If you want to learn how to airbrush, but you are not yet familiar with it, choosing the right airbrush set can be difficult. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. In our Airbrush Kit Guide we give you a comprehensive overview of the best airbrush sets and reveal our test winner.
- 1 What is an Airbrush Kit?
- 2 Advantages of an Airbrush Kit
- 3 The best Air Brush Kit
- 4 Important components for choosing Airbrush Kits
- 5 Valuable Tips for the Purchase of an Airbrush Set
- 6 Frequently asked questions and answers
What is an Airbrush Kit?
Airbrushing is becoming increasingly popular not only among artists, but also among do-it-yourselfers and even among amateur bakers. Of course you also need an airbrush set for airbrushing. You can find it yourself or use a kit that has already been put together. This usually consists of the following basic parts:
- Airbrush Gun
- Airbrush Compressor
- Hose with suitable threads
- Possibly different nozzles
- Possibly a stand for the airbrush gun
- Possibly a cleaner
- Possibly airbrush colour
- Airbrush Color
Airbrush Kits are suitable for many applications, for example for model making, handicraft, nail art and food decorations of all kinds. With the latter, it is essential to ensure that the colours are food safe.
Advantages of an Airbrush Kit
The first advantage of an airbrush complete set is obvious: You have all the individual parts immediately at hand and do not have to search for different nozzles, a suitable compressor or the right hose. All parts are compatible with each other, so you won’t get a nasty surprise when you connect the airbrush and you don’t have to buy additional parts hectically. Often airbrush complete sets are not quite as expensive as individual parts. So it is worth looking at the price.
Here we have for you all the advantages of a complete set at a glance:
- Not as expensive as buying the parts
- Guaranteed compatibility of all parts included in the set
- Easy resale of a complete set if you find that airbrushing is not for you
- High compatibility of colours from the same airbrush set manufacturer
The best Air Brush Kit
We have put the following Airbrush Kits through their paces for you. Here is our ranking:
Best beginner Airbrush : Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Set
The Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Set is our airbrush set winner, as it offers the artist everything he needs in basics. The airbrush system comes with 3 airbrush guns: Model G22 dual-action with a 1/3 oz. gravity feed fluid cup and 0.3mm tip, Model G25 dual-action with a 1/16 oz. gravity feed fluid cup and 0.2mm tip, plus a Model E91 single-action siphon feed with a 0.8mm tip and 2 – 3/4 oz. siphon bottles. An airbrush holder for 2 guns is also included. Due to the built-in pressure regulator even the beginner can quickly develop a feeling for the gun.
Furthermore the airbrush kit offers various advantages:
- The complete set contains everything you need, except the cleaner and a dilution medium
- The different airbrush guns allow the working out of larger areas as well as small details
- The price-performance ratio is practically unbeatable
- 6 opaque colors included
- Solid and easy pressure adjustment
The few disadvantages of the set are the following:
- Documentation could be more in-depth
- Umfang: Airbrush-Spritzpistole mit Double-Action-Funktion, Kompressor und Zubehör
- Düsendurchmesser: 0,2 mm, 0,3 mm und 0,5 mm
- Einzel-Zylinder Kolbenkompressor, Motordrehzahl: ca. 1450 U/min
- Ausstattung: Manometer, Druckregler, Luftfilter
Rank 2: PointZero Airbrush Dual Action Airbrush Kit
Rank 3: VIVOHOME Professional Airbrushing Paint System
- Multi-purpose-use - 3 different multipurpose airbrush guns included: Spray, Inflat, paint and do airbrush jobs
- Low noise, oil-free compressor with 1/5HP, with air filter water trap delivers 23-25L/min airflow and 0.8cfm air volume
- Comes with a compressor-mounted airbrush holder that holds two airbrushes;
Important components for choosing Airbrush Kits
A general airbrush set recommendation can hardly be given, as different components and properties are important for each user. A hobby baker who wants to decorate cakes with many tiny details needs a different gun or different nozzles than a craftsman who wants to spray large areas.
However, there are some things that are universal in every airbrush system. In the following we will introduce you to the basic components of high quality airbrush sets. If you prefer to assemble your own airbrush kit, this is of course also possible – all components are also available separately. Under the respective category you will find our recommendation to buy.
What would an airbrush set be without a gun? But choosing the right airbrush gun is not as easy as it seems. Because one generally differentiates between two different types of airbrush guns:
- Single Action: Single Action lets you use a wheel to control the amount of paint you add when spraying. You can regulate the air supply yourself. This gives you optimal paint results even as a beginner, because you don’t have to regulate both the air and paint supply yourself.
- Double Action: In Double Action, the user regulates the air and paint supply simultaneously with the same finger. This makes it a little more difficult to use, but it allows you to work out details very finely.
Apart from this distinguishing feature, there are airbrush guns with a flow system and those with a suction system:
- Guns with flow system have a small funnel on the top of the gun into which the paint is filled. This flows into the nozzle by the simple principle of gravity, which means that the air pressure with which the gun operates must be very low. Of course, you cannot spray overhead with such a system, but horizontal spraying is possible due to the special angle of the nozzle.
- With the suction system, however, the paint is sucked into the nozzle by negative pressure. This offers the user several advantages: Not only is it possible to work overhead, but very large paint containers can also be attached to the gun. This allows the user to spray large areas comfortably without having to constantly refill paint.
- Features a 0.35mm needle and drop-in self-centering nozzle combination comes with a large 1/3 oz gravity-feed cup
- Generous 1/3 oz sized cup is designed with a new funnel shape, which makes for easy clean up and more efficient paint flow
- The Eclipse CS sprays heavier acrylics and Medea Textile Colors, while maintaining high-detail spray characteristics
- Single cut-away handle
- Spray pattern - hairline to 2" (50-mm) round
In principle, an airbrush compressor is not absolutely necessary – you can just as well reach for a compressed air bottle. However, this has the decisive disadvantage that the compressed air is simply used up at some point. When you have finished a longer airbrush session, you will sometimes find that you have emptied several airbrush bottles. So buying a compressor not only has the advantage of a one-time purchase, but also the advantage of a lower price and is much more sustainable. Especially if you often have long sessions with your airbrush, it is definitely worth buying an airbrush compressor.
Of course there are some things to consider. If you want to buy an airbrush set, the appropriate compressor is already included. We will still tell you what makes a solid compressor:
- One of the sizes that you should look out for is first of all the capacity. Most compressors work with too much pressure, so this must be regulated downwards to ensure the optimum air output of 1.5 to 2.2 bar. So make sure that the compressor contains a pressure reducer. The pressure of your airbrush compressor should be good and easy to regulate.
- A pressure gauge should be standard so that you can adjust the pressure to the optimum level and keep an eye on it.
- Also check if there is a water separator already built into the compressor. If this is not the case – treat yourself to one! A water separator will ensure that no droplets of condensed water mix into your paint and distort your spray pattern. Especially if you are an ambitious artist, an airbrush water separator should be a must. The same applies if you have a compressor that works with oil. Then you should get an oil separator.
- By the way, a good tip is the compatibility with an adapter: Once you have that, you can use the airbrush compressor for other purposes. This makes the purchase doubly worthwhile.
- If you are sensitive to noise, pay attention to the volume. Compressors are not known to be particularly quiet, but there are so-called whisper compressors. An alternative is a so-called air tank. This is connected to the compressor and is first filled with compressed air. When the air tank is full, the compressor can be switched off and you can work in peace until the tank is empty again. Afterwards it must be refilled. Another advantage is that you can work with several airbrush guns at the same time.
A shortcoming of this technique is the threat of wear and tear due to rust. The air tank requires a lot of care, because you have to remove the condensation water after each use. Otherwise your tank will rust from the inside to the outside within a short time.
- If you want to work not only at home but also in other places, you also have to pay attention to the handiness. There are compressors that are so small and light that they are relatively easy to transport.
Tip: Think of your neighbors. A large, heavy and noisy compressor is more likely to make the tenant below you knock on the ceiling than a handy compressor that only causes minor vibrations.
- Automatic On/Off Shutoff;
- At 1/5 Horsepower this unit delivers more Air Volume (CFM) and Air Pressure (PSI) than any airbrush demands;
- Oil-less Piston Motor Low Noise: Very Quiet Operation, only 59 db. Backed by our support, so you can be assured of Quality and Reliability;
- Precise Air Adjustment:True Diaphram Pressure Regulator with Gauge and Water Trap Filter that provides precise adjustment of airflow and will ensure clean, dry air;
- "Air-On-Demand": Designed to work only when you do, produces air on demand at the your regulated pressure. Thermally Protected: Automatically turns itself off if the unit becomes over heated.
The cleaning agent is not only dependent on the respective manufacturer, but also and above all on the colours used. As explained below, there are water-based and solvent-based paints. The cleaning agent used should be adapted to the respective colours. Therefore, if you use solvent-based paints, make sure you also use a solvent-based cleaning agent, otherwise paint residues could remain in the gun and clog it quite quickly.
Airbrush colors are in principle compatible with any airbrush gun. Mostly they are not included in complete sets; however, there are also those with colors. Pay attention to whether the paints are solvent-based or water-based. Not only do various properties such as colour brilliance, intended use and potential health hazards depend on this, but also the use of a suitable cleaning agent.
Water-based paints are acrylic paints that contain an acrylic resin dispersion or plastic in addition to a binder and either organic or inorganic pigments. Solvent-based airbrush paints contain the name-giving solvent in addition to pigments and must also be removed from the gun with one.
Many different colours are available on the market. The most common manufacturers of airbrush paints are Schmincke, Liquitex and Vallejo.
Valuable Tips for the Purchase of an Airbrush Set
Expensive does not always mean high-quality workmanship, but often. If you are unsure whether airbrushing is really an artistic alternative for you, you can of course start with an inexpensive airbrush set for beginners. The advantage of this is of course the unbeatable price and also the spray pattern is often not much different from expensive airbrush kits.
However, difficulties often arise during cleaning, because many cheap airbrush sets for beginners do not include various components. Often the easy assembly of the gun suffers from this – and therefore you can’t disassemble it easily for cleaning. Therefore it is possible that a cheap airbrush gun will clog relatively quickly. Furthermore, you often don’t get spare parts for your gun, so that you have to buy a new one immediately after every small damage. And whether the supplier of a “cheap tool” takes the warranty as strictly as it should be is also questionable.
Tip: Therefore, our airbrush set recommendation would be at least a medium-priced model, in which not only a lot of accessories are included, but which is also processed in a higher quality.
Also make sure that the nozzle size is suitable, because not only the choice of colour depends on it, but also the area of application. It often makes a difference whether you buy an airbrush set for model making or one for painting car bodies. It depends on this, for example, whether you buy a gun with suction or flow system. Of course the set should really contain all the parts you need.
Not only a nice gimmick, but an airbrush gun holder makes sense. This sounds banal, but you can just put the pistol on the table next to you. However, you should remember that there is a hose attached to the pistol, which can pull it down with its weight. Hardly anything is more annoying than an airbrush needle that is bent after the first use just because you saved on the holder and put the gun on the table – from where it landed on the floor.
Frequently asked questions and answers
How to Clean your Airbrush Kit?
The airbrush set should be cleaned after each use. But that’s not all: Cleaning is also necessary with every colour change, otherwise the colour result can be distorted by undesirable effects.
- The last used paint is poured out of the container first. This is then cleaned of all paint residues with a cleaner and a cotton swab.
- The container is then filled with a cleaner and the airbrush gun is operated until clear liquid without paint is sprayed out.
- The container is emptied again and dried.
- Easy-to-use, insert one of the included filter pads in the filter tube
- Heavy glass jar; prevents the weight of an airbrush and hose from tipping over the pot
- Add solvent to your airbrush's color cup and spray through the rubber port in the cover, flushing the pigment from the brush and into the pot
- This clean pot also can be used as an airbrush holder
Tip: Always use either clear water – for water-based paints – or a cleaner without ammonia, otherwise your nozzle could be damaged over time.
Where to buy an Airbrush Set?
Airbrush kits are mainly available on the Internet, but also in shops that offer artists’ supplies. Of course, the Internet is usually not only a cheaper, but also a more convenient way to buy an airbrush kit. Usually the customer service offers a consultation by mail or phone if you are unsure.
When should the Airbrush Needle be Replaced?
The needle should always be replaced if it is damaged or bent. You will notice this, for example, by the fact that the spray pattern is no longer even. Especially fine and filigree strokes can always have interruptions or irregularities. If you notice these errors in your work, check whether it is due to a bent airbrush needle.
Why is no Paint coming out of the Airbrush Gun?
If no airbrush paint comes out of the gun, the nozzle may be clogged because it has not been cleaned properly. Then you can try cleaning it again with a suitable cleaner. Do not use force to do this, as this could damage the gun. If you are not able to do this yourself, contact a specialist or the manufacturer of the airbrush gun if necessary. If this is not the case, check all connections and make sure that enough compressed air is expelled from the nozzle.
Finding the right airbrush set is not as easy as it sounds. Due to the increasing popularity of this art form, more and more products are appearing on the market. We hope we could give you an overview of the best airbrush sets and make your decision easier.