Not any air compressor will do if you’re doing auto bodywork. There are several factors to consider, from the size to the psi level. You want to choose the best air compressor or you’ll end up with shoddy work. Especially when it comes to your vehicle.
So, what should you look for? Which air compressor pump for auto bodywork is the best? It’s not an easy decision to make. That’s why we decided to create a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best air compressor for auto bodywork as well as share our favorite air compressor to use.
How to Pick Out the Best Air Compressor for Auto Body Work
So, what factors should you consider before looking for an air compressor for auto bodywork? We’re going to share what we look for in an air compressor for jobs like painting a vehicle or stripping paint.
The size of your air compressor is a big deal. It’s based on cubic feet per minute or CFM. The CFM is the volume of air consumed in a minute.
Tougher tasks take a large CFM when compared to easier tasks. Since you’re doing auto bodywork, you want an air compressor with a higher CFM that allows you to work without any issues using whatever pneumatic tools you need to get the job done, whether it’s a paint spray gun, nail gun, impact wrench, or just filling your tires.
The pressure of an air compressor during a task is measured using pounds per square inch or PSI. Different air compressors have different pressures so you need to know how much air pressure your task is going to take.
For painting a vehicle, you need between 30 and 60 psi but stripping paint and sandblasting takes much more pressure to complete.
Check out the equipment you plan on connecting to the air compressor. Each one requires a different psi. You should also consider that pressure loss does happen. It helps to add five to seven psi to the amount you need.
The lower the pressure you use, the higher the CFM is. The higher the pressure you use is, the lower the CFM.
Knowing your duty cycle and using that information to buy an air compressor is helpful in the long run.
The duty cycle is based on how often you’re going to use the air compressor. If you don’t own an auto detail shop, you’re not going to use it all the time. An air compressor with a rotary screw is for those who use their compressor every day and all day. An air compressor with a piston compressor is your best option for home use. You’re not going to use it every day so you don’t need as much power nor do you want to lug a large compressor around.
We prefer an oil-free pump. Now, this isn’t a must-have for your air compressor but it does give you an advantage.
First, oil-free pumps don’t mix oil into the air when the compressor is in use. It will last much longer. Another plus is that you spend a lot less on maintenance than you would with an oil air compressor. Plus, water-based paint requires an oil-free pump on an air compressor.
What’s the downside? Air compressors with oil-free pumps are pricey.
Our Favorite Air Compressor for Auto Body Work
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Air Compressor
- Features a Powerful 240-Volt, 15-Amp Motor that Delivers 4.7-HP
- Offers a 155-PSI Maximum Pressure
- Provides 14-CFM at 90-PSI for Longer Air Tool Run Times on Ratchets, Impacts, Spray Guns and Hammers
- Features a 80-Gallon Capacity Tank Durably Built from Steel
- Includes a Oil-Lubricated Pump with a 1-Piece Cast-Iron Crankcase and a Full Cast-Iron Cylinder Body
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We recommend the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 air compressor for auto bodywork. It can do light work but also has enough power and pressure to sandblast a vehicle.
They made the air compressor from both steel and cast iron. It’s heavy-duty. If you knock it over, you don’t have to worry about it going out on you.
Powermate made this compressor easy to use, even for a newbie. It has an on/off switch and a built-in pressure gauge so you don’t have to struggle to see the pressure usage.
This air compressor has a 240-volt 15-amp motor with a horsepower of 4.7. It’s full of consistent power. Thanks to such a high voltage and high power, it has a high pump performance, too.
It’s smoother to use and you’ll run into very few issues while you’re working. The pressure of this air compressor goes all the way up to 155 psi which is perfect for auto bodywork. It provides 14 CFM at 90 psi which allows a longer run time while running ratchets, impacts, spray guns, and hammers.
This air compressor has a large capacity – an 80-gallon air receiver. The three-cylinder pump is cast iron with an aluminum head and valve plate which helps cool the compressor and ensures there is faster heat dissipation.
The pump is an oil pump. It’s easy to fill when needed and has an oil-level sight glass so you can monitor the oil level at any time. Powermate ships synthetic oil with the air compressor so you don’t have to run out and spend more money right away.
The air compressor also has an enclosed metal belt guard covering all the moving parts, protecting the internal parts and making it even more durable.
We took you through the important factors to consider before shop air compressors so you can make the best possible decision. Even if you don’t plan on doing auto body work often, you still want a high-power, high-pressure compressor. You don’t want the cheapest compressor out there. You need something that can handle any auto body work you foresee yourself doing.