How to Find the Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars

If you're wondering what an air compressor actually is, you've come to the right place. Simply, air compressors convert power in to air that is pressurised which is then used to power air tools such as spray guns. Air compressors are used in a wide range of applications, so naturally if you want one that will be designed for spray painting your vehicle, you want a compressor specifically made for spray guns! This way your compressor will be able to provide the right amount of power to perform the job.


So how do you know what compressor will do the job?

There are three main indicators to consider when choosing the right compressor to spray paint your vehicle 1) Air pressure 2) Tank or Receiver 3) CFM 

Air pressure (PSI - pounds per square inch). Spray guns have a low PSI requirement and are high volume and low pressure. If you have a low volume low pressure spray gun, you might need to look at a compressor with a low PSI output. The difference between the two two types of spray guns is due to their CFM requirements, which we will cover shortly.

Tank/Receiver - your compressor has to be of a suitable size to continuously run when you're spray painting. You'll want a compressor that's 100 litres plus to maximise your efficiency. 

CFM (cubic feet per minute) is super important to factor in when spray painting as it measures how much air can be delivered at a particular pressure. Because of the continuous nature of painting, spray guns need a cfm rating that's higher than other air tools.

Minimising contamination

To avoid chances of contaminants in compressed air while spray painting, you want to consider whether or not you need an oil-lubricated or oil-free compressor? If you can't have any oil in your process, you'd want to consider an oil-free compressor for sure. Otherwise, if a little amount of oil is okay, the a oil-lubricated air compressor would do the job.

Air dryers are also another option to consider for your air compressor, which will work to minimise moisture in the air and allow a smoother finish for your vehicle. Dry air is a great factor to look at as all air compressors create condensate to some degree. Smaller body shops may not use filtration, while med-large/professional workshops will most likely use a desiccant style dryer, or a point-of-use filter at the painting booth, accompanied by in-line filters. FRL's which are filter, regulator, and lubricators are used to maintain and help keep air tools nice and oiled.

The task of keeping air dry can require filtration to be looked at closely, and you'll often see businesses that have installed a compressed air dryer in the form of membrane, desiccant or refrigerated and to cut-down on short-term filter media change-outs by using coalescing, particulate and carbon filtration for the entire system to minimize cost. 

Where to install my compressor?

You'll need to make sure that your compressor is installed on even, flat flooring and that is adhere's to the guidelines for spacing above and around to ensure maintenance access and air flow. Keep your compressor in a clean and dry environment if possible, as this will affect the lifetime of the filter, and therefore affect the compressor's output quality.  

We recommend a number of air compressors that could be suitable for your spray painting needs:

Piston compressors - a heavier duty air compressor that is durable and used commonly for this application

Rotary screw compressors - are built to run continuously and provide full rated CFM continuously.

Air treatment - you might want to consider using two-stage filtration to remove liquids and remove oil vapour.



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Who we are and how Ash Air can help your business!

Ash Air has been around in New Zealand since 1979, and we’ve grown into a nationwide company with international support and a reputation for quality and reliability.We look after all things compressed air for your business!

Ash Air's range of Chicago Pneumatic, Alup, Pneumatech, and Quincy compressors are used extensively around the world in industries ranging from oil and gas to food, automotive and farming, and we bring you these world class compressors here in the land of the long white cloud.Our technicians are compressed air equipment experts and are dedicated to addressing customer needs. Supported by a 13 locations nationwide, Ash Air offers one of the widest selections of compressed air equipment and parts available today in New Zealand.

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With Ash Air compressors, you can count on reliability and high performance for even the most demanding applications. We focus our efforts on the following:

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