Airbrush Compressor Buying Guide

Whether you are a hobbyist or an advanced airbrush user, are you looking for the best airbrush compressor?

We have you covered with our airbrush compressor buying guide. On this website, we rank all airbrush compressors that are available on the market. Some are better than others when it comes to their specific use. There are also many brands and models available from various manufacturers and not all are equal! Finding the right airbrush for your specific need is no easy task. We’ve simplified this process for you by testing out and reviewing all models. Check out the table below for our ratings and click on the compressor that you’re interested in for a full review. Therefore we made this buying guide for you. Our buying guide is for hobbyist airbrush compressors.

The Best Airbrush Compressor

Before we continue with the buying guide, I’d like to show you the best airbrush compressors. This table includes both highly rated compressors and less desired ones so you can easily compare all the available models as opposed to other websites which only present the top three or top five. Click on the airbrush compressor you are interested it for a more detailed review. Nevertheless, before you commit to purchasing a model, I recommend that you take a look at the rest of the guide below.

Airbrush Compressor ModelsLevelRatingRead our review
Iwata HP-CAdvancedClick here
Grex AC1810AdvancedClick here
Badger TC910 Aspire ProBeginnerClick here
Iwata-Medea Power Jet ProAdvancedClick here
Paasche D3000RBeginnerClick here
AZTEK A480AdvancedClick here
Iwata-Medea Smart JetBeginnerClick here
Paasche H-100DBeginnerClick here
Master Airbrush KitBeginnerClick here

Choosing an Airbrush Compressor to Meet Your Needs

There are many purposes for compressors as they can be used for personal, commercial or industrial purposes. A hobbyist would use their device for personal purposes. However the type of art work varies from one another. The intended purpose of the compressor needs to be considered, whether its for make-up application or for model painting. The following list presents some of the characteristics of the different types of airbrush compressors.

Silent Compressors: A lot of people believe the silent models are the best. They typically require little to no maintenance and beginners favor them as the silence allows one to concentrate on the task at hand. As most of the silent models are smaller than their counterparts, they are more portable, which is also preferred by many.

Oil-less Compressors: These models produce some noise however they are durable and handy over extended use. For an oil compressor, it is necessary to change the oil over time (generally every 3 to 6 months). The oil-less models do not require such frequent changes and they usually better regulate temperature and prevent overheating. Overall, these compressors are more expensive.

Diaphragm Compressors: These air compressors are the least expensive and preferred by hobbyists. The one downside is the pressure generated by the motor. The model would advertise a specific PSI, say 45, but once you pull the trigger, the pressure decreases significantly. For a small job, this may not be a problem but for a job that a requires a constant pressure over an extended period of time, a bigger compressor would be preferred.

Choosing an airbrush

Most beginner airbrushes come with a single-action airbrush. If you want to become a little more crafty and complete more advanced projects, a double-action airbrush may be required (these can easily be purchased separately). Let us explain the difference between each type of brush.

Single-action: As the name states, a single-action airbrush has just one action, either on or off. In essence, you have no control over the amount of paint comes out of the nozzle in proportion to the air pressure. It happens automatically.

Double-action: A double-action airbrush has a much more complex system built behind the nozzle which enhances your flexibility and control over the paint. There’s a two-part system, a push and pull. Pressing down on the trigger releases the air and when you pull t back it releases the mixture. Therefore, you have direct control on the amount and pressure of paint released.

A double-action airbrush takes practice to perfect but the control over the paint and pressure allows one to complete a wider range of projects. A beginner hobbyist is recommended to practice using a single-action airbrush before moving on to a double-action. Using a double-action while inexperienced can lead to a lot of wrecked projects.

Check out our guide on the top 3 airbrushes to purchase to tackle your toughest projects!

Other factors

These are other factors that need to be considered when choosing a compressor model:

Capacity: A model with high capacity is always preferred over one with less capacity. You never know what kind of project you will undertake and how much capacity is needed. Therefore, when choosing a model, choose one with more capacity than you expect to use.

Portability: If you have one dedicated location to use your airbrush, it doesn’t matter if it’s portable or not. If you expect to travel with it or move it around, a portable model is preferred.

Noise: Larger models with big engines and high PSI are typically louder than their smaller counterparts. If noise doesn’t bother use than this may not be an issue. For others, a set of ear plugs can alleviate all noise issues.

Choosing an airbrush booth

Spray booths are not always needed but for some projects they are indispensable. There are a lot of great booths on the market and a lot of them are adequate for all purposes. There are three qualities we typically look for when choosing an airbrush booth: good design, high efficiency and affordability. We created a separate list with our top 3 airbrush booths, read it here.

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