The Best Air Compressors For Airbrushing

Have you ever experienced the frustration of a tool faltering you as just as you’re getting into the zone on a passion project? In the varied world of airbrushing air compressors, the AW Pro Twin-Cylinder Airbrush Compressor is a real standout, but it has some stiff competition.

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At the end of the day, the best tools are the ones that we can rely on so well that they almost morph into extensions of us – consistent, reliable, and up to the task at hand. A poor performing air compressor can absolutely wreak havoc on even a simple piece of artwork or paint job. That’s why we’ve compiled 5 of the most popular airbrush focused air compressors that deliver consistent value in their own unique ways.

To begin let’s talk about the most important features at play and how they affect the results of your artwork: Tank size, Weight, CFM @ PSI, Maximum PSI, Noise Level and finally Horsepower. Then we’ll look at some of the intangibles of each compressor and compare these key features as well. Let’s dive in!

How to Choose An Airbrushing Air Compressor


Portability is the key here. None of us like lugging around a heavy tool wheel we could have something more simple to use. Lighter is better.


Think of this as the overall dictator of how much flow you can really get. Higher is better but it’s not all that matters. It is directly proportional to another feature CFM @ PSI

Maximum PSI

This is a big one, without good flow your tools will be limited and your work won’t be as capable of finesse touches that higher PSI machines can help you produce. 


Cubic feet per minute is a measurement of the volume of air that a compressor can supply at a given PSI. This is all about consistency. Some compressors struggle to provide consistent pressure resulting in airbrushing that has a rough finish. 

Noise Level

We’re going to measure this in Decibels. Lower is better and of course, you want that when working for the most peaceful and distraction-free work environment possible. Getting in the zone is key and a loud compressor chiming in unexpectedly is not going to help with that. 

Tank Size

This affects your CFM @ PSI and Maximum PSI by providing a steady pressure that can’t be had without the stored air in the tank. Larger tanks allow for less refilling and the most consistent results. 

Airbrushing Air Compressor Recommendations

AW Pro 1/3 HP Twin-Cylinder Airbrush Compressor

  • Best Overall
  • Power – ⅓ Horsepower 
  • Tank Size – 1 Gallon
  • Noise – 59 Decibels
  • Max PSI – 100 PSI
  • CFM@PSI – 1.4 CFM @ 100 PSI
  • Weight – 16lbs

The AW Pro is a jack of all trades in this competition. It’s the most powerful by a wide margin and it shows in the way it does the job. 100 maximum PSI capability means you can use whatever nozzle you want without fear of inconsistent flow. That translates to exceptional results on your work and a tool you can trust in every time you go to create. Additionally, while there may be quieter compressors on this list it’s important to take into account how much less this one will need to run thanks to its class-leading 1-gallon air tank. All these leading features come at a great “middle of the pack” price which is why it’s my recommendation. 

Master Airbrush Model TC-40T

  • Most Portable
  • Power – ⅙ Horsepower
  • Tank Size – .8 Gallons
  • Noise – 48 Decibels
  • Max PSI – 57 PSI
  • CFM@PSI – .8 CFM @ 57 PSI
  • Weight – 11lbs

Master has absolutely earned these next two spots and let me tell you why the TC garnered the silver here. First of all, while it is one of the lesser-powered machines here, users report it has zero pulsation. It’s nearly the quietest and lightest of this group as well. This thing is so quiet you could hear a cat purring over the sound of it working in the background.  Add to those great features that it matches every other compressor here and you can see why it’s such a steal for those who don’t need the exceptionally high powered AW Pro. 

Master Airbrush Cool Runner II

  • Quietest
  • Power – ⅕ Horsepower
  • Tank Size – .8 Gallons
  • Noise – 47 Decibels
  • Max PSI – 57 PSI
  • CFM@PSI – .8 CFM @ 57 PSI
  • Weight – 12lbs

The Cool Runner is the quietest of everything in this competition. We’ll come back to that but first, let’s talk about why it only managed bronze. We’ve heard of ill-fitting parts and experiences that seem to indicate spotty quality control. At the same price point of the TC40 it needed more than a 1-decibel difference to overtake it’s better brother. It’s important to remember though that ultimately this is the quietest in the bunch. The portability and good power keep it fairly high on my list.  

ZENY Pro 1/5HP Airbrush Air Compressor

  • Power – ⅕ Horsepower
  • Tank Size – .8 Gallons
  • Noise – 59 Decibels
  • Max PSI – 95 PSI (57 PSI Factory)
  • CFM@PSI – .8 CFM @ 57 PSI
  • Weight – 11lbs

I nearly placed the ZENY in third and let me tell you why. It’s a cool package for the money. I love tools you can modify so to speak and the Pro is capable of safely pushing 95 PSI if you remove the factory limiter imposed by ZENY. The reason it lost out is two-fold. Reviews are mixed, again questioning build quality, and it’s as loud as anything else here if not louder without the same power and payoff. If it’s all you can afford then sure, otherwise the AW Pro is so much more bang for not many more bucks. 

Grex AC1810-A

  • Power – ⅛ Horsepower
  • Tank Size – No Tank
  • Noise – 55 Decibels
  • Max PSI – 60 PSI
  • CFM@PSI – .7 CFM @ 60 PSI
  • Weight – 11lbs

What can I say about the Grex. I really love the packaging and its light. Honestly, it looks fantastic. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t have an air tank? Trouble is, that’s a huge missing feature. While reviews are generally good there’s no getting around physics. Reviewers make it clear that using larger nozzles for instance, is a no-go. Without a tank to maintain constant pressure, the Grex would need far more than what is in fact, the lowest power rating in this competition to keep up. A couple of users seem to have fitted supplemental air tanks to this compressor to which I must ask, why? As we’ve found above, there are so many other good options for less money. 

In summary, these are 5 of the top used airbrush compressors on the market today. Each has at least one thing going for it. Grex is all looks. ZENY is perfect for those with a very tight budget. Master has really made a name for itself with a couple of truly solid competitors on this list. Overall at the end of the day though we’d go with the AW Pro. Everything listed here aside from the ZENY costs more and everything including the ZENY delivers less. 

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