By Marko Jankovic | Last Updated: April 26, 2020
To atomize paint, combining your paint sprayer with a solid air compressor that delivers pressure to the sprayer is a must. For any project, a good quality air compressor works wonders when combined with a paint sprayer. Professional painters swear by it and it is a holy grail for DIYers for home projects. Finding the best air compressor is a tedious task, as it requires an in-depth analysis of hundreds of available products. We’ve handpicked five Air Compressors worthy of your money. Also, we have enlisted some of the features you should consider when buying an Air Compressor.
Top Air Compressors for Spray Painting
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Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon
California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet
DEWALT D55146 4-1/2-Gallon
Features to look out for Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting
A roll cage protects the air compressor from severe damage to its critical components. The chances of an air compressor being battered or crushed are highly unlikely if it has a good quality roll cage. Bonus points if the components are inset from the frame of the roll bar. This ensures the cage has a low center of gravity and you don’t knock it over by accident.
Anyone who has researched before buying a power tool like an air compressor knows about the variety in the available compressor tank styles. Variation, in the case of air compressor tank styles, is not a result of a flaw in the other tank style. The different tank styles offer practicality, tank capacity, and portability to the compressors. Some of the tank styles are,
These compressors are mostly known for their portability and sport a tank volume between one to six gallons. The tank features a low-profile appearance to ensure maximum portability. Pancake compressors require very little maintenance as they exclude belts and have an oil-free pump.
Hot Dog Compressors:
Hot dog compressors are the go-to power tool for hobbyists as they power small air tools such as airbrushes. Their tanks are heavier and bigger than a pancake compressor but are also low maintenance. While buying a hot dog compressor make sure to buy one with a carrying handle to move it around with ease.
Such compressors are a modification of the typical hot dog compressor. Twin-Stack Air compressors feature two air tanks stacked on top of each other. With two tanks in the picture, these compressors have a larger capacity making them suitable for professionals. Their weight may exceed up to 70lbs, but manufacturers include accessories that allow easy portability.
Size, Power, and CFM:
When choosing an air compressor based on performance, there are three main factors to consider.
The biggest compressor gets more work done but a smaller one offers maximum portability. Also, a bigger tank means a bigger hole in your pocket whereas a smaller tank comes cheaper. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space to house a larger tank. Choosing the size (1 Gallon to a whopping 80 Gallons!) based on the space available and the extent of the project is a smart option.
The horsepower (HP) or the power of the motor is the next thing to consider. Although, don’t get too drawn away by this figure as it may not necessarily indicate the true power of a compressor. Any decent air compressor provides 4 CFM at 100 psi per horsepower.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)-
The volume of air the air compressor delivers at a certain pressure value is a quantity measured in CFM. Three aspects that affect this factor are atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and relative humidity. Often, the formula manufacturers use to calculate the CFM is,
CFM = Cylinder Bore x Stroke x Number of RPMs
An air filter captures all the contaminants trying to enter the compressor. These particles are minute but in higher concentrations possess the power to damage the compressor. Air filters come in the form of replaceable air filters or oil baths.
5 Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting Reviews
1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
If you’re looking for a low-cost air compressor that is portable and visually appealing, then this Pancake Compressor fills all boxes. With 150 psi max tank pressure, the compressor makes a good companion for professionals wanting longer runtimes. 2.6 CFM at 90 psi allows quick recovery time and works at low-amp 120-volts.
The most commendable attribute of this air compressor is its ability to shut off automatically once the motor reaches its complete potential (150 psi). It reaches max 150 psi in a few minutes, and you get all the accessories at an additional cost of $30. The auto on and off feature saves power and reduces heat from the motor. It features an oil-free pump that ensures a long life for the air compressor with very little to no maintenance.
The compressor is a little louder than its competitors at 82 dBa. The package includes a 25-foot nylon-reinforced air hose that allows you to use the air compressor for longer distances. It comes with a carrying handle for easy transportation. The low-amp motor starts easily or with an extension cord in cold weather.
The pancake-style tank includes a water drain valve and rubber feet to prevent soiling your precious flooring. The six-gallon tank also provides extra stability. The air compressor performs optimally and runs off a normal household circuit. In short, this ultra-portable and easy-to-use air compressor pack a big punch in a small package.
2.Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor (DC080500)
The Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Air Compressor offers buyers a quiet environment at just 68 dBa. If you want a less-noisy variant to traditional Hot Dog air compressors, this is the compressor of your dreams. The dual-piston pump system produces 25% more air than the average 1.0 hp air compressors.
For hobbyists and automotive professionals wanting a lighter alternative, we recommend this phenomenal compressor. It features an 8 Gallon hot dog tank combined to a motor with max 125 psi and 2.4 CFM at 90 psi. This smart tool auto-detects when your tank is full and turns itself off accordingly.
Oil-Free lubrication allows the Campbell Hausfeld Portable Air Compressor to last longer than the competitors. Attached wheels make it easy to transport in combination with the handle. Oil-free compressors are always recommended but the loud noise is a big turnoff.
In terms of efficiency, this twin-cylindered air compressor runs at 1750 RPM while drawing a current of only 7 A. Dual pistons and lower motor speed results in a significant decrease in the sound caused by this product. This air compressor functions four times longer than typical hot dog compressors.
If a small, portable, and user-friendly air compressor is what you need to make the most of the time you spend spray painting then be sure to check out this beautiful twin-cylindered hot dog air compressor. The oil-free, maintenance-free pump is one of the many components included in this air compressor that last four-times more than standard air compressors. The pressure gauges are conveniently placed and in unison with the regulators allow easy monitoring of the tank and pressure.
3. California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp Steel Tank Air Compressor, 8-Gal, Silver
The California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free Air Compressor features only 60 decibels of sound and is one of the least noisy compressors in the market. The motor designed for high durability and performance rotates at 1680 RPM and makes 30 % less noise than its competitors.
The compressor sports an Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System engineered to perform for longer durations (3000+ hours). Its rivals record a life cycle of 500 hours or lower than that. This makes this air compressor stand out other than its sleek silver body. This air compressor fills an empty tank in less than 130 seconds. Also, it has a fast recovery time of 30 seconds from 90 psi to 120 psi.
The 8-Gallon air tank is not very difficult to lift but the compressor comes with a wheel kit for easy transportation. The assembly process is not tedious or complicated and the wheels fit perfectly. With air compressors, it is a common problem that they wear out after a few uses. The California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor, on the other hand, shows no sign of wearing out even after rough usage.
Its smaller size may not prove adequate for larger projects but serves just right for spray painting. It is a 24 X 14 X 23 inches hot dog style compressor. Other features include an 8A amperage capacity and 110 Volts of power. The air compressor comes with two pressure gauges and one universal ¼” quick connectors. The kit comes complete with a Wheel Kit and Air filters that promise maximum durability. The air filter prevents tiny dust particles from entering the compressor’s mechanism.
4. DEWALT D55154 1.1 HP Continuous 4-Gal Electric Wheeled Dolly-Style Air Compressor with Panel
This heavy-duty air compressor offers easy and hassle-free usage with its paneled design. Whether you want an air compressor for minimal spray-painting projects or to spray paint larger areas, this is a safe choice. Continuous 1.1 hp delivered by its induction motor provides 4.0 SCFM at 90 psi and a maximum of 125 psi.
This user-friendly air compressor contains two universal quick couplers that make it easy to run multiple tools at the same time. This four-gallon compressor ensures that crews with more than one person are not left disappointed. To make oil changes quick and to improve efficiency the company has rotated the oil pump to 90 degrees.
If you have any experience handling such power tools you know two qualities surpass all others–durability and easy handling. So, this air compressor sports a unique wheel dolly-styled sturdy iron cast construction. Thus far, this is the only option on our list that boasts a roll-cage to protect it from external damage. This item by MaxTool comes with a top-load panel with positioning holes to transport loads up to 100lbs.
The tank’s assembly is designed to survive rough wear and tear and increases the life of this tool. The pneumatic tires, 2.5 inches frame clearance, and rubber handle together makes this compressor easy to handle at the project site.
5. DEWALT D55146 4-1/2-Gallon 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels
If you lived the previous air compressor but couldn’t get your head around the idea of a twin tank, we have the best solution for you. The DEWALT D55146 4-1/2-Gallon 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels includes everything and is designed to survive the toughest of job sites.
The innovative design provides contractors an appealing air compressor along with durability and versatility. If the DEWALT D55154 1.1 HP Continuous 4-Gal Electric Wheeled Dolly-Style Air Compressor with Panel was too much for you, then this is the safest bet. This compressor gives your crew a chance to tap into their creative sides with its smooth movements.
Additional perks include a DEWALT patented highs efficiency motor and high-pressure pump. The compressor’s mechanism strives to enhance your productivity. It produces 5.0 SCFM at 90psi resulting in quick recovery after exhaustion. This beast of an air compressor provides users with more than 80% of usable air in comparison to the other air compressor alternatives in the market.
Aside from the visually appealing factor, this compressor features a collapsible handle and vertical stand. This saves space by allowing owners to transport it in a vertical position. The 1.6 hp motor is more powerful than the motors of the competitors that go up to 1 hp. When paired with the right air hose the DEWALT D55146 4-1/2-Gallon 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with Wheels works like a charm.
If you want the best portable air compressor to support your spray painting needs, these five options are safe and tested. But in our opinion, the DEWALT D55146 is a clear winner. It may be a little heavier but the collapsible handle and foam wheels make up for this downside. Also, the 1.6 hp motor allows you to get more work done in lesser time. But if you do not want a hot dog compressor, then the PORTER-CABLE C2002 pancake compressor is the most suitable answer to your compressor needs.