9 Best Air Compressors For Painting Cars in 2020

Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars

Car painting is very different from furniture or wall painting. This task requires a powerful air compressor that provides a consistent airflow so that the end result is a nice uniform finish with a factory-like appearance.

With that in mind, it can be quite challenging to get the right air compressor for the job, especially if you don’t know what to look for. However, this article lists 9 of the best air compressors for painting cars that you should consider buying.

9 Best Air Compressors for Painting Cars – Reviews 

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​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V

1. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V (Best Overall Auto Painting Air Compressor)

  • Easy-to-service design
  • 5 HP motor with 175 PSI max pressure
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • 2-stage pump with a cast iron construction
DeWalt DXCMLA3706056

2. DeWalt DXCMLA3706056 (Best Budget Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

  • Affordable
  • 60-gallon tank
  • Comes with synthetic oil for the single-stage pump
  • Oil level sight
Campbell Hausfeld VT6271

3. Campbell Hausfeld VT6271 (Best Portable Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

  • Horizontal design with a handle and two wheels
  • Lightweight (163 pounds)
  • 10.2 CFM at 90 PSI with 135 PSI max. pressure
  • 30-gallon tank
Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V

4. Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V (Powerful Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

  • Powerful 3-phase, 5 HP motor, and a 2-stage pump
  • 14.3 CFM at 175 PSI
  • 15,000-hour trouble-free use
  • Cast iron construction
Powermate Vx PLA4708065

5. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 (Large Capacity Auto Painting Air Compressor)

  • 80-gallon steel tank
  • 240-volt 4.7 HP motor with 155 PSI max pressure
  • 14 and 16.1 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively
  • Wired belt guard and built-in pressure gauges
Industrial Air ILA3606056

6. Industrial Air ILA3606056 (Heavy-Duty Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

  • Built using heavy-duty components
  • 240-volt 3.7 HP motor with 155 PSI max pressure
  • 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively
  • Pressure gauges and an on/off switch
California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD

7. California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD (Easy-to-Maintain Auto Painting Air Compressor)

  • Oil-free dual-piston pump
  • Dual motors with low noise operation
  • 60-gallon tank
  • Thermal overload protection
DeWalt DXCMV5048055

8. DeWalt DXCMV5048055 (Efficient Auto Painting Air Compressor)

  • Patented fins for efficient cool running
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Large 80-gallon tank
  • 5 HP motor with 175 PSI max pressure
Campbell Hausfeld XC602100

9. Campbell Hausfeld XC602100 (2-Stage Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

  • 2-stage pump with 175 PSI max pressure
  • 240V, 3.7 HP heavy-duty induction motor
  • 60-gallon vertical tank
  • 11 CFM at 90 PSI

PRODUCT

1. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V

(Best Overall Auto Painting Air Compressor)

Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V
  • Easy-to-service design
  • 5 HP motor with 175 PSI max pressure
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • 2-stage pump with a cast iron construction

2. DeWalt DXCMLA3706056

(Best Budget Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

DeWalt DXCMLA3706056
  • Affordable
  • 60-gallon tank
  • Comes with synthetic oil for the single-stage pump
  • Oil level sight

3. Campbell Hausfeld VT6271

(Best Portable Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

Campbell Hausfeld VT6271
  • Horizontal design with a handle and two wheels
  • Lightweight (163 pounds)
  • 10.2 CFM at 90 PSI with 135 PSI max. pressure
  • 30-gallon tank

4. Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V

(Powerful Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V
  • Powerful 3-phase, 5 HP motor, and a 2-stage pump
  • 14.3 CFM at 175 PSI
  • 15,000-hour trouble-free use
  • Cast iron construction

5. Powermate Vx PLA4708065

(Large Capacity Auto Painting Air Compressor)

Powermate Vx PLA4708065
  • 80-gallon steel tank
  • 240-volt 4.7 HP motor with 155 PSI max pressure
  • 14 and 16.1 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively
  • Wired belt guard and built-in pressure gauges

6. Industrial Air ILA3606056

(Heavy-Duty Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

Industrial Air ILA3606056
  • Built using heavy-duty components
  • 240-volt 3.7 HP motor with 155 PSI max pressure
  • 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively
  • Pressure gauges and an on/off switch

7. California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD

(Easy-to-Maintain Auto Painting Air Compressor)

California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD
  • Oil-free dual-piston pump
  • Dual motors with low noise operation
  • 60-gallon tank
  • Thermal overload protection

8. DeWalt DXCMV5048055

(Efficient Auto Painting Air Compressor)

DeWalt DXCMV5048055
  • Patented fins for efficient cool running
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Large 80-gallon tank
  • 5 HP motor with 175 PSI max pressure

9. Campbell Hausfeld XC602100

(2-Stage Air Compressor for Painting Cars)

Campbell Hausfeld XC602100
  • 2-stage pump with 175 PSI max pressure
  • 240V, 3.7 HP heavy-duty induction motor
  • 60-gallon vertical tank
  • 11 CFM at 90 PSI

1. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V – Best Overall Auto Painting Air Compressor

Ingersoll Rand 2340L5-V
  • Power: 230 volts, 5 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 60 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 14.3 CFM at 175 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 175 PSI
  • Weight: 400 pounds

Starting the list is Ingersoll Rand’s 2340L5-V, which stands out due to its easy-to-service design. This design includes an overhung crankshaft, individually cast cylinders and a 1-piece connecting rod. With these, repairs and replacements are simplified due to easy reach.

Other than that, the product is equipped with a heavy-duty 5 HP motor, a 2-stage air compressor, and a 60-gallon tank, which combine forces to produce a max pressure of 175 PSI. This is enough power to run most pneumatic tools, including the demanding ones.

More features include a durable cast iron construction, a finned copper intercooler for heat dissipation and a long-life pump that is designed to operate trouble-free for 15,000 hours.

On the downside, this pump requires lubrication every once in a while, which makes maintenance a bit tedious, and it is quite heavy, coming in at 400 pounds.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-service design
  • Heavy-duty 5 HP motor with a high max pressure of 175 PSI
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • Finned copper intercooler for effective heat dissipation

Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • Requires lubrication

2. DeWalt DXCMLA3706056 – Best Budget Air Compressor for Painting Cars

DeWalt DXCMLA3706056
  • Power: 230 volts, 3.7 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 60 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 155 PSI
  • Weight: 247 pounds

If you are on a tight budget, this air compressor from DeWalt is the best option to consider. That said, the unit is shipped with synthetic oil to keep its single-stage pump lubricated, and has a relatively large 60-gallon tank that provides longer run times.

With this setup, you get a flow rate of 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively, and this is enough to run a wide array of pneumatic tools, ranging from ratchets, spray guns, hammers, impact wrenches and many others.

Other features include pressure gauges for monitoring and control, an on/off switch, durable cast-iron construction with an aluminum head and valve plate for quick heat dissipation, and an oil level sight glass for easy monitoring.

However, this compressor does not have wheels for easy portability.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with synthetic oil for keeping the pump lubricated
  • Pressure gauges and an on/off switch for control
  • Oil level sight for easy monitoring

Cons:

  • Lacks a set of wheels

3. Campbell Hausfeld VT6271 – Best Portable Air Compressor for Painting Cars

Campbell Hausfeld VT6271
  • Power: 240 volts, 3.7 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 10.2 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 135 PSI
  • Weight: 163 pounds

With its handle and two wheels, this horizontal air compressor has a user-friendly design that is easily portable. Additionally, the unit weighs only 163 pounds, which is very lightweight and this makes it much easier to transport.

That said, the tool features a 240-volt. 3.7 horsepower plus a relatively small 30-gallon reserve tank, which results in a relatively lower flow rate of 10.2 CFM at 90 PSI and a maximum pressure of 135 PSI.

This still gives you enough power to run a number of tools such as sprayers, sanders, grinders and stapling among many others.

On the downside, the horizontal design of this compressor’s tank makes it consume a lot of floor space.

Pros:

  • Handle and two wheels for easy movement
  • Lightweight design
  • Suitable for powering different tools

Cons:

  • Horizontal design consumes a lot of floor space
  • Relatively small 30-gallon reserve tank

4. Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V – Powerful Air Compressor for Painting Cars

Ingersoll Rand 2340N5-V
  • Power: 230 volts, 5 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 80 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 14.3 CFM at 175 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 175 PSI
  • Weight: 475 pounds

If you are looking for a powerful air compressor to run your paint sprayer, Ingersoll Rand’s 2340N5-V is a good option to consider. This is because it is fitted with a 3-phase, 230-volt, 5 HP motor, which drives a 2-stage motor to provide a maximum pressure of 175 PSI.

With this high max pressure and a large 80-gallon tank, this compressor can be used to run a wide variety of pneumatic tools in automotive body shops, woodworking, manufacturing lines, car service, and many others.

Other features include a durable cast iron construction and a durable pump that is designed to last up to 15,000 hours with trouble-free use.

On the downside, this compressor is very costly and also very heavy, which makes it less portable.

Pros:

  • Powerful 5 HP motor and a 2-stage motor for high-pressure output
  • Large 80-gallon tank
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • Designed for long-lasting, 15,000-hour trouble-free use

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

5. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 – Large Capacity Auto Painting Air Compressor

Powermate Vx PLA4708065
  • Power: 240 volts, 4.7 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 80 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 14 and 16.1 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 155 PSI
  • Weight: 354 pounds

With its large 80-gallon tank, Powermate Vx’s PLA4708065 holds enough air to function efficiently at peak demands, and this tank is built using steel, making it very sturdy and durable.

Compression is done by a 240-volt, 15-amp motor, which provides 4.7 horsepower at a maximum pressure of 155 PSI and a flow rate of 14 CFM at 90 PSI/ 16.1 CFM at 40 PSI. With this output, the unit can be used to run ratchets, hammers, impact wrenches, and spray guns.

Other features include a durable 1-piece cast iron crankcase and cylinder body, built-in tank pressure gauges and an on/off switch for control, and a wired belt guard that covers and protects the moving parts while also improving on cooling.

On the downside, the compressor’s pump requires lubrication every once in a while, which makes it a bit cumbersome to maintain. Also, no wheels are attached for easy movement.

Pros:

  • Large capacity 80-gallon reservoir tank
  • Compatible with ratchets, hammers, impact wrenches, and spray guns
  • Durable 1-piece cast iron crankcase and cylinder body
  • Wired belt guard

Cons:

  • No wheels for easy movement
  • Requires lubrication

6. Industrial Air ILA3606056 – Heavy-Duty Air Compressor for Painting Cars

Industrial Air ILA3606056
  • Power: 240 volts, 3.7 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 60 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 155 PSI
  • Weight: 247 pounds

Industrial Air’s ILA3606056 is built using heavy-duty components for long-lasting use, and these include a single-piece cast iron crankcase, a thermally stable cast iron cylinder body, Swedish stainless-steel reed valves, and automotive-style ball bearings.

Also included is a heavy-duty 240-volt, 3.7 horsepower induction motor that runs a 155 max PSI pump, which delivers 11.5 and 13.4 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI respectively. This makes it possible to power multiple air tools such as hammers, ratchets, impacts, and spray guns.

You also get a 60-gallon reserve tank and pressure gauges plus an on/off switch for easy control. However, no wheels are built-in for easy movement and the pump requires regular lubrication, which makes maintenance a bit cumbersome.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty components for long-lasting use
  • Ideal for running multiple air tools
  • Pressure gauges and an on/off switch for easy control

Cons:

  • No wheels
  • Requires lubrication

7. California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD – Easy-to-Maintain Auto Painting Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-60040CAD
  • Power: 220 volts, 4 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 60 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 10.6 and 12.8 CFM at 90 and 40 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 125 PSI
  • Weight: 213 pounds

This auto painting air compressor is quite unique because it features an easy-to-maintain oil-free dual-piston pump, which also translates to reduced operating costs because you won’t have to buy lubrication oil.

Other than that, the unit is fitted with dual motors, each with a 2 HP rating (4 HP combined) and the entire mechanism is designed to run very quietly.

In actual numbers, the noise produced is 75 decibels and according to Noise Help, this is equivalent to the sound produced when flushing a toilet.

You also get a 60-gallon tank that can be filled in 6.5 minutes and a thermal overload protector to keep the motors from incurring damage as a result of voltage fluctuations.

However, this compressor is very expensive and the oil-free pump has a relatively low lifespan of 3000 hours before wear.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-maintain oil-free pump
  • Operates quietly with a noise output of only 75dB
  • Low operation costs (no oil required)
  • Thermal overload protection

Cons:

  • Relatively low 3000-hour lifespan before wear
  • Expensive

8. DeWalt DXCMV5048055 – Efficient Auto Painting Air Compressor

DeWalt DXCMV5048055
  • Power: 230 volts, 5 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 80 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 17 and 17.9 CFM at 175 and 100 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 175 PSI
  • Weight: 470 pounds

DeWalt’s DXCMV5048055 is built with efficiency in mind because it has a patented 2-stage pump and piston design, which has deep groove directional and asymmetrical cooling fins, as well as a cast-iron flywheel with large fins.

Combined, these components ensure quick heat dissipation so that the machine can run at a cooler temperature for highly efficient compression.

The tool also features thermal overload protection, which safeguards the powerful 5 HP motor from damages resulting from voltage fluctuations.

You also get an integrated control panel with an airflow regulator, pressure gauges, a pressure relief valve and two quick-connect air outlets for control and a large 80-gallon tank. However, this tool is not equipped with wheels for easy movement and it is quite heavy.

Pros:

  • Patented fin design for cooler running
  • Thermal overload protection safeguards against voltage fluctuations
  • Powerful 5 HP motor
  • Integrated control panel for monitoring the air pressure

Cons:

  • No wheels
  • Heavy

9. Campbell Hausfeld XC602100 – 2-Stage Air Compressor for Painting Cars

Campbell Hausfeld XC602100
  • Power: 240 volts, 3.7 horsepower
  • Tank Size: 60 gallons
  • CFM/PSI: 11 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max. Pressure: 175 PSI
  • Weight: 336 pounds

Rounding up the list is Campbell Hausfeld’s XC602100, which is equipped with a 2-stage pump that delivers highly pressurized air, and this ensures it can reach a maximum level of 175 PSI.

This makes it possible to power a wide range of tools while the included 3.7 HP heavy-duty induction motor helps to maintain long run times for consistent compression performance.

Another benefit with the 2-stage pump is that it is very durable, with up to 5,000 hours of longevity, and it runs very smoothly and quietly.

More features include a vertical 60-gallon tank that uses up less floor space and a flow rate of 11 CFM at 90 PSI. However, you get no wheels for easy movement.

Pros:

  • 2-stage pump; delivers a high 175 PSI max pressure
  • Smooth and quiet running
  • 3.7 HP heavy-duty induction motor gives longer runtimes
  • Vertical design; takes up less floor space

Cons:

  • No wheels

How to Buy the Best Air Compressor for Painting Car

How to Buy the Best Air Compressor for Painting Car

1. Power

The first thing to consider before buying an auto painting air compressor is its power rating. Most compressors are electric and therefore, you need to check the voltage rating for compatibility purposes.

Some countries such as the US have 110-120V electrical grids while others have 220-240V. With this in mind, all the above products require a 120-240V adapter in order to work in the US.

On the other hand, the horsepower rating shows the strength of the motor and the higher it is, the better. This will result in faster compression and therefore, a higher max pressure and a faster flow rate.

2. Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

The CFM value shows the rate at which the compressor delivers air at a specific pressure. This factor is important to consider because all sprayers require a certain CFM as the minimum in order to run.

Generally, the higher the CFM value the better, but you should ensure at least this is higher than what your spray gun requires. If it is lower, the sprayer will not perform optimally and may splatter, which will cause uneven coating.

3. Pressure

Apart from CFM, you should check the compressor’s pressure rating as most spray guns also require a certain minimum pressure to work.

A high max PSI rating is advantageous because it makes the compressor versatile enough to be used by a wide variety of tools such as ratchets, hammers, impact wrenches and many more. Therefore, the higher this rating is, the better.

4. Tank Size

A compressor’s tank is the reservoir that stores the air at high pressure so as to provide the required boost during peak demands. The larger it is, the more air that it will pack inside, and this will allow you to power very demanding paint sprayers with ease.

Ideally, a 60-gallon tank going upwards is large enough for storing air to power almost all kinds of pneumatic tools. This makes the compressor more versatile in terms of the application areas.

5. Maintenance

With regard to maintenance, some air compressors, such as California Air Tools’ CAT-60040CAD, are much easier to use in the long run because of having an oil-free pump.

The only downside to it is that these pumps have a shorter lifecycle before wear as compared to the lubricated ones.

Other than that, some of these tools are designed in such a way that their parts are easily accessible for easy servicing. This is also recommended because servicing might be required at times for performance optimization, and the easier it is, the better.

6. Portability

The fact is that most air compressors for painting cars are heavy tools that range in the weight of 150 pounds going upwards. As such, they can be difficult to transport.

Therefore, if you want a compressor to permanently place in one location with minimal movement, then weight should not worry you.

However, if you want one to move around your garage or workplace, then a portable piece such as Campbell Hausfeld’s VT6271 is ideal because it is lightweight and is fitted with two wheels plus a handle for easy movement.

Conclusion 

As you can see above, narrowing it down to the best air compressor for painting cars is not easy because most of them are almost equal and their prices go hand-in-hand with performance.

However, Ingersoll Rand’s 2340L5-V stands out as one of the best because of its power, long lifespan, easy servicing and a reasonable price for its set of features.


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