How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air Compressor | A-Z Guide!

How to Use a Paint Sprayer with Air CompressorI know there’s a very long list when you think about the application of an air compressor. But certainly, the most useful application of this tool is noticed when you need to do some spray painting. It really saves a lot of time, hassle and effort. Also, the end reason is magnificently even and aesthetic.

No patches, zero unusual color tones and also ease of painting! everything screams for a quality air compressor.

And that’s why I have decided to write about how to use a paint sprayer with air compressor. It’s super easy to attach and use, so don’t be scared.

How to use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor for Painting.

I really love how there’s no restriction with what type of surface chosen for painting, my husky air compressor makes it possible and in a beautiful way.

An airless paint sprayer is good, but it won’t ever deliver the effortless performance of utilizing low-pressure levels. There’s no way to control the pressure and also it won’t be safe with some materials. Since it can practically damage some materials. So, using a paint sprayer with air compressor is safer, easier and better in most ways.

Your First Duty – Finding the Right Air Compressor.

Husky Air Compressor ReviewNot just any air compressor will fit with your paint application needs. It’s really important that you get a suitable one with low pressure of 10 PSI to fit well with most sprayers.

Have a look at the CFM ratings. With a huge score here you can be assured that the air compressor is capable of providing amazing fast capabilities for any painting demand.

I prefer CFM ratings around 30. Now in some cases, a high-quality spray gun can still manage with a less CFM rating pick. However, get ready to experience limitations during heavy coating atomization moments. Also, compressor needs to match the sprayer size. Otherwise, you’ll find out that the compressor is failing to provide air that your sprayer needs. As a result, inconsistent patterns and overspray will occur more.

Next, comes the right work environment suitable compressor choosing. If you want to deal with DIY projects, go with direct drive compressors. While high-intensity projects work well under the use of a belt-driven compressor.

Other than these factors, consider the control system, finger valve, and price. Also, determine whether there is a need for getting air compressor fittings for the task.

Selecting Suitable Paint & Thinner.

If latex, oil-based paints, and acrylic are involved with the task, then you probably need to learn how to use air paint sprayer. These are perfect for painting with the right compressor. To make paint freely flow, you need a suitable thinner as well. So, get the thinner that works well with whatever type of paint you’ve selected.

Preparing the Workspace & Safety Requirements.

Before you start painting, it’s very essential to clear and prepare the workplace. The area needs to be completely clean and free of obstacles. Make sure there is enough ventilation available. Your paint needs to dry quickly and without proper airflow that is not going to happen.

You should also do something about paint not spreading the nearby areas making it dirty. Simply use some painter’s tape, mask and newspaper to avoid that.

Wear proper masks and gloves before starting painting. The pollutant, dust, odor, and paint are not really good for your well-being. Especially if you are painting for long hours, a respirator is a must. Don’t freak out about paying that extra thirty dollars if you love your lungs and want to save it from infections. The thing will absolutely filter any paint vapor and smell disturbing your lungs.

Also, mind that there are certain paints using highly flammable solvents. Especially the ones with dry-fall and lacquer-based tags. So, make sure you are sidestepping sparks and open flames. The fume inside a confined space is also something to worry about.

The Surface Prep Up & Priming.

Get a bucket full of water. Add some liquid detergent or soap in it. Now using soap added water, thoroughly clean the surface you’ll be painting. Removing all sorts of dirt from the surface is going to help to achieve a better finish after painting.

After cleaning it, let the surface dry completely. Then bring the primer you chose for this job. Carefully apply at least one layer of primer over the surface. You can use a roller, brush or sprayer to do so. Make sure the end result is smooth and even. Otherwise, the later application of paint won’t be satisfying.

Preparing Compressor & Adjusting.

While painting, there should be no change in pressure. This is important to maintain the same flow rate and paint without any unevenness. Or else get ready to experience a very uneven distribution of stain all over the surface ruining whole thing.

There should be a regulator on your compressor. Usually, this is to adjust the speed. You need to set it right and range somewhere between 12 to 25 pounds per square inch or PSI. Read the instruction manual provided to know what PSI is right for your application.

Air Hose Attaching & Checking Sprayer.

Air Hose Attaching & Checking SprayerChances are that the hose is not attached to your paint sprayer. In that case, you need to attach it next. Use some Teflon tape to do so. Simply fix it and wrap the joints before using the tape for making a seal. There are many versions that use connective couplings. If these are provided, you can simply attach the air hose easily and quickly.

There should be a reservoir in a sprayer. This is where the thinner mixed with paint is usually inserted. You can find it at the bottom of sprayer. Simply open the metering valve gradually.

After inserting the thinner, you need to check whether it comes out right. Then go for squeezing, just check whether it comes out of nozzle in the right amount. For the first few minutes, only air will come out. And then the paint thinner should start spraying.

You need to insert the right amount of paint in that container as well. Simply use the filter to get rid of any lump or dust easily. It’s important to add the right proportion of thinner. Then simply adding the prepared solution into paint cup is what you do next.

Painting with Right Strokes.

It’s time to start painting. You should hold sprayer at least five inches away from the targeted surface. This will help you get an even application of paint.

Now talking about the spraying motion, it’s like art. The velocity of moving gun is what you should be focusing on. It needs to be very constant when you move the sprayer back and forth.

Once gun is up to speed, simply push the button. Before finishing final stroke, release the button. You should use the wet-on-wet technique. Just like shingles, keep overlapping the strokes.

Keep some points in mind for right stroke-making:

  • Runs indicate that you are using too much paint or solvent.
  • WAIT & PAINT, that’s the key. Apply a light coat and wait until it dries to repeat again.
  • Your hand motion needs to be controlled, so practice before the actual project.

Wow, You Are Done!

At some point, you’ll finally cover the entire surface with beautiful looking even paint and want to praise your work. Take a moment to pad your own head and then start focusing on cleaning the spray gun.

Yes, that’s what you need to do next if keeping it working for a long time is on your list. Now several users have this very dirty habit of keeping the sprayer wet since they use it every day. Their believe is that keeping it like that in a plastic bag for cleaning later will save time and effort.

But nope, that’s totally wrong. There is cleaning instruction clearly written in your gun’s manual that you just need to follow. Usually, it is dumping out the paint and wiping it with a clean rag. Use some solvent and spray. Finally, dump it into the paint can so that there’s some thinning. Keep on repeating until the gun is clean and there’s no hardened paint.

There are experts who like to keep the gun dipped inside a bucket full of solvent. It literally helps to avoid any trace of paint left to harden.

Some Tips to Follow.

  • Use acetone or lacquer thinner if there’s dried on oil-based paint.
  • Don’t try both horizontal and vertical motion at the same time on a project. Go with any one of these so that there’s no uneven texturing of the surface. You’ll be able to notice that when looking from different angles.
  • To increase the drying speed and also prevent any run, use a catalytic reducer. These do not affect the paint, color or finish at all.
  • Before using the compressor, try removing any remaining moisture from its air line. Use an air compressor dryer to get rid of those unwanted things easily.
  • You can try the water of 50 degree Celsius to thin water-based paints.
  • When charging compressor make sure the air hose is connected.


And finally, we are done with today’s topic on how to use a paint sprayer with air compressor. Using magic of paint sprayer is something that you should not ignore if enhancing your home is what you’ve wanted the most.

The smooth finish to doors and woodworks using paint sprayer with air compressor is also remarkable. So, keep these discussed points in mind and get into coloring that boring wall of house or exterior of your car, you won’t regret it.

About Jeremy

Hello! My name is Jeremy Bloomberg. I have been passionate about carpentry and DIY. Over the years, my passion slowly turned into expertise and wider knowledge about electronics. I’ve been involved in numerous projects, both professional and personal. I want to share all I have learned with you. Welcome!

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