Airbrushing is the use of pressurized air to spray paint-and other materials-on a surface. Painting with an airbrush is modern, fun, and convenient. Airbrushing uses less paint and lasts longer. An airbrush needs an air compressor as an air source to achieve that amazing effect.
There are different types of airbrush compressors for different purposes and needs. So, spare yourself the headache of research and let us help you find the best airbrush compressor.
List of The Best Airbrush Compressor:
- Paasche Airbrush DC850R – Best Overall
- Master Airbrush TC-96T – Runner-Up
- Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston – Lightest
- Badger Air-Brush Co. TC910 – Best Budget
- Paasche D3000R – Quietest
- Master Airbrush Cool Runner II – Best Multi-Purpose
- California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S – Quiet
|Paasche Airbrush DC850R||3/4||90||1.6 gallon/6 liters|
|Master Airbrush TC-96T||1/4||5-86||1.5 gallon/5.5 liters|
|Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston||1/8||1-35||Tankless|
|Badger Air-Brush Co. TC910||1/5||57||1 gallon/3 liters|
|Paasche D3000R||1/5||1-40||3/4 gallon|
|Master Airbrush Cool Runner II||1/5||0-57||–|
|California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S||0.6||120||1.0 gallon|
The 7 Best Airbrush Compressors in 2020
1. Paasche Airbrush DC850R – Best Overall
The Paasche DC850R isn’t here to play. With an impressive maximum pressure of 90 PSI and 3/4 HP, this beast can run up to 4 airbrushes at once. Also, it has a dual air hose connection with quick-connect fittings to a rustproof aluminum tank.
Imagine the artistic possibilities! Imagine the time this airbrush compressor will save you.
This oil-less compressor will save you the hassle of constant maintenance that you go through with other compressors. Besides, the moisture trap keeps the sticky humidity away from your paint.
It comes as no surprise that a compressor that has all of this isn’t lightweight, so make sure you get it for a garage or a tool shed because you won’t be able to move it around much.
This is a hardcore heavy-duty airbrush compressor with amazing pressure, power, and capacity. Despite its heaviness, it has earned its place as the best compressor on our list.
2. Master Airbrush TC-96T – Runner-Up
Like the Paasche D3000R compressor, the Master Airbrush TC-96T compressor is a heavy-duty beast, which is fit for professionals.
With a maximum pressure of 86 PSI and a 1.5-gallon capacity, this compressor establishes itself as a worthy and powerful second to the Paasche D3000R that can power low CFM air tools and spray guns.
Even more good news for heavy-duty artists, this bad boy comes with cooling fans to prevent overheating. In case the compressor overheats, it shuts itself off automatically.
Also, it has a longer duty cycle than most compressors, so feel free to take your time with no fear of your compressor wearing out.
Any professional or DIYers with large-area projects will love this one. It is portable, powerful, and versatile. What more do you need?
3. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston – Lightest
This small baby is the perfect easy-to-use beginner-friendly airbrush compressor. If you want something light enough to carry around for your general airbrushing projects, these 8.65 pounds of convenience will definitely be of help to you.
The 1/8hp motor powering the 35 PSI will cater to all of your low-to-medium pressure needs, whether it is for amateur or professional projects. Thanks to the pressure gauge with the bleed valve, airflow adjustment has never been easier.
What about pulsation that usually happens with tankless airbrush compressors? This baby has a moisture trap to give your project a dry and flawless finish.
This compressor is small, affordable, versatile, and quiet. Unless you are doing a large modeling project, the Iwata-Medea Is-800 is perfect for you.
4. Badger Air-Brush Co. TC910 – Best Budget
The Badger compressor is here to impress. It comes with a 1-gallon tank to expand your possibilities and make your experience pulsation-free. Yet, it has a handle, two airbrush holders, and non-slip feet to help you move it around.
It is safe to say that the Badger compressor has the best of both worlds.
If you are not impressed by the maximum pressure of 57 PSI alone, the Badger bad boy comes with a pressure gauge and a regulator for maximum precision.
The Badger compressor is an excellent budget choice. The placement of the case could be better, though.
5. Paasche D3000R – Quietest
The Paasche D3000R prides itself on being really quiet, not producing more than 47 DBS when turned on. The best part about it being a tank compressor is that it doesn’t have to be turned on a lot, so the working environment will be as quiet as it claims.
Speaking of quietness, this compressor’s automatic shutoff function helps keep the noise level down even more. Also, it saves you money and power.
The maximum pressure of 40 PSI comes with a regulator to tell you exactly where you’re at and let you adjust the pressure yourself for perfect detail.
One awesome thing is that the Paasche D3000R comes with adapters for 1/8″BSP hoses that not only let you use all Paasche airbrushes, but also competitor hoses such as Iwata, Master, and Grex.
If you work at night or in a place where noise could be an issue, the Paasche D3000R airbrush compressor is your best friend, unless you need a capacity larger than 3/4 gallon.
6. Master Airbrush Cool Runner II – Best Multi-Purpose
Where do we begin? Do you want a kit so versatile you can do anything with it? From cake decoration to cosmetics, temporary tattoos, and car painting, the world is your canvas. But how is that possible?
Along with the compressor, the kit has 3 user-friendly airbrushes, brush holder, 6 primary opaque colors, color mixing wheel, cleaning brush set, and more.
The automatic shutoff feature with the two cooling fans protects your compressor from overheating. The pressure regulator is here to keep everything under control, and it can reach up to 57 PSI.
It is also extremely quiet at 47 dB.
This kit is impressively versatile, but won’t give you the quietest working experience.
7. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S – Quiet
California Air Tools proves they know what’s up by making an affordable, low-maintenance air compressor that can do anything from airbrushing and cleaning to inflating tires and powering nailers.
At a noise level that doesn’t exceed 56 DBS, the CAT-1P1060S is a quiet one.
This compressor has a life cycle of 3000 plus hours, as opposed to the usual 250 hours.
We’re not finished yet. This baby produces much less heat than other air compressors, as the heat dissipates quickly into the air.
It is small, affordable, convenient, and quiet. However, you’ll have to get a hose separately. Be careful while using the pump, as well.
How to Pick an Airbrush Compressor
Here are the aspects to consider while filtering through the available choices:
1. Capacity and Tank Discourse
An air compressor’s capacity depends on the tank. Some air compressors don’t even have tanks. The capacity needed or lack thereof depends on what you’ll use the airbrush compressor in.
The tankless air compressors are the most lightweight and affordable. They work best in smaller jobs that need more precision than paint, such as nail painting, miniature painting, or fine drawing.
One downside to tankless airbrush compressors is their tendency to pulsate, which is problematic if you don’t have a moisture filter. They won’t work for any jobs that need air in reserve either.
Airbrush compressors with small tanks are relatively pulsation-free and able to handle bigger jobs than tankless compressors, as their tanks give them longer run time. Needless to say, tank airbrush compressors are slightly heavier than tankless ones.
Larger jobs like painting cars, motorcycles, or even body art, need longer run time and lots of air. If you don’t have a tank compressor with at least 2 liters for a large job, it will take you an excruciatingly long time to finish.
Keep in mind that large capacities come with a heavyweight. Also, they are not cheap.
2. Regulator and Moisture Trap
A pressure regulator is a wonderful feature, as it lets you control the air pressure and dial in the desired pressure. For anyone working on jobs that need high precision, a regulator is a must.
A moisture trap or filter significantly reduces the moisture that may get into the air or paint mix and lead to pulsation or bubbliness. A moisture trap creates a dry pulsation-free environment with no painting defects. However, you have to remember to drain the trap from time to time.
3. Automatic Shutoff
The automatic shutoff function stops the compressor from running once it reaches the desired pressure. The function also shuts it off when it is not in use.
This function is amazing in that it saves you power and money since it increases the compressor’s life. Also, it makes the working environment far safer and much less noisy.
4. Weight and Portability
Small or lightweight airbrush compressors are perfect for beginners or jobs, like applying makeup where portability is essential. Some people prefer smaller compressors because they don’t have enough storage space for the big boys. Handles are a big plus for portability.
If you have a big workshop where you need a heavy-duty airbrush compressor with a decent-to-massive capacity, brace yourself for a heavy compressor.
What Will You Use the Airbrush Compressor For?
Some jobs need longer run time, which points you towards compressors with a decent duty cycle. A duty cycle is the amount of time a compressor can run continuously without rest within an hour; it is expressed in percentages.
For instance, a 20% duty cycle means that the compressor can work for 12 minutes straight, and it will need 48 minutes to cool down. If that work time isn’t enough for you, find a compressor with a higher duty cycle.
A compressor with a high airflow rate will definitely serve you well in heavy-duty jobs.
Makeup and cake decoration need lightweight airbrush compressors; some weigh as little as 8 pounds.
The bigger your job, the higher your compressor should be able to go with respect to pressure. High pressure leads to finishing the job faster and better in quality.
Let’s go through everything quickly.
If you appreciate a quiet airbrush compressor, check out the CAT-1P1060S and the Paasche D3000R air compressors.
For versatility, check out the Master Airbrush kit.
If your biggest priority is a large capacity, we recommend the Paasche DC850R airbrush compressor.