The Best Airbrush Compressors (2021)

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It can be hard to find one of the best airbrush compressors. This is due to the different features that each one possess. Some of them are noiseless while others are not. One needs to figure out the exact type that suits your request.

Our Top Picks

What is the best compressor for airbrush painting?

To find the best air compressor for airbrush, a full scan of the type with the precise amount of air volume needed is chosen and an adequate check is carried out to prevent damage to the compressor’s tank. You also need to check the duty cycle which is the time frame per hour that you can use the tank. This is usually given in percentage, ensure that only that percentage is used for that amount of time.

In cases where the compressor is noisy, a change in the location to an aerated environ is a good solution. Air compressors weight ranges from a few pounds to up to 60 pounds. Thus, the smaller the compressor the more portable and easier to carry around it will be for you.

1. Grex GCK03 Airbrush Combo Kit – Editor’s Choice

Grex GCK03 Airbrush Combo Kit

FEATURES

  • Easy-to-use, comfortable
  • Stylish, quiet and portable
  • Unrestricted airflow control available at fingertips
  • Includes a 7mL and a 15mL gravity cup and side siphon with 30mL bottle
  • 30mL of premium grade, water-based acrylic color
  • Weighs 5.9lbs

The Grex is a stylish, quiet, portable, and on-demand piston style air compressor with a 1/8hp motor. The compressor comes with an air pressure gauge and an air regulator, the airbrush that comes with the compressor is a top gravity feed. It has a double-action pistol style trigger that helps to reduce hand fatigue.

This airbrush gives the user precise unrestricted airflow control at the fingertips thus enabling the user make fine lines if they need to do so. It also possess a side siphon with a 30mL bottle. of the presence of a 1/8” connector on the hose ensures that the user can use the Iwata, H&S, or other popular airbrushes that are sold by SprayGunner. The best type of paint to be used is water-based such as those produced by U.S. Art Supply (the acrylic airbrush colors) or the ChromaAir Company’s water-based acrylic-urethane paints. Regular acrylic paints can be used with a larger needle, but it will need to be cleaned more frequently with cleaning brushes.

PROS

  • Handle helps reduce hand fatigue
  • Quiet, sophisticated and Portable

CONS

  • With black acrylic airbrush color
  • Needs cleaning brushes when using thicker paints

2. Iwata-Medea Studio Series Smart Jet Pro – Quietest Airbrush Compressor

Iwata-Medea Studio Series Smart Jet Pro

FEATURES

  • 1/8hp with 1-35PSI maximum operating pressure
  • Adjustable mounted air-pressure gauge
  • Shuts off automatically when not in use
  • Protective all-metal case with ease of carriage encloses the compressor
  • Weighs 14.02lbs

The Iwata compressor has a powerful 1/6hp oil-free twin-pump. It will give the user 1-70 psi maximum pressure with little heat-related moisture build-up. It comes equipped with a pressure regulator for exact adjustments to airflow. It will automatically shut off when it is not in use. It lacks an air storage tank, but still has the power for high-paint-flow, multi-purpose airbrushes. This compressor comes with polyurethane air hose and adapters to connect with any brand of airbrush. The Iwata compressor runs quieter than any average vacuum. It is structured using quality materials. It possesses elements of undisturbed air pressure. This compressor is great for many different uses, such as nail art, cake decorating, makeup and art simply get the different types of needles that is suitable for each type task.

PROS

  • Quiet
  • Shuts off automatically when not in use

CONS

  • Has no air bleed
  • Not good for heavy acrylic paints
  • Does not have an air tank

3. Master Airbrush Cool Runner II – Best Airbrush Kit with Tank Compressor

FEATURES

  • 1/5hp single-piston compressor with 2 cooling fans
  • 3l air storage tank allows constant air pressure
  • 6’ braided hose
  • airbrush holder for 4 airbrushes
  • 3 in 1 use cleaning pot
  • Paint mixing sticks and cup 50 pack
  • S. Art Supply water-based acrylic paint with 24 popular colors
  • Weighs 20.8lbs

This system is user-friendly and versatile. It comes with a 3L air tank for constant air pressure. It has a 1/5hp single-piston air compressor with 2 built-in cooling fans. It has a long duty cycle and premium rotor windings that increases its lifespan. This compressor will give the user a high air volume of 0.8cfm and a high airflow of 25l per minute. It provides precise air adjustment control. This system is maintenance-reduced as it uses less oil and is quiet while running. This system is lightweight, compact, and portable with a inbuilt handle. It has automatic air shut off when it is not in use and it is preset to turn on automatically when reaches 43psi as well as automatic shut off when it reaches 57psi. Its pressure is enclosed and it is not disturbed when in use. It comes with an adjustable air pressure valve to ensure that the pressure used is in check. It sprays clean lines and is good for shading. The hose connects securely and has firm connections.

PROS

  • Automatic on/off
  • 3L air tank
  • 2 cooling fans keep from overheating

CONS

  • Buy cleaning brushes separately
  • Weighs 20.8lbs

4. Paasche DC850R – Best Professional Airbrush Compressor

FEATURES

  • 3/4hp dual piston Compressor with regulator and moisture trap
  • Dual air hose connection with quick connect fittings
  • Silent operation
  • Oil free for reduced maintenance
  • 4CFM at 40psi and 1.5CFM at 90psi

The dual piston compressor is oil-free for minimal maintenance. It has a 1.6gal tank that is rust-free with ease of usage; ball drain valve and automatic refills. This compressor with an air tank runs very quietly at only 58 decibels. This makes it good for the users that need power and a quiet compressor. The air pressure is steady. An adjustable knob to increase or reduce the air pressure is extant. It can run up to 4 airbrushes at the same time with a quick-connect fitting or small touchup spray guns. The user can use any style or brand of airbrush or small touchup spray gun with this compressor alongside an adapter for the hose. This compressor is made to be a good quality tool. It is not made to be portable as it is quite heavy at a weight of 41 pounds.

PROS

  • Very quiet
  • 6 gal. tank
  • Can run 4 airbrushes or small spray gun

CONS

  • Weighs 41lbs

5. California CAT-1P1060S – Best Airbrush Compressor for Model Making

FEATURES

  • Quiet at 56dB
  • Oil-free pump for low maintenance
  • Lightweight at 29.5lbs for portability
  • 1gal steel tank
  • 6hp engine

It is one of the noise-reduced air compressors around. The single-piston oil-free pump is designed to have a life cycle of 3000 plus hours before wear. It is made for high performance and durability. The air tank is lightweight at 29 pounds and easy to transport. The air tank refills automatically and quickly. If necessary, you can use an extension cord if it is 14ga and not over 25’ long. It can handle up to three airbrushes with the right connectors. It has as well caught the eyes o many clients. It made from the best quality craftsmanship available. It is well designed for the price. A customer stated that it is not easily adjustable when it comes to air pressure. It was also stated that the on/off switch is not located in an easily reachable spot, especially if the user has large hands with fat fingers.

PROS

  • Lightweight for transporting at 29lbs
  • Quietest in industry
  • The life cycle of 3000 hours

CONS

  • Just compressor and tank

6. Master Airbrush TC-40T – Budget Pick

FEATURES

  • Cool running single piston air compressor
  • 2 holders and 6’ braided hose
  • Runs long without overheating
  • Built-in cooling fan, longer duty cycle
  • Weighs 11.5lbs

It has a quiet operation with minimal maintenance and it makes use of less oil. It is a 1/6hp that delivers high air volume and airflow. Its noiseless operation has brought it to limelight, which is a major selling feature. It is lightweight, compact and portable. It has an air-cooling system which is inbuilt. Easily adjustable air pressure and pressure gauge.

This compressor has automatic on/off preset pressures. It provides constant pressure during use. Automatically shuts off if overheated. It is a true gem. A tank is a must-have so that you have more air pressure for the project that you are working on. The user will need an adapter to use with any of the airbrush guns that they may choose. Customers are extremely happy with the purchase of this compressor. It is a very reliable compressor. The satisfaction rate is positive for the price of the unit.

PROS

  • Lightweight, compact, transportable
  • Built-in cooling fan, longer duty cycle
  • Air storage tank

CONS

  • Hose connection incorrect size
  • A need for an adapter when in use

Buying Guide

The features that you requested for will be answered in part by the following questions.

How much capacity do I need?

This is dependent on the mode of usage. Professional users will need more are capacity and pressure, than a person who will use it for the occasional craft or project. You will also want to check if the air pressure that can be regulated easily.

Will a noisy compressor be an issue for where I live and when I work?

The noise level of the compressor can be very minimal or more depending on the choice of work area, however, most users prefer the quieter ones that way it does not disturb anyone around them.

Is electrical power an issue?

The user will need to decide how long of an electric cord they would need. Some of them can be used with a heavy-duty extension cord, but it is best to check with the manufacturer first.

Here is some of the most frequently asked question about air compressors and the care for them.

Can the presets for the automatic shut off or turn-on be changed?

The answer to that is to check with the manufacturer or their website for more details on the information.

How quiet is it?

The answer could be found sometimes in the features or the description of the product.

Will it overheat if used for a long period?

Usually, the description will tell you if it will overheat if used for very long if it does not then you may have to look the brand up on their website and see what it tells you.

How do you empty the moisture trap?

The manuals will usually tell you how to go about emptying the moisture filter traps.

Can you use different airbrushes with the system you’re looking at?

You can usually use different airbrushes with air compressors even when it comes to one. You would have to use an adapter to make it fit on the hose connector.

What kind of paints can be used with the system and the airbrushes?

For the most part, you need to use water-based acrylic paints for the airbrushes. The cake decorators use food coloring for their cakes.

Do they need to purchase a tank or not?

This will depend on how much air capacity you want for the type of projects that you are working on.

Do they need to purchase some airbrushes to be used with the system that they are looking at?

Some of the top choices are just the compressors so yes; you will need to buy airbrushes and adapters for them.

What is the difference between “stop-start” and “constant run” and which is better?

A start-stop compressor has a switch to turn on and off the air compressor. The constant run air compressor engages the motor and it will run all the time and supply air whenever it is needed by the user. The best will depend on how it is going to be used. In a professional setting, you may want a constant run air compressor. Although in a hobby type situation you will most likely want one that you can turn on and off with a switch.

How often does the oil need to be changed?

This is solely dependent on your air compressor. Some of the newer ones are oil-free which leads to minimal maintenance. If the air compressor takes oil then it should be changed at regular intervals just like your car. That will also pertain to the filters if your air compressor comes with one. They will need to be cleaned when they are dirty or if it is torn or has holes in it.

What is the maximum hose length I should use with my compressor?

The hose length will depend on the size of your air compressor and the CFM required. For a hobbyist that works at home, it would be a good idea not to exceed 150 foot of hose.

What is CFM and PSI and which is more important?

CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute and refers to the volume of air that is produced by the air compressor at a given pressure. PSI stands for Pound per Square Inch. The right air compressor will meet your needs in both areas. Use the CFM and the PSI specifications from the description or the manufacturer specifications.

Final Thoughts

The following is a list of the top four picks and why they were picked. These picks are the best airbrush compressors that we researched. The first one is Grex GCK03 Airbrush Combo Kit with Tritium TG3 Airbrush. It is easy to use. It is quiet and portable. The handle on airbrush helps to reduce hand fatigue. It is easy to control airflow. The second is the Iwata-Medea Studio Series Smart Jet Pro. It is easy to adjust air pressure. It shuts off automatically when not in use. It is lightweight, portable and quiet. The third air compressor is the Master Airbrush Cool Runner ll. It has two built-in fans to stay cool. It comes with a 3L air tank allowing for constant air pressure. It has a cleaning pot and 24 popular colors. And taking up the rear is Master Airbrush TC-40T. It can run for a long time without overheating due to the cooling fan. It has a long duty cycle. It is lightweight and has an air tank.

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