Are Airbrush Needles Interchangeable? Can You Change Sizes?

Close-up of a man holding an airbrush against a white background.

The size of an airbrush needle determines how much paint can be sprayed through the airbrush.

Smaller needle sizes are better suited for painting fine details, while larger needle sizes are best for spraying large areas.

Are airbrush needles interchangeable? Airbrush needles are not reliably interchangeable. To ensure the best results, purchase replacement needles that are made by the same brand as the one that came with your airbrush. If you replace your needle with one from another company, issues with paint flow or even leaking are possible.

Changing airbrush needles might seem overwhelming at first, but it is a pretty simple process.

In the following, you’ll learn everything you need to know to properly change your airbrush needle. 

Changing Airbrush Needles – What To Know

When it comes to changing airbrush needles, size and brand matter. 

Are Airbrush Needles Universal?

Airbrush needles are not universal. The outside tip of an airbrush needle must match the inside seat of the nozzle exactly in order to function properly.

If the needle and nozzle don’t fit perfectly, the paint can leak. 

Why Needle Size Matters

The diameter and length of the needle body and the taper of the needle tip all need to match your old needle precisely in order to work with your airbrush.

Why Needle Brand Matters

Needles are designed to fit the exact brand of airbrush they were made for. Trying to fit an off-brand needle into your airbrush doesn’t always work and may lead to flow and/or leakage problems.

Can You Switch to a Different Size Needle for Your Airbrush?

Some airbrushes allow you to switch the sizes of your needle, but some don’t. It all depends on your particular airbrush.

If you’re unsure as to which size needle you’ll need and don’t want to buy several separate airbrushes, the answer is easy.

Purchase an airbrush that comes complete with three nozzle sets. like the Master Performance Airbrush G222 Pro.

The needle sizes included are 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5, so all your bases are covered in one inexpensive purchase.

Master Performance G222 Pro Set Master Airbrush...
  • Professional Master Performance Multi-Purpose Model G222 Pro Set Master Airbrush. The Pro Set is a...
  • The included 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5mm fluid tip set-ups allow this extremely versatile airbrush to be used...

How To Decide Which Needle Size You Need

The needle size you need will be determined by what kind of work you wish to do. 

Needle size: Best for:
0.5mm  Painting large surfaces quickly
0.3mm-0.35mm  Good middle of the road size
0.2mm-0.25mm Painting fine details

How To Measure Airbrush Needle Size

Most airbrush needles are marked by one, two, or three engraved rings on the end of the needle. The more rings there are, the larger the paint pattern they will make. 

How To Fix an Airbrush Needle

To fix a bent airbrush needle, you can use a small pair of pliers or tweezers to straighten the tip as much as you can. Then remove the needle from the airbrush.

Hold the needle with the sharp point angled down between two small blocks of wood.

Allow the edges of the wood blocks to touch as you slowly pull the needle between and away from their touching edges, slowly spinning the needle as you do.

You can then polish your airbrush needle once it is straight.

How Do You Remove an Airbrush Nozzle?

If your airbrush needle or nozzle is damaged, or if you want to change the size of your airbrush needle or nozzle, or if you need to clean your airbrush, you will need to remove the nozzle.

To do so you will need to take the following steps:

1. Remove the Tail Casing of the Airbrush

This will allow you to access the needle locking chuck. 

2. Remove the Needle Crown and Nozzle Cap

This allows you to access the tip of the needle and the nozzle. 

3. Loosen the Needle Locking Chuck

The locking chuck is located near the tail of the airbrush. You don’t need to remove it entirely; just loosen it enough to free the needle for removal. 

4. Remove the Nozzle

Unscrew or pull off the nozzle. 

How Do You Remove an Airbrush Needle?

To remove an airbrush needle, follow the same steps as you would to remove the nozzle. Then pull the tail of the needle out and through the tail end of the airbrush. Unscrew or pull off the nozzle. 

If the needle or nozzle is damaged, use pliers to straighten the tip as much as you can, then  unscrew or pull off the nozzle.

Next, push the needle out and through the front (or nose) of the airbrush. Pushing the needle through the front will help to keep the bent tip from damaging the inside of the airbrush. 

How Do You Sharpen an Airbrush Needle?

If your airbrush needle tip is damaged, sharpening it can improve the spray pattern and help you to create fine details.

There are several ways to sharpen an airbrush needle, such as using sandpaper or a power drill. 


You can sharpen your airbrush needle by spinning it while dragging it backward across 2000 grit sandpaper.

Make sure to keep even pressure on the needle while spinning it to keep the tip uniform. For a finer tip, use a higher grit sandpaper, such as 4000.

Power Drill

Put the needle in the drill chuck and tighten it. Then wrap wet 2000 grit sandpaper around the tip of the needle, and gently spin the needle while holding it at an angle.

Polishing Compound

Put a small amount of polishing compound on a paper towel, and use a drill to spin the needle at an angle into the compound.

Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the needle.


SharpenAir is a hand-held device made specifically for sharpening airbrush needles. Put the needle in the slot until it reaches the end of the runner. Then turn the needle 10-15 times.

Take the needle out, and check the tip. If it needs to be sharpened further, you can repeat the process. 

Should I Polish My Airbrush Needle?

Polishing your airbrush needle can improve its performance. Smoothing your airbrush needle can help you to prevent paint buildup on the tip (or tip dry) as well as overspray.

However, polishing your airbrush needle is a personal choice, and it isn’t necessarily crucial to creating an attractive piece of art. 


When buying new airbrush needles, you should match them by manufacturer. Some airbrushes will allow you to change sizes, but some won’t.

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 14:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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I am a writer and an artist taking opportunities every day to transform my dreams into reality. I love learning new things and am always creating and innovating. I worked as an Art Instructor, teaching painting and art techniques to artists of all levels and ages. I have hosted countless paint parties and taught children’s art classes both in my home as well as an art teacher at a Montessori school.