Your spray painting projects become much more fun (not to mention easier) with a suitable compressor. But how do you choose the right compressor for your projects? 

To make your job easier and less time-consuming, it’s important you buy the right compressor to meet your needs. It’s a waste of money to go for a compressor that’s a little too powerful for your needs, while a smaller compressor will be inefficient for bigger projects.

Below, you’ll find 10 of the best air compressors on the market no matter what your budget, as well as a buyer’s guide that goes into more detail about what to consider in an air compressor.

Table of Contents

10 Best Air Compressors for Painting

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Portable Air Compressor

Loaded with a cast iron V-twin cylinder single stage pump, the air compression of the Industrial Air IL1682066.MN takes place in two cylinders simultaneously. This means more compressed air is produced at a time and directed into the cylinder at once.

Worried this 20-gallon tank won’t be able to handle the pressure to power your tools? Well, it can stock up a maximum pressure of 135 PSI so it can keep up with running your high air demand tools, plus it’s ASME rated.

After the tank fills up, it will automatically shut off and restart by itself again when running low on air. 

What’s more, this compressor is super quiet, so no more worrying that you’re disturbing others while you’re working on your spray paint projects.

Pros

  • Easy to operate and maneuver.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Backed by a two year warranty.
  • Free oil included.

Cons

  • Lack of air in the wheels.

Dewalt DWFP55126 Air Compressor

The DeWalt DWFP55126 6-gallon air compressor is one of the best 6-gallon air compressors around. It can produce 2.6 SCFM of air at a pressure of 90 PSI, and if you need air at higher pressures, it can also produce air at a maximum pressure of 165 PSI.

A couple things to keep in mind with 6-gallon compressors is that they do not run on oil, and they’re very noisy. The DeWalt, however, is quieter than most, at around 70 decibels, so when you operate this compressor you should still be able to hear what’s going on around you.

Since the DeWalt is oil-free, there is no need to add oil, which makes maintaining the compressor even easier.

When you’re finished with the compressor, you need to drain the air that’s left in the tank. This is easier than ever with the DeWalt, as it is equipped with a ball drain verve at the bottom. At 30lbs, the DeWalt is also pretty light as well as portable.

Pros

  • Well-sized tank.
  • Starts quickly outdoors even in cold temperatures.
  • Very light and easily portable.
  • Extremely quiet.

Cons

  • While portable, it doesn’t have any wheels, so to move the compressor you have to lift it.
  • The electric cord may be off-putting to some.

Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor

Like the DeWalt DWFP55126, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is also an oilless compressor and requires little maintenance. They’re also both 6-gallon compressors.

The Bostitch can produce a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, and at a pressure of 90 PSI can produce an SCFM of 2.6

As it’s an oil-less compressor, it is going to be rather loud so we definitely recommend wearing ear protection when using it. It has a high-efficiency motor, which keeps the compressor pump working even in colder weather.

The two couplers also let you and a partner use the air compressor at the same time, which is handy!

Due to being only a 6-gallon air compressor, if you’re working with some air demanding tools it’s going to use up that air fairly quickly. If you keep the motor running however, the compressor recovers quickly so your work isn’t disrupted.

Pros

  • Oil-free pump which means less maintenance.
  • Separate reading gauges.
  • 6-gallons of capacity.

Cons

  • Power cord is only 5 feet long, so for an extended reach you’ll need to attach an extension.
  • Backed only by a 1 year warranty.

California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor

If you want a super quiet air compressor, you can’t go wrong with the California Air Tools 8010. It is an 8-gallon air compressor that produces 2.2 CFM of air at 90 PSI and is able to stock up and compress air up to a maximum pressure of 120 PSI.

Its 1HP motor operates at a speed of just 1680 RPM that keeps the dual piston pump running while increasing the life cycle of the air compressor by reducing wear and tear in the pump.

What really stands out about the California Air Tools 8010 though is that it’s an oil-free compressor but is even quieter than some compressors that use oil.

The compressor fills up in less than 3 minutes and recovers quickly in less than 30 seconds when the pressure drops during usage.

Plus, the fact that it’s an oil-free compressor means you don’t have to lubricate it, making it very low-maintenance.

Pros

  • Quieter than even oil-lubricated compressors.
  • Requires little to no maintenance.
  • Uses less power.
  • Efficiently dissipates heat.
  • Comes with a 25-feet flexible hose.

Cons

  • Welding around the tank is a bit unappealing.
  • Not suitable for bigger projects. 

Makita MAC700 Gallon Air Compressor

The Makita MAC700 is one of the smallest air compressors available, but it definitely has its advantages. 

The MAC700 fills up incredibly fast in less than two minutes and this is due to the type of pump it’s equipped with.

The pump cylinder has a larger bore and a larger piston to accompany it, as well as a longer stroke length compared to other pumps in similar compressors.

The MAC700 also runs incredibly silently, with an oil sight glass which lets you easily check the color and level of the oil in the compressor.

This is so you can top up the oil to the required level or drain out bad oil using the oil drain valve and replacing it with fresh compressor oil. 

Besides being silent, it also recovers speedily when it starts cycling. When the compressor tank gets below the ideal pressure for operation, it starts cycling or the pump kicks on by itself and starts filling the tank again in under 2 minutes.

At 90 PSI, it can produce about 3.3 CFM of air.

Pros

  • Has double the horsepower of most other comparable air compressors.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Designed with safety in mind.

Cons

  • Unable to be lifted because it has no wheels.
  • Some may find the 2.6-gallon tank limiting.

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak

The Senco PC1010 is not only capable of 20 to 44 drives per minute (a great level for interior paint jobs), but is also backed up with a 1hp motor for extra power.

It is also easy to maintain, as you do not need oil to power it. This makes it an ideal air compressor for beginners and those who don’t expect to use it often.

Not only is it easy to maintain, but easy to store too. It measures at a compact 14 x 13 x 10 inches, so once you’re done with the compressor it can easily be stored in a garage or storage room. 

But it is also portable, as well as easy to store. At just 20lbs, this lightweight compressor is even more appealing for beginners, as it is not a massive tool you need to haul around.

Pros

  • Portable: This compressor is not only lightweight but portable too, thanks to its carrying handle.
  • Motorized: The 1hp motor gives this compressor an extra boost of power!
  • Oilless: As this compressor does not run on oil, it requires little to no maintenance.
  • Compact: The compact size of the compressor makes it ideal for those who will not be regularly using their compressor, as it can be neatly stored away. 

Cons

  • Loud: At 73 decibels, this compressor is a bit on the loud side who would like a quiet work environment. 

Master Airbrush Multi Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-Action Kit

Having a full set of equipment ready to go is decidedly more convenient than having to mix and match different items. Not only that, but purchasing items separately can be costly and delay your project.

The best way to avoid such delays and costly equipment is to purchase a set like the Master Airbrush Multi Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-Action Kit.

This set includes a G22 high performance precision sprayer with a ⅓ ounce paint cup and 0.33mm tip. The air compressor included in the set is a TC-20 with ⅕ hp and a peak PSI of 57.

This set is also another great option for beginners, as having a set for all the equipment you need takes the hassle out of purchasing separate items that you’re unsure will get the job done.

Plus, you can rest assured all the parts are compatible for the most efficient experience.

Pros

  • All parts included: No need to go out buying separate items.
  • Good warranty: This set is backed by a 1 year warranty that includes product replacement.
  • Compatible: All parts are compatible with each other for an efficient, reliable experience.

Cons

  • Paint sprayer not top quality: Compared to the other compressors on this list, this compressor is probably the weakest, and this is probably the biggest pitfall of buying a compressor in a set rather than separately. 

California Air Tools 2010A Air Compressor

The California Air Tools 2010A is a 2-gallon air compressor with a dual piston pump that fills up the tank quickly. It is also powered by a 1Hp power motor that can produce a speed of 1680 RPM.

Furthermore, it also provides air at a volume of 2.2 CFM, and the small tank capacity makes it lightweight and easily portable. This is a perfect small portable air compressor for home use.  

Pros

  • Super quiet when in use.
  • Does not use oil.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Powerful 1680 RPM motor.

Cons

  • Vague warranty policy.

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 Air Compressor

The DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 Air Compressor is a 20-gallon compressor that is great for when you take on demanding projects, and is a definite upgrade from 6-gallon air compressors. 

It produces up to 5.7 CFM of air at 90 PSI and is loaded with a cast iron, twin cylinder, oil lubricated pump. While oil lubricated compressors don’t make as much noise, you do have to check the oil regularly and make sure you have enough of it.

The pump is powered by a heavy-duty induction motor which makes sure the compressor runs steadily.

Using and regulating it is extremely simple because of its good onboard regulator gauges, and fast connect air outlets that makes attaching your hoses or tools quick and easy.

You can power the compressor using normal 120 volts power outlets you have in your garage, but it is recommended that you create a dedicated 15 amp circuit for the compressor. While it does run on 120 volts, you can convert it to use 240 volts if you want.

Pros

  • Pneumatic wheels make the compressor easy to move.
  • Front handle lets you move it to various work sites easily.
  • Leak-proof.
  • Durable and long-lasting.

Cons

  • Needs a lot of power to function.
  • No water filter.

Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor

Similar to the MAC700, the Makita MAC2400 has a big bore pump to allow speedy recovery when the tank loses pressure. It also comes equipped with a 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank for a better runtime before recovery is needed.

It’s also capable of holding a maximum pressure of 130 PSI and produces a 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI of air pressure.

There are two couplers where the pressure gauge is, to support the use of two air tools. A black dial is also provided to increase or reduce the pressure as needed.

Since it’s an oil-lubricated compressor, it not only runs quieter, but cooler compared to air compressors that run without oil. However, Makita have also made the MAC2400 quietr by having the motor run at a lower RPM compared to other, similar air compressors. 

The fact that it’s oil lubricated, has a lower RPM, and is made of durable cast iron reduces the wear and tear in the pump, so you can be assured you’ll be using this air compressor for years to come. What’s more, you can run it with the momal 120 volts circuits in your home.

Pros

  • Operates quickly.
  • Has an oil-lubricated motor.
  • Has a high CFM rating.
  • The two hose outlets make the unit more flexible than others.

Cons

  • Easily portable.
  • Low tank capacity.

Buyer’s Guide

As you can see, there are a lot of options out there for the best air compressor, but this can make choosing one pretty confusing and difficult. 

Not all air compressors are made equal, and the right one for you will depend on whether you are looking for a compressor to handle professional, large-scale projects, or if you just need an air compressor for DIY projects at home.

Selecting the right air compressor for spray painting involves a bit of shopping around and understanding the different elements of a compressor, and what separates a good air compressor from a bad one. 

Air compressors can be used for several different devices and equipment, but you should buy one that compliments your paint sprayer.

Below you’ll find some crucial factors that we hope will help you in selecting the right air compressor for you and your projects. 

CMF Rating

CMF stands for cubic feet per minute. As you have probably guessed the CMF rating rates the volume of the air provided by the compressor. CFM is directly related to how much pressure the air compressor can contribute to your sprayer.

It doesn’t give you an indication of the run time but it can tell you the capacity of the volume a compressor can provide.

Weight

This is another important aspect to consider before making a final purchase. This is because how heavy an air compressor is will determine its portability.

No matter what you’re using your air compressor for, and no matter the scale of your projects, you should go for an air compressor that you can easily move around.

Although for a longer run time you may want to opt for something big, it should still be lightweight so the compressor is easy and comfortable to use.

Horsepower (HP)

Another important factor to consider is the horsepower, or Hp. If you’re using an air compressor for DIY or non-industrial applications, then a 1 to 2HP motor is best suited to paint sprayers rated for 6 CPM and 30-40 PSI.

2HP compressors have also become more popular for home use over the years, and a 2HP compressor should also have at least 8 CFM at 40 PSI.

Oil In The Compressor

Oil compressors are substantial and durable, but also tend to be more expensive. Meanwhile, oil-less compressors require little to no maintenance and are lightweight, but do become a bit heavier when the Teflon wears out.

Oil-based compressors are known for being quieter, but due to advancements in technology, noisiness in oil-free compressors is becoming less and less of an issue.

Noise

The noise of a compressor is an important factor to consider, especially as noise becomes more of an issue if you’re working in a small space.

Look for compressors with the lowest decibel rating (dB), but also consider what accessories can be purchased and installed to reduce the noise too.

For example, chamber mufflers or regular automobile mufflers can block low frequencies. Intake silencer filters can also reduce the noise of air intake activity into inlet holes of compressors.

Soundless compressors are also available, but these tend to be more expensive. If you’re using a compressor in a workplace, you can add sound dampers like fiberglass insulation that can block the sound and prevent it from travelling. 

Price

If you’re on a budget  and looking for a compressor for DIY projects, then a portable, pancake-shaped air compressor may be the best option. They are usually smaller, lighter, and are able to be chained so you won’t have to access a 220v outlet.

Operating A Compressor

Air compressors are driven by motors, meaning they dissipate heat and friction. This is especially the case for oil-less compressors that are becoming popular among DIYers. For the best results, always make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

Style

This may not be the most important aspect to consider, but you may also want to choose a compressor that looks good.

There are many different styles of compressor to choose from such as pancake compressors, hot dog compressors, pontoon compressors and more. But what style you go for will also determine various aspects of the compressor.

For example, pontoon compressors are the strongest kind of compressor, and have higher CFM ratings and run times. But while they are powerful, they’re not very portable and are difficult to move around.

So when shopping for an air compressor, it’s still important to think about what you’ll be using your compressor for. 

Roll Cage

A roll cage protects the important components of an air compressor. With a good-quality roll cage, the chances of an air compressor being crushed or broken are very unlikely, or nearly impossible.

So for the best experience and so you don’t end up spending more money on a new compressor, make sure the first compressor you buy has a good roll cage.

Tank Size

It’s also important to consider the size of an air compressor. If you want to paint a large object like a car, a small and cheap compressor just won’t cut it.

In this case, go for an air compressor that has a 50 or more gallons capacity so it can run efficiently while being easy to use.

Frequently Asked Questioins

Are air compressor hoses universal?

Technically yes. Whilst commercial hoses may differ in size, domestic air hoses are universal and can be used with any air compressor. Depending on your compressor you may need different adapters and couplers.

Can air compressors explode?

Yes, the excess build-up of heat and pressure inside a compressor can cause it to explode. This is why it’s important to store an air compressor somewhere that is far away from flammable products.

Can air compressors overheat?

Yes, they can overheat and that is why you need to make sure your air compressor is always uncovered. If your air compressor uses oil, then you also need to check the oil levels each time you use it.