Can you use a regular air compressor for Airbrushing?

Airbrush and Airbrushing technology is crucial in craft or art projects. Airbrushing gives excellent finishing. To operate an airbrush you need compressed air or you can say an air compressor. There are many air compressors that made for airbrushes are available in the market. But you already have an air compressor in your backyard. If you ask “Can you use a regular air compressor for Airbrushing?”, the answer is yes. You can save some money and use your regular air compressor for airbrushing.

But there are some conditions you should know and follow. Read the following article, I will discuss how to use an airbrush with your regular air compressor. 

What is airbrushing?

Airbrush is a kind of pneumatic tool that helps to spray liquids such as paint, dye, glaze, etc.

Airbrushing will become easier if you attach it to an excellent air compressor. Airbrushing is a process where you can paint anything with the help of compressed air.

Application of airbrushing

Airbrush is an important tool for craft lovers or people who work with color. It helps to apply color to any surface. airbrush works in the Atomization method. When you will connect an airbrush to any air compressor, it breaks the liquid into very small droplets.

  • There are some common uses of airbrushing technic.
  • Airbrushes are most common use in automotive and motorcycle design.
  • Airbrush technology helps in Book and Comic illustration.
  • Models and toys need special color effects, so airbrushing is so effective here.
  • Body and art makeup is important in some industries or professionals. Airbrush technology helps there.
  • You can find airbrushes in the salon also, it gives your manicure an extra level.

How to use an airbrush with a Regular Air Compressor?

You can hook up your airbrush with your regular air compressor. But there are a few things you need to manage. If you already have those materials, it’s great. Let’s discuss the materials that help you to work with your airbrush.

Connectors and adapter

The general compressor plugs and couplers normally work for connection points all over the airline till you connect the airbrush airhose. Sometimes airbrush airhose come with an adapter, you can find that linked below under the air hoses. If you have an airbrush airhose without an adapter then you need the proper size adapter.

Pressure regulator

After the adapter and connector, you need a pressure regulator. A pressure regulator with a range of 0psi to 80psi or above will be good. You will able to control your airbrush smoothly at this psi range. General airbrush applications require 10 to 30 psi. So you should have a regulator that offers this range. 

To control the output pressure for air tools general air compressor has a regulator knob. This knob will not provide the exact control for some delicate airbrush tasks. It happens If the air compressor is old. 

Moisture trap

You need a moisture trap to filter out moisture, oil, and other dirt from the compressor’s storage tank. Moisture trap prevents the compressor from dirt. And it will not spoil your work.

Air hoses

Airbrush hoses are different than regular air compressor hoses. These hoses are narrow. If you do not have any airbrush hoses you have to buy one. An adapter will help you to connect the hose directly to the air compressor.

Can you use an oil lubricated Air compressor for Airbrushing? 

You can use an oil-lubricated air compressor. There is a risk to contaminate your paint or dye with oil. If you want to avoid this then use an oil-free air compressor. 

Some oil-lubricated air compressor has oil separator. It can prevent oil from reaching the airbrush and contaminating your paint or work. If you want to use an oil-lubricated air compressor for your airbrush choose this kind of air compressor. Remember that this processing requires more maintenance than the oil-free compressor.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a regular air compressor for airbrushing


Regular air compressors’ noise level is much higher than an airbrush air compressor. If you are planning to purchase an air compressor, invest in a lower-noise air compressor. If you have one already, then airbrushing will be a little difficult at night. If you want to avoid the noise then the airbrush compressor suits you most.


Airbrush air compressors are more expensive than regular air compressors. Though regular air compressors need extra hardware to adapt to your airbrush, this cost is really inexpensive. 


A great advantage of a regular air compressor is, it has versatile use. Whereas the airbrush air compressor only uses for the airbrush. You can run other pneumatic tools with one compressor.

Size and weight

General air compressors are larger and heavier than airbrush air compressors. If you have enough space and don’t want to move it often then it’s okay. Otherwise think about the smaller option.

Tank size

A regular air compressor has a larger tank that can work for a long period of time. But the airbrush compressor has a very small size tank. So you can’t work long with that.


Can I Airbrush with a regular compressor?

You can use a regular air compressor for airbrushing by adding some necessary hardware to connect the airbrush to the air compressor. The adapter and connectors, air hose, moisture trap, pressure regulator, etc. need to run your airbrush with a regular air compressor. regular air compressors are better somewhere than airbrushing compressors. You can run long periods of time with this air compressor whereas the airbrush compressor’s tank size can’t hold for long. But regular air compressors are noisier than airbrushing air compressors. So, analyze the pros and cons of the regular air compressor, and take the decision to use it.

What kind of compressor do I need for airbrushing?

You can use airbrushing air compressor or any regular air compressor for airbrushing. But regular compressors are more effective in this task. Piston air compressors are more effective than any diaphragm air compressor. Because it is powerful and produces more air.

What PSI should I use for airbrushing?

Psi for airbrushing depends on your project also. The regular painting project needs a minimum of 30psi for starting airbrushing. And other projects demand higher pressure needed 65psi or above it.

Can an air pump be used for airbrushing?

No, a regular air pump is not able to run any pneumatic tool. Airbrush needs continuous and even air supply. Only compressed air can run this tool. The air pump can be used for inflating tires, basketball, etc


An airbrush is crucial for your work if you are a professional painter or craft lover. But compressed air is necessary to run the airbrush. A regular air compressor will help you. You need some extra hardware to connect the airbrush with the compressor and paint. There are some issues such as the size of the tank, air hose, noise, etc. But if the regular compressor will fulfill your requirement and give good services then why will you buy the expensive airbrush air compressor?