How to use spray gun with Air compressor

Knowledge of how to use a paint sprayer with an air compressor gives DIY fans bragging rights. Today I will guide you on how you guys can use an air compressor with a paint sprayer in order to paint.

This guide is for newbies who are confused about whether to use or not an air compressor with their paint sprayer. And I hope this guide also helps the professionals in some way. HomeRight C800766 is the best paint sprayer for air compressor and I used it with Air compressors for hours without a single issue. And the second best paint sprayer for air compressor is Wagner Spraytech 0518080. The third best air compressor paint sprayer which I used and performed well was NEIKO 31216A. For all of these spray guns I have used CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor which I have been using for years and it didn’t let me down even a single time.

Method of spraying with air compressor

In fact, most do-it-yourselfers don’t even bother with this method because it’s often seen as being way too advanced for their needs.

I suggest professionals use a paint sprayer with a compressor. This guide on how to use a paint sprayer with air compressor will help you.

But if you’re an average Joe who just wants to spruce up your home with some new colors, then we suggest using this handheld turbine.

However, if you want serious kudos and the respect of your peers then there’s nothing better than pneumatic spraying.

What exactly is air compressor spraying?

Airless paint sprayers use the power of an internal piston pump to move liquid.

These units are sometimes called hydraulic sprayers because gas- or electric-powered compressors pump up a chamber that contains the liquid to be sprayed.

And that’s the key — this style of painting requires an additional helping hand (or arm).

Turbines and airless sprayers, whether handheld or with an external motor, are complete off-the-shelf machines.

Give one of these units to your brother, father, or son (or daughter I guess) as a birthday present and they can take it straight out of the box, fill it with paint, and spray it.

However, we all need some help every once in a while, like when you depend on an expert to repair your car because you don’t know how to do it yourself.

However, it doesn’t matter whether you buy anyone a pneumatic gun; if they haven’t already owned or gotten the equipment to use a compressor and a spray gun, then it’s only going to be an expensive ornament.  

A compressor uses electricity or gas-operated power to create pressurized air in one of its tanks.

This air is then sent over to your spray gun that stores paint or gasoline that propels the coating medium through a nozzle.

Advantages of using an air compressor

Pneumatic spraying is considered the ultimate in powder-coating coverage and I think that it’s because we are a tough bunch to please.

Some people say it’s elitism, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case. It is true pneumatic painters can be a little picky about which entry-level turbine machine they use.

However, I think that it isn’t more so about the machine itself, but about a certain kind of camaraderie.

Together with my fellow brethren (and sister), we are all united by a sense of excellence.

We believe that being able to spray from your bare hands using an HVLP gun or perhaps even pinch spraying on a gravity-fed job is akin to an amateur hour – you better believe we scoff at the beginners who go for this option.

Compressor painting demands some skill, a finer touch, and significant preparation.

In fact, most of us wouldn’t even consider spray painting without detailed cleaning of the surface in question first (something compressor people seem to neglect).

Some salient advantages which I experienced with time I will mention those below:

  • Tailorability —compressor help you to adjust the air pressure flow according to your own need. Some sprayers don’t have these features. So, compressors can be a very handy tool for this purpose.
  • Money-saving — compressors help to prevent wastage of excessive paint which sprayers do. It uses a small amount of pain to fulfill the purpose.
  • Safety — compressors PSI is safe when compared to HVLP and airless paint sprayers
  • Low-noise — produces low noise when running and less noise than hydraulic machines. Might feel louder than turbines
  • Versatility — ease of changing the tools. You can easily switch the sprayers for project needs.

Disadvantages of using an air compressor

I have discussed its advantages now let’s talk about some of its downsides which I experienced during usability. You guys might have different opinions according to your own experience which you faced during use.

You should not use an air compressor for jobs that require consistent force. An air compressor does not have a load setting or variable pressure.

The force remains consistent only in the single-mode you have chosen from your machine.

So, it’s not suitable for jobs that require consistency. For example, you cannot use it to install a ceiling fan because the pressure of the air will remain constant and might break the fan.

The cost of using an air compressor may be prohibitive for some. And, true enough, you will need to buy some extra equipment. But if you’ve got a garage full of tools and a pneumatic powerhouse on hand, then the cost isn’t really a con.

Compressors are bulky, oily, and heavy. You won’t be using it in your living room to paint some shelves nor will you be popping the paint sprayer into your car and driving round to your Auntie Mabel’s to stain her antique coffee table.

Some tools which you need in order to use an air compressor

  • A sprayer (can be HVLP, LVP or gravity-fed, etc.)
  • Paint
  • Paint thinner for oil paint
  • Conditioner
  • Must have protective gear like goggles, face mask and gloves, etc
  • Air compressor suitable for your sprayer
  • Viscosity cup
  • A Teflon tapes
  • Air hose
  • Drop cloths
  • For covering stuff Masking tape
  • Sandpaper for sanding the surface before painting
  • A cloth for cleaning

Process of using paint sprayer with compressor

the process of attaching air compressor with spray gun

After choosing tools and medium the next steps are as follows:

Using a spray gun with an air compressor can be quite the challenge to master but the rewards speak for themselves.

Learning how to use this tool will allow you to save time, effort, and potentially a lot of money by tackling small jobs that would cost you more to professionally get done.

I created this tutorial to allow you full access to everything you need in order to understand what equipment is needed as well as learn how best to utilize it so you can decide whether or not it’s worth investing in one.

Some paint suggestions down here from my experience:

  1. Primer for wood and metal surface
  2. Latex for walls and ceilings stuff
  3. Stains are good for woods
  4. Acrylic is for crafting
  5. Enamels can be used for that area take excessive abuse and load such as kitchen cupboards
  6. Urethanes are for automotive

Prepare yourself

Now after setting up it’s time to prepare your own self with protective gear and other stuff.

In order to better protect yourself from spray painting hazards, it’s important that you wear the proper safety gear.

For example, when using a paint sprayer make sure you wear goggles and long sleeves along with rubber gloves.

Goggles will help you to save your eyes from paint drops which are unsafe for your eyes. So, in order to protect your eyes from hazardous chemicals, you have to wear some kind of goggles.

Preferred are those which are recommended in paint manuals.

Rubber gloves for the protection of the hands and wrist area because it’s very difficult to erase and clean the paint from the skin area.

Preparation of area and object/surface

Before you start, plan out how much space you will need. Spray primer in an area that’s separate from where you’re going to paint since overspray can ruin sensitive surfaces.

The best option is to choose outdoor over indoor painting. When deciding on a location, avoid areas with trees or foliage as these will collect paint and cause potential streaking or smearing.

Also, avoid sidewalks and other public spaces because it’s illegal (and kind of tacky) to do so.

In order to paint a fence, one must prepare the area. The preparation of the base material prior to painting is pivotal, as this will ensure an unwavering outcome.

Professional painters know that whether they’re covering a car or a fence, cabinet, or table — the process is very similar. Find out what’s required to thoroughly prepare your surface before you start painting today.

As you prepare to set up the painting area, clean the area with water (if working with oil-based paint) or spirits (when applying water-based paint).

Wipe away any remaining surface dirt and debris. Dry, and then sand. Once you’re satisfied that the area is level: Respray the area using a primer coat.

The benefit of priming is it will identify uneven areas that need smoothing out; once dry inspect the area and beautify any bumps by sanding again and washing in the same manner as above.

Preparation of paint

It’s a good idea to prepare the paint/paint mixture before you get started as you’re preparing to use it with your sprayer.

It’s also a good idea to test some unimportant areas. Mix the paint with a paint mixer to avoid any clumps in the final product.

You should also shake the mixture to ensure that the paint is mixed well.

Some things are obvious, but it can’t hurt to reiterate them. To get the best results when painting makes sure to thin your paint with the proper liquid.

Oil-based paints need mineral spirits, water-based you can dilute with water and you should also be able to add a little conditioner if your latex paint is going on thick.

Here’s a tip. Fill up your container with the coating medium. Use either a paint funnel or a can pourer to reduce the risk of mess.

Furthermore, consider using a paint filter to reduce the likelihood of debris ruining your final finish. Likewise, attach the cup to the gun by ensuring a tight seal.

Prepare the compressor and the sprayer

Though this may not be the most rigorous process of preparation, the basic thing that you need to do before using an air compressor are check the air nozzle for any kind of defect, along with the air filter.

Tilt the air nozzle downwards and listen for any air leakage. If you hear any air leakage, then forget about this piece of equipment.

If you are using any portable power sprayer, then you need to check the pressure of the compressor. This can also be done by hearing the sound of the compressor.

If it keeps making a high-pitched sound, then it is not in a good position to work. In this case, air leakage might be one of the possibilities.

Preparation of the compressor and the sprayer

Switch on the compressor and set the pressure level to the required power — depending on your gun’s requirements.

Some guns, especially HVLP types, include a separate in-line regulator, allowing you to step down the pressure to suit the shooter.

You may have to wait several minutes for the compressor to indicate it has reached the desired power output, although high-end models do have real-time pressure gauges which cut down time spent waiting by half.

How to Install Air Compressor Hose Fittings?

Here is a tutorial that is very useful for beginners who don’t know the method to connect hose fittings in an air compressor.

Now test the sprayer

Prime and Test Spray: The majority of spray guns, such as the SprayIt 33000 or the Campbell Hausfeld feature a material volume flow control dial.

Located on the top rear section of each unit, this dial allows you to regulate a maximum amount of volume for your projects.

The first thing you need to do is prime the spray gun. Point this nozzle into a waste bucket or towards a piece of throwaway cardboard and pull the trigger fully.

Initially, only air will be emitted from the tap, followed closely by the jet of spray paint. Keep holding down on the trigger until it stops spluttering before withdrawing it.

With paint flowing from the spray gun, turn the material flow dial clockwise to reduce the delivery range, until you achieve the density best suited for your medium and base materials requirements.

Adjust the spray pattern according to your need

Let’s say a painter wanted to create a horizontal stripe pattern with his spray gun. He would adjust the nozzle, setting it for the appropriate pattern and angle for applying this specific technique.

When you are more comfortable with your spray gun, you can change back-and-forth from vertical to horizontal patterns and from smaller to larger spray patterns by simply switching out nozzles.

Vertex spray guns come standard with a V-4 vertical nozzle for normal spraying, a V-6 medium angle for flat vertical surfaces, and an LV-6 light angle for use on stucco or textured surfaces.

How to set up an air compressor kit?

Here is a complete guide to set up an air compressor kit. Follow this complete video if you are a beginner.

Some suggestions from my experience to newbies so they can paint according to the surface and area by changing the direction.

Vertical for painting walls and side-to-side movements

Horizontal for a painting of railings or slats and best for up-down motion

Circular for tight corners and touchups for smaller areas

Paint the surface

Using paint sprayer with air compressor

Once you’ve finished your task, make sure you turn off the compressor and disconnect that air hose. Don’t forget to detach that cup brush that goes with those air hoses too!

Do you know what else is awesome? If you own an air gun with a storage lid or have some kind of drop cloth handy – we can either store our unused paint on site outside of its original container if it has not been thinned.

And for those thinner paints, please keep that material in plastic bags or something of similar nature just so as to avoid any spills or contamination should any unwanted visitors happen upon your favorite location spot.


An air compressor is a must-have for any painting work. If you are planning to use a paint gun, then you will need an air compressor that has enough capacity to run the air feed on the gun accurately. The best size for an air compressor to run a paint gun is between 35 to 50 pounds per square inch. An air compressor with a higher rating means more PSI and costs less than a cheap one. This is because they are very efficient in their work because they return the energy they consume back to the motor. If you have a big enough budget, it is suggested that you go for a compressor with compressor oil injection because it keeps the compressed air clean, dry and free of impurities. With this system installed, you can practically save money in the long run because it prevents the air compressor from wearing out too soon.

yes, you have to, else you will be burning up your air compressor motor. spraying paint is not like squirting out a stream of water. It is not a continuous flow. it is actually a forced-out stream. if you don’t thin the paint, your pressure settings need to be more than they would be if you had thinned it.

When you are planning to get a spray paint compressor, there are certain things you need to be aware of. There will be different requirements for different jobs, but for the purpose of general information, we will discuss about the main requirements for the work at hand. First of all, you will require an air compressor. The air compressor should have at least 5hp. For everything else, you will need.

The process to spray latex paint is not very complicated. The first thing you need to do is to disconnect the paint sprayer from the compressor. Then, you spray some water into the valve and put on rubber gloves to protect the sprayer from getting wet. The third step involves filling the paint sprayer with water and paint. At this point, you need to check that the paint sprayer is lined up. The fourth step involves using compressed air to clean the dirt out of the paint sprayer. Then, you can spray paint on the surface.

I think the best spray gun for an air compressor is the Graco X5. These are the reasons why: The Graco X5 is an industrial grade air brush. This air brush is the kind of spray gun that you would find in a factory, or in a body shop. It can produce some great results, and it can do so for a long time. Some users have been using this air brush for up to seven years, and it is still going strong.

Actually, it is possible to use an airless gun with a compressor. A lot of manufacturers recommend against it. But if you are aware of the risks involved, you will use it at your own discretion.

Conclusion on How to use spray gun with Air compressor

Well, I have shared my experience with you guys. Now it’s up to you that you follow each and every step and get a great finish or mess the things up by not following the guide.

I have explained how to use a paint sprayer with an air compressor. Now it’s up to you whether you use it or not according to your own need.

Airless spraying has been around for over 100 years, but it’s the use of high-pressure air to spray paint that’s only been around for about 20 years.

The process of airless spraying is similar to that of a conventional airbrush, but instead of using air pressure, paint is delivered through a gun attached to a hose that’s connected to an air compressor.

Professionals should also leave some tips in the comment section if they have some in their mind so that the amateurs in the field can also get help from them.

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