Best Airbrush Compressor

There are so many brands and models of airbrush compressors, that it is not so easy to pick one. So, we researched, tested, consulted and read every Amazon comment to decide for you. And here it is: Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor is 100% our pick and the absolute beast among airbrush compressors. A high-quality product with a powerful motor, silent operation, and a long lifespan. 

Our Pick:

High-quality airbrush compressor with the ability to produce up to 70 PSI, a strong and long-lasting motor, big air tank and quiet operation. 

The Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor thrives in its excellence and is the beast that can be tamed by beginners and professionals in 2022. The powerful 1/6 HP induction motor makes your life a lot easier as it guarantees the long-life span of the unit. The motor is an oil-less piston one, meaning that you won’t be spending much on maintenance. It is suitable for all airbrushing tasks as the pressure it provides ranges up to 70 PSI. Another great feature is the two separate pressure regulators making it possible for two airbrushes to run independently. The unit comes with a 2-liter air tank reservoir which provides steady airflow and increases moisture separation. Suitable for all airbrushing applications.


Portable and compact airbrush compressor with the capacity of producing up to 60 PSI and a powerful motor, ready for traveling artists.

Our runner up model Grex AC1810-A 1/8 HP 115V Portable Piston Air Compressor is significantly cheaper than the Iwata-Medea compressor but has earned its place rightfully due to the 1/8 HP strong motor that contributes greatly to the long-life span. As our pick model, this one also has an oil-less piston design that eliminates maintenance costs. It features an integrated pressure gauge for easy reading and moisture trap that keeps the moisture out of the way. The compressor can be used by beginners but also demanding professionals as its pressure ranges up to 60 PSI. The design is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry around making it ideal for artists that travel or move around a lot. Made for all airbrushing jobs. Downsides: Minor things like not so perfect suction feet, or occasionally noise that some people would not even notice.

Also great:

Strong motor, great performance. Portable and compact deluxe airbrushing system that gives you everything you need to start airbrushing.

The Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air Tank Compressor System Deluxe Kit falls into one of the good ones as it offers quality and performance that will amaze you. The best part is that in this deluxe kit you get a compressor, an airbrush gun and a wide range of colors, so, you are all set to go. The Master TC-326T is a 1/5 HP single-piston compressor that gives great results over a long period of time. The model also features 2 built-in cooling fans that do not allow overheating and prolong the lifespan of the unit. Another nice touch is the automatic turn off that activates when it reaches the maximum of 57 PSI. As the previous two models this one too is oil-less and therefore maintenance free.

Downsides: rough usage might lead to breaking and clogging, but this is all related to the human factor which the manufacturer cannot influence.

Also great:

Portable, compact and user-friendly airbrush kit with a powerful motor and a great “air-on-demand” system. Perfect for beginners!

If the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit and the previous also great model were in a race, it will certainly be a tie. This system has everything you need to start airbrushing: a terrific compressor that has won the popularity vote and an airbrush set. The 1/5 HP motor delivers excellent performance and the pressure that can reach up to 57 PSI. The installed pressure gauge makes the reading easier and the water trap filter ensures clean and dry air. In addition, the “air-on-demand” system reduces the motor wear and contributes to the prolongment of the unit. Of course, that this model is also an oil-less one and reduces the maintenance costs. Downsides: airbrush clogging due to rough usage and some user might be unlucky to get a faulty moisture trap.

Budget pick:

For a cheap price this is a reliable airbrush compressor for beginners but also professionals. The motor is strong and will last as much as you paid for it.

The PointZero 1/5 HP Airbrush Compressor is surely the best one you can buy for under $100 dollars. It features a 1/5 HP motor like the Master models and the noise level can be compared to a hum. The power saving automatic turn on/turn off helps prolong the lifespan of the motor as well as maintain the pressure level. The maximum pressure level can reach 58 PSI, but we advise you to keep it lower. Even tough it is a cheap one, it also has a pressure gauge and water trap ensuring the delivery of clean and dry air. If you are on a limited budget, but within the limits of standard airbrushing applications, then this is your pick. Downsides: you get what you paid for, so do not expect it to last many years.


Why you should trust us?

To clear things up, we are not some big and famous airbrushing company that you could Google, if we were then it is not advisable to trust us. We are what you could call “the little guy”, the ones that do the job properly and don’t have a need to advertise or make a social network profile with million followers, a job well done and a recommendation is our main guideline.


We have used and tested many compressors over a long period of time and decided to comply this list with a little help of some advisers and other users. Wonder why we did it, well Amazon gave us a small percent of the sales which we did not mind since we are 100% sure in our recommendations. You are now shocked that we said this, well we are being honest in our reviews, why not be honest in this too. 



We can guarantee that the most visited area of an e-commerce website is the comment section. Okay, you enter the product, you read the specifications and the features, and you always think: “Oh my God, this sounds like a such an amazing thing.” or “If I buy it, it will do everything for me”. But then, you think “How come every product is flawless, the cheaper ones too?”. There’s that worm of suspicion that makes you scroll down and spent more time in reading the comments than the specifications. Because it takes up a lot of time to go through the comment section on Amazon, or to read impressions on reddit, we did that for you. Noted the pros and the cons and put everything in this article. So, when you are reading our review, have in mind that it is complied of user comments and experience which always comes first. 


Scale War Machines sounds like something where they will be advertising and reviewing guns and tanks. Well, they have nothing to do with weapons and do a great job in giving reviews about everything related to airbrushing and more. These guys sound like they swallowed the truth serum and that is precisely why we picked them out of the bunch. Their comments have helped immensely in choosing the top 5 best airbrush compressors. If they went to an airbrushing war with anyone, their most honest reviews would conquer the 7 kingdoms. 


We have also consulted with Ed Hubbs, airbrush and automotive artist who has been doing the job since he was 16 years old. He has gone a long way since then and experimented with different compressors and airbrush guns, therefore we can certainly call him a veteran.


Well this answer is straightforward, it is for artists, but not just any artists, but airbrush artists whose number has significantly increased as this technique is becoming more and more popular. It does not matter if you are a thriving professional looking for a unit that will improve his work and reduce the time spent on airbrushing; or you are a complete beginner who considers airbrushing to be something interesting and just wishes to try it out – buying the right compressor is a crucial thing. 


In most cases, the type of art project you are working on determines which airbrush compressor is the best one for you. If you are working on large surfaces, then you will want a compressor with a larger tank capacity. Smaller surfaces do not require large tanks, and therefore cost less than the big ones. The bigger the surface – the bigger the tank – the bigger the amount of money spent. 


However, even if you start of with small project maybe you will decide to take a bigger bite someday. That is why we decided to play it safe and recommended only the multipurpose units. So, even if you are currently playing around with your compressor, one day it could become your source of income. 


The airbrush compressors are made for artists within the automotive industry where custom spray painting of your car is becoming more and more popular. It can be used for commercial arts as well as illustrations on different surfaces. Photo retouching as well as temporary tattoos are all done with a spray of an airbrush. Many hobbyists use this unit for their art and craft projects, small and big ones – so it is a popular piece of equipment in many garages. 


Also airbrush compressors have made their way into the heart of many ladies around the world as they are widely used for cake decoration. Not to mention the airbrush makeup kits that give that flawless finish only an airbrush can and reduce the amount of time spent on makeup routine. Nails have gained something here too, as many people use airbrush guns to produce some breathtaking nail art. 


Airbrush compressors are here to make life easier to any beginner or professional airbrush artist that enjoys doing his/her airbrushing projects in a wide range of areas.


Because we are long-time user, we know that airbrush compressors can be quite expensive and buying one is a decision you can’t make lightly. That is why we dedicated a lot of time to testing, researching and making this list for you. There are 4 superheroes criteria that every airbrush compressor must have in order to make it to our list: Powerman, Tankman, Auto-Stopman and Purposeman. Now, let’s explain how these heroes are put on trial and passed. 


The Powerman represents the strength of the motor. Each motor must have at least 1/5 HP and more in order to ensure enough power for various jobs as well as long life span. A strong motor represents high-quality and eliminates all sorts of maintenance issues. In addition to this we are also adding the CFM (Cubic feet per minute) which is the amount of air that the compressor produces. The bigger it is, the stronger the compressor is. All the enlisted products are proud members of the Powerman club as they fulfill the requirements. 


To help out his friend the Powerman, here comes the Tankman. Many smaller compressors are tankless, which is not necessarily a bad thing (it is definitely cheaper). However, it is just so much better when you have a tank. With a tank your compressor experiences zero pulsation and turns off when maximum pressure is reached and reduces the amount of moisture. All of this contributes to the quality and longer life span of the compressor. Recommended tank size is from 1.5 – 3 liters. We also recommend one tankless model that has managed to do a great job without a tank present. This model is a real work of art and therefore our runner up choice. 


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Auto-Stopman. The name speaks for itself; it is the auto-stop function that is triggered when the compressors reaches maximum pressure or a specific air pressure or it is simply not in use anymore. This can come in handy when you are working and your neighbor drops by just to tell you something not really that important but ends up talking for a half an hour. Wonder why is this important? Well it reduces the wear out time, keeps the compressor in top quality, saves energy and electric bill money. All of the picked unit have a auto-stop function that has proven to work like a charm. 


The Black Widow does not have any superpowers, but she’s got the brains, the beauty, the strength, martial art skills and many others. You could not imagine the Avengers without her. Well the Purposeman is in the same situation. You just could not imagine an air compressor with a single purpose. It must have many of them, a nice set of applications which makes it unique. All the listed air compressors are made for multipurpose uses: automotive industry, illustrators, hobbyists, cake decoration, nails, tattoos etc. So, you do not have to limit yourself to a single branch, you are free to spread your wings and fly further away. 


These Fantastic Four criteria were the guidelines during the testing and the picking. Each of them was tested thoroughly, passed and made the cut.  

Best Airbrush Compressors that won’t stab you in the back

When buying an airbrush compressor there is always a fifty-fifty chance that it will malfunction in a short period of time, waste your money, betray your trust and stab you in the back. In order to avoid this unpleasant feelings and phases, and the famous Caesar quote “also you, Brutus?” , we have made a list of the best airbrush compressors on the current market that will not betray you in such a vicious way. 


Our Pick:

High-quality airbrush compressor with the ability to produce up to 70 PSI, a strong and long-lasting motor, big air tank and quiet operation.

After a long time of testing, consulting and reading other people’s experiences, we can say that Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro Double Piston Air Compressor is most definitely the best airbrush compressor on the current market and 100% our pick. We are not alone in our thinking as the guys at Scale War Machines also said, “This is a great compressor, sturdy, strong, well made, well-engineered”. Another confirmation of its excellency is the 88% of Amazon buyers who gave this compressor a 5-star rating (and we all know it’s not easy to get that score on Amazon). 


One of the features that we and the Amazon users liked the most is that this compressor can really take up any task. Another great thing is the fact that this is a double piston unit, allowing the independent work of two airbrushes of your choice as well as two separate pressure adjustments. The unit has a strong 1/6 HP motor that can deliver up to 70 PSI of even and steady pressure. It goes without saying that double pressure gauges with moisture traps are there too, giving dry and clean air flow. 


It gets better


It saves you a lot of money on keeping it functional at an optimal level as it is and oil-less compressor. This also contributes to the quality of your work which will retain its excellency. A 2-liter air tank is another nice touch by Iwata as it ensures consistent pressure without any interruption. 


You already have your favorite airbrush gun? No worries, you can attach it to this compressor and continue to work with your pet airbrush. Ed Hubbs states that he uses only Iwata airbrushes which compliment this compressor greatly. Additionally, there is an auto on/off feature that automatically shuts of the unit when maximum pressure is reached as well as shut it off when not in use


From the first look at it, we could see it is a high-quality compressor made to be compact and easily transferred from place to place. The design is elegantly black and very simple to use. To testify its simplicity, we called my friend Allison, gave her the compressor and threw her in the fire. Well guys, she didn’t get burned. Allison connected the Iwata-Medea airbrush gun, turned the compressor on and had a great time painting some T-shirts. We also tested more demanding applications, and well we can say that this airbrush compressor is a straight A student. Excellent for beginners and professionals. 


When you order the Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro, what you see is what you get. Inside the box you will find the air compressor, the necessary hose hookups to get started, the instruction manual and guide, and a power cord that you can plug into almost any household power supply. This is more than enough to get started using this particular air compressor, though there are accessories available that you can purchase separately and integrate into this studio quality piece of equipment. 


This compressor is the best airbrush compressor you could find on the market and worth the money spent. Yeah, we know it’s expensive but consider it a lifetime investment that will not let you down. In the name of the Airbrush Compressor Kingdom we name the Iwata-Medea Studio Series Power Jet Pro our king. Long live the king!



Portable and compact airbrush compressor with the capacity of producing up to 60 PSI and a powerful motor, ready for traveling artists.

The Grex AC1810-A 1/8 HP 115V Portable Piston Air Compressor is not a very popular model, but it is the one that will become a part of your equipment and a part of your life. You now think we are crazy to make such a claim but based on all the testing and testimonies this is an airbrush compressor worth having. 

Naturally, it has a motor with 1/8 HP that packs a lot of power and makes it possible to do any given task. The amount of air it produces is 0.7 CFM which is great considering the fact that this is a tankless compressor (don’t worry, we will get to that later). The indicated noise level is around 55 dB which is gentle humming and according to Amazon users, wives do not complain about it. The unit has an automatic shut-off, meaning it will shut down but itself when not in use or when it reaches maximum pressure of 60 PSI. 


It gets better


With it you get low maintenance because it is an oil-less piston design that delivers high performance. Another nice touch is the set and lock regulator that stops the settings from changing in a locked position. Of course, it has a pressure gauge for easy reading and a moisture trap that keeps the moisture out and maintains dry and clean airflow. Other features include an integrated airbrush holder and compatibility with your favorite airbrush gun. Easy to use and portable – ready for traveling artists. 

Why is Grex the runner-up? The answer to this question lies in some small specifics which some people might not even notice or will notice after a longer period. It’s like you meet a girl and she is amazing, and you marry her and after 10 years you notice that she eats loudly. The compressor does not eat loudly, but if you are a hobbyist you will hear the motor more often since you run the compressor at a lower PSI. Another “fault” is the suction feet which could be better but do not damage your hardwood floor. Because of these two things which I cannot honestly call flaws, the Grex AC1810 is the runner-up instead our pick. 

There’s more


According to the testimony of Amazon users, this compressor has an admirable 4.4 out of 5 stars rating. Many state that this is a great compressor that has proven its worth and manages to maintain proper pressure when used on a daily basis. From their and our experience even though it is a tankless model, there is no pulsation and throttling that appear in other tankless models. This just proves the fact that this a high-quality, well-designed compressor. 


The Grex AC 1810-A is an 1/8 HP unit that comes with a locking regulator, integrated pressure gauge and moisture trap, a retractable handle, a fully integrated airbrush holder, a 12-foot plastic, coiled air hose, and 1/8” fittings.  This Grex air compressor comes with everything a serious airbrush artist needs to get started, all in a compact, easy to use and portable unit that is available at a great price. 


Sure the AC 1810-A is a tankless model, but its high performance, sturdy and powerful design, portability and all the other mentioned features compensate for this and have put this model to be our runner up. In the name of the Airbrush Compressor Kingdom we name the Grex AC 1810-A the queen: Long live the Queen!


Also great

Strong motor, great performance. Portable and compact deluxe airbrushing system that gives you everything you need to start airbrushing.

The Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air Tank Compressor System is most definitely one airbrush compressor that deserves to be on our “2022 list” and has proven its worth over the years. It is well-made, could sustain multiple hour projects and is not only a compressor, but an entire system that packs everything you need to start airbrushing: a gun, paints, cleaner, manual. 

This single cylinder piston compressor has 1/5 HP motor with premium rotor winding that contributes to the sustainability and lifespan of the product. The delivered air volume is 0.8 CFM and the air tank is a 3 liter one, which is more than enough. These two features provide a constant steady pressure with no pulsation, thus eliminating the margin of error. This is also an oil-less compressor (otherwise it would be on the list) that reduces maintenance costs and keeps the money in your wallet. The noise level is measured to be 47 dB, which is something between computer and refrigerator noise, and an admirable feature of this Master product. It will certainly get the wife approval. 


There’s more


We cannot forget the automatic on/off that turns off the compressor when the maximum of 57 PSI is reached and turns it back on at 43 PSI. In addition, it has two built-in cooling fans that cool the motor while working, prolong its lifespan and prevent the motor from wearing out quickly. Along with a compressor you get a dual action gravity feed Master G222 airbrush. This system has done a good job in auto graphics, art and craft, tattooing, illustrations and many other areas. 


Now you are wondering: It has everything, the performance is great, it is affordable. Why is in the also great and not our pick section? 


The answer lies in the airbrush gun which tends to clog over time. This depends greatly on the frequency of usage. If you use it all day long, every day don’t be surprised if it clogs. This could be prevented by using paint which is not so thick and solved with a good cleanup. One user even mentions that this could originate from a small piece around the end of the needle that needs to be tighten up.  In comparison with the previous two models, this one is a lot cheaper, so you cannot expect it do work like a charm forever.


And please ignore the negative review about the kit breaking. People tend to be rough, don’t read the manual or have no idea what they are doing – so these things happen, and when they do, of course they run looking for a refund and trash about the product. But we are humans, we do that a lot. 


From a beginner’s point of view, this compressor is easy to assemble and even easier to use. And if things are not going so great, please take your time, practice and you will get perfect results. The compressor is what you can say quiet, cleans easily and possess all of features stated in the specifications. A worthy investment. 

This is one amazing system where you get a Master air compressor model TC-326T, a Master Multi-Purpose Dual-Action Gravity Feed Airbrush model G22, airbrush holder, a 6-feet long hose, cleaning pots, mix cups, cleaner and to spice things up 24 airbrush colors and a quick start guide. Now that’s a good Christmas present. 

The Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air Tank Compressor is a nice system to have around at your disposal when doing any airbrushing job. And it’s very affordable too. Take your time, use it properly and you won’t have any issues


Also great

Portable, compact and user-friendly airbrush kit with a powerful motor and a great “air-on-demand” system. Perfect for beginners!

The previous Master model has a runner up in the same category but for less money, and this the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit. It is not a generous system like the one above, but it is certainly a good one and might we say the most popular single piston one on Amazon. Let’s explain why it got the popularity vote.


As we said, this is a single-piston airbrush compressor with high performance and a 1/5 HP motor guaranteeing enough power for any kind of airbrushing work that comes to your mind. It delivers the air volume of 0.7 CFM and the maximum pressure of 57 PSI. It is cheaper than the one above as it gives you just a compressor and an airbrush. Another reason for a cheaper price is the measured noise level of 59 dB which is loud as a normal conversation or some background music, especially if you like listening to the MyAirbrushCompressor band. Just kidding, we don’t exist yet. 


It gets better


The compressor would be here if it does not have an automatic on/off that turns off the unit when maximum is reached and turns it back on at 40 PSI. In addition, there is a pressure regulator with a gauge for easy readings and a water trap filter for clean and dry air flow. Yeah, you guessed it, it is oil-less and maintenance free and features the air-on-demand system that shuts of the unit when someone walks in and starts talking really important things that demand your full attention and stop whatever you were doing.  

Yet again you are wondering about the downsides. We are honest reviewers so let’s be truthful again. 

As you can see, with this purchase you also get the same model airbrush like in the one above. In case you don’t want to scroll up and look for the info again, let us repeat: over a frequent and longer period of time, the airbrush might clog which is the result of two things: thick paint or a loose part at the end of the needle that needs to be tighten up. To be clear, this issue will not happen to every single airbrush gun. 


Another small thing are some bad comments about the moisture trap that stops working after an hour. Again, it might not even happen to you. The solution is easy, just get a secondary in-line moisture trap and you are good to go. 


Broken product? You can run into these comments, but please have in mind that they are made by people who might have been rough or simply impatient and ignorant. Every product has bad comments, but we do not know the person who writes them. 

Many users that commented on this airbrush compressors are total beginners in the field. They have all gone to the trouble of praising this product as being really user friendly, easy to set up, use, take apart, clean and even put back together. The noise level is wife-approved so there is nothing to worry about. Great kit that works well and a great starting point that will make you fall in love with airbrushing. 

With this purchase you get the most popular single piston Master Airbrush Air Compressor Model TC-20, a multi-purpose high performance dual-action Master airbrush model G22, followed by a 6-feet long air hose and a how to guide. 

A nice addition to your equipment the Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-action Airbrush Kit earned its way to this list by working hard and giving good results. With proper usage this is a trustworthy product that has professional outcome. Recommended by us and many others.


Budget pick:

For a cheap price this is a reliable airbrush compressor for beginners but also professionals. The motor is strong and will last as much as you paid for it.

The PointZero 1/5 HP Airbrush Compressor has made its way to many of the best airbrush compressors lists and after a careful consideration it was unanimously chosen to be our number one budget pick. For just under $100 you get a compact, portable airbrush compressor that can match the needs of any beginner or professional artist. 


This affordable compressor by an airbrush veteran PointZero delivers 1/5 HP and up to 1.0 CFM. The strong motor compressor is oil-less and maintenance free, saving you a lot of money. It features a 3-liter tank which is very impressive and enables you a zero-pulsation airbrushing and a pressure-release valve for additional safety. The noise level is stated to be 55 dB which is acceptable and can be considered quiet.  The maximum pressure level is approximately 58 PSI and the auto on/off does a good job in switching off the compressor upon reaching its max. This prolongs its life span and prevents overheating. A nice touch is the carrying handle for easy portability and the rubber feet which protects your floor.


This air compressor was shipped to us by Amazon and like with the rest of them, we conducted a leak test first. Well, this unit was leak free and it held pressure very well. The specifications advertised were all true and it was fairly quiet. The painting with it went on smoothly with clean and steady airflow. Still, with regular usage, this unit lasted just as much as we paid for it. 


The content of this package is a rich one, having beside the PointZero airbrush compressor model Elite-175X, a set of seven exclusive airbrush guides! This set includes Top 8 Cake Airbrushing Tips, Guide to Airbrush Cake Decorating, Developing Basic Artistic Skills, 10 Essential Airbrushing Tips, Airbrushing Strokes and Techniques, Airbrush Cleaning Manual, and the Airbrush Lettering Guide. 


Honestly, if you are running on limited budget this is without a doubt your number one pick. Don’t think twice about clicking the Buy now button and making this compressor a part of your workshop.


Buyer’s guide for beginners – What you need to know

When a person, who has just begun taking up airbrushing, goes in search of the appropriate equipment, one of the most important and the most expensive investment items is exactly the air compressor.

Anyway, unless you have money to spare or you are extremely rich, you usually find it difficult to browse various sites such as Amazon and eBay and to google and compare different prices and specifications. So, we did that for you and spared you a lot of googling and reading.

Oh, let’s not forget that the leading brands have gone a long way and designed those colorful commercials with a happy ending and the solution to all of your problems. 

No doubt about it – many people simply cannot resist it as it is much easier to pick a brand that sounds good and surrender to it without thinking too much while you’re holding a credit card in your hand.

The following post is for all those readers who are beginners in the field of airbrushing and think that choosing the appropriate air compressor is a big deal.


21st century MyAirbrushCompressors presents:


First of all, you should get some information about the basic working principles and necessary specifications for certain spheres of application. We wrote the following airbrush buying guide with the idea of making the first steps easier for you. At the end of this text, you’ll see our recommendations when it comes to choosing the right equipment. Let’s start from the beginning.


How does an air compressor work?


An air compressor is a device that usually compresses outside air with the help of one or two pistons and by the means of tubes generates the air pressure, which makes the tool function.

Speaking about it, pistons usually compress the outside air firstly into the air storage tank and there create a certain amount of pressure.

Later on, the air is released, and the tool is ready to perform its function flawlessly. The pressure produced by the compressor is extremely important bearing in mind that for certain applications you need certain amount of air pressure.


Question: Do I need an air compressor with an air tank?


…. I’ll give you a direct answer to this question – YES, you do, and I dare say THE BIGGER THE TANK, THE BETTER!

You’re wondering why.

Well, I haven’t mentioned one problem in the previous paragraph.

When the air is being compressed, valves don’t run quietly – they make extremely annoying and unbearable…yeah, you know what: NOISE!

Air compressors which aren’t comprised of air storage tanks are forced to work constantly in order to produce compressed air and inevitably they heat up.

When it comes to an air compressor with an air storage tank, it makes noise only when it operates i.e. when it compresses air. When a certain level of air pressure is achieved in the tank, it stops operating.




every time you use the air, pressure in the tank slowly decreases. The moment it falls under certain value, the compressor starts operating again.


All over again.


That’s why it is necessary that the capacity of a tank is large enough to prolong the period between two compressors activation. Additionally, the tank eliminates the pulsation that might happen when air is going from the compressor to the airbrush. Not to mention that your workshop will be perfectly quiet.


What the heck is CFM?


Those abbreviations can be tricky so let’s tear it apart first CFM – cubic feet per minute. Of what? Well, the amount of air the compressor produces. The bigger this number is the stronger the compressor pump is and the ability to refill with air. 

You’ve probably come across information that on/off has something to do with the compressor activation, which leads us to the next question:


Question: What’s exactly on/off switch and do I really need it?


Let me explain it in the following way – As you’ve already seen, compressor works until it reaches certain amount of pressure. Let’s say that such pressure is approximately 120 PSI (check our glossary of terms).


Since the air is being spent, the pressure in the tank falls to 80 PSI and that’s the moment when the compressor is switched on again. The thing is, it isn’t necessary for a compressor to maintain the lowest pressure of 80 PSI in the tank as you’ll need (depending on the application) the pressure of 10 to 40 PSI

And that’s why you need a switch…


When a compressor reaches the pressure of 120PSI in the tank, you simply switch it off and paint quietly until the pressure in the tank falls low enough so that it enables you to work.

Precisely this is one of the major things that reduce the wear out time of the motor and significantly prolong the lifespan of the air compressor. 


You use pressure gauge to control the pressure in the tank. But we’ll deal with it later.

…You might be wondering: It all makes sense when it comes to regular, noisy compressors. But what about silent compressors?

There’s no two ways about it – you can find silent compressors on the market which make far less noise. Nine times out of ten, such noise equals the noise your fridge makes. What’s more, many compressor models are small in size, convenient and have on/off switch embedded.


Still, there is a great disadvantage of it – they are extremely expensive!


You’ve guessed it. It’s pretty obvious – if you want to afford a luxury, you have to spend a lot of money on it, and the same goes for the lack of noise.


Question: Do I need pressure gauge?


Yeah, you do!


Pressure gauge tells you how much pressure you have at your disposal.

Do you remember how we use on/off switch?

Let me refresh your memory – compressor works as long as it reaches certain amount of pressure, then you switch it off and paint quietly until the pressure in the tank falls below lower limit i.e. the lowest level of pressure needed for carrying out normal operations.


That’s the moment when pressure gauge comes into play.

With the help of this device you are enabled to read the current level of pressure in the tank. If painting requires pressure of about 10 to 40 PSI, you’ll be able to work with ease as long as the pressure in the tank is above 40 PSI.


When you’re experienced enough in your field, you’ll know when the pressure reaches bottom line judging the way in which the colour goes out of the tool.

Anyway, the best thing is when you know exactly the correct pressure value at precise moment.


Question: What is a pressure regulator?


Pressure regulator is very important as it determines the amount of pressure that should be sent to your airbrush tool. It reduces pressure in the tank to the level you need at a specific moment.

Imagine yourself taking up airbrush make-up. You must be cautious about your tool when you turn it under pressure towards someone’s face.


A regulator can also include a pressure gauge.


A gauge tells you the exact pressure level of the regulator and that’s why it’s essential.


Question: And what’s a moisture trap?


As you may already know, compressor uses outside air from the environment. This air contains certain percentage of moisture, which means that it is also transmitted to the tank. Once it reaches the tank, it condenses.

As a result, moisture can cause lots of problems during the process of painting if you don’t use acrylic paint. Even if you do use acrylic paint (I recommend it wholeheartedly to all beginners), moisture can be a serious problem.


So, unless you live in desert or on the Antarctic, you should by all means get a moisture trap. It isn’t usually a component of air compressor, which means that you should buy it separately.

Don’t forget to check if it fits your air compressor model.


The 6 must knows for buying a compressor

  1. The smaller compressor is, the less noise it makes. But its PSI is also smaller. Such compressors (small diaphragm models) are known as ‘compressors for beginners’ and manufacturers guarantee that they will deliver pressure of 40 PSI to your airbrush. However, if you’re absolute beginner in car painting, then you need continual air flow source. 
  2. Small diaphragm models won’t do the job.
  3. Silent compressors are very expensive!
  4. If you can afford to pay for it, it’s always better to opt for compressors with the tank. The larger the tank is, the better.
  5. On/off switch is very useful when it comes to quiet work environment. They mostly come together with the compressor.
  6. If you live in an area with damp climate, you must have moisture trap!



  1. Scale War Machines YouTube channel
  2. Interview with Ed Hubbs, an airbrush artist, available at
  3. Amazon comment section
  4. Reddit