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If painting with regular paint brushes is not your thing, you might want to try using an airbrush instead.
An airbrush can be a versatile tool that can be used for making big paintings, T-shirts, furniture, etc. The airbrush is rapidly becoming more and more popular, comparable to acrylic, oil, or watercolour painting.
This article will help you get familiar with what to look for in a good airbrushing kit for beginners, and we’ll share our recommendations.
Quick Summary: if you are looking for an airbrush kit with compressor that’s not super expensive but still works great, we recommend using this kit by PointZero.
What To Look For In A Good Airbrush?
When comparing different beginners airbrush kits, the first thing you want to look at is the airbrush itself. Although the price of high-end airbrush models can go quite high, you definitely don’t need to start with the most expensive one from the start.
Here are 3 points you want to keep in mind when comparing different models:
1. Nozzle Size
The airbrush can come with differently shaped and sized nozzles. Longer nozzles are ideal for precise work since it allows you to spray narrow lines and details. On the contrary, shorter nozzles are better for covering a wider area. Before buying a new airbrush, consider what projects you will be working on mostly and what size will suit you best.
2. Feed Type
The feed type of your airbrush indicates how the paint is stored and introduced to the airbrush. The two main types of feed are gravity and siphon. Gravity feeds hold small amounts of paint and only require relatively low pressure to start. Which allows you to make fine lines. However, the siphon feed can hold a large amount of paint. Since you don’t need to refill a siphon feed very often, it is the preferred option if you spray big areas.
Airbrushes can be dividing into either single action or dual action. A single action airbrush releases the air and paint at the same time. With a dual action airbrush, you can control the airflow and the amount of paint released separately resulting in much more control. Check the video below for a good demonstration on the difference between the two. For beginners, dual actions can be a little tricky to learn but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
What To Look For In A Good Compressor?
As the name implies, the airbrush needs a constant airflow to function properly. Some people use air propellant tanks or compressed gas tanks for this. But a compressor is the most common and easiest way to use an airbrush. Not surprisingly, most airbrush starter kits come with a compressor alongside the airbrush.
However, compressors are complicated machines and choosing one can be pretty intimidating at first. For simplicity, here are the 3 point that we think are most important when choosing a compressor.
Just like any electrical equipment, the compressor has a chance of breaking down when used a lot. Since the compressor is likely the most expensive item in airbrush kits, you don’t want to end up buying a new one on a frequent basis. So it is always smart to buy a model that comes with a warranty.
2. Noise Levels
Compressors can be quite noisy depending on the model you are using. If you don’t want to annoy your neighbours or family members, you better buy a compressor that can keep the noise down. Unfortunately, cheap compressor models often tend on the rather loud side.
3. Portability and Storage
Professional compressors have the tendency to be rather big and heavy. So after finding a suitable place for it, you probably won’t be moving it around much. However, some of the cheaper airbrush kits come with a lightweight compressor that is easy to travel with. If portability is high on your list of requirements, a smaller compressor might suit you better.
Recommended Airbrush Kits With Compressor
With the information above you will hopefully be able to choose an airbrush compressor kit that you like. If you still want some suggestions, we have listed 3 of our favourite kits below for reference.
Cheap Airbrushing Kit For Beginners
If you are looking for a cheap, yet versatile and portable airbrush kit, then take a look at this model by Master Airbrush.
This kit comes with a versatile airbrush nozzle that will allow you to take on a variety of different projects such as painting your miniature figures or other hobby projects.
It is surprisingly light-weight, being only 2 lbs, so you can easily carry it around. It also comes with a 6 foot air hose and the compressor doesn’t make too much noise.
For complete beginners, the “How To Airbrush” manual that is provided with this kit will be great to get you started.
Unfortunately, the compressor doesn’t give an indication of the psi, so you never really know beforehand how much paint you will spray.
This beginner airbrush kit works with pretty much any type of paint or ink, as long as it is pretty thin. You might have to dilute you favorite ink, as the airbrush might get clogged otherwise.
Although this starter airbrush kit is not without any flaws, it is a great place to start for beginners on a low budget.
Best Value For Money Airbrush Kit
At a slightly higher price point you can buy the PointZero airbrush kit. This versatile kit can be used for painting models, t-shirt, illustrations, taxidermy, etc. Pretty much anything you can possible do with an airbrush.
The kit come with a compact air compressor provides consistent airflow without making too much noise. The best part of this set is that it comes with 3 different airguns.
The first one is a dual action airgun with a gravity feed and 0.3mm nozzle. The second one is also dual action but comes with a 0.2mm nozzle. Finally, the third airgun is single action and has a 22cc siphon feed jar with 0.8mm.
By combining these three airguns, you can do very detailed work and apply a quick base layer as well. You can attach two airbrushes to the compressor at the same time so you can quickly switch between your two favorites.
Does this airbrush kit sound too complex and difficult for you? No problem! It comes with 6 different guides that will help you get the hang of your new airbrush quickly.
This set might look a little overwhelming. But it has received some of the best airbrush compressor reviews and offers very high quality for the price.
Airbrush Kit For Professionals
Iwata is one of the best airbrush brands when it comes to quality and performance. The Iwata Eclipse Airbrush kit is a great option for both beginners and advanced airbrush users.
Besides the standard airbrush, compressor and hose, this kit also comes with some goodies such as an airbrush cleaning tank, small amounts of the 12 primary colors and an airbrush holder.
Although the airbrush is dual action and used gravity feed, it is pretty lightweight and comfortable to work with for long periods of time. Additionally, the compressor might look a little daunting at first, but it operates with almost no noise and provide a consistent airflow.
The video that comes with the kit explains some of the basics such as the different types of paints you can use, which surfaces you can spray on, and the most common spray patterns.
If you are serious about learning how to use an airbrush this option might be best for you. Unlike the other kits mentioned, this is not just a beginner airbrush kit but can also be used by more advanced people. So you can gradually learn and grow without having to upgrade your equipment.
Which Types Of Paint Can You Use With An Airbrush?
You normally don’t have to worry about what type of paint to use in combination with your airbrush since most of them can work. But you do have to keep in mind that the airbrush only has a very tiny hole through which all the paint has to flow through.
Depending on the size of the tip you will have to dillute the paint you are using. For example, when you are working with acrylic paint you will normally have to mix it with a little water for it works smoothly with you airbrush.
Similarly, oil paint normally has a very thick consistency so it need to be diluted. Obviously oil and water doesn’t mix well. So you normally will have to buy a special paint thinner if you want to use oil paint.
On the complete other side of the spectrum you have watercolor paint. Since watercolor paint is already mixed with a lot of water you don’t have to dillute it extra. However, since watercolor paint is rather light and transparant you will have to apply several layers of paint to see a clear result.