What Size Air Compressor for Cerakote?

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When it comes to applying Cerakote, a high-performance coating that’s become the gold standard in automotive finishes, the size of your air compressor can make all the difference.

I mean, the right air compressor can ensure a smooth, even application that not only looks professional but also stands up to the test of time.

In this guide, I’ll be your personal guide, walking you through the ins and outs of choosing the right air compressor for your Cerakote projects.

By the end of this article, I aim you to have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision that will elevate your Cerakote application to the next level.

Understanding Cerakote and Its Benefits

Cerakote is a ceramic-based finish that offers a hardy layer of protection against the elements and everyday wear and tear.

But why should you consider it? Let’s dive into its benefits and applications to get a better idea:

Unmatched Durability

Cerakote is known for its exceptional durability as it’s resistant to impact, abrasion, and corrosion, making it a top choice for protecting metal items.


Cerakote’s benefits aren’t limited to cars.

In fact, it can be applied to a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and wood. This makes it a versatile solution for protecting and enhancing a wide range of items, from automotive parts to outdoor equipment.

Role Of Air Compressor In Using Cerakote

Let’s delve into how air compressors are used in the context of Cerakote application and the role the size of the compressor plays.

Powering the Spray Gun

First and foremost, the air compressor powers the spray gun used to apply the Cerakote.

Without a reliable air compressor, you simply can’t get the job done. It’s like trying to paint a masterpiece without a brush.

The compressor pushes the air through the gun, allowing the Cerakote to be sprayed onto the metal surface of your firearm or other item. It’s the heart of the operation, pumping life into the process.

Ensuring Consistent Pressure

Consistent air pressure is key to a smooth and even Cerakote application and this is where the size of the air compressor comes into play.

Inconsistent pressure can lead to uneven coating, which can affect the look and durability of the Cerakote. Therefore, having an air compressor that can deliver steady pressure is crucial for achieving a professional-grade finish.

Allowing for Continuous Operation

If you’re working on a large project or multiple items, you’ll appreciate a larger air compressor as it allows for continuous operation without the need for frequent breaks to build up pressure.

This not only saves time but also helps maintain a consistent finish across all items.

Thus, a larger air compressor can keep up with your pace, making it an essential tool for serious Cerakote applicators.

Adjustability for Different Applications

Different Cerakote applications may require different air pressures.

In that context, a good air compressor should allow you to adjust the pressure to suit the specific requirements of each project giving your greater flexibility.

This flexibility is crucial for achieving the best results.

For example, a lighter touch may be needed for delicate parts, while a higher pressure may be required for larger surfaces. An air compressor with adjustable pressure settings gives you the control you need to tailor your approach to each project, ensuring optimal results every time.

What Size Air Compressor For Cerakote?

Choosing the right size air compressor for Cerakote application is a bit like choosing the right size tool for any job: it will depend on the scale of your projects.

Small Scale Applications

For small scale applications, such as personal projects or occasional use, a smaller air compressor can suffice as these compressors can deliver the necessary pressure for Cerakote application.

I’d say a small air compressor with a capacity of around 20-30 gallons should serve you well.

Medium Scale Applications

If you’re working on multiple firearms or regularly applying Cerakote, a medium-sized air compressor would be more suitable.

These compressors offer a balance between portability and performance and they can maintain consistent pressure for longer periods, reducing the need for breaks and ensuring a smoother application.

For medium scale applications, consider an air compressor with a capacity of around 60 gallons.

Large Scale Applications

For large scale applications, such as professional gunsmithing or industrial use, a large air compressor is the way to go.

These heavy-duty machines can deliver high pressure consistently and continuously, allowing for efficient and uniform Cerakote application on a large number of items.

They are typically stationary due to their size, but their performance is unparalleled. You’ll want to look at air compressors with a capacity of 80 gallons or more.

Tips For Using Air Compressor For Cerakote

As someone who has applied Cerakote on numerous occasions, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way when it comes to using an air compressor for this task:

Correct Air Pressure

The first tip is to use the correct air pressure.

The recommended pressure for spraying Cerakote is typically between 25-30 psi. However, you may need to adjust the air pressure to find the sweet spot that suits your particular airbrush and the effects you want to achieve.

Remember, too much pressure can lead to overspray and a rough finish, while too little pressure can result in an uneven coating.

Multiple Thin Coats

When applying Cerakote, less is more.

Instead of applying a single thick coat, aim for multiple thin coats as a thick coat of Cerakote may result in drips, an orange peel texture, and bubbles.

On the other hand, multiple thin coats will give you a smoother, more even finish. It might take a bit more time, but the results are worth it.

Proper Maintenance

Air compressors, like any other tool, require regular maintenance to perform at their best.

That’s why I highly recommend to make sure to drain the tank regularly to remove any accumulated moisture.

Also, clean the air filter and check the hoses for any signs of wear or damage, as this will substantially enhance the durability of your air compressor.

Personal Protective Equipment

Last but not least, don’t forget about safety. Always use protective equipment when applying Cerakote.

This includes gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator. Cerakote is a great product, but it’s still a chemical, and it’s important to protect yourself when using it.

Best Air Compressor For Cerakote

CRAFTSMAN 6-gallon Air Compressor


  • Tank size: 6-gallon
  • PSI: 150 PSI
Craftsman Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)

The first thing that caught my attention was its portability.

With a 6-gallon capacity, it’s compact enough to move around but still provides a sufficient amount of stored air which is godsend when you’re working in different locations.

It’s also a no-maintenance machine, thanks to its oil-free pump.

Another feature that I appreciate is its maximum of 150 PSI, which ensures adequate air pressure for a variety of applications.

Regarding the noise made, it sits at 78.5 dB, it’s not the quietest machine out there, but it’s not overly loud either. It’s a small compromise for the performance it delivers.

Plus, it has a quick recovery time, with 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, allowing for a swift compressor recovery time.


  • Easy to transport and store.
  • Oil-free pump means no maintenance required, which saves time and effort.
  • Provides adequate cut-in pressure for various applications, including applying Cerakote
  • Quick recovery time


  • One downside I found is that it can be a bit noisy (although it’s manageable)

Frequently Asked Questions

What PSI do you use for Cerakote?

As an experienced Cerakote applicator, I can tell you that the recommended PSI for Cerakote application is typically between 20 to 25 PSI.

However, this can vary depending on the specific Cerakote product you’re using and the type of spray gun. That said, it’s crucial to adjust the PSI to the correct setting to ensure a smooth and even application.

Can you let Cerakote air dry?

Yes, you can let Cerakote air dry.

In fact, there’s a specific line of Cerakote products known as the C-Series that are designed to air cure. These coatings will continue to harden for up to a few months, although they are safe to handle and use after about five days.

However, it’s important to note that air-dried Cerakote may not provide the same level of hardness or abrasion resistance as oven-cured Cerakote.

Is sandblasting necessary for Cerakote?

Sandblasting is a crucial step in the Cerakote application process. It’s used to create a correctly etched profile on the surface of the item you’re coating, which helps the Cerakote bond properly.

Hi, I’m John Smith, a proud husband, and father of two little beautiful girls. After a long time of thinking I made up my mind to build a website around my passion.. helping people who need smart advice from handymen with years of experience.

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