Are you an artist? The question is simple to answer, isn’t it? But are you wondering what kind of artist we are talking about? We have no specific definitions here. Anybody who makes art is an artist. Yeah, your profession could have another name, but if you make art, you become an artist.
A painter, a baker, a tattoo professional, or a makeup expert is an artist. They use creativity, imagination, and colors to awe others with their skills and talent.
Why are we talking about artists suddenly? Are we diversifying into workshops? That sure is an interesting idea, but we are now focused on providing people with detailed information about the products they want to buy.
So what’s that got to do with artists, you ask? Well, can you guess which tool is commonly used by the various people we mentioned above? Give it a try. We’ve already given a clue about colors.
How do they use colors? By painting them, yes, and also by spraying! What do they use to spray paints? Not those cans, obviously! Though they are great for graffiti, they don’t help much with fine art.
So what is it? Aha! An airbrush, of course! You would have seen artists using airbrushes to spray paint on a larger canvas with the utmost precision. As an independent unit, an airbrush doesn’t do much. But attach it to a compressor, and you’ll see just what it is capable of.
From painting cakes to walls to cars, the compressor makes it easy to use the airbrush for extended periods. This means you can finish your job faster and get the desired output.
That’s all good. But how do we choose the best airbrush compressor from the dozens of models available in the market? We are here, aren’t we? All the information you need is collected, compiled, and presented in individual sections for you.
Let’s get started with the top 5 models and move to the buying guide, shall we?
Quick Comparison Table & Our Picks!
This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!
10 x 6 x 7 in
10.1 x 6.3 x 12 in
13 x 11.8 x 5.4 in
Other Great Recommendations
16.5 x 6.75 x 14.5 in
13 x 6 x 13 in
Top 5 Best Airbrush Compressor in the Market for the Money
Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro - Editor’s Choice
You can’t go wrong with this one. Yes. The dual piston, strong, powerful model by Iwata-Medea is one of the best airbrush compressors in the market. Artists love using this as it is oil-free, easy to maintain, and promises what it delivers.
Can there be anything better than such a model to start our list? We think not. And when it hardly makes any noise, isn’t that a plus point? From horsepower to max PSI to air pressure, we love just about everything in this model. Shall we check out the design and performance in detail?
Features and Benefits
The first thing this unit reminds us of is a black box. That’s how it looks, compact and sturdy. With two air pressure regulators, 1/6 HP motor with dual pistons, and Smart Technology for automatic shut off, Jet Pro Double Piston is perfect for artists who work on large projects. The unit has a moisture filter that prevents water droplets from mixing with the paint/ ink in the airbrush. It has a hose and an adapter that allows you to hook up any airbrush to the compressor.
Created especially for studio use (it’s a Studio Series model), the compressor is made of high-quality components and provides exceptional performance. At 22 pounds, it is easy to carry and lift on to other surfaces. The max 70 PSI offers enough air pressure when coupled with the ½ gallon tank. However, we do wish it had a larger tank capacity for even better performance. The handle at the top of the unit is sturdy enough for you to hold and carry it.
Ease of Use
Here is why many artists love to own Iwata-Medea. It is not heavy. It is highly portable. The compressor is extremely easy to use and maintain. On top of that, it is noiseless. You can control both the airbrush valves independently to adjust the air pressure levels as required. It also takes less time to refill the air in the tank so that you don’t have to wait for a long time and lose focus. However, first-timers find it hard to use the compressor. Make sure you study the manual, check out the features, and then start using it.
- Dual brush feature
- No noise
- Multi-purpose usage
- High-quality compressor and components
- Hard to see the adjustments when the unit is on the ground
- The tank capacity could have been better
Grex AC1810-A 1/8 HP 115V Portable Piston Air Compressor - Best for All Projects
The second airbrush compressor on our list is AC1810-A by Grex Power Tools. With a brand name like that one and equally good customer service to follow, what’s not to like about this model?
The unit is preferred by both beginners and professionals alike due to the ease of use it offers. Artists, bakers, painters, etc. everyone say that this model is great for all kinds of projects. AC1810-A is undeniably among the best compressors in the market.
Let’s check out the exciting features of this model, shall we?
Features and Benefits
In green, black, and silver, the airbrush compressor looks cute and means business. It’s in the shape of a traditional motor and comes with a handle for easy grip. The handle is retractable and doesn’t come in the way when you don’t need it. You get to enjoy a one-year limited warranty on the unit from the manufacturer’s end.
It has 1/8” fittings and a 12-foot plastic air hose with an integrated airbrush holder. Wonderful, right? You don’t have to worry about the hose not being long enough and also about leaving the airbrush connected to the unit.
Automatic plus manual shutoff, oil-free low maintenance single-piston, moisture trap to keep the water from mixing with the contents in the airbrush, a locking regulator, and a pressure gauge are some of the features offered by AC1810-A. It is sturdy, efficient, capable, durable, and reliable. If you are a hobbyist and use the unit at lower PSI, you might hear a wee bit of more noise. But that’s not really a matter of concern, is it?
Ease of Use
The best part is that the unit runs steadily for a long duration without altering the pressure level. Using the set and lock regulator, you can fix the air pressure at a point until your job is done. The unit also has a built-in fan that cools the motor and prevents overheating. The fan does its job as you continue doing yours. Also, if you move a lot from one art site to another, this unit is highly convenient to carry.
- Lightweight and noiseless
- Thermal protection
- Integrated airbrush holder
- Extra-long air hose
- The air tank is not external
- Makes slightly more noise at lower PSI
Master Airbrush Model TC-40T - Best Warranty
Manufactured and sold by Master Airbrush, TC-40T is one of the best diaphragm regulators with the single-piston motor in the market. It sits comfortably on the third place on the list because of its features and, most importantly, the manufacturer's warranty. Not many airbrush compressors have a 5-year warranty period as this model does.
There have been no issues of overheating either. But the motor tends to pulsate a bit when it is used continuously for long durations. From hobbyists to artists, a good number of people seem to be like TC-40T. Check out the reasons below.
Features and Benefits
Made of strong metal, the teal and black airbrush compressor are sturdy, durable, and reliable. It is a high-performance model that delivers consistent air pressure to professionals who tend to work at a stretch for longer durations. The built-in fan keeps the motor from overheating. The model also has thermal protection that automatically shuts off the unit when it is time for it to cool down.
With 1/6 Horsepower and a 1/8 gallon air tank, you don’t have to worry about having to wait for the air tank to refill at a crucial stage. Since it is an oil-free model, you can use the compressor with minimum maintenance. The moisture filter prevents water from mixing with paints, oils, and inks and ruining your artwork. See to it that screws must be tight and adequately fixed before using the compressor for the first time. And make sure to read the instruction manual.
Ease of Use
TC-40T is quite easy to use and carry. It is hardly heavy at 11.5 pounds. With a sturdy handle attached to the unit, picking it up doesn’t cause any trouble, either! A regular 110-120V outlet is enough to plug the compressor and use it. Since this goes well for both indoor and outdoor work, you will notice that the unit barely makes any noise. You can work in closed rooms without any constant noise buzzing in the background and disrupting your concentration.
- Built-in cooling fan and thermal protection
- 5-year warranty
- Heavy-duty model designed for outdoor use
- Good tank capacity
- Pulsation issues when used for a long time
- The regulator and PSI may not match at times
Badger Air-Brush Co. TC910 Aspire Pro Compressor - Best Durability
Badger is one of the reliable and durable brands in the market. The compressors last for a really long time and deliver good results. Hobbyists tend to rely on this brand to develop their skills and expand their horizons by taking up larger projects.
While the unit looks compact and sturdy like a perfect briefcase, thanks to the external cover, it does create a bit of inconvenience when you have to adjust the regulators. Apart from that, we say TC910 is one of the best airbrush compressors in the market with a one-year warranty. Here’s more information.
Features and Benefits
With four legs, a rectangle external cover, and a strong handle, the airbrush compressor gains for its appearance and ease of use. The all-black design is simple yet classy, making you feel like a pro at work (even if you are still a beginner). That said, you might find it hard to adjust and valves and knobs because of this design. Your hand movement is restricted, and you have to be patient when regulating the pressure and using the on/ off switch.
We love that the unit has not one but two airbrush holders. That’s a definite plus. Also, the 1/8 gallon air tank is enough for long use. With max 57 PSI and operating 20 PSI, the compressor is perfect for providing steady air pressure. The built-in moisture trap is another bonus, and so is the auto shut off with thermal protection. It saves power and prevents the unit from overheating and causing accidents. It is ETL certified as well.
Ease of Use
Badger has always delivered products in good condition. You don’t have to scratch your head trying to figure out how to set up the compressor and use it. The manual is easy to understand. And most importantly, the unit has simple functions. It is noiseless to the point where you can listen to music as you work. No distractions or disturbances at all. We’ve found it extremely easy to move around with the airbrush when using this model.
- Two airbrush holders
- ETL certification
- Adjustable air regulator for better usage
- In-built moisture filter (trap)
- The motor kicks in with increased pressure
- The external case makes it hard to adjust the regulators
Paasche D3000R 1/5 HP Compressor - Best User-friendly Compressor
Paasche is famous for manufacturing and supplying products that are easy to understand and use, even by beginners. D3000R is one of the most preferred Paasche airbrush compressors in the market. Though it is not free from a few faults, the overall result is highly satisfactory. Hobbyists and beginners find it convenient to use this model.
From having a built-in pressure regulator to an auto-shutoff to avoid overheating, the compressor is efficient and effective in providing the required air pressure for the job at hand. Shall we check out more details?
Features and Benefits
The design is similar to various other airbrush compressors. Though it doesn’t exactly stand out for its appearance, it does stand out for its performance. The advantage of having a one-gallon air tank is that the compressor turns on only when the air in the tank is low. Until then, you can happily use the steady air that comes from the tank. We noticed in detail that the BPA hose adaptor has 1/8” fitting while the NPT hose fitting is ¼”.
At max 40 PSI and a steady 20 PSI, the compressor sustains the air pressure without causing too much noise. There is no wheezing or coughing as the motor starts and runs. Changing the pressure doesn’t change the noise levels. That’s something we love about this model. The unit has four legs, with the ones on the same side connected for extra strength. You don’t have to worry about the compressor toppling or titling as you move around. If you have an issue adjusting the pressure regulator for the first time, simply call the customer care. They’ll help you with it.
Ease of Use
As we mentioned above, D3000R is most suitable for beginners. The unit comes in a single piece. You don’t have to worry about assembling the parts. Just make sure you check the screws, though. The moisture trap keeps the airbrush free of moisture. As with every other compressor, this one too heats up during the usage, but you can manage it by turning on the cooling fan. Remember auto-shutoff? It’ll handle the extra heat.
- Built-in pressure regulator
- Maintenance-free airbrush compressor
- Lightweight and portable
- Initial problems with adjusting the regulator may occur
- The tank threads are fragile
Best Airbrush Compressor Buying Guide
Since we checked the best airbrush compressors in the market, we will learn more about how they are used, different types of airbrushes, and factors to consider?
In simple terms, the airbrush compressor provides the required air pressure and flow to use the airbrush in spraying paint, ink, foundation, and dye on different items. The compressor has 1-2 pistons to compress air in the storage tank to create the necessary pressure to spray color in the desired method.
The high-pressure air turns the medium into tiny droplets, which spread evenly on the surface to create a smooth and perfect look. The methods of using the airbrush depend on the medium used, the item that needs work, and the artist's choice.
Types of Airbrush Compressors
The compressors are available in both oil and oil-free models. Generally speaking, we find three types of airbrush compressors in the market.
- Diaphragm Compressors
A diaphragm compressor is known as a beginner model. It can run continuously without any air tank. The diaphragm is usually made of plastic and is moved up and down through the motor. The air is sucked through the inlet and released through the outlet. Once the engine heats up due to continuous usage, it will be automatically turned off until it cools down. These compressors are oil-free, easy to use, carry, and maintain. However, the airflow may not be consistent, and the life of the diaphragm is quite short.
- Oil Piston Compressors
As the name says, these compressors use oil to run the motor. They are powerful and capable of compressing more air than the diaphragm models. Oil is a permanent part of the motor. They hardly make any noise and are a perfect choice for fine art and large canvas illustrations. You will need to place an oil filter between the air filter and air hose. This will ensure that the oil in the motor will not interfere with the paints/ medium you are using in the airbrush. You definitely don’t want an oily output, right? However, these models require good maintenance if you want them to last long.
- Oil-free Piston Compressors
An oil-free piston compressor uses a lubricant instead of oil. This lowers the wear and tear probability of the piston and the compressor. These are safe to use for body painting and cake decoration. These are known as food-friendly compressors and also have less maintenance. But they tend to be louder than other models. The oil-free models are also eco-friendly, as they use only the minimum amount of oil/ lubricant to coat the pistons.
Do’s and Don’ts When Using Airbrush Compressor
You will invariably need to take care of and be alert when using tools. An airbrush is no exception to the rule. Why not make a note of the things you should do and not do when using airbrush compressors? It would surely make things easier, right?
- Always place the compressor on a flat, stable, and even surface. Especially if it has an air tank, make sure it doesn’t topple.
- Double-check guards, valves, and shields are where they should be and locked so that the compressor is safe to use.
- Did you read the instruction manual before using the machine? Do not operate the unit without reading and understanding the instructions. Watch a few videos about using the compressor if necessary.
- Don’t let people walk and play around the compressor. This could lead to accidents and injuries.
- Are you used to wearing jewelry or loose-fitting clothes when working? It may not be a good choice when using an airbrush compressor. You don’t want the dress to get tangled with the hose and tubes, do you?
- An airbrush is used to spray color on various items, including body parts finely. But that doesn’t mean it can be used in all conditions. Don’t spray it near the face without taking safety precautions.
- Do not use the airbrush to blow air on animals or kids to clean them dry. It could lead to injuries. If not careful, the airbrush can damage your eyes, skin, nose, ears, and cause further trouble if the liquid in it enters your internal system.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Airbrush Compressor
How do you know that you’ve chosen the best airbrush compressor? Here’s how. All you need to do is check the factors listed below and compare them with what you are looking for in the compressor. Voila! You’ll know which model is most suitable for your requirements.
- Weight of the Compressor
Let’s start with a factor that decides the portability of the compressor. Unless you work in one place without moving, it is better to choose a lightweight and easy-to-carry model. Heavy compressors might have good capacity and high-pressure, but you can get similar specifications even for lightweight models.
- Size of the Compressor
What do you notice when you are checking the weight of the compressor? It’s size, right? Just as with weight, you want a model that is compact and doesn’t take up much space. Whether you travel with the compressor or leave it in your studio/ bakery, you will have to make sure that the compressor's size doesn’t cause trouble when using it.
Horsepower or HP decides the efficiency of the airbrush compressor. The higher the horsepower, the quicker will be the results. Also, a compressor with higher horsepower will pump air evenly and result in perfect spraying of paint/ ink. The compressors usually have HP ranging from 0.5 HP to 2 HP.
Airbrush compressors have either have one or two pistons. We call them single and dual piston motors. Each has its advantage and disadvantage. If you want the unit to be quiet and not make any sound, you will need the single-piston model. It is also a good option for DIYs at home and for smaller jobs that don’t require the motor's continuous running. The air pressure is less in single piston compressors.
- Length of Cable
Can anything get more annoying than a short cable? Not many can top this one; we are sure of it. A short cable makes it so hard to maneuver around without tripping over something or another in the process. And the worse thing would be for us to damage the art piece in the process. Moreover, it is not possible to set up work beside an electrical outlet just for this purpose. There are so many other factors to consider, right?
- Air Pressure Level
The airbrush will be of little use if there isn’t enough air pressure to spray the medium onto the item. The air pressure decides how smoothly and evenly the paint/ ink/ dye will cover the surface of the cake or the canvas or the wall.
- Energy Saving
Are you an environmentalist at heart? That doesn’t mean you will have to give up all tools and gadgets, right? You focus on energy saving so that you do your bit for nature and save a few dollars. If the description fits you, chose a model that consumes less energy, and delivers more power.
- Tank Capacity
The tank capacity decides how long the compressor will run without needing a refill. If your main reason to buy the airbrush compressor is to pursue your hobbies or for DIY at home, a smaller tank would be sufficient. If not, you know what to do. Right?
- Type of Compressor
We’ve already mentioned the different types of airbrush compressors seen in the market. If maintenance is an issue, a diaphragm or an oil-free piston model would be convenient.
- Duty Cycle
The duty cycle is the time for which the air compressor will continuously run. The number is mentioned in percentage. The higher the value, the better the duty cycle is, and the results will be better. For example, if the duty cycle is 10%, the compressor would run for 6 minutes and needs 54 minutes (the remaining part of the hour) to cool down. You should choose a model with a duty cycle above 25% (ideally speaking).
- Automatic Start/ Stop
Wondering why you need an automatic start and stop feature in our compressor? A simple reason is that you could forget to check the unit when you are busy at work. The motor could overheat and burn important components or even result in a grave injury. The auto stop also saves energy and keeps the pressure from building more than what is safe for usage.
An airbrush compressor usually comes with accessories related to airbrush painting. Connecting pipes, airbrushes, paints, etc. are some examples. That said, not all brands sell accessories with the compressor. Depending upon your requirements, you can check out the extra accessories.
While we come to the end of the post, don’t forget to consider customer service, warranty, and noise levels when choosing an airbrush compressor. The availability of spare parts is another point to keep in mind. Before you set up and use the unit, make sure to know everything about it. Practice on spare items before you experiment on the main object.
We hope you’ve got everything you need to order the best airbrush compressor for your needs. Give wings to your creativity and create new pieces of art. Let the artist in you have fun. Bye!
How should I clean my airbrush?
If you are using water-based paints, you should rinse your airbrush with water. Also, you should use a solvent if using solvent-based paint. You should ensure you clean the airbrush between uses, and you should clean all the airbrush channels, paint cups, and bottles. The idea is to remove all paint residue before using the brush again.
You can use an airbrush cleaning pot which can also act as an airbrush holder.
Which medium can you spray using an airbrush?
You can use any medium with an airbrush. However, you should make sure it is appropriately thinned to ensure you reduce its viscosity. With reduced viscosity, the medium will move freely under gravity or suction. If the medium is too thick, it may not move freely, resulting in blockages within the airbrush.
Can you use an airbrush to spray any surface?
You can use an airbrush to spray any absorbent surface as it will allow the paint to penetrate and bond with it.
If you want to spray a non-absorbent surface, you can use a primer, base coat, or specialist paint. The primer or base allows the paint to bond with the surface.