Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars 2020 – Top 5 Picks

Looking for an efficient way to paint your car, the best air compressor for painting cars is what you need. This powerful machine integrates a special design that boasts high air pressure output. The great air force is what powers your paint spraying gun. This allows it to deliver a fast painting process compared to other painting methods.

Yet, this is not all the best air compressor for painting cars will do for you. Using this machine allows you to achieve better paint quality. Thus, ensuring your car looks new and sleek. Below, we’ve outlined the 5 top best air compressors for painting cars this year. Take your pick of your favorite unit so you can start driving a better looking vehicle.

Top 5 Best Air Compressors For Painting Cars

1. Makita MAC5200 Air Compressor

Using the Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor, you don’t have to worry about those long and boring paint jobs. The air compressor features a cast iron pump with a patented Big Bore cylinder and piston.

Engineered together, these parts deliver a fast recovery time and improved performance. Additionally, the oil lubricated pump improves the compressor’s durability. The pump does so by providing a cooler running temperature and reducing wear.

Its powerful motor, at 3.0Hp, offers a high CFM of 6.5 and air pressure of 90 PSI for increased productivity. At the bottom, this air compressor features rugged wheels. The wheels aid in enhancing its portability and ease of transportation.


  • 3.0 HP motor
  • 50 ft. air hose
  • Patented Big Bore cylinder and piston
  • Copper finned discharge tubing


  • Low profile design and foldable handles make the compressor easy to store
  • Built-in wheels allows for easy portability
  • A copper finned discharge construction helps to increase heat dissipation and to reduce water in the tank
  • Comes with tool hangers to store your tools when not in use
  • Built-in storage compartment to store air fittings and other accessories
  • Large industrial style air filter increases air intake and filtering efficiency


  • It’s somewhat noisy – producing a noise level of up to 90 dB

2. California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor, 2 HP

With a 10-gallon tank, the California Air Compressor maintains pressure throughout the painting. The air compressor features a maximum pressure of up to 125 PSI which is enough to cover most car sizes. Furthermore, the air compressor boasts a high CFM value of up to 6.4 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI. It’s dedicated 15-amp outlet and 5500W power rating allows you to use it continuously for up to 60 minutes.

To make it accessible anywhere, it features a 25-foot cable. Using this long cable, you can even choose to work on your car at the yard – where an electric outlet would be far away. To ensure noiseless operation, the compressor features a 2HP brushless motor. The motor delivers sound levels of only 70 dB.


  • 2.0 HP motor
  • 14 gauge 25 foot cable
  • 70dB ultra quiet noise levels
  • 10 gallon air tank


  • Wheeled construction makes it easy to move
  • Ultra noiseless operation with only 70 DB noise levels
  • Built with a durable and lightweight cast aluminum cylinder
  • Oil free pump reduces maintenance cots and delivers cleaner air
  • Dual piston construction increases air delivery speed


  • It comes with crummy fittings

3. Industrial Air IL1682066

Integrating a cast iron and twin cylinder pump, the Industrial Air Belt Driven air compressor boosts faster heat dissipation. Additionally, the twin cylinder pump features a lightweight aluminum head and valve plate. With this heavy duty dual voltage induction motor, it drives a high pump performance. The high pump performance provides a smoother operation.

Onboard controls on the other end offer easy accessibility. This guarantees a quick set regulator, tank, and tool pressure gauges. Pneumatic wheels at the bottom and a small footprint provide excellent mobility. This ease of transportation is further supported with ergonomic front handles.


  • 1.6 HP motor
  • Cast iron twin cylinder pump
  • 20 gallon vertical portable tank with pre-attached pneumatic tires
  • Heavy duty dual voltage induction motor


  • Oil lubricated pump for smoother operation
  • Pre attached pneumatic wheels for easy mobility
  • Twin cylinder pump with aluminum head and valve plate provide faster heat dissipation
  • Front ergonomic handles deliver easy transportation
  • Comes with a free synthetic air compressor oil
  • Easy to access controls


  • The drain valve is difficult to access

4. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor (CMEC6150K)

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)

Using a powerful motor, the Craftsman compressor easily starts and delivers great performance. This compressor does so even during cold weather. Yet, its brushless motor delivers a quiet operation at only 78.5 dB. This pancake air compressor boasts a wide range of applications. You can use it for airbrushing, inflating tires, and balls, to mention a few.

Additionally, the air compressor features dual couplers which support two users. Its 6 gallon tack capacity caters to the 2.6 CFM rating and 90 PSI air pressure. This performance offers a longer run time and quick recovery. Its oil free pump on the other end guarantees long lasting durability. Furthermore, the oil free operation means it requires less maintenance.


  • 6 gallon tank capacity
  • Oil free pump
  • 78.5 dB noise level
  • Dual couplers


  • The air compressor comes with a full 1 piece accessory kit
  • Pancake air compressor design boasts a wide range of applications
  • Designed to easily start in cold weather
  • Built with dual couplers to allow two users
  • Offers air pressure of up to 150 PSI for adequate cut in pressure for various applications
  • 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI offers a quick recovery time


  • The safety valve is not of good quality

5. DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 Portable Air Compressor

DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

With a high air pressure of 155 PSI, the Dewalt Air Compressor offers great tool performance. The compressor comes with a dual voltage motor. This allows you to use it on 120 volts and convert it to 240 volts application.

Furthermore, the compressor delivers 7.0 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI. Its 30-gallon vertical tank on the other end offers adequate air pressure for a long running time. At the bottom, the air compressor features pneumatic tires to make it easier to transport.


  • 30 gallon vertical portable tank capacity
  • 155 PSI maximum air pressure
  • Dual voltage motor
  • High flow regulator


  • The high flow regulator delivers 20% more power dung stubborn nuts and bolts removal
  • Cast iron and twin cylinder pump provide faster heat dissipation
  • Dual voltage motor allows you to use it for 120V and 240V application
  • Onboard controls offer quick access to high flow regulator
  • Pneumatic tires and ergonomic front handles offer easy mobility
  • Oil-lubricated pump offers a smoother operation


  • Features a poor drain design

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Air Compressor For Painting Cars

When choosing the best air compressor for painting cars, look at the basic features. Some features are more important to achieve than others. Below, we’ve outlined the key features to look at.


To make your air compressor more functional, you want it to have good horsepower. A good air compressor should have horsepower of at least 1.6 to 3.0.


Generally, the best air compressor for painting cars holds a generous tank capacity. This is because you want it to hold enough air. Maintaining air ensures that you don’t lose pressure in the middle of the painting.

For a small car,  go for an air compressor that boasts a tank capacity of at least 8 to 10 gallons. For some large vehicles, you want a higher tank capacity. A tank size of at least 30 gallons and more is better.

See also our reviews of other air compressors if you need a compressor with a larger size:


CFM is also known as cubic feet per minute and represents the air compressor’s airflow or volume output. A higher CFM delivers faster air compression. Your air compressor uses its pressure to turn it into CFM. If you use a high performing paint spray, you will need more CFM for better results. If not, you may risk getting interrupted mid work.

The CFM level and PSI of the compressor are important information to have. When choosing the best air compressor for painting a car, look at the CFM it offers at a specific pressure. For example, a compressor may offer you 3.0 CFM at 90 PSI whilst another offers 5.0 CFM at the same pressure. You should go for the 5.0 CFM because it is a higher CFM at that particular pressure.


The air pressure your compressor offers is an important factor to consider as well. If your air compressor doesn’t offer adequate pressure, then, it will not be a useful tool for vehicle painting. Air pressure is measured in PSI (pound-force per square inch).

When choosing the best air compressor for painting cars,  go for one that offers at least 100 PSI if you are on a budget. However, if you can afford any model at any price, an air pressure value of at least 135 PSI is the way to go.


Always opt for a portable air compressor. Remember, you will be moving your compressor to different places, thus, you want your compressor to be light and easy to move. Additionally, a portable compressor is easy to store in your garage or even basement. Furthermore, a wheeled air compressor makes it easy to move as well.

Noise Reduction

Whilst this is not an important feature to focus on, it’s worth considering. An air compressor can be quite noisy during operation. So, a compressor built with a noise reduction feature is an excellent investment.

You can also opt for a compressor that doesn’t make those loud buzzing noises. If an air compressor has a sound output of no more than 70 dB, it is a perfect choice.

Why Use An Air Compressor For Painting Cars?

An air compressor provides excellent air force to many power tools. These include a paint spray gun. An air compressor creates and moves pressurized air. Pressurized air delivers great force used to power tools such as the spray gun.

Using an air compressor and a spray gun allows you to easily and quickly apply an even coat of paint on your vehicle. With this method of painting, you can reduce the painting time compared to other methods.


Q: What are tools do I need for painting my car?

A: Before you begin to paint, you should have wet and dry sandpaper, an electric sander, and masking tape. You should also have a spray gun, and paint thinners. If you can afford it, get a dust extractor to help filter the air. You want to have protective gear such as an overall suit, face mask, and safety goggles as well.

Q: How many CFM do I need to paint a car?

A: When painting your car, both your spray gun and compressor need to have adequate CFM. You can operate a paint gun from 0.3 to 12 CFM when painting a car. This means that for your air compressor, you need at least 4 to 19 CFM.

Q: Can I use an HVLP gun with an air compressor?

A: Yes, you can use an air compressor with an HVLP gun. However, you must ensure that the compressor is compatible with HVLP and LVLP type spray guns. Additionally, when using an HVLP gun, make sure you have a higher CFM of at least 15 to 25.


You can’t go wrong with the best air compressor for painting cars if you want efficiency. Not only do these power tools ensure a quick job, but they also help to improve the overall paint quality as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your pick of the best air compressor for painting cars from our top 5 list above. Our personal favorite top pick is the Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor. If you want a pancake air compressor, then, our second best pick is the CRAFTSMAN Air compressor.

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