What Air Compressor is Best for Spray Painting Furniture?

Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Furniture

Painting furniture in your house requires a lot of work and quite a bit of expertise that most people just do not have the time or energy to learn.

That is why a novice painter might shy away from an air-compressed paint sprayer, particularly if they do not actually know what one is.

When used properly, an air-compressed paint sprayer can do a professional-looking paint job for your furniture items in a very short amount of time.

But what is an air compressor, how it work, and what are the best buying options for painters?

We will cover all these and much more in the guide below…

What is an Air Compressor?

Simply put, an air compressor is a kind of pneumatic device that converts power (like electricity, diesel, gasoline, etc.) into pressurized air which is stored in a form of potential energy.

In other words, an air compressor (along with an air compressed paint sprayer) uses pressurized air to force paint through a tube, and out of the end of a special painting gun.

There are various attachments and accessories that can be used with a paint sprayer as well, like extenders and tips to change the way the paint flows from the gun.

So, we covered what an air compressed paint sprayer is, but now you might be asking, how is the air being compressed in the first place?

Due to the air pressure produced in the air compressor, the paint is released in the form of a fine mist so that it can be applied to furniture, wall, or almost any other surface, with relative ease.

The actual process behind the electric or gas-powered motors used to pressurize the air in a compressor can get a little long-winded, but suffice it to say that an air compressor uses a motor to pressurize a lot of air, then releases it through a hose to be used for various purposes.


*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How does It Work?

For most of the portable-sized air compressors that are designed for home use, there are two settings for the gauges – a lower limit and an upper limit.

As soon as you switch on the power, the motor pulls the outside air and pushes it into the storage tank.

The more the air is stored and forced in, the higher the pressure inside the unit is built. And as soon as the upper limit is reached the unit switches off the motor.

You can now use the stored pressurized air by releasing the valve. The high-pressure air moves through the air hose to power up the tool.

Now when the air pressure in the storage tank reaches the lower limit, the unit turns on again to refill the air inside the tank.

What It Is Used For?

At this point, you might be asking yourself why you would even need something like an air compressor.

I mean, you do not have a whole house to paint, and you probably will not even think about adding another coat of paint for another year or more, so why should you invest in what seems like professional-grade painting equipment just to save a few hours?

Well, to be frank, there are several reasons that you may want to consider an air compressor and a paint sprayer.

In general, a portable air compressor can be used to blow air for cleaning, for filling tires and other blown-up products, for nail guns, and of course, they can be used on a paint gun (for painting house or even a car).

For that matter, in the long run, an air-compressed paint sprayer along with an air compressor might not only save you money on rollers, brushes, and paint trays but also on various other products that you will not need to use as often with a sprayer.

5 Best Air Compressors for Spray Painting Furniture

There are a lot of amazing air compressors for painting furniture that can be used to make your spray painting job much faster and easier, and there are a few that will not really be worth your money.

It is always a good idea to do a little research into a product before purchasing it, so you know it is right for your individual needs.

If you have a big painting job (or even a small one), and you want to get it done quickly, start looking into some of these great air compressors to get the job done right.

We have already done most of the research for you, so read on to find the best air compressor for use with painting equipment.

1- Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 Air Compressor

Makita MAC700 2.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston, combined with...
  • Substantially lower noise levels with a large 1,720 RPM pump, enabling...
  • Low amp draw reduces incidences of tripped breakers and voltage drop...

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As one of the top-sellers in the industry, this high-quality portable air compressor for spray painting has maintained consistently high ratings among user reviews.

The Makita MAC700 is equipped with a 2.0 HP motor and a cast iron pump with a larger cylinder and piston, combined with a greater bore and stroke for maximum compression, faster recovery, and decreased noise.

The tank is 2.6-gallons, and capable of sustaining an operating pressure of 130 PSI and delivering 40PSI (3.8 CFM) and 90 PSI (3.3 CFM).

The MAC700 has an oil-lubricated pump and is equipped with a large automotive style filter for increased air intake and higher efficiency.

This best portable air compressor for home use and spray painting is a little pricier than others, but its high durability and efficient operation make it worth the extra cost.

• Cast iron pump
• Lower noise levels
• Oil lubricated for minimizing wear
• One year of manufacturer’s warranty
• Higher output with very little maintenance
• Roll-bar handle for portability and protection
• A bit heavy

2- PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK UMC Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake,...
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows more...
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for quick...
  • 6 gal Pancake style tank of the PORTER-CABLE air compressor is made...

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This small, but powerful air compressor is another top seller with high marks on sites like Amazon.

One of the best things about this particular compressor is that it is lightweight, so it’s easy to use when you know you’ll have to move it often.

The pancake-style tank on this compressor has a 6-gallon capacity as well as a water drain valve, rubber feet, and a maximum of 150 PSI.

It provides longer air tool performance and features a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI allowing for speedy recovery times.

• Shroud, handle, and console cover
• Water drain valve and rubber feet
• Easy to use and start even in cold weather
• Easy to transport with handle and integrated cord wrap
• Oil-free pump for longer life and low maintenance costs
• Leakage issues
• Complicated user manual

3- California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ Quiet Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-4710SQ 4710Sq Quiet Compressor...
  • Material type: Metal
  • Oil-free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs
  • Package dimensions:22.0"L x 11.0"W x 25.0"H

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This 5.5-gallon compressor is designed to emit a surprisingly low 60 decibels of sound, making it one of the quietest compressors available on the market today.

The powerful 1.0 HP (SP-9413) motor operates at only 1680 RPM which means that less noise is produced, and the compressor will not wear out as fast.

This electric-powered compressor is perfect for DIYers who want to use the tool inside the home.

Also, you can use it very easily in a variety of temperatures and on uneven terrains as well.

One good thing about the machine is it has an Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System which is designed with high performance and durability in mind.

• Low noise
• Rust-free steel tank
• Very easy to transport and handle
• Oil-free Pump for Less Maintenance
• N/A

4- DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI...
  • 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI...
  • High efficiency motor of the electric air compressor is made for easy...
  • 78.5 dBA noise level of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for a...

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This corded electric compressor has a six-gallon tank, starts up easily in cold weather, and weighs only 30 pounds.

That makes it one of the lightest compressors available for paint sprayers today.

This DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor also features a 165 max PSI 6.0-gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered with a 90 PSI pump.

The long work time means you can cover large spaces in short order.

Another great feature is that it has two connectors, allowing multiple users or sprayers to be connected at once.

• Easy cord wrap for storage
• High-flow regulator for better performance
• Oil-free pump for maintenance-free operation
• Efficient motor for easy start-up in cold weather conditions
• Console cover, ball drain valve, protective rubber leg covers
• Leakage issues

5- Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Air Compressor

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
  • The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free, maintenance-free...
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI...
  • BOSTITCH high efficiency motor of the 6 gallon air compressor is made...

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another one of the smaller air compressors available on the market today.

This compressor is lightweight and portable, only weighing 33 pounds.

It has an oil-free, maintenance-free pump that delivers 2.6 SCFM 90PSI and maximum tank storage of 150 PSI which allows for long run time so jobs get knocked out quickly.

Although this 6-gallon tank is comparatively cheaper than others, its high durability and efficiency make it worth investing in.

• Low noise operation
• Convenient to use and store
• High flow regulator and couplers
• Highly durable oil-free, maintenance-free pump
• High-efficiency motor to start instantly in cold weather
• Does not include hose

Different Types of Air Compressors

There are several different kinds of air compressors available to paint furniture at home or a vehicle in your garage.

If you are going to purchase one for use with your painting project it is best to know what your options are, and what kind would work best for you.

1- Reciprocating air compressor:

This kind of air compressor pressurizes a successive volume of air, which is already confined to space.

It then elevates the air to a higher degree of pressure with the use of motorized pistons.

2- Rotary screw compressor:

This is a positive displacement compressor.

Essentially it has two rotors inside a casing, and these rotors compress the air internally.

3- Centrifugal air compressor:

This is a dynamic air compressor that passes energy from a rotating impeller to the air in order to create a continuous flow of air pressure.

These make great high-capacity compressors.   

This may sound like complicated information, but it is important to know the difference between these types of air compressors because each one operates differently.

You want to make sure that you are making an informed decision so that you get the best possible product for your painting needs.

What are the Different Styles Available?

Portable air compressors are a favorite among handymen, carpenters, painters, and even DIY enthusiasts.

The good thing is they are available in a variety of different styles so that each one of them can choose the style they require based on their working requirements.

If you are in the market to pick the best air compressor here are the commonest designs/styles you are likely to encounter:

1- Pancake Compressors: 

These are flat and round in design. It’s ideal for people who want a compact and easy to transport portable-sized machine.

2- Hot Dog Compressors:

These are cylindrical in design. Relatively heavier and bigger than pancake compressors it’s also most common due to its compact, and easy-to-transport style.

3- Twin Compressors: 

It’s basically a standard hot dog compressor with the difference that it consists of dual tanks stacked on top of each other.

Obviously, if you want to accomplish larger projects quickly this is the style for you to choose.

4- Pontoon Air Compressors:

This air compressor style resembles pontoon boats and from there they got its name.

It features two horizontal tanks, located horizontally along the width of the compressor.

5- Wheelbarrow Air Compressors:

These come with two cylindrical tanks that are positioned along the length of the compressor.

The tanks are fixed in a way that resembles a dolly-type “wheelbarrow”.

These are most popular among the contractors due to their portability along with higher efficiency.

Factors You Need to Consider When Buying

No matter whether you need to spray paint the old furniture (in your home or office) or want to make your nailing and installing molding task a little bit easier – picking a good heavy-duty air compressor can be your solution.

However, when you purchase an air compressor for spray painting furniture, walls, deck, vinyl siding, or just anything else; be sure to look into a few key factors so that you pick the right one as per your requirements.

Some of the specific features you need to consider most are:

1- PSI and CFM

First of all, you will need to consider the maximum air pressure in terms of PSI (meaning “per square inch”) and CFM (meaning “cubic feet per minute”).

These are the two most important features you need to look at closely while buying a portable air compressor for home use.

While PSI tells you how much the air compressor pressurizes the air per square inch; CFM is the measure of how fast it pressurizes the air per minute.

A portable air compressor will typically require to have 0 to 5 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 70 to 90 pounds per square inch (PSI).

whereas if you are working in an industry or at a professional level with larger tools that are connected to stationary systems, your requirements may exceed 10 CFM at 100 to 120 PSI.

2- Material and Weight

Another thing to think about is the material used to make the product.

Strong and durable metals like cast iron will last a long time, but it will also make a very heavy product.

So, it is best to consider both the durability, and the weight, and decide based on your needs.

3- Portable or Stationery

The next important thing you need to consider is the portability of the air compressor.

Unlike stationary models, portable air compressors can be moved quickly from one room to another without any problem, you may need to consider them for painting and other household purposes.  

4- Size and Storage Tanks

One more thing to keep in mind is that the tank size on compressors varies.

In general, portable air compressors vary in size according to the type or size of storage tanks they have.

While there are compressors with small storage tanks that are most appropriate for spray painting or using nail guns, there are a few other varieties that may include long and narrow tanks integrated making them a bit larger in size.

It is important to note that you only choose a larger storage tank if you really need one for the sake of your job.

In most cases, it’s best to choose a portable storage tank that is small and easy to handle.

So, you’ll want to make sure you buy one with a tank that fits your needs.

5- Power & Power Source

The energy needed for an air compressor to perform a job is referred to as its “horsepower”.

This simply means that the more the horsepower is the more powerful will be your compressor.

If you want to buy an air compressor machine for more than one purpose, it’s good to invest in a unit with greater horsepower.

On a similar note, another important factor to look at is the power source that a compressor uses to operate.

These can be either electrical or gasoline.

While electrically operated air compressors are more affordable and efficient to use, the gasoline models are more versatile, reliable, and efficient especially if you want to use them outdoors.

Due to the fact that gasoline-fuelled air compressors may cause pollution, you should avoid using them indoors or in an enclosed area.

6- Durability and Warranty

Air compressors do not come cheap, so whatever model you choose to buy make sure that it’s designed sturdy and can last for years to come.

Obviously, a unit that comes with most of the metal parts (like a tank, regulators, and other fittings) can withhold all the conditions better and can serve you for longer.

Also, make sure that the unit features sturdy rubber feet and an ergonomic handle for easy carrying.

Although these may sound to be immaterial, they can help a lot in enhancing the life of the unit by protecting it whenever you are transporting it by hand.

Furthermore, do not forget to check about the warranty conditions whenever you are buying expensive tools like an air compressor.

Most reliable brands offer a warranty that may range anywhere from one year to three years.  

7- Few Other Special Features

Although an air compressor may seem to be a simple machine, it can come with various extra features that can improve its performance.

For example, there are certain types of units that may come with multiple connection points, allowing you to use your unit for several different tools (like nail guns, impact wrenches, and paint sprayers) simultaneously.  

Although this distinct functionality comes in powerful expensive units, this can be an overwhelming feature, especially for contractors as it can save them a huge amount of time.

In addition to this, there are self-oiling units, that come with tools, kits, and features with a wide variety of adjustability options.

Whether you need them or not will however depend on your project and the budget you have in mind.

Last but not the least, you will also need to check the compressor-style and consider buying an air compressor that comes with interchangeable valves and pressure regulators.

With this, you can make use of your unit for a wider variety of tasks (and not just for painting) without compromising on performance.

How to Use an Air Compressor Correctly?

This goes back to what we mentioned about reading the owner’s manual.

While I can give you some general information here that will help you get an overall grasp on how it all works, the owner’s manual will give you the most detailed instructions specific to that particular product.

Take a little time to read it and you will find the operation of the air compressor to be easier and more efficient.

In the meantime, there are a few quick tips I can give that might help.

If the air compressor is electric, it can be as simple as plugging it in and turning it on.

However, even then you will probably have to give it some time to build up the pressure before actually using it for anything.

On the other hand, if it is a gas-powered compressor, it may require you to prime it, then pull on a ripcord to crank up the motor.

As with the electric-powered air compressor, you will likely have to wait a few minutes while it builds pressure.

After you have it started up and you have given it a little time, you should be good to go.

Tips for Safely Using Your Paint Sprayer Air Compressor

Perhaps the most important safety tip is to never use a damaged air compressor.

If the integrity of the air compressor is weakened, the high amount of pressure inside could end up escaping in a sudden and violent burst that can cause serious harm or even death.

So, it’s recommended that you inspect the air compressor system prior to use and never use an air compressor that is dented or punctured.

Also, remember to wear gloves and safety glasses when you are using an air compressor for painting furniture, and for almost any home renovation job at all really.

When you are using this air compressor system for house painting or an automotive painting, the paint is spraying out of the spray gun, so it could easily get into your eyes and cause serious damage.

If there is any kind of defective equipment or damaged equipment, you will be glad you were wearing the appropriate safety gear if something were to malfunction in a dangerous way.

It is well worth a little extra time and effort to put on some safety gear; it may just save your life, limb, or eyesight.

How to Maintain Your Air Compressor Right?

Maintaining your air compressor is very important.

You don’t want to spend money on a product, only to allow it to break down due to improper maintenance.

Read the owner’s manual for instructions on storage and maintenance tips that are specific to your product.

However, here are a few tips for general maintenance.

  • Change the oil if and whenever necessary.
  • Bleed the condensation valves according to the manual.
  • Search the compressor for any loose parts and tighten them up.
  • Keep the intake and connectors clean and free of obstructions.
  • Keep track of how long each full tank lasts, so that you can compare and know if the time suddenly decreases.

What is the Best Paint Spray Gun for Air Compressor?

We will get back to you more about the compressors shortly, but let’s take a brief moment to go over a few paint sprayer attachments for an air compressor that will go nicely with your new compressor.

If you do not have one, you can buy them in addition to an air compressor for painting.

1- Graco Inc. 243011 SG2 Spray Gun

This is a high-quality product that can operate at up to 3,600 psi.

It comes with a thumb-engaged safety switch so you will not make a mess if you are handling it while you do not mean to be spraying.

2- Campbell Hausfeld Detail Siphon-Feed Spray Gun

This is Campbell Hausfeld’s current bestseller and for good reason.

For less than $40, you get an 8 oz canister, nickel-plated body, and multiple settings to choose from. This is a fantastic product at an affordable price.

3- Astro Pneumatic Tool 4008 Spray Gun with Cup

This comes with a stylish red handle and a 1.8 mm nozzle.

The cup has a one-quart capacity, and the gun is deliberately designed with easy cleanup in mind.

Common Problems with Air Compressors & How to Fix Issues?

An airbrush compressor can help you save time while getting excellent results.

However, like any other device, you will need to know how it works, what issues you might face, and troubleshoot potential problems if you want to get the most out of your investment.

What follows are a few tips and suggestions that will help you better understand airbrush compressors, so you can use them properly.

1- Starting Issues

If your air compressor does not start, you may not have to bring it to the repair shop.

Instead, check the air pressure gauge and see what available pressure is there.

If it is higher than the amount required for the work you are about to do, then release enough of it until it’s about where it is needed.

This will allow the air compressor to start as the pressure is low enough for it to kick on.

2- Humming Sound

While air compressors have a motor, you may hear an unusual hum coming from the device.

If the sound is loud, then you may have an issue with the unloader valve.

Although this may sound like a complex issue, it’s actually not that difficult to understand and repair under most circumstances.

You simply need to purchase a new unloader valve and replace the old one.

You’ll need to empty the tank first, replace the valve, make sure it is secure, then restart the motor to fill the tank. If done properly, the hum will be gone.

3- Air Leakage

One of the most common issues associated with air compressors is leakage of the air itself.

You will need to determine if all the connections are solid as they are the most likely sources of air leakage.

Start by removing the hose from the airbrush compressor but leave the compressor on.

Now, apply soapy water to all the connections and seals. If you see bubbles, that is where a leak is taking place.

For the most part, damaged components and busted pipes are the cause, but the good news is that they are easy to replace.

By identifying all the areas where a leak is taking place, you can get them fixed quickly and with relatively little expense as such parts are relatively cheap.

If you have a complicated air compressor, then you may want to use a repair shop to have a professional do the job.

They will charge fees for their service, but you will get the repair performed correctly and they usually back up their work.

4- Stopping Frequently

Another common issue with air compressors is that they can slow down or come to a full stop from time to time.

For the most part, the issue is usually with the power connection or the amount of power that is being provided to the compressor.

Make sure that your power supply is more than enough to run the compressor.

If the power is there, then the issue might be the oil level or lubricating coating that is part of the compressor unit.

You must have clean oil that is free of any debris for the compressor to work properly.

If the oil or lubricating coat is the problem, then you may want to have the compressor taken to the shop or have an expert look it over.

This is because the compressor is a relatively complicated machine and what is needed for repair may be beyond your knowledge.

Another thing to keep in mind is that low temperatures may affect the performance of the air compressor.

This is because the oil inside may get thicker or even solidify which means you should not just fire it up if it is cold.

Instead, move the compressor to a warm place so that it has a chance to heat up and it should work fine.

Related FAQs

How much air pressure do I need?

How much air pressure you will need will typically depend on what you will be using your compressor for?

For example, if you are planning to use it for powering your air tools at home, you will certainly need the pressure in a range of 70 PSI to 110 PSI.

Since different tools may require different air pressure to run, it’s good to check your tools before you decide on an air compressor.

What is a duty cycle of an air compressor?

The duty cycle of an air compressor can be referred to as the amount of time for which it can deliver pressurized air within a given span of time.

Typically, a compressor that comes with a higher duty cycle is designed for heavy usage compared to a compressor with a low duty cycle percentage.

A higher duty cycle is certainly more important for those who plan to run the compressor more continuously for keeping up the airflow.

Single vs. Two-stage air compressor: which is better?

Simply put, the difference between single and two-stage compressors is that of power.

While a single-stage air compressor can deliver about 150 PSI of power, the two-stage motor can deliver about double that.

So, if you are planning to get a compressor for bigger jobs, it’s good to get a bigger two-stage motor.

Oil vs Oil-less air compressor: which is best for my project?

As in the name, the basic difference between an oil and an oil-less air compressor is the previous one uses oil for operation and the latter does not.

Oil air compressors are designed for heavy-duty industrial usage and its perfect for you if you want to have a noiseless, long-lasting, durable unit.

However, if you want a cheaper, portable, and lightweight unit that’s more efficient for home use it’s good to look for oil-less compressors.

What is the difference between an inflator and an air compressor?

While inflators and air compressors may seem to be the same for many buyers, they are actually not.

The basic difference is that an air compressor for inflating (or an inflator) does not come with a tank.

They are usually small (for inflating purposes) and feature only a pump and a motor.

Air compressors on the other hand feature a tank and are meant for operating bigger tools like paint sprayers and nail guns.


We all know that there is a great deal of work that goes into a new painting project in your home.

Even before you start moving furniture, taping things off, and laying down drop cloths for spray painting, you have to research and purchase the right kind of air compressor for the paint job.

The point of this article is not necessarily to help you choose the best air compressor and attachment for your paint sprayer, but to help you understand what one is and how should you use it safely.

Hopefully, this guide had given you a clear picture of what an air compressor is so that you will not feel quite so intimidated by the concept of using one.

Who Makes the Best Air Compressor on The Market?

Want to pick the right air compressor for spray painting your home?

But, still, confused about what to choose or what are the most popular brands you should compare?

Below are a comparison table and list of best brands you can check on Amazon.

Hopefully, you will find the right one among them that suits your requirements best.

*Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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