Do you want to take your painting projects to the next level? But you do not know how to choose the right air compressor? Worry not! We are here to help you. Choosing the right air compressor might be a tough job. The market is full of different types. And the prices vary a lot. There are a lot of indicators that can play an important role in performance and effectiveness.
Knowing what indicators are important for your needs should be your priority. You would need a solid air compressor that can deliver good airflow and pressure to the paint sprayer. Going for a high-quality air compressor will not only do the job, but it will be able to finish many others. Like inflating, sandblasting, etc…
It really does not matter whether you need an air compressor for professional work or DIY projects. Selecting a good-quality air compressor will ease a lot of your problems. Hopefully, this article is here to help you.
Guide For Choosing The Best Air Compressor For Spray Painting
There is some important information about the air compressors that would be nice for you to know. However, you can always trust our recommendation. But some people want to go in-depth research when they spend their hard-earned money.
The Tank Type Of An Air Compressor
Most of us are familiar with upright, stationary compressors. These types are most commonly found in garages, multi-bay body shops, manufacturing plants. They are usually larger, heavier with a lot of horsepower. They are usually designed vertically to take as little space as possible for their size.
However, portable air compressors are getting more and more popular. Particularly with the DIYers and street artists. They are easy to use and maneuver due to their smaller size and lighter weight than the upright, stationary air compressors. You can also get them in many different styles. Ike hotdog, pancake, wheelbarrow shape. Since they are compact, they usually have a small footprint.
PSI and CFM ratings
PSI and CFM are measures that professionals love to look at, and beginners tend to disregard them. No need to fear these measures and numbers. We will help you understand them.
CFM (cubic feet per minute) is a measuring unit for the rate of airflow of your air compressor.
PSI is a measure that tells us the power of your air compressor.
Often we see people sticking to the high PSI. But high PSI rating does not always indicate better performance. For other applications, the CFM rating of your compressor might be a more important metric. High CFM ratings mean faster air compression. However, if your CFM ratings don’t match it does not necessarily exclude your air compressor. It just means you will have to stop and adjust more often.
Horsepower is another important specification alongside PSI and CFM rating. For most home projects and DIY, a motor with 1 to 2 HP will do the job. Now days there are a lot of good 2 HP air compressors on the market.
Logically motor-driven air compressors will create heat and friction. Especially for the oil-less compressors. If your workspace is small or you are working in a closed room. Have in mind the ventilation.
Oiled Vs Oil-less Air Compressors
Oil-free air compressors are gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. They require a lot less maintenance. Regular oil air compressors require a lot more maintenance. You should be careful with the regular lubrication of piston chambers. Also, not every lubrication will work the same.
So, which one do you like more? Oil compressors are more expensive and heavier but more durable. Oil-free are lighter and easier to use. Oiled compressors used to be quieter, but technological advances improved. So the noise level really depends on the model of your air compressor.
Noise Level And Noise Reduction
Some people care about the noise levels. Others do not. Like everything on this list, it really depends on your needs. If you are working in a small area, this might be important to you. Some air compressors can use noise reduction accessories. Expansion chamber mufflers and intake silencer filters can both help you with noise.
You can look for soundless compressors, but they cost a lot. Another solution is to add some sound dampers. Like mineral wool, fiberglass insulation packed fiber. These are all materials that can block and prevent sound spread.
Have in mind the purpose of your air compressor. You might need the air compressor for painting, but consider that you might need it for other purposes. You might need it working with nail and staple guns.
Price And Final Tips
If you do not want to break the bank, look for portable and pancake-shaped air compressors. They do not require access to a 220v outlet. They are smaller, portable, and lightweight.
Nevertheless, we suggest you go for a renowned brand with a good reputation. They have proven efficiency and also provide a solid warranty. Another plus, the bigger your supplier, the better the retail network is going to be. Meaning, you will get replacement parts and accessories a lot quicker than others.
Top 5 Best Air Compressors For Spray Painting
1. Makita MAC700 Gallon Air Compressor
This product comes with a 4.7/5 stars out of almost 1200 ratings. It is ideal if you are in need of a smaller and more compact sized unit.
You will get a quiet single-cylinder compressor. It fills up pretty fast. Less than two minutes! The type of pump allows this fast filling. Compared to the other products of the same class, Makita MAC700 has a pump cylinder with a larger bore, larger piston, and a longer stroke length.
Important to notice, this is an oiled compressor. However, being an oiled compressor means that it is a quiet working machine. For easier check of the level of the oil, there is a sight glass. Another great feature is that this unit recovers quickly when it starts cycling. It has 2.6-gallon tanks. It takes less than two minutes to fill up the tank. CFM rating is at 3.3 at 90 PSI.
- Twice as much horsepower as the other comparable compressors on the market
- Durable, easy to use
- Despite using oil it is easy to maintain
- Made with health and safety in mind
- Depending on your need, but 2.6-gallon tank might not be enough
- It lacks wheels, you must lift it
2. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor
We could let just the rating speak enough about this product. 4.7/5 stars in more than 2300 ratings! No wonder it is Amazon’s Choice in the portable air compressor category! There are a lot of 6-gallon air compressors but DEWALT Pancake stands out among others. It can give you 2.6 SCFM (SCFM is a measure for the CFM ratings in standard conditions) of air at the 90 PSI. And if you need an even higher pressure it can go up to 165 PSI max.
This unit is oil-less which means there is no need to add oil before using it. Also, it requires a lot less maintenance. A lot of people will say that the oil-free air compressors make a lot of noise. That is not the case for the DEWALT Pancake. It produces about 70 decibels of noise. You can even chat with people and work.
We highly recommend draining any air left in the tank after you finish using the air compressor. It is even easier to drain with a nicely designed ball drain verve put at the bottom.
DEWALT Pancake is 30 lbs. This makes it very portable and great for DIY projects.
There are cheaper products on the market, but it hard to find them as good as this one. Adding a little more will pay off.
- Excellent size for home works with a tank of up to 6 gallons
- Movable, light, and portable
- Do not worry about the noise pollution
- Excellent in every temperature conditions
- It lacks wheels, meaning you always need to lift it
3. BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Air Compressor
One of the few air 6-gallon air compressors that are not afraid to go against DEWALT Pancake. In fact, if you squint your eyes you might not be able to tell the difference. They are almost the same product. Just made from different manufacturers.
Both are oil-free 6-gallon air compressors. Meaning maintenance will not be your number one job. The pressure can go up to 150 PSI. 15 less than the DEWALT Pancake. But that will not make any difference. It can produce an SCFM rating of 2.6 at a pressure of 90 PSI.
However, oil-less means BOSTITCH can get noisy. Consider wearing ear protection. This unit will not have any problems in colder conditions. Plus, it has two couplers.
Do not worry about the time. Even if the motor keeps running, the compressor can recover very rapidly. Have in mind the tank size if you are working on big projects.
- High performance
- Fewer expenses although high performance
- Oil-free, meaning less maintenance
- Some might not be happy with a power cord of only 5 feet
4. Industrial Air Contractor 4 Gallon Portable Pontoon Air Compressor
If you are in need of a strong device, look no further. Industrial Air Contractor comes with a two smaller cylinder tanks paired with a high efficiency motor. This gives you strenght but it sacrifices runtime. The good thing is, the recovery time is very quick.
It comes with a 4 gallons of tank capacity. The CFM rating goes up to 5 at 40 PSI. It is easily portable and easily mountable.
Industrial Air would be the all-time champion if it only had a longer runtime. Adding the higher price is also taking down some of the points. But it a renowned brand, you will not make a mistake going for this unit.
- Very strong
- Quickly recovers
- Lightweight compared to others in the power-focus category
- Runtime is a bit shorter than we would like
- Not as affordable as we would like
5. Campbell Hausfeld TQ3104
We have only talked about smaller-sized products. If you require a beast look for this Amazon’s Best Seller. Campbell Hausfeld comes with an 80-gallon tank! 5 HP and CFM rating of 16! 140 max PSI!
However, its tank size can be a problem. This unit is not portable at all. So if you need it out of your workstation, do not consider buying this product.
But if you need to work on big projects and plan heavy usage, look for this beast of a machine.
- Very powerful
- Ideal for heavy-usage and big projects
- 80-gallon tank
- CFM rating of 16
- It can get quite loud, specifically 86 decibels at 3 feet away from you
- Have in mind that the large tank takes a lot of space
- Also, have in mind the weight – around 400 lbs