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Looking at getting first air brush compressor...

7 replies
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  • Member since
    March 2010
Looking at getting first air brush compressor...
Posted by eboggs on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 7:25 PM

Im looking at getting my first airbrush and compressor. I believe I am going with the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, as Ive read it is very versatile and a good all around AB which I think is perfect for my -first- plus, I know Iwata is a well known, respected brand. 

Having said that, I am looking at their compressors. I believe I have narrowed it down to two, however I am having a hard time finding anything relatively recent in regard to comparing the two. 

1. Iwata Power Jet Lite

2. Iwata Power Jet Pro

Both are low-high pressure, and honestly, the only thing I see different is the option to run two airbrushes off the pro and the 2 liter air storage tank. 

My question is, is it worth the roughly $140 more for the pro? Whats the "pro" to having the air tank? Does the Lite just constantly run when youre spraying? Do alot of modelers run two airbrushes during a session regularly?


I appreciate any info on this subject, and I apologize for my ignorance here!

  • Member since
    January 2010
Posted by rob44 on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 7:56 PM

I personally have a Badger TC910 which I found for sale at a great discount at Michaels. It is quiet and does the job. Another possibility is this "point zero" which seems to have gotten fair reviews and is quiet also and much cheaper. I would check other reviews.

You do want a storage taank on your machine or it will run continously. I have 2 airbrushes, one for acrylics and one for enamels (just my preference) but I have a quick disconnect adapter to switch from one to another. I see no need to be able to run two simultaineously. I also put a closed cell rubber matt on the floor under the compressor to help dampen noise.

My opnion is save some money and with the money saved buy an ultrasonic bath to help clean your brushes.

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 8:04 PM

I run a Fortress w/ 2 gallon tank.  Is fairly quiet at 60db, and will run up to 135 psi, so it can be used for other chores as well.  Has 2 outlets.  Around $160 or so at harbor freight.  I caught a coupon and gave about $135 for it.  Not as compact as a dedicated A/B unit, big not overly large either.  Weight is around 30 lbs.

No issues with it over 2 years.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 8:05 PM

IMHO, the two airbrush option is not all that important.

The storage tank will help dampen out the pulsing airflow, but to be honest, I never had a problem using just a compressor without a tank.

Sound level is a consideration if you paint near family members or neighbors.  I used to run my Badger diaphragm compressor out in the patio in the evenings, but had to stop at 10:00 to avoid annoying the neighbors.  The noise did carry late at night.

Use a quick disconnect fitting so you can easily detach the A/B and hose from the compressor if you store them separately like I do.  It will also facilitate A/B swapping if you do that kind of stuff on the fly.


“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    October 2006
Posted by JunJon on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 1:56 AM
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 2:06 AM

Consider CO2.  Dry and zero noise.  I switched 25 years ago and never regretted it.  I do have a cheap compressor for backup though, ran out of CO2 right when the pandemic hit. 



  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 6:12 AM

As others have said, there's no need to spend the extra money on a high-end airbrush manufacturer's compressor.  I've had this one for a little over 5 years, airbrushing almost everything (I even got to the point where I mask and airbrush individual dials on instrument panels), and it has been very reliable:

I'm considering getting an air tank and filling/refilling it with nitrogen as an alternative.  I have pretty easy access to compressed nitrogen for a nominal fee, and it might be nice to go completely noise-free.  Just like CO2, its also a completely dry gas.

Also, I know you already have the Iwata HP-CS in mind, but for a good first airbrush, I would also recommend having a look at the Paasche H model.  I have used the same Paasche H for about 35 years and only recently tried an Iwata HP-CS.  Frankly, I found the whole flushing/cleaning process on the HP-CS to be a PITA, and haven't found any situation yet where my Paasche H couldn't do the same job.  Cleaning is really easy, as it is external mix, so every part that paint touches easily comes off the airbrush with a single tool.  I drop all of those parts into a jar of MEK and run them in an ultrasonic cleaner between each color for a complete cleaning.  An air cap, needle, and color cup set are fairly cheap (around 10 bucks), so I have 3 sets, which allows me to keep painting the next color while the previous color's parts sit in the cleaner.  I like to call it the AK-47 of airbrushes...can't break it...can't jam just keeps right on shooting.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 8:31 AM

Hello! I use a compressor taken out of an old fridge for airbrushing. I got it over 25 years  now... - got it fo about 0$ plus some parts I added later. It's as quiet as a fridge and does a fine job. Over the years I have customized it a bit with a pressure regulator and a nice carrying handle.

People here on the forums usually ignore messages like that - makes me wonder a little bit, why do you want to throw away perfectly good compressors (in old friges) and then pay good money for machines that are too loud and not well suited for the job?

Oh well - good luck spraying and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!


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