Airbrush - The Products
Where do we even start? Well you've decided to start airbrushing and that's half the battle. So now you're here, and have to pick what must work for you. Well that's just that, what will work for you?
What have you decided you want to do as an airbrush artist? Beauty, FX, body painting, other?
All those may require different needs and different tools.
So I'll break it down on the tools needed, products to use in those tools, and any additional items you need to get you through. Let's go!
Something to note:
Pick any two.
Yes just two.
CHEAP + FAST = Won't be GOOD
FAST + GOOD = Won't be CHEAP
And so on...
Unicorn land doesn't exist, so don't even try getting all three in one.
Keep this in mind as I guide you to what will be the best for you to invest in. I will start with the least expensive and worth your time, to more expensive and worth every penny. If I don't have a machine, gun or product listed, it's because it failed to make my list, or I haven't worked with it.
Now let's start:
Click on each image for quick purchasing!
The Iwata Ninja Jet is pretty popular among beginning airbrush artists. It's pretty easy to find at your local Hobby Lobby store and sits at a pretty comfortable price. However, you will be limited with it's use. Some artists have experienced motor blowout through constant use while on a job. This is because this machine does NOT have "Smart Jet Technology" that Iwata features in most of their compressors. This "Smart" technology controls the motor and automatically turns it off when not using the airbrush gun. Meaning, when you stop the button on your gun, the chamber will fill up and stop when full and go quiet until you press for more air.
This compressor doesn't have that technology, so it just keep making noise and sucking in air until you physically turn the compressor off. Ya, kinda lame right? This is why people experience some bad issues with the motor blowing out. So while this may be good and cheap to start with, it won't get you very far in the long run. Someone who might randomly airbrush may have better use with this. This smart technology is not featured in many compressors on the market, and reason why I don't review them. They're not worth your money to be wasted on. So don't event ask about those compressors. I list this one because it's the better out of the lower grade models on the market.
Things to note:
3.2 inches high, 6.5 inches wide
Built in airbrush gun holder
No auto motor shut off
This is a fun, small compact hand held machine that the minds at Temptu came out with. It's fully cordless, battery operated tiny airbrush machine all in one. No gun needed. Now this is about as convenient as it gets for airbrushing. Keep in mind though, this was designed for everyone, including non artists. Just the everyday human who may want to airbrush their own makeup. So, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles. Is it easy, sure! Is it small and compact, sure! However trying to do multiple makeups is not it's intended purpose. It's good for one solid makeup and then it needs to be charged.
It works with Temptu's existing Pod system, so no color mixing ya'll! Unless you buy the extra Air Pod Pros which are refillable pods, so you could now color mix a bit. I wouldn't suggest using other products besides Temptu's products, as everything I've tried clogs. They are very hard to unclog too since you cannot break down the gun like a traditional gun. So again, fast and cheap doesn't equal good.
Who is this suited for? Well, personal use. I tend to bust this out in my kit if I want to spontaneously airbrush a client, but only one client.
Although this is great for on-set touch ups. If I airbrushed an actor and they have a look specifically done with airbrushing, I'll throw this in my set bag, fully charged and keep an extra USB portable charger. It's a bonus to have as extra, but not as a stand alone. I would never teach someone to airbrush with this. A lot of bridal artists might rave about this, but I guarantee they’re probably only doing foundation over a load of concealing, so thus they really don’t need the airbrush, it’s just a fluff factor.
Things to note:
Cordless, rechargeable battery with USB
Charged battery lasts two weeks with daily use
No color mixing unless you get the AIR POD PRO
Cannot break down gun to clean clogs
Not good for more than one or two clients at a time
Iwata decided to jump on boat with the cordless airbrushing and came up with the Freestyle. A neat little cordless machine that again, isn't going to work for large parties, multiple clients and large amounts of work. A little larger than the Temptu Air, yet can sit upright or lay down on a table while you work with the gun. It only has three speeds, like the Temptu Air. So no, control is not much on your side.
What do I use this for? Small jobs, like one client. This is a bit bigger and doesn't work as fast as the Temptu Air, so for on-set kit use, I'll go for the Temptu Air. I think it was just something they quickly made to cover the no-cords trend. Just know, anything with a battery doesn't last long and isn't very powerful. So if you intend to work on multiple people in a job, or cover more ground than just the face, don't rely on this alone.
Things to note:
Cordless, rechargeable battery
Full charge lasts a few weeks with daily use
Gun comes separately, not with the machine
Three speeds about 5-12 PSI
Not good for large jobs, mostly personal use only
Works with most guns, allows for easier cleaning
Kryolan surprisingly has a GREAT compressor. It should be because it's actually made by Sparmax which is a leading brand in airbrushing along side Iwata.
This compressor is about medium in size compared to the smallest and largest compressor I cover here. It's also caged (black metal square box) which makes it super secure for traveling a lot in your makeup kit and in airplanes.
It's also a great workhorse and honestly my go-to. I take it to every single airbrush job. It's my favorite in it's size and capability. It also features the automatic motor turn off technology so it's motor stays working for longer and it's super quiet for it's ability.
At this point it sits out of stock from Kryolan. A google search could find you this compressor at a nearby art supplier.
Things to note:
8.5 in high, 7.8 in wide, 5 in deep
Automatic motor turn off, quiet
Compact for it's size
Bleed valve to release moisture
Air regulator sits outside the cage, so be sure to keep it protected - I've never had a problem
The Iwata Smart Jet Pro is a powerhouse and insanely reliable. This beast will do it all! The literal creme de la creme!
It features "Smart Jet Technology" which means it has an automatic motor turn off feature that keeps your machine from working too hard while you're cleaning your gun, switching colors, or prepping your client. No need to physically turn your machine off to keep the motor from blowing out or just being annoyingly loud. This is a larger sized machine, but still able to fit into my Zuca with room for extra bags of product. This is best used for those who do lots of airbrushing makeup, such as large wedding parties, body paint, special FX and more.
The difference between this and the Kryolan is the air regulator sit inside the caged unit rather on the outside like the Kryolan. That’s the only thing that makes this seem bigger when it’s acutally not. It’s the Rolls-Royce of compressors for makeup.
Things to note:
Up to 40 PSI
10.5 inches high, 6 inches wide, 12 inches long
Powerful, reliable, quiet
Protective outer case, amazing for the traveling artist
Moisture filter with air regulator
Bleed valve to release air moisture
Small cup, best for small jobs
Duel-action - push and pull
.35mm needle, can handle thin liquids only
Top feed - product goes in top cup and uses gravity to feed through gun
Double action airbrush
Needle/Fluid nozzle: 0.35 mm
Interchangeable cups: 1/3 oz - 1/16 oz
Solvent proof PTFE screws
I included this Masters Airbrush gun because well everyone likes a cheap alternative. Remember though, fast + cheap = not good. This is essentially a throw away gun. People buy this in a pinch to replace a gun quickly that will be replaced by a better one soon. Lots of FX artists buy this for solvents and glues that will clog the gun easy yet can be pretty disposable. So knowing that, it won’t last the 17 years my Iwata Eclipse has ;)
0.2, 0.3 and 0.5mm - 3 needles and 3 tips included to change for different products
Features a cutaway handle that allows quick cleaning and flushing
Includes a airbrush quick disconnect coupler and plug that includes a built-in air flow control valve
Great for: fine art, nail art, temporary tattoos, cake decorating, hobbies, crafts, auto and motorcycle graphics & more
Iwata is the end all be all. I prefer and use exclusively these guns. They are a workhorse and do EVERYTHING. I've had my very first one for 17 years now, it's still my most favorite one to use.
Iwata is the leader in airbrush because of their quality. Everything they make, with the exception of the NEO collection is made in Japan.
This gun is the perfect size for anything you want to do as an airbrush artist. Just perfect.
Hairline to 2 inch precision
Adjustable main lever
Optional .5mm needle upgrade
Always have a spare, just in case
DIY airbrush cleaning pot
I use an even smaller bell jar to keep my kit smalllllll. This helps eliminate overspray. We don't like that nasty stuff!
Got a tool or item you didn't see here and you'd like me to review?