How Many CFM Do I Need For HVLP Spray Gun?

In the painting industry, choosing the right spray gun is crucial for achieving desired results on various surfaces. Understanding key factors such as the compressor’s tank size, air pressure, PSI, and CFM can greatly impact the quality of your paint job.

When using an HVLP spray gun, it is essential to focus on properly adjusting the pressure and CFM settings.

This article aims to provide concise and professional guidance on determining the optimal CFM requirements for an HVLP spray gun.

What Is CFM?​

Welcome to our site, where we embark on a captivating journey through the realm of Crocs footwear! CFM is a short form for Cubic Feet per Minute that refers to the quantity of compressed air, released by a specific compressor under specific pressure in a minute.

Among the requirements of the HVLP spray gun (tank size, pressure, and CFM), CFM is an important one. You can’t perform a perfect painting job without adjusting the right ratio of CFM.

So always find the right compressor for your HVLP spray gun and compare the CFM indications of both (compressor and gun). Keep the CFM of the compressor higher than the HVLP spray gun for getting better results.

How Many CFM Does An HVLP Spray Gun Use?

The compressor’s CFM always depends on the spray gun’s CFM and also on the type of painting project. The quality of the HVLP spray gun also plays a vital role in deciding the right CFM.

So you need typically between 15-25 CFM to operate a quality HVLP spray gun perfectly while to operate a conventional spray gun you need 11-15 CFM.

You can get low CFM spray guns, but you can’t get the quality of finishing work unless you are an expert painter.

How Many CFM Does An HVLP and Conventional Spray Gun Use

Harmony Of Air Compressor With HVLP Spray Gun

You always need an air compressor that can work in harmony with all the other parts of your gun. For example, if your spray gun needs more CFM than the compressor can provide, your painting work will not be ideal.

So for understanding how much air you need for a spray gun, focus on these main parts:

#1. Spray Guns

Using HVLP spray guns, a compressor delivering about 20 CFM is required. In many cases, there are compressors called two-stage compressors.

two-stage compressors.

These compressors may be expensive but will serve for a long time providing high-quality results. The HVLP spray guns are perfect because they waste little spray as compared to conventional spray guns.

#1. Power of Air Compressor

The Power of the Air Compressor refers to the amount of power of the motor hose that is required to power the entire system. Here again, it is very important to know how many CFM you need to run a spray gun because it keeps temperature and humidity at the right levels.

So while getting an air compressor for your HVLP spray painting, try to consider the CFM and PSI ratings as they can save you from a lot of mishaps. The air compressor supplies the quantity of pressurized air that the HVLP spray gun requires.

#1. Water Filter

If you as a painter want to work perfectly, you need the air to be super dry. If the air has humidity, the coming paint from the spray gun is comparatively thicker which can change the quality of paintings.

But if your HVLP spray gun has a proper water filter, it will prevent this humidity. Now you may not need the amount of CFM to do a simple job.

Basic Requirements Of Air Compressor For Spray Painting

There are three basic requirements of the air compressor for spray painting.

  1. #1: Pounds per square inch (PSI); in HVLP delivery, you do need not have much pressure to do your job but having high and enough PSI ensures consistent delivery.
  2. #2: Cubic feet per minute (CFM); is a central factor to focus on when choosing a compressor. It measures the volume of air, the compressor can produce in a minute and the quantity of air, the compressor should have at a certain PSI.
  3. #3: Tank size of compressors; the tank size can help to maintain a stable flow of air as the spray gun process needs a regular flow of air. So the compressor needs sufficient storage to keep up with the spray gun.

There may be many other factors as the size of the air compressors and the airbrushes. So after assembling all these items in the right position, you can connect them and start painting.

Learning these tricks is not an easy task for a beginner; regular practice is required to get the right combinations.

Process Of Using HVLP Spray Gun With Proper CFM

Let us learn how many CFM to run the HVLP spray gun are necessary;

  • #1: Take all safety equipment before starting any project
  • #2: Connect the air compressor to the air spray gun via the hose or other attachments
  • #3: Make sure the compressor is providing sufficient CFM
  • #4: Mix the solvent of paint or primer to the recommended ratio
  • #5: Test the pressure of the paint spray gun on cardboard to check the compressed air spray whether is delivering a steady paint flow.
  • #6: Adjust the spray pattern via a knob on the side of the gun in most of the HVLP spray guns
  • #7: Spray an even and smooth coat of paint on the chosen surface
  • #8: If a second coat is required, apply it after 12-24 hours when the first dry


Spray painting is the most important form of painting. If you have a good spray gun, you can perform a painting job easily. But these guns do not work by themselves; they need some power to run which usually comes from air compressors.

The perfect compressor-spray gun requires proper CFM to work perfectly which is typically between 10-20 CFM. So the question of how many CFM I need for a spray gun depends on the type of spray gun.

Additional Questions

How many CFM does a HVLP gun need?

An HVLP, which stands for High-Volume/Low Pressure, typically requires a sizable volume of air between 15-26 CFM, which is maintained at a low pressure of 10 PSI or lesser at the air cap. This process helps in the atomization of paint into a controlled, gentle, low-velocity pattern of particles. In my experience as a professional painter, this capacity ensures an even application of paint, reducing potential wastage.

Can you use a 10 gallon air compressor with a HVLP?

Theoretically you could, but HVLP guns are quite demanding when it comes to air volume, thereby necessitating the requirement of an air compressor of larger capacity than the usual home-used ones. To cover a full range of finishing products, you’d ideally need at least a compressor with a 2½ to 3 HP rating, complete with a 75 liters (equivalent to 20 gallons) tank to be effectively operational. From personal use, I can suggest that larger the compressor, smoother is the flow and better is the overall results.

How many CFM do I need for spray painting?

The required CFM for spray painting can vary largely based on the model of the paint gun. With smaller spray guns naturally demanding a lower CFM compared to larger ones. However, some air spray guns might function with a rating lower than 10 CFM but from a professional standpoint, I would propose that the compressor CFM for spray painting should be at least 12 CFM. This ensures a steady application without interruptions.

How many CFM do I need for auto painting?

For auto painting, I would recommend using high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) compressors which can deliver up to approximately 20 CFM. Based on my significant expertise in this area, a 2-stage compressor that provides close to 20 CFM is better-suited and efficient for auto paint jobs. This delivers an even coat, making your work stand out.

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