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 Airbrush Compressor Recommendations?
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Empire of the Air
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  2:46:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What recommendations do you all have for a good airbrush compressor? I have been using a 2 gallon pancake-style for several years now and have been generally pleased with it, except that it is oil-less and therefore very noisy. I spray both thinner-based and acrylic-based paints.

I was looking at something like the Badger TC910 but the reviews are all over the place on it.

Appreciate any thoughts.


Country: USA | Posts: 122


Premium Member

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  3:27:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You know a 25 or 50' airhose with quick disconnects is your least expensive path.I've got a 5 HP compressor in 'the other room' of the shop/barn which you might guess is pretty darn loud. The hose rolls up when not in use. The 'hobby' compressors that I've used just didn't keep the steady constant 20-25 lbs for airbrushing like the bigger unit you have. Just my opinion.


Take the red pill

Country: USA | Posts: 6320 Go to Top of Page

Empire of the Air
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  3:45:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

You are right, I have an 80 gallon compressor in the garage back home. I should have explained a little further:

I am currently deployed to Fort Sam Houston at least through October, living in a glorified hotel room. I am looking for recommendations on one of the smaller, quieter compressors so I can do some painting (acrylics) here.


Country: USA | Posts: 122 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  3:53:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a Scorpion II, it's very quiet and can generate a lot of pressure if I need it. But if I were buying one now, I'd get the Scorpion II -with- the tank. http://www.silentaire.com/silentaire/scorpion.asp Not cheap, but in my limited experience it's better to spend $$ on the compressor. (Kinda like cameras, buy a cheap body and spend your money on lenses :-) )

$199 from this guy on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/SILENTAIR-SCORPION-II-TT-ULTRA-QUITE-COMPRESSOR-NEW-IN-BOX-1-6TH-HP-110-VOLT-/192876650413 (No connection, just checked prices and this popped up.)


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Edited by - deemery on 04/12/2020 3:55:50 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 8968 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 04/12/2020 :  4:29:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have this Iwata Ninja unit and it is relatively quiet and works well for my acrylic paints.


As low as $140 on eBay

Mega Dittos

Karl Scribner
Manistique, Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 12069 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  8:12:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ideally you would want to try it a bit, as different compressors can have a different noise level ... they will all pump air enough for an airbrush, it's just how much noise it makes while doing it ..

....modeling the 1890s in HO...

Country: Canada | Posts: 32 Go to Top of Page

David J Buchholz
Crew Chief

Posted - 04/12/2020 :  10:13:01 PM  Show Profile  Send David J Buchholz an AOL message  Reply with Quote
REgardless of what you end up with, I will suggest two things.. But a simple water track. Harbor freight has them. iGet a longer hose, as it helps lessen or eliminate pulsing when the compressor is on, particular if there is no "tank".

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Empire of the Air
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/13/2020 :  09:29:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks all for the comments/suggestions. I especially appreciate the comment about the longer hose preventing the pulsing...didn't know that!


Country: USA | Posts: 122 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 03/31/2021 :  11:56:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Compressors from China are dirt cheap now, so what I built 30 years ago probably isn't worth the effort. I worked in a roundhouse, so had access to "stuff". The "gumdrop"-like compressor came out of an old freezer, that I mounted on a 2x4 frame with casters. The tank was a heavy-walled CO2 fire extinguisher of roughly two gallons. The regulator came from an air-flush toilet from a diesel. The two gauges were from steam locomotives and the water separator was a disc-type fuel filter from an old Alco switcher, all of which were just laying around and would have been scrapped.

At the time, an airbrush compressor was beyond my budget, so I improvised. The compressor easily kept up with demand and was as quiet as any refrigerator. Such refrigeration compressors have oil mixed with the refrigerant, so I got quite a bit of oil coming out of the old fuel filter with each use, but none ever reached the end of the hose, which also had a regular airbrush filter. I suspect long, continued use might have burned up the compressor for lack of oil, but it worked fine for my purpose. I gave it away when we moved, but now wish I had kept it.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/01/2021 :  6:28:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Might look at California Air - https://www.californiaaircompressors.com/ I have the 8 gallon tank version and it sits right next to me on the spray booth table.

Bob Dye

Country: USA | Posts: 101 Go to Top of Page
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