The Most Important Questions to Ask When Buying a Paint Spray Booth

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If you are a startup custom auto shop looking for an ideal paint spray booth you have a lot to consider. Paint spray booths come in four major variations based on how airflow gets in and out of the chamber. These choices are Crossdraft, Downdraft, Side-Draft, and Semi-Downdraft. Each variation has its own advantages and disadvantages as well as overall cost. Making the right decision in what type of booth you get depends a lot on who you are. 

Industrial or Residential 

If you plan on satisfying high-volumes then there are things you need to consider. Industrial-grade paint booths are designed to work faster and harder than other models. They are the most expensive kind to get and generally are fixed in place. Residential paint spray booths can be portable, smaller, and are always on the cheaper side. They get the job done but move at a slower pace. Perfect for a neighborhood auto shop that sees smaller amounts of business. So, which one are you? You need to ask this question first before you do anything else. 

Air Flow 

The second thing you need to consider is the type of draft you want your booth to have. As stated before different booths have different advantages and disadvantages. The real deal-maker for you is which one better suits your individual situation. Luckily, sites like fully disclose such information with every model they sell. 


A cross draft system pulls air in through the doors and has exhaust columns located in the back. The air is drawn across the length of the vehicle. Crossdrafts are economical, affordable, and require the least amount of materials to build. They also do not require a concrete pit which is necessary for downdraft systems. Unfortunately, the linear flow in this system makes it easier for contaminants to stick to the finish. 


Semi-Downdraft systems are similar to crossdrafts but they pull air from the ceiling. The exhaust is still in the back but the air flow has more of a down and away pattern. This diagonal pathway is better for the finish. Semi-Downdrafts are mid-level in price and also do not require a concrete pit. Common drawbacks are that the airflow puts the painter in the way, and the diagonal pattern creates a notorious deadspot near the front of the vehicle. 


Side-Draft systems pull air from the ceiling in a downward path, but the exhaust system is located in the sides of the booth. This is great because no concrete pit is needed. The only problem is over spray exits behind the painter so they get more exposure than normal. The down and away air flow creates the best even pattern on a car’s finish making side-drafts a good choice. Side-drafts are the most expensive booths on the market. 


Downdraft systems are the cleanest booths to buy. They keep finishes pristine, pull over spray out through the floor, and reduce contaminants by a large margin. Unfortunately, this is the system that requires a concrete pit. Downdraft booths pull air down from the ceiling and exhaust through the floor. This means that a pit has to be built beneath the booth to get rid of the air. The concrete pit is an extra expenditure and headache as they are complex to build. It also means your shop has to revolve around the booth not the other way around.