How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor

A paint sprayer requires some form of air supply to facilitate proper atomization of paint. Most spray guns require some level of hooking to a pressure generation tool. Some of these tools include air compressors, pistons, and turbines. An air compressor helps in atomizing paint to give you a perfect finish for your painting job. It is an effective tool that saves you money and time while at the same time enabling you to bypass the pollution that is usually brought about by aerosol propellants. It is not easy to choose an air compressor unit for paint spraying. This is the reason we have compiled some of the vital information that will guide you through the buying process. However, before we start looking into details on how to use paint sprayer with air compressor, lets browse through the best air compressors for painting.

  • 4 Customer Rating
  • MAC5200
  • Brand: Makita
  • Max. Pressure: 90 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Size: 29 x 19.5 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 104.4 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year Parts & Labor
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PCFP02003
  • Brand: PORTER-CABLE
  • Max. Pressure: 135 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Size: 18.1 x 17.2 x 18.5 inches
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • D55146
  • Brand: DEWALT
  • Max. Pressure: 225 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Size: 33.5 x 44.8 x 24.5 inches
  • Weight: 80 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • 5510SE
  • Brand: California Air Tools
  • Max. Pressure: 90 PSI
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: 110 volts
  • Size: 25.5 x 11.5 x 21 inches
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturer
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • VT25BIG
  • Brand: Rolair
  • Max. Pressure: 90 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: N/A
  • Size: 19 x 19 x 37 inches
  • Weight: 104 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturer

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor

The Makita MAC5200 air compressor is powered by a 3hp motor and has an inbuilt thermal overload that provides additional protection. The pump is equipped with a large filter mostly used in automobiles to provide greater efficiency and increased air intake. It is fitted with a big bore engineered pump and a piston from Makita. These features ensure higher output and improved job performance with less noise. The compressor delivers industrial power at your site and has a cast iron construction for improved durability. There is a folding handle and rugged wheels to ensure easy movement during transportation.

The capacity of the tank is 5.2 gallon while its operating pressure is 140 PSI. At an airflow of 6.9 CFM, it delivers 40 PSI while at 6.5 CFM, a pressure of 90 PSI is delivered. It has a finned discharge tubing that allows heat to be dissipated more efficiently. There is a roll-cage construction design on the pump and the motor for extra protection. Therefore, this unit is built to withstand harsh working conditions. Features like tool hangers and inbuilt storage compartment ensure convenience and ease of use of this unit. There is an air hose wrap that stores 50 feet of a 3/8-inch air hose. Other features include oil sight glass, tank drain valve, and oil drain.

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PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 Pancake Compressor

This is a 3.5-gallon nice looking Porter-Cable that is quite affordable. It uses an oil-free design that gives it a longer lifespan and requires little maintenance. It provides compressed high-pressure air to small-scale SCFM air tools. It helps in general inflation tasks, blow cleaning, and airbrushing applications. It comes with a 2.0 SCFM that delivers a pressure of about 90 PSI. When the air discharge speed is 3.0 SCFM, the pressure reduces to about 40 PSI. The maximum pressure that can be achieved by this unit is 135 PSI and this guarantees quicker recovery and hence longer working time. It comes with a standard motor of 120 volts and 0.8 hpthatprovides a quicker start even in cold weather conditions.

The entire unit weighs about 30 pounds which makes it easy to navigate around with. There are two included gauges that help in monitoring and regulating the air pressure. Also included is a quick-connect factory-installed coupler which enables instant access to the compressed air. The noise level for this unit is 82 dB and depending on the surface of work there might be some level of vibrations experienced. This unit supports various trim finishing nailers including small framing jobs, blowing, general inflation, and smaller air tools. This pancake compressor comes with a one-year warranty cover.

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DEWALT D55146 Hand Carry Compressor

This is an oil-free compressor that has been designed to stand firm against difficult working conditions. It has an advanced cooling system and a dual hose connection system. The power requirements are 15 amps and there is a time delay fuse which withstands overload conditions for a certain period of time. It comes with a 225 PSI storage tank that provides you 80 percent more air than most units on the market. In terms of performance, a 5 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI enables quicker recovery of the compressor after the initial charge is exhausted. This makes it possible to power a number of air tool applications.

The short recovery time combines with sufficient air to give this unit capacity to work with multiple small air tools. A vertical stand feature is included and together with the collapsible handle, will save you space during transportation. It allows you to store the unit in a vertical position. It uses a heavy-duty 4.5-gallon storage tank. The operational noise level is 78 dB which is good enough for a quieter working environment. It uses non-flat 10-inch foam tires to facilitate easy movements around the job site. A high-pressure EHP efficient technology enables the motor and the pump to have a longer lifespan.

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California Air Tools 5510SE Steel Tank Air Compressor

California air tools are known for their quality and reliability. The 5510SE air compressor is an oil free ultra-quiet unit that was designed to operate at a maximum noise level of 60 dB. It comes with a powerful 1.0 hp motor that operates at 1680 rpm to make it one of the quietest units on the market. It uses a dual piston design which allows it run at low speeds for longer hours before requiring any maintenance. It is a corded unit that operates on a 110 volts/60 Hz electrical power. Its motor uses about 8.5 amps which minimizes incidents of a tripped breaker. The output is 2.2 CFM for 90 PSI and 3.10 CFM for 40 PSI. The maximum pressure setting is 120 PSI.

The small CFM rating for this unit means that it can be effectively used for smaller tasks, unlike the high demanding ones. Some of the tasks that can be handled by this unit include blowing dust from stuff and airing up tires. It also handles well smaller air tools with its large capacity 5.5-gallon tank. There is also a quarter-inch universal quick connector and 2 pressure control gauges. A pressure switch has been included to automatically power off the unit once the pressure reaches anywhere between 115 and 120 PSI. Once the pressure reaches the region of 85 and 90 PSI, the unit powers on automatically.

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Rolair VT25BIG Wheeled Compressor

The Rolair VT25BIG claims to have the highest air output as far as direct drive air compressors are concerned. Its 2.5 hp motor delivers a massive 6.5 CFM at a pressure rating of 90 PSI. It has flat-free heavy-duty tires and foot-actuated folding hand features which provides easier maneuverability of the machine during work. The 2.5 hp motor is rated for uninterrupted duty use,and it can run at 3400 rpm to give you all the air required to power a pneumatic paint sprayer tool. A cast iron cylinder that can withstand heavy duty usage combines with reed valves made of the stainless-steel material to serve you for many years.

Unique integrated wheels are included to compensate for the heavy weight of the machine. The handle makes it possible to move around with it and can be folded for easier stowing. It has a direct drive system which contributes to its efficiency and performance. The build quality and heavy-duty motor will guarantee you over 5000 hours of operation. Just like every other quality product, there is a price to pay and this unit falls under the high-priced air compressor category. However, the price and warranty reflects its quality and it goes without saying that quality comes with a price. The good thing is that it can easily accommodate two shooters to enable you run framers, trim carpenters,pneumatic paint sprayers and nailers.

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  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • DWFP55126
  • Brand: DEWALT
  • Max. Pressure: 165 PSI
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Voltage: N/A
  • Size: 17.2 x 16.6 x 20.1 inches
  • Weight: 32.2 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 5 Customer Rating
  • PLA4708065
  • Brand: Powermate Vx
  • Max. Pressure: 90 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 240 volts
  • Size: 31.5 x 34.8 x 77 inches
  • Weight: 354 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturer
  • 4 Customer Rating
  • CAP1512-OF
  • Brand: BOSTITCH
  • Max. Pressure: 90 PSI and 150 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Size: 17 x 13 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 23.5 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • T-200ST
  • Brand: TOMY
  • Max. Pressure: 135 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 115 volts
  • Size: 23.8 x 18 x 17.6 inches
  • Weight: 66 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PC1010
  • Brand: Senco
  • Max. Pressure: 125 PSI
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Voltage: 115 volts
  • Size: 14 x 13 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year

DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

The DeWalt DWFP55126 compressor is designed to fit the needs of both home users and professionals. You will be able to use it with a series of pneumatic hand tools. The unit weighs 30 pounds and can be carried around without much effort. The length, width, and height of the product are respectively 17.2 inches, 16.6 inches, and 20.1 inches. The most prominent features of the compressor are its high capacity tank that is capable of holding as much as 6 gallons and its ability to offer a maximum pressure of 165 PSI. Those are the reasons why the machine can be used along with various powerful hand tools and works fine even when used for inflating tires.

The unit has a pretty simple design. It features a switch to power the compressor on/off, easy to interpret gauges, one regulator adjustor, and last, but not the least a hose connects. This DeWalt production comes with a couple of hose outlets. As a result, it can be used for running two tools simultaneously and would also allow two individuals to use the unit together. The other pluses of the compressor include its quiet operation and its maintenance-free make. This Dewalt compressor comes with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

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PowermateVx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor

The PowermateVx PLA4708065 is a single stage, 3-cylinder, 4.7HP electric compressor that offers a whopping 14CFM at 90PSI constantly for an extended period of time. The machine is big enough to meet the requirements of contractors who are used to heavy workloads. It’s true that as a result of being bulky, the machine is not suitable for being moved around much from one place to another. However, it would make a great addition to any workshop. The 80-gallon tank of this Powermate creation delivers a steady supply of pressure, which allows the machine to be used with pneumatic tools known for consuming maximum power.

The PowermateVx PLA4708065 runs at a moderate temperature level, which allows it to remain functional for a prolonged period of time. It comes equipped with an oil lubricated pump; but, the good news is that its oil fill can be reached without any hitch. To maximize its durability, it is recommended to do a proper cleaning once in a while and change the filters that are spent. What’s more, thanks to the well positioned and clear oil-level sight, there’s no chance of the machine running dry. As a result of being a big and high capacity compressor, Vx PLA4708065 fails to offer noise-free operations. However, Powermate has managed to bring the noise level down to 83 decibels by using advanced technologies. This is a commercial grade air compressor for those who need to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Moreover, the product comes with a two-year limited warranty.

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BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor

The Bostitch CAP1512-OF is the perfect compressor for completing jobs like operating pneumatic paint sprayers, inflating tires, blowing off sawdust, and so on. The machine weighs just 23.5 pounds and comes equipped with an intelligently crafted handle, which enables easy transportation. Being a 1.2-gallon compressor, the unit boasts a pretty compact design, which makes handling even easier. As a result of being an oil-free compressor, this Bostitch product is not meant for heavy-duty jobs. As the compressor doesn’t use oil, keeping it clean is extremely easy; you can use it even in a clean room.

The Bostitch CAP1512-OF comes with a safety valve setting of 160PSI and offers a maximum operating pressure of 150PSI. The unit carries a 1.5HP motor (2HP peak) that draws 12 amperes, which in turn enables easy startup without tripping the circuit breakers. Another reason why the product managed to gain amazing popularity among users is its integrated control panel. The control panel comes with a roll cage, which keeps the gauges protected from all kinds of job site damage. The other most prominent feature of the unit is its LED on/off switch; it allows users to know whether the compressor is on or off. The product comes with a limited manufacturer’s warranty of 1 year.

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Thomas Compressors T200ST Twin Hot Dog Compressor

The Thomas Compressors T-200ST is a noise-free compressor capable of delivering 4.6CFM at 100PSI. The product is widely loved primarily due to its high tank pressure with its tank pressure of 135PSI. The machine’s high tank pressure provides it with additional power, which in turn makes it a perfect unit for working with excessively hard materials and running long hoses. You will not need a separate setup for running this four-gallon unit. As a result of drawing just 13 amperes, the machine can be run on any 15-ampere circuit, something most modern-day homes have. If required, you will also be able to use the compressor with an extension cord.

Keeping the T-200ST clean and dirt free is extremely easy because it comes equipped with LifeGuard dirt de-flector, which effectively keeps all sorts of job site oil and grit away from the compressor. This helps in keeping the cylinder cool and allows the compressor to run for a longer period of time. Another great thing about the unit is its ability to operate without making any noise, thanks to its 1700rpm slow-turning motor. The slow-turning motor also helps in extending the product’s life. The manufacturing company is currently offering a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

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Senco PC-1010 Air Compressor

You should invest in this compressor if you are looking to complete simple jobs like nailing, painting, cleaning, inflating balls or tires etc. As a result of being a 1-gallon compressor, the Senco PC1010 is not suitable for completing heavy duty jobs carried out in commercial setups. Although this unit is ideal for indoor work, it certainly doesn’t lack power. It has a peak of 1HP and is capable of providing a maximum pressure of 125PSI, which is more than enough for completing most home applications a compressor has. Other pluses of the machine include its low recovery time and its Hotdog design. For those who don’t know, the Hotdog design makes storing and moving around with compressors much easier.

Depending on the kind of air tool you are using with the Senco PC1010, you can expect the compressor to offer 20-44 drives/minute. This is pretty impressive considering that the unit is designed just for home use. Another factor that makes the unit perfect for being used in homes is its noise-free operations. What’s more, the product comes with rubber feet, which helps in reducing the vibration significantly and also keeps the floor absolutely scratch-free. The manufacturing company is currently offering a one-year warranty on this air compressor.

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Why You Should Use an Air Compressor with a Paint Sprayer

An air compressor is an important tool that helps in atomizing paint in a spray gun according to the desired pressure settings. It produces the correct amount of pressure needed by your spray gun and minimizes any paint wastage. This saves energy which in turn contributes to the overall well being of the society. Apart from its low-cost energy conservation benefits, the air compressor delivers fine quality and smooth finishes for your painting tasks. An air compressor enables easy and seamless application of paint during spray painting. Therefore, allowing you to achieve professional results without having to call in an expert for the job.

How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor

To be able to use a paint sprayer and an air compressor effectively, you need to do some preliminary preparations first. They include preparing the paint sprayer and preparing the air compressor as well. Preparing the paint sprayer involves selecting the right paint and thinner, preparing the area to be painted, putting on the protective gear, and priming the surface. Preparing the air compressor involves turning it on, adjusting the regulator, attaching the air hose, and conducting some test painting. After the preliminary steps, you need to check your compression chamber to ensure that it is well cleaned and has the correct pressure and airflow pattern. You then need to prepare the surface where you will do your painting job. This involves setting up the paint and the thinner on a surface where you can avoid spills.

Any items in the surrounding area need to be protected from effects of overspray. Use either a dropcloth, sheet plastic or scrap lumber to cover furniture and ground floor surfaces. As you protect the adjacent surfaces, ensure that there is enough ventilation in the area where you are working. You can also use newspapers and painter’s tape to mask surfaces that may be affected by overspray. There are some safety precautions that you need to take to be able to use the compressed paint sprayer effectively. Some of these precautions include wearing a respirator to protect you from dangerous fumes. Others include gloves, masks, and safety glasses. Painting using a compressor also requires that the surface be dry, oil-free, and rust-free. Any form of corrosion on the surface can be eliminated by sanding, grinding, and brushing. The surface then needs to be washed using minerals to eliminate dirt, oil, and dust. Having already identified your paint, you need to thin it.

Some of the paints that are mostly used with compressed air sprayers include oil-based enamels, latex, and acrylics. Begin by mixing enough paint that will meet your project needs and then add an appropriate thinner to ensure that it can flow smoothly through the nozzle and siphon tube. A thinning of between 15 and 20 percent will be good enough to give you a good flow. You then need to fill the cup with the thinned paint and securely attach it to the sprayer. You can then do some sweeping motion to practice the technique and also feel the balance and weight. Once you are ready to paint, examine the compression chamber to ensure that the pressure is set at the correct level. You can then squeeze the trigger and get started with the painting. Check out for drips and thin spots during painting. You should do some overlap passes and recoats to achieve a long-lasting finish.

Finding the Best Air Compressor For a Paint Sprayer

Most paint sprayers function well with just 10 PSI of pressure. In finding a perfect compressor unit, you need to put more emphasis on the CFM rating than the PSI rating. A higher CFM will give you a faster air compression rate that is able to keep up with your spraying unit. Most spraying units will have a recommended CFM rating by the manufacturer. This value should be able to help you choose a compressor that matches the functionality of the sprayer. Sprayers with a rating of more than 12 CFM would require a commercial grade air compressor to match those requirements.

However, if an airbrusher unit is used instead, most air compressor would meet its needs as it has a low rating for both the CFM and PSI values. One of the things that will guide you on the air compressor type to buy is the budget. Most compressor models cost from anywhere between $100 and all the way up to over $2000. Models that are commonly used with paint sprayers cost in the region of $400 onward. Portable models tend to cost more than their stationary counterparts even if they have the same CFM rating. DIY enthusiasts will do fine with models from 400-700 dollars. Professional painters may need to spend as high as much as 2000 dollars depending on the number of tools that need to be operated.

The next aspect of consideration is choosing between a portable and a stationary air compressor. A stationary model gives you a bigger output and a more friendly price than the portable models. The portable model on its part gives you the maneuverability needed to do your painting tasks. If you are handling your painting jobs in a workshop environment, then it is prudent to save some costs by acquiring a stationary unit. You then need to understand your specs and air requirements.

The power of an air compressor is dictated by various factors. They include motor power, tank capacity, and CFM. CFM is the most important factor,and it represents the volume of air that the compressor would deliver in each minute for a given pressure setting. If you are working with an HVLP spray gun, then you should consider choosing a lower PSI for the CFM rating. One thing to keenly watch, even as you choose the right CFM value, is the duty cycle percentage. Most air compressors use air sporadically and may have a CFM rating using 25 percent duty cycle. Paint sprayers tend to draw 100 percent and hence a 1 CFM gun may require a 4 CFM 25 percent duty cycle to meet its requirements. Getting a unit that is 100 percent duty cycle is recommended to minimize the confusion.

Conclusion

Whether you are using an HVLP or a conventional spray gun, the air compressor is a necessary tool required to achieve a flawless finish. Getting the right compressor will give you the ideal atomization pressure required by your sprayer. The best air compressor for painting will improve your productivity and guarantee accurate work for both small-scale and large-scale projects. Now we have looked over some of the things that you will consider before finding such a model. Additionally, we elaborated the process of using a spray gun with an air compressor to enlighten you and also enable you to enjoy the full benefits of connecting the two together. All these compressors mentioned above are excellent to use in painting cars. However, if you are going to paint your car in your own garage, the best air compressor for painting cars should be easy to move around after use.