Choosing a Compressor for Your HVLP Spray Gun

  • 0.5-1
  • Beginner
  • 75-250
What You'll Need
Manufacturers manual for the HVLP spray gun
HVLP spray gun
What You'll Need
Manufacturers manual for the HVLP spray gun
HVLP spray gun

If you’re going to be working with an HVLP spray gun, you need to have the right type of compressor. If it’s not powerful enough, you won’t be able to achieve the solid mist of spray that you need for proper coverage. Matching the compressor to the HVLP spray gun is important, and ensures you achieve perfect results on your paint job.

Step 1 - Using the Manual

Your HVLP spray gun will come with a manual, and this will contain several sets of specifications. What you need to find at the recommended CFM@PSI settings. These will let you know what you need in a compressor. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, which is the volume, while PSI means pounds per square inch, which is the pressure. As HVLP sprays using only a low pressure, the pressure figure might well be low.

Step 2 - Maximum Ratings

When you’ve located these figures in the manual, look at the highest CFM rating for your HVLP spray gun. Add 50 per cent to that amount. That figure will be the highest rating of an air compressor for your spray gun. Within that, you have a leeway of 15 per cent. Any compressor within that range will be able to run your HVLP spray gun without becoming overtaxed. Make a note of this figure, as it’s important.

Step 3 - Research

Now you’re ready to begin looking at air compressors for your HVLP spray gun. Start online, at the websites for both retailers and manufacturers. Between the two you should be able to come up with a range of air compressors that can satisfy your demands. When you’ve put together a short list of possible air compressors, you should contact them directly to receive a fuller breakdown of their specifications. Will they really operate within the region of the CFM that you want for your HVLP spray gun?

Step 4 - Budget

The other important factor in considering an air compressor is the cost. If there are several that are able to do what you need, then look at the prices. There might be a large variation between the cheapest and most expensive. Other things can be important, such as the length and extent of the warranty, so investigate these, too. They will play a part in whittling down the numbers of possible air compressors.

Step 5 - Testing

You won’t be able to take an air compressor home to test it with your HVLP spray gun. However, you can purchase one and return it if it doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that you keep it scrupulously clean when testing the air compressor. Test the compressor with the spray gun as soon as you can, checking it on full, to see if it can cope with the demands. If not, return it immediately, making sure you’ve kept the receipt from the store. If you do this, you should be able to obtain your money back or exchange for a different air compressor.