Best Air Compressor for Painting


There are a lot of air compressors on the market, but only a handful of them are designed specifically for painting tools.

To help inform some of our readers, we asked ourselves what makes a great air compressor that’s designed for painting?

  • Is it the motor?
  • Is it the portability?
  • How about the brush component, or the portability of the unit?

We have answers to these questions and more in the following reviews. So let’s get started:

Best Air Compressor for Painting Reviews

Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor

One key aspect of a great air compressor, particularly one used for painting, is its weight and portability. Senco’s 1-Gallon Compressor is the top air compressor for painting because it’s not too hard on the back, making it a breeze to carry between worksites.

Peaking at 1 horsepower and running steadily at ½ horsepower, this Senco product has one of the strongest and most reliable air compressor motors on the market, delivering between 20 and 44 drives each minute.

The Senco 1-Gallon Compressor is great for a wide range of projects. Whether you’re working on a site and getting paid, or you’re just getting some projects done around the house or cottage, this product will likely suit all your needs. Plus it’s backed by a one-year warranty.

What we like

There’s a lot to like about this Senco product. It has one of the strongest motors on the market, is more versatile than your average air compressor for painting, and is lightweight and portable. Great for home projects and professional site painting, the Senco 1-Gallon Compressor is a great choice.

What we don’t like

Honestly, there’s not a ton to dislike about this product. It’s not as silent as our next pick, and a little more industrial than our final choice, but that’s about it for our negative feedback on this Senco product.

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Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor

One aspect of the Campbell Hausfeld 8-Gallon Air Compressor that puts it in the running for the best air compressor for painting is its noise level. With a noise level of just 68 dBA, Campbell Hausfeld claims its 50% more quiet than comparable air compressors.

This Campbell Hausfeld product also boasts an impressive oil-free dual-piston pump with an 8-gallon tank, and 125-PSI max with 2.4 CFM at 90 PSI. These are pretty high-quality specs, and with a claim that their components last up to four times longer as a result of these specs, Campbell Hausfeld seems to place a lot of confidence in their design.

Like we mentioned earlier, portability is a must for air compressors used for painting. You don’t want to be stuck carrying weighty tools from site to site. With large wheels and a rubber grip handle, this Black & Decker unit is one of the better ones on the market to carry around. Plus, its designed for a variety of uses, so you won’t need to lug out a separate machine for every job.

What we like

Like the Senco product, this Black & Decker item is a strong choice because of its portability and range of use. With a convenient handle and wheels, this product isn’t a chore to carry around. Also, it has fairly impressive design specifications.

What we don’t like

Campbell and Hausfeld’s claims about their 8-gallon air compressor should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, most air compresses boast a noise level of 75 dBA, so their claim that their 68 dBA is half as loud as the average air compressor isn’t accurate. Also, while their design specs are certainly more than satisfactory, they aren’t good enough to last four times longer than their competitors.

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Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Airbrush Kit

If we were to tell you that the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Air Compressor was one of the best air compressors for painting on the market, the first proof we’d mention is its airbrush. Unlike other compressors on the market, the Master Airbrush Compressor comes with a multi-purpose airbrush with a 1/3 gravity fluid cup and a 0.3mm tip brush.

The Master Airbrush system is one of the best-engineered units on the market today. With an air filter, a pressure regulator, and a versatile gravity-feed airbrush, this system is sure to provide you with a great painting experience.

One perk of a unit like the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Air Compressor is its ease of use. While some of the others on this list are made with professional painters in mind, this system comes with a How-To-Airbrush manual and guide booklet that’s great for beginners.

What we like

This is a great product if you’re just getting some projects done around the house. As long as you follow the guide booklet and How-To manual, whatever home project you have on the go will be a breeze. Plus, it’s a solidly built piece of equipment.

What we don’t like

While this system is great for beginners, it’s not the most industrial unit on the market. As a result, it might not be the best air compressor to put in the hands of professional painters. Also, it’s not the most portable of the selections on our list.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing The Right Airbrush Compressor

During different stages of home improvement works or renovations, air compressors are utilized for various purposes. It can be used for bolting, nailing, fencing, varnishing and painting. Before deciding on an air compressor, take a look at the following features to consider:

Storage / Portability:

Carrying tools around is part and parcel of home renovations. However, you can try to minimize your carrying load by choosing lightweight tools wherever possible. Opt for an air compressor that isn’t too heavy or bulky, preferably with a hand grip or handle.

Alternatively, there are a number of air compressors that are equipped with wheels as well. This makes it much easier for you to transport the air compressor from one work site to another. In terms of storage, the air compressor should ideally be easily stored away on a level ground, either in your shed or garage.


Work tools are usually built to withstand wear and tear over an extended period of time. Given the nature of the work, transporting and handling would be abrasive at times. The air compressor should also be able to endure long term usage as well.

On top of that, it would be best to get a manufacturer’s warranty for the air compressor. This gives you some security if there’s a defect with the machine.


It is certain that an air compressor will emit noise. However, the correlation between noise and power is overstated. Just because it is powerful, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be noisy. There will be times when you may be required to work indoors or in a quieter work site. Therefore, it would help if the air compressor has a decent level of decibel level.


It’s not always necessary to break the bank for work tools. Set aside a budget and scout around for deals. If buying in-store, always ask if you can get some extra accessories for a cheaper price or sometimes, for free. Compare the prices beforehand and make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.

What size air compressor do you need for an airbrush

Air compressors come in different sizes and capacities. Consider the total air volume required and multiply by the duty cycle and you will get the compressor CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirement. Duty cycle percentage denotes that the compressor engine ought to only operate for a percentage of every hour in use.

This is important to practice as it would ensure the longevity and durability of your air compressor. The rule of thumb is to opt for the air compressor that has the same or higher CFM than your airbrush.

Also consider the type of paint and the surface that you will be working with. For example, textile paints on T-shirts would require 50 to 60 PSI (pounds per square inch). CFM and PSI work in tandem, and will vary depending on type of paint and type of airbrush.

What kind of air compressor for an airbrush

According to Anest Iwata, airbrush compressors are available in a variety of types. Oil-less air compressors are highly recommended as they won’t spill oil on your work. However, it can get loud and overheat quickly. A hot air compressor often means that it requires more maintenance and will have a shorter lifespan.

Diaphragm air compressors are generally used to propel one airbrush. Usually small and portable, the hose is attached directly without an air regulator, moisture or oil filters. Diaphragm air compressors are good for small and quick jobs.

Piston compressors produce more power compared to diaphragm compressors, and therefore will generate more air than is required. Thus, piston compressors require an air regulator and moisture fitter.

Top Recommendation

While it’s certainly a close contest to call, we’re going to have to give it the Senco 1-Gallon Compressor. If not for its versatility, if not for its portability, if not for its warranty, we have to give it to this product for its motor. With the most reliable engine on our list, this Senco product is simply the best, most versatile, and most practical air compressor for painting on the market. While the Master Airbrush is great for beginners and the Campbell Hausfeld has some interesting specs, the Senco is simply the best all-around product.


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