The Best Airbrush Kit (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Try your hand at airbrushing with one of these easy-to-use kits
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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON January 30, 2021
When you’re serious about painting, eventually you have to leave the paintbrushes and rattle cans behind and use professional-quality equipment instead. Airbrushes produce professional-quality results at an affordable price. You just need an airbrush, a hose, and a compressor to get the job done. We’ve tracked down some of the best airbrush kits available to get you started.
At just about any price point, we can help you pick a system that’s just right. Whether you’re painting model cars or painting nails with wild designs, you’ll find what you need on our list. There is a learning curve to using an airbrush, but like anything else, practice makes perfect. There are some excellent resources online to teach you how to use your new airbrush.
This kit comes with a powerful 1/6 horsepower compressor and two airbrush kits. The compressor is 3 liters and has a regulator.
- Multi-hose adapter
- Classic piston framework
- Compressor gets hot with long use
- Components can leak
Take this single-action airbrush and compressor anywhere. Use it for 30-50 minutes on a full charge.
- No air hose needed
- Fit in your pocket
- Versatile use
- Starts spraying when turned on
- Not powerful
This portable dual-action airbrush runs on a battery to deliver 15-20 psi with an airflow of 6.5-8 liters. The nozzle is .5 millimeters for fine detailed work.
- One to two hour working time on a full charge
- Low battery warning
- 9-milliliter paint cup
- No instructions
- Cleaning is difficult
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Benefits of an Airbrush Kit
- Affordability. Buying a complete kit is more affordable than purchasing each component individually. This can save you money when getting started on your new hobby.
- Compatibility. You don’t have to worry about the compatibility of the individual components. Each piece that comes in the set will work with all of the other parts.
- Paint variety. When you have a complete kit, you can have more variety in paint selection. Choose a kit from an established manufacturer for the most variety.
Types of Airbrush Kits
This style of airbrush has a cup located on the top of the gun. You’ll pour the paint into the cup and let gravity pull the paint down into the gun. It will feed into the mixing chamber and atomize with the compressed air. The advantage of this type is that it requires little paint and less air pressure to operate. It’s also more forgiving to thicker and chunkier paint. The downside of this style is that it takes longer to clean.
These airbrushes have a container on the bottom of the airbrush gun. It could either be a complete bottle or a cup, and there’s a tube in the paint reservoir. Air gets pulled through the tube, which creates a siphon effect. Paint then gets pulled upward into the mixing chamber and then atomizes. You’ll appreciate the ability of the quicker color changes and the more affordable price tag. The downside is that the cleaning will be a pain as you clean multiple bottles.
You’ll find this type of airbrush to be a combination of the other two. The bottle or cup is located on the side of the airbrush gun. It can then either use gravity feed or a siphon tube to feed the paint into the mixing chamber and then atomize. This style’s advantage is that it’s adaptable by easily changing the mounted cup, easy to clean, and can spray upside down. The downside is that the attachments can get expensive.
With a commitment to quality and affordability, Timbertech offers a broad product line. The beginner to the enthusiast will appreciate the selection of compressor and nozzle kits. You’ll find a variety of sizes, making them suitable for all of your airbrushing needs. A popular kit is the Timbertech Multi-purpose Airbrush Kit.
Based in Kenosha, Wis., Paasche is one of the most well-known names in airbrushing supplies. It produces painting supplies for the hobbyist in his garage to industrial scale needs. For a complete kit, the Paasche Airbrush Set and Compressor with Tank is a top choice among enthusiasts.
Founded on a commitment to art, PointZero products are considered high-grade equipment for those who are serious about airbrushing. The company focuses on producing tanks and airbrushing supplies with quality construction, multiple features, and several compatible accessories. The PointZero Multi-Purpose Dual-Action Airbrush Set is a compact kit that’s ideal for smaller projects.
Airbrush Kit Pricing
- Under $75: The kits in this price range tend to have fewer accessories and components. They’re mainly designed to either be a high quality yet small portable kit or a simple-to-use beginner-friendly kit.
- $75 to $125: The majority of kits fall into this price range. They can vary in quality, features, and included accessories. The majority of people will be happy with a kit in this range.
- $125 and up: These are high-end airbrushing kits that typically come with several components and spare parts. They will have a quality build that makes them suitable for higher quality or volume projects.
There are two types of airbrush spray guns: the first is a single action with a wheel for controlling the amount of paint that flows when spraying. This lets you regulate the paint and gives you the optimal results. Beginners will find this type easier to work.
The other type is a double action gun. You’ll regulate the air and paint supply together with one finger, making it more challenging to use.
The included air compressor should be able to regulate the psi to the ideal amount. A pressure gauge is necessary to monitor the pressure level and keep it at the right level. High-quality air compressors also have a water separator built-in to prevent water droplets from getting mixed into your paint and distorting your coverage. Check the noise it produces as a loud compressor won’t be pleasant to work with.
Generally, all airbrush paints are compatible with all airbrush guns. However, most sets don’t come with paint. Whether it comes with or you’re buying it separately, check whether it’s solvent or water-based. The type you choose will influence the paint’s brilliance, intended use, and required cleaning agent. Solvent-based paints will have the solvent ingredient listed, and you’ll need to find a compatible cleaner. The most popular airbrush paint manufacturers are Vallejo, Schmincke, and Liquitex.
- Cleaning. A kit that comes with cleaning supplies is nice because it’s one less thing you have to buy separately. If it doesn’t come with the kit, confirm the type of paint you intend to use and buy a separate cleaning kit. Some beginner airbrush guns don’t come apart, making them harder to clean. It also makes them have a higher risk of clogging.
- Build Quality. High-quality kits are made of durable materials and have a sturdy build. They may even come with spare parts, which is nice for a quick replacement should something break during use. Check the nozzle size included in the kit: it should be suitable for your intended use. Low-quality kits may have a nozzle that’s generic and not suitable for large area painting or fine detailed work.
- Price. Aim to purchase a medium-priced kit—expensive doesn’t always mean high quality. Determine your budget and then look for the best quality kit in that price range. Look at what comes in the kit. A lower-priced kit may come with fewer parts and accessories, requiring you to spend more in the long run to supplement the parts. Look at the price of the kit and the overall cost to get up and running.
Best Airbrush Kit Reviews and Recommendations 2021
- Keep your cleaning kit and cotton swabs handy. You’ll need it to prevent unwanted color mixing and clogging. You should also clean your airbrush by taking it apart and cleaning each component after each use.
- Purchase masking film. You can use it to make your own stencils and sharp edges or cover parts of your artwork that you don’t want to get sprayed with paint.
- Water-based paints aren’t as harmful, and you can get away without a mask if the ventilation is suitable in your painting area. Solvent-based paints are harmful and require a mask.
Q: How do I choose an airbrush kit?
Start by determining your budget. Then look for the best quality kit that you can afford. The kit you buy should have a durable and quality build. It should also have compatibility with the type of paint you wish to use.
Q: Do you need special paint for airbrushing?
If you’re a beginner, then stick with airbrush specific paints that are easier to use. If you’re more experienced, then you can thin acrylic paint and use it in your airbrush.
Q: Can you use any air compressor for airbrushing?
You can use any air compressor with your airbrush. Larger compressors tend to be better since they have a larger tank and can run for longer. They’re also versatile enough to use with several types of tools. Airbrush specific compressors tend to be too small and weak for other uses.
Q: What PSI should I use for airbrushing?
The ideal psi is for airbrushing is 18 psi. However, this can vary on the paint you’re using. High pressure produces finer atomization and fewer clogs. It also results in more overspray, and the paint dries too fast. Low pressure produces less overspray and paint waste.
The Timbertech Airbrush Kit is a top choice because it comes with everything you need to get started, is low noise, and lets you connect two hoses simultaneously. For those looking for a more affordable option, the Cordless Airbrush Kit won’t let you down with its compact size and decent run time.