8 Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting Tested

Looking for the perfect air compressor for your spray paint gun, are you? Don’t worry, because you’ve come to the right place.

We know how confusing it can get when choosing the right kind of home-improvement equipment to invest in. Even more so when said equipment is as expensive as air compressors get these days. Also, it gets more complicated, given the sheer number of products available on the market today. But that’s what we’re here for!

In this guide, we have reviewed 9 of the top air compressors for your paint spray gun. But what’s more? Most of these compressors are multifunctional and can thereby be used to power various other air-based equipment.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it, shall we?

Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting

Best air compressors for spray painting

So, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional painter, here’s the list of the 8 best air compressors for spray painting to help you make an informed decision.

1. CRAFTSMAN – Best For Portability And Affordability

CRAFTSMAN is one of the oldest and most reliable manufacturers of home improvement equipment in the USA. They are known for the stellar lifetime warranty schemes on most of their products and an even better customer service portal.

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece...
  • The portable air compressor is proudly made in the...
  • PORTABLE: 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability...

Why Did We Like It?

One of the things we loved about this air compressor is its compact and lightweight structure, weighing 32.5 pounds. The tank of this compressor has a volume of 6 gallons, which maximizes both portability and air storage.

But that’s not all because this compressor has an oil-free pump installed. This means that there are no hassles of maintenance and cleaning up, making it much more long-lasting than its oil-filled counterparts.

Constructed of solid cast iron, this product is one of the most robust air compressors out there. This heavy-duty structure also gives the compressor incredible power by holding immensely high pressure, enabling it to run for long periods with a quick recovery time.

Also, the compressor is compatible with all forms of air tools and not just paint-spray guns, making it a convenient product to have around. But the very best part about this compressor is that it packs all these features at a very reasonable price, making it a favorite amongst customers.

What Could’ve Been Better?

To make it lightweight, the manufacturers of this air compressor have had to compromise on the capacity of its tank. This means that the compressor will need to be refilled more often, which can prove to be quite a hassle for professionals. Also, this air compressor produces a significant amount of noise, which is kind of a letdown.

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Oil-free pump – easy to maintain
  • Quick recovery time
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Comparatively low capacity
  • No mention of noise produced
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 1.5 HP | Tank Capacity: 6 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 2.6 | Noise Level: 78 dBA | Weight: 32 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

2. California Air Tools – Best For Quiet Operation

If using a quiet compressor is one of your most significant considerations, then this one from California Air Tools might be just the one for you. It’s a top-notch compressor with a robust build and considerably high performance.

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet,...
  • Comes complete with Wheel Kit & Air Filter | No...
  • Product dimensions – 26" L x 14" W x 23” H |...

Why Did We Like It?

One feature that makes this compressor stand out from its rivals is the air filter it comes attached with. This air filter is meant to provide cleaner air for better and more optimum tool operation. With a capacity of 8 gallons, its tank is lightweight and portable because of the wheels and handle it comes attached with.

Equipped with an oil-free pump, this compressor is extremely easy to clean and ideal to use in various temperatures and terrains. The powerful 1 HP motor in this air compressor facilitates pressure up to 120 PSI and can run for up to 60 minutes at a stretch, which is impressive.

But that’s not all! It is known for being one of the quietest air compressors available on the market. It only produces 60 decibels of sound, making it the ideal equipment to use indoors, where noise can be a significant issue.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Since this is a hot-dog-shaped air compressor, it is not as lightweight as its pancake-shaped counterparts. Also, it does not come with a hose included, which means users will need to buy a hose and an Industrial Male Quick Connector separately before they can use it.

  • Ultra-quiet
  • Relatively portable
  • Low maintenance
  • Affordably priced
  • Powerful motor
  • Heavy
  • No hose included
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 1.0 HP | Tank Capacity: 8 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 120 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 2.2 | Noise Level: 60 dBA | Weight: 54 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

3. Makita MAC2400 – Best For Power And Professional Use

Next up, we have the Makita air compressor in the model MAC 2400. This is a pontoon air compressor stacked with two cylinders with 4.2 gallons of volume and is engineered to provide high volume and air pressure at a reasonably low sound of 78 dB.

Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston...
  • Powerful 2.5 HP 4-Pole motor produces 4.2 CFM at...

Why Did We Like It?

As you can probably tell by reading the standout features, this air compressor packs one hell of a punch. Equipped with an uber-powerful 2.5 HP motor, this tool can deliver 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI, making it one of the most vital compressors available in the market today.

But that’s not all because it also has a large industrial air filter that facilitates increased air intake and greater efficiency. The couplers that come with this device make it incredibly easy to connect and disconnect from the air hose, enabling a fast transition between projects.

Moreover, this compressor’s cast iron pump and big bore cylinders are specifically designed to provide long-lasting performance and quick recovery. Unlike other oil lubricators, this one is also straightforward to maintain because of its conveniently located oil sight glass.

What’s more? The roll cage construction that this tool comes equipped with provides optimal protection and is perfect for use in extreme job site environments. Hence, it is easy to see that this compressor is most suitable for regular professional work than anything else.

What Could’ve Been Better?

While having one of the most powerful performances, this tool also has one of the lowest-capacity tanks on our list. This, coupled with the steep price of this air compressor, makes it less than ideal for many users to invest in.

  • Powerful and efficient motor
  • Strong and durable build
  • Portable
  • It comes with a one year warranty
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Low capacity
  • Expensive
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 2.5 HP | Tank Capacity: 4.2 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 130 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 4.8 | Noise Level: 79 dBA | Weight: 81 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

4. Bostitch

Next up, we have yet another lightweight pancake air compressor manufactured by the company Bostitch. It comes equipped with high-flow regulators and couplers that maximize the performance of whichever air tool is attached to it.

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI...
  • The portable air compressor has a long-life...
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM*...

Why Did We Like It?

Bostitch has provided us with a steadily powerful air compressor that delivers 2.6 CFM of air at a pressure of 90 PSI. However, it can produce air at a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, which is rather impressive for a compact tool such as this. Since this is an oil-free compressor, it’s not only incredibly low-maintenance but also very convenient to use.

However, this device stands out from the rest because of the two couplers it comes equipped with. This extra coupler enables two people to use the air compressor simultaneously, which we love! Moreover, this compressor’s strong build and high-efficiency motor keep the pump running even in very cold or chilly environments. Hence, this makes it ideal for any DIY enthusiast who lives in colder climate areas.

But that’s not all! This compressor can also rapidly recover when you keep the motor running, allowing you to continue working steadily. This comes in very handy for people working on larger projects.

What Could’ve Been Better?

This device comes attached with a power cord that is only 5 meters long. This can make it less than ideal for working professionals who have a large workstation. That being said, we did not come across any other significant flaws in this product.

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Supports two users
  • Provides a one year warranty
  • Affordable
  • Short power cord
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 0.8 HP | Tank Capacity: 6 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 2.6 | Noise Level: 78.5 dBA | Weight: 29 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

5. Dewalt

This Dewalt pancake air compressor is very similar to the Bostitch one we discussed above in terms of structure and usage. The main difference between the two is that Dewalt has a higher maximum pressure and is more powerful and long-lasting than the latter.

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
  • 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM...
  • High efficiency motor of the electric air...

Why Did We Like It?

Before we get started, we want to mention that this is one of the most popular 6-gallon pancake compressors out there. Its popularity is derived from a variety of reasons, starting with how high performing, affordably priced, and all in all, beginner-friendly this product is. This is one of the best air compressors you could invest in if you’re a DIY enthusiast working from home.

For starters, this compressor has a maximum pressure of 165 PSI while delivering 2.6 CFM at a pressure of 90 PSI at a steady rate. It also has a quick recovery time promoting efficiency at work and lowering noise production compared to most other compressors in the market.

If that wasn’t enough, this device also comes with a convenient cord wrap for easy storage and a console cover to protect the console from any unwanted damage. Lastly, much like the Bostitch compressor, two people can also use it simultaneously, making it an invaluable addition to anyone’s tool kit.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We have no specific complaints about this air compressor. It would only be a less-than-ideal investment for industrial professionals who usually require more powerful equipment with larger tank capacities.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to operate
  • Long-lasting and easy to maintain
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Not meant for industrial professionals
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 0.9 HP | Tank Capacity: 6 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 165 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 2.6 | Noise Level: 75.5 dBA | Weight: 30 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

6. Makita MAC700

Makita manufactures some of the most high-powered and long-lasting air tools in its Big Bore compressor series. The MAC700 is a pontoon air compressor with an oil-lubricated motor, so it lives up to the brand’s reputation of durability.

Makita MAC700 2.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston,...
  • Substantially lower noise levels with a large...

Why Did We Like It?

This air compressor has one of the most remarkably large powered pumps on our guide, with an RPM of 1720; it enables greater air displacement at a lower RPM. The low level of amp that this device draws substantially reduces incidences of voltage drop and tripped breakers. On the other hand, the oil-lubricated pump minimizes wear and tear by providing a cool running device.

What’s more, this device is equipped with a cast iron pump and big bore cylinders that ensure delivery of maximum performance while maintaining its increased durability. The oil sight glass installed in this compressor also makes it significantly easier to clean and maintain than its other oil-lubricated counterparts.

To top it off, the large automotive air filter in this compressor facilitates greater air intake and overall high efficiency.

What Could’ve Been Better?

While this is one of the more potent air compressors available on the market, it is also one of the most expensive. This, coupled with its low transportability, may make it a less-than-ideal investment for many customers.

  • High power and efficient
  • Durable build
  • One year warranty for parts and labor
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Expensive
  • Not portable
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 2.0 HP | Tank Capacity: 2.6 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 130 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 3.3 | Noise Level: 80 dBA | Weight: 59.6 lbs | Warranty: 1 year


Porter-Cable has provided five-star-rated service and quality power tools for over 100 years in the USA. This product from the brand lives up to that reputation in more ways than one. Read on to know all the deets and figure out if this is the ideal pick for your needs.

PORTER CABLE PXCMF220VW 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor
  • 5.0 CFM at 40 psi and 4.0 CFM at 90 psi with 1.5...
  • 150 Max PSI; Running Horsepower: 1.5 ;Lubrication:...

Why Did We Like It?

If you’re looking for an oil-free but high-powered air compressor to invest in, then look no further because this is the one for you. It is equipped with a 20-gallon capacity and a heavy-duty 1.5 HP motor, one of the most dependable compressors for continuous tool operations.

The 20-gallon tank is also oil-free, making it incredibly low-maintenance, eliminating all needs for regular oil checks and changes. The high-quality motor windings provide extended and long-lasting life to this machine unmatched by most compressors in this price range.

What’s more? This compressor also provides a maximum pressure of 150 PSI while simultaneously delivering 5 CFM of air at 40 PSI and 4 CFM of air at 90 PSI, respectively. The tank of this hefty device also comes attached with rubber wheels for ease of portability and a pressure switch, gauge, and pressure relief valve for efficient tank drainage.

What Could’ve Been Better?

While this air compressor has been equipped with wheels for increasing transportability, it doesn’t live up to its claim of being portable. The 97-pound weight of this device makes it difficult for a single person to maneuver by themself. Hence, this is not recommended for DIY or home usage.

  • Very high powered
  • Value for money
  • Oil-free, thereby simple to clean and maintain
  • Long-lasting
  • Difficult to maneuver
Power Source: Electric | Horsepower: 1.5 HP | Tank Capacity: 20 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 4 | Noise Level: 83 dBA | Weight: 97 lbs | Warranty: 1 year

8. Industrial Air Contractor

Finally, we have the Industrial Air Contractor, a true pontoon compressor that is powered by gas instead of electricity, unlike other equipment on our list. This device has a maximum PSI of 155 for optimum spray painting performance.

Industrial Air Contractor 4 Gallon Portable Pontoon Air Compressor...
  • Low maintenance, oil free, direct drive pump has a...
  • 5-Horsepower Honda OHC/OHV premium residential gas...

Why Did We Like It?

One of the most outstanding features of this compressor is the patented two-piece cooling system in its direct drive pump which considerably extends the life of this device. Equipped with two-cylinder tanks and a Honda OHC/OHV gas engine with a maximum power of 5 HP, this compressor is highly durable and highly efficient.

Because of this very high efficiency, the device also has a speedy recovery time allowing it to recuperate fast after running out of air pressure. It also has a stellar airflow of 5 CFM at 90 PSI and 6.9 CFM at 40 PSI which is considerably higher than all the products we have reviewed in our guide.

If all the above wasn’t enough, this compressor also has an oil-less pump, facilitating easy clean-up by eliminating any need for regular maintenance. Last but not least, this device also has a mounted frame for easy and practical portability, making it an ideal buy for working professionals.

What Could’ve Been Better?

This tank, while extremely efficient, only has a 4-gallon tank capacity which alternatively provides it a much shorter run time than other compressors on our guide. Coupling this with its substantially higher price point brings down its overall value for customers.

  • Powerful
  • Rapid recovery time
  • Strong and long-lasting
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Expensive
  • Short run time
Power Source: Gas | Horsepower: 5.0 HP | Tank Capacity: 4 gallons | Maximum Pressure: 155 PSI | CFM @ 90 PSI: 5 | Noise Level: 90 dBA | Weight: 72 lbs | Warranty: 2 years

Best Air Compressors Comparison Table

Product Power Source Horsepower Tank Capacity Maximum Pressure CFM @ 90 PSI Noise Level Weight Warranty
CRAFTSMAN Electric 1.5 HP 6 gallons 150 PSI 2.6 78 dBA 32 lbs 1 year
California Air Tools Electric 1.0 HP 8 gallons 120 PSI 2.2 60 dBA 54 lbs 1 year
Makita MAC2400 Electric 2.5 HP 4.2 gallons 130 PSI 4.8 79 dBA 81 lbs 1 year
Bostitch Electric 0.8 HP 6 gallons 150 PSI 2.6 78.5 dBA 29 lbs 1 year
Dewalt Electric 0.9 HP 6 gallons 165 PSI 2.6 75.5 dBA 30 lbs 1 year
Makita MAC700 Electric 2.0 HP 2.6 gallons 130 PSI 3.3 80 dBA 59.6 lbs 1 year
PORTER CABLE Electric 1.5 HP 20 gallons 150 PSI 4 83 dBA 97 lbs 1 year
Industrial Air Contractor Gas 5.0 HP 4 gallons 155 PSI 5 90 dBA 72 lbs 2 years
Air compressors for spray painting buying guide

Buying Guide For The Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting

  1. Tank Size

We have attached this comprehensive buyer’s guide for you to make this decision as easy as possible. It lists all the critical factors you need to consider before choosing the air compressor you want to invest in. And it’s a pretty extensive list, so you might want to glance through it just to make sure you’re making the right decision. So without much ado, let’s dive in.

The capacity of the air compressor is almost directly correlated with the run time of the machine. Hence, if you’re looking for a longer run time for bigger projects, you will want to invest in a compressor with a significantly large tank size.

  1. CFM Rating

CFM, which stands for cubic feet per meter, is the rate of volume of air provided by the air compressor into the sprayer. CFM is hence, a direct way to measure the amount of pressure the air compressor can provide, and therefore an essential factor to consider while purchasing one.

  1. Weight

The weight of the product directly determines the portability and maneuverability of the air compressor. This is especially crucial if you’re planning to use this product all by yourself or working on a large project requiring you to move around.

However, it is also important to consider that a larger compressor will give you a far longer run time, so you must decide which of these is more critical for you.

  1. Style

There are mainly three types of air compressors available in the market these days – pontoon compressors, pancake compressors, and hot dog compressors. Each of these types has different features that may or may not be helpful to you.

For example, pancake compressors are usually incredibly lightweight and portable, but they tend to be weaker in power. Pontoon compressors are known to be robust and highly efficient but are poor in terms of portability. Hence, you must decide which type to invest in according to your project needs.

  1. Horse Power

The horsepower of an air compressor determines the potency and efficiency of the device you’re about to purchase. A higher HP will provide you with high pressure and volume as well. However, most users buying a compressor for non-industrial or DIY purposes can easily do with a 1-2 HP motor.

  1. Presence of Oil in the Compressor

The presence of oil in the compressor’s pump determines three essential features – the product’s price, power, and maintenance. While oil compressors are usually more expensive and difficult to clean and maintain, they also tend to be more durable and high-performing.

Alternatively, compressors with oil-free pumps are much easier to clean and maintain and are considerably low priced but also are not as powerful as their oiled counterparts.

  1. Noise Produced

The noise created by air compressors has always been a significant bone of contention for most users. This issue is often aggravated if the work is done in a closed indoor space. For this reason, air compressor manufacturers these days highlight the amount of noise their equipment produces.

However, if your compressor is not as quiet as you’d like it to be, you can also purchase and install independent accessories to keep the sound under control.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size air compressor do I need for spray painting?

The size of the air compressor you need for spray painting will depend on the type of spray gun you are using and the size of the project you are working on. Generally, a compressor with a minimum of 1.5 horsepower and a tank capacity of at least 20 gallons is recommended for most spray painting applications.

What type of spray gun should I use with my air compressor for spray painting?

Several types of spray guns are available for air compressors, including gravity-feed, siphon-feed, and pressure-feed guns. The type of gun you should use will depend on the coating you are applying and your personal preferences.

How do I maintain my air compressor for spray painting?

To keep your air compressor in good working condition, it is important to regularly check and replace the oil, clean or replace the air filter, and drain the tank of any moisture that may have accumulated. You should also follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

How do I adjust the pressure on my air compressor for spray painting?

To adjust the pressure on your air compressor for spray painting, you will need to use the regulator valve. Start by turning off the compressor and disconnecting any tools or hoses. Then, turn the regulator valve clockwise to increase the pressure or counterclockwise to decrease the pressure.

How do I choose the right air hose for my air compressor for spray painting?

When choosing an air hose for your air compressor, it is important to consider the length of the hose, the type of material it is made from, and the diameter of the hose. A 1/4-inch diameter hose with a length of 25 feet is typically recommended for most spray painting applications.

How do I prevent moisture from building up in my air compressor for spray painting?

Moisture can build up in your air compressor over time, which can cause damage to the internal components and affect the quality of your spray painting. To prevent moisture buildup, you can install a moisture trap or a water separator in your airline, or use a dryer to remove moisture from the air before it enters the compressor.

Can I use my air compressor for other tasks besides spray painting?

Yes, air compressors can be used for a variety of tasks, including powering air tools, inflating tires, and cleaning dust and debris from surfaces. However, it is important to ensure that you use the right attachments and accessories for each task to ensure safe and effective operation.

Air compressors for spray painting buying guide


Choosing the best air compressor for spray painting can be a daunting task, given the multitude of options available in the market. However, your decision should mostly depend on your specific needs, including factors such as portability, affordability, performance, and noise level considerations.

Out of these 8 air compressors, here are the top three expert recommendations:

Best for portability and affordability: Craftsman Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free is an ideal option for those seeking a compact, lightweight, and budget-friendly air compressor. With its oil-free pump and solid cast iron construction, the Craftsman air compressor provides excellent value for money, despite having a slightly lower tank capacity and producing a significant amount of noise.

Best for quiet operation and clean air supply: California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor, Ultra Quiet is a good option for people who prioritize low noise levels and clean air when using an air compressor. Its ultra-quiet operation, portable design with wheels and handle, and oil-free pump make it perfect for use in varieties of temperatures and terrains.

Best for power and professional use: Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP Big Bore Air Compressor is the right choice for professionals who need a powerful and efficient compressor. Its 2.5 HP motor, large industrial air filter, and cast iron pump make it reliable for heavy-duty use while also providing quick recovery and long-lasting performance.

In the end, it is essential to consider your specific requirements and preferences when choosing an air compressor for spray painting. Each of these three recommended air compressors excels in different areas, ensuring that you can find one that best meets your needs while delivering excellent performance for your spray painting projects.

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