Compressor comes in various size, types, brands, and prices. When we talk about equipment, quality is an issue, and most of the times price reflect it’s quality. So if you have the money, don’t hesitate to invest it in a good quality equipment.
A typical GOOD Compressor will run $200-$400. (Yes, there are decent Chinese $100 Compressors for a home shop.) A large Compressor will run $300-$600. And a Big Shop Compressor will Run $400-$800 and more.
Air compressors typically come with an air tank
We suggest a 4 gallon as minimum size but there are larger 8-10 gallon, 15-20 gallon, 30-40 gallon 60-80 gallon etc.
For small compressors we like the Quiet Zone for Light Duty Hobby
and The Hitachi 4 Gallon EC119SA for Medium to Heavy Duty
Under $200 at Sears
Here is a bigger one
Note: your compressor motor will not work as hard if there is a larger reserve tank to store air in while you break. You can always get a smaller compressor and hook a larger tank to it. You can also CHAIN compressors together with a simple Y connector feeding into a regulator or watertrap with regulator.
Beware of the ratings. Some compressors rate at top peak and some rate on continuous delivery. Typically you want at least a 2HP compressor but some 1 1/2HP compressors are good enough. Look for a CFM rating of 3@40PSI for a mini gun and 5CFM@40 or more for a full size gun. Obviously, unlike what you've been told, the bigger the better.
How do know the CFM rating is real? a 5HP compressor rated at 4 CFM is a bunch of Cr*&)p. 1 true HP produces about 3-4 CFM. Not to fear the government slapped companies with fake ratings so any recent compressor has much more reliable specs on it. That is why most the modern compressors may appear less powerful than the same models 6 years ago.
110V - 220V
Typical 110v compressor max out at 9CFM and that is pushing it. Most really good 110v compressor are rated at 5-8CFM. This is more than enough power for some of our top rated Low CFM guns.
NOTE: You are NOT getting an inferior finish with a low CFM gun. Our top Low CFM guns out spray most higher CFM guns. In fact the most celebrated guns in the world are rated at 9cfm, beating 13cfm and 20cfm guns. It is the design of the gun that is most important.
1. The motor - typically 1 1/2 HP or more is required to run a spray gun
2. Air tank, this is where the air is stored under pressure When the tank is full, the motor stops automatically. This gives the motor time to rest. There is typically a drain on the tank for water build up. Do not forget to empty the tank when you are done or it might start to rust over time. We had one customer who never drained his tank and when he did almost 1/2 the tank was filled with water.
3. Regulator and Water Trap - the regulator controls the pressure of the compressor. A simple watertrap $35 like the one in the picture filters water from your compressor. This is the first stage of filtration. Typically you will want to add at least a disposable filter $4 on your gun or another 5 micron filter $80-$140 down line. Water Trap is important to make sure you only spray paint instead of mixing it with water. Some compressor are already comes Regulator and water trap, but others may need to acquire it separately. But this item is a very good idea.
1. This knob adjusts the pressure output of your compressor.
2. This gauge indicates how much pressure is in the tank
3. this is the air hose connector typically 1/4", 3/8" for hose, or 1/2", 3/4" for piping HERE.
4. this clear tube is where the filtered water goes. Some are covered but have a "window" to see where the water level is. There’s a button underneath it which let the air in the tank and water in the tube out if you push it. If you spend more money they have automatic drains so you never have to worry about it.
One thing you also need to pay attention when getting a compressor is the sound which it produce. some compressor are LOUD and sound like a Truck running in low gear. But others are softer than people talking. Getting the quiet one is always recommended. it is nice to stay under 70DB if you can.