HVLP Air Spray Gun CFM and Compressor Requirements

What size compressor do I need for my spray gun? This is a common question. Compressed air is required to operate spray guns and other air powered equipment. While the air consumption of air powered equipment is determined by the air motor, the air consumption of a spray gun is determined by the air cap. Here is an overview of the air consumption of various spray gun models (including the SataJet 5500, Iwata W400, Devilbiss FLG-5 and DV1) and how they compare to other air powered tools such as DA sanders, air dusters and polishers.

What compressor size do I need for my spray gun?

How much cfm (or lpm) to use on a spray gun is a common question. It is often believed that pressure (psi) is the most important factor when it comes to spray painting, but this is incorrect. The most important specification of an air compressor is the volume of air it can deliver per minute (cfm). The more CFM (or volume of air available), the larger the type of air nozzle that can be used or the larger the airless pump that can be operated. The amount of air available determines the amount of material that can be properly atomized in a given amount of time and the speed of the application. As a rule of thumb: A 1 H.P. compressor using an electric motor will produce approximately 4-5 CFM at 100 PSI. This rule of thumb can be used to calculate the amount of air available from a compressor. When working with portable compressors, remember that a 1.5 hp electric unit is the maximum for most household outlets. If more air is needed, consider a gasoline powered unit.

What are the air compressor requirements for HVLP spray guns?

HVLP air caps tend to consume more air than standard conventional air caps. The maximum air consumption of the air cap (either in lpm or cfm) can be used to determine the required compressor size. The air consumption of the specific air cap can usually be found in the manual of the spray gun.

Tool/Device Air Consumption
Airbrush 5.6-17 lpm [0.2-0.6 cfm]
Air Motor 1AM 580 lpm [20.5 cfm]
Air Motor 2AM 850 lpm [30 cfm]
Air Motor 4AM 2207 lpm [78 cfm]
Air Motor 6AM 3622 lpm [128 cfm]
DA Sander 425 lpm [15 cfm]
Air Duster 480 lpm [17 cfm]
Shot Blaster 2280 lpm [64.5 cfm]
Devilbiss SriPro Lite 135 lpm [4.8 cfm]
Devilbiss FLG-5 280 lpm [10 cfm]
Devilbiss GTI-Pro Lite (HVLP) 460 lpm [16.3 cfm]
Devilbiss GTI-Pro Lite TE10 (non-HVLP) 275 lpm [9.8 cfm]
Devilbiss DV1 400 lpm [14.1 cfm]
Satajet 5500 (HVLP) 430 lpm [15.2 cfm]
Satajet 5500 RP (non-HVLP) 285 lpm [10.0 cfm)
Iwata W400 380 lpm [13.4 cfm]