Auto body work is a heavy-duty job that requires durable tools and high power instruments. However, the use of individual electric power tools for a given job might prove inefficient. From such inefficiency rose the need for the best air compressor for auto body work.
Air compressors provide power to pneumatic tools such as paint sprays, thereby reducing the clatter at the shop. This article will discuss our top picks for air compressors and features you may need to look out for before purchasing one.
- Our Best Air Compressor for Auto Body Work Reviews
- Best Overall Compressor for Auto Body Work: DeWalt (DXCMV5076055) Two-Stage Air Compressor
- Best Auto Body Work Compressor for the Money: Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
- Best Cheap Compressor for Auto Body Work: Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor
- Best Gas-Powered Compressor for Auto Body Work: NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor
- Best Quiet Compressor for Auto Body Work: California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor
- Features to Consider for Compressors for Auto Body Work
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Best Air Compressor for Auto Body Work Reviews
After some deep reconnaissance and research, I developed and tabulated our best picks for air compressors for auto body work out of many choices. These compressors are grouped accordingly to provide you with an informative and easy read before you go to buy yourself an air compressor for your auto body work.
Best Overall Compressor for Auto Body Work: DeWalt (DXCMV5076055) Two-Stage Air Compressor
DeWalt is a household name for manufacturing electric appliances used in building and repairing materials and auto body work. Due to this brand recognizability, I should not be surprised to choose the DeWalt Two Stage Air Compressor as my top pick for a compressor suitable for auto body work.
This compressor is powered by 230 volts of electricity, unlike the NorthStar Portable Gas Powered Air Compressor. Such power enables the compressor to pump 15.3 SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) airflow at 100 PSI and 13.5 SCFM at a maximum pressure of 175 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). Hence, this compressor can power almost any auto body work tool. The reliance on electricity prevents the added expense of purchasing expensive fuel to run the machinery.
The DeWalt Two-Stage Air Compressor comes equipped with a powerful 5.0 HP (Horsepower) motor that runs at an RPM (Revolutions per Minute) of 767. Additionally, the motor has thermal overload protection that protects the compressor from damage due to voltage fluctuations.
For cooling, the DeWalt Air Compressor has a patented pump design with asymmetrical cooling fins that provide for more efficient cooling in contrast to the Powermate Electric Air Compressor. The cooling mechanism prevents overheating, which might damage internal components, costing you more money to repair.
Sporting a 60-gallon tank, the DeWalt Compressor can run multiple air tools without needing a recharge now and then for a long time. Consequently, this tank capacity adds to the compressor’s weight, which stands at 400 pounds. Such weight prevents you from moving the compressor quickly.
- The compressor’s motor has thermal overload protection
- It has a 60-gallon tank capacity
- It has a patented pump design to allow for easier cooling
- The compressor is expensive
- It is very heavy
- Industrial performance delivers maximum CFM @ 175 PSI; provides enough power to operate more than...
- Patented Pump design provides for a cooler Running Pump: industrial style air intake filter; easily...
- Electric motor with Thermal Overload protection: protects the motor from voltage fluctuations and...
Best Auto Body Work Compressor for the Money: Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
Look no further should you require an air compressor for your auto body work that provides the best value for your money while also providing excellent performance. Coming in second place is the Powermate 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor.
Powermate used cast iron in making its 3-cylinder design, balanced flywheel, and a one-piece crankcase. The compressor also features a durable steel 80-gallon tank and Swedish stainless steel flex valves. The use of these materials ensures that the compressor is durable against damage within an auto body workshop.
The Powermax Compressor features an 80-gallon tank which is noticeably more significant than the DeWalt Two-Stage Air Compressor. The tank is powered by a 15-amp motor that takes in 230 volts of electricity to provide 14 SCFM at 90 PSI, capable of reaching a maximum rating of 155 PSI. The pressure levels allow you to connect any device, from ratchets, impacts, spray guns to hammers, powering them for long periods.
However, having an 80-gallon tank air compressor means it will be slightly heavier (354 pounds). This weight, coupled with the lack of tires, unlike in the Industrial Air Air Compressor, means that the compressor is primarily stationary, requiring a lot of effort to move it from one place to another.
The Powermax Air Compressor has a wired belt that assists in cooling the air compressor. It also comes with synthetic oil used in lubricating its pump, coupled with an oil-level sight glass and easily accessible oil fill.
- The compressor has an 80-gallon tank
- It comes with a two-year warranty
- The compressor can generate a maximum of 155 PSI
- The compressor is built of durable materials
- The compressor is relatively expensive
- The compressor is not easily portable
- 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
Best Cheap Compressor for Auto Body Work: Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor
The Industrial Air products are designed exclusively for the heavy-duty needs of the mechanic shop, making them suitable for auto body work. With this information in mind, I present to you the Industrial Air Air Compressor.
The Industrial Air Air Compressor has a heavy-duty dual voltage induction motor that produces 1.9 HP of power, delivering 5.7 SCFM of airflow at 90 PSI. However, the compressor can reach a maximum pressure level of 155 PSI, powering all air tools such as brushes for painting vehicles.
Like the NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor, the Industrial Air Compressor has a tank capacity of 30 gallons. This tank capacity allows the compressor to power air tools relatively quickly without needing a recharge. Such a property helps in maintaining efficiency while working.
You should note that this air compressor is quite heavy, standing at 190 pounds. However, unlike the Powermax Electric Air Compressor, the compressor has two pre-installed pneumatic tires that facilitate easy transportation of the compressor. The compressor also comes with a front handle that provides an ergonomic way of moving the Industrial Air Air Compressor, providing maximum portability.
- It has pneumatic wheels that provide easy movement of the compressor
- The compressor has a large tank capacity
- The compressor has a 155 PSI power output that fits most air tools
- It is pretty inexpensive
- It requires an oil filter for maintenance
- Cast iron, twin cylinder, oil lubricated pump
- Heavy duty induction motor for maximum performance and efficiency
- 155 PSI max pressure for optimum tool performance
Best Gas-Powered Compressor for Auto Body Work: NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor
Unlike most modern air compressors, this one is rather unusual. The Northstar Gas-Powered Air Compressor is, as the name suggests, a fuel-based compressor. This compressor uses gasoline to power its parts, unlike the Powermax Electric Air Compressor, which uses electricity.
However, fuel choice introduces some challenges as gasoline is not a cheap fuel and produces fumes as a by-product of powering the motor. The fumes can cause health issues in enclosed spaces such as garages.
The Northstar Compressor is powered by a powerful 12 HP Honda GX390 Ohv motor. The motor produces 24.4 SCFM at 90 PSI, capable of reaching a maximum pressure rating of 175 PSI. Such power levels allow you to use this compressor for changing tires on a semi to roadside repair of vehicles.
The compressor also features a durable steel belt guard and a liquid-filled pressure gauge for better accuracy and protection against pressure spikes.
With a tank capacity of 30 gallons, the Northstar Compressor can support multiple air tools for a relatively long time. However, as the other components are made of heavy materials, the compressor tends to be heavy, just like the DeWalt Two Stage Compressor. Such heaviness prevents you from moving the compressor from place to place, rendering it pretty stationary.
For durability, the compressor has a V-style cylinder orientation to eliminate hotspots and provide consistent cooling, resulting in longer pump life. The pump cylinders, heads and crankcase are made of cast iron, and through the use of low vibration technology, ensure your compressor has an extra-long service life.
- The compressor is made of cast iron for durability
- It has low oil protection
- The compressor has low vibration technology
- The compressor is relatively pricey
- Honda GX390 OHV engine with electric start/recoil backup and low oil shutdown
- 3 Amp battery charging circuit (battery not included)
- Full cast iron pump for long service life
Best Quiet Compressor for Auto Body Work: California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor
The California Air Compressor has a powerful motor that produces 6.40 SCFM at 40 PSI and 5.30 SCFM at 90 PSI. The motor can reach a maximum pressure of 125 PSI, perfect for most air tools that you might use in an auto body shop. Though the motor produces 2 HP, it revolves at a measly 1680 RPM, making it one of the quietest air compressors (70 dB) in the market right now, suitable for working indoors.
Like the motor of the DeWalt Two-Stage Air Compressor, the compressor’s motor sports thermal overhead protection. Thermal overhead protection helps protect the motor from damage caused by voltage fluctuations in the power supply and excess heat generated by contact between parts in the motor. The motors feature a dual-piston oil-free pump system that allows for use in various temperatures (cold starts) and uneven terrains (no oil in the pump).
The compressor has a ten-gallon steel tank that has enough air capacity to allow you to perform low to mid-level tasks without needing constant refills. Weighing only 82.5 pounds, the California Air Air Compressor is a portable machine, unlike the NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor. The portability also comes from the wheel kit that comes with the tank, allowing you to carry it around the garage or workplace.
- The compressor features an oil-free pump system that has a 3000-hour runtime
- It is portable
- It is relatively quiet
- It has a long life cycle
- It has poor finishing
- Ultra Quiet, only 70 Decibels
- Oil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs
- Powerful 2.0 Hp with Low amp draw - 7.0 Amps
Features to Consider for Compressors for Auto Body Work
Once you have identified the need for an air compressor, you may go out to a physical store or an online one to buy one. However, you may not know what to look for when deciding on one. Luckily, we have compiled a list of some of the most useful features you can use to base your judgments on before purchasing.
|DeWalt (DXCMV5076055) Two-Stage Air Compressor||Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor||Industrial Air ILA1883054 Air Compressor||NorthStar Gas Powered Air Compressor||California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor|
|Maximum Air Pressure||175 PSI||155 PSI||155 PSI||175 PSI||125 PSI|
|Type of Pump||Oil Pump||Oil Pump||Oil Pump||Oil pump||Oil-free pump|
The air pressure rating of an air compressor is a vital measurement. The air pressure level, measured in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), determines which air tools are compatible with your air compressor. Most air tools used in auto body works usually require a minimum of 90 PSI for them to function as intended.
However, you may have to go up to the maximum air pressure attainable for more intensive work.
Airflow is a measurement of how much air passes through or is produced by an air compressor. It is usually measured in SCPM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute). This measurement is typically tied to the air pressure rating of an air compressor.
90 PSI is usually the baseline when selecting airflow measurements as it is the minimum air pressure level needed by air tools. Usually, for auto body work, 3-4 CFM at 90 PSI is enough. You should take care not to choose a compressor that delivers a lower or a higher SCFM rating than the allowed range, as this might damage your air tools.
Part of working in an auto body shop entails constant movement. However, using heavy machinery such as air compressors might prove a challenge as you must find a way of moving the compressor around the shop. Hence, it might be better to purchase a light compressor that is easy to carry around or find one with a set of tires. Those compressors that come with ergonomic handles are a bonus.
Type of Pump
Air compressor pumps are grouped into two categories; oil pumps and oil-free pumps. Oil pumps use oil for the lubrication of their components. The oiling needs to be done from time to time in medium to heavy-duty compressors to prevent the degradation of parts due to wear and tear.
Oil-free pumps do not require the regular use of oil for lubrication as the pumps are pre-lubricated. This type of technology is pretty modern and is mainly used for low to medium-level compressors. As the compressors do not require lubrication, they need a lesser level of lubrication.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Compressor Is Best for Auto Body Work?
Vehicle service, repair, and auto body shops usually depend on air compressors with 5 to 30 HP and 80 to 240-gallon air tanks. The air pressure is used to power an automotive shop’s pneumatic tools and equipment.
How Much CFM From an Air Compressor Do I Need While Painting a Car?
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is the measurement used when measuring the airflow of an air compressor. Though air pressure is a necessary measurement to have, it is less important to the airflow. For painting a vehicle, you usually require a high-volume, low-pressure compressor. Hence, you might require an air compressor that produces an airflow rating of close to 20 CFM.
What Air Compressor Size Do I Need for Auto Body Work?
For every person working in your shop, you roughly need 4-5 CFM and 12-15 CFM in a body shop. After calculating the total airflow rating of the personnel, multiply the figure by 1.25 to find the rough estimate of the airflow rating of the air compressor appropriate for your shop.
As we have seen, auto body work is a pretty intensive field that requires heavy-duty machinery. As such, we have strived to provide you with the necessary samples for you to choose from and the criterion you may need to pick out the compressor that best suits your needs.