HVLP air compressors have high-volume and low-pressure. They are typically used to release high volumes of paint at low pressure to ensure the paint is evenly distributed on a surface.
The low-pressure element controls the flow of paint so that it falls back to the painting surface rather than spraying into the air.
HVLP guns require a lot of air, and you’ll need an air compressor that can handle them. Specifically, you need an air compressor that best matches the CFM and PSI of the gun.
Not sure where to start your search for a new air compressor?
HVLP air compressors are the best choice for those who want high-quality painting. An HVLP sprayer uses the same mechanism the compressors do, which increases transfer efficiency.
Read more – Best Air Compressors for Framing Crew Reviewed
Air Compressors for HVLP Reviewed:
1. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore air compressor is designed for professionals and DIY home painters. The air compressor for HVLP works at various job sites. It has durability in mind with the materials.
The Makita Big Bore pump has a cast iron cylinder and greater bore and stroke. This allows for increased compression, faster recovery, and less noise. The cast iron construction helps protect the compressor from tougher job sites.
It operates with a powerful 2.5 HP 4-pole motor that produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity. However, the pump only runs at 1,730 RPM for less noise production and longer pump life.
The oil-lubricated pump comes equipped with an industrial automotive-style filter that increases air intake for greater efficiency. The unit runs cooler with half the RPM most models have.
The lower RPM makes the pump and motor last longer and doesn’t produce as much noise. It also provides cooling operating temperatures. The copper finned discharge tubing increases heat dissipation and reduces moisture buildup in the tank.
The HVLP air compressor features a roll bar handle to make transport to different sites easier. It does include enough pressure that’s fit to run two nailers simultaneously.
The compressor has low AMP to reduce the risk of motor failure or tripped breakers. It also includes a tank drain, oil drain, and a sight glass for easy maintenance and monitoring.
If you work in harsh environments, the compressor has a roll-cage construction. You won’t have to worry about your compressor succumbing to the elements or rocky, uneven terrains.
- Durable build (e.g., finned tubing for heat dissipation and cast-iron parts for longevity)
- Portable with a handle and roll-cage design
- Runs quiet enough to hold a conversation
- Fills and recovers quickly
- Low vibration
- Good CFM rating
- Moisture builds in the tank if you don’t drain it frequently
- The handle in the middle could throw you off balance when transporting
2. PORTER CABLE PXCMF220VW Portable Air Compressor for HVLP
The Porter Cable PXCMF220VW air compressor is designed for those who need to transport their compressor to spray painting job sites. The compressor comes with 7-inch wheels. It has a large capacity 20-gallon tank which makes it a great low-budget option to paint most surfaces for long periods.
The horsepower peaks at 1.5 HP with the direct drive induction motor. It gives you 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI. It also provides 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI.
The compressor has an oil-free design that makes it easier for users. You can take it to any job site without the worry of oil changes or uneven terrain. The oil-free pump increases longevity and reduces maintenance.
This air compressor does have heavy-duty and safe materials. The tank is ASME certified for safety standards. The fully enclosed shroud protects your pump and motor from damage. Professionals will love the user-friendly and multipurpose features.
It includes a pressure switch, tank pressure gauge, and pressure relief valve. The compressor includes conveniently located gauges and regulator to make monitoring easier.
It has versatility in its jobs like wrenching, nailing, inflating, painting, and bolting. When you’re finished with work for the day, you can store the compressor without much effort.
- Builds air quickly
- Oil-free meaning less maintenance and longer life span
- Wheels for easy transport
- Gauges and regulator for monitoring
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Runs pneumatic tools without issues
- Doesn’t move easily on uneven ground
- You will need to wear ear protectors or you can damage your hearing from the noise
3. Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld air compressor is designed with versatility in mind. Users can use the compressor for light auto work, to power most air power tools, and to complete projects around the home.
The compressor runs at 1.3 HP but with extra quiet operation. Compared to most models of the same size, it only runs at 68dB. This makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor use without complaints from the neighbors.
For those that want to paint their home, it’s a great air compressor for home HVLP painting. The Campbell Hausfeld doesn’t take much effort to move it. It weighs 67lbs and comes with large wheels. The rubber-grip steel handle makes the transport smoothly from location to location.
The compressor features a dual-piston pump system designed to produce more air compared to models with similar horsepower ratings. The air compressor for HVLP does come with several accessories like a 25ft air hose and 17-piece accessory kit. You won’t have to do much maintenance on the compressor either.
It features an oil-free pump. This saves you money on the oil and creates a mess-free environment. It also makes it easier to use the compressor on uneven ground because you don’t need to worry about oil spilling. It operates at 3.7 CFM at 90 PSI to finish projects faster.
- Easy to read gauges
- Portable design with a handle and wheels
- Fairly quiet operation
- Convenient location to regulator knobs for easy monitoring
- Doesn’t take long to fill the tank
- Works well for at least 8-10 hours per day
- Users report issues with the company honoring the warranty
- People claim the parts are cheap and not well made/durable
4. California Air Tools 8010A Aluminum Tank Air Compressor for Commercial HVLP
The California Air Tools 8010A air compressor was designed with quiet and durability in mind. The HVLP air compressor operates with only 1,680 RPM to reduce wear and keep the noise to a minimum.
It operates with a 1.0 HP when running but 2.0 HP at peak performance. It offers a good CFM rating with 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI.
The tank fills quickly with only 165 seconds from empty to full. It doesn’t cost much to operate the compressor because it only draws 8.5 amps.
The pump is oil-free which makes it easy to maintain and repair should something break. You also don’t to be concerned when working on uneven terrain because there’s no oil.
The HVLP air compressor is made with lightweight materials like aluminum to make it easier to transport but still maintain durability. It won’t rust in any weather conditions either. The 8010A does come with a wheel kit too.
The air compressor has a dual-piston pump that’s designed to provide you with 3,000 hours of use compared to other models that last 500 or less. You don’t get any hoses, but you can hook any universal ¼ hose to the male quick connector and it will work.
- Extremely quiet operation at 60dB
- Thermal overload protector
- Two pressure control gauges that are easy to work with
- Lightweight at 37lbs for easy transport
- Aluminum tank doesn’t leave rusty puddles when drained/easy to drain
- Only one minute recovery time
- Can only run on 70/30 duty
- Operates for up to an hour before you need to stop, which only works for small projects
5. Metabo HPT Air Compressor
The Metabo HPT air compressor operates at dB rating lower than a human conversation. You can use this compressor indoors or outdoors without any complaints other than you might not think it’s on since you can’t hear it!
This Metabo HPT air compressor is one of the best air compressors for HVLP spray painting. It’s lightweight and compactable where it can fit into a closet with ease.
Despite its small size, it can reach up to 125 PSI to power many of your tools. It has a 0.5 HP with 1.3 CFM at 40 PSI and 0.8 CFM at 90 PSI. You might think that because it’s small that it won’t handle your work conditions.
Luckily, it has a roll-cage to protect it from your rougher job sites. It even comes with a stainless-steel braided discharge hose that resists corrosion.
When you’re at a job site, you won’t have to worry about the HVLP compressor moving. It has rubber feet that suction to the ground where you place it.
The rubber feet also absorb shock to lessen vibrations. Keep in mind that the compressor only has a one-gallon tank, so you can’t run it continuously for long periods but will get most jobs done.
However, if you want an air compressor for home HVLP painting, I recommend looking at the others on this list.
- Drain valve uses 90-degrees to turn on/off, no brass fittings
- Regulator and gauges on the front of the unit
- Quiet operation where you can’t even hear it over a radio
- Low vibration
- The rubber feet absorb shocks and holds the compressor in place
- Maintenance-free upkeep
- Hoses can be difficult to connect when the compressor isn’t fully drained
- Does leak from time to time
6. DEWALT (D55146) Air Compressor for HVLP Sprayer
The DeWalt air compressor offers carpenters a solution for space and transport. The HVLP compressor sits vertically and has a collapsible handle with wheels. This will allow you to carry or wheel the compressor to your next job site and store it away when you’re done.
The compressor delivers 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI to recover quickly when the initial tank has been exhausted. This makes it a worthy air compressor for home HVLP painting.
The pump has EHP (efficient high-pressure technology), giving the pump and motor a longer life span. The compressor doesn’t require maintenance because it’s oil-free.
The HVLP compressor has metal console panels to protect the gauges, couplers, and regulator while providing a display area. The coupler will give you maximum performance for your nailers.
In fact, the compressor has dual connections to allow you to operate up to 3 framing nailers or two roofing nailers.
Most air compressors need to be pulled directly into an outlet. The DeWalt will allow you to use a 12 gauge or heavier extension cord without worrying about overheating or motor burnouts.
- Features wheels and a foldable handle for easy transport
- Vertical style saves on space
- Large gauges to read the surface and they’re in convenient locations
- Can run with an extension cord
- Large capacity for long-term use
- The drain petcock is easy to turn
- Heavy Weight
7. Rolair Air Compressor for HVLP Gun
The Rolair air compressor comes is compact for easy storage and portability. Normally, you need more than two people to move a compressor.
It features a folding handle and heavy-duty tires, so you can transport it to each job site easily. The HVLP compressor has 100% continuous duty and delivers 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI.
The low-amp motor provides you with overload protection and a manual reset button should the compressor stop or have trouble. The motor only takes 13.8 amps to start.
The HVLP air compressor is made durable. The motor comes fitted with industrial-grade ball bearings, a single-stage cast iron pump, and stainless-steel Reed valves.
It also comes with a user-friendly control panel. It includes two quick disconnects and gauges.
- Durable build
- Recovers fast
- Reset button behind the cylinder head
- Comes up to pressure quickly
- Holds pressure with ease
- Not made in the US
- Runs very loud
Things to Consider while Choosing
Not all air compressors are the same. When you’re on the lookout for a new HVLP compressor, you should consider a few things. One of the markers for your decision should include the type of work you plan to do with the compressor.
Will use an air compressor for home HVLP painting, or do you need one for your job? Your answer will impact the type you will get.
Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is the volume of air produced by the compressor each minute. CFM refers to the quantity of air a compressor produces at a certain pressure level.
This is the most important consideration when shopping for an air compressor. First, you want to determine the CFM requirement of the spray gun you want to use.
Then, you need to get an air compressor that produces more than the CFM of your gun. Should you choose any compressor, you run the risk of the tool not working.
When you do small at-home projects, you’ll want a low CFM HVLP spray gun. Why? A low CFM HVLP spray gun uses less air at the cap. This reduces the work your compressor must do.
However, if you need to do more than light coating or commercial work, a low CFM HVLP spray gun might not get the job done.
The weight of the compressor matters more than you think. The heavier the compressor weighs, the harder it is to transport it. You may have jobs or projects where you’re the only person working on them.
The last thing you want is to struggle with transporting the compressor. You also don’t want it to take up too much space either, especially if you have to work in small spaces like a garage.
Most people don’t consider this and figure it’s going to make a ton of noise. However, it doesn’t have to. You can find compressors that make noise as loud as a conversation.
You might run a small business out of your home/garage and can’t have the loud noises many compressors make because of your neighbors.
Alternatively, you might hate the annoying sound yourself and want something quieter or something that doesn’t require you wear ear protection. Look for a lower dB rating before you purchase if you want a quieter compressor.
You want to choose an air compressor for HVLP spray gun. Pneumatic tools use air intermittently but a paint spray gun needs a continuous flow of air. Paint spray guns will use more air over the same period.
This is why you can use smaller tanks for nailers but it won’t work as well for a paint sprayer or at all. Of course, there are exceptions to this. You may have a low CFM HVLP spray gun or a small DIY project where you can get by with a smaller tank.
Two main types of guns use compressed air. You have HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) and LVLP (low-volume, low-pressure) spray guns. In both types, low-pressure is the common denominator.
Pressure refers to PSI. Ideally, you want to have ten to 15 PSI for spraying paint but up to 29 PSI for clear coats.
Horsepower (HP) refers to the work your air compressor can do. Don’t get confused by the number. A higher HP rating doesn’t mean the compressor will work better for your paint gun. It’s all about the delivery.
For example, you can have a compressor with a ten HP that delivers the same pressure to another compressor with even less HP.
In this case, it means the one with the lower HP has more efficiency. However, you may need one with a higher HP because of your other tools, so keep that in mind.
HVLP Spray Gun Compressor Requirements
Like I said before, you want to match an air compressor for HVLP spray gun. HVLP spray guns require ample air to run properly. What requirements do they need besides lots of air?
You won’t need an air compressor that produces a lot of pressure. You do need just enough PSI to ensure the pressure is continuous.
If you don’t have enough constant pressure, the gun won’t spray properly. You also risk the quality of the job too. It can cause delays or even not getting work done.
CFM should be higher than, not equal to, the CFM requirements of the gun. If you ignore this, you’ll experience pressure drop and volume loss.
This causes spotty coverage. Remember, the “high-volume” part of HVLP guns tells you in the name that a decent-sized compressor is needed.
Tank size matters when you spray paint because the gun will require continuous airflow, not intermittent flow like pneumatic tools. When your compress has a smaller tank, you can only work for so long before you need to stop and take a break.
For some, this gives them time to work on other projects or details. However, for many, it just causes a setback and may make finishing the job on time more difficult. The larger the tank, the more air capacity you have.
What Size Air Compressor is Right for HVLP Spray Gun?
This will largely depend on what you plan to paint. Will you need an air compressor for home HPLV painting or will you need one for job sites?
When you figure out the answer, you will need to buy a gun first.
It’s important and much easier to purchase it first, then match an air compressor for HVLP spray gun. Why? You don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands on an air compressor and find out the guns you want or need can’t be used with it.
Instead, you can find a spray gun and its CFM, then buy the compressor that best suits it.
Standard Spray Gun Vs HVLP
Standard spray guns utilize more air and at a higher pressure than HVLP spray guns. These guns have the benefit of thick coats getting atomized by increasing the pressure.
These guns usually cost less than HVLP guns, so people on a budget tend to gravitate towards them. However, the transfer efficiency reduces to 35%, which produces coating waste. Naturally, this leads to more cost for the coating.
HVLP spray guns use high-volume amounts of air but convert them to low pressure. You get a much softer spray that doesn’t produce extra coating waste. This saves you money in the long run. High-quality HVLP spray guns have twice the efficiency of a standard spray gun by applying paint to the target.
However, thicker coatings don’t get atomized well with an HVLP gun. This type of gun also costs more than a standard gun by a hundred or more dollars.
1. Can you Use an HVLP Gun with any Air Compressor?
Yes and no. You can’t just use any air compressor for HVLP spray gun. You will need an air compressor for HVLP spray gun that can handle the CFM and PSI.
Remember, you want the CFM of the air compressor higher than the spray gun, otherwise, it won’t produce results.
2. How much Air does an HVLP Gun Need?
HVLP spray guns use high volumes of air. Typically, around 15-26 CFM. It delivers a low pressure at around ten PSI or lowers to automize paint softly. In most cases, less than ten PSI is needed for atomization.
3. What Size Air Compressor Tank is Needed to Paint a Car?
The tank size of the air compressor isn’t usually a problem. You face more issues with the compressor and the CFM it outputs. Most professionals do recommend an air compressor that has at least a 30-gallon capacity.
Why? Generally, these air compressors tend to match the CFM rating needed with the spray gun’s CFM.
4. What is the Suitable Air Compressor for Painting Cars?
When you go to purchase a compressor for painting cars, you need to consider three factors. First, you need to check the PSI it delivers. Next, the CFM, which is probably the most important.
You need the CFM of an air compressor for HVLP spray gun that will be higher than the gun. Next, you want to make sure the tank is a decent size. You’ll need continuous use, so the larger the better. Never go less than 30-gallons.
5. What is a Good Size Air Compressor for Spray Painting?
You want an air compressor that has a higher CFM than the gun you choose. This rule of thumb is true for any tool. However, tank sizes, weight, pressure, and horsepower will determine what’s best for your project too.
For example, you might not be painting houses but cars. In that case, what you need to look for will change. Your budget will play a factor in this too. Typically, 1-2 HP with 6 CFM and 30-40 PSI will suffice.
So, What’s the Best Air Compressor for HVLP Painting?
Although all air compressors aren’t created equal, I have chosen the ones I feel are the top for HVLP spray guns for various reasons. They have good CFM ratings, high durability, and can power most HVLP guns with ease.
The market is full of air compressors that do what you need and then some. You’re likely to find a compressor that best suits your needs through our list. As a quick summary, here are some of the qualities that people look for and which ranks best in the list.
Highest CFM (good for professionals): Rolair Air Compressor* (6.5 CFM at 90 PSI)
Quietest: Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Air Compressor* (60 db)
Easiest to Transport: California Air Tools 8010A Aluminum Tank Air Compressor* (37 lb)
Most Durable: Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor*
In the end, check your HVLP spray gun to make sure whichever one you choose works well with the intended tool. If you want to use other air-powered tools with the compressor, checking their compatibility is also a good idea.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what air compressor will work best for your paint spraying needs.
*Paid Link: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Should you decide to purchase a product through this link, I will get a small commission. The price of the product won’t be any different to you.
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