How to Buy a Used Airbrush Compressor Kit

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How to Buy a Used Airbrush Compressor Kit

An airbrush compressor kit is essential for airbrush artists. Airbrush artists require special tools to create their art and a compressor kit is one of those tools. They range from very affordable to extremely expensive. Airbrush compressor kits contain different items depending on what their intended use is. Some airbrush kits are designed for airbrushing clothing. Others are designed for cake decorating, make-up, and painting. The basic items that should be included in any kit are airbrush compressors, siphon tubes, connective hoses, and airbrushes.

An airbrush is a small, air powered tool that sprays different types of inks, dyes, and paint. It works by passing a stream of compressed air through a chamber to reduce air pressure. The suction from the reduced air pressure separates the paint, ink, or dye into very small droplets. The paint is applied to one type of medium, usually canvas or paper. The operator controls the flow of the paint which allows either a thicker, heavy coat or a thinner, more delicate touch. Airbrush compressor kits are a very useful tool for artists, home improvement specialists, and clothing designers.

Types of Airbrushes

There are three main features that distinguish airbrushes. The action performed by the user to trigger the flow of paint is the first distinguishment. Secondly is the mechanism for feeding the paint into the airbrush. Finally, the point at which the paint and air mix together can also be a classification for airbrushes. This chart may help distinguish between the different features.


Feed System

Mix Point

Single Action Trigger

Gravity Feed


Dual Action Trigger

Side or Bottom Feed


These different types affect the performance of the airbrush and its suitability for certain applications. Each individual feature should be thoroughly considered before a final purchase is made.


The trigger is used to start the flow of paint. A few different types of trigger systems exist. The first is a single action trigger.. This familiar type activates airflow when the trigger is held down. The further it is held down, the thicker the paint or dye is. Single action airbrushes have on and off buttons. They are best used to spray a solid area but are not good for blending.

Dual action, or double action airbrushes, include another useful feature. They have push and pull control making them excellent for colour blending and fading. In addition to adjusting the power of the air pushing the paint or dye through the airbrush, it also allows the operator to adjust colour flow. This allows the painter to create a variation of lines and thicknesses without stopping to adjust, as is necessary on single action triggers.

Feed System

Paint can be fed into an airbrush in a few different ways. One is called a gravity feed.. This is simply a reservoir that sits above the airbrush and relies on gravity to pull the paint downward. Airbrushers that require the finest mist and detail should opt for a gravity fed system. Bottom and side feed systems holds more paint than a gravity fed system and is preferred in larger scale applications. Gravity fed systems are more popular amongst small batch artists, whereas other systems are used in commercial applications.

Mix Point

Mix points can be either internal or external. Internal mix point systems combine paint and air inside the system. This creates a finer mist allowing the artist to have a more delicate touch and create more intricate details. External mix point systems combine paint and air outside the airbrush. These are usually less expensive and excel at covering larger surface areas. They do not create the fine mist that internal systems do however, so intricate details are more difficult with external mixing systems.

Airbrush Uses

Airbrushes have many different uses. The main uses are for artistic and illustrational purposes. Commercial artists and illustrators often rely on these tools to create detailed and realistic drawings. Airbrushes are also used in advertising, publishing, and a variety of other print mediums. Airbrushes may also be used to retouch photos. Before digital editing, and even today, traditional film photos are often retouched using airbrushing.

Other less familiar uses include large scale painting such as murals, homes, and automobiles. They are also popular amongst model hobbyists who favour airbrushes for their delicate touch. Airbrushes are sometimes used to apply makeup, and are used to apply spray tans. Temporary tattoos and nail art are also products of airbrushing. Finally, airbrushes are frequently used to create personalised custom clothing.

Airbrush Technique

Airbrush technique is a combination of the hand's movement, the type of colour used, air pressure, and distance from the canvas to produce a specific result. The type of colour used, whether it be paint, dye, ink or something else determines the intensity and richness of the colour. The air pressure and distance also affect the intensity and richness of the colour, and controls how it is applied. The farther away from the canvas, the greater the air pressure and the greater the colour is dispersed. Obviously, a steady hand is required to successfully use an airbrush, especially when trying to create intricate or delicate images.

Airbrush Compressors

Typical air compressors for airbrushes come in two forms. Firstly, there are diaphragm compressors. These rely on suction to move the paint to the point of application. Piston compressors on the other hand are oil less and are usually maintenance free. They generally run quiet, but are not ideally suited to every airbrush application. The compressor must be matched to the airbrush itself. A compressor that is too powerful may not function properly. Generally, shoppers purchase an airbrush compressor kit which includes a compatible airbrush and compressor.

Silent Automatic Shut-Off Compressors

One type of compressor worth exploring in greater detail is the silent automatic shut off compressor.. These automatically shut off when the compressor is filled to a certain capacity. This serves two purposes. One is to reduce unnecessary noise. The other is to reduce heat and increase the overall life of the motor. Heat can be damaging because it creates moisture, which can mix with the dye or paint and alter the characteristics of the colour.

Cubic Feet Per Minute

Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is the standard measurement to determine the power of an air compressor. The cubic feet per minute rating on the compressor must be compatible with the rating on the airbrush in order for both components to perform effectively. Larger compressors achieve higher CFM ratings, but often cost more, run louder, and do not provide adequate control to perform smaller jobs. Smaller compressors on the other hand are very cost effective, but are not suited to large scale applications.

How to Buy a Used Airbrush Compressor Kit on eBay

eBay has a wide selection of craft products including used airbrush compressor kits. Shoppers can find the ideal airbrush compressor kit for them once they navigate the many choices eBay has to offer. A general keyword search is a great way to begin. Shoppers can simply type airbrush compressor kit into the search box and many different products are then displayed. Shoppers can then narrow the results to include only used products by using the categories. The categories can also be used instead of a keyword search, and refines the results to only include products with features that are suited to the shoppers needs.

Once the results have been displayed a shopper can organise them by the price, time left at auction, or buying format. Air compressors may be large so buyers should make sure shipping does not have any adverse impacts on their purchase. Also, since the product is used, buyers would be wise to inquire about the condition, and previous usage history of the product. Buyers should also ensure that the necessary hardware is included in the purchase such as any hoses, connections, or tools required to run the compressor. Regardless of whether a shopper is a hobbyist or a commercial automobile painter, eBay has the right used airbrush compressor kit for any purpose.


A used airbrush compressor kit is a great way for both entry level and sophisticated buyers to break into the hobby, or upgrade their equipment. The most important factor to consider when buying an airbrush compressor kit is what it's intended use is. Commercial applications require a much different type of airbrush compressor than do artistic and hobbyist applications. The airbrush must be compatible with the compressor, so buyers should be sure they thoroughly understand the cubic feet per minute specifications of each component. If these are not appropriately matched, performance may suffer.

Airbrushes are used for such a wide variety of purposes, it may be hard to narrow it down to just one. Some airbrush compressor kits may be suitable for more than one purpose, but again buyers should conduct extensive due diligence to make sure they purchase the right product. Buying a used airbrush compressor kit is a great way for budget conscious shoppers to break into the hobby. Buyers should expect something of a learning curve when they begin airbrushing, as there is a certain amount of technique involved. That should not deter potential buyers however, as eBay makes it easy to find the perfect product, and with a bit of time and practice any shopper can quickly become an airbrush master.

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