How to Paint a Car With a Small Air Compressor in 2024

Painting a car with an air compressor is simple and easy just like fun until you face any trouble while doing it the first time. If you’re going to paint a car, then it’s essential to know how to paint a car with a small air compressor, otherwise, things may go wrong if you do not follow the suggested guidelines.

Car painting with a small air compressor is better, but you know the whole car will not be paintable at once, the small air compressor is required to paint a car by following steps in a sequence. When you do it once it becomes the cause of uniformity.

The reason is, air compressors are small and you are forced to keep refilling without getting the level of desired polish. As per your satisfaction, if you have a small air compressor you should not paint a car; it doesn’t mean you did a good job by using a small air compressor.

If you want to paint a car at home and you want it to come out perfectly by using a small air compressor, then you must focus on its minute details. In the painting process of the car, you must be aware of the accurate compressor as well as its safety tips with a smart trick.

Here in this article, we discuss a bunch of tricks along with how to paint a car with a small air compressor as well as its guidelines. For painting a car always use a suitable air compressor. If you stick around with how to paint a car with an air compressor and want to find better solutions, you just need to follow the given below guidelines.

Choosing the best air compressors

You need to choose an ideal air compressor if you want to paint a car. The selection of an ideal air compressor depends on your needs, paint type, car condition, and CFM. These mentioned things decide a significant quality type air compressor which you should buy.

For More: Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars at Home of 2024

The whole painting process compressor CFM instantly helps. To create paint automation you just need a paint spray for your vehicles. On the exterior gas breaks up and leads to the paint spray. The compressor comes with high CFM, so you will be able to complete your work efficiently.

According to your needs the types of air compressors

In the market, you will find different kinds of air compressors according to vehicle needs, model, size as well their capacity. A bunch of variations among air compressors, the most common type we suggested here is given below, All of these are best and perfect for car painting.

  • Rotary screw compressor
  • Reciprocating air compressor
  • Axial compressor
  • Centrifugal compressor

Rotary screw compressor

If you want to use an air compressor for large vehicles or continuously use it for several vehicles, then a rotary screw air compressor is the perfect choice for you. These are the most common types of air compressors in terms of their usage.

Rotary screw air compressors are more efficient, have a large capacity, and require low maintenance, this type of air compressor is ideal for a car painting session.

Reciprocating air compressor

The reciprocating air compressors are well-featured and well-organized. One of the most featured of that kind of air compressor is the variations for pressure control.

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According to your pressure, you can use any of them. For smaller tasks single-stage variations are enough, on the other hand for a large project, you can use multi-stage variations.

Axial compressor

In large projects, axial air compressors are highly efficient and considered the most powerful air compressor. Generally, these types of air compressors are not used in small kinds of vehicles.

Axial air compressors are more expensive as compared to other types of air compressors which we describe. Due to their price and strong features, we don’t recommend axial air compressors for small projects.

Centrifugal compressor

Like screw air compressors, centrifugal air compressors are powerful and highly efficient that also require low maintenance. For a small project, this type of air compressor is perfect as compared to axial air compressors.

Generally, the centrifugal air compressor is used in large industrial base construction work, so these are the best option for large projects in which they can handle a large amount of work easily.

Painting a car with air compressor requirements

If you have an air compressor that will be perfect for painting a car, still you need some essential requirements to consider for car painting. Otherwise, if you don’t care about the selection of an air compressor as their essential requirement, you may have serious trouble.

Here we describe the basis and essential requirements for car painting air compressors. These requirements are given below, you just need to care while car painting.

  • Rating of pressure
  • Compressor tank capacity
  • Air compressor efficiency
  • Rating of CFM

Rating of pressure

Air compressor pressure rating is actually the pressure that comes during paint through the nozzle gun. For painting a car the minimum requirement is 15 PSI. For better results, you can also choose from 20 PSI to 25.

Compressor tank capacity

While choosing an air compressor you need to select an air compressor with optimum capacity. In case of missing these steps, you need to refill the compressor while painting a car several times. It may also become a cause of uneven layers.

For More: Best Air Compressor for Home Shop in 2024

For car painting and touch-ups the air compressor tanks size at least 50 gallons, because they work efficiently. If you want to work better and you have an idea to paint a car’s whole body then we recommend going for a 60-gallon tank-size air compressor.

Air compressor efficiency

The air compressor’s horsepower represents its efficiency. If your air compressor has a higher horsepower then it works efficiently both in small and large projects. For car painting 10 horsepower compressors are best.

Rating of CFM

The CFM of an air compressor represents the pressure of the quantity that is delivered by the air compressor. Always choose a higher CFM air compressor to avoid any kind of disturbance during painting practice. The two-stage air compressor which comes with 20 CFM works perfectly in an efficient way.

How to paint a car with a small air compressor

After knowing the right air compressor and its essentials, it’s time to start the car painting process. Here we mentioned the steps in a sequence that will help you to paint a car with a small air compressor.

  • Paint mixing
  • Remove previous paint and rust
  • The air compressor turning on

Paint mixing

While paint mixing you must have to be extra cautious because this technique varies for different kinds of paints. If you do not do the proper paint mixing, you may face uneven particles on your vehicle’s body. So, if you’re unfamiliar with this you take advantage of professionals.

Remove previous paint and rust

Before you’re going to start car painting, you just need to remove all kinds of rust and previous paint. First, you make sure the previous paint is removed properly as well as all types of rust on your vehicle body.

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This step requires more care because when you start the car painting process, you will clearly see a visible layer of rust or old paint during your new car paint processing. Just simple you need to remove all kinds of rust and old paint.

The air compressor turning on

You can turn on the air compressor if you remove all affected areas on the car body. First, check before going to start the process of car paint, whether the pain gun makes an uneven layer on the car body or not. Refill the tank before you feel the pain in the tank is almost going to end.

After completing the process of car paint, do not take your vehicle under the sun. You just need to dry under cool air after finishing the painting process.

Essential tips while painting a car with an air compressor

To make work a bit easier and better, while painting a car with a small air compressor, then you should know some essential tips and tricks. These tricks and tips will ensure you the best result to avoid any unwanted situations.

  • Covering of lights, mirror, and glasses
  • Clean with scrubber
  • Safe distance maintaining

Covering of lights, mirror, and glasses

Before starting spray paint on the car body, we hardly recommended covering vehicle windows, mirrors, headlights as well sidelights. If you don’t care to cover these things, they could get stained by spray paint which is difficult to remove it. To cover these things, you can use paper or plastic sheets.

Clean with scrubber

When you’re going to remove rust and previous paint from the car body, you should take advantage of a scrubber to them all kinds of rust and previous paint. By using a scrubber, it will be easy to remove. For dissolving liquid you can also use vinegar with a scrubber.

Safe distance maintaining

While you’re painting car spray with an air compressor, it will ensure to maintain a safe distance from the car body. To avoid distribution from the paint particles, the required distance is 15 centimeters. It will be safe for you and the painted car body.


Can we paint a car with a small air compressor?

Yes, you can paint a car with a small air compressor. You just need to follow some instructions and proper procedures to paint a car with an air compressor. It’s a simple and easiest way for car painting through air compressors.

What is the smallest compressor that you can paint a car with?

For some applications, you need a minimum air compressor PSI 15 like a clear coat. But for better results, you can go for 20 to 25 PSI. If you’re doing auto-filling then a 10 HP compressor is sufficient.

Can I spray paint with a small compressor?

Air compressors are more powerful tools which they can be used for several routine tasks. Moreover, they have a powerful storage tank which is ideal for a variety of applications as well as for spray painting. You surely used the small air compressor for spray painting.

Can you paint a car with a 20-gallon air compressor?

For small operations the 20-gallon air compressors are ideal, Definitely, go for auto painting according to expert recommendations. To fully feel the requirement you just need to check the spray gun essentials needs.

What size of the air hose is for painting cars?

Our recommendation for the diameter of the paint spray, the hose could be larger than 3 to 8 inches. The length we consider is 20 to 25 feet because suitable air hoses play a vital role in the applications of paintings.


Painting a car with small air compressors are always easy, you just need to follow some proper instruction and procedure. We hope this article will help you with how to paint a car with a small air compressor. If you still facing some trouble or hesitate to paint a car with a compressor take help from professionals.

Abdul Sattar is the owner and main author of Bestairtools. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Working in blogging for over 7 years to share my knowledge with the world. I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.

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