How To Set Your Spray Gun Air Pressure – Day 5 Boot Camp

Want a Killer Paint Job? Then Pay Attention To Your Spray Gun Air Pressure

In this post not will I only cover the correct spray gun air pressure that’s needed for a great paint job, but I will also touch on HVLP, LVLP spray guns, and air compressors. Looking for great spray guns? Check out the ATOM-X Spray Gun line at ZooLaa!

When I talk about air pressure, I don’t mean air cap pressure.

I’m referring to air pressure at the neck of your spray gun dial, and when the trigger is pulled.

HVLP Air Pressure Setting for Base Coat Clear Coat (High Volume Low Pressure)

When spraying base coat clear coat systems, you want to spray at 26-29 PSI. You measure this PSI by pulling the trigger and letting air flow through the tip of your gun with your dial or digital readout saying 26-29 PSI.

When spraying a clear coat I usually like to up the pressure by 2-3 psi for a little more atomization and better flow out. 28-29 PSI is the sweet spot in my opinion.

Most HVLP spray guns will use up 10-14 scfm (air volume) at 40 psi. (Volume of air pressure per cubic foot).

(LVLP) Air Pressure Setting (Low Volume Low Pressure)

10-15 psi when the trigger is pulled for the base coat is what most say to set your gun at.

Personally, I spray at about 17 psi when spraying the base coat and 20-25 for the clear coat using the low-volume low low-pressure spray guns. Which I rarely do because I have enough air supply for my guns.

The normal scfm consumption for LVLP guns are about 5-7 scfm (cubic foot per minute) and the volume of air used at 40 PSI.

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need To Set Up Shop?

When shopping for an air compressor, beware of the air compressor ratings.

Nowadays, compressor ratings are inflated. Here’s what I mean…

You must check the rating number “under load”. This is the actual HP (horsepower rating). Don’t pay any attention to what the number says on the big box or sticker.

Here is a great read here on the big lie of air compressor ratings. <<==Click There.

Small DIY Application Air Compressors

spray gun air pressure

A 20-35 gallon (75-133 liter) air tank that pushes out anywhere from 1.5-2.0 horsepower under load is a great small shop or home garage setup.

If all you’re painting is a small car or motorcycle, using this tank with an LVLP spray gun would be a good option for you.

The only warning would be condensation. But again, that happens to larger tanks as well.

Just make sure you have at least two water filters within your setup.

One about 10-15 feet from your air compressor tank and one at your gun neck to keep the water out of your lines. You know the small $5 plastic water filters that you thread on the air inlet of your spray gun.

Looking for great spray guns? Check out the ATOM-X spray gun line at ZooLaa. They are great quality spray guns and also include the very cool GunBudd Ultra Lighting System with every spray gun investment.

Visit the ATOM-X Spray Gun Store Here!

Keep in mind, when using a small compressor, you’ll probably be using a 110-volt outlet. The max horsepower a 110-volt line can put out safely without it kicking off your breaker is around 2 HP.

For Hard-Core Hobby and PRO Use Air Compressors

Get a 60-100 gallon air compressor (189-378 liter) with a horsepower rating of 4-6 HP or higher. The 60-80 gallon is the most popular size for shops and home garages that want some power.

Of course, this setup will be fed by a 240 VAC wiring system similar to your home dryer or home central AC system outlet. Or a larger 3-phase system.

Introducing the new Atom Spray Guns! This new line of spray guns is gaining a lot of popularity in the automotive world. With its combined Japanese and German-style craftsmanship, this spray gun will definitely leave you in awe! Check them out now on Zoolaa!

So, Are You Ready To Become an Auto Body and Paint Samurai? … Then Join Us!

Hai Sen Sei,

I’m ready to learn more about auto body and paint so I can kick butt and chew bubble gum.

What are you waiting for?

Join us like THOUSANDS of other like-minded members in our Private and Exclusive LABAP VIP Auto Body Course. We will take you by the hand and guide you step-by-step from A-Z.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a total newbie or an advanced painter looking for new tricks. I’m sure you’ll get value out of it. In fact, we back it all up with a 30-day money-back guarantee!

In a nutshell, you won’t be left out in the cold anymore, and you’ll be part of a community that cares about your success.

I hope you liked the post and video! Keep us posted ok?

Talk soon!


23 thoughts on “How To Set Your Spray Gun Air Pressure – Day 5 Boot Camp”

  1. I am 89 years old and have been in the motor engineering trade since I was 14. I have a fair knowledge of bodywork repairing and some experience of paint spraying (cellulose only). Several months ago I obtained a small Vauxhall Corsa with mechanical troubles and a dented rear off side door, I have completed the mechanical repairs and now I want to sort out the bodywork, to this end I have purchased a small workshop compressor…50 Ltrs tank with 9cfm available. I recently paid for a De-Vilbis gun (the same one you show in one of your videos) which included a pressure gauge to attach to the spray gun ( also this is seen in this latest email) so Now I’m all set to make a start. Thank you for your emails which are very explanatory including your free downloaded book. Wish me luck.

  2. Hi Bernard, welcome to LAPAP, hope we can kept in touch with our “Filler and Paint Jobs” 🙂
    I am always looking up to my seniors as I remind our youths; look for your seniors for the answers.
    I am 73 years to youth, soon to get back to 39. I did recreate from the grave a ’29 Ford Sedan Delivery, after many painful months working on the body with my body (broken back). and “They told me I could never do it.” Be Learning all of this with ya. Hope you join, it is well informative.

  3. Hey Tony, getting ready to paint my 1985 mercury cougar. Thanks again for the video instruction as well as all the written articles. Very pain staking and time consuming but, well worth it to all who want to learn. Have a great day!

  4. It appears that you are a ripoff like so many others.
    I have been a vip member for a long time , but your system no longer recognizes my pw or email
    and your support system is non existent.

    • Hey David! We have recently updated our membership sites and I believe I reached out to all my VIPs in the past to register to the new one. What do you mean support system does not exist? Our support team is super awesome! Have you tried to email support? Reach out to them at [email protected].

  5. Hey Tony thank you for all you do for us people who thought we could not do body work and paint you give us confidence in ourselves so thank you so much. I have a question about pressure spraying enamel with hardener is it same as spraying base coat clear coat in help and siphon ?thanks again tazman454

  6. Hey tony I just bought the X21 mp gun going to paint my truck with Kirker Urethane paint with urethane clear med temp I in the south hi humidity 78 percent temp 76 to 80 any advice on this medium pressure gun pressure wise I am all earzs

  7. Hello Tony,

    My name is Leroy 41 years oId and from the Netherlands. I appriciate youre tutorials and info about the bodywork and spraying.
    I have two objects that i’am trying to restore as good as i can het them.
    With youre info i dare to try it myself .
    A normal paintjob here will cost for a Caprice classic about 5000 to 7000 euro that will means they do everything prepping etc etc.
    For that kind of money i can try a few times in my own garage.
    I have one question that i couldt not find on the internet
    I have a 250 liter compressor thank 15 kw when i’am spraying after a few sprays the compressor Will kick in do i
    have to stop spraying till its ready and clicks off ?

    Thanks for al the advices and keep up the good work.

    Regards Leroy
    And my english spelling is not that well excuse me for that.

  8. Tony, I want to spray a 1970 vw van. I bought,but can return, an air compressor. It might be to small or I might have the wrong spray guns. The compressor is a 26 gallon, 150 max work psi. 1.8 running hp,says 4-scfm@90psi. 6-scfm at 40 psi. The gun is a help spray gun. It says 12 cfm@ 40 psi.
    Compressor Requirement– 30 plus gal continuous, and 7-29 gal intermediate, 1-6 gal not recommended. Is this ok or do I have everything wrong. Alls new unopened. Please advise me on this.

  9. Hey, Tony;
    I’m 71 and am producing a fine finish on a 1939 Pontiac Coupe. I was in the furniture and upholstery restoration business for over 35 years and was never able to bend my business toward auto restoration because of the area I lived in. Plenty of business for refinishing furniture and doing furniture upholstery but cars seemed to be strictly on the insurance gig. A no money area but we did upholster a few car seats and I collected a few cars which we did over in between other jobs. Now, I’m retired and built a big garage. I brought all of my equipment with me and I am using my T-30 Ingersoll-Rand compressor (80 gal air tank). Plenty of air lots of filters.
    Thanks, Tony for your excellent instructions.
    Steve in Calabash, NC

  10. Hey Tony. Your teaching videos are great. I am an 77 year old gear Head. Have not shot any paint in 12 years. After 22 years of southern sun, I decided to give my 99 Dakota a new lease on life. I am putting final base coat on today. So far, so good. Many thanks for your help.

  11. Tony: I just finished listening to how yhou got started in the business,its a great testiment to why you are doing so good.
    I would like to purchase a better hvlp gravity gun put I’m qestioning if my compressor will spray a finish like a pro. My AC is a castair 60 gallon 5Hp, it will provide 18 cf of air a 100 set at the tank. The unit has worked good for my small grinding and other small projects If I finally step up to a Atom X gun will I have the power to get a professional looking finish? Im giving serious consideration to getttin you how to manuals.
    Thank you for your reply

    • Thank you Jay for the awesome comment! Yes I do recommend the ATOM-X spray guns. They are really fantastic spraying guns and work well. Take a look at the new Atom X88 spray gun, they atomize and spray very nicely. It also comes with a free GunBudd ultra lighting system! Good luck and keep us posted!

  12. Hello Tony, many years ago my job classification was car painter, we are talking 56 years ago. Over the years I always had hobbies, building choppers, racing dirt track open competition and building cars. For the last 40 years I have been a specialty coffee roaster owing two espresso drive thru. My wife suggested I sell the coffee shops but let me keep my roasting gig. Long story shorten, I purchased a 1959 GMC Grumman curb side that I am going pro mod with it as well as a traveling coffee roaster. Since this is all aluminum I did night school at our local Community College’s welding class, to learn TIG, MIG and to brush up on ARC welding. The people here think that their used welding equipment increases in value with age, I found that I could with my business discount purchase Lincoln good equipment for less than the used mostly Harbor Freight on Craigs List. SO, air compressors came to be a problem, with Home Depot, Lowes, Harbor Freight to chose from. I had a DeWalt 6.5 hp 30 gallon from a few years back. My neighbor by my shop is a house painter and he just gave me a Craftsman 33 gallon compressor that works very good and a 30 gallon tank with no motor. My kids all adults and my wife purchased me a set of paint guns from Eastwood when I told them I was going to paint it myself. To my advantage the shop Latino’s Touch is a personal friend and does all of my paint work, he has offered to paint it free for my just purchase the paint of repaint it when I screw it up. Question can I utilize the three tanks for maintaining the PSI needed to paint this 129″long 78″wide 74″tall Grumman? Thank you in advance.


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