Top 10 Best Air Compressor For Painting In 2021

Something we all agree on is how versatile you can get with an air compressor. Running a wide range of air tools can open many doors to creativity. Air compressor is a mandatory unit for any air tool.

Finding a decent air compressor in an ocean of brands is already a tough job to do. On top of that, not all of them can support spray painting due to their limitations. That makes it more difficult to find the best air compressor for painting.

However, we’ve dug out the best ones available at the market. CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Air Compressor is the champion among them without any doubt for painting. It’s got great features like a 6-gallon tank, a 13 piece accessory kit, and much more to offer.

Curious about other compressors as well? Let’s see what’s in store for you.  

10 Best Air Compressor For Painting: Comparison Chart

Image Product Details   Price
CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Air Compressor With 13 Piece Accessory Kit CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Air Compressor With 13 Piece Accessory Kit Capacity: 6 gallon
CFM: 2.6 at 90 PSI
Max PSI: 150 PSI

Horsepower: 0.8 HP
Decibels: 78.5 dB
Weight: 32.5 lbs
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Industrial Air 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With V-Twin Cylinder Industrial Air 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With V-Twin Cylinder  Capacity:20 gallon
CFM: 5.3at 90 PSI
Max PSI: 135 PSI

Horsepower: 1 HP
Decibels: 78 dB
Weight: 159 lbs
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BOSTITCH 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor BOSTITCH 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor  Capacity: 6 gallon
CFM: 2.6 at 90 PSI
Max PSI: 150 PSI

Horsepower: 0.8 HP
Decibels: 78.5 dB
Weight: 31 lbs
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Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor  Capacity: 4.2 gallon
CFM: 4.2 at 90 PSI
Max PSI:
 130 PSI
Horsepower: 2.5 HP
Decibels: 79 dB
Weight: 81 lbs
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California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ Quiet Compressor California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ Quiet Air Compressor  Capacity: 4.7 gallon
CFM: 2.00 at 90 PSI
Max PSI:
 120 PSI
Horsepower: 1 HP
Decibels: 65 dB
Weight: 53 lbs
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PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor  Capacity: 6 gallon
CFM: 2.6 at 90 PSI
Max PSI: 150 PSI

Horsepower:1 HP
Decibels: 82 dB
Weight:30 lbs
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Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor  Capacity: gallon
CFM: 1.25 at 90 PSI
Max PSI:
 120 PSI
Horsepower:  HP
Decibels: dB
Weight: 4.75 lbs
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Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor  Capacity: 2.6 gallon
CFM: 3.3 at 90 PSI
Max PSI: 130 PSI

Horsepower: 2 HP
Decibels: 80 dB
Weight: 60 lbs
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California Air Tools CAT-1P1060SP Air Compressor California Air Tools CAT-1P1060SP Air Compressor  Capacity: 1 gallon
CFM: 1.2
Max PSI:
 120 PSI
Horsepower: 1.2 HP
Decibels: 56 dB
Weight: 36 lbs
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Master Airbrush Cool Runner II With An Airbrush Kit Master Airbrush Cool Runner II With An Airbrush Kit  Capacity: 3 Litres
CFM: 0.8
Max PSI:
 57 PSI
Horsepower: 1/5  HP
Decibels: 47 dB
Weight: 12 lbs
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10 Best Air Compressor For Painting Reviews

1. CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Air Compressor With 13 Piece Accessory Kit

CRAFTSMAN 6 Gallon Air Compressor With 13 Piece Accessory Kit

Craftsman is a very popular name when it comes to air compressors. This 6-gallon air compressor is perfect for a variety of applications, including any type of spraypaint job.

Features

  • Diversity: You can’t help but love this compressor if you operate diverse air tools. It’s a perfect choice for any small painting job. Other than touch-up paint guns, the compressor can also run tools like ratchets and small impact wrenches.
  • Forget About Maintenance: The one thing you need to care about this air compressor is draining its tank. Other than that, it’s oil-free and completely maintenance-free. As easy as your painting gets.
  • Sturdy Yet Lightweight: A 6-gallon tank offers robust construction to the compressor. Yet, the machine is impressively lightweight. It only weighs 32 pounds, making it easier to transport. The shape is also pretty clever for easy maneuver.
  • Let’s Talk Extras: As if the compressor wasn’t impressive enough. There’s a 13-piece accessory kit that includes a 25 inches air hose [coupler and plug assembled], tire gauge, three inflator adaptors, tire chuck with plug, rubber tip, and much more.

Pros

  • 150 maximum PSI
  • 6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Easy start in cold weather
  • Robust but lightweight
  • 13-piece accessory kit included
  • It doesn’t require maintenance

Cons

  • It’s a bit noisy

To learn more about our best overall Craftsman Compressor, click here.

2. Industrial Air 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With V-Twin Cylinder

Industrial Air 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor With V-Twin Cylinder

If you’re willing to go on the pricier side, Industrial Air offers an excellent air compressor with a 20-gallon capacity. It’s one of the best air compressors for painting you can find.

Features

  • Comfortably Portable: There are pneumatic wheels beneath the machine. That is why you can transport it from one place to another even though the compressor is fairly heavy. And of course, the front handles will help you too.
  • Powerful Performance: The compressor features a dual voltage induction motor. You can use a standard 120-volt outlet to run it, but it’s also convertible to 240-volts for high-voltage applications. The twin-cylinder pump made of cast iron comes with an aluminum head & valve plate. It ensures faster heat dissipation, making the compressor more reliable.
  • Easy To Use: All operations of this air compressor are pretty straightforward to understand. The gauges are located in a convenient place, and the air outlet is easy to connect.
  • What Else: The pump isn’t oil-free, but it does come with free oil. Synthetic oil for the air compressor is provided with the unit. Besides, the machine runs without creating much noise, even though it’s large and powerful.

Pros

  • It comes with synthetic oil
  • Powerful and smooth operation
  • Runs quietly
  • Easily portable
  • Comfortable to use

Cons

  • Requires maintenance
  • Expensive than other compressors in the same range

Many people prefer the Industrial Air 20-gallon compressor for its first-class features and rich quality. Check what users have to say about this compressor here.

3. BOSTITCH 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

BOSTITCH 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

It’s not possible to search for air compressors without hearing the name Bostitch. It offers an efficient unit with a 6-gallon tank that’s perfect for completing your spray painting job at hand. 

Features

  • No Oil, No Maintenance: You won’t need to take extra care of your compressor because the pump doesn’t require any oil. It also means you won’t have to worry about oil stains on the surface. However, it is a bit loud to the ears.
  • Quick Recovery: When dealing with powerful air tools, the air tank gets low on pressure quickly. However, the compressor recovers with brief intervals to make sure you get fewer breaks during your work.
  • Highly-Efficient: The motor’s efficiency is beyond questioning. You can expect to run your air tools without any trouble, even in chilly weather. There are two couplers, so you can let someone else use the compressor simultaneously with you.
  • Essential Specs: The Bostitch 6-gallon air compressor can provide you with 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and reach 150 maximum PSI. The high-flow regulator ensures you the highest air tool efficiency. You can easily get any small painting job done with this compressor.

Pros

  • Maintenance-free compressor
  • Separate reading gauges
  • Affordable price
  • 6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 150 Maximum PSI
  • Highly efficient engine

Cons

  • The power cord length is only 5 feet.

Check out more info about this smartly designed air compressor here.

4. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

One of the popular choices among hobby painting lovers is the Makita Big Bore compressor. With its 2.5 HP engine and other advanced features, it surely won many hearts. Let’s see what else the compressor has to offer.

Features

  • Saves You Money: One of the fascinating features of the Makita Big Bore air compressor is that it can draw powerful output without being hard on your electricity bill. Besides, it also keeps your circuit breaker safe.
  • Exceptional Operational Life: Due to the cast-iron tank and construction with roll cage, durability is a confirmed feature you can expect. Stability comes naturally to the compressor due to its high-quality components. Besides, the roll cage keeps the sensitive parts safe from getting damaged.
  • Oil-Lubricated Pump: The compressor runs smoothly without any hiccups because it’s oil lubricated. The temperature stays cooler, and the machine becomes more wear-resistant due to the oiled pump. That’s the same reason why it’s more powerful than other compressors of the same range. You’ll get some compressor oil with your package.

Pros

  • Roll cage construction
  • Oiled pump for efficient output
  • Cast iron cylinder for durability
  • Gentle on your power source
  • ess noisy compared to other heavy-duty compressors

Cons

  • It’s comparatively heavy, thus tough to transport.

Discover more exciting features about the Makita Big Bore air compressor by clicking here.

5. California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ Quiet Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ Quiet Air Compressor

If it’s quietness you seek while you get your painting done, CAT-4710SQ from California Air Tools is the one to go for. It produces only 60 decibels of sound and ensures that you can use it in indoor and outdoor locations.

Features

  • Easy Transportation: It’s lightweight. Even with its 4.7-gallon tank capacity, it only weighs 43 pounds. Transporting the compressor from one job location to another is not something you should be worried about.
  • Runs Quietly: Like all other compressors from the quiet series offered by California Air Tools, this one isn’t noisy either. Users who look for indoor compressors with low noise can go with this model in a heartbeat. It produces around 60 decibels while operating.
  • Oil-Free Pump: The compressor features an oil-free dual-piston pump. It does not need any regular maintenance other than draining the tank. As for emptying the air tank, it features a convenient knob valve for easy access.
  • Essentials: The tank itself is 4.7 gallons in size. The maximum pressure you can get from this unit is 120 bars. Moreover, it operates 1680 RPM to make sure it becomes more preventive to wear.

Pros

  • Easily portable from site to site
  • Impressively quiet even for indoor operation
  • Can operate a variety of air tools for painting
  • Maintenance-free unit
  • Tank fills quickly

Cons

  • Their customer service isn’t prompt.

Check out more exciting features and relate with what other users are thinking about this compressor. Click here to know more.

6. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor

You can always rely on Porter-Cable for the best value for your money. This 6-gallon pancake air compressor is no different. Particularly, this is one of the best compressor for painting.

Features

  • Stable: For a small air compressor, it’s surprisingly stable due to some features. Rubber feet, for starters. The pancake shape also helps the compressor to be satisfyingly stable. With a 6-gallon air tank, you can easily get your painting done.
  • Basic Specs: You’ll get a 6-gallon tank, 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, which is enough for quick recovery, and a maximum of 150 PSI for continuous and consistent airflow. The compressor also runs on low amperage so that you can start the machine in chilly weather without any trouble. You can also use an extension cord to run it.
  • Additionals: You’ll get 2 factory-installed couplers. That means it can support 2 users at the same time. The cord wrap facility will allow you hassle-free transportation. There’s a conveniently placed drain valve to empty the air tank easily.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Integrated cord wrap
  • Lower maintenance costs with an oil-free pump
  • Robust and stable with rubber feet
  • 150 PSI maximum pressure
  • 6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Low amperage

Cons

  • Noisier than its competitor and produces 82 decibels

Gather more information about the Porter-Cable 6-gallon pancake air compressor to make your painting more comfortable. Click here.

7. Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor

If you want a compact and super portable compressor for small painting projects, Viair will get you a fair deal. Their 88P air compressor is one of the smallest compressors available out there. 

Features

  • Extremely Lightweight: The compressor only weighs 4.75 pounds, making it conveniently portable from one place to another. Even though this compressor is particularly designed for tire inflation, you can easily perform small painting jobs with this compressor. And because it’s portable, it’ll stick along with you anywhere you want.
  • Basic Features: The machine can reach 1.25 CFM at 30 PSI. It’s also not loud as much as other compressors. The same can be said about vibration. It features a simple mechanism. The rubber feet help the compressor to stay stable while running.
  • What’s Included: You’ll get one small compressor, 3 pieces of inflation tip kit, a 10 feet power cord, and a 16 feet air hose. However, the power cord and the air hose are permanently attached to the unit, which may seem bothersome to some users.
  • Affordable: One thing we must mention is the affordable price. There are many cheap air compressors available on the market that come with cheap components. This unit, however, offers you a fair deal considering its price.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact and portable
  • 25 CFM at 30 PSI
  • Lightweight and straightforward
  • Power cord, air hose, and inflation kit included

Cons

  • The air hose and power cord are permanently attached.

Find out more information about this affordable air compressor right here!

8. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC700 Big Bore Air Compressor

Another affordable air compressor featuring an oiled pump is MAC700 from Makita. It comes with a 2 hp engine, strong enough to get your small to medium painting jobs done.

Features

  • Oil-Lubricated Pump: Your compressor stays cooler in fluctuating temperature when it features an oiled pump. The compressor will require maintenance. However, given the output this unit offers, it’s well worth it. Besides, the manufacturer provides some compressor oil with the package.
  • Uses Low Amperage: It won’t be hard on your circuit breakers. There’s a low chance of tripping the circuit breaker due to its low amperage use.
  • What It’s Best For: It’s better to put this compressor to light tasks rather than heavy-duty projects. You can use it professionally as long as the task isn’t too intensive. To sum up, it’ll work best for small to medium air tools like nailers, staple guns, paint guns, airbrushes, etc.
  • Specs: The compressor can offer 3.8 SCFM at 40 PSI, 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI, and 130 maximum PSI. It features a 2.6-gallon tank and uses 12.4 amperes when running on maximum pressure. That means your home power source will support the compressor without any difficulties.

Pros

  • 3 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Low amperage
  • Large industrial air filter
  • Cast iron cylinder to reduce wear
  • Oil sight glass

Cons

  • Requires maintenance
  • Comparatively heavier

Compare the Makita MAC700 compressor with other options at your hand. Find out more details here.

9. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060SP Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060SP Air Compressor

No other compressor can beat California Air Tools compressors when it comes to quietness. CAT-1P1060SP isn’t an exception either. It only creates 56 decibels noise.

Features

  • Runs Ultra-Quietly: It’s a perfect unit to use indoor. With 56 decibels of noise, you won’t create an annoying environment whenever you run your compressor for painting. If you want a peaceful work time, this is the model you should go for.
  • Smart Structure: A roll cage protects the inner elements of the compressor. The pressure gauges are placed in a very convenient location to help the users get an easy view. The front panel is made of steel which also helps protect the inner components. A quick-connect coupling, the pressure regulator, and the dual gauges are located in the front panel.
  • Pump Motor: The compressor comes with an oil-free pump which saves you the trouble of maintenance. It can reach 120 PSI inside its 1-gallon tank in 50 seconds. Recovery from 90 PSI to 120 PSI only takes 15 seconds. Moreover, it only uses 4.5 amperes, which means you can plug it in almost anywhere.

Pros

  • Quietest unit and produces only 56 decibels
  • Lightweight, 34 pounds only
  • Small and comfortably portable
  • Low amperage

Cons

  • Small tank
  • Low CFM

Learn more features this compressor offers here. Compare your thoughts with the users’ though if you have any confusion.

10. Master Airbrush Cool Runner II With An Airbrush Kit

Master Airbrush Cool Runner Air Compressor

Master Airbrush Cool Runner II is particularly made for DIY projects. It’s a set that includes a various range of accessories to assist you in your task. It’s a great pack if you’re a beginner in painting.

Features

  • Accessory Set: Maser Airbrush Cool Runner II can be an excellent choice for beginner DIY enthusiasts because it comes with an accessory set. Other than the compressor, the set includes- A G22 precision gravity feed dual-action airbrush, Three nozzles with 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, and 0.5 mm needles, air caps, and fluid tips, and a 1/3 oz gravity fluid cup.
  • Cooler Operation: It’s a single-piston compressor with a 1/5 hp engine. Two cooling fans keep the machine from getting hot during continuous use. You can operate your tools for a longer period without damaging the machine with increased temperature.
  • Versatile Functionality: Nozzles of three different sizes allow you to go versatile in your work. You can achieve precision in painting, cake decoration, nail art, hobby painting, temporary tattoo creation, and much more with this set.
  • Extras: You’ll also get a dual airbrush holder, an Airbrush Resource Center Access Card, and Master Airbrush Quick Start Guide.

Pros

  • Versatile in operation
  • It comes with an accessory set
  • Engine stays cool
  • Three nozzle sizes
  • Suitable for beginner
  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • The airbrush isn’t suitable for professional use.

You can gather more information about this compressor by clicking here.

How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Painting?

How To Choose The Best Air Compressor For Painting

If you’re confused about choosing the best air compressor for painting, you can use our buying guide to determine which one to go for. We’ve included the essential facts you should consider before you can get yourself a unit for painting.

CFM

CFM indicates the amount of air your compressor can produce per minute. It’s an air volume indicator that helps you determine how strong your unit is.

Look out for the CFM rating. Even though CFM won’t tell you the compressor’s runtime, it’s always directly related.

Portability

Particularly for painting, portability is crucial. The first thing to consider is weight. Try to go for a lightweight one so that you can easily transport it from project to project.

If, however, you’re going for a more professional painting job, you’ll need a bigger compressor. In that case, check for convenient portability. Look for features like wheels and a comfortable handle.

Type

Air compressors come in diverse categories. The most basic differentiation you can do is based on the pump. Do you wish to go for an oil-free pump or an oiled pump? Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.  

Oiled compressors run more smoothly and produce less noise. They’re also more powerful than the oil-less ones. However, they require maintenance like oil changing. There’s also an extra cost of oil.

Most of the time, you get some oil with your unit. So, if you want an industry-level compressor for heavy-duty painting, an oiled compressor is a better choice.

An oil-less compressor does not require any maintenance. That’s the first plus point. Secondly, you save the cost of oil, however menial that may be.

If you want a compressor for your home and DIY painting tasks, we suggest you go for an oil-less pump.

Noise Level

How much importance you’re assigning to this feature depends on your situation. If you want your compressor to operate indoor, you better go for a compressor that doesn’t produce too much noise. Some compressors offer surprisingly quiet operation even if they’re oil-less.

If you only wish to operate your compressor outdoor, the noise level isn’t something you should be worried about. 

Size

Air compressors have a wide range when it comes to their size. Which one you should get depends on the air tools you intend to operate. If you’re getting a compressor for industry-level heavy usage, you should go for a large compressor.

On the contrary, if your tasks are limited to home use and DIY projects, we recommend you go for a small or medium compressor. Small compressors allow you to run tools required for DIY tasks, and they’re easy to transport.

How Does An Air Compressor For Painting Work?

How Does An Air Compressor For Painting Work

A motor powers the air compressor to fill its steel air tank with a large amount of air. When more air is pumped into the air tank, it gets compressed.

This creates a pressure chamber in the container that keeps rising higher. The bigger the tank, the more air pressure the compressor can provide. An air hose then draws the air to help you get the pressure you need to run various power tools.

When using a spray gun, the compressor forces air through the air hose to the spray gun. It creates enough airflow necessary to draw paint at low pressure.

What Are Others Saying?

Different Types Of Air Compressors For Painting

Air compressor types are very diverse. It’s tough to categorize all of them separately. The three most common air compressors are- pancake compressors, hot dog compressors, and pontoon compressors.

Pancake Compressors

The tank shape is the root of the name pancake. If you want a compressor for your home projects like painting, airbrushing, etc., pancake compressors are the best choice for you. You can easily run tools like paint guns, nailers, staple guns, small impact wrenches, inflators, etc.

Most pancake compressors are stable in nature and lightweight. You can carry them without any hassle. However, you can’t assign them to heavy-duty projects.

Hot Dog Compressors

Also named for its tank shape, a hot dog air compressor is also known as a twin-stack compressor. It’s more powerful than a pancake compressor because of its larger tank size.

While pancake compressors are suitable for small painting projects, hot dog compressors can handle larger jobs. The same goes with any other air tools too. However, hot dog compressors aren’t as easy to transport as pancake compressors.

Pontoon Compressors

Pontoon compressors resemble pontoon boats, thus the name. They’re a combined compressor of multiple twin-stack compressors.  These can provide even more air pressure to support large air tools, including lengthy painting projects.

However, they aren’t suitable for home use. Besides they’re difficult to transport due to their large size.

Air Compressor Maintenance

Air compressors do not require much extra maintenance. However, if you take care of your unit, it lasts longer than it’s supposed to. Besides, you’ll save money by not getting another compressor.

  • Different air compressors may require different care. Check the user manual for specific instructions for a compressor.
  • Keep the air intake of your compressor clean.
  • Change the oil as per necessity if it’s an oiled compressor.
  • Always drain the air tank to avoid damaging it permanently.
  • Keep the machine covered when storing.
  • Visit your local store when you can’t fix something. Or, you can contact your manufacturer for help.

What Are Others Saying?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What to look for in the best air compressor for painting?

The primary consideration should be tank size, CFM rating and PSI, noise level, portability, and air compressor type. Besides, look for a stable air compressor that’s durable enough to last a fair number of years.

Q: What tank size is appropriate to paint a car?

While a 6-gallon air tank is enough for car painting tools, you can go higher if you want. A larger air tank means you’ll have plenty of continuous airflows. Besides, it means you won’t have to stop midway while painting your car.

Q: What CFM rating do I need to paint my car?

CFM rating depends on the tools you are using. Check your tool’s CFM and multiply it by 1.5 to find out your air compressor’s required CFM. The rating can range from 0.1 to 5 CFM depending on the air tool.

Q: How much PSI do paint guns need?

Depending on what paint gun you intend to use, the PSI range will vary. It starts from as low as 15 PSI and can require up to 50 PSI.

PSI isn’t something you should be worried about when painting because almost all compressors provide enough PSI for running any paint gun smoothly. 

Final Words

There you go, all about your compressor for painting. Hopefully, you don’t have any confusion left. Remember that it’s always wise to look for user reviews because they’ve experienced the product personally. By going through what other users have to say, you can gather all pros and cons about a unit and determine which one is the best air compressor for painting.

If you’re a first-time buyer, exercise extra caution. If this is not your first time purchasing a compressor, make sure you fix the mistake you made last time. Keep up with the market because there are always better compressors releasing. However, never compromise quality while searching for novelty features.

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