13 Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Cars and Trucks

As is evident by the name, air compressors gradually compresses the air, and thus, it has multiple uses in the factories and workshops around the globe. An air compressor is used for inflating kid’s pools, driving the pneumatic devices, spray painting cars and trucks, and for several other such usages. Overall the air compressors are a handy gadget that has radical usage amongst the factory operators.

The air compressor for paint sprayer is a critical invention in machine age history. The kind of work it does eventually leads to superb outcomes. Spray painting is not something that has prevailed for a long time, and it has been in the lead in recent times only. Before that, workforces used tools with complicated systems that included belts, bulky motors, wheels, etc.

air compressor for spray painting
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Now, these air compressor sizes have become portable and compact. One of the benefits of air compressors is that they do not require much maintenance and are more powerful than regular tools. Out of the varied usage of the air compressor, in this article, we will discuss more on the air compressor for spray painting and trucks.

So, are you curious to know how does an air compressor work? Let’s find out below…

What is an Air Compressor and How Does It Work?

Are you still wondering what is an air compressor and how does it work? Well, it is normal of you to think about it if you do not have a clear idea of what exactly an air compressor is! Do not be disappointed if you don’t know. We are here to help you understand more about how air compressors work and what they actually are!

An air compressor, as mentioned above, is a device that compresses or compacts air to carry out required industry work. Now let’s talk about How does an air compressor work? An air compressor has three essential parts: the drive, the pump, and the tank.

The drive generates power using which the pump draws the air into the device and then compresses it into the tank where it is kept stored until used by anyone. So if you are confused as to how to choose an air compressor for spray painting that is best for your vehicle, you know what to look for. The air that is pressurized into the tank converts electrical energy into kinetic energy.

The modern compressors have some set limit of storage tank pressure, after which it is automatically shut off. These are the best air compressor for spray painting cars as they do not overdo the compression. As most household items do not require high pressure for the proper functioning of the compressor, the auto shut-off feature is loved by the commoners.

But for Industrial purposes or spray painting of cars, high pressure and more compression are required, so you may not be needing the auto shut off option in your compressor. We will keep learning more about the air compressor types and also get to know the list of the 13 best air compressors for spray painting cars and trucks in the sections below. Keep reading…

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Paint a Car?

This is a very important aspect to discuss when you intend to spray paint your car using an air compressor. The minimum size air compressor for painting a car has to be effective enough so as to paint the car entirely. And for painting a car, a small-sized air compressor is not at all recommended.

If you need a shortcut answer to what is the best size of air compressor for spray painting a car, then the answer is anywhere between 20-gallon tank capacity to 60-gallon tank capacity. But then, there are certain things that you need to take care of when choosing the size of the air compressor.

For big cars, a 60-gallon tank is undoubtedly considered to be the best size air compressor for spray painting. It’s good if you want to paint a car at a go! But if you are thinking of painting it in parts or if you’re going to take time to paint it, then you can easily use the smaller tank sizes that start from 20 gallons.

As far as the CFM or HP is concerned, you can pick the ones with 5-6 HP and 14-18 CFM range that runs at 90 PSI as it is a good size for the 60-gallon compressors for carrying out your car spray painting needs. So basically, the best air compressor size for paint spraying cars is something that depends on the size of your vehicle. The bigger the size, the more capacity you need and vice versa.

13 Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Cars and Trucks

Now that you have become accustomed to the size and working procedure of air compressors, it’s time to pick the best one for spray painting your car. And to make it easy for you, we have made a list of the 13 best air compressors for spray painting cars and trucks in the section below. Keep reading to know more about these products…

Quincy QT-54 Splash Lubricated Reciprocating Air Compressor

If you are looking for a decent air compressor for spray painting cars, you can go for this one. This compressor is suitable for industrial purposes. It has a specially designed industrial duty US-made Baldor motor that makes it quite efficient for the spray painting job. It has a pump RPM of 1310 that ensures it carries out industrial works well. Apart from these unique properties, another fantastic feature that this air compressor has is its 145-175 working PSI, which is huge!

With such a heavy PSI unit, this air compressor is perfectly fit to carry out heavy-duty spray painting requirements. It has a less than 5 ppm oil carry-over rating which is again another feature that most industrial spray painters would prefer having in an air compressor. It runs on 220 volts power source and 5 horsepower units. All in all, this amazing compressor is good enough to carry out the desired spray painting work effectively.

Pros:

  • The Shiny blue color makes it look attractive.
  • Suitable for large vehicles such as trucks.
  • It has portable, lightweight features.
  • It has a capacitor start motor with a built-in thermal overload.

Cons:

  • Heavily priced at approximately $1400.
  • No warranty from the manufacturer.

Industrial Air 60 gallon 5 HP Two Stage Air Compressor

If you are looking for the best air compressor for spray painting cars, then you would like this one. As the name suggests, this air compressor is good for carrying out industrial spray painting works. With a tank size of 60 gallons and 175 PSI value, you can expect nothing but the best from this air compressor. This compressor produces so much power that one can easily use it to operate more than one device or air tool at a time.

It runs in an electric motor with a thermal overload protection feature that ensures your machine remains safe even in overloading situations. It consists of 4 tie-down holes in the platform that makes its movement easier. It comes in a synthetic blend of air compressor oil for longer shelf life and for shelling out optimum performance. The patented pump design ensures that the machine has a cooler running pump. Overall this is undoubtedly the best compressor for Industrial usage.

Pros:

  • Low pump RPM ensures longevity.
  • Equipped with on-off switch and tank pressure gauge.
  • Wire form belt guard helps in cooling down of the compressor.
  • Compact design.

Cons:

  • Quite expensive, priced at approximately $2000.
  • No warranty from the manufacturer.

California Air Tools Ultra Quiet 60-Gal Compressor

This is also an excellent air compressor for paint sprayer usages. You can use this for both home and industrial purposes. It has a 60-gallon tank capacity that suits almost all types of vehicles for spray painting needs. Apart from that, it has an entirely stainless steel ASME body that ensures its durability in the long run. It also has two powerful 2.0 HP running motor capacity that makes the spray painting process smoother.

The 10.60 CFM rating compressor has 90 PSI output, and the 12.60 CFM rating compressor has 40 PSI output to ensure the compressor’s efficiency. It has a corded electric power source that utilizes 220 volts of current and has 4 horsepower current source units. Overall it is a good air compressor that you can buy when in need of one!

Pros:

  • Good noise reduction feature with sound production of around 75 dB.
  • Nice looking compact air compressor.
  • Oil-free pump that ensures the maintenance is low and budget-friendly.
  • The package comes with a 1-year warranty.
  • Has auto draining features.
  • Provides longer and continuous run time.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t go well for industrial use requirements.
  • It has an expensive price range that starts from approximately $2000.

SS5 5HP 60 Gallon Single Stage Air Compressor

This is the best air compressor for spray painting, both for industrial and home usage. It has a 60 gallon vertical ASME tank with 135 PSI output that ensures it works efficiently for spray painting larger vehicles without any hindrance. No matter how demanding the spray painting work is, this air compressor is sure to live up to the expectation of the car owner without a doubt.

The other essential and worthy feature of this air compressor includes durable cast iron body construction, long-lasting extended pump shelf life that is designed to last for almost 5000 hours of usage, 100% continuous working ability, easy operation and maintenance, automatic on-off of pressure switch control and many other such features.

When it says the operation is easy, it means you get pre-wired and fully assembled delivery along with easy to change the filter to make the process actual easier. The easy-to-fill oil port also adds more to the basic operational feature. All in all, this is surely one of the best air compressors you will find on the market right now.

Pros:

  • Has advanced safety features with manual thermal overload protection and a totally enclosed belt guard.
  • Increased efficiency with synthetic lubricant.
  • With 2000 hours of run time, it is 4 times more efficient as compared to the petroleum-based compressors.
  • It comes with a 1-year warranty.
  • Hass an affordable price range.

Cons:

  • A bit heavier and non-compact design.

DEWALT Two-Stage Cast Iron Industrial Air Compressor

The DEWALT Two-Stage Cast Iron Industrial Air Compressor is certainly one of the best air compressors for painting cars and trucks that is available in the market. With its 80-gallon tank capacity, it ensures your vehicle is spray painted in the best manner. It is a two-stage air compressor with 5 HP TOPS motor that helps in its quiet functioning and also provides a long-lasting life to the motor. The compressor uses 230 volts of power usage that is considered quite good for the spray painting job.

It has a thermal overload protection feature which is certainly needed for controlling any overload pressure dispute or voltage fluctuations while painting your car. With 2 CFM output of 100 PSI and 175 PSI, the air compressor delivers enough pressure to let the system run multiple tools simultaneously. The compressor comes packed with synthetic blended oil installed in it that makes its shelf life longer. Overall, this air compressor from DEWALT is definitely your go-to device for car spray painting needs.

Pros:

  • It is compact and has 80 inches in height which make it easy to carry.
  • The package comes with 2 years pump warranty.
  • Suitable for both smaller and bigger vehicles.

Cons:

  • Not for the ones looking for cheaper alternatives as the price starts from approximately $2200.

Campbell Hausfeld 60 Gallon Vertical 2 Stage Air Compressor

If you are looking for the best air compressor for spray painting cars on the market right now, then you can trust the Campbell Hausfeld 60 Gallon Vertical 2 Stage Air Compressor for its impeccable efficiency and good looking vibe! Yes, the Campbell air compressor actually looks attractive with oil-lubricated deep blue colored alloy steel body finishing. It comes with 3 tank size varieties of 30 gallons, 60 gallons, and 80 gallons so that you can pick the best one as per your requirements.

If you have a smaller vehicle to paint, you can choose the 60-gallon tank size, and if you have a bigger vehicle to paint, then going by the 80-gallon tank size is recommended. The 30-gallon tank is best used for painting upholstery or carrying out other smaller painting jobs. It has a dual voltage motor that allows it to run even on a household electrical power unit. The maximum PSI that this compressor offers is 175, which is good enough to paint small to big vehicles. Go for this if you want to have a decent car spray painting experience.

Pros:

  • A pocket-friendly price that fits all types of buyers, the price starts at $1290 approx.
  • Lightweight, compact and portable design.
  • A two-stage pump reduces noise and increases shelf life.
  • It comes with a three years warranty.

Cons:

  • The 60 and 80-gallon compressor does not have dual voltage features.

NorthStar Electric Air Compressor – 3.7 HP, 60-Gallon Vertical Tank

If you are looking for a budget-friendly and portable air compressor for spray painting your car, then your church ends here! The NorthStar Electric Air Compressor – 3.7 HP, 60-Gallon Vertical Tank would not disappoint you with its capability of spray painting even if it’s portable in size and has a lower cost than its other contemporaries. It has an entire iron cast oil-lubricated body that not only makes it durable but also ensures it lasts for a more extended period.

Besides the durable body designs, the air compressor also has Swedish stainless steel reed valves, which shell out a longer shelf life. The design is praiseworthy as it has 2 cylinders built which ensure the heat transfer between the two-cylinder is carried out smoothly. It runs in a 230-volt heavy-duty induction motor at 3450 RPM for ensuring maximum performance and efficiency. The tank’s capacity is 60 gallons, and it is an ASME certified vertical tank, which is another unique feature that this air compressor has! All in all, you can surely go for this compressor if you are looking for a budget buy.

Pros:

  • Price starts at approximately $850, which is quite affordable.
  • It provides more run time for operational resistance of other tools like spray guns, ratchets, hammers, etc..
  • Portable design is easy to carry.

Cons:

  • No warranty from the manufacturer.
  • Not suitable for more oversized vehicles.

California Air Tools Aluminum Tank Air Compressor

This is the smallest air compressor for painting mentioned in the list. Though the air compressor doesn’t justify the spray painting job for larger vehicles or the entire vehicles as well, it can be used extensively for painting smaller parts of the car in case of daunting issues. This 8-gallon air compressor is the ideal device for a home garage. It can be used for mending scratches, dents or fixing other car paint issues using the DIY method. But given its size bracket, one must not conclude that it is inefficient in carrying out the spray painting job.

This micro air compressor comes with a wheel kit and air filter and has a run time of about 30-60 mins. The noise level is also less and stands at around 60 dB. It has an oil-free pump that evidently makes it less maintenance and a more longevity product. And its portable size makes it easier to carry and store. All in all, if you need assistance with spray painting smaller parts of your car at home, this is the best air compressor for you.

Pros:

  • Best for home garage usage.
  • Noise-free spray painting.
  • Affordable alternative as cost starts from $210.
  • Has both steel and aluminum body finishing.
  • 1-year warranty.

Cons:

  • Not ideal for more oversized vehicles.

Industrial Air 30-Gallon Cast Iron Oil Lube Air Compressor

The Industrial Air 30-Gallon Cast Iron Oil Lube Air Compressor can be considered as the best air compressor for home garage requirements. Its portable size with maximum efficiency makes it worthy enough to buy. It is equipped with a heavy-duty induction motor to provide better performance and longer shelf life. With a PSI value of 155, you can expect optimum performance and efficiency from this air compressor.

The gas tank has the capacity of 30 gallons that serves well for smaller or low-key spray painting tasks. One of the significant features of this mini air compressor is that it has pneumatic tires, which give it maximum portability and easy usage capability.

It has a dual voltage motor with a standard 120-volt outlet, ensuring the device is effective and powerful. It is fully equipped with all the tools that include a quick-set regulator, working pressure gauges, tank, quick connect air outlet, etc. It also has an on-off switch to make its control easier. Overall this portable air compressor is good to go with!

Pros:

  • Pocket-friendly price starts at approximately $790.
  • Attractive design and portability features.
  • Cast iron oil lube body provides longevity.
  • 2-year warranty with the package.

Cons:

  • Not ideal for industrial requirements for spray painting larger vehicles.

PORTER CABLE 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

If you are looking for a small air compressor for painting, then the PORTER CABLE 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor might be an excellent fit for you. Its 20-gallon tank size makes it portable in size and a good to carry compressor as well. Though not fit for industrial operations, this mini air compressor is worthy of being kept at your home garage to carry out smaller spray painting works.

It has two CFM ratings that include 40 PSI at 5.0 CFM and 90 PSI at 4.0 CFM with a 1.5 RHP unit value. The maximum PSI is 150, which is good enough to run it for quite a good time and its horsepower unit is 1.5, the makes it quite efficient. It has oil-free lubrication, and steel tank material with a twin V cast iron pump that helps in strengthening its durability. Its mobility is smooth with pneumatic wheels and rubber feet attachment for stability. Thus if you are looking out for a mini air compressor, this is it!

Pros:

  • It comes equipped with gauges, regulator, and quick-connect facilities.
  • Low maintenance compressor.
  • Pocket-friendly price.
  • Suitable for carrying out home garage spray painting works.

Cons:

  • A bit busy with a sound level at 85 dB.
  • No warranty from the manufacturer.

WEN 15-Amp 20-Gallon Oil-Lubricated Portable Vertical Electric Air Compressor

This is a mini air compressor for spray painting available in the market to carry out home garage spray painting works efficiently. You can store and carry it around your courtyard without any hindrance for its portable size. It has a tank size of 20 gallons built with a reinforced steel body to proceed with a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. The airflow rate ranges from 3.8 CFM at 90 PSI to 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI which makes it quite efficient during the spray painting work. Another significant feature of this mini air compressor is that it has an easy-to-reach quick drain valve, two pressure gauges, and ¼ inches NPT quick coupler in its equipment package. It has an oil-lubricated body finish which makes it durable and efficient at the same time. Go for it if you want a break from the regular air compressors available in the markets today.

Pros:

  • A pocket-friendly price that starts from $320 approx.
  • Wheels and on-board handle makes movement easier.
  • It comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • Suitable for carrying out DIY spray painting at home garage.

Cons:

  • Not fit for industrial purposes or carrying out spray painting in larger vehicles.

Campbell Hausfeld 26 Gallon Vertical Portable Air Compressor

This is another best portable air compressor for spray painting that you may like buying. A 26-gallon air compressor is generally not available in the market. So, if you can get hold of this, consider yourself lucky! This excellent air compressor is good to carry out more miniature spray painting works, mainly in home garages. Though it can be used for industrial purposes, it is best fitted for home garages only. The air compressor has a vertical design that makes it portable and easy to carry.

The pump is durable and has oil-free coverage that makes its operation smoother. The maximum pressure of this air compressor stands at 150 PSI with a delivery air pressure of 90 PSI at 40 CFM units. It has an AC power source that uses a 120-volt electric current. It has an attractive blue-colored alloy steel body finishing that adds to the beauty of your home garage. All in all, this is an excellent air compressor if you are looking for a cheaper yet efficient alternative.

Pros:

  • It comes in two sizes- 20 gallons and 26 gallons.
  • Pocket-friendly price starts at $520, approximately.
  • Handle, and pneumatic wheels make it easy on transportation.
  • Compact design.

Cons:

  • No manufacturer warranty.
  • Has a loud noise problem.

Ingersoll Rand 7.5 HP 80 Gallon Two Stage Air Compressor

Are you still wondering what is the best air compressor for spray painting cars on the market right now? Well, this last recommendation might prove helpful to you. This “small size big work” air compressor is all you need to carry out your spray painting job easily. The features of this air compressor are irresistible. With a durable cast iron construction and extended pump life design, this compressor is unquestionably going to last longer than expected.

Not only that, it has maximum power output with 100% continuous duty flexibility. It has a two-stage air compressor with 5 and 7 HP power output with a 175 PSI operating pressure. The 80 gallon ASME tank ensures the proper functioning of plenty of demanding applications.

It has reliable operational and easy to service features as it has individual cast cylinders and an overhung crankshaft that simplifies the servicing. With 2000 hours of service between cylinder changes, it performs ideally four times better than the other petroleum-based lubricants. Overall this is undoubtedly the best air compressor you can buy to spray paint your vehicle.

Pros:

  • It comes with two years warranty.
  • Very portable, easy to carry.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Provides 15,000 hours of run time without any trouble.
  • Ideal for industrial usage.

Cons:

  • A bit noisy.
  • Not an affordable alternative, it costs approximately $3100.

How to Choose the Right Air Compressor for Spray Painting Cars

So, are you all set to buy the best air compressor for spray painting your car or truck? Well, wait a bit before you take the plunge. There are certain things to consider when buying an air compressor for spray painting cars so that you either lose out on quality or overdo the budget. Here, take a look below to know what are things you must look out for when buying an air compressor for car spray painting.

Power

It is common to check the power of the compressor to know whether it is the best air compressor for home garage use. The compressors are generally electrically powered devices, and thus, you must check the volt power before the purchase. Typically in the USA and most other countries, the volt power remains within the range of 110-120 volt. In some countries, though, it can be between 220-240 volts. The desired power range is 120-240 volts. You must remember, the more power, the better is the efficiency of the compressor. Not only the voltage power, but you must also check for the horsepower ratings to understand the work efficiency of the air compressor.

Air Pressure

When choosing the right air compressor for spray painting cars, know you must pick the ones that provide you maximum air pressure capacities. The unit of air pressure is measured in PSI, and thus, the more the PSI rating of the air compressor, the better would be its work functioning. In most air compressors today, you can get 90 PSI air pressure which is considered good. But then, sometimes, for heavier compressors, the 90 PSI might not function properly. That is when you need more air pressure than 90 PSI. The automobile experts recommend buying compressors that have more than 100 PSI air pressure values to become compatible with the other tools of the machine like the ratchets, hammer, etc.

CFM Rating

CFM or Cubic feet per minute resembles the rate at which the air outflows at a specific pressure. So, it means the higher the CFM value, the more effective the air compressor would be. The air compressor uses the air pressure to convert it into CFM, and so a high-performing paint sprayer would need higher CFM to run smoothly. So, the best air compressor for painting cars at home is the one that provides more CFM value. An expensive and bigger air compressor would have higher CFM output, but if you are settling for an average one, you must check that the CFM value is at least 30-31% higher in the compressor to carry out the painting with ease.

Tank Size

The tank is the portion of the compressor where the compressed air is stored. Thus, choosing the right tank size is one of the essential things to consider when buying an air compressor for paint sprayer. It is not mandatory to have a huge-sized tank, but you must have at least a decent-sized tank in your air compressor device to ensure that the spray painting is done smoothly. If the air compressor does not have enough space to hold the air, you can fall short of air pressure very soon. So, having a tank size of at least 6 gallons is well recommended by experts. However, going for 8-10 gallon tank size is considered the best for getting better spray painting results.

Noise

This might not bother those who can withstand the air compressor noise while it runs. But those who have issues with loud noise or those who love to work in silence must consider this as an important thing to consider if you are wondering how to choose the best air compressor for spray painting cars. Most air compressors come with noise reduction features. But if you find out that the compressor is not noise reduction compatible, then check for the noise level in the package. If the noise level is below 70 dB, then you’re good to go with it. But if it crosses 70dB sound, then you must give buying it a second thought.

Durability and Portability

Are you still wondering what to look for in an air compressor for auto painting? Last but not least, one of the most important things to look for when buying an air compressor is its durability and portability. The durability is, of course, needed for the longevity of the machine. You should always buy an air compressor with either a pure aluminum body or solid stainless steel body, as these are considered the most durable body materials. On the other hand, for portability requirements, you must go for the lightweight ones, have wheels, and are easy to lift. If these requirements are fulfilled, you can buy the air compressor without a doubt.

Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars and Trucks [FAQs]:

By now, we have learned a lot about air compressors in general. We have discussed the best types of compressors available in the market as well. But there are still some things that people must know about air compressors. Like how much psi is needed to paint a car or what is the average cost of spray painting a car, etc. And to clear these doubts, the following FAQs section is formed. Take a look…

How Many CFM Do I Need for Spray Painting a Car?

Most car owners have this question- how many CFM does it take to paint a car? Well, it is a known fact that if your air compressor does not have a good output range, then it might not work efficiently in accomplishing the painting job. Thus, the need for more CFM always remains! It is recommended that you go for 12 CFM when spray painting your car. If at all you have a larger vehicle, you must look for a 14-18 CFM array for better output of the air compressor. Remember, the CFM will be best utilized when you have a 60-gallon tank with 90 PSI output with a 6 HP compressor.

How Much PSI Do You Need to Paint a Car?

Most car owners wonder what psi is needed for spray painting a car with a better output. There is no direct answer to this question, as the PSI requirement varies according to the parts of the vehicle you are trying to paint. For example; If you are spraying the base coat of your car, you may need 26-29 PSI. Likewise, if you are painting a clear coat, you may only need 2-3 PSI to accomplish the task. Thus having a 90 PSI air compressor for spray painting your car is always recommended because then it would be sufficient to spray all the parts effectively.

How Much Does an Air Compressor Cost for a Car Paint Job?

The cost of an air compressor depends on which type of air compressor is used for spray painting the car. Most of the time, the cost varies depending upon the tank’s size. If you buy a portable air compressor with a tank size of 20 gallons, you can expect the price to be around $250. Similarly, if you buy an 80-gallon air compressor, the cost can go up to $3000 depending upon the quality and brand of the product. So, the air compressor cost for a car paint job depends on the type of product you are buying.

What is the Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Cars?

Air compressors are modern-day tools that ensure the “air” around you (read: your machine) is compressed to carry out operations where air compression is required. In this article, we discussed the best air compressor for spray painting cars.

There are many things that get into consideration when you want to pick the best air compressor for spray painting your vehicle, like the pump quality, the tank storage capacity, the machine’s longevity, etc. Based on these things, we have shortlisted the 13 best air compressors for spray painting cars and trucks in the article above.

Even though the 13 best products are mentioned in the article, I have a few personal picks that I would like to share with my readers. If it were for spray painting my car, I would have picked the

  • SS5 5 HP 60 Gallon Single Stage Air Compressor
  • Industrial Air 30-Gallon Cast Iron Oil Lube Air Compressor
  • Ingersoll Rand 7.5 HP 80 Gallon Two Stage Air Compressor

As per my understanding, these are the best air compressors for spray painting cars on the market right now that I would have bought. Nevertheless, all other air compressors are also excellent and efficient, and you can pick any of them depending upon your requirement.

About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

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