The beginner airbrush brands dilemma is between choosing a brand name and a much cheaper unbranded airbrush. Let’s compare the differences.
There is always seems to be a question that gets asked in this hobby, what’s the best beginner airbrush to start with?
The answer is just as frustrating: it depends. There are pros and cons to either options, and each painter will favor some aspects over the others.
Entry Cost vs Overall Cost
Much like starting to paint, starting to play or just starting the hobby as a whole, the entry cost is the highest. Going from no airbrush to having a starter setup, this will cost you.
There’s no way around it. So it makes sense to buy the cheapest of everything to make the entry cost as low as possible.
Once you have the bare minimum, only then can you upgrade and complete your setup at your own pace.
In fact, this is great when it comes to compressors, because the cheap ones are actually great and you never really need to upgrade them.
Airbrushes… not quite.
Why start with a brand name airbrush
We talked about the pros and cons of unbranded airbrushes quite a lot here, so we can instead focus on getting the best bang for our bucks with budget-friendly beginner airbrush brands.
Even though you may have never used an airbrush before, spending a little more will make learning the process easier, because you never have to wonder if your struggle is a normal learning curve, or the cheap airbrush acting up.
Great Beginner Airbrush Brands
With brand names, the most important thing is to get only an airbrush, not complete sets.
This is really great of you bought a complete set, but want to upgrade your airbrush. Everything else unbranded is great, so you don’t want to pay a premium there.
Here are some of the best models from different beginner airbrush brands, and why we like like them.
Badger Patriot 105
Badger’s Patriot 105 is one of the most popular beginner airbrush out there and for good reasons. This is the perhaps the lower end of the beginner airbrushes, without dipping into the unbranded ones.
This thing packs all the features we need to paint models without breaking the bank. The low cost comes with pieces that are slighlty weaker than other starting models. The saving grace is that replacement needles are quite affordable.
Harder & Steenbeck Ultra
What a great to start with! The Harder & Steenbeck Ultra comes from one of the highest-quality airbrush brands for an affordable price.
This model flies under the radar because the Patriot is very similar and possible more of a household name, and the Infinity model from Harder & Steenbeck steals the show as it is their premium model.
When it comes for getting the best bang for your buck, the Ultra is hard to beat!
Iwata HP-CS (Eclipse)
The Iwata HP-CS is the one I first bought when I upgraded from a spray gun to a real airbrush.
When it comes to beginner airbrush, they are not cheapest, but the quality is great. Pieces including the needle will last you quite a while even through the initial learning curve.
Harder & Steenbeck Infinity
This is last on our list for a reason. The Infinity airbrush is a little more expensive, but it combines what we love from a beginner airbrush with the quality of a true airbrush expert’s workhorse.
If you already enjoy airbrushing and are looking for that next step, this is a great buy.