Whether your line of art is in painting dope wolves howling at the moon on semi-trailers, or you work on unique t-shirts or designing huge murals, there is no doubt that airbrushing is here to stay as a unique and legitimate art.
Although it’s been around for ages, the rise of airbrush design on television as featured on reality automotive shows such as Pimp my Ride and American Chopper has once again brought the art form into the foreground.
Finding the right compressor that lives up to the job is a fine art in itself and you are going to want something that can stand the test of time and isn’t going to break your back if you have to carry it around.
Noise can be a factor too, depending on your workspace and so it’s nice to have a machine that packs a lot of punch but isn’t annoyingly loud too. Check out my recommendations below for the best airbrush compressor.
Best Airbrush Compressor Comparison
Badger TC910 Aspire Pro Compressor
Grex 1/8 HP Portable Piston Air Compressor
Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit with 6 Foot Hose and a Powerful 1/5hp Single Piston Quiet Air Compressor
Paasche D3000R 1/8 HP Compressor with Tank, Regulator and Moisture Trap
Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston Air Compressor
Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor
Benefits of Using a Good Air Compressor & Buyers Guide
Airbrush compressors bring a lot of benefits to the table, but investing in a good airbrush compressor will double the number of benefits for multiple reasons:
Spray painting is easier when you have a good airbrush compressor tank. This means that you will have enough horsepower to paint anything from that old nightstand you’ve been meaning to repair to your outdoor house walls. Whether it’s heavy-duty or fine-detail painting, an airbrush compressor tank will do wonders for both.
Increase in Productivity
Because an airbrush compressor makes this faster, it also increases productivity. Imagine how long it would take to paint a wall in your shed by using something along the lines of a paintbrush. Now imagine that with an airbrush compressor, you can do that about 10 times faster. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you need an airbrush compressor tank for personal or professional reasons; you will be more productive either way.
Good airbrush compressors come with a variety of features that make the job easier and more reliable. For example, newer models have automatic shutdown systems that turn the unit off when you’re not using it, thus saving you more power. Some give you the possibility to connect two airbrushes instead of one, which means that two people can work with a single compressor. Others even have a vibration free feature that will take a lot of reverb out of using it.
Even if we’re focused on the topic of airbrush compressors for airbrushing, did you know that compressors are useful for a lot of different things? For example, if you want to blow the leaves that have been covering your driveway, you can get an air blower that attaches to your compressor. You can also have it power up an air gun and speed up all your carpentry and repair projects in next to no time. Basically, any tool that requires air-power can use a good compressor.
A lot of the newest airbrush compressors on the market are the self-maintenance/maintenance free type of products. That means that they are able to handle big projects and they can operate continuously without requiring too much cleaning/maintenance effort on your behalf. In other words, a good airbrush compressor tank is needed, especially if you require it for professional purposes.
Can You Use Any Compressor for Airbrushing?
As long as the fittings are compatible, yes. However, there are tips to help you connect almost any airbrush to almost any airbrush compressor.
For instance, let’s assume that you want to connect your airbrush to a large compressor. For that, you will need an airbrush air hose, a moisture trap (note that some compressors already have a moisture trap, in which case an extra one isn’t necessary), a pressure regulator (your air compressor might have this as well), couples and plugs and, optionally, a shop air hose and an airbrush quick connect.
If you are not sure what are the next steps to follow in order to get these two items to work together, here you can find an in-depth guide that will explain the importance of having each of the aforementioned items in your setup, as well as details on how they should be coupled together to create a solid airbrush and air compressor combo.
What to Look for When Purchasing an Airbrush Compressor
- Portability and Storage: If I’m going to be hauling an airbrush compressor around, I’m going to want something that isn’t too heavy and hopefully has a handle. Something that isn’t too bulky helps too so it can be stored away easily. While some people build a nice case for their airbrush compressors, I’m looking for machines that are easy to carry on their own.
- Value: What I’m looking for here is a good price for what you get. If you get bonus accessories that’s even better. Basically an all-around good price for the brand name and included extras is what I’m after.
- Durability: Power and durability are key here as I want a machine that can stand some banging around, travel and a lot of use. If it has a decent warranty, that’s even better.
- Noise Level: Just because I want power doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to be noise free/silent. Sometimes I work in an area that I need to be a bit quieter and I’m not always going to be outside. A decent decibel level is a total bonus with a good machine.
Top 6 Airbrush Compressors for Models And Other Projects
1. Badger TC910 Aspire Pro Airbrush Compressor
- Maximum pressure: 57 PSI
- Displacement: 0.81 cfm
- Weight: 11 pounds
The Badger TC910 Aspire Pro air compressor is a real beast that’s worth every penny. It comes with a no-lubrication system that promises to make it easy to maintain the unit so that it will always be ready for use when you need it to. It operates at a maximum pressure of 57 PSI, and has a displacement of 0.81 cfm.
It is a great product for those who intend to use it frequently, as it was designed to withstand heavy operations. It comes with a storage tank of a one-gallon capacity and has a total weight of 11 pounds. Some of the key features include a moisture trap, an air regulation, two airbrush holders, and a handle for better portability.
Buying Recommendation For This Compressor?
The Badger TC910 Aspire Pro compressor is a worthy purchase for people who need a unit capable of handling one airbrush project after another.
- Maintenance-free use.
- Good for high-frequency usage.
- Two airbrush holders.
- Durable metal case.
- Handle for higher portability.
- High Pressure
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- No shipping outside North America.
2. Grex 1/8 HP Portable Piston Airbrush Compressor
- Maximum pressure: 60 PSI
- Displacement: 0.7 cfm
- Weight: 11 pounds
Another really cool air compressor comes from Grex, packed with features that y’all need to have in a product of its kind. Weighing in at 11 pounds, this is a piston portable compressor that comes with high-performance specifications for people who need and want to get professional results every time.
Amongst the variety of features, one will discover that the Grex has an integrated moisture trap, standard fitting for a wider range of airbrushes and hoses, a pressure gauge, a lock regulator that prevents setting changes when locked, automatic shut down to prevent power usage when not operating, and a coiled plastic air hose that’s easy to get out of the way when not needed.
Buyer Recommendation For This Compressor?
The Grex airbrush compressor is designed for people who want to deliver quality airbrushing projects every time and would like a unit that’s packed with safety features (automatic shut down) and is easy to store (retractable handle, coiled plastic air hose, etc.).
- Easy to store.
- Automatic shut down.
- Standard fittings.
- Locked settings.
- Moisture trap.
- Quiet operation.
- High Pressure
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- A bit expensive.
3. Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush with 6 Foot Hose and a Powerful 1/5hp Single Piston Airbrush Compressor
- 14.9 x 12.5 x 6.8 inches
- Includes 1/3 oz. gravity fluid cup and a 0.3mm fluid tip
- Includes bonus How-To-Airbrush Manual & Guide Booklet
Second on my list is also from Master and is also a great option for a starter machine for the beginner brusher. The Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit comes with the built in handle and is just as portable as the machine above.
It also comes with the same automatic turn on/shut off when the machine reaches a particular psi. Because of the particular air on demand system, the machine only turns on when pressure is released, allowing you not only to keep a regular pressure but making for a longer machine life as it the motor doesn’t need to run when the machine isn’t being used.
The real bonus with this particular purchase, though are the extras as this kit comes with a 6-foot nylon braided hose and the Master Airbrush ‘How-To’ instructional booklet.
It also comes with a Master Model G22 Airbrush with an instruction guide, nozzle wrench, and storage case. At not much higher price point than the model above, and with all these extras, this kit is a sound decision.
- Ideal for those new to airbrushing, or seasoned experts
- Great price for what you get
- Doesn’t overheat, always performs with the same consistency
- Airbrush is good quality and construction
- Airbrush compressor runs quietly which I appreciate at home
- Full 1 Year Warranty
4. Paasche D3000R 1/8 HP Compressor with Tank, Regulator and Moisture Trap
- 1/5 HP piston compressor with tank
- Delivers pressure of 20-40 PSI depending on airbrush
- Includes regulator with moisture trap
Moving to another great brand name we have the Paasche D3000R 1/8 HP Airbrush Compressor with Tank, Regulator and Moisture Trap. This baby comes in a little bit heavier than the previous two models at over 12 pounds and is slightly larger but equally as impressive.
Also not noisy but sturdy and stays in place when the motor is running and doesn’t move around or rattle.
It has the tank so you have that constant flow of air without the constant noise. The tank fills and then turns off until you release some of the air via the brush, and then clicks back on to fill the tank.
Delivers a steady 20-30 psi depending on the brush and will work well with Paasche brand hoses.
The regulator makes it easy to adjust pressure for a variety of projects and it does work great for painting models and figures, offering steady even coverage without any surges in pressure.
- There’s a reason this company has such a great reputation, this compressor shows why
- Steady pressure with no jumps or surges in air pressure
- Regulator is easy to use and adjust accordingly
- Works like a dream – smooth motion and delivery over time
- Easy to get the hang of and super quiet during use
- 1 year parts and labor warranty
5. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston Air Compressor
- 1-35 PSI maximum operating pressure
- Moisture filter prevents pulsation
- Mounted air-pressure gauge
Moving to a different style of airbrush compressor, the Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston Air Compressor does not have an air tank, which means it runs continuously once you start painting, unlike the other models above that click on when the tank falls below a certain pressure.
However, this doesn’t mean it is bad! I include this model because of the power and durability it brings in a small, compact machine.
Lighter than the other models and quite a bit smaller, this machine is perfect for the artist working on smaller projects who doesn’t have a lot of space to store their equipment.
While it works with Iwata-Medea airbrushes, you can also fit others with the included adapter.
Oil-less with a built-in filter, this guy will work around on average about 25psi and because of its size, it is super quiet compared to other machines. This brand name carries with it a lot of trust and reliability and while it may be a bit pricier than the other models mentioned here, you’re going to get a lot of life out of it.
- Love the compact shape and size, perfect for home use
- Quiet and delivers consistent performance and air pressure through the brush
- Second one purchased, first one lasted over 20 years thanks to the company’s good reputation
- Oil-less compressor is easy to deal with and transport if needed
6. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Air Compressor
- 1/6 hp 1-70 PSI maximum pressure
- 2 litre (1/2 gallon) air storage tank
- Built-in airbrush holders
Okay, so what if you want to use two brushes at the same time without having to detach brushes every time? What if you’re willing to pay a bit more for more options and a stellar brand name?
Enter the Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Airbrush Compressor. This guy is a powerhouse at over 26 pounds and yet is still quiet enough to use inside your apartment!
The nice thing about this machine is it has two attachments for hoses with individual regulators and gauges so you can have two brushes set at different pressure settings at the same time. With a two-liter air tank, you can go back and forth between brushes with ease and never lose pressure.
It’s basically like having the option of two machines at the same time. Comes complete with hose and adapters so you can use with any other brand airbrush. Solid purchase, highly reviewed and you get what you pay for.
- Includes a lot of parts that will upgrade your airbrush setup as a whole
- Quietest compressor customer had used in years, would purchase again
- Lightweight design is great for traveling and cleaning up on the go
- Works perfectly for a small workspace that requires quiet, powerful machine
- High pressure
Do you recommend an airbrush compressor that we didn’t cover?
Let us know if you think we missed the best airbrush compressor!