Clean compressed air is key in the health of your pneumatic tools and they can be the final barrier before a paint gun to save that paint job. We ALWAYS suggest to use one inline when painting or spraying powder.
Not all inline air filters are created equal and some are much more efficient than others. Compressed air filters are designed to separate moisture and dirt, debris, and oil that has made its way out of your air tank. A large air filter dryer system attached at the compressor tank outlet will be the most efficient and make the biggest difference in the quality of the compressed air coming out at your hose end. These multi-stage systems also create the least amount of pressure drop or restriction in your air system. We suggest installing a multi-step system that includes a water trap and a desiccant-type filter. Both of these linked together will get the air clean and dry enough for the majority of home hobbyists. These types of systems do cost a little more, but they are reusable and the desiccant can be dried out and reused or replaced for a nominal amount. Remember to regularly check, drain, and clean your dryers and filters as they can cause a large drop in PSI at the outlet if they become clogged.
Last chance filters are a nice peace of mind for using when you need additional filtration. We most commonly use this style filter when painting or powder coating as moisture or oil and dirt in the air can mix with your coating and cause poor results. We offer small disposable inline last chance filters that thread directly onto your paint or powder gun and filter the air just before it enters the gun. These are consumable filters and will greatly reduce the pressure in the line if they are used past their life cycle. We suggest putting a new filter on each time you are doing painting or powder coating.
If you’re doing a lot of painting or powder coating and can’t afford a multi-stage filtration system, or want less time replacing the small disposable filters, you can look into installing a Desiccant Snake. These are one of the best last-chance style inline air filters for dirt and oil and also act as a moisture separator. The line is filled with desiccant and filtration material that gives some peace of mind when painting or powder coating. These last a lot longer and can be installed inline just before the paint gun to give you clean, dry air. We also suggest desiccant snakes for users that have a small lower end compressor that tends to put out excessive moisture or contaminants. Desiccant snakes are inexpensive and will last you through multiple paint or powder projects.
The moral of the story is that you can never have too much filtration in your air system and extra filters can be added when you need it. Remember to check filters for the change in output before and after installing to make sure they don’t cause too much restriction in your system to overwork your compressor or drop the compressors efficiency.