How many Gallon Air Compressor to Paint a Car

How many Gallon Air Compressor to Paint a Car

How many gallons of air compressors to paint a car depends basically on the type of air compressor, size and type of paint, and also the size of the car you want to paint. In most car painting projects, you will need an air compressor with a tank of 60-80 gallons with a minimum of 7.0 CFM at 40 PSI and a maximum of 12.0 CFM at 40 PSI.

This will be sufficient for most standard HVLP (high volume, low pressure) paint guns, otherwise, you will be starving of air and you need to refill.

This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about painting your air compressor. Carefully read this article to widen your knowledge of what paint to use and the ideal compressor for painting cars.

What Size of Air Compressor should be used to paint a car? 

The size of the air compressor to use depends on the type of painting. If you just want to refinish your car, a three-horsepower compressor could save the purpose. When working with a smaller compressor, you will mostly be dealing with smaller areas of your car. In this case, you’d be working on the bottom of a fender, the edge of a bumper, or possibly a rocker panel.

Then if you have a 20- 30 gallon air compressor, you’re able to do a bigger area compared to the three-horsepower compressor. With a 20-30 gallon air compressor, you could do areas like doors, a fender, and the box side of a truck.

With a 60-80 gallon size of an air compressor, it is possible to paint the whole vehicle without running out of paint.

Read also: Identifying Old Air Compressors – How and Things to Look Out For

Best Air Compressors for Paint Guns

When it comes to air compressors for paint guns, there are a few things to consider such as the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) requirements of your paint gun, as well as the size and power of the compressor.

With that in mind, here are a few options that are commonly considered to be among the best:

1. The DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor:

The high-efficiency motor of the electric air compressor is made for easy start-up in cold weather or extension cord application. [14 ga or larger, 50 ft. (15.2 m) or less]. It also enables long run time with quick recovery. It has lightweight and we can take it anywhere we want. A very portable unit and is very to handle. 78.5 dBA noise level of the 6-gallon air compressor is made for a quiet working environment. It has a rating of 4.6 0f 5.0 on Amazon

2. The California Air Tools 5510SE:

This compressor is popular for its high CFM and low noise level. The powerful 1.0 HP (SP-9413) motor runs at just 1680 RPM, creating less noise and less wear. The SP series of Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Motors is designed to increase the duty cycle and allow for longer continuous run times.

The oil-free dual piston pump system is engineered for high performance and durability, while the 5.5-gallon steel air tank is lightweight (50 lbs.) and the wheel kit makes it very easy to transport. This air compressor is ideal for anyone working inside where noise is a major issue. Check out this product on Walmart

3. The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor:

The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is another top pick for its high PSI and powerful motor. Its Powerful 2.5 HP 4-Pole motor produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity and lower noise. Customers on Amazon have given a rating based on each of the features. Noise level 4.4 of 5.0, portability 3.8 of 5.0, lightweight 3.0 of 5.0, maneuverability 3.8 of 5.o.It has a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 0n Amazon. You should check out this product on Amazon.

4. Craftsman Pancake, Oil-Free (CMEC6150K):

The stable pancake model features rubberized feet that provide exceptional performance, airpower, portability, and durability. This compressor is the perfect equipment for contractors because it also has a Brad nailer, a finishing nailer, and a stapler. It is capable of a variety of jobs, including spray painting, repairing bicycle tires, power framing nailers, and inflating the tires of ministry vans. It also includes an oil-free pump, so this best air compressor requires less maintenance. We have found that the cmec6150 engine is unaffected by cold temperatures.

5. Campbell Hausfeld TQ3104 Air Compressor:

It has an 80-gallon tank, a maximum pressure of 140 PSI, and a flow rate of 16.0 CFM at 90 PSI. Its cast-iron four-cylinder pump allows it to power a variety of powerful air tools. The issue with the Campbell Hausfeld TQ3104 is that many of the industrial-class and professional jobs it is designed for can be performed by less onerous, lighter, less heavy, and, frankly, better air compressors.

Even just shipping, delivery, and reception on your end may be a major hassle, particularly if components are missing or damaged. Therefore, skip the TQ3014 in favor of other suggested options if you do not engage in intensive usage and want to reduce your chances of experiencing a severe letdown.

Factors to be Considered when Choosing an Air Compressor for Painting your car 

1. Determine the size of the air compressor tank to be used:

The tank size tells you how much air the compressor can hold. A compressor of more than 60 gallons will ensure a steady and consistent flow of air and minimize the need for your compressor to cycle on and off frequently. I will advise you to consider the size of the car and the duration of continuous painting when determining the tank size of your compressor.

2. Air Volume(CFM):

The compressor’s ability to yield an adequate volume of air for a smooth paint job is very essential. Always check the compressor’s cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating and ensure it meets or exceeds the requirements of your paint gun. A higher CFM is required to do the job of breaking up paint into the small particles that make spray painting the vehicle possible. A high volume of air will make the critical difference in making sure that paint is applied evenly and that the finished coat appears uniform.

3. PSI (Pounds per Square Inch):

PSI rating is less important in an air compressor for painting a car than CFM is. PSI represents the amount of air pressure to be delivered by the air compressor. Look for a minimum of 15 PSI, with some applications, such as clear coat, better suited to 20 or 25 PSI. Don’t forget to use an air compressor that maximum PSI output matches or either exceeds the requirements of your paint gun.

4. Horsepower (HP):

For auto painting, a 10 HP compressor will typically suffice. However, higher HP compressors may operate more efficiently and can be used for other tasks. An air compressor’s horsepower rating entails its motor power.

5. Duty Cycle:

The duty cycle refers to the percentage of time a compressor can run within a specific period without overheating. For painting cars, a compressor with a high-duty cycle, such as 50% or more, is preferable to avoid interruptions during extended painting sessions.


Knowing the ideal gallon of air compressor for the painting of your car depends mainly on the size of the air compressor, the size and type of paint to be used, and lastly, the size of the car you want to paint. With the knowledge this blog post has provided, you shouldn’t have issues with how many gallons of air compressor to paint a car.

Always remember to take the factors I discussed above into consideration before you purchase an air compressor. It will help you avoid spending too much.