4 Common Types of Airbrushes

4 Common Types of Airbrushes

There are four common types of airbrushes that have using for a range of projects. Whether you are an artist or DIYer, learning about the pros and cons of each type can help you find the best airbrush for your needs.

1. Single Action

Single Action types airbrushes have independent controls for air and paint. You can only press down the single-action airbrush and can’t move in any other direction. While you can’t move the trigger around, you can still control the amount of paint that the brush releases. A dial on the handle sets how much paint is will be released when the trigger is pressed.

single action airbrush


Single-action airbrushes are appropriate for beginners because they are the most affordable and the simplest to use, however, you cannot change the amount of paint being dispensed without stopping airbrushing.  This makes a single-action airbrush friendly for beginners and for larger patterns but with certain limitations when it comes to flexibility in the middle of airbrushing.

2. Dual Action

Dual-action (sometimes called double action) airbrushes allow you to control both airs and paint flow at the same time. Pushing the trigger down releases the air, and pulling the trigger backward releases the paint. The farther back you pull the trigger, the more paint flows out. A dual-action airbrush provides greater control and flexibility during airbrushing, making it the most common choice for a professional or someone who values having the most flexibility. That capability makes dual-action airbrushes ideal for applying makeup, temporary tattoos, or painting miniatures.

Dual Action airbrush

3. Automatic

An Automatic Airbrush or a Double Dependent Control airbrush uses a specific trigger design so it doesn’t require a user to push it down for air. The Paint flow is still control by pulling the trigger backwards, same as double action airbrush, but airflow will start automatically when the trigger is pulled back. Automatic-style types of airbrushes are typically used for painting cars, murals, building exteriors, and other large projects that require a lot of time to complete.

automatic airbrush

4. Pistol Grip

Another common, though harder to find, type of airbrush is the pistol grip. This type uses a different trigger shape. It’s located under an airbrush body, and very like a paint spray gun: when pulled backwards, it opens the air valve first and then airflow follows.  The harder you pull the trigger, the more paint is released.

pistol grip airbrush

These types of airbrushes are more ergonomically comfortable than others and help prevent hand strain from long painting sessions. Plus, it’s more comfortable for those with decreased mobility. Many relate a pistol-grip airbrush to a single-action airbrush. However, pistol-grip types tend to be more expensive. The use of Pistol-grip airbrushes is for all sizes and styles of projects; however, they’re typically used for larger projects like custom furniture and building exteriors.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best airbrush type for you will depend on your experience and the projects you want to tackle.  The choice of the best airbrush is a difficult one. It depends on how much knowledge and experience you have, as well as what type of projects are tackling with your new equipment in mind. But don’t worry! With all these factors considered, there should still be an option for any project need–and at affordable prices too.
The process can seem daunting when starting out but it gets easier after a while. Thanks to some helpful tips and reviews; before buying anything expensive or even tests done by other hobbyists just start by themselves who have already had success painting models. Finding the right airbrush can be challenging, but by considering all factors discussed in this article we hope that it becomes easier!


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