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9 Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting in 2022

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Finding a good air compressor that you can also use for other tasks is a monumental challenge. Whether you are an amateur or a professional at spray painting, you would shabbily do the task if you do not have an air compressor. Air compressors will ensure that the airflow of the paint is consistent and the air pressure is accurate. If you want to achieve the desired results, you need an air compressor to fit your needs.

This guide will help you pick one best suited to you based on our exhaustive research into up-and-coming air compressor options. We will also give you a detailed pros and cons list to aid your decisions and answer some common questions about different air compressors used for spray painting.

Our top recommendation is the all-in-one The California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor. Read on to find out why.

Read more: Best Quiet Air Compressors

Here are the best air compressors for spray painting (our picks)

Industrial Air Portable Pontoon Air Compressor

Industrial Air Portable Pontoon Air Compressor

This unit is a proper pontoon compressor that offers excellent portability. There are two cylinder tanks and an efficient motor to back this small machine. It is lightweight, owing to its compact frame. 

It comes with a 4-gallon capacity and runs on the 5 HP Honda OHC residential gas engine. It is an all \-round appliance that can be used for multiple uses such as airbrushing, framing, hobby painting, roof nailing, stapling, etc. It comes with a two-piece cooling system that gives it a long-lasting life.

Key Specifications:

  • 4-gallon tank
  • Maximum pressure: 155 PSI
  • Power Source: Gas Powered
  • Oil-free, direct-drive pump
  • Two-piece cooling system
  • CFM 5.0 at 90 PSI, CFM 6.9 at 40 PSI
  • Honda OHC/OHV.CC gas engine

Pros:

  • Quick recovery
  • Lightweight
  • Highly portable
  • Powerful performance
  • Oil-free pump

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Low run time

WEN 2289T air compressor

WEN 2289T air compressor

The WEN 2289T air compressor is ideal for home or personal use. These are popular for use in garages, workshops, etc.

The compressor has a draining valve and a quarter-inch coupler. This mechanism makes it easy to record the tank pressure and easy-to-read gauges. It has a 1.5 HP motor and is very quiet, working with 68 decibels. The tank is made of reinforced steel and 10-gallons. 

Since this is an oil-free compressor, you do not need to maintain it as regularly as it will not clog up or need lubrication. It has an impressive auto-shutdown feature too.

Price: from $262.17

Key Specifications:

  • 4.0 or 5.0 CFM and 90 or 40 PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • 10 \-gallon tank with reinforced steel
  • Can handle pressure up to 150 PSI
  • Power source: Corded Electric

Pros:

  • Generous storage
  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Ideal for use with spray guns
  • Quiet with noise up to only 68 decibels

Cons:

  • Some customers claim to have received damaged or faulty pieces

The California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

The California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

The California Air Tools compressor or CAT, is one of the best options available in the market due to its hardiness and conveniently built design. It is rugged, durable, and hushed, making it a dream to work with. This is our best and glowing recommendation.

The CAT compressor runs on a 2.0 HP motor and boasts of an oil-free dual-piston pump which will last you for 3,000 hours at the very least. Compared to the other compressors, it is a desirable number that hardly gives out 500 hours or even less than that. A significant advantage is using this pump in cold temperatures since there is no fear of the oil freezing up. 

It is very soft and works at an astonishing 70 decibels of sound while the motor runs for 1680 RPM. 

Price: From $435.99

  • 6.40 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Air stored in a 10-gallon tank
  • 2.0 HP motor that runs at 1680 RPM, 110 V
  • Power source: Corded Electric

Pros:

  • Very quiet, running on 70 decibels
  • Long-lasting life
  • Steel air tank
  • Smart features such as different drain systems

Cons:

  • Customer service can be improved
  • For a 10-gallon tank, it is too heavy (82 lbs) to move with wheels too

Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor

Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor

The Porter-Cable Pancake compressor is an ideal model for any type of use. It comes with a water rain valve and a compact ‘pancake’ design. It is unique because it offers two installed air couplers in such a compact unit. It is the best value for money product. 

But, the amount of noise it makes can be reworked, based on the better competitors in the market now.

Price: From $119.29

Key Specifications:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Maximum PSI: 150
  • 120 V motor
  • Two couplers
  • 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Power Source: Corded Electric

Pros:

  • Includes a lot of protection such as cord wrap, shroud, handle, console
  • Durable
  • Oil-free pump for long life
  • Quick recovery time
  • Light-weight and portable

Cons:

  • With 82 dB, the sound it makes is more than its competitors

DeWalt Pancake Air Compressor

DeWalt Pancake Air Compressor

A small-sized, durable option is the DeWalt Pancake Air Compressor. It comes packed with a high flow regulator and couplers. 

It is built with stainless steel and handles decent air pressure. Like all pancake models, it is excellent for portability. But, you can not use it for a large variety of tasks. It is ideal for spray painting or other small-scale DIY projects.

Price: From $179.00

Key Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • 120 V motor
  • 6-gallon capacity
  • Maximum PSI: 165
  • 78.5 dBA noise 
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

Pros:

  • Comes with a console cover that is removable
  • Easy to repair
  • Outlet tube positioned smartly
  • Comes equipped with high flow regulators and couplers
  • Durable stainless steel build
  • Oil-free pump

Cons:

  • Low capacity
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks

California Air Tools 5510SE Air-Compressor

California Air Tools 5510SE Air-Compressor

The CAT 5510SE model works at a soft 60 dB. It comes with an oil-free pump and very easy-to-use starting mechanisms. The motor starts up at 1680 RPM. However, there are some cons to this model. As a product marketed to be a light model, it is heavy at 50 lbs. There are frequent complaints about leakage, which causes rust.

Price: From $214.37

Key Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • 8-gallon tank
  • Wheel Kit and Air Filters
  • 110 V motor, 1.0 hp
  • Maximum pressure: 120 PSI

Pros:

  • Thermal Overload Protection
  • Quick recovery time between 90 to 120 PSI
  • Fast tank fill up time: 120 seconds

Cons:

  • No hose included
  • Low CFM rating
  • Complaints of leakage
  • Too heavy to be considered a light model

Rolair JC10 Plus Air Compressor

Rolair JC10 Plus Air Compressor

Rolair’s JC10 Plus is a newly launched air compressor that has a cage around it just like its older version, JC10. The positioning of the gauges is such that it faces upwards. 

It features a cast aluminum two-cylinder pump and uses a motor running at 1700 RPM. Noise-wise, it is one of the quietest models available and the California Air Tools’ competitor. However, it has a tiny tank and cannot be used for more significant, more heavy projects.

Price: From $344.00

Key Specifications:

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • 2.5 gallon tank
  • 2.35 CFM at PSI 90
  • 1725 RPM Motor
  • Cylinder with Cast Aluminum
  • 120 V motor
  • 60 dB sound level

Pros:

  • Compact and easy to carry around
  • Light-weighted, weighing at just 40 lbs
  • Long-lasting life with a smooth start-up
  • Quality valves
  • Efficient performance

Cons:

  • Cannot be used for bigger projects
  • Dangerous air filter positioning

Campbell Hausfeld TQ3104 Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld TQ3104 Air Compressor

The Campbell Hausfeld air compressor has some impressive specifications and boasts of having 80-gallon tank storage with a 5 HP motor. It is a vertical compressor and has a single-stage filter. 

It is durable as it has a cast-iron body and a four-cylinder pump. With such a heavy build, it is also quite expensive.

But, we would not recommend the Campbell Hausfeld if you only want to use it for spray painting. Besides, it is pretty heavy and can be a hassle. The Hauself compressor is built for heavy-duty work, so only go for it if you will use it for more complex projects. Instead, pick from the other recommendations, which are lighter and less pricey.

Price: From $1,475.00

Key Specifications:

  • 80-gallon tank
  • Maximum PSI: 140
  • 16.0 CFM at PSI 90
  • Over 20 air tools can be used for projects such as spray painting, sanding, etc.
  • Four-cylinder, cast-iron pump
  • Power Source: AC/DC

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty
  • Lifespan of more than 10,000 hours
  • durable

Cons:

  • Quite loud with 86 dB at a 3 feet distance
  • Heavy and no portability
  • Expensive

Craftsman Pancake Air Compressor

Craftsman Pancake Air Compressor

Craftsman is a brand associated with tool manufacturing across the world. Their red-colored tools need no introductions and raise no questions about their expectations. Their air compressors are similarly built: stylish, user-friendly, and efficient. 

Popular amongst homeowners, this is an all-in-one recommendation. It has multiple features that will aid your painting. One of the unique features is its long life. 

The best thing about the Craftsman Pancake Air Compressor is that no matter what job it entails, it will do it all as long as you have the required tools. It has a drain release valve that safely disposes of the compressor so that you do not have to worry about the safety of your tank. It is also lightweight, making it perfect for a job like spray painting tasks that require a lot of moving around.

It comes with an oil-free pump, meaning you can use this compressor in all weather conditions. The absence of the oil makes it easy to care for, as it does not need timely lubrication. 

Since the make is a pancake one, it does not have more storage space. 

Price: From $137.74

Key Specifications:

  • 6 gallons
  • Maximum pressure: 150 PSI
  • Quick recovery time: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

Pros:

  • Highly portable and not heavy
  • Oil-free pump
  • Fast recovery time resulting in quick work

Cons:

  • Low storage capacity
  • Not durable or hardy enough

Read more: Best Compressors for Painting Cars

How Do Air Compressors for Spray Painting Work?

Air Compressors essentially use a motor to fill and compress a large amount of air. The pressure from the inside of the tank then builds up to the maximum. The more space the tank has, the more air will fit in it. More freedom usually means that the compressor can handle the air’s pressure and work better.

When you start the task and switch the compressor on, the air is pumped out through a tube-like hose and uses that pressure to do the job well. You can attach the hose to the tools you need to do a task. 

Also, Read – Best air compressor for painting cars

For spray painting, you will need a spray gun. In that case, it will pump the compressed air into the gun, and the paint will flow out of it with that air pressure. You will create a layer of color this way on your desired surface.

As the air compressor cools down and the force of the air gets less, you will need to ‘recharge’ the air compressor by letting the pressure build up again. Depending on the compressor, it will take you between 3 minutes to 20 or 25 minutes for the compressor to fill up with air again.

What To Look For in an Air Compressor for Spray Painting?

To suit an Air Compressor to your needs, you will need to look into multiple factors such as the scale of the task you want the compressor to perform, the CFM and PSI ratings, the machine’s weight, design, etc. Let us look at some essential factors to consider before making your final decision.

1. Types of Compressors

There are multiple compressors to look out for when determining the right one for you. Some popular compressor styles are as follows.

2. Pancake air compressors

Pancake air compressors look like pancakes with their rounded design. They are light and can be moved around depending on the job. These are perfect for smaller projects because they are small-sized and stable in performance. They are not that strong, so you cannot use these for heavy-duty tasks.

3. Hot dog air compressors

Hot dog air compressors resemble a hot dog in shape. They are a little bigger on the tank size aspect. These are heavy and cannot be transported easily like pancake compressors. A pro of using hot dog compressors is that they will last you longer and better.

4. Pontoon air compressors

Pontoon compressors are a combination of pancake and hot dog compressors They are named after pontoon boats. They specialize in a higher PSI output than their competitors. They can store a large volume of air, but the downside to pontoons is that they are too heavy to be carried around. 

5. CFM and PSI ratings

Different air compressors will offer different readings of CFM and PSI. CFM or Cubic Feet Per Minute is the amount of airflow from the compressor, and the PSI is the amount of pressure your compressor can take.

The CFM and PSI decide how well your compressor can function. 

6. Portability and Weight

The product’s portability is tied with its weight. If a compressor is heavy, then you cannot transport it easily. If you are undertaking a project that requires a lot of moving around, you will have to take your compressor everywhere. 

Getting a compressor with easy portability or less weight is a prerogative.

Read more: Best Air Compressors for HVLP Painting

Wrapping Up

Spray painting in itself is a highly challenging yet rewarding task. There are multiple options available in the market to suit your needs. While picking a compressor, you will need to focus on the specifications of the compressor, as well as the air tools you use and the CFM and PSI ratings of your chosen model. As mentioned earlier, our top pick is the California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor. This product will solve all your worries when it comes to spray painting. Selecting a proper air compressor for your needs is challenging, but we hope that our guide gave you some answers and clarity.