HVLP compressors, simply put, are air compressors that have High Volume (HV) and Low pressure (LP). They function by releasing a high volume of paint at low pressure so that the paint is evenly distributed on the surface. A low pressure implies that the flow of paint is oppressed and most of the paint will fall back on the painting surface rather than wasting away in the air. HVLP air compressors are the best choice for someone who wants a smooth and flawless painting finish. You can use an HVLP sprayer that will help you with finishing the task more efficiently. HVLP spray guns work on the same mechanism as that of HVLP compressors and so tend not to spray excess paint onto the surface you are trying to paint. They have better “transfer efficiency”, implying that a high amount of paint that is shot out of the gun is generally stuck to the surface of paint as compared to that of other sprayers which have higher wastage and less of paint sticking on to the surface.
What can be considered as the Best Air Compressor for HVLP?
HVLP guns require a lot of air and hence you might need a larger compressor for it. But, some professionals and hobbyists are making it work using smaller compressors too. Moreover, it’s necessary that the air compressor is able to provide the correct PSI and CFM that is required by the gun. Many guns are designed to run in harmony with a 20-30 gallon air compressor with HP about 2-3 and which can provide the CFM range of 4 to 19 CFM. Such HVLP spray gun compressors are ideal to finish your spraying task, including touch-ups as well as undercoating.
Here, I have researched over a number of air compressors that you can use for HVLP spray guns and have enlisted five of the top reviewed air compressors for HVLP.
Best Air Compressor for HVLP
1. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor
- Quietest air compressor
- Pretty heavy but the air compressor is portable
- Ideal for harsh job site environments as well as home workshops
- Vibration-free, so no disturbing your neighbors
- One year Warranty
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air compressor is one of the best HVLP compressors. It has industrial air filters with increased air intake and hence making it more efficient. This air compressor has a cast iron pump that provides faster recovery time and improved performance with a big bore cylinder and a piston. The pump used is oil-lubricated, allowing for cooler running temperatures and reduced wear. This compressor runs at half the RPM of most competitive units resulting in lower noise (79dB) and improved pump durability. The MAC2400 is a high output air compressor that delivers industrial power and can withstand tough job site conditions.
2. Porter Cable PXCMF220VW Air Compressor
- Conforms to ISO 1217 for SCFM claims
- Longer run time compared to other air compressors
- High quality with motor windings that have extended life
- Easily moveable with 7-inch solid rubber wheels
- Well packed and can be assembled easily
The Porter Cable PXCMF220vW is a portable air Compressor of 20 gallons that can be used for HVLP. It is a great air compressor for painting as it has the capacity to run for longer times on heavy consumption tools. It also features a low voltage start-up which reduces the current drawn and has less starting torque on the motor. The tank can be drained with ease with an included pressure switch, tank pressure gauge, and a pressure relief valve. This air compressor can be used for various functions including bolting, wrenching, nailing, stapling, hobby painting, and inflating. It is a low maintenance compressor with no need for frequent oil checkups and changes.
3. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor (DC080500)
- Versatile usage for nailing, stapling, fastening, hobby painting, and inflation.
- 50% quieter than comparable air compressors
- Oil-free and Maintenance-free pump
- Durability with key components lasting up to 4 times longer
- Designed for a user-friendly experience
The Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 is an ideal air compressor for painting. At just 68 dbA it is one of the quietest compressors great for indoor and outdoor usage for HVLP. This compressor provides high performance and durability with its dual Piston Pump System. It produces 25% more air compared to other 1.0 HP air compressor motors. It has a robust construction with key components that last up to 4 times longer. You can easily use it daily for 8-10 hours and also the tank fills quickly. It is a reliable product manufactured by a company that has a history of quality products since 1836.
4. California Air Tools 8010A Air Compressor
- Ultra-quiet air compressor with only 60 decibels
- Needs less maintenance with the oil-free pump system
- Lightweight and rust-free design
- Compact and portable
- Higher performance and durability
The California Air Tools 8010A is one of the best air compressors for painting. It is renowned for its durability and reliability as the oil-free pump makes it an equal to no maintenance compressor at a low cost. It has a powerful 1.0 HP motor and operates at 1680 RPM which helps in reducing the noise and wear of the HVLP compressor. The air compressor features a pump specifically designed to withhold wear for up to 3000+ hours, which is quite high compared to the similar air compressors which provide about 500 hours before wear. This ultra-quiet and oil-free lightweight air compressor comes with a toolkit making it easy to transport from one place to another.
5. Metabo HPT Air Compressor (EC28M)
- Trust of Hitachi Power tools
- Branded as the best ‘Quiet Compressor’ you have never heard
- Easy and accurate PSI adjustments
- Reduced vibration and high shock absorption capacity
- High durability with no maintenance
The Metabo HPT air compressor is an ultra-quiet air compressor at just 59 dB. It is a compact and lightweight compressor designed with an oil-free pump for high durability and no maintenance. This HVLP compressor is portable and has a steel roll cage with rubber grips which protects all the critical components and maintains the grip during usage and transportation. It doesn’t have wheels to tote around but you can surely move it around easily with the rubber handles and the grip at the bottom makes it sturdy at one place reducing the vibration and minimizing crawling.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can you use an HVLP gun with an air compressor?
Yes, you can use an HVLP gun with an air compressor, but you need to make sure that the air compressor you are using can provide the correct PSI and CFM compatible for your spray gun.
2. How much air does an HVLP gun need?
HVLP or High-Volume and Low-Pressure guns require a high volume of air that is typically between 15 CFM to 26 CFM which is delivered at a low pressure of 10 PSI or lower at the air cap.
3. How many gallon air compressors to paint a car?
Painting cars generally need bigger air compressors of about 60 gallons which can handle painting most vehicles in a single go. But some tasks can be achieved with smaller air compressors too. As a rule of thumb, you can invest in an air compressor of capacity 30 gallons and up for painting a car.
4. What is the best air compressor for painting cars?
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is the best air compressor for painting cars as it is designed such that it is compatible with the requirements of most of the HVLP spray guns. There are other good air compressors too but you need to check their compatibility with your sprayer to achieve the best for your task.
5. What is a good size air compressor for spray painting?
Spray painting will need around 1 to 2 HP of the motor for sprayers with 6 CPM and 30-40 PSI. If your air compressor with a capacity of 50 gallons can deliver at least 8CFM at 40 PSI you are good to go.
I hope that you have got enough information related to the best air compressors for HVLP. However, it is advised to list out your requirements like the place of usage, type of usage, type of finish required, portability, weight, and also budget before exploring your options as these play as the deciding factor for your selection. Additionally, you should make sure that you use a compressor that is in correspondence with the HVLP spray gun or the other tools you might be planning to use it with. Once you have your requirements gathered you can choose the best one for you from the list given above.