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.

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 clear coat I usually like to up the pressure 2-3 psi for a little more atomization and better flow out. 28-29 PSI being 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 trigger is pulled for base coat is what most say to set your gun at.

Personally I spray at about 17 psi when spraying base coat and 20-25 for 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 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 (horse power 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 horse power 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 a LVLP spray gun would be a good option for you.

The only warning would be condensation. But again, that happens to bigger 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.

We sell them at our spray gun store here. Check out our Warwick spray gun line too if you go there. They are a great quality spray gun and affordable.

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 horse power rating of 4-6 HP or higher. The 60-80 gallon being the most popular in 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.

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