Air CompressorsAir Compressors Knowledgebase

Can You Use any Air Compressor for Airbrushing? 7 Steps to Do So!

TheToolGeeks.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs.   We may earn from qualifying purchases.  (Learn More).

When it comes to pressure, air compressors are the best tool to provide air pressure to any tool attached to it. Similarly, airbrushing is done with the help of an air compressor as it requires pressure to work effectively and quickly.

If you’re planning to use an air compressor, you should know the proper sizing. So, we’re about to discuss; Can you use any air compressor for airbrushing?

You can use a regular compressor with airbrushes after considering their tank, size/weight, and noise. How you’re going to do it? We will tell you each and everything in detail.

We will also highlight some pros and cons of attaching an airbrush with an air compressor. So, stay with us!

Can You Use any Air Compressor for Airbrushing

Do You Need Air Compressor For Air Brush?

The need for a compressor with an airbrush is based on the working quality and work levels. The artist may or may not need it, but the shop owner needs it to paint the car or truck. Why? That is because the compressor is an excellent source of compressed air.

The air brushes need compressed air to work smoothly, which the compressor can provide quickly and powerfully. The airflow from the compressor provides ink, dye, and paint from the tip of the airbrush, forcing it to come out smoothly.

The compressor gives a proper and magic smoothness to the airbrush working. So, you much select your compressor based on the needs and requirements. The small compressor can make work more complex, and your compressor size should be correct.

Can you Use any Air Compressor for Airbrushing?

Yes, you can use any compressor with airbrushes. Mostly, it is best to use basic and regular compressors for airbrushes because they are usable with all other tools and equipment. You can use large compressors rather than small ones because they will have more capacity and can provide more continuous working.

The airbrush-specific compressors are also superb, but they will be fixed only for airbrush use because they do not have the capacity and power to allow other tools to work with them.

Equipement You Need to Connect Air Brush With an Air Compressor

1. Air Filter

Air filters will trap the moisture from the compressor tank. It cannot hold more water during the compression process and turns the vapor into condensation, and it gets accumulated in the tank and can get into the air supply.

You need it because otherwise, the moisture will mix into the paint and affect the project. Filters will capture not only humidity but also oil and dust. You can place a small filter near your airbrush or install it and use it by plugging in the coupler.

2. Regulator

Next, you need a regulator (pressure regulator) with atleast a range from 0-80 PSI because most airbrushes need 10-30 PSI. That will help you to control your airbrush pressure, and it would be best if you placed the regulator before the air filters.

If your compressor does not have a regulator, place it between the compressor and the airbrush when you place it in the center. Then controlling and having access to it becomes easier. But when you put your regulator away from the compressor, it causes stress on the airline. You can also place it loose to the airbrush, adding extra weight while holding it.

3. Air Hose

The Airbrush hose is narrow, but if you do not have one, you have to buy one that can be connected to the compressor ( by an adaptor).

The Air hose is an optional part. Why? Because it is only needed according to the workshop and compressor placement. If your compressor is placed at a long distance. Then you need an air hose with the compressor in your work area ( shop or house).

The Air hose fills the gap between the compressor and the airbrush to let you reach your desired destination. Personally, try to use a small air hose (so you may avoid hassle and affect the compressor’s performance).

Most air hoses are between 5-10 feet. Use it only when you cannot find a good position for your compressor.

4. Adapters & Couplers

After placing regulators, filters, and hoses, you need adaptors and couplers to attach them. Then, connect points. When you choose the proper airbrush air hose, it will have the connector.

However, if you have the air hose, you will only need an adaptor of ¼” to ⅛” ( Either male or female).

Throughout the airline, the common couplers and connectors will be fine. When connecting the airbrush, you will need its specific connector. The compressor’s need for adaptors and couplers depends on the environment and the working condition of the user.

How to Use Airbrush with an Air Compressor?

  • Firstly attach a coupler and plug in the moisture trap/ air filter,
  • Attach the moisture trap to the central hookups of the compressor.
  • Then attach a plug in the fitting of the airbrush hose.
  • At this stage: you have connected the moisture trap to the compressor and the airbrush hose.
  • Next, on the other end, the hose has a quick disconnect to allow easy airbrush fitting. It fills the gasp.
  • The airbrush easily clips in the airline.
  • Attach a regulator to the hose to quickly take an eye on the pressure levels instead of, again and again, going back to check the air pressure.

The pressure regulator gets connected to moisture traps, then it gets connected to the airbrush airline leading into the airbrush. In the case of a long hose: you connect it to the moisture traps and airline hose of an airbrush and easily use it from a distance.

Pros and Cons of Using Air Brush with an Air Compressor


The regular air compressor is much noisier than an airbrush compressor, and you cannot ignore them. Although you can do a few things to make the compressor quiet, it can be a dealbreaker for some users.

You can also buy a less-noisy compressor compared to an airbrush compressor, which will still be loud, and a regular compressor will not be ideal for you if you cannot compromise on noise.

Large Tank Capacity

The regular compressors have a large tank capacity compared to the airbrush compressor. The advantage is that it will allow users to work more continuously because of its maximum PSI.

The airbrushing needs less pressure, and small compressors can be enough to provide power, but the motor may wear out soon.


Airbrush compressors are more expensive and hard to maintain than regular air compressors. You may need extra tools or equipment, but they are still inexpensive relatively. If you have a regular compressor, you may not need to use any money.

Versatile/other tools are usable too.

Another reason for using a regular compressor is that you can use various other applications. It will not be fixed for only airbrushing use, and the airbrush compressors are only capable of airbrushes.


The con of using a regular compressor can be the overweight and bulky size. The regular compressors are large, heavy, and bulky, making transportation holding difficult while using an airbrush. But if you do not wish to move it around, then the regular compressor is ideal.

Five Things to Know When Choosing Airbrush Compressor

Automatic shutdown system – The compressor should have an automated shutoff system to reduce noise and extra work when the compressor is not in use.

Power –  The power of the compressor depends on its working. For a small compressor, 10LPM is enough, and for a large, at-least 20 LPM or more.

Compressor Tank –  Tank will store compressed air and will help you work more.

Air filters – They are necessary to protect from moisture, dust, and oil reaching the air supply to ruin the project.

Regulator –  to ensure the amount of pressure coming out of the system.

Can You Use an Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor for Airbrushing?

Yes, you can easily use the oil-lubricated compressor for airbrushing. However, an oil-lubricated compressor has more risk. The oil from the compressor can lead to paint contamination by oil making its way to the air supply.

Generally, it is recommended to use an oil-free compressor with airbrushes, but you can also take caution to capture oil, dust, and moisture from the compressor. Most compressors have oil or air separators to keep the compressor and projects safe.

You can install air filters and moisture traps on the airline.

Can You Use any Air Compressor for Airbrushing

Can you use a big Craftsman Compressor for an Airbrush?

Yes, you can use a craftsman air compressor for airbrushing. It will be a great choice, and a large compressor will allow more powerful compressed air, making your project more ideal with smooth working.

The large compressor will have more capacity and provide more storage capacity for compressed air, which will benefit users. Also, most airbrush compressors need to install a regulator, but this compressor has a regulator that makes your job easier, and it is also helpful for other tools and equipment.

Can I Use a Pancake Compressor for an Airbrush?

Yes, you can use a pancake air compressor for airbrushing. However, there are pros and cons of using a pancake air compressor:

  • It is low in cost and does not need fuel.
  • It is noisy when it starts pressuring and during setup.

Does an airbrush compressor need a tank?

Yes, airbrush compressors need a tank because otherwise, the compressor’s motor will be working overtime, ruining it. Tanks set a reaching limit for the system, which helps in preventing load or unloading on the system.

Does A Gravity Feed Airbrush Need A Compressor?

Yes, gravity-feed airbrushes need a compressor which usually is an airbrush compressor. Why do they need a compressor? Because it requires compressed air, the compressor helps the paint get out of the brush through the powerful force of the air.

Can you use a tire inflator as an air compressor?

Yes, you can use a tire inflator. One of the 12V tire inflators is the best one to be used for airbrushing. However, they may not be powerful as air compressors and have no tank storage to store compressed air. So, it is usable but only for temporary use.

How to use an airbrush without a compressor?

Alternatively, you can use:

  • Gravity feed airbrush ( it needs 15-30 PSI)
  • Side feed airbrush ( it needs 20-35 PSI)
  • Siphon feed airbrush ( it needs 30-45 PSI).


Generally, airbrushes have their compressor, but can you use any air compressor for airbrushing? Yes, you can. The regular ones may be heavy and noisy, but they have more tank capacity and are not fixed to be used only with airbrushes.

Although it might be overwhelming to connect the compressor and the airbrushes because of the different tools and equipment, these steps are pretty easy when you understand them correctly, which we hope you do after reading this article.


What kind of compressor do I need for airbrushing?

The best compressor for airbrushing will have all the available features available with a suitable placing position and capable for the job you need to do with it. You need to check the noise, budget, pressure, power, portability, and types of connection of the airbrush.

Can you use a large air compressor for airbrushing?

Yes, you can use a large air compressor for airbrushing. It will be a great and robust unit to provide a great project. But it might have the disadvantage of being heavy and tiring.

Can you use a car compressor for airbrushing?

Car compressors have large tanks with high PSI and electric motors. So, it is okay to use car compressors for airbrushing, and they will be comfortable and powerful enough to execute an outstanding and smooth project.

What PSI should I use for airbrushing?

If you are using an air compressor, it must be generating atleast 90-100 PSI because normal airbrushes need 30-40 PSI to work, or in heavy projects, they might need 60-70 PSI. So, choosing 90-100PSI or 100-120 PSI compressors is ideal.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.