Many folks that have asked me about what compressor to buy have already been through those $200. to  $500 models that don't put out enough air and have a small storage capacity that has either caused the compressor to burn up or has frustrated its user to the point where they know it's time for a new unit. I've been looking for the right line of compressors for this site for quite some time.  I felt that a compressor had to be large enough to run a sander or spray gun without overworking and getting too hot or breaking down and not costing an arm and a leg so that the average person could afford it and have something of value rather than a throw away junker after a year or two. 

What Size?

When looking for a compressor you'll want to purchase one that is a little larger than your present needs.  In most cases you'll find that more and more uses will be found for your compressed air  and you want to have enough air to power these tools without needing to purchase another compressor.

Spraying and blasting usually requires the most air and the person who intends on spraying should purchase at least a compressor that can produce about 12 to 14 CFM and have a storage capacity of 60 gallons or more.  The ideal configuration for the small shop is a compressor that produces about 15 CFM or more and has a storage capacity of 80 gallons.


I've been looking at compressors, talking to manufacturers, pricing different units, talking to owners of different types and sizes and finding out about the availability of parts. So far their is only one compressor I will recommend for offering a good product at a good price and who has an impeccable reputation for service after the sale. 

There are less expensive compressors but this is one tool that
"You'll Get What You Pay For"

The Choice of Size


Almost any compressor will give you enough pressure (PSI) that you need for a given task but the same compressor may not give you enough volume (CFM) causing the air to loose pressure, get hot and retain moisture as well as overwork the compressor.  You want to purchase a compressor that will fill your needs today but also allow for the purchase of other tools that may require a little more air in the future.  Look at your tools and especially your spray gun and sand blaster to see what CFM they require then make your decision on which model compressor would best fit your needs.

Tank Size

While the size of the tank has little to do with the output of the pump it can determine whether or not a compressor can produce enough air for the job at hand.

If you are using a spray gun that consumes 15 CFM of air and your compressor only produces 13 CFM you may still be able to do the job if you have enough air in reserve.   While using more air than the compressor can produce you will still be able to maintain enough output until the pressure begins to drop and the larger the tank the longer you can consume more than you produce without a pressure drop.

The BelAire Line

The American IMC Compressors are one of several units with which I have personal experience.  These compressors put out plenty of air for the money and hold up very well.   They are assembled in North Carolina and can be shipped anywhere in the continental US because they are warehoused all over the country.

For the purposes of auto body repair and painting I recommend three models the 218 V or the 318 V or H (vertical or horizontal) and for those who need more air the 318 VL with 7.5 HP.  The home user may be able to get away with the 6061 for autobody repairs and painting by selecting the proper tools.

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Two Stage Compressors Include...
Enclosed belt guard,
Safety valve,
Tank drain and discharge valve,

Cast Iron Cylinders
Cast Iron Crankshafts
Oversize Main Bearings
Balanced pistons
Built-in intercoolers
Pressure switch unloader
Auto start/stop control




H.P Volts ACFM
at 100PSI
218V 5 208-230 15.33 80 Gal. 175
318VN 5 208-230 18.5 80 Gal. 175
318VL 7.5 208-230 25.25 80 Gal. 175

For accurate and up to date pricing click on the Store link below.

More of The BelAire Line

Single Stage Compressors




H.P Volts ACFM
at 100PSI
6061V 6 208-230 12.35 60 Gal. Vert. 130
4520CP 4.5 115/230 8.2@40psi 20 Gal Horiz. 130


Disclaimer: The ideas and methods described in this web site were developed under unique situations. Since these situations cannot be duplicated, you may get different results. Use and application of any of the site's content is at the user's own risk.

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