The Technical Terms of Airbrushes Explained

Posted by in Airbrush, Airbrushes, Graphic Design Equipment

Buying an airbrush can be a confusing task, especially if you’ve never had to use one before. The good news is that with such a wide range of airbrushes to choose from, you are guaranteed to find one to suit your individual requirements.

During your search, you are likely to come across some of these technical terms describing the different features of airbrushes;


Nozzle and Needle Sizes

The nozzle is the tip of the airbrush whilst the size of the needle will determine how much air and paint can be sprayed. Usually both the nozzle and needle will already be fitted to the airbrush when you buy it and can be taken off and swapped for different sizes should you require a finer or heavier spraying effect.

The type and thickness of paint you use will also influence your choice of nozzle and needle. That being said, it’s worth knowing that the smaller their size, the finer your work will be.

Internal Mix

If an airbrush has an internal mix that would mean that the paint and air will be mixed inside of the airbrush – a better choice for finer results.

External Mix

An airbrush with an external mix will work in the opposite way with the paint and air mixed outside of the airbrush as it passes over the fluid tip.

Single Action

The best way to describe a single action airbrush is that it literally only requires one action to spray. Therefore, when you press down the trigger, both a pre-set amount of air and paint will be sprayed.

Double or Dual Action
These airbrushes require two movements to trigger the controls that spray the air and paint – you will need to press down the trigger and then pull it back to activate the required action.

Gravity feed

This refers to the colour cups on the airbrush which holds the paint. Therefore as you use the airbrush, the paint will naturally gravitate downwards.

Siphon or Side feed

These colour cups are positioned on the side of the airbrush, making colour changing easy without obstructing your view as you spray.

Suction or Bottom feed

This is when the colour cups are plugged into the bottom of the airbrush and are ideal for applications that require a large quantity of paint.

GraphicAir is a top UK distributor of these airbrushes as well as a wide range of other related products. Visit their website today to view their full range of handpicked art and graphic design equipment.