What Is The Best Airbrush Air Supply?

Posted by in Airbrush

Do I Need A Compressor For Airbrushing?

One of the key parts of airbrushing is the air supply that you use. This is an important factor, because your airbrush needs a steady supply of air to propel the paint or other fluid onto the surface that you wish to detail.

There are a whole host of air supplies for an airbrush, conventional options such as a compressor or an aerosol spray, or more unconventional methods such as using the air from a tyre and slowly releasing it through your airbrush. It is recommended that you stick with conventional methods as the most important issue is a steady reliable flow of clean air.

What Options Are Available?

Different budgets will have different needs; similarly some people use their airbrush a lot more than others and as such can justify putting more initial investment into their equipment, because it seems like a worthy cause; either because it is for professional use, or they are a serious hobbyist who wants nothing but the best results. Here are the most common types of airbrush air supply:

–          Aerosol Cans – similar to a spray paint can, these are useful due to being small and therefore portable; this also allows you to get in close and manoeuvre around the work. However the main issue with canned air, is that it can lack in consistency. Because it is a supply that runs out eventually towards the end, then the airflow will reduce and this can affect the end result. If you use a lot of canned air then the costs can also mount up.


–          Bottled air – this is a similar idea, however on a much larger scale. Bottled air also has a regulator which means that the airflow is much more consistent. This results in a better finish. Bottled air can also be refilled, however due to their large size they are rather cumbersome and as such you are limited in the area you can operate with them.


–          Compressor – an airbrush compressor either supplies air directly or fills a tank which releases the air. The cheaper option is a direct air compressor; however it’s best to select one that is designed for airbrushing. These tend to be quiet, and when coupled with a regulator they produce a clean finish. Compressors that have tanks are essentially a self refilling version of the bottled air option and as such they are worth serious consideration, although they are expensive, but this expense is offset in reliability and the quality of the finish.


So What Airbrush Air Supply Is The Best Option?

The airbrush air supply options are varied, and it comes down to personal taste. In terms of reliability; quality of finish and professional look in your workshop a compressor is possibly the best option, one with a tank would be a great option for a heavy user of airbrushes. Bottled air is an option, but it involves the need for refills and also it limits the space you can work in as it is a large object that’s not overly portable. Canned propellant is a option for the beginner but spending money on refills and replacements will soon mount up which could be better invested in a compressor.