Airbrush Compressor

What is the best airbrush compressor? This is the second most asked question from someone new to airbrushing. The first of course being – What is the best airbrush? The simple answer to both of these questions is – the one that best fits your airbrushing needs.

If you have done any searches for an airbrush compressor than you have already noticed that there are many different types and package configurations available. And – not knowing the difference between them – can make the process of selecting the right one for you confusing. Some offer single piston, dual piston, exterior tanks, different pressure gauges etc.

We will take a look at all of those areas and a few more. Hopefully – if have done my job right – by the time your are done reading this article the process of getting the best airbrush compressor for you will have been made a lot less complex and the best part – saved you some money.

The main function of the airbrush compressor is to provide clean air (no oil or water) consistently to the airbrush.

Airbrush Compressor Components

  • Airbrush compressor motor – dual or single piston
  • External air tank
  • In line air pressure gauge
  • In line air filtration (water trap)

Airbrush compressor

Airbrush Compressor Motor

Single piston – The single piston airbrush compressor is used for smaller area airbrushing with relatively thinner paints and at a lower pressure.

Dual piston – The dual piston doubles the amount of air produced and produces more pressure over the same amount of time the compressor is running compared to a single piston.

External Air Tank

Both the single and dual piston compressors have the capability of adding and external air tank. The external tank not only provides uninterrupted flow of air – it also prolongs that life of the compressor by allowing it time to rest.

In line air pressure gauge

When learning to paint with an airbrush most beginners make the mistake of assuming that one set air pressure level will work with all paint mediums. This can become costly error. Different paints have different viscosity or thickness and some need to use more air pressure than others. Having an adjustable air pressure gauge is a must.

In Line Air Filtration

It doesn’t matter what kind of airbrush compressor that you end up with – a simple tool compressor or the best airbrush compressor on the market – if you don’t have some kind of air filtration (water trap) on it – that compressor is worthless.

Water Trap

Without water trap the air provided to the airbrush can become contaminated with oil and/or water. This problem can ruin whatever you are working on by spitting oil or water onto your paint – causing what is known as fisheye.

Deciding on what components you will need to fit your airbrushing style will make your choice of airbrush compressor much easier.

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