Cheap Airbrush for Beginner

Getting a cheap airbrush is one of the go-to ways to start airbrushing your miniatures. Lets’s compare if cheaper is better.

Most airbrush starter set you buy come with a cheap airbrush. 

The internet slang for them varies, from chinese-ium airbrush, el cheapo airbrush, unbranded or generic, but they’re always pretty much the same thing.

Generic and Unbranded

Unbranded is a bit of a misnomer, as these generic airbrushes do have a brand of some sort.  HuBest, Timbertech and Masters are three of the most common ones on Amazon right now, and they are mostly the same.

These are generic in the sense that none of these brands make their own airbrushes, and more than likely all airbrushes from these brands are manufactured in the same factory.   This is also true for most generic compressors.

This is the main difference between a cheap airbrush and a brand one like Badger, that is made by Badger in the USA, for example.

They are all roughly equivalent to each other, with a different name on the side.


There are some great things about having a cheap airbrush.

First off, they are a budget friendly way to start airbrushing.  Often they are included in a starter set, so you don’t need to pay an extra to get your first airbrush.  Use it until it gives out through your learning process, and then upgrade.

Even for more advanced users, having a cheap airbrush around is great for a handful of tasks that don’t require anything fancy.  Under coats and base coats are great examples of ‘whatever sprays, pays’.

Plus, even the best airbrush primer will wear and tear your airbrush.  It’s simply how primer is made.  You don’t need anything fancy to spray your primer, so a cheap airbrush is the way to go.


Of course, there are some drawbacks to cheap airbrushes.

The lower price point often comes at the expense of quality, and it shows on the overall pieces.  On all airbrushes, needles are very fragile.  Cheap airbrushes take this to new standards of frailty.

The trigger action is the other big argument against a cheap airbrush.  Pushing and pulling the needle controls the width of your spray, and the clunky trigger mechanic on cheap airbrushes makes it very hard to control properly.

If this is your first airbrush, this can be quite frustrating to get a hang of, because you will quickly be limited by what your airbrush can and cannot do, rather than your actual, ever improving, control skills.

Make a Cheap Airbrush Last Longer

Back when I started full time commission, money was a little tight, and I couldn’t afford to drop big dollars on a fancy airbrush.  So I cycled through a few cheap ones, and it turned into a pretty convenient system.

So, we can’t really make the airbrush itself more durable.  But we can leverage the fact that they are incredibly cheap by buying multiple copies, and cycling through the pieces.

Over the course of a year, I buy three of the same cheap airbrush, whichever it is.

By swapping pieces between them as they break, I make them last three or four times longer than they would on their own.

This is far from a perfect method, but if you don’t want to get a branded airbrush until you feel confident in your own abilities, this is a pretty great way to go.

We’ve also covered some of the best models from brand names if you’re curious.

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