- 1 Best Airbrush Air Compressor 2017- Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
- 1.1 Recommended Air Compressors for Airbrushing
- 1.1.1 1. PointZero Portable Airbrush Air Compressor Oil-less 3L Tank 1/5 HP
- 1.1.2 Pros:
- 1.1.3 Cons
- 1.1.4 2. PointZero Pro Airbrush Air Compressor Twin Piston w/ Tank 1/3 HP
- 1.1.5 Pros:
- 1.1.6 Cons
- 1.1.7 3. Master Airbrush High-Performance Airbrush Air Compressor with Filter, Black Air Hose & Dual-brush Holder
- 1.1.8 Pros:
- 1.1.9 Cons
- 1.1.10 4. NEW Quiet 1/6 hp MASTER AIRBRUSH TANK COMPRESSOR
- 1.1.11 Pros:
- 1.1.12 Cons
- 1.1.13 5. Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit
- 1.1.14 Pros:
- 1.1.15 Cons
- 1.1.16 Final Verdict
Best Airbrush Air Compressor 2017- Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
If you’re an artist, then you know how important it is that you have the right tools to make your one-of-a-kind pieces. Regardless of your medium, if you don’t have a means to put your imagination into reality, then you are left without any way to express yourself. With that in mind, the world of airbrushing is well known because it gives creative people the opportunity to create pieces that would otherwise be impossible with traditional methods. Whether you’re painting a picture on a canvas or decorating a cake, airbrushes give you complete control and versatility. For that reason, it’s imperative that you have the right machine to power your brush, which is where the best airbrush air compressor comes in.
While most people think of air compressors as a means to provide power to tools, the fact is that they can be perfect for airbrushing as well. Since you need a constant stream of pressurized air for the brush to work, a compressor is a necessary component that will make your job easier.
Compressor vs. Compressed Gas
In some cases, artists may prefer to work with compressed gas canisters instead of an air compressor. The best reason to do this is if you work in a remote area and don’t have access to power. Also, gas tanks are much quieter, but they have quite a few limitations. First, you will eventually run out of gas, meaning that you have to buy extra tanks so that you aren’t scrambling to refill your current one when it runs out. That also means that you have to spend time refilling your tanks on a regular basis. Other downsides of compressed gas are that it can make you feel lightheaded while you work, and there is a risk that you can damage the head while working or storing it.
Overall, you are much better off getting an air compressor as it has more reliable access to air and will provide much better results. The only downside is that they can be louder and do require a stable power source to work, so if you do your art in a remote location, you may have to buy a generator. However, if you work in a shop or a garage, then you won’t have to worry about plugging in, making it a non-issue.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the key features you should consider when picking out your air compressor.
How to Choose an Airbrush Air Compressor
First and foremost you have to pay attention to the motor. Usually, this will be rated in terms of horsepower, with most airbrush compressors coming in at around 1/6 to 1/3 horsepower. The more power it has, the more stable the operation and the better your results will be. If you’re worried about having enough pressure and output, then you will want to get a compressor with a more robust motor.
Depending on your workspace, you may have to consider the size of your compressor to make sure that you have enough room. Typically speaking, you will have to keep the device close by so as to maintain a stable level of pressure and output while you work. You could technically get a longer hose so that the compressor stays further away from you, but it will affect the output, and it could result in other problems like water developing in the line. We’ll talk about water later on, but usually, you want to keep a shorter hose to minimize that problem.
The other thing about size is the reserve tank. While you could get a compressor without a tank, we strongly suggest that you get one with a reserve as it will help you work much more efficiently and will cut down on the noise factor as well. That being said, the tank is the largest part of the compressor so make sure that it won’t be too cumbersome. Most airbrush compressors have a cylindrical tank or a double model with two stacked on top of each other. Additionally, you can find pancake compressors that are round, wide, and semi flat on the sides. Regardless of the shape, as long as you have about a gallon of reserve space you should be fine.
Along with the motor, the next most important thing is the output of air. You don’t want to have to wait for the air to come out while you’re working as it can significantly impact your work. As such, there are two things you should look at; first is the pressure level (PSI), and the second is how much air is pushed through. The second rating is known as cubic feet per minute, and it will tell you how well you can use your brush. Typically speaking, most airbrush compressors deliver up to 1.0 CFM at a PSI of 40 or less. Depending on your brushes this should be more than sufficient.
As we mentioned, a problem that can occur while painting with an airbrush is water in your line. Whenever you compress air, it gets colder, and that means that it can get condensation from water vapor. Unless you are in a completely dry environment, this problem will happen all of the time, which means that you have to get a compressor with a valve that drains the water from the air. This will ensure that you don’t get water coming out while you paint, as that can ruin your project. The only thing to consider about a water filter is how often it needs to be changed.
This is another feature that is common with airbrush compressors as it ensures that you can vary the amount of air pressure that you get while working. Standard compressors deliver a constant pressure, which means that you can’t adjust your paint stroke accordingly. As such, it’s imperative that you get a model with a regulator so that you can do more detail work.
Automatic On/Off Switch
Typically, when a compressor’s tank fills and gets to a certain PSI level, it will turn off so as to prevent over pressurization. This is hugely important while airbrushing as it will not only keep your output consistent, but it will extend the life of your machine. Some lower end models require you to turn it on and off yourself, so you want to get something that does it automatically so that you don’t have to worry about it while you’re working. Also, these devices will turn back on when the pressure gets too low, meaning that you will never run out of air.
Finally, if you are concerned about how loud your compressor will be then you will want to pay attention to how many decibels it creates while in operation. Most airbrush compressors will tell you this, so you shouldn’t have to do a lot of research to figure it out. For reference, human speech is around 70 decibels, so if you get something much lower than that (like 55 dB), then it should be relatively quiet, even if you keep it next to you while you work. Anything higher than 75 dB will be a nuisance, so keep that in mind.
Recommended Air Compressors for Airbrushing
1. PointZero Portable Airbrush Air Compressor Oil-less 3L Tank 1/5 HP
Kicking off our list is this compressor system from PointZero. This is a fantastic model for anyone who needs a little extra power and output for their brushes, as well as a reduced recycle time to ensure that you don’t have to wait for pressurized air. That being said, this particular model comes with a robust 1/5 horsepower motor and delivers up to 1.0 SCFM. It also comes with a 0.8-gallon tank so that you can keep working without losing pressure.
Since this portable air compressor is designed for airbrushing, it comes with all of the standard features that make it ideal for that kind of work. It has a water filter to keep the air dry, the pump is oil-free so that you can use food coloring or edible materials without risk of contamination, and it has a pressure regulator to ensure proper results each time. Best of all, this model is one of the quietest with a range of only 55 decibels.
Other features include an easy-carry handle so you can take the compressor wherever it needs to go, rubber feet for stability, and downloadable airbrush guides from PointZero to help you get started. The only thing it’s missing is a brush and paint kit.
2. PointZero Pro Airbrush Air Compressor Twin Piston w/ Tank 1/3 HP
If you need an upgrade from the PointZero Compressor above, then this next model is for you. Featuring a twin-tank design that stores more air and delivers more power, this is a perfect tool for any artist who needs a high-capacity compressor for their work. As far as performance goes, this unit has a 1/3 horsepower motor and delivers up to 1.3 SCFM at a max pressure of 85 PSI. Simply put, this is one of the most powerful and reliable airbrush compressors you can find.
Since it’s built for painting, this compressor also comes with everything you need to get the best results possible. These features include an automatic on/off switch, a water trap to keep your air dry, and a diaphragm regulator to ensure that you get the best pressure every time. Other features include an oil-free pump to allow you to work with edible paints, an easy-carry handle to make it more portable, and a downloadable airbrush guide to help you get started.
3. Master Airbrush High-Performance Airbrush Air Compressor with Filter, Black Air Hose & Dual-brush Holder
While PointZero Compressors are built for experienced airbrush artists, what about if you’re just starting out? If that’s the case, then Master Airbrush has your back with compressors that are designed to help you get the hang of airbrushing. This particular unit comes with all of the usual refinements including a 1/5 horsepower motor, an output of up to 1.0 SCFM, and a quiet operation that is only 59 dB.
To help ensure that you get proper results each time you use it, this machine also comes with a pressure regulator, a water filter, and an extra long six-foot hose to connect to your brush. The pump doesn’t use oil, so you also don’t have to worry about contaminating your paint or edible colors. Finally, this model comes with a two-year limited warranty.
4. NEW Quiet 1/6 hp MASTER AIRBRUSH TANK COMPRESSOR
For those who don’t need the raw power of the PointZero Compressor but still want reliable results, this system from Master Airbrush is an excellent way to go. This model comes with a robust 1/6 horsepower motor, it delivers up to 0.8 SCFM, and it holds up to one gallon of reserve air to ensure that you get a constant flow.
The other great thing about this compressor setup is that it comes with a guidebook to help you get started, along with a six-foot air hose to connect with your brushes. Additionally, it has a water trap to keep your air dry, and an automatic on/off switch to ensure longer shelf life and that you don’t risk over pressurizing your brush. In the end, this is a fantastic compressor for beginners or people who do light craft work.
5. Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit
If you’re looking for a complete kit that has everything you need to start airbrushing, then look no further than this set from Master Airbrush. Not only do you get a high-quality compressor to deliver better results, but it comes with a brush kit to help you start on your path to creating great art. In fact, the only thing you need is paint, and you’re ready to go.
As with the other models we’ve seen, this compressor comes with all of the usual features. It has a large reserve tank to ensure constant delivery of air, an oil-free pump to remove contaminants, and a water filter to keep your air dry. Other features include an easy-carry handle, an automatic on/off switch for when the tank reaches its max pressure, and a six-foot hose to give you more flexibility while working. Overall, this set is perfect for any beginner just starting out.
When it comes to airbrushing, we find that the best models are either the PointZero Twin Tank Compressor or the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose unit. The reason that these are our top picks is that the PointZero model is designed for high-capacity brushes and output, while the Master Airbrush device is built for beginners looking to get started in the craft. As such, experienced airbrush artists should rely on the PointZero Compressor while newbies should get the complete kit from Master Airbrush. Either way, these machines deliver high-quality results.