Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars – Buying Guide in 2024

Did you know the best air compressor for painting cars are quite different from those used for other air projects? Not are all air compressors suitable for painting cars. Only those having high specs and distinct features can challenge the car painting. 

When it comes to painting your car, you need something specials in your air compressor to get the best result. A little flaw can ruin the appearance of the vehicle’s surface.
But unfortunately, many get convinced with exaggerated specs and features which cannot provide the real value to painting art. 

You will be super lucky if you choose any of below top-rated air compressors for vehicle painting because researcher invested several hours in research to discover the best air compressor car painting from a thousand of options.

7 Best air compressor for painting cars Reviews

1. Campbell 80 gallon air compressor - 2 stage

I placed Campbell Hausfeld HS5180 in the top of the high rated list not because it has an 80-gallon large tank but because it can produce a higher rate airflow with which your paint sprayer will work smoothly without downtimes. If you are a creative painter or serious automotive enthusiast, this high featured air compressor is an ideal option for you.

No further question about the safety and performance since the compressor comes with a fully enclosed metal guard for safe operation and two-stage pump for maximum efficiency. Boosting 14 CFM at 90 PSI, maximum 175 PSI, it’s capable of powering a variety of high demand air tools like paint sprayer.

Maybe you are a little bit worried about the place for the large capacity tank. Don’t get worried. The manufacturer designed the compressor with vertical direction to save the space in your shop or garage. No doubt that the compressor has a longer life span since the oil-lubrication system is developed. Moreover, it’s needless to say that when it comes to Campbell Hausfeld, you are assured of having the best compressor as the company has a well reputation for creating quality product since 1836.

What I Like

  • Suitable for the big project thanks to 80-gallon large tank
  • Can deliver unbelievable 14 CFM
  • Two-stage pump for up to 12000 hours of extended life
  • Vertical design for better transport

What I Don't Like

  • A little noisy
  • Need lubrication

2. california air tools 10020c review

If you are concerned about the noise, California Air Tools 10020c is a must-have air compressor for you. This is because this particular model is the reflection of all efforts given by the manufacturer to reduce the noise at a significant amount. That’s why the producer named it ultra-quiet air compressor. Besides, operating at 1680 RPM, the powerful 2-horsepower motor produces less noise. And oil-free means less friction and less noise, resulting in longer life.

The compressor was designed with dual-piston to maximize the performance and durability. It takes only 120 seconds to fill the 10 gallons large tank. While other compressors with this range have a life cycle of 500 hours before wear and tear, this unit has more than 3000 hours life cycle.

This is a wonderful air compressor for a light painting project and can provide 5.30-6.40 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively. But the maximum pressure is 125 PSI. However, as far as the portability is concerned, the compressor is easily movable thanks to the wheel kits it comes up with. Moreover, the lightweight steel tank makes it further easy to transport.

What I Like

  • Ultra-quiet air compressor
  • Oil-free operation
  • Faster operation with two hp motor
  • Dual-piston for higher performance
  • Intended for hobby painting

What I Don't Like

  • Too heavy tank to move even with wheels
  • Not suitable heavy painting projects

3. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80 - Gallon  Air Compressor

What makes Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80 Gallon Electric Air Compressor perfect for the spray gun is its massive and continuous airflow of 14 CFM. In addition to this, it can provide constant flow, even changing the pressure from 90 PSI to 155 PSI maximum pressure. That’s why the compressor is recommended for ratchets, spray guns, and hammers.

The Powermate guarantees you reliable power and performance with some advanced features such as the cast iron construction for durability, easy operating system, metal belt guard for safety, oil level sight glass, and so on. While the aluminium head and valve help ensure faster heat dissipation, wired belt guard assists in more efficient cooling. This protects the compressor from overheating, wear and tear and extends the longevity.

One of the most appealing features of this compressor is its large intake filter with a silencer that reduces the noise level at a considerable amount. The powerful dual voltage motor is ready to drive high pump performance which ensures trouble-free operation. And 80 gallon tank capacity means your paint sprayer will operate continuously with little downtimes. Surprisingly, this unit is shipped with synthetic oil for optimum performance and longer life.

What I Like

  • Features a powerful 4.7 horsepower motor
  • Higher airflow of 14 CFM
  • Offers a 155 PSI maximum pressure
  • Comes with a lubricated pump
  • Has a 80-gallon large tank to run air tools longer

What I Don't Like

  • Too heavy
  • Need lubrication

4. DeWalt DXCMLA3706056 60-Gallon Air Compressor

The DeWalt DXCMLA 60 gallon air compressor is meant for those who require ample airflow for several works including paint spraying, sandblasting, car-washing, and so on. It works for all most all kind of automotive tools as well. That means you can finish your medium to heavy air project with this model.

However, this is a two-stage air compressor which can deliver 13.4 CFM high airflow, making it suitable for both industrial workshop and home garage. It takes only a moment for the compressor to increase the pressure from 0 to 160 PSI, where the maximum pressure is 175. And the 60-gallon large tank is able to continue flowing air to your air tools. For painting works, continuous flow is the key feature to have a flawless surface coating. In this consideration, DeWalt is the up to the mark and will not leave you at no pressure. When the pressure is low, the compressor kicks in by itself and allows you to continue your work without stopping.

For any compressor, durability is one of the most important factors. Fortunately, this item is durable enough because of its cast iron construction and oil lubrication system. Not only this, the manufacturer provides synthetic oil when shipped for longer life and optimal performance. The pressure gauge and simple on/off switch make it easier to operate. I would say this is an unquestionably better option for the price compared to its competitors.

What I Like

  • The 3.7 horsepower 230-volt powerful electric motor
  • The 60 gallon large tank to allow more air
  • A high airflow of 13.4 CFM
  • 155 PSI maximum pressure
  • Shipped with synthetic compressor oil for optimal performance

What I Don't Like

  • Not easy to move
  • No way to hook it up right out of the box

5. northstar gas powered air compressor

When you are fed up with your compressors breaking down in the middle of work and looking for a superior compressor that can keep you working without interruption, the NorthStar 20 gallon air compressor would be the best choice for you. Because the NorthStar designed this compressor with an innovative low vibration technology that provides a dynamically balanced pump for smoother operation and longer life.

The overheating is a common problem for all most any compressors and leads to a shorter life span. But if you choose this unique unit, you are not going to worry about that. The producer built it with v-style cylinder orientation to eliminate the hotspot and keep cooling continuously. This helps extend the life span of the compressor. Besides, the pump cylinder, heads, and crankcase are made of pure cast iron for additional life service.

What about the power output? The compressor is undoubtedly powerful enough as it’s built with the Honda GX overhead valve 163cc gas powered engine. The fuel-efficient engine operates quietly and contributes to increasing overall service life. Although this pick seems to be heavier, the built-in wheels make it ready to take on wherever the Jobsite is.

What I Like

  • Delivers 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 130 PSI maximum pressure
  • Powerful Honda GX160 OHV engine with low shutdown
  • Full iron construction for longer life
  • Oversized flywheel to ensure the cooler operation

What I Don't Like

  • Requires more space due to horizontal design
  • Needs several tries for starting as it runs on gas

6. puma 3 hp 60 gallon single stage air compressor

Considering the noise level of a large size compressor like this one, it is an excellent compressor for the money. Unlike California air compressors which are ultra-quiet but less powerful, Puma Industries PK-6060V Air Compressor is not only twice or three times more powerful but also much quieter than its predecessors. The single-stage, electric bet drive compressor is meant for both professional and commercial applications. It can be used for automotive service, woodworking project, and maintenance shop.

3- horsepower motor, which features overload protection, fills up the 60-gallon large tank very quickly for your needs. The compressor can produce a high CFM of 13.5 and can provide 135 PSI maximum pressure. This is an example of an exceptionally well-built compressor that works for years with no damage. The built-in pressure regulator and quick coupler for pressure control of outlet air allow you to limit the pressure output from this unit.

When it comes to portability, 60 gallon single stage air compressor gives you the best solution. The compressor comes with steel wheels with ball bearing to avoid the difficulties of changing the tires when going flat. No matter when you intend to use it in the home garage or industry, you have the best possible mobility.

What I Like

  • Extremely well built with cast iron
  • 3-horsepower powerful motor
  • Generates 13.5 CFM
  • Maximum pressure 135 PSI
  • 60 gallon large capacity tank

What I Don't Like

  • A little bit pricy compared to other models
  • Too heavy in weight

7. quincy qt-54 review - 5HP air compressor

It was too hard for me to put Quincy 5HP air compressor in the last. Just for the shake of maintaining the serial, I placed it in the last, but it has all the features that make it extremely suitable for car painting. If you determine to buy a compressor for a lifetime, you are highly encouraged to select the Quincy reciprocating air compressor. Because this compressor runs at slower rpm for cooler operation, thus maximizing the lifetime.

The reason that I recommend this air compressor for a painting project is its outstanding performance. It doesn’t matter how much pressure you set according to your paint sprayer, whether 90 PSI or 120 PSI, the compressor is capable of providing higher cubic feet per minute, 15.4 CFM. The 5-horsepower pump means it’s able to provide continuous flow without interruption. One of the significant advantages of this compressor is that the quincy 60 gallon air compressor built it for the lower operating cost to produce more compressed air at a lower horsepower.

Since it’s a two stage compressor, it’s ready to take on heavy workload with its high pressure, and that’s what enables the compressor to run pneumatic tools. The tank is vertical with 60-gallon huge capacity, and the pump lifecycle is set to be incredible 30000 working hours. One worth piece of information about this particular model is it’s 100% US-made Baldor motor.

What I Like

  • 1.Powerful 5-horsepower pump60-gallon vertical big capacity tank
  • 2.A higher cubic foot per minute of 15.4
  • 3.Incredible 30000 working hours lifecycle
  • 4.Fully US-made Baldor motor

What I Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Little noisy

Frequently asked questions and Considerations to by an air compressor

Choosing the right air compressor for painting depends on some specs. And you must know about them. Unfortunately, most potential users don’t have a depth understanding of these essential things. Read on this article to know how to choose a compressor for car painting.


How much air pressure do I need for painting cars?

PSI stands for pounds per square inch. It determines the force of airflow delivered by a compressor. The higher the air pressure, the more air the compressor can store in the tank. That means the compressors with high-pressure rate can operate the air tools longer. Usually, two-stage compressors can deliver higher pressure than single-stage. Most of the paint sprayers work well at 90-120 PSI. You can even go higher than this range like 135 or 160 PSI. Nothing wrong choosing higher PSI.

How Much CFM Do I Need For Painting Cars?

The next thing you have to know to assess the compressor for car painting is cubic feet per minute (CFM). It’s a unit used to measure the volume of the air delivered by a compressor at a certain level of PSI. The higher the CFM rate, the more power the compressor can provide to the air tools. However, car painting requires higher CFM compared to other air projects. You need something between 13-18 CFM to paint your car smoothly.

How Powerful Should The Compressor Be?

One of the three primary parameters of an air compressor is HP; I mean the horsepower. It’s used as a unit to assess the power of the compressor’s motor. One horsepower is equivalent to 745.7 watts or 550 foot-pounds per second. The horsepower determines the amount of work the compressor can do in reality.

Typically, the more the power, the bigger the motor physically, and the faster the motor can refill the tank with condensed gas. For car paintwork, the motor should be powerful enough so that it can keep filling up the tank before it empties. In this consideration, a compressor with 4-6 horsepower is recommended.

Does the tank size matter?

When it comes to picking up an air compressor for painting work, the tank size really matters. Although the tank size has no impact on flow rate and pressure level, it determines how long the air compressor can power the tools before the motor of the compressor needs to run again. The tank capacity is defined based on the CFM. The bigger the tank, the more compressed air available in the tank ready to supply to the air tools.

Usually, the gallon is used as a unit to measure the tank size, ranging from 1 gallon to up to 60 gallons or even more. Some instruments, such as paint sprayers and sander, demand continuous flow; therefore, a large tank is needed. It’s always suggested selecting at least 60-gallon large tank for painting cars that can put out sufficient CFM required for the spray gun.

Final Note

To sum up with, I would recommend you to opt the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor because it’s features and specs meet the requirements for car painting. From tank size, horsepower to CFM and PSI, everything goes with painting work. Besides, Powermate has well reputation in manufacturing quality compressors, and I found no negative reviews on this model. Although it’s a little bit louder, I think it’s acceptable if you consider the size.

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