Whether you’re a painter or a cake decorator, achieving a smooth and even color application is nearly impossible to do with the stroke of a brush—that’s where airbrush kits come in. Using an airbrush is the best way to get a seamless blend while also quickly covering a surface, giving it a level of efficiency and elevation.
We researched dozens of recommended airbrush kits to find the best ones, keeping usage, paint capacity, skill level, and value at top of mind. Our front runner is the Grex Tritium Series Airbrush Combo Kit comes highly recommended by artists and amateurs alike, provides a consistent application, and has an ultra-quiet compressor. But, it’s not the only airbrush kit that passed our test with flying colors.
Here are the best airbrush kits, whether you’re looking to coat a model train in some pigment, work with acrylic paints, or want to up the ante on your watercoloring skills.
Grex Tritium Series Airbrush Combo Kits
Application is consistent, even at a lower pressure
The compressor is quiet
Doesn’t include paints
Unlike some of the other kits available, this one doesn’t include a set of paints. But, since we prefer to choose our own airbrush paints, we don't count this a big loss. Featuring all the parts you need to get started with the option to choose between side gravity or top gravity, plus a quiet compressor, this kit is high quality, provides an even and consistent paint (even at low pressure), and can be used for everything from painting scale models to canvas and more.
Keep in mind that this kit is also on the pricier side; however, we think you really get what you pay for, which is a high-quality airbrush system that will last.
Items Included: Premium Tritium Series airbrush in either top of side gravity feed, a mini compressor, airbrushing accessories
Best for Beginners
Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata
Great for beginners
Comes with everything you need, including paints
Expensive for beginners
For a kit that has everything you need, this one is it. Curated to include a gravity feed airbrush, compressor, paints, and so much more, the Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata is a great option for all skill levels—including beginners—as it’s easy to use and incredibly versatile with the ability to work on both large projects and fine details.
The biggest downside to this kit is that it is expensive for a beginner. So, we recommend being sure you’re going to get a lot of use out of it before purchasing.
Items Included: Airbrush, compressor, spray out pot, paints, airbrush cleaner, Iwata Medea Super Lube, thread sealer, nozzle wrench, LED magnifier, two cleaning brushes, washing brush, 50 pipe cleaners, storage case
Best for Watercolor
Iwata Watercolor Airbrush Kit
Has everything you need to get started
Good for beginners
Only includes one airbrush
Expensive for beginners
One of the coolest things about airbrushes is that you can use them to create stunning watercolor paintings. Our top pick for this category is the Iwata Watercolor Airbrush Kit because it comes with everything you need to amplify your watercolor creations, including watercolors, clapboard, paper, brushes, and a palette. It’s also easy to use, making it an excellent beginner-friendly option.
Items Included: Airbrush, compression, six Schmincke watercolors, two painting surfaces, a three-pack of 5 x 7 textured Ampersand Clayboard, eight sheets of watercolor paper, three watercolor brushes, palette, airbrush cleanser
Best for Acrylic Painting
Master Airbrush Cool Runner II
Easy to use and beginner-friendly
Large range of application accuracy
Instructions aren’t very detailed
Paints aren't high quality
This airbrush kit comes highly recommended by nearly 5,000 Amazon customers for how easy it is to use and clean, plus the fact it has everything you need. The kit includes a range of items, including three types of airbrushes, a compressor that can withstand long periods of use, and paints. And, to top things off, it’s a great price, which adds to its overall value.
We selected this kit specifically for its acrylic usage, as the multiple airbrushes allow you to customize your stroke for all different types of projects. Its one main flaw is that even though it is beginner-friendly, it doesn’t have the most detailed instructions—so there can be a learning curve for anyone who is brand new to airbrushing.
Items Included: Compressor, three airbrushes, water-based acrylic paint kit
Best for Cake Decorating
U.S. Cake Supply Complete Cake Decorating Airbrush Kit
Includes a range of airbrush food colors
Easy to clean
Automatically set on the medium setting
Using an airbrush for cake decorating is a total game changer. This one from U.S. Cake Supply was made with all skill levels in mind (including kids!), allowing you to take your cake, cookie, and cupcake decorating to new heights. With an airbrush, compressor, food coloring, and a user guide that includes design techniques and tips, the kit comes with everything you need so you can get started right away.
There’s one thing to watch out for, though: Some reports say it is automatically set on the medium setting, which can be a concern for those looking to start their confectionery decor on low.
Items Included: Airbrush, compressor with three airflow settings, 12 airbrush food colors, user guide with design techniques
Best for Model Painting
Testors Aztek Amazing Airbrush Set
Great for model kits
A little awkward to hold
For smaller model painting projects, this Aztek Amazing Airbrush Set from JOANN Stores is a must-have. It’s easy to use, giving it an accessible approach to airbrushing. Furthermore, it's more affordable compared to most other kits of the same quality. The only bummer is that it can be a little awkward to hold, so it might take some time to nail down your technique.
Items Included: Airbrush, propellant, air connector, five clip caps, five dip tubes, five 1/4 ounce paints
Testors Easy Snap and Spray Airbrush Kit
Great for small and large projects
Good for the occasional air brush artist
Great for on-the-go use
Not ideal for more experienced artists
When in need of a budget-friendly airbrush kit, you’ll likely need to forgo all the bells and whistles—such as a compressor—but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something that gets the job done. From our research, this kit from Testors is a great choice, especially considering its price. It’s versatile enough to use on small and large projects and makes on-the-go painting even easier. The one thing to be weary of? It’s best used occasionally, so it might not be ideal for more experienced airbrush artists.
Items Included: Airbrush with hose, two 1/4 ounce bottles, two clip caps, two dip tubes, Aztec airbrush propellant, cleaning wire, pipette
fehrominger Portable Cordless Airbrush Kit With Compressor
Can be used for virtually any medium
Has a rechargeable battery
Great for cake decorating
Better for small projects
The battery isn’t long-lasting
Sometimes you just need to go cordless and, when that time comes, we recommend reaching for this portable airbrush kit from Amazon. The cordless airbrush system is ideal for any medium (including cake decorating) and comes with a rechargeable battery, which is highly appreciated. That said, it’s better used on smaller projects as the battery isn’t the most long-lasting.
Items Included: Airbrush, rechargeable battery, three paint cups, five cleaning brushes
What to Look For in Airbrush Kits
Before purchasing an airbrush kit, Anna Olsen, JOANN Crafted Content Trend Lead, and Valerie Ott, Editorial Director at JOANN Stores recommend considering what you will use the airbrush for. Having an idea of what you will use it for will help you determine what kind of airbrush feed method you’ll need. “Research the airbrush feed options available and choose your airbrush kit based on the result you’re looking to achieve,” explains Olsen.
According to Olsen and Ott, you should always pay attention to the paint capacity of the airbrush in the kit. They note that projects that require a lot of paint will require a larger capacity. “Make sure the airbrush within the kit can accommodate your project needs,” says Ott.
Some airbrush kits offer portability, thus providing more convenience and flexibility with your projects. You'll have more control and deal with less hassle without tubing in the way. Just keep in mind that these travel-friendly options normally run on a battery that'll need to be charged more often than not and are best used on miniature projects.
Do you need to wear a mask when airbrushing?
According to Olsen and Ott, it is recommended to wear a mask when airbrushing. But, beyond that, you also want to ensure that there is ample ventilation. “Breathing in paint particles can be hazardous, so for proper safety measures, airbrushing should be done with a mask," says Olsen.
Can you airbrush indoors?
“You should always airbrush indoors to be sure the wind is not blowing your spray where you don’t want it,” says Lauryn Vacey, an artist with airbrushing experience in the automotive industry. She adds that this will help avoid overspray like “and get the most out of your paint application.”
With that said, ventilation is extremely important. While they prefer airbrushing outdoors, Olsen and Ott say to open up the windows and utilize fans to “direct the paint fumes away so they are not inhaled” if you choose to paint inside.
What’s the difference between gravity and siphon feed?
“While both gravity and siphon feed are trusted options for airbrush painting, they have differences,” says Olsen. “Gravity feed airbrushes have a paint holder on top and use both gravity and air pressure, pulling paint down into the airbrush,” she explains. As for siphon feed airbrushes, these have paint holders below and rely on air pressure to pull paint up into the airbrush.
When it comes down to it, choosing gravity versus siphon airbrushes depends on the type of work you’re doing. "Gravity airbrushes are great for finer detail brushes and when you’ll be using a lot of different colors," says Vacey. She adds that when working with a larger surface, siphon airbrushes are easier to work with.
Why Trust The Spruce Crafts
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a Bachelor’s Degree from Academy of Art University and is the daughter of a painter, so paint was the first artform she was introduced to. For this roundup, Quinn used her experience sourcing painting supplies and journalistic research skills to determine the best airbrush kits. Throughout her research, she also considered different types of uses—including watercolor and cake decorating—value, skill level, and customer reviews. As a result, she curated a robust list of airbrush kits for all of your painting needs and requirements.