An automotive paint booth is one of the most advanced technologies in vehicle painting to date. This sealed-off booth is completely closed off to the outside world so that you can paint small cars, mid-size SUVs, and even large trucks in a safe, controlled environment.
You’ll definitely experience cleaner, smoother painting by investing in an auto paint booth, but first, you need to decide on the right one. This comprehensive guide to the best automotive paint booths available to consumers can help.
Ventilation Blower Power
13’ X’ 8’ X 8’/28’ X 15’ X 10’
39’ X 16’ 13’
350W (Inflation), 1100W (Ventilation)
26’ X 15’ X 10’
26’ X 15’ X 10’
20’ X 10’ X 8’/23’ X 16’ X 10’/33’ X 16’ X 11.5’
Why Paint Cars with an Automotive Paint Booth?
Many imperfections can happen when you paint a car, like water blisters, lack of adherence, cracking, and dust particles sticking to the surface. Using a paint booth can help you avoid all of these and get a quality paint job every time.
It does this by providing a clean painting environment free from dust, dirt, and other particles. There’s uniform airflow within the booth, which means a vehicle stays protected by a thick layer of air even if contaminants find their way into the booth. On top of that, the temperature and humidity conditions are ideal for paint adherence, and the bright light panels make it easier to spot imperfections.
Most importantly, an industrial paint booth offers a safe painting environment for everyone. The area is completely contained, so you never have to worry about fumes and contaminants affecting the surrounding air. Plus, a booth helps to keep paint spills and leaks contained.
Who Can Benefit from Using a Paint Booth
Anyone who works in the automotive industry knows that staying ahead of the game and keeping up with the competition can be challenging. Well, one of the easiest ways to step up your game is to invest in a car paint booth.
You’ll be taking a big leap forward with your business if you offer vehicle surface treatments to your customers. Try not to see it as money-spent since you’re likely to see a high ROI within a short amount of time. On top of that, a DIY spray paint booth is worth the investment if you want to take car painting into your own hands. Just be sure to check into your local regulations before you get started.
Buying Considerations for Automotive Paint Booths
Paint Booth Type
Although all paint booths serve the same purpose - to help you achieve better quality vehicle paint jobs - they do this in various ways. Depending on the type of booth, the ventilation draft will either be moving vertically, horizontally or across the two. There are pros and cons to each - we'll talk more about this later.
Some paint booths are large enough to handle semi-trucks, while others are small enough to install in a home garage. Whether you get a DIY paint booth in the garage or a massive booth for painting semis, just make sure you have the available space. Take exact measurements of the intended paint booth area and compare it with the booth you’re considering buying before you pull out your credit card.
As you browse the market for a DIY car paint booth, you’ll see that prices range anywhere from around $2,000 to $10K+. Many things determine the cost, like the type and size of the paint booth, but it also has a lot to do with overall construction and durability.
A booth that is waterproof, water-resistant, soundproof, and uses high-quality material will cost more than a cheap paint booth that is made with flimsy materials and poorly constructed.
Ventilation & Filtration System
The type of booth (downdraft vs. cross draft vs. semi downdraft) will determine the booth's ventilation system. Downdraft ventilation, where the air is pushed from the ceiling and exhausted through a pit system on the floor, is considered the best, but it's also the most expensive.
Without consistent lighting in your booth, there's likely to be shadows on the vehicle's surface. This makes painting difficult, so a well-lit booth is essential. The best lighting for paint booths is bright LED lights, which allows you to see exactly where any imperfections lie. Some booths don’t have lights included, so you’ll have to purchase them separately.
Noise & Soundproofing
The ventilation system of paint booths can get noisy, so high-end industrial paint booths are designed to lock in noise and stay soundproof. However, if you opt for a portable temporary paint booth, it probably won’t be completely soundproof.
Power Source & Energy Efficiency
You must factor in electricity expenses when you buy a paint booth. The paint booth fan and paint booth lights have to run on something, so it'd be wise of you to choose an energy-efficient booth to keep your electricity bills low.
Some booths come with an optional "Eco-Friendly" or "Energy-Smart" feature that reduces energy consumption and cuts down on unnecessary motor usage. You're not likely to find this feature in cheaper booths, though.
Ease of Installation & Take Down
If you opt for a temporary booth for its portability, you'll want to find one that's easy to set up and break down. An inflatable booth is usually the best option for this.
Many additional features can help increase productivity and the overall quality of the paint job. Some booths come with heat drying technology, some come with a tool room add-on, and some are specifically designed for compact spaces.
6 Best Automotive Paint Booths Reviewed
Our Top Pick
13’ x’ 8’ x 8’/28’ x 15’ x 10’
Ventilation Blower Power
There are a few reasons that the LuckyWe inflatable car paint booth receives consistently positive reviews, and the first is the value for money. This spray booth comes in a variety of sizes and configurations, and the price is more than fair for each one. You’ve got the option for a 13’ x’ 8’ x 8’ booth, which is small enough to fit in your garage, or a 28’ x 15’ x 10’ booth, which is better for larger vehicles.
Whether you go with the small paint booth or the larger one, the LuckyWe blowers are powerful and reliable. The booth comes with 2 blowers total, one for inflating the tent and the other for delivering fresh airflow to the workspace. The larger 950W blower can accelerate the speed of internal air replacement, keeping the environment inside the booth safe at all times.
The booth itself is stable and durable, constructed from high-quality PU-coated 210D silver oxford fabric. This material is thicker and more durable than standard oxford fabric, plus its smooth surface makes it much easier to clean. The booth bottom is reinforced with a fixed Iron D ring, and there’s one located at the top as well.
The LuckyWe blower is UL listed for fire prevention and waterproofing, and the structure has been tested to deliver strong airflow performance (both for intake and outlet). The motor has a high heat dissipation rate, so you never have to worry about it giving out on you due to overheating. All in all, this is a solid paint booth that comes with the added benefit of inflatable portability.
The only downside is that this booth isn’t designed with soundproofing, but for the price, this is an easy oversight.
39’ x 16’ 13’
Ventilation Blower Power
350W (Inflation), 1100W (Ventilation)
The Happybuy paint booth is similar in design to the LuckyWe model. It’s inflatable, making it highly portable and easy to move, and it comes with 2 blowers included. It’s also made from PU-coated 210D silver oxford fabric for enhanced durability. The inflation blower has a power rating of 350W while the venting blower has a power of 1100W.
Let’s talk more about the booth material. This is probably the feature that makes this such a popular car painting tool. The fabric is designed to resist cold, mold, moisture, and fire. It’s sewn in a double-seamed pattern to extend its life, and it’s super resistant to everyday wear and tear that you can expect from a body shop or automotive store.
Because it’s water-resistant, this booth can be used even when it’s lightly raining outside. However, the manufacturer specifically warns against using it under heavy rainfall since the sewing pinhole is not waterproof, and rain could enter from the needle thread.
Using the 350W inflation blower, you’ll be able to inflate the entire structure in 3-5 minutes. With the more powerful blower, you’ll have no trouble reintroducing fresh air into the painting space. The fresh air is pushed from the blower through a cotton window filter, ensuring a clean work booth environment at all times.
The main complaint of the Happybuy booth is that it’s not completely waterproof, but as mentioned before, even the manufacturer warns against this. If you live in an area with heavy rain, you might consider getting a smaller size booth to set up in your garage.
Water Resistant Booth
26’ x 15’ x 10’
Ventilation Blower Power
You’ll be paying slightly more for the Lovshare booth than you would for the previous two booths reviewed, but there's a reason. It's the best option in terms of water resistance, which means you can set it up outside, rain or shine. Here's what the manufacturer has to say about that:
“On rainy days, you can spray paint in the space without being affected because our product is made of PVC that is absolutely water-resistant. The body is made of professional 0.45mm PVC material, the inflatable pipe of 0.6mm PVC material that’s moisture-proof, which is different from ordinary Oxford cloth material. It’s rainproof, anti-UV, flame-resistant, weather-resistant, and wearable, prolonging its service life.”
As you can see, Lovshare put a lot of thought into designing this booth so that it would withstand water. But it goes even further with UV-resistance, fire-resistance, and durability against everyday wear and tear. It comes with a 350W high-power blower and two 500W air pumps included.
The blower provides you with a refreshing work environment at all times, and the high-wattage air pumps speed up the rate of internal air replacement to ensure safety. The coolest part of all is that there’s no need to re-inflate within 15 days of inflation. Most inflatable booths require continuous inflation to stay upright.
The only real complaint is the lack of anchoring points inside the booth for hanging lights. The design lets in a lot of natural light, but you’ll still need to hang additional LEDs or T5s, which isn’t the easiest task with this booth.
Best Value for Money
26’ x 15’ x 10’
Ventilation Blower Power
The Sewinfla booth is exactly the same size as the Lovshare (26’ x 15’ x 10’), but the lower price tag makes it the more appealing choice for some. For what you pay, the value of this paint booth couldn’t be better. Not only do you get a fully-inflatable durable booth, but also 2 powerful blowers and an additional 4 filters for free.
The oxford cloth is designed for high strength, wear resistance, and water resistance, all while being lightweight and easy to handle. The material is double-stitched for extra reinforcement, so you can count on using this booth for a while. All the booths on this list get points for durability and stability, but this one gets extra points for its smart design.
The Sewinfla is designed with a "front door," which allows for easy access by both people and their cars. There are 2 stages of filtration so that you can rest easy knowing your working environment remains safe at all times. Another cool design feature is the isolation chamber, which can be used for changing clothes, storing tools, and general air filtration.
This is a well-made and functional booth with an innovative design. It comes in various sizes, and there's even a tiny booth option for spray painting small pieces of furniture. The only real negative is that the high-power blower motors consume a lot of energy.
Top of the Range
20’ x 10’ x 8’/23’ x 16’ x 10’/33’ x 16’ x 11.5’
Ventilation Blower Power
The Sayok inflatable paint booth comes in a few different sizes, including 20’ x 10’ x 8’, 23’ x 16’ x 10’, and 33’ x 16’ x 11.5’. Similar to the other ones, it’s made from silver durable oxford cloth, transparent PVC material, a PVC floor mat, and carbon cotton filters. It comes with 2 blowers, sandbags, ropes, and repair cloth for easy setup and maintenance.
You can tell that this is a top of the range booth by the way it is designed, like the fact that it has a removable floor mat. The PVC flooring is completely removable and replaceable, so if it becomes dirty from your vehicle’s tires or from spilled paint, you can easily remove and clean it or replace it with new flooring altogether.
If the high price tag is within your budget, you’ll be glad you chose the Sayok. This soundproof booth is all about convenience, featuring an air wall structure frame that goes up in a matter of minutes and is lightweight enough for easy portability. Its main application is for car painting, but it can also be used for car polishing, outdoor camping and exercise, medical rescue, tourism, small and medium-sized trading, exhibition activities, leisure and entertainment, and more.
The main downside is obviously the price, but there is one minor design flaw. We love that it comes with an isolation chamber for storing tools/changing into painting gear, but we don’t love that the chamber is only accessible from the outside. That means you have to step outside of the booth altogether, walk to the chamber door, and enter from the exterior.
6. High-End Fixed Spray Booths
We’ve only covered inflatable options so far, but if you’re willing to spend more, there’s also the option for a high-end fixed paint spray booth. The ones from Global Finishing Solutions are some of the most popular on the market.
Take their Ultra XD paint booth as an example. This fixed structure gets top marks for its industry-leading controls, premium lighting, impressive airflow, and impeccable contamination control. To top it all off, it’s an eco-friendly booth that keeps the surrounding air clean from paint fumes and contaminants.
Comparing Types of Automotive Paint Booths
Just as there are different types of automotive paints, there are a few different types of car paint booths with different airflow patterns. Here’s everything you need to know about the different types available:
Non-Pressurized vs. Pressurized Paint Booths
A non-pressurized spray booth is an enclosed structure that works by drawing air in through an intake valve. The air then follows either a downdraft, cross draft, or semi draft pattern and is eventually exhausted to the outside by an exhaust fan.
A pressurized booth still uses an exhaust fan to pull air out, but the intake system is designed to ensure that the same air volume is being introduced into the booth, keeping it at an even pressure level. Pressurized paint booths allow you to more effectively control the temperature and cleanliness of the air.
A full downdraft booth features an airflow pattern that moves vertically, starting from the booth ceiling and exiting through the booth floor. This is the most advanced type of booth available, and it’s the one you’d find in larger body shops and industrial settings.
Semi downdraft booths are very similar to full downdrafts, but they feature a diagonal airflow instead of a vertical one. The air is drawn in from a ceiling corner and pulled across the booth to the opposite floor corner. This is a popular choice since it's less expensive than the full downdraft type, but still sufficient for quality car painting.
Cross Draft/Side Draft
In a cross draft booth, the air moves horizontally from one wall to the wall directly across. The most affordable paint booths have a cross draft ventilation system. Side draft booths pull air from the ceiling and draw it along two different paths to exhaust fans (one on each side of the booth).
Automotive Paint Booth Applications & Uses
Automotive paint booths are most commonly used for paint jobs involving vehicles, ranging from compact hybrids to semi-trucks. However, they can be used for painting just about any manufactured item, like small plastic components, handmade pieces of furniture, and even airplanes.
Buying a paint booth isn’t necessary if you only take on 1 or 2 small painting tasks every year. But if you’re consistently dealing with paint and want to streamline the process as well as boost the appearance of the finished product, a paint booth can get you there.
Safely Installing & Operating Automotive Paint Booths
There’s a lot of criteria for safely constructing paint booths, so it's essential that you thoroughly research paint booth suppliers before deciding on one. Once you've done that and chosen the airflow pattern that works best for you, always be sure to operate the booth according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Here’s an important safety-related tip from Global Finishing Solutions:
“As you work through the installation process, be sure to consult the local authorities with jurisdiction and expertise in local codes. If you are building a new facility and also installing a paint booth, working with the building inspector upfront will help with permitting and make it easier to be aware of any additional safety requirements beyond general booth requirements.”
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Why should spray booth filters be inspected and renewed regularly?
There are many moving parts and pieces to an effective paint booth, like filters, vents, and lights. All of these things require a certain level of regular maintenance, especially when it comes to filtrations and ventilation. Since filters are necessary to ensure that air entering the spray booth is free of contaminants and that air exiting it is free of hazardous chemicals, it's a smart idea to have them inspected every year.
How can I enhance my paint booth’s lighting system?
It’s all about choosing the best bulbs for your paint booth. You’ll want to go with a bright, high-output bulb. LEDs are becoming the go-to choice because of their energy-efficiency, but the standard paint booth bulb is the fluorescent T5. There are a lot of reasons to upgrade to LEDs, though, like high energy savings, sustainability, and long-lasting bulb lifespan.
You’ll also want to focus on choosing the best color lighting for your paint booth. The lights you use should be as close to natural light as possible, described as "white" light.
How many CFM does a paint booth need?
CFM, short for cubic feet per minute, is the measurement of how quickly the exhaust fan can pull air and fumes from the booth and keep the air flowing. Hunker says that calculating CFM for a paint booth exhaust system can be done in 3 steps:
- 1Measure the booth's length and width, starting from the opening in the back of the booth where the air will be expelled.
- 2Multiply the length and width together to get the booth's area. For example, if the measurements are 10 feet by 10 feet, the booth's face area is 100 square feet.
- 3Multiply the booth's face area by 100 feet per minute to achieve CFM (this is the guideline for air movement in the booth area). So 100 square feet multiplied by 100 feet per minute equals 10,000 CFM. This is the size of the fan you’ll need for proper ventilation.
How often should paint booth filters be changed?
Accudraft says that you should change the filters every two weeks.
"A good rule of thumb is that your exhaust filter will work best for the first 50-60 hours of spraying,” says Accudraft.
"You should expect to change your exhaust filters every 2 weeks during normal use. This will keep your exhaust fan working properly and ensure that clean air is released into your shop.”
Can I build an automotive paint booth on my own?
Technically yes, but since there are so many regulations to abide by, it’s not recommended. It’s better to go with a professionally manufactured booth to ensure proper venting.
The favorite automotive paint booth is the one from LuckyWe, but you can’t go wrong with any of the products on this list. It all comes down to the size of the vehicle you’re painting, how much space you have available, and how much money you’re willing to spend.