using a paint sprayer and air compressor

How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor

Using a paint sprayer with an air compressor is the new magic thrill for DIY painting jobs.

If you are struggling with uneven paint patches, brush marks on the walls, and painting jobs that take forever to complete as a result of using rollers or paintbrushes, you should consider a more reliable and efficient option.

However, we know because something is said to be magical does not mean it operates itself, or your understanding of it is inherent.

Understanding how to use a paint sprayer with air compressor is simple as ABC, and this guide is here to walk you through the entire process.

Read Also: How to Paint a Fence With Paint Roller

Materials and Tools you will need

How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor

How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor

Now that you know the materials and tools you will need to carry out this painting project. Let’s walk through how to use a paint sprayer with air compressor.

Preparation for Painting

The first step before beginning your painting project is to prep your work area and put everything in order.

Protect the flooring of the work area by laying drop cloths on the floor. You also want to protect adjacent surfaces like window frames and other surfaces of stationed furniture from spray paint with masking tape,  painter’s tape, or with recycled newspapers.

Don’t forget to put on personal protective (PPE) faces mask or respirator, rubber hand gloves, and safety glasses. These will help you stay protected from direct contact on your skin and dangerous pollutants, fumes, and dust.

Set your paint and thinner on a suitable surface so that spills will not damage anything.

Set paint and thinner on a stable flat surface.

Read More: Best Paints for Gun

Choosing the Right Materials and Tools

Ensure to choose the right type of paint and paint thinner. Oil-based paints are often used with compressed paint sprayers, but latex and acrylic paints can be sprayed as well.

The secret to an ultimate and efficient spray job is to select the right thinner. Mixing your paint with the thinner will aid the free flow of the spray paint out of the sprayer’s valves and nozzles.

The good news is the product comes with the manufacturer’s instructions, ensure to follow it, and you are good to go.

To avoid spills and a messed up area, set your thinner and paint on a flat surface.

You can always ask the retailer or expert at the local shop for advice on the best paint and paint thinner required for your painting project.

After you must have selected the right paint and thinner, the next thing is to select the best paint sprayer that is suitable for your painting project.

Setting up the Air Compressor

using a paint sprayer and air compressor

Attach and turn on the Compressor

First of all, you have to read your manual to find out where the Compressor can be attached.

Afterward, turn on the Compressor. The Compressor plays a vital role in maintaining a steady pressure and flow rate while spraying the paint.

Connect the power plug of the air compressor to electricity. Leave it for some time to build up pressure.

Adjust the Regulator Knob

The air compressor comes with a regulator knob to adjust the speed or PSI. Adjust the regulator to the desired settings by turning the knob in a clockwise direction to increase or anti-clockwise direction to decrease.

The speed rate varies with different sprayers, so endeavor to read the manual to know the required levels before adjusting it.

Attach the Air Hose

Attach the spray gun to the air hose by inserting the connective valves on the spray gun into the coupling of the hose. Seal up joints by pressing forward the trigger-lock button on the gun or wrapping around with the tape.

Turn a Small Amount of Paint Thinner

Usually, a small cup-like reservoir used for topping the thinner is attached to the bottom of the spray gun and then slightly open the meter valves.

Turn on the Gun

To test the spray gun for optimal levels. Place a piece of disposable cloth or masking paper on the floor.

The next step is to prime the sprayer. Then aim the nozzle into a disposable paper or waste bucket and trigger the primer to see if the thinner will squeeze out of the nozzle.

It is usual for air to come out for some minutes and then the paint thinner because the sprayer takes some time to prime liquid. If no trace of thinner from the nozzle, you have to disassemble the sprayer to check the sealed tubes for possible leakages and assemble again.

This test will help you check for spray pattern levels of the paint, and to make adjustments if required before the real project.

Read Also: Why Rent a Paint Sprayer?

Ready to Paint

Pour the required portion of paint in the container and add the right amount of thinner. Turn the mixture together and then pour it into the paint cup.

Ensure one more time that the hose is still connected to the appropriate valve and plugs are well connected to the electrical outlet.

Hold the spray gun 18 to 30 cm from the wall and start spraying in a smooth sweeping motion to avoid spills. Continue spray painting in a straight, uniform motion to avoid drip.

Simultaneously adjust any of the settings (pressure and pattern control knobs) on your spray gun until you attain the right paint flow and pressure.

Slightly overlap each paint layer and Refill the sprayer when necessary.

Can I use my compressor as a paint sprayer?

A reliable choice to quickly and precisely execute your painting project is to use an air compressor and a paint sprayer. The combination of these two devices allows you to cover more space at one time and can help you make sure that you get an even coat of paint on your surface.

How big of an air compressor do I need for a paint gun?

For small projects or single panels, your Air Compressor should be rated at 100% of the CFM required by your paint gun. If you’re spraying a whole car, you’ll want 150-200%. For example: A 15-20 CFM air compressor is a good match for a 10 CFM paint gun.

Can I paint with a 20 gallon air compressor?

The gallons of the compressor isn’t usually an issue, but the compressor itself and the CFM it puts out is. These have a built in air-compressor that are a very high CFM but have almost no air reserve. Most can be stored under a workbench and can paint an entire car no problem.

Do you need an air compressor for paint sprayer?

To be safe usually around 100 CFM to 130 CFM is good to have available for an Air driven Airless Paint sprayer (electric and gas airless sprayers do not need a compressor). If you use a compressor that is small you have to make sure you properly mach your spray equipment so that it doesn’t require a lot of air.

What PSI is needed for spray painting?

When spraying base coat you want to spray at about 26-29 PSI. They way you read this is at your gun, trigger pulled air flowing through and your dial reading 26 psi. When spraying clear coat I like to up the pressure 2-3 psi for a little more atomization and better flow out.

Can you paint a car with a 6 gallon air compressor?

It’s recommended to pick yourself up a 60 Gal tank with a 5-6 HP compressor that put’s out enough CFM that will supply your spray gun. YES, you can paint the car in steps (same day) with a smaller air compressor but you may run into problems with overspray on the clear coat stage.

Does tank size matter air compressor?

Tank size matters—sometimes

The compressors we chose have tanks ranging from 1 to 6 gallons. A larger tank holds more air and will allow you to use more air before the pressure drops and the motor kicks on to refill the tank. That might let you avoid stopping work while the compressor refills the tank.

What CFM does a spray gun need?

For a quality HVLP Spray Gun you can often need up to 20 CFM of air. If you are using a Conventional Spray Gun you may not need as much air as HVLP requires a High Volume of air (HV) especially compared to conventional spray guns, but a conventional spray gun can still use 10 – 15 CFM.

How do you prepare a spray gun for painting?

How To Thin Paint for a Spray Gun (5-Step Guide)

  • Mix the paint with 10% of its volume in water. Mix the paint with 10% of its volume in water.
  • Pour it through the funnel. Pour it through the funnel.
  • Increase ratio as needed.
  • Test it on the test boardTest it on the test board.
  • Spray paint your wallSpray paint your wall.

How easy is it to use a paint sprayer?

Paint Sprayers Pros and Cons

Detail work is easy with paint sprayers. With paint sprayers you can, with practice, achieve a more even coat than with rollers and especially with brushes. Even though you still need to be aware of overlapping, it is far less of a factor when you are working with paint sprayers.


You see now that how to use a paint sprayer with an air compressor is just like waving a magic wand. Anyone can wave a wand right, so can anyone use a paint sprayer and air compressors to give their DIY painting project a pro look.

Just follow the steps listed in this guide, and you will realize what you feared so much is just a walk in the park.