Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars

Our team independently selects, reviews, and identifies the best products. We may earn affiliate commissions on purchases made from links on this page. Read about our links here. This post was updated on January 5, 2022

Painting cars was one hell of a tiring, time-consuming, and messy exercise. But that only lasted until Francis Davis Millet invented an air compressor.

Air compressors have improved quiet a lot since and have become one of the most essential and must-have tools in car painting tasks.

Here’s the truth:

Your car won’t maintain its shiny look forever. A time comes when its beauty fades away, particularly because of scratches and constant knocks on the roads.

But thanks to the availability of the best air compressors for painting cars, you can give your car a touchup every once in a while to maintain its aesthetics.

Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars Reviewed

1. California Air Tools 4710SQ

California Air Tools 4710SQ is the best air compressor for painting cars because it works with great precision and doesn’t make noise while at it.

So whether you want to paint your car right outside your house or you want to have some quiet time in the garage, you can use this air compressor to give your car that perfect touch.

California Air Tools 4710SQ doesn’t need oil to operate. As such, expect the regular maintenance cost to be lower.

The air tank is 4.6 gallons and it’s made of strong steel with a coating that makes it element resistant. The tank takes about 3 minutes to fill in. And the higher output rating ensures you get the right amount of kinetic energy to get your car painting job done fast.

You don’t have to drive your car to where this unit is. At 43 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to lift to where your car is. It would have even been better if the model featured flat-free wheels for ease of movement, but the lack of these isn’t exactly a deal breaker.

Speaking of performance, this unit features a 1 HP motor that powers the compressor to deliver sufficient kinetic energy to power your car’s spray paint. Given that it runs at 1,680 RPM, you can expect a smooth run, minimal wear and tear, and less noise during operation.

You will love California Air Tools 4710SQ because of its decent air output. You do get 2 CFM at 90 PSI and 3 CFM at 40 PSI. That means the air compressor is so versatile that you can use it with a variety of tools.

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  • Noise level is at 68 decibels, which is quite impressive
  • It’s  durable
  • Higher CFM at 40 PSI


  • The tank is small

2. Craftsman CME6150K Air Compressor for Painting Cars

We do recommend Craftsman CME6150K as one of the best air compressors for painting cars because it performs optimally.

Since it’s not as robust as what you get from DEWALT, the Craftsman CME6150K is more effective for smaller painting jobs and a lot less useful for heavy-duty painting jobs.

Craftsman CME6150K features a 6-gallon tank. And while that’s generally a smaller capacity that won’t deliver enough power to heavy-duty machine such as impact wrenches, it should be sufficient for small painting jobs.

Features and Benefits

Craftsman CME6150K is a 150-PSI unit that can deliver up to 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. The output is high enough to run some power tools such as air ratchets, impact wrenches, nail guns, and touchup paint guns.

Thanks to the power and versatility of the machine, this air compressor can get the spray-painting job done faster.

Because Craftsman CME6150K doesn’t require regular maintenance, you can expect the cost of keeping it in good condition to be extremely lower. The only thing you have to do is to clean off the moisture that accumulates after every use.

At 32 lbs, Craftsman CME6150K air compressor is the most lightweight model that money can buy. Given such a low-level weight, you can move this unit from place to place by merely lifting it.

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  • Includes a kit with 13 pieces of accessories  including a tire gauge,  a 25-foot hose, and a tire chunk
  • Lightweight yet well built
  • Includes an oil-free pump  


  • This air compressor makes noise when in use

3. DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor

DEWALT makes some of the best air compressors in the market, and D55146 model is one of the examples in their line that we like to recommend for painting cars.

Unlike the NorthStar gas-powered model, the DEWALT D55146 is compact and therefore ideal for someone who doesn’t want to manage a bulky air compressor.

DEWALT D55146’s storage tank is 4.5 gallons. While that isn’t the biggest size in the market, it’s still good enough for light painting jobs. You do get a maximum pressure of 225 PSI, which is higher than what many air compressors offer.

Even the air output is 5.5 CFM at 90 PSI, which is quite a good deal for getting the car-painting job done with great precision within the shortest time possible.

We can agree that air compressors can be noisy. And noise is no doubt going to be a deal breaker even for the best performing unit.

We like that DEWALT has done the best it can to keep the noise level of D551346 air compressor as low as possible. It doesn’t exceed 78 decibels, so the noise level is quite impressive.

DEWALT D55146 is not as heavy as the NorthStar portable gas-powered air compressor. At only 80 pounds, DEWALT D55146 is the most lightweight recommendation on the list.

Add to this the pneumatic tires and what you get is an air compressor that’s easy to move from spot to spot.

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  • 1.6 HP motor is decent for light painting jobs
  • Portable
  • Good air pressure output
  • Easy to maintain
  • Doesn’t make noise when it’s in use


  • Not powerful enough for heavy-duty painting

4. NorthStar Portable Gas Powered Air Compressor

NorthStar doesn’t take chances when it comes to building the best air compressors, and this model is a clear indication of their commitment to giving you nothing but the best option for painting cars.

Equipped with all the necessary features and functionalities for the job, and available at a price that doesn’t break the bank, this gas-powered air compressor will help you get the painting job done in no time.

This air compressor features a 20-gallon tank, which is quite optima for the price point. Given an air output that stands at 13.7 CFM at 90 PSI, this air compressor can give you the results you need for light as well as extended painting jobs.

Many air compressors are dang difficult to use because they vibrate too much during operation. It’s not so with this gas-powered model from NorthStar.

Thanks to the low vibration technology, the machine will run smoothly, give you a better pump balance, and keep working well for an extended period.

Gas-powered engines are known for being toxic to the environment, but that isn’t really the case with this air compressor.

The engine does have an optimum combustion level, which delivers the power necessary for better performance. And given that this one has an OHV engine, you can expect it to serve you for a long time to come.

This air compressor weighs 196 pounds. But as heavy as it is, the built-in flat-free wheels make it easy to move from place to place. So instead of bringing your car near this, you do the exact opposite and get down to work.

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  • Low vibration technology for better performance
  • Includes wheels for portability
  • Versatile machine that’s compatible with different sprayers


  • This air compressor is bulky and heavy

Whether you’re down to a small painting job or you want to do a full body paint job, the best air compressor for painting cars will help you get the job done.

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