Used Airbrush – Yay or Nay

Buying a used airbrush is a good way to save money on something that can be quite costly. But buying secondhand comes with some drawbacks.

When it comes to getting started with an airbrush, a lot of hobbyists are turned off by the initial cost.  And to save some money, many turn to buying a used airbrush instead of a new one.

While buying  a used airbrush may seem like the obvious choice, there are also various benefits of ponying up for a brand-new airbrush.  In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of buying a second hand airbrush for miniature painting, helping you make an informed decision.

Pros of Buying Used


One of the most significant advantages of purchasing a used airbrush is the cost savings.

Used airbrushes are often available at a fraction of the price of their brand-new counterparts, allowing you to acquire a high-quality airbrush without breaking the bank. The startup cost is quite steep when you need to buy the entire gear.  Saving money where you can helps lower the entry cost.

Upgradability Opportunity

Buying a used airbrush is a good way to test the waters.  If you just want to dip your tow in and see if airbrushing is right for you, why not save some money.

This takes away the usual “buying for long term” approach, which involves buying higher quality to make the most of your money in the long run.  With a used airbrush,  the savings are now.

This also applies to veterans of airbrushing that are looking to upgrade their current airbrush, or delve into a new brand.  By purchasing a pre-owned airbrush, you can gain experience with the tool, learn its intricacies, and get a feel for this brand or model, for a fraction of the cost.

Established Performance

Used airbrushes have stood the test of time, demonstrating their durability and performance capabilities.  Before making a purchase, you can research the specific model and read reviews to gain insights into its reliability and performance.

This allows you to make an educated choice based on the experiences of other users, ensuring you invest in a dependable tool that will meet your painting requirements.

Cons of Buying Used

Limited Warranty

When purchasing second hand, you usually void and have to disregard the warranty. Unlike buying new, where you typically receive a manufacturer’s warranty, a used airbrush may not offer the same level of protection.

This means that if the airbrush malfunctions or requires repairs, you are on your own.  And then you enter the world of buying replacements and spare parts, which is almost a hobby of its own.

Potential Wear and Tear

This is the big one.  Besides the previous owner’s word, you don’t know how the airbrush was used and maintained.

A used Airbrush can come in any condition

Used airbrushes may exhibit signs of wear and tear due to previous use. Components such as needles, nozzles, and seals may require replacement or refurbishment, which could increase the overall cost of the airbrush.

If you are buying this face to face, it’s crucial to inspect the airbrush thoroughly and ensure it’s in proper working order before finalizing the purchase.  Online is even trickier where you can only request detailed photographs to assess its condition to the best of your capabilities.

Compatibility and Availability

This is specially true for the older models, like people cleaning a relative’s attic or abandoning the hobby.

Depending on the age and model of the used airbrush, you may encounter difficulties in finding compatible parts, accessories, or replacement components. Manufacturers might discontinue certain models or change their designs over time, making it harder to find specific parts for maintenance or repair.  I’ve ran into this problem myself with a Badger purchased from a friend.

It’s important to consider the availability of spare parts and the long-term viability of the airbrush model you are considering.

Used Airbrush: Yay or Nay

Buying used airbrushes for miniature painting can be a cost-effective way to enter the world of airbrushing, but comes with it’s own set of challenges.  In other words:  it’s always a gamble.

The potential cost savings, the opportunity for upgradability, and the established performance of a used airbrush make it an attractive option for beginners and hobbyists alike.  However, it’s important to be cautious and diligent in your research, examining the condition, warranty, and compatibility of the airbrush before making a purchase.

By carefully considering the pros and cons discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision that suits your budget, painting needs, and long-term goals.

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