5 Best Air Compressors for Painting Cars

Painting a car is a delicate exercise that requires skills and reliable equipment. Without proper skills and reliable spraying equipment, it will result in aesthetically a disaster, and its, of course, a waste of time. This artcle explains why you need the best air compressors to accomplish your work, and have an excellent finished product.

An air compressor is essential because it powers the spray gun. Without this, painting a car would be extremely difficult.

The market is full air compressors that promise heaven but deliver mediocre quality. In this guide, we will walk you through some of the tried and tested air compressors assured to give you value for money.

First, we need to show you what you must look out for when choosing the best air compressor for painting cars.

Smart Choice
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
PSI
150 PSI
Horse Power
2.0HP
Voltage
120V
Weight
31.3 pounds
Industrial Superstar
Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor with V-Twin Cylinder
PSI
135 PSI
Horse Power
1 HP
Voltage
120V and 240V
Weight
159 pounds

Consideration for Choosing an Air Compressor for Painting Cars

1. CMF Rating

CMF (cubic feet per meter) is what determines the amount of air that can be delivered at different pressure. The CMF rating has a considerable influence on the outcome of your paint job. Air compressor with a low rating tends to result in uneven or spattered paint.

CFM is the horsepower level of the compressor, which has influenced the quality of the car spray. When buying a compressor, look out for the CMF rate suitable for your painting and one that fits well with your spray gun. However, most spray guns have a rate of 90 to 100.

2. Air Pressure (PSI)

PSI (pounds per square inch) is the measuring unit of pressure. When purchasing an air compressor, pay attention to the PSI rate of your compressor. Whether you need a professional or a home use air compressor, it is better when the PSI rate is higher.

3. Noise Level

With Youtube and an online tutorial, you can learn how to paint your car in the backyard, without taking it to the body shop. However, the process should not so fast. The noise level can limit the much you can do, especially if you have an air compressor that makes a loud noise. Nevertheless, thanks to the advancement in technology, you can get compressors that emit low sound. Ensure you check the level of noise of the machine by confirming the decibel level.

4. Tank Size

Look for a paint spray machine with sufficient capacity that suits your needs. Different models come with various capacities that range from 20 gallons to 80 gallons. Before buying, have a look at the air compressor near you (e.g., local workshop) to get an idea of the sizes.

5. Oil-Free Pump

Having an air compressor with an oil-free pump will cut down the running and maintenance costs. Furthermore, it is cleaner because it eliminates contact with oil. Finally, it gives you the freedom to work in any terrain, since it does not rely on oil to run.

List of The Best Air Compressors for Painting Cars

1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor

For those who are looking for an affordable air compressor with high PSI and engine power, then the C2002 pancake compressor might be the right choice. It has a 150 PSI and a power 2.0 HP motor for smooth, efficient car painting.

Another great feature that we like with this product is the oil-free pump, which makes it easier to maintain and prolong its life. Besides, it provides you with a clean work environment because it eliminates incidences of an oil spill. If you are looking to invest in the best affordable air compressor to paint your car, and one that you won’t need to replace soon due to damage or high cost of maintenance, then you should consider this option.

Besides, the compressor offers 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. This rate of pressure is sufficient for your workshop and home garage spraying needs.

C2002 pancake air compressor comes with an AMP of 120V, which is excellent because it simplifies the starting of the machine in cold weather. The engine is powerful and runs on an induction motor to give you superior performance with no downtime.

If safety and stability is a priority, then you are sorted. The compressor fits with rubber feet for balance to make sure it does not shake and has water drain valves for the safe draining of water.

We like its compact design, and it weighs 30 lbs, making it easy to move around when spraying your car. Even with that lightweight, it has a volume of 6 gallons, which is decent for its size and price.

Features

  • Has a pressure rate of 150 PSI
  • Offers 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI
  • It weighs approximately 30 pounds

Pros

  • Can reach a maximum of 150 PSI in few minutes
  • Has a CFM rate of 2.6
  • It is well design
  • Compact and portable

Cons

  • Noisy compared to other brands
  • Weighs 30 lbs – which some might find heavy

2. California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor

If you are looking for a compressor with less noise, then you should consider this machine. With only 60 decibels, this machine is super quiet. It means that you can paint your vehicle without disturbing your family or neighbors, unlike other models with higher decibels. California air is an excellent choice for an area where noise is an issue.

We cannot overemphasize the need for a compressor with an oil-free pump. The oil-free pump makes this compressor for clients who want to reduce their running and maintenance costs. Moreover, with this feature, your compressor will have an increased life, unlike other machines lacking this feature.

It utilizes a 110V engine and is fitted with a powerful 1.0 HP motor that runs at 1680 RPM to give you a noise-free working environment. The majority of clients claim they don’t even wear earmuffs when working.

The unit is lightweight, with a weight of 48lbs. Even with its lightweight, it does not compromise on the capacity. The compressor can hold 8 gallons. We like it because it is easy to move despite its large size. We recommend this machine for someone whose needs demand a compressor that is versatile and easy to carry to a different location.

This air compressor is a fast gas compressor for a professional or a DYI (do-it-yourself) client. It has a quick recovery period of 30 seconds from 90 PSI to 120 PSI. Inflation is also fast because it takes less than 30 seconds to fill from empty (zero) to full. It is suited for someone with many projects and limited time.

Overall, this is an excellent partner for your garage work. Therefore, if you are looking for a durable machine, capable of delivering quality paintwork, then you should choose this one.

Features

  • Fitted with a coupler that accommodates automotive and industrial connectors
  • Weighs 500 pounds
  • Delivers 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for home and commercial painting work
  • It fills fast
  • Emits little noise (quiet)

Cons

  • Some clients complain that the wheel tires come out after some time though they are replaceable.

3. Bostitch Pancake Air Compressor

The machine comes with a high-efficiency motor for an easy start during the cold season. You will never be afraid to paint a car in a cold location, with fear that the machine will fail to start.

If you are looking for a reliable, durable and easy to move compressor that will paint your car in less time, then this product is for you. The unit has 150 maximum PSI, which is more than enough for most car spraying jobs.

It has a noise level of 78.5 decibels. While this is not ultra-quiet like the other models we have listed in this guide, it still provides you with a relatively quiet working environment. Nonetheless, if you want to work in a noise-sensitive area, we suggest you have a look at a different model in this guide.

The oil-free maintenance pump is sure to excite anyone who wants a compressor that is easy to maintain and one that will give them a long life. It is equipped with a 2.6 CFM that offers at 90 PSI. This air pressure contributes to the professional performance of the machine.

The 6-gallon air compressor carries a weight of 29lbs, which makes it one of the most lightweight machines in the market. This feature makes it an excellent choice for someone looking for a portable gas compressor. However, you should minimize the unit movement whenever it is running.

It is fitted with two couplers for easy sharing when you are using it with another person. However, we found some issues with users who complained of their poor design, but which they were able to replace quickly. One feature that most people like about Bostitch is the high flow regulator that maximizes the compressor performance.

The unit comes bundled with a with Automotive Air Tools, Portable Air Compressor, and Pneumatics

Features

  • It has a corded electric source
  • It has a capacity of 6 gallon
  • It is fitted with an oil-free pump

Pros

  • The compressor fills fast
  • It is not so loud
  • Lightweight therefore easy to move and store
  • Cheap and easy to maintain due to oil-free pump

Cons

    • Some find users find the pressure adjustment slow to adjust
    • Expensive compared to other brands

4. Industrial Air IL1682066. MN Air Compressor

This industrial air compressor is perfect for professional users looking for a versatile, durable, and reliable compressor. It is a UL and CSA certified air compressor.

One of the outstanding features is the dual voltage motor that can be used in a 120V and 240V outlet, without putting you through the hustles of rewiring. Besides, if fitted with a powerful heavy-duty induction motor that makes it reliable, the machine gives you excellent performance.

The compressor has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI that allows you to paint your car at a considerable speed. It delivers 5.3 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI and 6.2 CFM at 40 PSI.

The machine is easy to use and comes with all the safety features you would want in a compressor. It has a regulator that allows you to set the values quickly and air outlets that are easy to connect and disconnect. Besides, it has visible working and tank gauges.

This product comes with pneumatic tires so you can be able to move it freely while working, and when you want to store it. This feature is essential as the 20-gallon vertical tank can be substantial (159 pounds) and intimidating to carry.

When you have a huge car painting project, you need a high-volume compressor to save time and energy. The Industrial air has a capacity of 20 gallons, which makes it a good candidate for a client looking for a reasonably high capacity unit.

The pump of this is oil lubricated. However, it incorporates belt drive technology, a feature that sets it apart from other cheap air compressors for painting cars. Additionally, it has an oil level sight glass so that you can monitor and determine whether you need to replace it and add it.

Features

  • Can deliver up to 135 PSI
  • It gives 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Made of cast iron
  • Has a capacity 20 gallons

Pros

  • A large volume of 20 gallons for uninterrupted workflow
  • Pneumatic wheel for natural movement and storage
  • Can handle heavy-duty need
  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • The cooling system may be slow

5. California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

A powerful 2HP engine drives this compact compressor. It is versatile and highly recommended for both commercial and home garage.

It has a decent CFM rate for its size. It delivers 2.0 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI and 3.0 CFM at 40 PSI. You can use it for more than one hour consistently when operating at 2.0 CFM, thanks to its high obligation cycle. It can achieve a maximum pressure of 125 PSI.

At 70 decibels and fitted with a powerful motor that operates at 1680 RPM, the machine will let you work in a quiet environment without the need for ear protective gear. Based on customers’ feedback, the compressor does not does emit a high level of noise compared to other brands.

This is a convenient air compressor with quality wheels that enables you to move it with ease while spraying your car.

The oil-Free pump in the device makes it possible to start in cold temperature (cold start) and on uneven surfaces because it is not dependent on oil. Besides, it features a dual-piston pump designed to give you a long life. California air 10020C will provide you with more than 3000 hours of service compared to its competitors that give you less than 500 hours before they wear out. This is a reasonable life-cycle for commercial and home air compressor.

Features

  • Built with a powerful 2.0 HP
  • Fitted with a dual-piston pump
  • Has a capacity of 10 gallons

Pros

  • It is quite – 7 decibels
  • Fitted wheel for easy movement when working and storing
  • The oil-free pump is convenient and enhances the life cycle

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • The rubber feet are not firm. However, this does not affect performance.

Final Verdict on Choosing The Best Air Compressors for Painting Cars

Purchasing an air compressor is a considerable investment. You should be well informed when making the decision. However, finding the best air compressor can be difficult when you are presented with a thousand options at a click of a button. However, don’t worry, we got you.

We have done hours of research and reviewed customers’ feedback to ensure that you get the best compressor that will serve the painting needs of your car. We diligently analyzed the essential features such as price, cost of running and maintenance, durability, the quality of output, and the reputation of the brand.

While all these are excellent machines, we can only have one editor’s choice, and that is the California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor. It is oil-free and delivers a maximum of 120 PSI. Moreover, who said that you must wake up all your neighbors when painting your car? This air compressor runs quietly, making it possible to operate without wearing earmuffs.

This is an excellent option if you are looking for a machine that delivers quality with minimal noise and cost.

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