Airbrushing has become an extremely popular hobby in recent years, not least because the airbrush technique can be used in many areas of art. Not only canvas and plastic objects can be used with this painting technique. Metal, textiles, food, and even our bodies can be painted with airbrush colors. To start with this hobby, you need an airbrush gun, a compressor, an air hose, airbrush paints, and a cleaning set. All these materials are also available as beginner airbrush kits for starting out. Interested in finding the best airbrush kit? Follow our guide below to help you find the perfect set for your project.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Airbrush Set?
- 2 Best Airbrush Kits – Popular Models in Comparison
- 3 Components of the Best Airbrush Kits
- 4 Advantages of a Complete Airbrush Set
- 5 Tips and Tricks for Buying the Best Airbrush Kit
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Airbrush Set?
The components of the basic equipment – compressor, pistol, paints, and a cleaning set – are all available separately and can be combined individually to suit your needs. To save time and money there are also pre-assembled airbrush sets available. These packages contain the airbrush gun and the compressor with a connection hose in their basic version. Often different nozzle sizes, a selection of airbrush paints, and a cleaning set are also included.
The available airbrush sets are no longer just all-around starter sets, but there are also sets that are specifically tailored to the different areas of application. Airbrush sets are available that include a particularly quiet and compact compressor, which is preferred by model builders. Or sets with a special airbrush gun, which can be used for particularly fine work in the field of tattoo or body painting. You can get professional airbrushing kits and beginner airbrush kits.
You can also buy airbrush sets that contain several guns at once or several interchangeable nozzles. Especially well-equipped sets even include a respirator, stencils, or an airbrush gun holder. The combination of possibilities, as well as the price, are almost unlimited.
Best Airbrush Kits – Popular Models in Comparison
When buying an airbrush there is a wide range of models available. We have rounded up three of the best airbrush kits out there to help you find the right set for your application.
Our Recommendation: TIMBERTECH Multi-Purpose Airbrush Set
The Timbertech Airbrush Set includes a compressor, a double-action airbrush gun with a flow cup system, and 3 nozzles in the sizes 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, and 0.5 mm. The storage box also contains the 1.90m long air hose and pipettes for mixing and filling the paints.
The oil-free compressor works with a maximum pressure of 4bar and is equipped with a pressure regulator and a manometer. The compressor weighs only 3,6kg and produces noise at a tolerable 47db.
Conclusion: The Timbertech Airbrush Set is a solid airbrush set at an absolutely fair price. The compressor is quiet and very handy. However, you should allow it to cool down every 30 to 40 minutes. The double-action pistol, with its 3 nozzle sizes, leaves nothing to be desired for all kinds of artists and provides an attractive spray pattern. Spare parts are available from the manufacturer. A cleaning set must be purchased separately.
Best Beginner Airbrush Kit: MASTER AIRBRUSH Cool Runner Airbrushing Kit
If you are after the best beginner airbrush kit, then this option is ideal. Master Airbrush has put together one of the most comprehensive sets that includes absolutely everything you need for getting started. This kit includes a powerful air compressor, a choice of three different airbrush guns, a complete cleaning kit, an air hose, and even paints.
This is one of the best airbrush kits thanks to its versatility. With a choice of three different airbrushes, you can use this kit for any type of application and project. There is even a useful color mixing chart to help you achieve great results.
Conclusion: If you are after the best airbrush kit for beginners, then this set comes highly recommended. The kit includes everything you need for getting started, and it is suitable for any type of airbrush project. Considering all of the parts included, this beginner airbrush kit offers great value for money.
Best Professional Airbrushing Kit: PAASCHE Airbrush Set
Paasche is one of the top brands to consider when looking for the best airbrush kit. Although this set is simple, it offers a high level of quality for serious airbrush artists. The set includes a compressor with an air tank, a double-action airbrush, a cleaning kit, and an air hose.
The compressor is powerful and maintains consistent air pressure while spraying. The double-action gun is versatile and suitable for all kinds of applications. This is an easy to use and durable set for all kinds of airbrush artists.
Conclusion: If you are after the best professional airbrushing kit, then this would be a great option. The set may be simple, but it includes everything you need for airbrushing all kinds of projects. The compressor is powerful, and the double-action airbrush offers a flawless painting experience.
Components of the Best Airbrush Kits
Of the many components an airbrush kit can contain, the airbrush gun, compressor, paints, and cleaning kit are the most important. Especially when choosing the airbrush gun and compressor, there are a few things to consider before you make your purchase decision.
Before choosing your airbrush gun or the best airbrush kit, you should be clear about the primary purpose for which you want to use your airbrush gun. A combination of 4 different functional principles regarding air and paint volume regulation and supply will determine the perfect airbrush gun for your requirements:
The amount of paint in this type is fixed by means of a wheel. With a lever, you can regulate the air volume alone while working. This version is easy to use but not very flexible so that it is more suitable for priming and coarse work.
This version of the airbrush gun is also equipped with a lever that is operated with the finger. However, here it is assigned two functions. With pressure, you can regulate the amount of air. By pulling the lever, you can regulate the amount of paint. This principle of operation allows for very flexible work, but it also needs more practice.
Flow Cup System
With a flow cup system, the paint is in a cup on the airbrush gun. By means of gravity, the paint runs into the air stream and is atomized there. The flow cup system is suitable for small areas. Only a little pressure is needed. It cannot be sprayed overhead.
Suction Cup System
In this system, the paint cup is located below the airbrush gun. The passing air stream creates a suction that sucks the paint out of the paint cup and atomizes it in the air stream. This system has a much larger paint holding volume and therefore larger areas can be treated with one paint filling. The pressure at which the airbrush is operated must be slightly higher. The most flexible and most used system is probably a double-action airbrush gun with a flow cup system.
In principle, it is of course possible to operate the airbrush gun with a normal DIY store compressor. However, a real airbrush compressor has a few unbeatable advantages. Using a bottle of compressed air works, but you will soon run out of air bottles. This will result in an expensive process if you enjoy using your airbrush. Finding an airbrush kit with compressor is always a good idea for a more sustainable airbrush experience. When looking for the best airbrush compressor, there are a few important things to consider. We have listed these below.
The capacity of the airbrush compressor is a really important feature. You will want a compressor that has a regulator. This is because the compressor can often produce too much pressure, which will need to be regulated. The regulator should keep the pressure at a stable 1.5 to 2.2 bar for optimal use.
It is important to understand the volume that your compressor will operate at. Air compressors are not quiet pieces of equipment, so if you are sensitive to noise then this is something to consider. You do get compressors that are more silent than others. Using an air tank can also help to minimize the noise. This is because the air tank will fill up, and then work silently until you need to refill the tank again. The only problem with using an air tank is that it can be subject to quite a lot of wear and tear, with possible rust damage.
Compressed air loses liquid. In a normal compressor, this liquid is collected on the ground and may be carried outside with the compressed air. If this happens when the airbrush gun is connected, unsightly splashes of paint will quickly appear on your model. An airbrush compressor prevents this by installing a water separator. This filters the water from the compressed air. This prevents unsightly paint splashes and stains.
Pay attention to the size and portability of the compressor. This is important if you want to use it in different places or travel around with it. Compressors come in all shapes, sizes, and weights. This is the biggest part of an airbrush kit, so try not to get a very large one if you plan on being mobile. Portable compressors should also have a convenient carry handle.
Pressure Regulator With Pressure Gauge
An airbrush gun works with pressures between 1.5 to 3 bar. This differs depending on the airbrush gun, paint viscosity, and expected spray pattern. It should be possible to adjust the pressure easily, very precisely, and in detail. For this purpose, a pressure regulator with a display (manometer) is almost indispensable.
An air tank is certainly not a must, but it is very helpful for protecting your hearing. A compressor with an air tank can only be heard at the beginning of its work. Once it has compressed enough air and stored it in the air tank, it works silently. As soon as the pressure in the tank drops, the compressor starts working noiselessly and refills the air tank.
This way, the compressor not only works silently but also works much longer with constant pressure, which in turn creates a nicer spray pattern. In addition to the water separator, pressure regulator, and air tank, airbrush compressors also often operate with low vibration. This advantage should not be underestimated – especially when working at home. Depending on the intended use, airbrush compressor manufacturers also offer very compact, small units that are easy to transport.
Basically, you can use all paints in an airbrush gun. It always depends on which painting surface you want to spray. For beginners, and also for most surfaces, water-based acrylic resins are best. They are uncomplicated to process, easy to dilute, or they are even available already mixed.
Since acrylic paints have no harmful effects on health, they can be used without special precautions. Nevertheless, it is advisable to wear a breathing mask when airbrushing or at least to ventilate the workspace well. If your chosen set contains undiluted paint, we recommend that you order a thinner at the same time. It is also possible to use water, but the colors are not durable as long as the thinner is used.
A cleaning set should definitely be part of your basic equipment for any of the best airbrush kits. Regular and thorough cleaning of your airbrush gun not only prevents unwanted paint mixing and clogging, but also keeps the seals and fine components intact and ensures that you can enjoy your tool for a long time. The best airbrush kit cleaning set should include an airbrush cleaner and a brush set. A cleaning pot is also often included as an option.
Advantages of a Complete Airbrush Set
Not every set really contains all of the components you need for your projects! You will most likely have to purchase some additional items over time to meet your increasing demands. For the necessary basic equipment though, it is a good idea to choose a complete airbrush set.
Tips and Tricks for Buying the Best Airbrush Kit
Unfortunately, buying a set does not take all the research work off your hands! You should also consider the following when buying an airbrush set:
- Get to know the functional principles of an airbrush gun and choose the ones that suit you
- Spare parts should be available for the airbrush gun included in the set
- Think about what kind of work you want to do and which nozzle sizes are necessary (0.2mmm for fine work, 0.4mm for primers) – the set should already include exchangeable nozzle heads for more flexibility
- You shouldn’t compromise on the compressor! Volume, compactness, vibration, and weight are important criteria that should be closely examined!
- A cleaning set is an absolute must!
- The paints included should be suitable for the intended use (food coloring, textile coloring, make-up).
- Try to get a set that includes an airbrush holder. This may seem unnecessary, but it can be incredibly helpful when painting. It will help you to keep things neat, create less mess, and to look after the airbrush better.
You must decide how extensive your airbrush set should be: do you want to buy only the gun, compressor, and cleaning set or would you prefer to buy the all-inclusive package? This also includes stencils, masking film, an airbrush gun holder, and possibly a travel case. Although it is certainly tempting, we do not recommend that you just go for cheap airbrushing kits. The spray patterns certainly differ only slightly, but cheap airbrushing kits guns often lack durability and the availability of spare parts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Clean an Airbrush Set?
Only the airbrush gun actually requires intensive cleaning. The compressor is basically never cleaned. Here, the main maintenance work such as changing the air and lint filter is required. If your compressor has a water separator you should of course check before every use to see if it is full. A full water separator cannot do its job, overflows, and in the worst-case ruins the spray pattern.
The airbrush gun should be rinsed briefly with every color change to prevent unwanted mixing of the colors. For this, you proceed as follows:
- Remove the remaining paint from the paint container (you can save the paint in small sealable containers for later)
- Fill the color cup with water instead of paint
- Now you spray the water like paint. Spray on kitchen paper or in a transparent container, so you can see best when no more paint comes out of the airbrush gun
- Empty the water and spray again until no more water comes out of the gun
- The airbrush gun can be filled with new paint
After finishing your work you should clean the airbrush gun thoroughly to avoid blockages and to keep the airbrush gun with its small components and sensitive seals in a well-kept condition. A thorough cleaning includes the following steps:
- First, empty the paint from the paint cup
- To remove coarse paint residues, fill water into the paint cup and clean all visible areas with a cotton swab or handkerchief
- Spray water through the airbrush gun
- Empty the remaining water and add in airbrush cleaner instead, spray this special cleaner through the airbrush gun
- Thoroughly remove solid paint residues with a brush (included in the cleaning set)
- Pay particular attention to the needle when cleaning, it must not be damaged or bent
- Finally, the airbrush gun is disassembled as far as possible. For this purpose, the nozzle is removed, the needle is pulled out, all other dismountable parts are disassembled. In most cases, there is an instruction manual for this!
- The individual components are now thoroughly cleaned and reassembled
Collect all the parts of the set in one cup to not lose any! The disassembled small parts can also be put into an ultrasonic bath, which takes over the cleaning.
Where to Buy an Airbrush Set?
If you want individual advice and don’t want to rely solely on internet research, then you are still best off in the specialist artist trade. The competent specialists will give you good tips regarding the individual components. Often you also have a contact person for problems or defects directly on site. However, this type of purchase is usually the most expensive – specialist shops are never cheap, advice always comes at a price.
If you want to buy more price-consciously, like to do your own research, or know exactly which airbrush set you want, you will of course also find it quickly on the internet. Specialized online shops, the webshops of the manufacturers, and also at the well-known online marketplaces, you will find a large selection of airbrush sets in all price categories.
When to Replace the Airbrush Needle?
The needle is one of the most sensitive parts of an airbrush gun. However, it is not a classic wearing part but is rather damaged by the carelessness of the user. For example, when working without the needle protection cap, it can easily be nudged and thus be damaged. The needle can also be damaged if the airbrush gun is cleaned inadvertently or if it is changed. The needle does not always have to be replaced immediately. You can try the following if your needle is bent:
- Try to clamp the needle diagonally between two glass plates and then pull it out so that you can bend it straight with several attempts
- Afterward, any remaining unevenness is treated with 1000 or 1200 wet sandpaper. Always work away from the tip with a rotary movement.
Do not try to bend the needle straight on a wooden plate. Wood is too soft. The needle would press in and your efforts would be counterproductive! There is already a helpful tool to straighten a bent needle. The Sharpen Air Tool has 4 channels with different angles and grit sizes. The bent needle is guided through the channels, starting from the right, one after the other with a rotating movement until it is straight again.
Why is No Paint Coming Out of the Airbrush Gun?
- First, check the connection to the compressor. Kinks in the hose can prevent air from flowing through the hose and gun
- Check the compressor pressure. If the pressure and lift supply are correct, the cause may be a clogged nozzle or a dirty airhead.
- Unscrew the airhead and clean it thoroughly
In some cases, the airbrush gun does not work as it should because seals are defective or the nozzle head has not been screwed on properly. Check all components of your airbrush gun and tighten the threads.
If the fault cannot be rectified either by cleaning or by reassembly, check that the nozzle fits the airhead. Between airhead and nozzle, a gap is necessary through which the compressed air flows. If the nozzle and airhead do not fit together and this gap is no longer present, your airbrush gun cannot work. You can also get advice on this in specialist shops.
We hope our recommendations on finding the best airbrush kit were helpful, and have inspired ypou to find the perfect set for your needs. Whether you are a beginner or a pro artist, there is an airbrush kit out there that will suit your needs. We wish you lots of fun with your new hobby!