7 Best Air Compressors for Painting

Air compressors are devices that convert electrical energy into pressure energy of compressed air. They are equipped with safety interlocks to avoid the dangers of overfilling. They can be used in many applications like air pumping, painting, spraying crops, and so on. But here, our main focus will be on air compressors that are used for painting vehicles.

Best Air Compressors for Painting

Air compressors that you chose for painting cars should be compatible with most of the paint sprayers. Likewise, there are many other factors to check if you are going to buy an air compressor for painting purposes. This article will help you with that as we are going to discuss some of the seven best air compressors for painting that are available in the market.

A Quick Look at Our Top 7 Picks




California Air Tools 10020C

Max PSI -  125

Horsepower - 2 HP
Capacity - 10 Gallon

Dewalt DWFP55126

Max PSI -  165

Horsepower - 1 HP
Capacity - 06 Gallon

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN

Max PSI -  135

Horsepower - 1.6 HP
Capacity - 20 Gallon

California Air Tools 8010

Max PSI -  120

Horsepower - 2 HP
Capacity - 8 Gallon

Industrial Air ILA1883054

Max PSI -  155

Horsepower - 1 HP
Capacity - 30 Gallon

Rolair JC10 Plus

Max PSI -  90

Horsepower - 1 HP
Capacity - 2.5 Gallon

Porter-Cable C2002-WK

Max PSI -  150

Horsepower - 6 HP
Capacity - 6 Gallon

7 Best Air Compressors for Painting Reviewed

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free
  • Noise levels - 70 Db
  • Oil-free pump
  • Less Maintenance Cost
  • Horsepower - 2 HP

California Air Tools is one of the largest manufacturers of portable and ultra-quiet air compressors. The company is known for innovative products with high-quality features embedded in them. The 10020C is no exception to this and said to be one of the quietest air compressors in the market with just 70 decibels of the noise level.

The ‘new’ 2.0 HP motor operates at 1680 rpm with minimum noise. This new motor is designed to give longer run times with an increased duty cycle. The dual-piston pump system is oil-free and gives high performance and durability. When compared to other air compressors piston pump systems that typically have a life cycle of 500 hours, the 10020C piston pump has a life cycle of 3000+ hours.

The pump is built to be robust under a wide range of temperatures and different terrains. With a small value of amps, you can start the compressor-thanks to the easy start valve feature. A small quantity of air is released from this valve during the start-up, and this produces a no-load condition making the motor spin freely.

This easier start-up process works the same even under cold temperatures. The motor needs very less amps to start spinning. This compressor can be easily moved with the help of a wheel kit. This will be the right choice for those of you who are looking for an almost noiseless, portable, and maintenance-free air compressor.

Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor DWFP55126
  • Noise level - 75.5 Db
  • Motor - Easy start-up, high efficiency
  • Maximized air tool performance
  • 120 V, 60 Hz Power requirements

Dewalt DWFP55126 comes with a highly efficient motor with a pancake design. The 165 max PSI with 2.6 SCFM offers a long run time with faster recoveries. The motor runs quietly with a noise level of just 75.5 decibels and the working environment stays noiseless.

The oil-free pump works fine for a prolonged period. The maintenance requirements are minimum and prevent the stains on the work surface. The rear exhaust keeps the contaminants away from the worksite. The controls are protected with a console cover, and this is removable for an easy repair. The outlet tube is rerouted and this is done to avoid being a catch point.

There are two universal couplers and this will support two users at a time. The ball drain valve is provided for a quick and complete tank draining. To prevent marring, the compressor comes with leg covers made of rubber. The high-flow regulator increases efficiency and delivers an improved air tool performance.

To make storage easy, it has a cord wrapping. The motor works fine even under colder temperatures. It weighs only 30 pounds and is easily portable. You can carry it back and forth between the storage area and worksite, effortlessly. If you are looking for a smaller dimension compressor with powerful features, this will be a wise choice to go with.

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Air Compressor
  • Dual-voltage induction motor.
  • PSI - 135 max
  • Vertical tank with 20 Gal
  • Cast iron, oil-lubricated
  • UL certified

The air compressor from Industrial Air is designed to last longer with robust features. They are rightly constructed to meet the needs of heavy-duty industries like mechanic shop, livestock operation, and service truck. They can sustain under extreme working conditions and terrains.

The 1.6 HP motor is a dual-voltage induction motor type with a standard 120 V and can also be converted to 240 V based on applications. It is vertically designed and weighs about 20 gallons. It is built to be a strong and thermally stable cylinder body made of cast iron. It has an aluminum head and machined cast iron valve plate.

It contains a piece of a cast-iron crankcase, stainless steel reed valves, balanced flywheel, oil level sight glass, and an easily accessible oil filling. The compressor has tires for easy transportation. The front handles offer easy portability to various working sites. The heat dissipation is faster and is taken care of, by the aluminum head and the valve plates.

A hassle-free operation is ensured with its high pump performance driving. All the controls are visible to the user and you can easily access the on/off switch, quick-set the regulator, the tank and the tool pressure gauges, and also the quick-connect air outlets. The unit is shipped along with the air compressor oil.

California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free
  • Ultra Quiet - 60 Db.
  • Oil-free Dual-piston pump system
  • Less maintenance cost
  • Maximum pressure of 120 PSI
  • Peak power - 2 HP, running power - 1 HP

This one’s much quieter than the one we saw before. With 60 decibels of audible levels, this is one of the best noise-free compressors in the market. The motor operates at 1680 rpm and the oil-free dual-piston pump system is devices for reliable performance and durability. The life cycle of the piston pump is the same as that of the 10020C series we saw before.

It comes to an astonishing 3000+ hours compared to the equivalent air compressors from other brands that have a life cycle of 500 hours or less. It is designed to work under extreme weather conditions and terrains of any nature.

It can be easily transported using the wheel kit which comes with the product. It is light in weight (48 pounds) and can be easily carried anywhere. It has two pressure gauges that can be used to control pressure values. There are also one universal quick connector and the thermal overload protector. The heat is efficiently dissipated to have improved motor performance.

The maintenance cost is less and the air is cleaner for better tool operation. In just 130 seconds, the compressor can be filled with air from an empty state. The recovery rate of this compressor is too fast, to recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI, it takes just 30 seconds. This will be an ideal choice if you are looking for an air compressor with minimum noise. It will suit well for all the indoor-based applications.

Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven
  • Cast iron construction
  • Powerful induction motor
  • Vertical tank 30 gallons and portable
  • Synthetic oil included

This is yet another product from Industrial Air which is built to deliver high performance and efficiency. They are exclusively devices for heavy-duty applications like livestock operation, mechanic shops, and service trucks, in addition to DIY uses like painting and air pumping. The body is made with cast iron with a twin-cylinder structure. It is constructed to be thermally stable. The pump is oil-lubricated and operates at a maximum pressure value of 155 PSI delivering an optimal tool performance.

This oil lubricated pump features the belt drive technology. The other key features include a piece cast iron crankcase, aluminum head and valve plate automatic style ball bearings, durable stainless steel reed valves, oil level sight glass, and a 12-inch cast-iron flywheel. The oil fill is placed in a position that is easily accessible to the user.

The motor is a dual voltage heavy-duty induction type and can deliver a high pump performance. The standard volt value is 120 V and can be converted for 240 V based on the applications. This helps in a hindrance-free operation. The controls include the quick-set regulator, tank gauge, working pressure gauge, and the on/off switch.

It is easy to operate as everything is available on-board and you can instantly start using the product. It comes with the synthetic air compressor oil. The pre-attached pneumatic wheels and the small footprint equipped with the compressor helps for a comfortable movement. With the front handle, you can easily transport the compressor to different working sites.

Rolair JC10 Plus 1 HP Oil-Less Compressor
  • Cast aluminum cylinder construction
  • Performance - 2.35 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Oil-less design
  • 1 HP with a motor speed of 1725 rpm

The Rolair JC10 is a dedicated air compressor product for small-scale uses. The compressor has a strikingly low noise level of 60 decibels and is considered as one of the quietest compressors on the market. No doubt, you can use this all day long without any disturbances to the surrounding areas. You can use it for indoor purposes for a prolonged period without any issues of noise levels, which is the main concern while using other similar compressors.

It is powered by the 1 HP motor with 2.35 CFM ratings at 90 PSI. It is a four-pole motor with 1750 rpm ratings. This helps in avoiding the wear and tear, as it can compress a large amount of air with each stroke. The recovery time is short with a 70 percent duty cycle deliverance. The overheating issues are minimum due to the short recovery times. The compressor feels light and is easily portable.

The components can be safeguarded with the integrated roll cage when you are not using the compressor. This will avoid wears and tears of the vital parts. The power consumption is minimum, hence this will be an appropriate choice for home-based applications. The oil-less characteristic of the compressor makes it easy to maintain.

The motor has strikingly high service times (about 2500 hours), hence it can deliver a lifetime service. The bottom of the compressor has a stable frame fitting with a rubber padding. This prevents damage due to accidental bumps. If you are particularly looking for a compressor for home or indoor based purposes, this will be the right choice to go for.

Porter-Cable C2002-WK Compressor
  • Pancake style tank
  • Longer Air Tool performance
  • 13-piece accessory kit
  • Increased air capacity
  • Performance - 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

The Porter-Cable C2002-WK compressor is one of the best pancake styled products that are available in the market. In addition to paint sprayers, the porter cable compressor can be used for many other home or garage based tasks. It has a 6-gallon air tank and can compress a large quantity of air. The airflow rate is 2.5 CFM at 90 PSI.

Pancake construction gives stability to the product. It is designed to deliver a longer air tool performance. The air tank takes very minimum time to recharge, so you can keep working with reduced waiting times. Its accessory kit has 13-piece that will all be useful to you in carrying out your tasks. You need not have to search for any tool externally, it’s all available in the kit.

Since the system is built with a low power startup, it will not harm your fuse box. The engine can work fine even under colder temperatures. There isn’t a need for warm-up time with this compressor. The tool changes can be easily done with the quick lock connectors.

The air couplers and the plug are installed on the air hose to prevent the leaks. The compressed air is completely sealed with absolutely zero air leaks. This will be an ideal choice of an air compressor if you are looking for something affordable with a handful of good features equipped in it.

Air Compressor Buying Guide

Now that you know which Air Compressor for painting are worth your investment, there are certain factors you must be mindful of when you purchase a Air Compressor

1. Horse Power (HP)

The horsepower is the power output of a motor or an engine. It is an indication of how powerful a motor is. A higher horsepower implies higher air pressure. For a portable air compressor, a value of 1-2 horsepower is typical. The 2 HP compressors are commonly used in many workshops and garages (non-industrial or DIY). 

2. Max Pressure (PSI)

PSI (Pound-force per Square Inch) is the measure of the air pressure output of the air compressor. A higher PSI value means that the compressor can store more air in the tank. This will allow you to use the tools for a longer time.

Other important units are CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet Per Minute). These indicate the volume of air that the compressor can deliver at a specific level of PSI. A high valued CFM is more suitable for applications like air wrenches and nail guns framing.

3. Tank Size

The compressors come with a wide range of tank sizes. Smaller tanks with a value of 4 to 6 gallons are good for projects like airbrush, brad nailer operations, or nail guns. For automotive works and other remodeling projects, larger tanks will be more suitable. They store highly compressed air at high pressures.

4. Oiled vs Oilless

The oiled compressors are traditional ones that need manual lubrication from you for continued operation. The oilless compressors are designed to have the pre-lubricating capability and do not require oiling by the user.

The oiled compressors are heavier when compared to their oilless counterparts. They are also noisier. Though oilless looks user-friendly for it's a maintenance-free feature, the internal lubrication must work properly for its continuous operation.

5. Portability

The size of the air compressor depends on the horsepower values. As this value goes up, the compressor gets heavier and larger. But they work great for a prolonged period. Since they have a vertical design, the space occupied is minimum. For DIY purposes like painting, portable air compressors can be chosen. They are handy, compactable, and light in weight when compared to the stationary compressors.

Below is a video of how you can set up and use a spray paint gun. Everything is explained in it for easy understanding, even if you are a complete beginner.  

Final Words

By now, you should have procured some idea about the air compressor products and their features. As we also discussed on the buying guide, you should be clear about all the key factors to check before you decide to buy an air compressor. Air compressors can be used in a wide range of applications, so your selection should be based on your intentions to use the same. For home-based uses, going for smaller air compressors will be the right option.

For high-end applications, you can invest a little more and go for larger compressors. Safety is the prime concern for such pneumatic products, so it is vital to check those features beforehand. As you can use the air compressors even for purposes other than painting, you won't regret the investment you make on air compressors.