Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: February 13, 2021
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the words ‘airbrushing’ is car paint touch up. It is a common misconception that airbrushing is only for painting cars. Ever since the popularity of using airbrushing techniques for other creative endeavors like DIYing or painting wooden models, logos and t-shirts, we have seen a rise in the availability of different kinds of specialized airbrush kits for specific tasks.
The best thing about airbrush kits is that they allow you an increased degree of control, letting you adjust the levels of spray. You also solve the problem of cluttering and having to find different sized nozzles because airbrush kits let you have all the different parts in a single machine!
We understand that it can be a tasking job to survey the market for a reliable airbrush set without trying them. So, we compiled a list of the best airbrushing kits to narrow down your search. We considered features like the compressor, as it is directly responsible for ensuring a smooth spray. We also considered the type of airbrush and the extra features of each model because they vary in functioning and different types can be useful for different tasks.
For beginners looking to buy the perfect airbrushing kit, this product is for you. Not only is the product simple to set up, but it also comes with a detailed instruction manual, so you will not have any difficulty in getting started with this product. Moreover, this kit comes with a variety of nozzles including the 0.3mm nozzle and a 6ft nylon braided hose, making it suitable for multi-purpose use.
The product’s high-quality compressor of 1/8 horsepower, pressure gauge and moisture trap technology allows the paint to flow quickly and smoothly at the same time. This airbrush has the option of both single and dual-action trigger allowing greater control for the users. Moreover, it comes with gravity feed and siphon feed cups, ranging in capacity from quarter ounce to 1 ounce.
Due to the versatile features of this product, you can use this product to paint anything, from small household items to trucks and even art models, making it even suitable for professionals who require hours of continuous work with airbrushes. In addition to this, you will also get a limited warranty of 6 years on the airbrush and of 1 year on the compressor.
What we liked: The compressor of this airbrush does not make a sound, as it is a quiet compressor, making it suitable for use in any location. Moreover, the micro air control valve gives users a convenient option of switching between airbrushes. The range of nozzles with the product give users diverse painting options. It also comes with a plastic carrying case that removes the transportation hassle for this product.
What could be better: The downside of this product is that it lacks a cleaning kit, because of which cleaning it might get tricky, especially when working with thicker paints.
This all-in-one airbrush kit is ideal for precision painting, as it is easy to use and gives greater control to the user because of its sleek design and dual action trigger. It comes with a cleaning kit, making its cleaning super easy for all the beginners using it.
Moreover, the kit includes three different head sizes of 0.25mm, 0.38mm and 0.66mm and has pressure control range of up to 35 PSI, which makes it suitable for painting small-sized models. The soundless technology and ½ HP compressor of the product makes it suitable for indoor usage as well. Its ¾ gallon tank, and gravity feed cup that can hold 0.4 ounces of paint, allows usage for longer hours and is especially suitable for water or solvent based paints.
This airbrush comes with a 1-year warranty as well. In terms of the quality of the compressor when compared to size and the range of accessories, which also includes a 6ft hose, we find this the best value airbrush kit.
What we liked: This product is suitable for artists and even beginners who want to work with solvent-based paints. The pressure of spray is fairly greater as compared to other airbrush kits of the same size as it provides a delivery of up to 35 PSI. Along with precision, this airbrush gives wide coverage as it comes with a fan air cap.
What could be better: An instruction manual is included but it is not comprehensive, because of which some users find it difficult to set up the product. Furthermore, due to the small size of the compressor, the product heats up after continuous use of 30 to 40 minutes. The product might also have air leakage problem at times due to its compact design.
This automotive airbrush kit has a 5-year warranty on its airbrush and 1-year warranty on its compressor. The product comes with a large gravity feed cup that can hold 0.24 ounces of paint, which makes it convenient for many users. Moreover, you can use this kit for canvas painting as well as body painting and application of makeup.
The price might be a little intimidating for some, but the kit includes paints, cleaning liquid and even air filters. The Smart Jet air compressor technology has a range of 20–25 PSI and comes with dual-action pistol trigger that is convenient to use.
It also includes an automatic shut-off feature, which makes usage simple and prevents the product from overheating. The added automation of the product provides convenience to users who are learning to use airbrushes for the first time.
What we liked: A DVD with detailed instructions is included with the kit, which makes it easy to use and is perfect for beginners. You can use it for extensive hours of work because of the automotive shut-off technology and large cup size. Moreover, it is easy to clean as well and therefore suitable for versatile uses.
What could be better: As the compressor lacks a regulator, some users find it difficult to adjust with the air pressure in the beginning. Thus, there will be an added cost for those who wish to purchase a regulator. Moreover, the paints included in the kit are of average quality and might get gritty over time.
This airbrush kit is made for versatile use because of the range of options it offers for airbrushes. The three airbrushes included in the kit allow users to paint patterns between 1 to 1.5 inches wide. Moreover, the kit includes a 6ft air hose with air-proof rubber.
This kit is caters to the needs of professional users as it comprises of both gravity feed and siphon feed airbrush cups that have a capacity to hold 1/3 ounces, 1/16 ounces and 3/4 ounces of paint respectively. Along with that, it has a single as well as a dual action trigger, thus making it suitable for people who want to use airbrushing for auto graphics, cake decoration, nail art, fine art and even temporary tattoos.
The high-quality compressor with 1/5 horsepower works at 47Db, and two cooling fans allows users to use this airbrush for long hours without the fear of the product heating up. The air-on-demand system included with the compressors provides the auto-save energy feature, which adds to the durability and long-lasting performance of this airbrush kit.
This product comes with a 5-year warranty on its airbrushes and a 1-year warranty on the compressor. Moreover, the kit comes with six opaque high-quality paints and color mixing wheel as well, ensuring the users to get as creative as they can when using this kit.
What we liked: The versatility of this product, thanks to the inclusion of three different sizes of airbrushes, makes this the best all-in-one airbrush kit. Moreover, this product is safe to use with food, hence we can call it is the best cake decorating airbrushing kit as well.
It also comes with a cleaning kit and allows precise air adjustment control, which makes it suitable for detailed painting and craftwork. Furthermore, the lightweight and compact design of this airbrush is convenient for extended hours of work.
What could be better: As this kit comes with many accessories, it can be complex to understand for beginners. The guide included in the kit is not user-friendly, which can cause some hassle.
This is the best airbrush kit for starters as well as for bodypainting and for using on airplane models. This is a durable and good quality airbrush kit along with being budget-friendly as well. The kit is especially useful for students who are looking for an airbrush kit at a reasonable cost. With the pressure control range of up to 25 PSI and a 0.3mm nozzle, it is suitable for using on a variety of surfaces including fabric.
This product has a good flow of paint, thanks to the dual-action trigger. You need to follow the instructions to keep the paint flowing well. It also comes with a cleaning kit and air filters making it simple for students to use even indoors.
Furthermore, the gravity feed container can hold up to 0.24 ounces of paints, which is a good capacity for single use. The results from painting with this airbrush are not less than any pro-level airbrush kit. However, this product does not come with a warranty.
What we liked: The best thing about this airbrush kit it that it is budget-friendly, especially for students. Moreover, the kit includes an extra nozzle and needle and provides flawless finish of painting. It also allows dual control of both air pressure and color flow, through which users can change not only the width of the line they are painting but also the range and opacity of the color. You can use this product without oil, which makes it hassle-free for beginners.
What could be better: The kit does not come with an instructions manual, which can make it difficult to use for some users. Moreover, you need to clean this product well, as the nozzles are thin and can clog up.
This product is the best combination of a portable as well as budget-friendly airbrush kit. The compact size, 0.3-ounce gravity feed cup, and single-action trigger of this product allows greater mobility and ease of use. It also saves you from the hassle of carrying a heavy product.
Furthermore, the quality of this airbrush is not less than a normal sized airbrush as it sprays with a pressure of 17 PSI through a nozzle of 0.04 inches. This airbrush also gives you the option of controlling the flow of paint through an adjustment knob.
Therefore, you can use it for multiple purposes, including cake decoration and makeup. You can recharge this single hand-use airbrush using a USB cable and can last up to 50 minutes of continuous usage. This is not only suitable for beginners but those who want to do advanced work as well. However, this product lacks a warranty.
What we liked: This is a gravity-feed airbrush, thus cleaning it is simple. Not only does it let the users control the flow of paint but also the air pressure. Due to its compact size, there is greater comfort in holding the product as it does not strain the wrist when using for longer hours. Moreover, it is extremely easy to use for beginners and you can carry it anywhere.
What could be better: Due to the small size of the compressor, the maximum pressure that this airbrush can give is 17 PSI, which might not be suitable for users looking to work with thicker paints. Moreover, when using acrylic paints, you need to use a thinner to prevent clogging. Another drawback of the product is that the USB cable port is exclusive for this device only. You cannot use any other cable for charging it.
Things to Consider
Airbrushing is a relatively new painting technique as compared to other painting mediums, such as using charcoals or brushes. However, this technique gained popularity due to ease of use and also because it is not as time-consuming as other techniques. Moreover, airbrushing delivers finer results as well even for those who are new at using this technique. Another advantage of using airbrushing instead of traditional painting techniques is that you can apply it to any surface, from walls to fabric. You can paint all types of materials with a single airbrush kit.
What is usually included in an airbrush kit
Depending on the type of airbrush kit you are buying, the accessories will vary. However, the kit will most certainly contain an airbrush gun and the air compressor. These are two essentials products without which your airbrush kit will be incomplete. Moreover, the kit also includes nozzles. Depending on the price and features of the kit, the number of nozzles would vary. However, one nozzle would be there for sure.
Your kit will also include a charging wire/cable, an electricity input source and a hose. If your airbrush kit is portable, you might not get a hose. Apart from this, your kit might also include airbrush cleaning brushes and even an airbrush stand for convenience. These items are not necessary for using the airbrush, but they add to the convenience of use.
Features to consider before you buy an airbrush kit
Before deciding to buy an airbrush kit, be clear on the purpose you need it for. The type of surface and paints you wish to use will determine the kit that will be most suitable for you. If you are a beginner looking for an airbrush kit just to use as your hobby, you can start with any kit.
For professional use, however, the features, such as the type of your compressor and size nozzles available in the kit, will depend on the type of work you wish to do. Kits for bakers will be different from kits suitable for painting large-scale models.
Type of airbrush paint
Not all types of paint are suitable for airbrushing. Usually, thicker paints clog the airbrush, which can undermine the quality and finish of your work. Therefore, it is necessary to check the instructions on the airbrush kit before selecting your paints. Some airbrushes work well with water-based paints, such as acrylics, while others work best with solvent-based paints.
However, some kits can work with both types of paints. In case your paint is clogging the airbrush, you should add thinner to your paints to make the texture more suitable for working with airbrushes. Moreover, there is a range of paints available at stores specifically for airbrushes as well, and some kits even come with paints.
Type of trigger
Airbrush guns come with a single-action or dual-action trigger. For a single-action airbrush gun, you need to press the trigger at the top for air to flow. This gives control to users for the amount of air they want to allow to flow through the airbrush. If you have a dual-action airbrush, the trigger will have two functions. When you press it, it will allow air to flow. The second function allows users to control the amount of paint that flows through the airbrush.
The Iwata airbrushes come with pistol triggers, which are more convenient to use than the normal top-push triggers. The pistol trigger is ergonomically comfortable as it works like a spray trigger and requires single action for both air and paint control.
Airbrush cup / siphon bottle capacity
Airbrushes come with different types of cups. The gravity-feed airbrush cups, like one in the Paasche Airbrush TG-300R, are attached at the top of the airbrush and come in variety of sizes. These cups can hold a greater volume of paint and are easy to clean as well. However, the side-feed airbrush cups are on the side of the airbrush and allow greater mobility and ease of working at different angles.
When it comes to cleaning, the side-feed cups can be tricky to clean properly. The third type of cup is the siphon bottle airbrush cup attached below the airbrush. The siphon-side cups are suitable for people working with a larger quantity of paint as it gives the maximum storage volume between the other two types. The trade-off of this cup, however, is the lack of mobility when working at different angles as the bottle is fixed.
The compressor is an extremely important component to look at when choosing the perfect airbrush kit for yourself. Different compressors suit the needs of different users. You should look at the pressure gauge of the compressor to ensure that it will suit your needs. Moreover, if you are sensitive to noise, going for a quiet compressor would be the perfect option for you.
If your compressor has a regulator for pressure, it will be easier for you use the airbrush for multiple purposes.
However, compressors can sometimes decrease mobility as they are heavy and take up space so make sure that you consider this as well before buying.
Lastly, look for a compressor with an in-built system of water separation to ensure that condensed water droplets are not mixed with your paint as that might affect the end result.
Many airbrush kits come with a range of complementary accessories, including cleaning kits, extra nozzles, needles, airbrushes of different sizes, and even detailed instruction manuals. The instruction manuals come in the form of booklets or even DVDs for complex and professional airbrush kits. Moreover, kits sometimes also include paints and even mixing wheels.
The warranty of your airbrush kits depends on the brand or seller you buy from. Usually, most airbrush kits come with a standard 1-year warranty on compressor. However, some kits may also have warranties for as long 5 years or even more sometimes on other components, like our top pick with a 6-year limited warranty on the airbrush. Before purchasing your kit, make sure to check with the seller or under the product details section to see whether the airbrush kit comes with a warranty or not.
How to clean an airbrush
Cleaning your airbrush is essential as otherwise; your airbrush will not function properly. You will have to clean your airbrush after every use to ensure that there is no blockage and that the paint flows through the machine easily. To clean your airbrush, you can either purchase a cleaning kit or use the one that comes along with the airbrush kit. Moreover, you will also need a cleaning solvent to remove any residue paint left behind in the nozzle of the airbrush cup.
The optimal working pressure for airbrushing is 30 PSI. However, it depends on the color you are using and the result you want. A good option is to start with 10 PSI and work your way up until your reach your desired consistency. Usually, painting at a lower pressure would allow painting finer details and lower the chances of the paint going to places you don’t want it go, especially when using stencils.
You can use airbrush painting for any material, be it wood, cotton, canvas, walls, literally anything and it will work. The key is to make sure that you select the right type of paint. There is a variety of paints available, ranging from acrylics to oil paints, water paints and even sign paints.
You have to select the paint based on the material you are painting on. For instance, when painting on porous surfaces or plastics, acrylics paints are your best choice. You can also use body paint when doing makeup.
Airbrush kits are slowly taking over the old styles of painting, especially for commercial use, because of the fine and stroke free results they produce. Even though airbrushing is a slightly more expensive option that tradition paints, the result is always worth it.
For perfectionists and other who are extremely particular about small details, airbrushing kits can be a favorite art supply! The best thing about these kits is the specialized options that even let you decorate cakes and clothes! We swear by the quality and functionality of every single model from your list of the best airbrush kits.
However, if we were to choose our top three products, they would be the editor’s pick, our best value product and the premium pick. The Grex GCK03 Tritium.TG Airbrush Combo Kit is great overall, with features like a soundless high-quality compressor, versatility of use and the ease of use and transportation.
Lastly, our runner up, the Iwata-Medea Deluxe Airbrush Set is an all-rounder product with amazing extra features and qualities like auto shut-off technology and suitability for makeup and body painting.