Best Airbrush for Automotive Paint – 5 Superior Options

Orange and red flame design on a black car.

Finding the best airbrush to paint graphics on cars can be challenging, seeing as there are many brands, and each brand offers varying features.

That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best airbrushes for automotive paint.

Key Takeaways

The Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus is perfect for top performance and hours of daily use.

The Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS is for those looking for an easy-to-use airbrush.

The best airbrush in terms of value for money is the DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP as it is low in cost yet highly dependable.

Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus 0.15mm...
  • Gravity Feed Double Action Airbrush
  • 0.15mm nozzle
Sale
Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS Dual Action Airbrush Gun...
  • Features a 0.35mm needle and drop-in self-centering nozzle combination comes with a large 1/3 oz...
  • Generous 1/3 oz sized cup is designed with a new funnel shape, which makes for easy clean up and...
DeVilBiss STARTINGLINE HVLP Spray Gun for Painting...
  • GAME CHANGING SPRAY GUN - Now it’s easier to paint with a great finish at home with the...
  • SIMPLE PROCESS FOR BEGINNERS – Are you a beginner who is planning to paint but scared about the...

Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP
Triple-plated with copper, nickel, and chrome Chrome-plated Chrome-plated
Gravity Feed Gravity Feed Gravity Feed
Double Action Double Action Single Action
0.15 mm Nozzle 0.35 mm and 0.5 mm Nozzles 1.3 mm Nozzle
2 ml Cup 1/3 oz. Cup 20 oz. Cup

Main Recommendations

The best for all-around performance: Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus.

The best for broad coverage and large-area projects: DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP.

The best for fine detail and pattern work: Paasche TG-3W Talon.

The best for beginners: Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS.

The best for professional users: Master Airbrush Cool Runner II.

Best Overall: Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus

Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus 0.15mm...
  • Gravity Feed Double Action Airbrush
  • 0.15mm nozzle

  • Feed Type: Gravity feed
  • Single or Double Action: Double action
  • Nozzle Size: 0.15 mm
  • Cup Size: 2 ml
  • Compressor Included: No compressor
  • Accessories Included: A five-piece set of cleaning brushes – PTFE seals

The Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus is a high-end airbrush that’s made from brass and triple-plated with an inner copper layer, nickel middle layer, and a high-gloss chrome-plated exterior, protecting the brush from daily-use wear.

The paint cup can be disengaged from the airbrush, which makes it easy to thoroughly clean.

It doesn’t come with a compressor, but it can work with any compressor that produces at least 40 to 60 PSI.

The airbrush has a Quick Fix function that allows accurate paint-flow control. It also has a trigger resistance option that you can adjust as you please.

In addition, the airbrush features an open needle cap that provides full control of the needle tip.

Pros:

  • Durable and corrosion-resistant triple-plated brass
  • Adjustable torsion spring that controls the trigger tension
  • Exterior chrome plating for users who are allergic to nickel or users with excessive hand perspiration
  • Long-lasting PTFE cup and valve seals to prevent air and paint leaks

Cons:

  • Requires regular maintenance to continue functioning properly
  • Nozzle needs soaking between sprays to avoid paint drying on the tip

Best for Large Areas: DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP

DeVilBiss STARTINGLINE HVLP Spray Gun for Painting...
  • GAME CHANGING SPRAY GUN - Now it’s easier to paint with a great finish at home with the...
  • SIMPLE PROCESS FOR BEGINNERS – Are you a beginner who is planning to paint but scared about the...

  • Feed Type: Gravity feed
  • Single or Double Action: Single action
  • Nozzle Size: 1.3 mm
  • Cup Size: 600 ml
  • Compressor Included: No compressor
  • Accessories Included: No accessories

The DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP is an entry-level spray gun that’s made from metal and finished off with chrome plating.

The cup is made from plastic, which is what keeps the price down. However. this also makes the cup more fragile, making the cleaning process nerve-wracking.

This spray gun doesn’t take much air pressure, so it’ll work fine with a compressor that has a working pressure between 10 to 20 PSI.

What’s more, the combination of the gravity feed and the 20-ounce cup produces atomized paint particles at a high volume, providing full broad-area coverage.

Pros:

  • A low-cost spray gun that delivers results comparable to spray guns four times the price
  • Easy to disassemble and reassemble
  • Produces fewer paint particles in the air, making it more environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Adjustments can be a bit too sensitive
  • The tip is screwed on too tight
  • Cups and plastic gaskets can break easily

Paasche TG-3W Talon

Paasche Airbrush Talon Gravity Feed Airbrush in...
  • Packed in deluxe wood case
  • Achieve patterns from a hair line to 3 inches

  • Feed Type: Gravity feed
  • Single or Double Action: Double action
  • Nozzle Sizes: 0.25 mm, 0.38 mm, 0.66 mm
  • Cup Size: 4 oz.
  • Compressor Included: No compressor
  • Accessories Included: Instruction booklet and manual, high-quality wooden box, 1/8″ BPS adapter hose, two wrenches

An elegant-looking airbrush, the Paasche TG-3W Talon has a chrome-plated body with an anodized aluminum handle and stainless steel needles for maximum durability.

Its 4-ounce cup isn’t detachable, but it can be cleaned as easily as spraying the airbrush cleaner through it.

In addition, the Paasche can work with a compressor that has a 20 to 75 PSI. Just make sure that the compressor has a 1/4-inch fitting to accommodate the hose.

Because of the PTFE packing, the airbrush can handle water or solvent-based paint, making it ideal for fine-detail applications, such as automotive graphics and illustrations.

Pros:

  • Adjustable needle stop that controls paint release
  • Can be used for a wide array of applications
  • Improved trigger, piston, and air valve for a smooth finish
  • Free return option

Cons:

  • Difficult to disassemble and reassemble, requires wrenches
  • Requires adequate paint thinning, or it can get clogged

Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS

Sale
Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS Dual Action Airbrush Gun...
  • Features a 0.35mm needle and drop-in self-centering nozzle combination comes with a large 1/3 oz...
  • Generous 1/3 oz sized cup is designed with a new funnel shape, which makes for easy clean up and...

  • Feed Type: Gravity feed
  • Single or Double Action: Double action
  • Nozzle Sizes: 0.35 mm, 0.5 mm
  • Cup Size: 1/3 oz.
  • Compressor Included: No compressor
  • Accessories Included: Instruction manual, needle lubricant, Iwata sticker

The Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS is made from chrome-plated brass. The nozzle, however, contains nickel alloy, but it’s coated with a mix of chromium and silver.

Over time, certain acids, bleach, and even sweat can wear off the plating and damage the brass. That said, this visual damage shouldn’t affect the airbrush’s performance.

Similar to the Paasche airbrush, the Iwata cup can’t be separated from the airbrush, so it can be difficult to clean.

The ideal air pressure for this airbrush to produce high-paint flow and fine-line details is at 35 PSI.

There’s also a 0.5 mm configuration available for large-area coverage.

Pros:

  • Can spray heavy paint while maintaining a high-detail flow
  • A funnel-shaped cup that’s easy to clean and allows for more efficient paint flow
  • Easy to use for beginners while still getting excellent results

Cons:

  • Needle’s fine tip is prone to physical damage
  • To use the 0.5 mm configuration, you’ll need to replace the nozzle, nozzle cap, and needle
  • Comes in a cardboard box, which can damage the airbrush during transport

Master Airbrush Cool Runner II

Sale
Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air...
  • Professional Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Airbrushing System with 3 of Master Airbrushes best...
  • Master Airbrush Model TC-320 Cool Runner II superior performance powerful 1/5 hp single-piston...

  • Feed Type: Gravity and siphon feed
  • Single or Double Action: Double action
  • Nozzle Sizes: 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, and 0.8 mm
  • Cup Size: 1/3 oz., 1/6 oz., and 3/4 oz.
  • Compressor Included: 1/5 HP single-piston compressor with two cooling fans
  • Accessories Included: Resource center access card, quick-start user guide, color mixing wheel and guide, reducer, cleaner, 6 opaque primary colors, mixing cups and sticks, cleaning pot, quick-release valve and plugs, 5 cleaning brushes

Unlike the previous products, the Master Airbrush Cool Runner II is a multi-purpose airbrushing system kit. It comes packed with three airbrushes and two feed types.

For the 0.2 mm and 0.3 mm airbrushes, you can spray low to thinned high viscosity materials. The 0.8 mm airbrush, on the other hand, sprays low, medium, and high viscosity materials.

Moreover, it’s the only airbrush on our list that comes with a compressor, which can work up to 57 PSI.

Pros:

  • The holder can carry two airbrushes
  • A one-year warranty for airbrushes, and a five-year warranty for the compressor
  • Cooling fans allow for long work hours without overheating
  • Reasonable price for an efficient airbrushing system and 10+ additional accessories

Cons:

  • May not be suitable for beginners
  • Not safe for spraying varnish or lacquer

Can You Use Automotive Paint in an Airbrush?

You can use automotive paint in an airbrush. In fact, you can use almost any type of paint in an airbrush as long as it has the consistency of skim milk or thinner.

If the automotive paint you’re using is too thick, you can thin it out.

What matters is that you clean out your airbrush as soon as you finish your work. Never leave the paint to dry inside or on it!

What Kind of Paint Do You Use to Airbrush a Car?

If you know how to thin and mix the paint, you can use regular automotive paint to airbrush your car.

It’s also possible to have automotive paint custom made for your airbrush, but this can be costly. Luckily, airbrushing doesn’t use a lot of paint.

How To Prep a Car for Airbrushing

For starters, you want to ensure that your space is dust free. The last thing you want is any accidental debris making its way into your paint job. So, any sanding should be done outside.

As for the car, it has to be grease and dirt free. Start by thoroughly washing the car surface with soap, and then leave the car to dry in the sun after you rinse it.

Next, you should blow the car off with compressed air to get rid of any dust particles.

Lastly, after you’ve got the car and yourself masked and ready, spray some water-based cleaner on the car and wipe it off with special paint wipes.

Once the car is dry, you can start airbrushing!

Kleanstrip Prep-All Wax & Grease Remover, Gallon...
  • Prep-All works on metal, plastic and fiberglass
  • Perfect for surface prep - use before sanding and painting
AAWipes Lint Free Wipes Cleanroom Wipes Auto Paint...
  • MATERIAL: Fabricated from a hydro-entangled, non-woven blend of 55% cellulose and 45% polyester....
  • FEATURES: Combination of polyester with excellent wet and dry strength and cellulose with high...

How To Mix Automotive Paint for an Airbrush

First, pour as much paint as you need for your project into a mixing cup.

Then, add the thinner to your paint and mix with a popsicle stick. You want to have about a 10% thinner-to-paint ratio.

Finally, pour in the stabilizer to the mix. Add about a 10% to 25% additive-to-mix ratio. If you’re using a small nozzle, use less; if you’re using a large nozzle, use more.

That’s pretty much it. Once your paint is mixed well, it should be thin enough to flow out of the airbrush easily.

Considerations and Features to Look For

To help you choose the best airbrush for you from the vast sea of airbrush brands and models, here are some features you should consider.

Nozzle Sizes

Smaller airbrush nozzle sizes, 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm, are more ideal for finely detailed work, while larger nozzle sizes, above 0.5 mm, are better for broad coverage.

Nozzles with diameters of 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm fall somewhere in the middle. They’re capable of doing fine detail work as well as covering a large area.

Feed Type

Airbrushes are equipped with one of three paint-feeding mechanisms: gravity, siphon, or side feed.

Gravity Feed

A gravity-feed airbrush has the paint on top, and, you guessed it, gravity pulls down the paint to the nozzle tip.

This mechanism enables the airbrush to operate with less air pressure, which reduces overspray.

That’s why gravity-feed airbrushes are most ideal for finely detailed projects. They’re also generally easier to clean since they have fewer attachments than other feed types.

Siphon Feed

The siphon feed uses fast-moving air to create a low-pressure zone at the nozzle’s tip, pulling the paint up through the airbrush’s stem.

In a siphon-feed airbrush, the cup is on the bottom side, which allows you to store more paint in the airbrush.

Because siphon-feed airbrushes can hold more paint, you won’t have to stop frequently to refill the airbrush, which makes them ideal for large projects.

Airbrush Action

Airbrush action refers to how you physically trigger airbrush functions, and there are two popular actions:

Single Action

When you pull back the trigger on a single-action airbrush, atomized paint is released through the nozzle tip.

You can change the paint volume with a fluid needle, but you can’t do so without stopping airbrushing.

Double Action

Double action, also known as dual action, provides greater control during airbrushing. By pulling the trigger down, the airbrush releases air.

If you pull the trigger back, paint is released, and the further you pull back, the more paint is released.

Conclusion

Overall, the Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus is the one you choose for professional automotive paint jobs that require a sturdy airbrush that doesn’t deteriorate with use.

However, if what you’re looking for is an equally durable airbrush for a simple car spray but at a lower cost, you should go for the DeVilBiss StartingLine HVLP.

Last update on 2022-05-18 at 06:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Rich

Rich

I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!