How to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor in 6 Easy Steps

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In this article, we will be sharing with you all the steps on to How to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor. Spray painting can be quite difficult especially if you are a newbie. But with the below guide, nothing will seem difficult anymore at least with using a spray gun with an air compressor.

Using a spray gun for painting a surface can get tricky especially if you aren’t a professional. But an air compressor can things much easier for you. The air compressor not only makes the entire process seamless by avoiding any air interruption but it also primes the gun well.

So, if you are looking forward to using a spray gun with air compressor, then do not miss the below guide.

How to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor

How to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor

Given below is a detailed guide on how to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor. We have mentioned the tools you will require to perform the painting using an air compressor with a spray gun. Make sure to go through all of the mentioned information and perform the steps in the exact given sequence.

What all do you need?

Here is the list of tools that you will require in order to paint a surface using a Spray Gun with Air Compressor.

  • Paint 

What else are you going to put in the tank and on the surface you want to paint? But you cannot just pick any paint. Make sure that you go for the right paint. For example, acrylic and latex paints work nicely with spray guns but the paints that are oil-based are the best ones to work with a spray gun.

  • Thinner 

Thinner is one of the most important tools that you need to have in order to obtain the right viscosity for your paint. Do not skip the thinner. In case you do not have a thinner right away then you can use water. But we would recommend you to use a thinner.

Also, make sure that the thinner you are using is compatible with your paint type. When you choose the right thinner for yourself, the spray painting will be much effective and efficient.

  • Safety Items

Whenever you are using such machinery, it is recommended to use safety items like glasses, gloves, mask, respirator, etc. Such items might not seem as important but can help in many crucial ways.

  • Paint Spray Gun

What else will be used for spraying the paint? But there is not just one common spray gun out there. There are different types of spray paint guns depending on their characteristics. Here are the 3 main types of spray guns –

  1. Gravity Guns – The gravity guns have their containers on the top of their main body and thus the paint flows down due to the gravity. This is where it gets its name from. The gravity makes the flow of the paint easier and hence these guns require less air pressure. The only little con with this gun is that you will need some time to get used to it. But they are especially amazing for painting small areas. 
  2. Pressure Feed Guns – Pressure Feed Guns have a pressure pot that has 2 hoses on it. One of these hoses supplies air to the gun and the other hose supplies the paint from the container to the gun. The hoses vary in their lengths and hence they are the most efficient spray guns for spray painting. 
  3. Siphon Guns – Siphon guns are the ones that have a container under their main body. The thing with such siphon guns is that they are not as efficient as the other 2 types. Siphon guns need higher air pressure than the other 2 guns. Plus, they also do not offer much coverage. Thus, you will end up using more paint, air pressure as well as time with siphon guns.

Now that you know what all you will need in order to paint a surface Using a Spray Gun with Air Compressor, given below is a step-by-step guide on how to set up an air compressor for spray guns. 

Step 1: Prep Up

To start with, you will have to prepare the area that you want to paint. Spraying guns will certainly spray off the paint on the surrounding area as well.

And by prepping up, we mean, you will have to cover the surrounding walls and floors that might get the paint using tapes. Also, spraying can transfer paint droplets on the furniture nearby.

So make sure to cover if there is any around. When you are done with covering such items and have all your tools and safety items in place, you can then begin with the next step.

Step 2: Compressor Setup

Before you start painting the surface using your spray gun, make sure to turn on the air compressor for some time. This will act as priming and testing the air compressor.

Doing so will build up some pressure which will further be useful. You can then use the regulator of the air compressor in order to regulate the pressure of your spray gun.

Step 3: Set Up the Regulator

Now that you have primed the air compressor you can now go further to take a look at the instruction manual of your spray gun. This will help you get an idea of the accurate pressure that the air compressor must-have.

Note that these pressure numbers vary for different brands and spray guns. So check the digits for your spray gun. To give you an idea, in most cases,  the pressure of air which is considered ideal for use with a spray gun is 12 to 25 PSI.

Step 4: Attaching Air Compressor to Spray Gun

Once you have known the air pressure required for your spray gun and set it using the regulator, now comes the step to attach the two. You can attach the air compressor to the spray gun using connectors, regulators, and a high-pressure hose.

Just make sure to check the airflow volume at the spray head in cubic feet per minute. That is the least amount of airflow your air compressor needs to offer.

Step 5: Add Paint Thinner

As mentioned before, thinning is the most important step when it comes to using an air compressor for spray guns and painting using sprayers.

The spray gun requires viscosity in the paint for its efficient and even application. If your paint does not have a thinner and is not liquid enough then it can clog and cause uneven paint on the surface.

In case you do not have a thinner, you can use water as an alternative to thinner. But do not keep your paintless liquid before proceeding further.

You can easily pour the thinner inside the paint tank. Just check that you do not add too much or too little of it. You can see that the siphon tube is filled enough with the paint thinner.

Step 6: You are all set!

Once you have added the thinner to your paint well and opened the meter valve a little, you are then all set to start painting the surface you want.

We would recommend you first try the spray gun on a rough surface for testing it and adjusting the settings of the gun. You can make use of the knobs present on the gun for making the necessary adjustments.

The painting part is quite easy. Just keep on spraying the paint till you are satisfied by the looks of the surface. You can read the additional tips mentioned below for much better use of an air compressor with spray gun. 

Some Extra Tips for better use of an Air compressor with Spray Gun

Apart from the above steps, you can also follow the below bonus tips which can help you get even coverage for the paint.

  • Whenever using anything like an air compressor, make sure to go through this instruction manual to not commit any mistake and use the machine to its best level.
  • Make sure to add thinner to the paint so as to make it liquid enough for better and even results.
  • In order to get an even coverage of the spray paint, we would recommend you to use an air compressor in a side-to-side sweep motion.
  • Another thing you can do to improvise the evenness of the spray paint is to use the smallest tip possible of the sprayer.
  • Note to not use too much pressure when using the compressor as this might make the paint droplets way to small. Plus, these small droplets will again blow around and then result in a mess and wastage of the paint. Such droplets also tend to bounce off and rarely stick well.
  • Lastly, keep a gap of at least 12 to 24 hours before you go for the second coat of your paint.


What should I be checking when assessing an air compressor for spray painting?

When you are assessing an air compressor for spray painting then you should check these factors – tank size, cubic ft. per minute (CFM), and pounds per sq. inch (PSI). Just make sure that the CFM and PSI are high such that it can reach the needed amount of spray gun. A simple note to add here would be – the larger the tank size, the easier it is for you to work.

Is paint thinner really needed? Can I go without using it?

Well, yes. You will require a paint thinner. You cannot avoid using a paint thinner. This is because, if you want your paint to be sprayed freely then it has to move without any obstacles and through the nooks inside the sprayer which requires the paint to be vicious.

If you do no use a thinner, the paint will have less liquidity and this will become difficult to spray freely. It can further cause uneven spraying as well as clogging of the paint.

So, to avoid that we would recommend you all to use a paint thinner. However, if you do not have a paint thinner, you can always add some water to it.

Are there any special air compressors for spray guns?

Not really. There are not any special air compressors made especially for spray guns. However, it is not recommended to use just any air compressor for spray guns.

While choosing an air compressor for your spray gun, we would suggest you to first check it thoroughly and if it meets your needs or not. You can use an air compressor for a number of tasks of which spraying is one.

To use an air compressor for a spray paint gun, you will have to ensure that compressor you are using uses an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) mechanism.

I am not getting enough pressure, despite everything seeming fine. What can I do?

In such a situation where you are not getting the required pressure, the issue might be with the air hose. See if the air hose is too long. When the air hose is long, the air tends to lose some of its pressure while it travels through this long hose. What you can do here is try using a shorter hose.

Bottom Line

That was it all about How to Use a Spray Gun with Air Compressor. I hope you have all found the above article of use. In case you are stuck at any of the above steps or have any queries, then feel free to ask us in the comment section below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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