Most paint sprayers need to be hooked up to some form of air supply. This means that only the airless paint sprayers and the HVLP get to work without being hooked to a compressor.
Over the years, air compressor shave witnessed so much change in design, use as well as performance. Compressors can be used for other purposes too, like air brush painting, inflating tyres, diving, sand-blasting and much more.
However, once you buy an air compressor you will realize that not all air compressors are designed for painting. Most air tools use air in bursts while paint spraying is a continuous draw. You will find that a compressor you bought draws only 25% of the time as you work, hence no quality finish but patchy work. As a result you will be needed to look for a better compressor.
Comparison of the Best Air Compressor for DIY Paint Projects
Choosing the Best Air Compressor for Paint Sprayers
When shopping for an air compressor for your paint sprayer, you have to look at these three factors;
- When spraying paint with an air paint sprayer, a large volume of air should be injected into the paint to create atomization. This volume is measured in Cubic Feet Per Minute, hence CFM. This is a critical factor, what costs much in an air compressor. Quality HVLP paint sprayers need up to 20 CFM of air while conventional sprayers can use 10-15 CFM. Although there can be options for low CFM paint sprayers, their paint break up won’t be as good hence affecting your finish quality.
- Compressor type. There are different types of air compressors, which we will take a look at below, and you need to choose carefully. If you need sufficient CFM for painting, then you need a stage 2 compressor which will provide about 4 CFM of air per horse power of the compressor. You will mostly find a single stage compressor in hardware stores and shops and these ones deliver about 1 CFM per horse power. So imagine if you have a compressor with a horsepower of five, you won’t have any problem providing air into your sprayer.
- Additional options. Once you have the proper size of an air compressor, you should also consider the additional options.
Other things you ought to keep in mind include;
- When necessary, small compressors can be chained together to generate a higher CFM levels. Besides, you can add spare tanks to the small portable compressors so that you get the results you want.
- While operating, air compressors are likely to generate so much heat. This is especially the oil-less varieties which are used for basic DIY work. The end results gets affected.
- Some name brands offer air compressors that are more consistent. This might not be entirely true but generally, name brand air compressors come well equipped with a motor than others.
There are three different types of air compressors. They include;
- Reciprocating. A reciprocating air compressor is a positive displacement machine, it increases the pressure by reducing its volume. Reciprocating air compressors are also further classified into single-stage and double stage. Single-stage are used for pressures between 70 psig and 100 psig while two-stage are used for higher pressures between 100 psi and 250 psi.
- Rotary Screw Compressors. These compressors have two rotors within a casing where they compress the air internally. This is a positive displacement compressor, without valves. These are easy to maintain and use.
- Centrifugal Compressors. These compressors depend on transfer of energy from a rotating impeller to the air. They are dynamic compressors which produce high-pressure discharge by converting angular momentum. To achieve this, they rotate at higher speeds than other types of compressors. They are also oil-free by design with a continuous flow through them.
Choosing the right air compressor can be critical in ensuring you provide enough air volume for adequate atomization of your paint. But here we make it easy for you. We will review the top 5 air compressors for paint sprayers to make your journey to the shop a brief one and the whole experience as easy as possible.
Review of the Best Air Compressor for DIY Paint Projects
1. California Air Tools Ultra Quiet Tank Air Compressor
This is a nice model compressor which is ideal to be used when doing medium or small size painting jobs. California Air Tools features a 1 horsepower pump which generates a suitable 3.0 CFM at 40 psi. It has a powerful 1.0HP motor that operates at 1680 RPM, creating less noise and less water. This motor uses an oil-less pump technology which also contributes to its low maintenance costs and long life.
The air compressor weighs only 46 pounds which is light and when you add this to the big sturdy wheels, it is very portable and can move even on any rough terrain. While most air compressors are noisy during application, California Air Tools is ultra-quiet when working, producing only 60 decibels. This is so far one of the most outstanding features of this air compressor.
The new Ultra Quiet Air Compressor SP series motors are designed to increase the duty cycle and allow for lengthy continuous run-times. It also has an oil-free dual piston pump which is designed to have a life cycle of more than 3000 hours before it wears off, while similar compressors have life cycles of 500 hours or less. The oil-free pump, apart from ensuring high performance and durability, also allows for use in uneven terrains where Oil-Lube air compressors can’t be used and a variety of temperatures.
The aluminum air tank won’t rust inside hence will last a long life. This is in fact one of the largest aluminum air tank compressor in the industry currently.
- It is ultra-quiet, 60 decibels
- The oil-free operation ensures your tools are clean
- Has one of the fastest air deliveries due to its dual piston
- Has 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI, making it one of the most powerful
- Enjoys an extra-long life before wear (3,000 running life)
- The 5.5 Gallon Aluminum Air tank is durable
- Lightweight and easily portable, thanks to the wheels
- Most clients complain about the quality of the wheels, calling them wobbly and squeaky
- Some customers claimed that it caught fire after a some time
2. Senco PC1010 1 HP Peak 1 Gallon CompressorBuy on Amazon
As a brand, Senco is famous for manufacturing innovative models that come with extra-ordinary features. This is another super model from the company, offering some splendid features at a very manageable price. Although it is a 1 Gallon Compressor, the super-model comes with a powerful 1 horsepower peak motor with a capacity of delivering 20-44 drivers per minute. To add to that, it takes only 128 seconds to pump and 35 seconds to recover, meaning you won’t waste much time waiting for enough power so that you complete your projects. That is perfect for any entry-level paint sprayer being used for interior work. If your sprayer needs 12 CFM to operate, then this quiet and portable compressor isn’t going to give you the results you want.
Senco is designed especially for trim work and finish, besides a variety of crafts and hobbies. Just like California Air Tool, it also is quiet. It is compact and offers ample pressure for a wide range of applications that require use of pneumatic tools.
Senco is good in air brushing, detail work or any interior work. You will absolutely love its versatility and be surprised by its staying power. It is also lightweight, weighing only 20 pounds, hence easy for you to carry from one site to the other.
The direct drive motor provides extra-efficient operation for the different varieties of jobs that it can do. The pump is lube-free, which means no worries over the mess and disposal issues that usually accompany working with oil.
Besides, the aluminum cylinder is reliably durable. It has rubber-covered feet which ensure that it doesn’t scratch hardwood floors. This compressor’s features include;
- Motor/Pressure switch
- Air intake filter
- Air compressor pump
- Thermal overload/ Reset
- Safety relief valve
- Tank pressure gauge
- Air tank drain valve
- Pressure regulator
- Discharge line
- 115 volt electric power cord
- Ventilation opening/protective shroud
- Quick disconnect
The package includes the Senco PC1010 Compressor, ¼-Inch universal coupler a regulator and an air filter. Backed with a 1-year warranty, this allows you to profit out of it with no worries on the maintenance and repair expenses.
- Senco is quiet
- The powerful 1 Horsepower motor delivers almost 44 drives per minute
- You won’t spend time waiting as it only takes 128 seconds to pump and 35 seconds to recover
- The aluminum cylinder is durable
- Can be used by professionals and DIY’ers since it is simple
- The rubber feet ensure it doesn’t scratch your floor
- Good in air brushing and detail work
- It is versatile
- The pump is lube-free, hence you don’t worry about any mess or disposal issues out of oil
- The rubber feet might make it difficult for you to drag it along, despite it being light
- There have been complains that it leaks air
3. Dewalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon Pancake Compressor
Dewalt DWFP uses a very powerful motor and easily start painters in all the weather conditions. Besides, it features a 6.0 gallon tank and an oil-free pump which can deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi, with a long run time and quick recovery.
It is also important to note that this Dewalt model is perfect and creates a quiet environment since its noise level is as low as 75.5 dBA. The design is in such a way that the outlet tube is redirected to avoid being a catch point with the long life oil free pump making its maintenance easy. For easy storage, it comes with a cord wrap.
The high flow regulator increases its performance while the couplers too maximize the air tool performance. A removable console cover protects controls and is easy to repair. If you want to move this air compressor, then it is quite easy since it is light, weighing only 30 lbs. A ball drain valve helps in quick and thorough tank draining.
Dewalt 6-gallon also has a protective leg to prevent it from marring your floor.
- The motor is very powerful and starts the machine even in cold weathers
- The oil-free pump can deliver 2.6 SCFM
- Has a low noise level, about 75.5 decibels.
- Comes with a cord wrap for easy storage
- Lightweight and portable
- Has rubber legs so that it doesn’t mar the floor
- High flow regulator and couplers increase its performance
- Outlet tube is rerouted to avoid it being a catchment point
- Long life oil-free pump makes it easy to maintain
- Easy and quick to drain thanks to the ball drain valve
- Customers complained of leaky fittings
- It is a bit expensive compared to other similar air compressors
4. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
This air compressor from the popular brand Makita is made of cast iron, and has a 2.0 HP motor. It features an oil-lubricated pump and a large automotive-style filter that increases air intake and the compressor’s efficiency. The cast iron construction is aimed at increasing the motor’s durability even when used in tough job site conditions.
The cast iron pump with that big bore cylinder and piston combine to give you maximum performance. You experience a substantial lower noise levels with the huge 1,720 RPM pump, which enables greater displacement at lower RPM.
Besides, incidences of tripped breakers are reduced by low amp draw as well as voltage drop which might cause premature motor failure. Oil lubrication not only does minimize wear but also provides cooler running pump, which also runs at half the RPM of most compressors’ hence less noise and more pump life.
The 2.6 Gallon tank can sustain a 130 PSI operating pressure, while delivering 40 PSI and 90 PSI. The roll bar handle provides portability and additional protection too. Additional features are like the convenient oil drain and oil sight glass as well as a tank drain valve which supersedes standard petcock design for easier maintenance. Finned discharge tubing also helps dissipate heat more efficiently.
Makita big bore is versatile, gives you high output with low noise as it delivers industrial power. What’s more, it comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Made of strong and durable cast iron
- Features oil-lubricated pump which increases air intake and the compressor’s efficiency
- You experience very low noise when using this compressor
- Low amp draw reduces tripped breakers and voltage drops which can cause premature motor failure
- Roll bar handle provides portability and additional protection
- Oil lubrication reduces tear and provides cooler running pump
- Easy to maintain
- Finned discharge tubing dissipates heat more efficiently
- Comes with one-year warranty
- It is expensive
- Some clients complained about its packaging
5. BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High Output Trim Compressor
This is one of the most under-rated air compressors mainly because of its smaller size compared to others. If you think it is unreliable when it comes to heavy operations, you are wrong. This compressor is specially designed to perform heavy operations since it is equipped with a 1.5 HP motor with 2.0 peaks. The motor draws 12 amps for easy start without tripping circuit breakers.
This 1.2 gallon compact design weighs only 23.5 lbs, which makes it not only light but also portable. A high-output oil-free pump also delivers 2.8 CFM at 90 psi and a maximum 150 psi operating pressure for multiple finish tool operations.
The control panel is integrated with roll cage which protects gauges from any damage at the jobsite. Bostitch Trim Air compressor also has a LED ON/OFF switch which lets you know when the compressor is on or off to remove any low-pressure fails.
If you intend to paint a house, this is the best air compressor. The motor’s ability also allows you to start it at any weather conditions without tripping the circuit breakers.
- Specifically designed for heavy operations
- Equipped with a 1.5 HP motor (2.0 at peaks)
- The motor can easily draw 12 Amperes without tripping circuit breakers
- Has a high out-put oil-free pump
- Comes with an LED ON/OFF switch
- Its control panel is integrated with roll cage to protect gauges from damage
- Lightweight and portable, weighing only 23.5 lbs
- You can start the motor on any weather conditions
- Its feet have rubbers to ensure that it does not scratch your floor.
- It does not last long like other air compressors
- This compressor is noisy
Having an air compressor is a necessity for any homeowner who is aiming at using paint sprayers to paint his/her house. As you have seen, many compressors have benefits that others lack and vice versa. It is important to consider what you will be comfortable with. Go through the reviews and be conversant with the compressors, their features and compare across then make a choice.