In order to atomize the paint properly, a paint sprayer must typically be hooked up to some form of an air supply. Only airless models and some HVLP models are able to get away with not having an air compressor hookup. In order to find the right air compressor for a paint sprayer, there are certain considerations that must be evaluated during the shopping process. We’ll take you through each of those considerations today.
Maybe you already have a good idea of what you’re going to need in an air compressor. The chart below features the best options that are available on the market right now so you can quickly compare and contrast them to find your perfect solution.
|Master Airbrush Complete Professional Compressor Kit|| 4.1 || $$$ |
|Campbell Hausfeld 3 Gallon Portable Compressor|| 3.5 || $$ |
|Porter Cable 3.5 Gallon Pancake Compressor|| 4.6 || $$ |
|Senco PC1010 1 HP Peak 1 Gallon Compressor|| 4.4 || $$$ |
|Campbell Hausfeld 1 Gallon Oil Free Compressor|| 3.6 || $ |
|DeWalt 1 Gallon Max Trim Compressor|| 4.3 || $$$ |
|Bostitch 1.2 Gallon Output Trim Compressor|| 4.2 || $$$ |
|California Air Tools 1 HP 5.5 Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor|| 4.6 || $$$$ |
|DeWalt 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor|| 4.6 || $$$ |
|Pro-Lift 5 Gallon Grey Air Tank|| 4.2 || $ |
Most paint sprayers don’t really need a lot of PSI in order for them to operate. Many of them function well at just 10 PSI. This means a greater focus should be placed on the cubic feet per minute [CFM] rating that is on each compressor. A higher CFM means a faster overall air compression process, allowing the compressor to keep up with the demands your paint sprayer places upon it.
When you’ve found your preferred paint sprayer, it is important to look at what the CFM rating is from the manufacturer’s recommendation. Then just compare that figure to what each air compressor has to offer and you’ll be able to match up functionality and value. This works even if you have some of the more rare paint sprayers, such as the HVHP [high volume high pressure] or LVLP [low volume low pressure] options.
This can become a problem for some paint sprayers. You’ll find that some models will give you a 12-14 CFM rating. That can be difficult to provide for any portable air compressor, which means you’ll need to invest in a commercial grade dual-tank option.
The exception to the rule here is for air brushing. These typically need a low CFM and require very little PSI, so just about any air compressor will work.
You need to have a pure flow of air for your paint sprayer to properly work. If there is any moisture in the air that is being used to atomize the paint, then you will alter the viscosity of the paint delivered on the surface being worked on. Solving this problem requires a filter to separate the moisture from the environment.
Tailing can also be a common problem when using paint sprayers with an air compressor. This occurs because your pressure levels are too low. Instead of moving closer to the surface being painted to risk having the paint run, pause for a moment to let the pressure levels equalize. Unless you have a massive compressor being used, there will be times when you’ll need to let your compressor catch up to the work you’ve been doing.
If you use your air compressor for multiple tools, such as a nailer or a finisher, then you may find that there could be some oil contamination within your lines as well. This also changes the viscosity of your paint and can even prevent it from adhering correctly. In this instance, it is important to have lines that are specifically dedicated to the painting work you’re doing.
The price range for an air compressor to start painting is quite varied. Some of the smaller air compressors can cost less than $75 if you watch for a good sale. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find $1,000 contractor-grade air compressors that barely deliver enough CFM for you to work continuously.
We recommend looking at portable or pancake air compressors for most DIY needs. If necessary, you can chain two or more together and avoid the need for a 220v outlet with the right extension cords. Should you follow that route, you can expect to pay from $150to$250 for most air compressors, depending on what specific options you want to have on the unit.
If your need for paint spraying involves more airbrushing than anything else, then this is one of the best compressor options on the market today. Why? Because it’s more than just an air compressor. You’re going to receive everything you need to begin experimenting with this creative medium. This includes a 0.3mm needle, a gravity fluid cup, and an external mix siphon feed airbrush set. You also receive the primary colors you’ll need to get started. If you’ve ever wanted to try airbrushing in the past, now is the time to invest into your future.
This air compressor is remarkably user friendly. We also love the fact that its design is intended to minimize the vibrations you’ll receive when it is running. It works on a standard household connection and you can get it up to about 110 PSI if you give it enough of an initial charging time. The CFM rating is a bit low, hovering around 0.5 for most users, so you won’t be able to use high CFM sprayers with this model unless you’re chaining it together with other units. Get around that one issue and you’ll find that you can do just about anything with this little compressor.
This compressor might only have a 1 gallon tank, but you’re also getting a 1 HP motor with that tank. This means you get up to 44 drives per minute, making it perfect for your entry-level paint sprayers used for interior work. If your equipment requires 12 CFM to operate, this quiet and portable compressor isn’t going to deliver you results that you want. For detail work, airbrushing, or interior work, however, you might just be happy with the versatility this compressor is able to provide you. The staying power is going to surprise you.
When you see folks discussing pancake compressors and paint sprayers, you’ll often be told that the two just don’t match up. They’re not big enough. They don’t provide enough CFM. They’re too loud. All of those issues are effectively resolved with this handy little model from DeWalt. The 6 gallon tank helps you get a max PSI of 165. You’ll receive 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, which means most sprayers can operate with only minimal breaks for recovery. Then there’s the fact that is operates at just 75.5 dB, making it suitable to use indoors if necessary. Try it for yourself and you’ll like using it as much as we have.
This 5 gallon air tank is made from sturdy steel, giving you the durability you need for portable use. It hits a max PSI of 125, but tends to run smoothly right around the 40 PSI mark. You’ve got to be careful around the rubber hose – maybe consider a replacement if you plan on using your paint sprayer rather consistently. Otherwise this is an affordable solution to help you get to work right away on your next project.
The best air compressor for a paint sprayer will allow you to have accurate work for projects large and small. It’s time to take charge of your time. Improve your productivity with air compressors like these and there’s really no limit to what you can accomplish.
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