Choose The Right Airbrush

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Choosing the right airbrush for you and your airbrushing can become a huge headache. There are just so many airbrushes to choose from out there. Thankfully most are pretty decent if you don't take into consideration the huge influx of garbage thats coming in from China.

First off airbrushes fit into one of two categories. You have your single action airbrushes and then you have your double action airbrushes. Chances are if you plan on airbrushing any type of graphics or fine art you will need a good double action airbrush! Single action airbrushes spray paint without out any control. mainly you press a lever down and the air and paint spray out. A double action airbrush gives you infinite control over air and more importantly paint flow. Push down for air and pull back for paint. Sounds kinda confusing but it's not really! So now that you know your most likely going to need a double action airbrush lets continue.

There are three main types of double action airbrush. Each has its pro's, each has it's con's. My personal favorite and the type of airbrush I use 99% of the time is a gravity fed airbrush. So lets start there.

Lets take a look at what a gravity fed airbrush looks like before I go into the details of one. So below you will see a gravity feed airbrush.

iwata hp-cs eclipse

As you can see in the picture above a gravity feed airbrush has a fluid reservoir that is fixed to the top side of the airbrush. Basically fluid by the way of gravity is fed down through the nozzle of the airbrush when the airbrushes trigger is pulled back. The air and paint mix within the head end of the airbrush. So what we really have here is an internal mix gravity fed airbrush. I am pretty sure every double action airbrush on the market today is an internal mix. So you wont really need to add that to your checklist of things to look for in an airbrush.

Gravity fed airbrushes are easy to paint with. Colors can be changed quickly without allot of paint loss. Gravity feed airbrushes are king in the custom paint field.

Next we have the siphon fed airbrush. Take a look at the siphon fed airbrush below.

iwata hp-bc airbrush

As you can see a siphon fed airbrush is fed from the bottom. Air passes through the body of the airbrush causing suction and pulling paint from a body or a cup mounted on the bottom of the airbrush. These airbrushes are also known as bottom feed, suction feed and bottle feed airbrushes. They are great in numbers especially for the t-shirt artist who is airbrushing in a manufacturing type environment. They are larger and more cumbersome than the gravity feed airbrush.

And finally the side feed airbrush. Take a look at a popular side feed airbrush from Iwata below.

iwata cm-sb airbrush

A side feed airbrush is as it's name implies. The paint is fed from the side of the airbrush. It works allot like a siphon fed airbrush though the side feed is fed from the side not bottom. Side feed airbrushes seem to be favored more by the fine artist and custom painter who creates allot of detailed art work. Side feed airbrushes are an acquired taste. Some artists love them others loath them. Regardless they are fairly easy to maintain and clean. Color changes take more time than the gravity feed airbrush and about the same as the siphon fed.

So which airbrush should you buy? My opinion is this. If you are just entering the field of airbrushing a basic gravity feed airbrush like the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS is a good choice. If your looking to save some money a good siphon fed would be your second best choice. Badgers 150 airbrush is an affordable choice that has stood the test of time. Also consider what you will be airbrushing. If your going to be doing allot of t-shirt airbrushing a siphon feed may be your best choice. If fine canvas or panel art is your goal then a side feed may be your best choice. Your choice should be made through solid research and advice found here and elsewhere. Once you know what type of airbrush you need take the time to research airbrushes here on


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