Are you still looking for the best airbrush compressors online? Maybe you want to get into airbrushing. Maybe you’ve been doing it for a long time and want an upgrade. Whatever the reason, we can help. We have here the best airbrush compressor reviews as well as a detailed buying guide.
Buying an airbrush compressor is easy. However you’ll be better served by learning as much about them as you can. The more you know about the product the less likely you will make a mistake. While all airbrush compressors look similar, their functions and abilities vary greatly.
- 1 Why need a Airbrush Compressor
- 2 Advantages of the Airbrush Compressor
- 3 Types of Airbrush Compressors
- 4 Things To Consider Before Buying a Airbrush Compressor
- 5 Our Pick For Best Airbrush Compressors
- 6 Short Review Of Best Airbrush Compressors
- 6.1 1. Paasche H-100D Single Action Airbrush & Compressor Package
- 6.2 2. Paasche D3000R 1/8 HP Compressor with Tank
- 6.3 3. Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit
- 6.4 4. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Smart Jet Single Piston Air Compressor
- 6.5 5. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor
- 7 Accessories for a Airbrush Compressor
- 8 Some Common Problems and Troubleshooting
- 9 Maintenance Tips
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 My Recommendations
- 12 Final Word
Why need a Airbrush Compressor
The best airbrush compressors are in demand because they are versatile. An airbrush compressor tool sprays different types of media, often via nebulization. What makes them an attractive option for a lot of people is their versatility.
For Illustration: Airbrush compressors with 15 to 30 psi can be used for illustrating with pigmented paints and inks.
Fine Art: An air compressor can be used for fine illustrations. With 1/6 HP it can provide extensive coverage without suffering any damage.
Casual Drawings: Hobbyists who want to get a taste of airbrushing will find a lot of affordable, compact models available. These are durable and have moisture protection.
Murals: With a minimum 1/6 HP you’ll be able to use the airbrush compressor for mural paintings. There are a lot of these options available. Just make sure you have a lengthy hose.
Food Coloring: This is another one of the many applications of an airbrush compressor tool. For the best results the PSI level needs to be low.
Tanning: Some airbrush compressor tools are ideal for tanning. For this to work you will need a compressor with 1 CFM minimum.
Coating Firearms: As many reviewers will tell you, airbrush compressors are ideal for coating guns.
Advantages of the Airbrush Compressor
- Versatile: As we have pointed out, airbrush compressors can be used in different ways and in various applications.
- Various Options Available: There are many types of compressors to choose from. Whatever your goal is, there should be a compressor type for it.
- Portable: Today’s models have become more portable. Compressors with low PSI are light enough to carry.
- Moisture Protection: This used to be a problem with older models. The newer ones however, have protection for these built in.
- Reduced Noise Level: Most of these compressors are just 60 decibels or less.
Types of Airbrush Compressors
Some types of air compressor are—Silent Compressor, Oil-less Compressor, Diaphragm Compressor, Air Propellant Can and CO2 Tank.
The best airbrush compressor reviews give the thumbs up for these. Their biggest selling point is the lack of noise. The noise level is usually no more than 60 decibels, which is around normal human conversation level. The one drawback is they’re more expensive than regular compressors.
As the name implies they don’t use oil. They’re not as powerful as other compressors. However they are quieter, cheaper and easier to maintain. Like the silent compressor these oil-less devices are designed for airbrushing with continuous airflow.
These compressors are for beginners. The PSI usually maxes out at 40. These are ideal for small paint jobs and artwork. However they are not powerful enough for car paint and other large projects. If you’re going to use one of these compressors, make sure it has minimum pulsation.
Air Propellant Cans
These are disposable. They don’t require any electric power. This is also only meant for beginners. While these cans are portable the function is limited, so these are best used for small applications only.
These have refillable CO2 inside. These tanks can be used on high pressure levels and more powerful than propellant cans. However they are more expensive. Regardless which compressor you choose, make certain that it meets your requirements. We have spoken about their various functions and capabilities. Even if you have just one particular need in mind, a more versatile unit can make a huge difference later.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Airbrush Compressor
Here are some guidelines and suggestions you may follow:
Ease of Use: The best airbrush compressor reviews make usability a top priority. No matter how powerful the compressor is, it is useless it I’s hard to use.
Capacity: Capacity is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and PSI (pounds per square inch). PSI measures air pressure while CFM the velocity of the air flow. The amount you need depends on the task. Painting small figures requires just 40 to 60 PSI. A minimum of 1 CFM is needed to use the tool with a spray gun.
Portability: You’ll want a portable unit if you’ll be bringing it on your travels. Compact compressors are the lightest. However they’re only useful for small tasks and have low PSI. For t-shirts and murals you’ll need a more powerful compressor but still light. Before you buy, you have to balance your need between PSI and weight.
Noise: The average noise level is around 50 decibels. This is quiet enough for most people. The more powerful the compressor the more noise it usually generates. However there are models which are even quieter.
Single-action vs Double-action: Single action airbrushes are great for filling a solid section without blending. They’re most useful for cake décor, tattoos, hobby models and tanning. Dual action is more suited for tasks that require fading and blending. They’re more versatile than single action airbrushes and thus preferable.
Durability: The only way you can determine the durability of a compressor is by long term use. In the meantime, look for one with a long warranty and / or 30 day money back guarantee.
Price: The best airbrush compressors are more affordable now than before. Of course you may need to pay more for a quality brand, but it’s worth it. Do not settle for anything cheap.
Our Pick For Best Airbrush Compressors
We made a short list of 5 best airbrush compressors for you. Let’s take a look at our best pick.
Short Review Of Best Airbrush Compressors
Here is the short review of each best airbrush compressors that we selected for you.
1. Paasche H-100D Single Action Airbrush & Compressor Package
We consider the Paasche one of the best airbrush compressors because of its design. This is one of the more versatile single action airbrush compressors we have seen, and one of the most durable. While the kit is for beginners there’s plenty here to satisfy most users.
- The compressor delivers 20-30 PSI depending in spray head being used.
- Compressor with regulator and auto shutoff.
- 3 different tips.
- Includes 7 brush cleaning kit.
- Can be used for various applications.
- Built for long term use.
- Easy to use.
- Provides solid single action performance.
- Easy to clean.
- Runs quietly.
- Doesn’t come with an airbrush holder.
- Advanced users may find its features lacking.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
Reviews have been positive. One reviewer said it runs quietly and is compact. Another reviewer says this is the ideal kit for beginners. Another reviewer says it’s an upgrade from old airbrush tools and really works. Other customers like its being easy to use with different types of paints.
Another customer gave this as a present and the recipient is happy with it. The Paasche has also gotten 4 and 5 star reviews from a wide range of reviewers who praise its ease of use, portability and efficiency. Many of those new to airbrushing also gave this the thumbs-up for the ease of use.
2. Paasche D3000R 1/8 HP Compressor with Tank
When we look at the best airbrush compressor reviews, the Paasche D3000R is often mentioned. With its 1/8 HP compressor, we believe it is capable of delivering up to 30 PSI for heavy duty work. It’s meant for professional use without generating a lot of noise and we find its performance more than satisfactory.
- Weight 11.2 pounds.
- Measures 13 x 6 x 13 inches.
- The tank fills to 40 PSI and shutoff.
- Noise level is 47 dbs.
- Doesn’t make a lot of noise.
- Has a moisture trap built in.
- Designed for serious artists.
- Pressure is consistent.
- Can be used right away.
- Manual could be more comprehensive.
- Tank is a bit small.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
One reviewer says the D3000R does an excellent job of keeping air flow consistent. Another reviewer says he’ll recommend the D3000R for serious artists. The same reviewer also remarked how quiet it is compared to his old model.
The manufacturer also got a thumbs-up from another buyer who likes the steady airbrush pressure. He also points out there are no surges. Still another customer gave the D3000R five stars for being quiet. Finally, another customer gave it 5 stars for being perfect for beginners. This sentiment was echoed by another customer who says the psi level is just right.
3. Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit
We consider this one of the best airbrush compressors because of its versatility. The components are good enough for serious painting too. However they’re easy enough if you’re into hobby crafts, detailing your vehicle and sunless tanning among others. You can even use this for cosmetics and acrylic.
- Power: 1/5 Horsepower.
- Gravity feed with dual-action (air & fluid control) trigger.
- Internal mix for a fully atomized spray pattern.
- Tip Size: 0.3 mm Needle and nozzle.
- Fluid Cup: 1/3 oz. (9 cc) Gravity feed fluid cup.
- Air Delivery: 25 ltrs/minute; 0.8 cfm @ 57 psi.
- Spray Pattern: Hairline to 1.5″ wide.
- Working Pressure: 15-45 psi; Auto Stop: at 57 psi; Auto Start: at 43 psi.
- Dimensions: 6.8″ h x 5.3″ w x 10″ l.
- Weight: 8 lbs (3.6kg).
- Electric Cord: 6 ft.
- Connections: 1/8″ bsp.
- Fittings: Includes 1/8″ output fitting and has a 1/4″ inlet opening.
- Includes: Instruction guide, nozzle wrench, 2 cc eye dropper and molded plastic storage case.
- Comes with a booklet guide.
- Compatible with most media applications.
- Can create different effects.
- Constructed from superior components.
- Easy to use.
- Aligning the water tap / valve assembly takes a bit of time.
- Compressor airline connections have to be changed if other airbrush brands are used.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The reviews for the Master Airbrush are mostly favorable. One review says it’s a versatile tool. Another one agrees with this and points out that it’s perfect for airbrushing anything. Another customer review says the Master Airbrush is ideal for model kit building.
Reviewers also speak highly of its ease of use. One person in particular says it’s affordable and simple to use. A couple of customers say it is well suited for painting robot models. The overall consensus is that it’s a good airbrush compressor. While not perfect, the Master Airbrush is one of the best products available.
4. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Smart Jet Single Piston Air Compressor
We have to include the Iwata-Medea in our list of the best airbrush compressor reviews because of its quality. With its powerful motors and generous storage tank, it’s capable of handling a wide range of tasks and projects. We also like the airbrush holders and simple design. We’ve seen a lot of good compressors, and the Studio Series is up there.
- Durable 1/8 HP motor.
- CFM: 0.64 CFM@open flow.
- Voltage: 100V or 220V.
- 1-35 PSI max. pressure.
- Size: 10 x 7 x 6 in. (25 x 18 x 16 cm).
- Light and portable.
- Makes very little noise.
- Doesn’t need oil.
- On/off switch.
- Zero maintenance.
- Moisture filter prevents pulsation.
- Compressor shuts itself off automatically when not in use.
- Not suitable for large projects.
- Best for entry level users.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
One review says the Studio Series is an excellent choice for serious paint work. Another online review says it’s one of the easiest airbrush compressors available today. One customer who bought the Studio Series says it’s one of the quietest compressors he’s ever tried.
The general feedback is the Studio Series is a solid compressor. Many reviewers have expressed satisfaction with its design, functionality and usability. Another customer says he’s used the airbrush compressor for five years and it still works. Other customers have expressed satisfaction with its performance. One customer in particular says it’s great for decorating cakes.
5. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor
The Power Jet Pro is one of the best airbrush compressors today, period. We like the fact you can have the airbrushes at two different PSI levels. The unit is easy to set up and it does not use oil. Lastly there is sufficient power here to handle different types of projects.
- 1/6 hp 1-70 PSI maximum pressure.
- 2 litre (1/2 gallon) air storage tank.
- Airflow: 1.2 CFM (34Lpm).
- Weight: 26.5 lbs. (11.9 kgs).
- Size: 13 x 9 x 7 in. (33 x 23 x 18 cm).
- Twin air regulators for precise air-pressure adjustment with quick disconnects.
- Built-in airbrush holders.
- Mounted twin pressure gauges with moisture filters.
- Airbrush holders are very convenient.
- Traps moisture.
- Compatible with different types of airbrush.
- Good for intricate work.
- The tank could have been bigger.
- Adjustments are a bit hard to see when the unit is stationed low to the ground.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
One customer says the Power Jet Pro is perfect for professional level art at an affordable price. Another reviewer simply said it’s superior to the other compressors in the market. She especially liked the fact that it is quiet. Another customer also said the Jet Pro is quiet, the quietest he has tried.
The product has received a lot of positive remarks for ease of use and durability. Customers also like its design. While there are a few negative reviews, most of the feedback has been in its favor.
Accessories for a Airbrush Compressor
Createx Airbrush Cleaner 4-Ounce
This airbrush cleaner does what it’s supposed to without any fuss. It’s very easy to use and long lasting. It doesn’t make a mess or leave stains like other cleaners. The Createx also comes in a big bottle and you don’t even need to use a lot, saving you money and time.
Iwata-Medea Airbrush Cleaner 32 oz.
This is an all-around cleaner for removing paint. Most people use this to clean acrylics and it does the job fine. However we find it’s just as good for watercolors, dyes and other media. It’s convenient and only a little application is required as well.
Master Airbrush Brand 11 Piece Kit
Even the best airbrush compressor needs cleaning, and this 11 piece set gets the job done. It comes with an assortment of cleaning tools. They’re great for keeping those bottle tubes clean. Even if you have different airbrushes, the Master Airbrush kit can handle them.
Master Airbrush Premium 10 Foot Nylon Braided Airbrush Hose
This hose is ideal for large scale projects. The braided hose works with the most popular brands with 1/8” BSP female connections at the end. If you work with large areas and find yourself straining, this hose can help.
PointZero Airbrush Reducer Nipple Fitting
This is a nipple reducer with 1/4″-1/8″ BSP male connectors on the ends. This is designed to fit in a compressor connector and air brush hose. This is a useful tool to have for tweaking your airbrush.
PointZero Airbrush Quick Release (Disconnect) Coupling Set
This coupling set makes it easy for you to modify an airbrush or disconnect without messing around with the screws. This is also one of those fittings that doesn’t cause any leaks. Application is quick and doesn’t make any noise either.
Some Common Problems and Troubleshooting
Compressor is Not Running
As the best airbrush compressor reviews will tell you, start by looking at the user manual. Next, make sure the compressor is plugged in. Excess air is another possible cause. If so, press the trigger until the excessive air gone.
Compressor is Overheating
Turn the machine off when you’re not using it. Don’t place it near hot or combustible objects.
There is a Rattling Sound When the Compressor Runs
Shut the compressor down. The fan, plate or other component may be broken and needs replacement.
There is No Air
Check if your air source or compressor is capable of supplying air. Next, examine the trigger mechanism. When pressed you should be able to feel some air. Remove the head. If air comes out there is something wrong with the head assembly. Paint might be blocking it. If there is paint clogging, soak it until the material softens.
The Paint Cup Has Bubbles
Ensure the assembly is tight. It must snug, but avoid over tightening. If that does not fix the problem, there is a leak in the paint brush and air path. Check your airbrush. Air should flow around the exterior and paint flows within. There are usually metal seals that keep the two apart. This should work if the hole and the nozzle body are free of dirt and properly aligned. Apply some beeswax and see if it gets rid of the bubbles. If it doesn’t work, you have to replace the nozzle.
Spray is Intermittent
This is often due to the bubbles problem above. It can also be caused by a damaged seal or needle bearing. Replace those parts.
Paint Spray Continuously
If the trigger is too sensitive, it’s probably due to an incorrect seal of the nozzle and needle. Reset the seal.
- Even the best airbrush compressors need regular cleaning. A spray gun is gun is best for non-water soluble cleaners. Use the appropriate cleaners for water soluble paints.
- If there’s paint in the paint container, pour in a bottle and spray it out.
- The paint reservoir needs to be thoroughly cleaned.
- Here’s how to break down reservoir paint. Fill it with ¼ full with a cleaning solution. Use a #5 flat paintbrush to remove the paint. Once the cleaning agent turns opaque, spray it. Keep repeating until the cleaning agent appears clear.
- Use the airbrush compressor only as directed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much air do I need? Answer: It should be 0.5 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm). You can paint at lower or higher pressure levels, but the CFM level doesn’t change much. But refer to the user manual as the manufacturer might recommend another setting.
2. What is the best air pressure to use? Answer: It depends on what surfaces you are going to spray as well as the types of paint you will be using. For makeup and cosmetics it is <20 psi. This is also the same level for nail art spray tattoo. For car painting it is 30 to 65 psi. Airbrushing t-shirts requires 55 to 65 psi.
3. Is a storage tank required? Answer: No. A storage tank stores extra moisture and cools the air. It also reduces compressor wear and tear, but it is not mandatory.
4. Is brand name really important? Answer: They generally have better warranties and easier to use.
All five products are good, but we have to give the nod to the Paasche H-100D Single Action Airbrush & Compressor Package and the Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit. The Paasche H-100D is one of the best airbrush compressors we have tried. Its single action airbrush is responsive. The brushes are also versatile and ideal for beginners. The Master Airbrush is just as well-rounded. Setting up is easy and paints everything from t-shirts to cars. While aimed at beginners there are enough functions to satisfy advanced users. This doesn’t mean the others aren’t good, but these two are the best.
The demand for airbrush compressors has increased along with advances in technology. There was a time when it was only available for those with the money. However things have changed as these compressors are now within reach. The problem that first time buyers face is deciding what to buy, as the options seem overwhelming. Hopefully with this review guide you now have an idea of what the best airbrush compressors are in the market today. With so many to choose from it’s easy to get confused. By being informed you will be in the best position to figure out what airbrush compressor meets your needs.