 ines
  • Item Package Quantity: ‎1
  • Batteries Included?: ‎No
  • Batteries Required?: ‎No

Description

  • Cool-Down Fan to reduce the air compressor temperature and extend the lifetime
  • Compact, portable and quiet (47db)-can be used unobtrusively in the home, maintenance free oil-less piston,built in carry handle-light and easy to transport
  • Receiver tank-ensures pulse free output with constant air flow 20-23L/Min, and takes some stops between two refilled session for more long lifespan
  • Industrial type Pressure regulator with gauge, water trap and air filter,Pressure relief safety valve, Overheat protector
  • Ideal for designers, modellers, artists, cake decorators, nail art, spray tanning and any other airbrush application (Please note: This Air Compressor is only fit for airbrush, not for spray gun or other air tools.)

 

What to Look for when Buying an Air Compressor for Painting

There are quite a few factors to consider when selecting an air compressor for spray painting – some more important than others. For instance, how long do you think you’ll be spraying paint for at a time? How much air pressure does the LVLP gun require in order to work properly? How much air do you need in the tank in order to not have the supply of air and paint suddenly halt halfway through? All these questions and more are answered below.

PSI (Pressure) Requirements

The maximum operating pressure is another crucial factor to consider when choosing an air compressor. There are two kinds of spray paint pistols that utilise compressed air, and the amount of pressure they need varies.

The HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) spray gun is one kind, while the LVLP (low-volume, low-pressure) spray gun is another.

However, you’d be hard-pressed to find an air compressor with less PSI capability than this, so virtually any compressor will be OK.

CFM (Air Pressure) Requirements

With spray painting, CFM is a far more important factor than PSI. To paint effectively, you must make sure the air flow rate into the paint gun is adequate to provide the correct quantity of paint to the surface being painted, otherwise it’ll splutter and you won’t get a nice even spray.

The CFM should correspond to the CFM requirement of your spray gun. After finding this, choose an air compressor that provides greater volume than the spray gun’s CFM.

However, it really depends on the airgun since there are three types: HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure), HVHP (High Volume, High Pressure), and LVLP (Low Volume, Low Pressure) (those are rare). They will, however, have some type of tag or marking to indicate what they need.

As a general guide, most paint guns need between 4.5 and 12 CFM, but as I said, you must check the instructions for your particular gun.

For more information on CFM please consult our guide What is Air Compressor CFM?

Air Tank Capacity Requirements

The capacity of the tank determines how much air is available before the compressor shuts down to refill. This is also an important factor in maintaining a compressor’s duty cycle, which I’ll come on to next.

As a result, a 12 CFM compressor with a 50% Duty Cycle may be utilised to power a 12 CFM air spray cannon if operated intermittently with a suitably big air tank.

Paint sprayers, unlike other pneumatic tools, need constant airflow from the compressor. As a consequence, a big tank is required to meet this demand – so 10 gallons or more is preferred for paint sprayers.

Single Stage or Two Stage Compressor?

When compressed air pressure needs vary significantly, as they do in pneumatic tool and spray applications, two-stage air compressors are preferred. At any given pressure level, they typically generate less volume than single-stage devices.

You will normally need a 2 stage compressor to be able to generate enough CFM for painting. Per horsepower of the compressor, a two-stage compressor can produce around 4 CFM of air. In contrast, a single stage compressor, which are the most common type for everyday use, only produces roughly 1 CFM for every horsepower. In order to correctly provide air to your spray gun, you should think about a 2 stage compressor with at least 5 Horsepower if you want to use your air compressor for painting.

For more information, please read our guide What Is A Two Stage Air Compressor?

Size & Weight

How big does the air compressor need be? Size matters! Smaller air compressors are less cumbersome and easier to store due to their air tanks being smaller. Larger air compressors are generally louder and require more space because their tanks are larger. However, larger air compressors can also provide a higher volume of compressed air at a lower cost per unit than smaller models, and can run for longer before having to stop to refill.

Duty Cycle Requirements

For spray painting, you need the supply of air to be consistent and to last as long as you need, which could be minutes at a time. Therefore, I would recommend getting one with at least 75% duty cycle.

A duty cycle rating of 75% means that it will continue to function without interruption for the duration of its three-quarters (75%) of an hour cycle length. If the compressor has a cycle time of one hour, then it will operate continuously for the first 45 minutes of that period before requiring the same amount of time off to allow it to cool down

For more information, please read our guide What Is Air Compressor Duty Cycle?

Oil Free vs. Oiled Air Compressors

Oiled air compressors are ideal for heavy-duty applications because they can operate for longer periods of time and have traditionally ran cooler and quieter than their oil-free counterparts.

Oil-free compressors are typically excellent for light-duty operations, but they have a reputation for being hot and noisy. However, technological developments ensure that oil-free air compressors are no longer louder, and the majority of compressors recommended for spray painting are now oil-free.

For more information, see our guide on Oiled Vs Oil-Free Air Compressors.

Horsepower Requirements (HP)

How powerful does the air compressor need to be? Well, for spray painting, a good rule of thumb is to choose a compressor that produces at least 2.5 horsepower. Most air compressors produce anywhere from 2 to 5 horsepower. Higher powered compressors cost more but provide greater performance.

Price

How much does the air compressor cost? There are two types of air compressors available: those made specifically for spray coating and those made for general purpose applications. Generally speaking, the more expensive models are made for spray coating. They tend to be quieter, easier to maintain, and more durable.

 

 

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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