What Size Air Compressor for Painting: Factors to Consider

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Written By Scott Angel

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An air compressor powers pneumatic tools, including paint sprayer, nail guns and staplers.

There are many factors to consider when you’re trying to figure out what size air compressor for painting you should buy. The type of paint and what kind of surface it will be applied on both affect what size air compressor is appropriate. There are also other considerations such as the number of people who will be using the paint sprayer, how often you’ll use it, and what your budget is like.

In this blog post, we’ll go over all these factors so that you can make an informed decision about what size air compressor for spray painting would work best for your needs!

Recommended Size Of air compressors for painting

The first step in finding a good-quality spray paint compressor that’s right for you is knowing exactly what you need from an air compressor. You can get started by looking at these key factors:

Types of work

Choosing an air compressor depends on what you’re going to use it for. Are you doing airbrushing or spray painting? air spray guns or a nail gun or hvlp spray gun? HVLP spray guns need SCFM 10-14 at 40 PSI, indicating air pressure demand volume on the cubic foot. This means you need a high quantity of airflow to get enough air into the gun.

The most common types of paint gun sprayers are airless and pump sprayers. Airless sprayers use compressed air to force paint through a nozzle. They are more expensive than pump sprayers, but they do not produce overspray.

Pump sprayers work by forcing paint from a reservoir through a hose and nozzle using a piston. They are less expensive than airless sprayers, but they require cleaning after each use.

If you want to paint surface of furniture, walls or other surfaces -small compressors work best because they give more control over the spray speed and paint volume than larger compressor do. These types of what size air compressor are ideal if you’re going to be working on a small project like an outdoor piece of furniture.

Surface Quality

Let’s say that the surface is dirty or have a rough texture, then the size air compressors should be higher in order to compensate for the difficulty with which paint adheres to both surfaces. As it require higher air pressure.

If the surface is clean and smooth then the size air compressor should be less.

The other thing to consider is what kind of paint you’re using, for example if your project requires an oil base then it will require a larger sized air compressor than water-based paints would because oil based paints are thicker and heavier in consistency. Furthermore, they require more pressure to spray them out at a good rate.

Number of Users

You’ll need to consider how many people will be using the paint sprayer at once and what your budget is like for what size air compressor . If there are multiple users then a larger sized air compressor would work best but if it’s just one person this isn’t as important.

Also, you should factor in your budget for what size air compressor. At the end of the day, you can find a good quality unit in any price range but if your budget is tight then buying an expensive air compressor isn’t necessary.

Air Storage Capacity

Another thing to consider is the air compressor tank size to store air. The larger sized compressors typically have a higher tank capacity and can hold more.

The size of the compressor should also depend on how much time it takes to fill up its tank with compressed air. If you need to use a lot of air, then you must buy a bigger compressor because it has a larger capacity. The smaller ones do not provide enough pressure or volume of air for large projects. It’s important to know what kind of work you intend to perform before buying any type of equipment.

Use Frequency

The next factor that you’ll need to think about is how often you plan on using your sprayer, for example if it’s going to be something that you use pretty frequently then purchasing an air compressor that’s large enough for your needs is essential. If you’re using it once in a while then purchasing what size air compressor won’t be as important to consider.


Horsepower is the measurement of power that an engine produces. The higher horsepower rating your air compressor has, the faster it will be able to produce compressed air at a given volume level which makes it easier for you to spray paint in large volumes without worrying about running out of pressure. So keep this in mind when deciding the size of suitable air compressor you’re going to need.

PSI rating

Different types of Painting require different PSI rating , so if you are working on big project, then high pressure compressors are best.

A good rule is if you are painting small things then go for low pressure rating small compressor.

CFM Rating

You should also look at the cfm rating to determine what size air compressor you’re going to need for your painting project because this will help you understand whether or not it’ll be able to handle different types of paint, especially if they have thick consistencies that require higher pressure rates in order for them to work properly.

Equipped Spray Gun

You may get a high degree of smoothness on your walls when you use a paint sprayer. One reason is that it saves time because to the usage of a paint sprayer. You can paint anything with a paint spray gun as long as you are using a brush and roller.

There are several sorts of paint spraying available. Others, such as gravity feed sprayer, are the most affordable. These types of paint spraying are generally employed by professionals who need to use it in a daily basis.


Your budget will also have an impact on what size air compressor you should buy, obviously the more expensive units usually offer higher quality and volume of paint than cheaper ones but you can still find good quality ones at all price points.

Warranty service and support

Last but not least, you’ll want to consider the warranty service and support of any manufacturer. A good company will offer a long warranty period so that customers can have peace of mind knowing they are protected in case anything goes wrong with their unit.

Final Verdict

The size of an air compressor for painting projects is determined by the amount of paint that will be used and how often it needs to run. If you’re only going to use a small amount, then any type should work well.

However, if you need your air compressor on more than once or twice per day, we recommend getting one with at least 60 gallon so it doesn’t become void as easily. There are many other factors such as noise level and tank capacity which also come into play when deciding what size is best for your project.

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