The Best Airbrush Kit

Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System

Our Top Pick for 2016: Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $119.96*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Painting comes in many different forms and is done with the use of many different tools. Each of these tools applies paint in a unique way, allowing you to perform a bevy of useful techniques when creating your art. One of the most unique ways of painting is with the use of an airbrush. These mechanical, air-driven tools allow you to spray paint onto a surface in the form of a light mist, creating images and textures that have the appearance of lightness, and which are very inviting to the eye. Whether used for cars or tiny models, airbrushing is a popular technique that allows you to transform the ordinary into extraordinary. But, what do you look for when purchasing an airbrush kit? This guide will provide you with that information, and more.

Table of contents

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Multi-purpose Airbrush With A 1/3 Oz Gravity Fluid Cup
3 Airbrush Kit
Ideal For Beginners
0.3mm Tip Master Airbrush
6 U.S. Art Supply Primary Airbrush Colors
Quick And Easy Spraying
TC-20 Air Compressor With Air Filter
Master Airbrush Tc20 Pro Airbrush Compressor
Patterns Of 1/16-inch To 1-1/2-inch
Pressure Regulator
Cleaning Brushes
Three Head Sizes
How-to-airbrush Manual And Guide
Color Mixing Wheel & Color Guide
Made In The USA

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System

Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $119.96*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerMaster Airbrush makes some of the premier airbrushes, and airbrush accessories on the market today. Producing everything from compressor tanks, to hoses, to brushes themselves, their products are made, not only with quality, but with deep attention to detail. Their top airbrush kit currently on the market is the Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System. Providing you with everything you need to create excellent paintings and designs, it is a great kit for artists of all skill levels.

In all, the kit contains three individual brushes with each providing different benefits. The first brush is a dual-action model with a 1/3 ounce gravity feed. The paint feeds down to a 0.3 mm nozzle that is capable of spraying anything from a thin line to a line that is 1 ½ inches wide. This makes it excellent for small-detail work. The second brush is a dual-action model with a 1/16 of an ounce gravity feed. With a 0.2 mm nozzle, it is capable of spraying anything from a skinny, miniscule line, to a1 inch wide line. Its ability to spray very small lines makes it great for extremely detailed precision finish work. The third and final brush in the kit has a siphon feed that allows 2 ¾ ounce bottles to attach to its 1/8 of an inch air inlet. With a 0.88 mm nozzle, you can spray large spots quickly and efficiently, allowing you to cover a great deal of surface in a very short amount of time.

Included in this kit is a Master Airbrush Model TC-20 air compressor. It contains one piston and is able to pump out different levels of air depending on how much you want to let it. With a gauge, it allows you to see how much air is being let out, providing you with the ability to get a precise measurement of how much you’re using. It also contains a water trap filter to keep liquid from building up and clogging the hose. Also provided in the kit are 6 primary colors supplied by US Art Supply. You will get an ounce of each of these colors, which include Opaque Deep Black, Opaque White, Opaque Bright Yellow, Opaque Grass Green, Opaque Blue, and Opaque Bright Red. Also included is a mini brush-cleaning set. This will help ensure that your brushes are cleared and working properly at all times.

Online reviewers love it for its air compressor, stating that it is consistent, and quiet, allowing you to concentrate fully on painting. Reviewers also give the brushes credit, stating that they are great for people who just got into airbrushing as they are precise and easy to use.

Some reviewers said that their compressors burnt out within the first two weeks of owning them, with one reviewer noting that you shouldn’t use it for any more than 15 minutes continuously. A few reviewers had trouble with the compressor hose leaking, but most had no problem with this. This is more than likely a rare occurrence.

Overall, the Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System is a quality kit with precise and reliable tools. With three brushes offering different benefits, and an air compressor that’s both powerful and reliable, you won’t have any trouble doing what you need to do. If you’re looking to get into airbrushing and need a quality set, you should definitely consider the Master Airbrush Professional 3 Airbrush System. It’s available for around $120.00 on most online retail sites.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit

Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit

View it on Amazon for $79.96*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerIn the world of airbrushing, Master Airbrush stands tall next to any other company on the market. It should then come as no surprise that the company makes our list for the second time with the Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit. Though not as large as the Professional 3 Airbrush system, it still provides you with the same quality characteristic of its manufacturer’s reputation.

Unlike the Professional 3 brush system, this kit only provides you with 1 brush. However, it is highly functional and capable of performing very precise and detailed work. Mixing its paint internally, it provides you with a very smooth and even paint job. This is helped along by its 0.3 ounce nozzle which allows you to spray anything from hairlines to 1.5 inch wide marks. While it’s ideal for precision work, it is still capable of covering large spots in very little time. With a gravity feed, it can hold up to 1/3 of an ounce of paint at one time. A dual-action trigger provides you both with both precision and power.

Included in this kit is a TC-20E air compressor which provides you with a consistent and reliable power source. Containing a single piston, it possesses an “air on demand” system that causes it to turn on only when you’re actively using a brush. It also contains an automatic on/off system which turns it on when it hits 43 psi, and turns it off when it falls below 57 psi. This will help the reduce moisture in the engine, ultimately prolonging its lifespan. Also included in this kit is an instructional booklet which helps beginners get started on airbrushing.

Online reviewers love it for its air compressor, noting how quiet it is, and stating that it is both reliable and consistent, allowing them to paint without any distractions. Reviewers also give the brush itself credit, stating that it’s precise, accurate, and allow them to paint like the pros.

Some reviewers complained that water tends to build up in the air compressor and its hose, necessitating that they turn the compressor off and wait for it to cool down. Other reviewers criticize its dual-action trigger for being very touchy, stating that it goes from very little paint to a lot of paint without much in between.

All in all, the Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit is a nice set with everything necessary to make aesthetically pleasing paintings. While it’s not as expansive as the 3 brush system, it still provides you with a very high-quality tool that will definitely get the job done. If you’re looking to get into airbrushing, you should definitely take a look at the Master Airbrush Multi-purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit. It’s available for around $80.00 on most online retail sites.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set

Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set

View it on Amazon for $49.20*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardPaasche Airbrush is a company responsible for making some of the premier airbrushing equipment on the market today. Manufacturing everything from air compressors, to hoses, to brushes, the company puts out nothing but pure quality. Their top kit at the moment is the Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set. It provides you with everything you need to airbrush with confidence.

It contains just one brush, but also comes with three different nozzle head attachments, allowing you to paint a number of different widths. These attachments will allow you to paint patterns anywhere between 1/16 of an inch and 1 ½ inches. With a single-action trigger, it is great for beginners as it offers more control than you will find in a dual-action trigger. While you won’t be able to work as fast as you would be able to with a dual-action, you’ll be able to perform with much greater precision and care.

Unlike the other kits on this list, this set does not include an air compressor. This means that you will have to purchase your own. It does, however, include a hose that can be attached to many different compressors with the use of a size attachment. Also included is an instructional manual which teaches you how to get started. This makes it great for beginners who are looking to learn new techniques. Possessing a ¼ of an ounce cup, it contains a siphon feed that will provide you with both power and precision.

Online reviewers love it for its brush, stating that it’s capable of spraying all kinds of paint, and doing so with precision and control. Reviewers also give it credit for how easy it is to clean, stating that it’s much easier than with any other brush they’ve ever had to clean.

Some reviewers had trouble finding an air compressor that would adequately attach to the brush, stating that they had to find an adjustable attachment that would allow them to sync up the size of the hose to the size the compressor. A few reviewers complained about its action, stating that it’s hard to control how much paint comes out. This, however, was an outlier when compared to the overall reviewer consensus.

Overall, the Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set is a fine kit with a great deal of versatility. Providing you with several different nozzle attachments, you can spray paint at many different levels and consistencies. If you’re looking for something that’s simple and easy to use, the Paasche H-SET Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set is something you might want to take a look at. It’s available for around $60.00 on most online retail sites.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): GotHobby Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush Paint Spray Gun Kit Set

GotHobby Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush Paint Spray Gun Kit Set

View it on Amazon for $14.20*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickIf you’re just getting into airbrushing, there’s a good chance that you don’t want to spend a lot of money. There’s no use in wasting a bunch money on something that you might not even be interested in tomorrow. Fortunately, there are a number of kits available for very reasonable prices. One of these is the GotHobby Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush Paint Spray Gun Kit Set.

A dual-action brush with a gravity feed, it is capable of holding up to 7 cc of liquid at once. With a 0.3 mm nozzle, it allows you to paint with precision, providing the ability to create both hairlines and wide patterns. Possessing the ability to operate with many different types of paint, it’s great for a number functions, including temporary tattoos, cosmetics, and cake decorating, to name a few.

Though it doesn’t come with an air compressor or hose, it is more than capable of connecting to a number of different hoses and compressors. It has a 1/8 of an inch hose attachment, allowing for easy connection to most hoses on the market. Also included is an instruction manual which will help you to get started, making sure you’re doing everything in the correct manner. For cleaning purposes, this kit also comes with an eye dropper.

Online reviewers love it for how well it works at its affordable price, stating that it delivers a very consistent and even paint job regardless of what they’re using it on. Reviewers also laud it for its case, noting how compact and easy to carry it is.

Some reviewers criticize its construction, stating that it feels cheaply-made and that you must run a lot of water through it before it starts working adequately. A few reviewers noted that it clogs easily, stating that you must unclog it often in order for it to work the way it’s supposed to.

All in all, the GotHobby Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush Paint Spray Gun Kit Set is an excellent set for an affordable price. Though it might not function quite as well as the other brushes on this list, it is still capable of painting with precision and accuracy. If you’re looking to get into airbrushing without spending a great deal of money, you should definitely consider the GotHobby Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush Paint Spray Gun Kit Set. It’s available for around $15.00 on most online retail sites.


Pre-purchase considerations

Single-action vs. double-action

As far as airbrushes go, action refers to how air flow and amount of paint is controlled. This is typically done in one of two ways, which are single-action and double-action. Each of these offers different benefits and carries different drawbacks. With a single-action airbrush, the trigger is only capable of adjusting the air flow. The amount of paint must be adjusted separately, and is usually done so by manually adjusting the needle depth. This requires stopping in the middle of painting, resulting in added work time. The tradeoff, however, is that this type is usually easier to learn and operate, making it great for beginners. A double-action airbrush is capable of controlling both the air flow and amount of paint with the trigger.

The further the trigger is pushed down, the more air flow it provides, but the further it is pulled back, the more paint that is released. This allows you to adjust the amount of paint in the middle of painting, making it more difficult to control, but also making it more capable of different styles and techniques. This type is more appropriate for people who have been airbrushing for a while.

Gravity feed vs. siphon feed

Another important aspect to consider when choosing an airbrush is what type of paint feed it possesses. There are typically two different types of paint feeds. These include gravity feeds and siphon feeds. Each feed style has its own benefits, but also its own setbacks. Airbrushes with gravity feeds contain a cup at their tops or sides which hold paint and allow gravity to make it flow into the tip of the brush. This type doesn’t require any additional air pressure, but also is not capable of holding as much paint at one time. Because they don’t require additional air pressure, they are capable of painting with more precision and detail, making them great for small paint jobs in which accuracy is important.

Siphon feeds essentially siphon the paint up from the paint tank, allowing it to be released with greater pressure. These types of feeds can hold a lot more paint and deliver a lot more pressure, making them great for big jobs where detail isn’t as big of a requirement. The cups for these feeds typically measure between 0.9 and 15 ml, and while the size you choose is completely up to you, bigger cups are typically better for siphon feeds, while smaller cups are better for gravity feeds.

Internal mix vs. external mix

When it comes to airbrushes, mixing refers to the moment when the paint combines with air. Each airbrush mixes in one of to ways. These two ways include external mixing and internal mixing. External mixing occurs when paint is mixed outside of the body of the airbrush, combining with air when, and only when, it leaves the nozzle. While this type of mix may not produce as even of a paint job as an internal mix, it is capable of producing more paint, making it excellent for big jobs. Internal mixing occurs when paint is mixed with air inside the body of the airbrush. While brushes with this type of mix can’t hold as much paint, they produce a much finer, and more detailed paint job overall. That is why these types of mixes are commonly used by professional modelers. They are capable of producing more detail, providing them with more artistic capabilities.

In the end, the type of mix you choose is completely up to you. But, it is recommended that you should go with an external mix for bigger, less detailed jobs, and with an internal mix for smaller, more detailed jobs.

Air Supply

While the airbrush itself it the most important component of a kit, there are a number of other components to consider. The most notable component other than the brush is its air supply. There are air compressors of all sizes which assist you in performing different paint tasks. While large compressors are most appropriate for industrial size jobs, small compressors are best for small jobs where attention to detail is vital. A quality air compressor is quiet, consistent, and reliable. Some compressors tend to make a great deal of noise, which makes it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Others have a tendency to trap moisture in the hose between the tank and the brush itself. Some compressors have a tendency to pulse, sometimes providing too much pressure at unwanted times, and resulting in uneven paint jobs.

Before choosing a compressor, it’s important to make sure that that it is limited in all of these negative aspects. If you want to the best, most consistent paint job possible, a high-functioning air compressor is an absolute necessity.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Airbrushing is one of the most unique and interesting forms of painting. Whether you’re painting large objects for which a great deal of air pressure is needed, or small objects, for which attention and detail is needed, airbrushes can accommodate you. But, when choosing one, it’s important to consider a number of things. There are many different aspects and configurations which all provide you with different benefits and drawbacks. Before purchasing a kit, it’s important to get an idea of what exactly you’re going to be using it for. After you have done this, you can do the research, and purchase an airbrush kit that is perfect for your needs and purposes.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. How to Airbrush, wikiHow.com
  2. Choosing the Right Airbrush, AirbrushGuru.com

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