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what brand of air compressor do you use?

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
what brand of air compressor do you use?
Posted by skip pinkerton on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 8:15 PM

i'm going to purchase an air brush and compressor soon. just interested in what brand and model you use. have you had it a long time, how loud is it, any problems, would you buy it again ?

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Friday, April 14, 2017 2:22 PM

skip pinkerton

i'm going to purchase an air brush and compressor soon. just interested in what brand and model you use. have you had it a long time, how loud is it, any problems, would you buy it again ?


Skip - I use a California Air Tools 1610A, twin cylinder piston model. Built in air tank, very quiet, 1 minute to fill from empty, the unit only turns on about every 10-15 minutes while I'm airbrushing, runs for several seconds to refill and shuts off. Got mine at Home Depot.

About 5-6 years old, zero problems, absolutely would buy it again. I paid US $180, have seen the identical unit as low as $150. My past compressors were all diaphragm types, worked well and lasted for a long time, BUT, they were very loud and ran hot. Heat is the enemy of compressors, the cylinders on mine stay comfortable to the touch.

There are many units out there for less money, but if noise and longevity are considerations, this would be a good choice. I use mine a LOT, hundreds of hours in use, still works like new.

Good luck with your search.


  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Friday, April 14, 2017 5:59 PM
Welcome to the forums. I have an Airbrush City Model # 121TK I've had for at least ten years,it's fairly quiet,and yes I would.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Friday, April 14, 2017 6:45 PM

Welcome to FSM Forums!  I use a Harbor Freight Tools air compressor.  It came with a siphon feed airbrush that works great!  I mostly airbrush with a NEO by Iwata.



Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi


On the Bench: Trumpeter 1/32 F4F-3 Wildcat

  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Friday, April 14, 2017 6:46 PM

If you are going to use it a lot and in confined areas or at night, go for a silent compressor with a reservoir tank.  I started with a Badger diaphragm compressor, but it proved to be a noise nuisance at night.  I switched to a Badger silent compressor.  It gave years of service and continued on after a new gasket and pressure switch.

BTW don't forget to get a regulator and moisture trap if the compressor you get does not come with them.  The hardware store should be able to provide you with these plus any fittings needed to adapt them.

An air compressor is a hefty investment, but it sure beats using the spare tire from the family car, which is how I started out!

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by TheMongoose on Friday, April 14, 2017 8:09 PM

I picked this one after asking a similar question on the forum a while back. It's relatively quiet when On a solid floor. No one can hear it upstairs but you can hear it some in the next room. With the tank on it though it only runs every 10-15 minutes and then for 30-60 seeconds to top off the tank. No moisture issues at all with it as is. I've thought about the water filter several times but don't seem to need it.

On the bench - 1/48 Revell PT-17, and a 1/32 T-38 Thunderbird custom build.

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Friday, April 14, 2017 9:14 PM

If I'm doing a lot of painting, I share my wifes 3hp CP w/10 gal. tank that she uses for her business. I have a separate pressure controller and filter on my booth. It can handle both of us working at the same time with no problem. It runs for about 1-2 minutes and lasts for about 15 or 20 minutes before refilling with both of us using it at the same time. It's noisy but it's in the back of the basement in the washroom and the sound doesn't carry. If I'm just doing a few small jobs, I use a small 3 speed Neo Air in the cave that runs constantly with little noise. I use an Aztek A470 for small jobs and an Iwata Revolution CR for everything else.

Jim  Captain 

Photobucket Main WIP: Rebuild of Monogram 1/8 "Big Deuce" with 1/8 Pocher V-12 in rear - 10%

   On the Bench:   Revell 1/48 Ju 52/3m - 50%;  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 20% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Lyons Colorado, USA
Posted by Ray Marotta on Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:54 AM

skip pinkerton

i'm going to purchase an air brush and compressor soon. just interested in what brand and model you use. have you had it a long time, how loud is it, any problems, would you buy it again ?


I use a Craftsman 1/4hp single cylinder with regulator and moisture trap.  No tank.  It's kinda noisy and dances all over the place on it's little rubber feet.  Doesn't even have an on/off switch.  On the upside, I've had it since 1982 and, every time I plug it in it smoothly delivers dry air at up to 45psi.  I've even used it to top off my F-150's tires on occasion.  Would I buy it again?  Yup;  I would...




  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Saturday, April 15, 2017 12:01 PM

I have an Iwata Powerjet Pro. It allows the use of two separate airbrushes at the same time. I wanted this feature because I have my kids who are interested in learning to airbrush. I've had it about 3 years now, with zero problems. It is very quiet and, yes, I would buy it again in a heartbeat. 




  • Member since
    January, 2007
Posted by oldsalty on Saturday, April 15, 2017 1:15 PM

Hey Skip, Had this one for 6 years. No noise, no fuss, no maintenance & cheap:-) The Master ones are actually from reg brands but are sold cheaper under the Master Brands world wide.


  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Newington CT
Posted by tempestjohnny on Sunday, April 16, 2017 4:06 AM

Welcome to the forums


  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:47 PM

Skip, welcome!  Glad you're here....and thanks for your question about compressors.

Remember.....on the FSM forums......THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS.  Never.  EVER.  The ONLY stupid question is the one you DON'T ASK!  We're all here to learn, and to help.  Always.

I use a Bostitch 150psi compressor with a 6 gallon holding tank (about $300 - came with several air tools, and a garage sized air line).  This is VERY IMPORTANT....a "holding tank" is a tank that the compressor assembly "charges" with pressurized air.  And then, whatever tool you attatch draws off the smooth, even pressurized charge, not the "pulse" of the direct compressor piston (which will wreck 99 out of 100 painting schemes)....just a, smooth, even flow, not a puff-puff-puff flow.  This is important....very.
It has an integral air pressure regulator (VERY handy).  A little noisy, filling the tank, but you can spray at 15-20 PSI for a LONG time before the compressor kicks in to refill the tank.

Using industrial quick disconnect fittings, I attached a water trap, reducing fittings (quite inexpensive) that go from industrial threads to airbrush style threads.  Next, a ball valve (basically an "on-off" switch"), then a 10' Badger braided flexible hose, then quick disconnect fittings (search Amazon for "airbrush quick disconnect fittings"....SUPER cheap), which means it's a simple 1/2 second switch-out for any of the three aurbrushes I use.

Seriously...a constant pressure flow (rather than the puff-puff-puff of a direct feed compressor) will make your life MUCH easier.  Trust me.....I figured this out after YEARS of suffering with sub-standard tools.

For the gradual modifications that made it "perfect"....yeah - I'd spend the money again - in a heartbeat.

Good luck!

Cheers, LeeTree Remember, Safety Fast!!!
  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, April 17, 2017 11:37 AM

I use a Craftsman 1/5 hp compressor with a 3-gallon tank:

It's noisy, but I live alone, and the houses on my street are all detached single homes, so the neighbors don't hear that much of it.

I've had this one for about 12 years, and it works fine.  I bought it because I can use it with air-driven tools, as well as with my airbrush, which is a Paasche VL.

This rig retails for $99.99, but it's often available on sale.  I got mine for about $10 less than retail.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • From: Arizona
Posted by pilotjohn on Monday, April 17, 2017 4:21 PM

I have a Badger TC-910 and really like it.  It is right under my feet when spraying and I don't really notice it.  I wold probabaly buy again although the idea of a large CO2 tank is appealing.  Don Wheeler did a nice review:



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