How Much Does Airbrushing Cost? What You Need To Get Started

A miniature car being airbrushed with red paint in a spray booth.

Airbrushing is a great way to give your miniatures and models that extra personality and style.

Whether you’re working with your D&D or other miniatures, a scale model airplane or tank, or any other item, airbrushing is an efficient and excellent method to give a look that will bring an extra bit of pizazz to your collectibles.

How much does airbrushing cost? The cost of an entry-level airbrush kit is around $60-$90. A mid-range airbrush will run about $80, but you’ll also need a compressor, which may cost about $100. For high-end quality, prepare to spend about $250 for the airbrush itself and an additional $275 for a compressor.

When it comes to money, the numbers can get scary. Remember that you don’t have to start out with the best equipment.

Take some time and find out if you enjoy it. Start small and work your way up. With that being said, let’s break it down even more.

Airbrush Equipment: Average Pricing

Airbrush $115
Compressor $115
Adaptor Set $15
Paints $200
Flow Improver $20
Thinner $15
Varnish $15
Safety Goggles $30
Work Table $100
Shelves $85
Lamps $75
Cleaning Pot $25
Pipe Brushes $10
Airbrush Cleaner $15
Hose Splitter $10
Quick Disconnect $15
Airbrush Cleaning Kit $20
Respirator Mask $25
Spray Booth $165

Airbrushing Costs

Now that we’ve covered the basics, I’m going to break down each equipment type and their costs. 

There are a lot of different supplies and accessories involved with airbrushing, and I’m going to outline the costs for all so you can make the best decisions for you!

Airbrush

The airbrush is going to be the most crucial tool for you in your airbrushing adventures.

After all, it is the tool that’s going to allow you to paint your miniatures and scale models to your exact specifications.

You can purchase some CHIMAERA Professional 0.4mm models for around $15, get a Neo CN Gravity Dual Action for $70, or get the Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR  for $250.

It all depends on what you’re going to be doing and what kind of product you’re looking to show off.  

Average Cost: $111

Just keep in mind that as with a lot of things in life, a lower price does mean some sacrifices in the quality of the finished product. 

CHIMAERA Professional 0.4mm Airbrush Nozzle Single...
  • Made with High-quality Precision Components, better than other dual-action air brushes.
  • Built-in Teflon O-ring for nozzle cap and better for corrosion resistance. One 2cc Eye Dropper for...
Sale
NEO CN Gravity Feed Dual Action Airbrush
  • Gravity-feed airbrushes perform well at lower air pressures, which help create greater detail
  • A unique 0.35-mm needle and nozzle combination for finer detail spraying and medium-sized spray...
Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus 0.15mm...
  • Gravity Feed Double Action Airbrush
  • 0.15mm nozzle

Compressor

The compressor is the next part of the process to get that paint flowing through the brush. I’m not going to recommend a low-end price model.

They just don’t give the airflow or length of use that would be required to complete projects.

There are two models I’ll mention here. The mid-level X-DOVET Dual Pressure Compressor System Kit for about $80.

I recommend the IWATA-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Air Compressor for around $200.

Average Cost: $117 

Autolock 30PSI Upgraded Airbrush Kit with Air...
  • 【POWERFUL COMPRESSOR 】1/5HP high-performance, oil-free piston air compressor delivers 23-25L/min...
  • 【CONSISTENT PERFORMANCE】XDovet Airbrush Model AF18 Cool Runner II superior performance powerful...
Sale
Iwata-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Single Piston...
  • 1-35 PSI maximum operating pressure
  • Mounted air-pressure gauge

Adaptors

Adaptors are what connects the hose to the compressor. The compressor usually has a ⅛  or ¼ connector so it may be beneficial to buy the set.

You can purchase a generic 7 piece set for about $9 or the 15 piece Airbrush Adaptor Set for approximately $16.

The 15-piece set does include a quick disconnect, which we will touch on later. 

Average Cost: $12

Sale
7 Pieces Airbrush Adapter Set Airbrush Fitting...
  • What you will receive: package comes with 7 pieces 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch BSP male and female...
  • Reliable material: these airbrush adapters are made of quality metal, sturdy construction makes them...
15 Pieces Airbrush Adapter Set Airbrush Quick...
  • Details of package: there are 7 pieces different types of 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch male and female...
  • Metal material: these airbrush adapter kits are made of quality metal material, which feature sturdy...

Paints

Now for my personal favorite, the paint! So many colors to choose and even more combinations! Most paints come in sets, so it’s a great way to start!

You can get the U.S. Art Supply 12 Color Set for about $40. You can purchase the OPHIR Acrylic Airbrush Paint Set for around $80.

For the big spenders, there is always The Army Painter – Warpaints Airbrush Complete Set for around $375.

Average Cost: $198

U.S. Art Supply 12 Color Secondary Opaque Colors...
  • Set Contains: 1 oz. Bottles of 12 Secondary Opaque Colors (Canary Yellow, Ochre, Chartreuse, Crimson...
  • Colors are ready to spray out of the bottle and have outstanding airbrush flow characteristics....
OPHIR Acrylic Airbrush Paint for Model Hobby,...
  • 1. The set contains 24 professional colors: BLACK, WHITE, CRIMSON, LIGHT PINK, LEMON YELLOW, BLUE...
  • 2. The paints can be diluted with water or medical alcohol, the ratio of dilution is...
The Army Painter - Warpaints Airbrush Complete...
  • READY TO USE AIR BRUSH PAINTS - This Air Brush Paint kit comes with 126 airbrush paints
  • TRANSFORM YOUR WARPAINTS FOR AIRBRUSH – This airbrush flow improver effectively dilutes your paint...

Additional Mediums

There are additional items, think of them as ingredients, to create a successful airbrushed product. We are going to talk about a few here.

Paint thinner is necessary to get your paint liquified enough to transfer through the airbrush onto the miniature, model, canvas, or whatever you’re painting.

The Vallejo Airbrush Thinner costs $15-$20 and is the one I absolutely recommend. 

Average Cost: $15

Vallejo Airbrush Thinner 200ml Paint
  • Ideal for Model Air and Liquid Acrylic paints
  • Dilutes without loss of color adhesion, durability or consistency

Varnish is another product worth considering to protect all your hard work! It acts as a layer of protection over the paint.

Keep in mind this does depend on the look you want your finished product to have.

Vallejo has a few options to consider. The Mecha Matt Varnish and Satin Varnish both price around $17. The Mecha Gloss Version runs slightly less at around $15.

Average Cost: $16

One more item to consider is the flow improver. This reduces clogs and keeps the paint from drying on the needle. 

The Impressa Airbrush Flow Improver Paint Set is $8. The Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver is slightly more expensive at $22.

Average Cost: $15

Airbrush Flow Improver Paint Set 8oz (250 ml)...
  • No More Clogging, No More Jams: Ideal for longer airbrushing sessions. Simply add to the airbrush...
  • Avoid Diluted Water Paint: Unlike other thinners, our airbrush flow aid helps to improve the flow of...
Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver 200ml Paint Set
  • Each bottle contains an eyedropper device
  • Improve flow through needle on Air Brush

Work Area

With airbrushing, you’ll want to set aside a space that is dedicated to the activity. There are some items that would be beneficial to have. 

Your spray booth is crucial to your project. It can add some light, and most have a fan to help filter out the paint overspray and fumes that come from the air brush.

You can purchase a Portable Paint Tent for around $30, but it’s not going to do much other than block out light and keep paint from going all over the place.

The Master Airbrush Spray Booth will cost you somewhere around $165. It included lights and the fan to filter out leftover paint dust, and it is portable!

If you’re looking for a booth that will allow two projects to be worked on at once, the Master Airbrush Brand Dual Unit Spray Booth can be yours for approximately $300.

Average Cost: $165

Sale
Portable Paint Tent for Spray Painting: Small...
  • Easy to Use & Light and portable: This paint booth is great for spraying small to medium-sized...
  • Special Paint Drying Design: There are hooks on the top, which can be used to hang objects to spray...
Sale
Master Airbrush Brand Lighted Portable Hobby...
  • Master Airbrush Brand-Powerful: 25 Watts with a 4 Cubic Meters/Minute Fan Extraction Rate & LED...
  • Portable and Compact : Easily Folds into a Suitcase Shape w/Handle for Carrying or Storing,...
Master Airbrush Dual Unit Lighted Portable Hobby...
  • Dual Units - Powerful: 25 Watts with a 4 Cubic Meters/Minute Fan Extraction Rate & LED Lighting to...
  • Portable and Compact : Easily Folds into a Suitcase Shape w/Handle for Carrying or Storing,...

A desk or work table would be nice to place your spray booth and materials for the product. The CubiCubi study desk could be a great starting point.

It runs at multiple sizes. The smallest and cheapest 32-inch will cost around $70, and the mid-range 47-inch and the 63-inch cost approximately $90 and $140 respectively.

Average Cost: $100

CubiCubi Study Computer Desk 32" Home Office...
  • Meet more needs:Storage bag and hook are added based on the basic computer desk
  • Sturdy and Durable:Use triangle iron and diagonal scaffold braces to connect the frame

Next up, shelves! You need some space to store your products while they dry where they won’t be disturbed. 

The Furino Turn-N-Tube will cost about $30. The Gracious-Living 4 Tier Shelf is $85. The Tangkula 5-Tier Steel Shelves are about $140 and possibly the most sturdy of the options.

Average Cost:$85

Furinno Turn-N-Tube 4-Tier Multipurpose Shelf...
  • Simple stylish design comes in multiple color options, is functional and suitable for any room
  • Material: CARB compliant composite wood and PVC tubes
Gracious Living 4 Shelf Fixed Height Ventilated...
  • ORGANIZE YOUR HOME: Get the garage and indoor spaces organized with these sturdy resin shelves that...
  • SPACIOUS SHELVES: 4 shelf storage unit is the perfect height for both kids and adults; Great for...
Tangkula 5-Tier Steel Storage Shelves, 73” Heavy...
  • 【Adjustable Shelves】You can adjust the height of the storage shelves according to the size of...
  • 【Sturdy and Durable Material】This garage rack features sturdy steel frame and MDF board to...

One other component that could add to your airbrushing would be a lamp.  This will add more light to your project space and increase accuracy.

The YOUKOYI Desk Lamp adds a good amount of light at around $40. The Phive Architech Lamp is another option that is listed at around $85.

The Neatfi XL will cost you $110 approximately.

Average Cost: $75

YOUKOYI Desk Lamp with Clamp, Swing Arm Lamp,...
  • 【Long Swing Arm Desk Lamp】flexible gooseneck and 360-degree rotation, flexible to adjust light...
  • 【Dimmable & Touch Control Design】The clamp lamp with useful touch function is very easy to...
Phive Architect Lamp / LED Task Lamp with Clamp,...
  • Sensitive Touch Control Panel - Slide the brightness bar to adjust between 6 levels, tap the mode...
  • Memory Function - Remembers the last mode and brightness level you have selected when turn off and...
Neatfi XL 2,200 Lumens LED Task Lamp with Clamp,...
  • 2,200 LUMENS BRIGHT & 20” WIDE SHADE - An excellent light source with 24 Watts. With a color...
  • DIMMABLE & LONG LASTING – Simply press the power button to adjust the brightness level by 100%,...

Cleaning Gear

So you’re finishing up with your most recent scale model? Well, now is the time to start cleaning up.

You’ll want to clean the airbrush and make sure it’s empty of paint so nothing clogs or gets dried. 

What do you clean it with? There are a few items.

First you’ll need the airbrush cleaner. The Evo Dyne Airbrush Cleaner is the least expensive at around $12.

The Medea Airbrush Cleaner is slightly more expensive at around $15. The U.S. Art Supply Cleaner runs just a little more at about $16.

Average Cost: $14

Airbrush Cleaner (16-oz Per Bottle), Made in The...
  • Airbrush Cleaner: The Large 16-oz Evo Dyne Airbrush Cleaner is an Artist’s Best Friend & ideal for...
  • Multi-Purpose Application: Safe to use on, & engineered for Any Airbrush, including Synthetic,...
Iwata-Medea Airbrush Cleaner (16 Oz.)
  • A high-strength, general-purpose cleaner, great for cleaning any airbrush or any artist tools where...
  • Works well on all models of airbrushes, synthetic and natural-haired paint brushes, and is excellent...
U.S. Art Supply Airbrush Cleaner, 16-Ounce Pint...
  • Large 16-ounce bottle of U.S. Art Supply Airbrush Cleaner. A fast-acting, highly effective cleaning...
  • A high-strength general-purpose cleaner designed to penetrate and cleanout water-based paint,...

The next item is pipe brushes to really get in there and get your tool nice and clean. Here are two options.

There is the  8-inch cleaning brush straw set at around $10, or you can go with the DanziX Pipe Cleaning Brush Kit for around $12.

Average Cost: $11

Sale
8 Inch Cleaning Brush Straw Pipe Cleaner Brushes...
  • Sold as 2 packs of 20 brushes with varying diameters on a detachable key ring, overall length of all...
  • Made of Stainless Steel and Nylon Bristles. Tube Brush Kit Varying Diameters: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12,...
Sale
DanziX Nylon Tube Brush Cleaner, 2 Sets of Pipe...
  • EXCELLENT MATERIAL: Our brushes are dishwasher safe and constructed with stainless steel and nylon...
  • BLIND ANGLE CLEANING: Size vary from 1/32 in to 1 in.You can find a fit tool to clean the stubborn...

One more thing you’ll need for cleaning is a cleaning pot. These are useful for all the cleaning spray. Instead of it going everywhere, simply place it in the cleaning pot to collect the spray.

The Sagud Cleaning Pot is a good option for about $13. Another option is the Iwata Medea Universal Spray Pot at around $30.

Average Cost: $22

SAGUD Airbrush Cleaning Pot Strong Glass Bottles...
  • AIRBRUSH CLEANING POT: Use for clean airbrush paint, hold air brush kit, deposit discharge liquid,...
  • FRIENDLY TOOL: It is good tool to prevent paint from spreading when cleaning airbrush kit. It can...
Sale
Iwata-Medea Universal Spray Out Pot
  • Iwata's Universal Spray out Pot fits most airbrush models and serves as a airbrush holder
  • Iwata's Spray Out Pot is easy to clean and is top rack dishwasher safe

Accessories To Consider

As with any hobby, there are some other accessories worth considering. Some of them may not be something you’re looking for right away, but they are worth knowing about for the future

Hose Splitter

Average Cost: $11

Sale
ABEST Airbrush Hose Joint 3 way air Spliter...
  • Airbrush Hose Joint 3 way air Spliter Fitting 1/8" with adjust knob valve
  • Compatible major brand such as Iwata, Devilbiss and Master Brand airbrushes.

Quick Disconnect

A quick disconnect allows for the hose to be disconnected and also shut off the air supply.

Average Cost: $14

Master Airbrush Brand Airbrush Quick Release...
  • Master Airbrush Brand Airbrush Quick Disconnect Coupler with 1/8" male and female fittings
  • The quick-release action allows you to quickly change airbrushes when you use multiple airbrushes...
Paasche A-191 Airbrush Quick Disconnect
  • Paasche Airbrush Disconnect: The airbrush allows the fast release of connection between Paasche...
  • Quick Disconnect For Airbrush: The tool quickly removes your airbrush for cleaning

Cleaning Kit With Holder

These are great because they come with both the cleaning pot and the pipe cleaners.

Average Cost: $17

4 Set Airbrush Cleaning Kit Airbrush Cleaning Pot...
  • The quality of the airbrush cleaning set is great.It's durable and fits most airbrush models
  • The nozzle needle is ideal for clearing away the blockages caused by dried paint
Sale
SAGUD Airbrush Cleaning Kit, Glass Airbrush...
  • AIRBRUSH CLEANING KIT INCLUDING: Glass airbrush cleaning pot, 5pc nylon brush set, 5pc stainless...
  • AIR BRUSH CLEANING POT: Use for clean airbrush paint, hold air brush kit, deposit discharge liquid,...

Respirator Mask

The airbrushing process leaves fumes and excess paint in the air, so you definitely want to protect yourself!

Average Cost: $30

Sale
3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece...
  • EASY ON AND OFF: Quick Latch Design Offers an Easy, 1 Hand Touch Drop Down Mechanism for Putting the...
  • COMFORTABLE: Adjustable Head Harness Assembly Promotes a Comfortable Fit With 3 Size Adjustable Head...
GVS SPR643 ELIPSE P100 Elastomeric Half Mask...
  • No Exhalation valve, enabling protection of wearer and people exposed by filtering inhalation and...
  • Extremely light and compact respirators (4.5 oz), with unique and low profile filters, designed to...

Related Questions:

Can You Make Money Airbrushing?

Yes! There are tons of ways to make money from airbrushing. You can sell your creations in online stores and take on commission orders.

With all the box games and others that include miniatures, there is a huge market.

How Much Do Airbrush Artists Make?

This is a hard question to answer. As you’ll be naming your price when you start your business, you’ll have to come up with a proper fee.

Charging for materials, assembly time, AND the time you spent painting is a great way to cover all bases and make sure you are getting paid the proper amount for all your hard work. 

Ready, Set, Airbrush!

There you have it. We covered quite a bit in a short amount of time, but now you have all the necessary information to get started in your airbrushing adventure.

Airbrushing is an immensely rewarding venture, whether you are starting a business or painting for yourself.

You have all the tools available. Take advantage of them and get going!

Last update on 2022-05-18 at 23:48 / 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!