Best Air Compressor Size for Full Vehicle Painting 👊

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Hey, it’s Tony from LearnAutoBodyAndPaint with another video for the Q&A series. Here’s a spray gun question from Richard Kent. 

“Tony, I want to spray a 1970 VW van. I bought an air compressor. It might be too small or I might have the wrong spray guns. The compressor is a 26-gallon with 150 max working psi. 1.8 running horsepower. It says 4-scfm at 90psi and 6-scfm at 40 psi. 

The spray gun is high volume low-pressure. It says 12 cfm @ 40psi. Is it okay or do I have everything wrong? All is new and unopened. Please advise me on this.”

Hopefully I get this to you in time Richard. I recommend getting a low volume low-pressure spray gun. It will have less volume usage for you. 

You can spray your base coat clear coat single-stage enamels and everything with it without any problem. Plus, your compressor is small for painting a full car or van. A 26-gallon compressor would be eaten up quickly. Your 1.8 horsepower compressor is not going to pump enough air for you while you’re spraying, so you’ll run out of pressure. 

You could get away with it if you do it in pieces, but it will take a while. I have painted a full car with a 30-gallon compressor before but you’ll have to wait and play catch-up. 

Spray two panels then wait for a couple of minutes for the compressor to fill up and spray. Your compressed air volume diminishes very quickly if you are continuously spraying a car. That’s why a low volume low-pressure spray gun will do you better. 

I’d recommend getting a 60-gallon air compressor if you’re looking at painting a couple of projects. It’s an investment. It will give you much more volume of air stored with at least 5-HP motor. Something that can rack up 16 CFM at 40 psi. Check out Dewalt or BelAir brands. 

It’s Tony from LearnAutoBodyAndPaint. I have a ton of free information under blogs on the website. Check them out as well. 

If you would like to invest at a medium-grade, high quality spray gun, check out the Atom X20 Spray Gun. These are fantastic spray guns which I use at the shop. Visit Zoolaa to learn more about these spray guns. 

I’d also recommend looking into Quik Kup System that they’re selling. It comes in different sizes. And, if you have a lot more budget, look into the Atom X27 Spray Gun, which is their top of the line. They have an ongoing FREE Gun Budd special for every Atom X27 Spray Gun. Check it out! 

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Talk soon! Cheers!


Other Helpful Links:

Spray Gun Air Pressure Required for a Successful Paint Job

Quiet Air Compressors and The Liter Gallon Size You Need 🤫

Picking YOUR Air Compressor For Automotive Painting – DIY Garage or Shop Air Compressors

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need To Paint a Car?

👉 2hp 29 Gallon Air Tank And Spray Gun Settings

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