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Best airbrush kits: Quality airbrushing for miniature modeling, ceramics, textiles, and more

Best airbrush kits_FEATURE

At the end of the day, whether your favorite hobby is miniature model painting or spraying stenciled designs onto ceramics or textiles, having an airbrush kit helps accomplish some pretty neat outcomes.

Sure, traditional paintbrushes and sets are great for bringing your projects to life, especially if you’re an advanced crafter who has honed your skills over time.

However, working with an airbrush will provide simplicity, versatility, and efficiency during different phases in your work, from priming to coloring, no matter your experience level.

If you’ve been snooping around the internet for the best airbrush kits, you’ve come to the right place. Find out all you need to know to find the right airbrush set for your next project!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Best airbrush kits: Quick picks

Master airbrush compressor kit

Master Cool Runner II Dual Fan Airbrushing System Kit

  • Excellent value
  • Includes three airbrushes
  • High-performance compressor

Paasche-Series-Airbrush kit

Paasche Airbrush H-Set Single Action Set

  • Product available with or without a compressor
  • Perfect for small-scale projects
  • Quality siphon-feed airbrush

Iwata Eclipse airbrush kits

Iwata Eclipse All-Star Versatility

  • Top-quality brand
  • Superb performance with thicker paint
  • Easy maintenance and cleaning

What is an airbrush, and how does it work?

If you’re a beginner miniature model painter or have a passion for other miniature creative hobbies, you might wonder why you would need an airbrush.

Well, for one thing, airbrushes are convenient, not to mention efficient, versatile, and super fun to use.

Are they expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Also, yes — big yes.

Airbrushes are potent, air-operated tools that spray ink, dye, primers, and more, with the simple control of a trigger. So whether you want to achieve detail and refined lines or opaque, uniform coverage, an airbrush won’t only speed up the process but will get the job done fuss-free.

Compatible with everything from paints, primers, varnishes, and more, airbrush products are also way more environmental-friendly than, for instance, aerosol sprays— these release toxic fumes and leave you with a bunch of cans to dispose of.

While airbrushing won’t replace the art of meticulously painting directly onto mediums, it will undoubtedly benefit you when priming your piece and aid you in achieving eye-catching textures and effects, color layering, and shading.

Airbrush kits are fantastic additions to your craft station and a great way to complement your paintbrush set if you’re an avid crafter with a soft spot for miniature model painting, cake decorating, nail art, illustration, DIYing, and more.

That said, keep reading to find out what type of airbrush is best for you!

Dual-action vs. single-action

Typically, you’ll come across four main airbrush models for home crafting and miniature hobbies: Dual-action, single-action, automatic, and pistol airbrushes.

However, the most popular of the bunch are dual-action and single-action airbrushes.

Dual-action: These are the most sought-after airbrushes by ambitious beginners and advanced crafters. In this case, the trigger manages both paint volume and airflow, giving you more control of both release types. Therefore, while this tool requires some mastery, it provides greater versatility for all projects and mediums.

Single-action: This airbrush type offers a single-action trigger to control airflow. As you push the trigger down, air passes through the tool and sprays paint. But this doesn’t allow you to control paint volume or flow as much as dual-action airbrushes. These models are best for starters getting the hang of things and perfect for achieving uniform coverage.

While dual-action airbrushes are more flexible and allow users greater control, single-action airbrushes are also excellent for scale modeling. And with a bit of practice, there are ways to manually adjust single-action airbrushes for more versatility.

If you’re on the hunt for your very first airbrush, I suggest keeping your skill level, budget, and expectations into account. But remember, there are no wrong answers! If buying a dual-action airbrush is worth the investment in the long run, I highly encourage it. On the other hand, if single-action airbrushes are all you’ll ever need, many great, quality options are available!

Gravity feed vs. siphon feed

Aside from trigger action, when looking for airbrush kits, it’s also crucial to consider what type of feed your airbrush will have — the mechanism that transports paint from the cup through the tool and out of the airbrush.

The two most popular types are gravity feed and siphon feed airbrushes.

A gravity feed is the most common. The cup is situated at the top of the airbrush and relies mainly on gravity to push paint down into the tool’s body and tip, where it then flows and atomizes for spraying.

On the other hand, a siphon feed (or suction feed) is much like an old-school spray gun. In this case, you’ll find a paint reservoir/container below the airbrush. Applied air pressure will push ink upwards through a straw, into the tool’s body, and out of the airbrush’s tip.

While both work very well, they do have distinct features.

Gravity feed airbrushes:

  • Easy to mix ink directly into the cup as you work
  • Requires less pressure, resulting in more refined finishes
  • Minimal overspray
  • Can spray a lot with a smaller amount of paint
  • May clog depending on paint consistency, model, and cup size
  • Cleaning is easy

Siphon feed airbrushes:

  • Straightforward and easy to use
  • Can fill multiple individual cups with different colors
  • Will require more air pressure vs. gravity feed airbrushes
  • More affordable
  • Can use larger bottles for greater amounts of paint
  • Does not block view vs. gravity feed airbrush

Airbrush compressors

As you research airbrush kits, you’ll soon realize that having an airbrush compressor is crucial.

An airbrush compressor is what provides the power and airflow that pushes paint, ink, or dye out of an airbrush and onto surfaces. This machine is connected to the airbrush by an air hose, enabling airflow between the tools.

And while not all brands offer complete airbrush kits with compressors, many compatible, easy-to-find options exist for different models and airbrush types.

That said, keep the following in mind when outsourcing an airbrush compressor:

  • Consider project size/airbrush type (dual-action, automatic, piston, etc.)
  • Select a product that is compatible with your airbrush brand
  • Know differences between compressor types (piston, tankless, and diaphragm)
  • Check HP (motor performance capacity) and PSI (amount of force/pounds of pressure delivered)
  • Evaluate tank capacity, size, and weight
  • Hose length according to your workstation
  • Water trap size (collects the moisture generated during airbrushing)
  • Check noise levels — large compressors can be very loud

Best airbrush kits

Time to get into our picks of the best airbrush sets to bring your miniature hobbies to life!

Best beginner airbrush kit: Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata

Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata

First up is the perfect option for newbie crafters looking for a comprehensive airbrushing experience from the get-go!

This kit is somewhat of a special edition on our list and is the outcome of a collaboration between renowned Japanese airbrush brand Iwata and art supplier Blick.

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While targeted for beginners, this set includes a superbly designed dual-action, gravity-feed airbrush, paints, and a powerful compressor to ensure optimal coverage, whether you’re into miniature model painting or focusing on larger, DIY projects.

Although a dual-action airbrush may seem a bit advanced if you’re coming from zero experience, the learning curve will be worthwhile — once you’ve got the technique down, you’ll have an airbrush for life!

Also, it’s suitable for different paint consistencies, including thicker acrylics, while still achieving fine detail.

If you’re on a budget, obtaining this complete kit will likely cost you more than you’d like. Still, this is the option to consider if you’re looking for durability, quality, versatility, and ultimately, a product that will adapt to various project needs.

Blick also sells a slightly cheaper Essentials kit with an American-made Badger Model 150 airbrush and other accessories from the company. That one also comes with an instructional DVD, although you can probably find better tutorials on YouTube.

Best value for money: Master Cool Runner II Dual Fan Airbrushing System Kit

Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air Compressor Airbrushing System Kit 

More advanced crafters looking for complete airbrush kits with a compressor will love this Master brand multi-purpose airbrush set.

This complete kit offers excellent value for money, considering its many features and tools: three airbrushes, a portable compressor, a hose, airbrush holders, and a starter guide.

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To provide versatility, this Master set includes two dual-action gravity feed airbrushes and a single-action siphon feed airbrush — a convenient way to accommodate all kinds of project types and surface coverage without needing to outsource materials.

However, the main highlight of this kit is its compressor. This item has been built to endure long hours of uninterrupted airbrushing and remains pretty quiet when powered. Its design is ergonomic and easy to use, and its performance is smooth regardless of the pressure applied.

While a highly reliable product, I believe it may be a little too elaborate for complete beginners. However, if you’re aiming to airbrush daily or tend to work on projects requiring different coverage types. In that case, this is an investment worth making, even if it presents a slight learning curve initially.

Best premium compressor kit: GREX GCK03 Tritium Airbrush Combo Kit

Grex GCK03 Tritium.TG Airbrush Combo Kit with Tritium

Next up is one of the most popular and sought-after airbrush kits, the Premium Grex Tritium airbrush set. 

While paying over $400 may seem a little over the top for most hobbyists, this is an excellent price for professionals and will provide everything needed for a superb airbrushing experience for all types of artistic ventures. 

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This complete kit includes a quiet, portable compressor, two gravity cup sizes, and a siphon bottle. Its airbrush features a unique pistol-style trigger to enhance comfort and control. The compressor is lightweight, easy to carry, and features a modern design that enables easy management of pressure and airflow. 

And, of course, there’s a world of surfaces you can spray on with this tool, whether ceramics, canvas, and scale models. Note that this particular kit does not include paints. However, if you’re on the lookout, I suggest these Upgrey airbrush paints — ideal for dual-action tools! 

You can find this complete kit on Amazon as well as a single airbrush set if you already own a compressor and are looking for a premium pistol-design airbrush. 

Best mini airbrush kit: Gocheer Mini Airbrush Kit

Gocheer Mini Airbrush Kit

Whether you have a smaller craft station or are looking for easy-to-carry airbrush kits, this mini airbrush set is a fantastic alternative to standard-sized dual-action tools.

For under $50 on Amazon, this mini airbrush set is lightweight and simple to use despite your skill set. Besides quality built and spraying capacity, I think this product’s main selling point is convenience on a budget.

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Aside from a gravity-feed airbrush, this set also contains a mini compressor to ensure you have everything you need in one go — a perk many airbrush sets don’t feature. However, I suggest sneaking in a few breaks between continuous crafting to ensure your tool doesn’t overheat.

Although this is the perfect model airbrush kit for starters, it’s also compatible with many other small-scale creative hobbies. However, remember that this airbrush’s cup will have less room to accommodate thicker or more significant amounts of paint because of its reduced size.

Nonetheless, this is an excellent option for a great price if you’re one to take your projects with you on vacation, on long weekends away, or to and from your workshop!

Best single-action airbrush kit: Paasche Airbrush H-Set Single Action Set

Paasche Airbrush H-Set Single Action Set

If you’re looking for something a bit more straightforward, a single-action airbrush is a little easier to manage and will provide you with a good range of possibilities, as long as you use a quality product.

The Paasche single-action siphon feed airbrush is an excellent pick for quality and price. It includes three spray head sizes (0.45mm, 0.65mm, and 1.05mm) to provide optimal coverage for different project types. You can also buy a complete kit with a compressor!

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Although not as advanced as the previous products, this airbrush will work like a charm, mainly if you stick to small-scale projects. Because it has a siphon feed mechanism you’re likely to spray at a slower pace, but this doesn’t translate into worse results if used properly.

Besides affordability and quality, the highlight of this tool is that it’s suitable for all kinds of creative hobbies and home crafting ventures, from ceramics, miniature modeling, and stenciling to makeup art and cake decorating!

Considering this product is by a well-known brand, it will be easy to find on several online retailers. Nevertheless, know that prices and delivery options may vary, so check out all of the options below before purchasing to get the best deal.

Best dual-action airbrush kit: Iwata NEO CN Gravity Feed Dual Action Airbrush

Iwata NEO CN Gravity Feed Dual Action Airbrush

There are tons of dual-action airbrushes, but I highly recommend this Iwata model if you’re looking for easy control and versatility.

This gravity-feed airbrush provides an excellent experience for crafters getting into more ambitious work and, while on the more expensive side, is worth every penny.

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The beginner-friendly kit provides three compressor speeds, two cup sizes, and even online practice exercises to give you the guidance you need! Whether you want thicker coverage or fine details, this airbrush will make this easy with its ergonomic design and smooth trigger.

Cleaning cups will also be a breeze since they’re coated with polish. Cups also come in different capacities, which reduces the need for constant refills. Because this is a gravity-feed airbrush, mixing paints directly in the cups as you work will also be extra intuitive and straightforward.

This is undoubtedly one of the best beginner airbrush kits you’ll find and is available on both Amazon and Blick at the same price. However, if you eventually want to replace nozzles or purchase a NEO series airbrush with a siphon feed instead, Blick is the place for you!

Best professional grade airbrush kit: Iwata High Performance Plus Airbrush

Iwata High Performance Plus Airbrush

For something a little more professional, this Iwata airbrush model is one of the most state-of-the-art, top-quality tools for demanding hobbyists.

Designed with sophisticated machinery, this double-action, gravity-feed airbrush stands out for its short passageway between its cup and tip, allowing it to shoot paint exceptionally quickly without applying much pressure.

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It also features a larger than average cup size which accommodates more paint — helpful if you’re one to mix colors and create new hues as you craft. Because it’s larger, it may feel slightly heavier than what you’re used to, but not to the point where it interferes with performance or comfort.

Cleaning is also made simple with the airbrush’s easily removable nozzle and Iwata Lube solution for preservation. This product works exceptionally well for all applications, but especially to achieve thin, precise lines and detail — an excellent model airbrush kit for miniature model aficionados!

As expected, this professional-grade airbrush isn’t the cheapest. However, it will provide you with the control, precision, and comfort you’re looking for if you’re an experienced hobbyist or artist.

Best airbrush for miniature modeling: Badger 105 Patriot Fine Gravity Airbrush

Badger 105 Patriot Fine Gravity Airbrush

Are you looking for the perfect model airbrush kit? This Badger airbrush set offers precision, comfort, and flexible paint options to keep miniature modeling exciting and efficient.

This model airbrush kit is excellent for novices seeking affordability and quality and provides ease for just about any miniature creative hobby, whether war gaming, model building, bonkei, or putz house painting is your thing!

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One of the highlights of this dual-action, gravity-feed airbrush is that it adapts to an assortment of inks and dyes, from watercolors and solvents to thick acrylic paints — a plus for any miniature modeling hobbyist needing variety in their work. These airbrush paints are perfect for this purpose!

The set is also a good choice if your goal is achieving refined lines for detailed work and, therefore, a great tool to add to your craft station if you already own a single-action airbrush. And if you’re not a modeler, no problem; I also strongly suggest this tool for illustrators and textile artists looking for the same effect.

If you want an airbrush for even thinner, ultra-fine details and precise spraying, the Badger Renegade Velocity airbrush is another great product by this brand. Want more options? The Iwata – Revolution Cr Airbrush (4247) is also a great pick for this purpose!

Best airbrush kit for heavier paints: Iwata Eclipse All-Star Versatility

Iwata Eclipse All-Star Versatility

Last up is the Iwata Eclipse airbrush, built to contain heavier liquids and acrylic paints while providing excellence and precise results.

This dual-action, gravity-feed airbrush presents a funnel-shaped cup to ensure paint flow is fluid regardless of thickness, perfect for creative hobbies around textiles, ceramics, fine arts, and model painting. You won’t have to worry about thinning out paints with this airbrush!

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Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or just starting out, this tool is suitable for various project sizes and designed to guarantee comfortable crafting and controlled spraying.

I always advise using quality acrylics when using this airbrush, as this will affect the outcome and durability of your paint in the long run. If you want a reference regarding quality paint, especially if you’re a beginner, this complete set on Blick includes a container of opaque acrylic paint to test the waters.

And if maintenance is something that makes you shy away from using an airbrush, fear not! This tool is super easy to clean, thanks to its funnel-shaped cup. If you buy an entire kit, you’ll get Iwata’s especially fabricated lubricant to help preserve the needle and main lever.

How to choose the best airbrush kit for you

With many specifications and details to consider, deciding on your first airbrush kit can feel a little overwhelming.

We’ve based our picks on quality, performance, and experience level to steer you in the right direction. However, here are a few more tips to help you narrow down your options!

  • What project sizes with you be working through? Are you focused on detail and fine spraying or aiming for something more all-rounded?
  • Is mastering a more advanced airbrush a goal, or does something more straightforward suit you best as a beginner?
  • Be sure to understand the difference between dual-action and single-action airbrushes and gravity and siphon feeds to see what meets your crafting needs best.
  • I recommend making a more significant investment from the start: airbrushes are expensive overall but will last you a lifetime if you go for quality vs. cheap knock-offs.
  • Consider your inks and dyes. For example, will you work with thick acrylics? Watercolors? Primers? Ensure your airbrush accommodates these features according to your preferences and project needs.
  • Go over product details and characteristics! There are quite a few aspects to keep in mind, so be sure to fully understand what’s on offer regarding performance level, technique, and tool maintenance before going all in!
  • Be sure to check if your kit includes a compressor. If you want to buy a compressor separately, check brand and airbrush model compatibility beforehand.

That’s it for our guide of the best airbrush kits you can buy! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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