Using an airbrush to paint miniatures makes for swift paint application and a professional paint finish sometimes much easier than using a paintbrush.
Our pick for the best airbrush for miniatures is the Iwata Eclipse. It is a high-quality airbrush and will deliver the best paint product for your next miniature project.
An airbrush that will paint an underpainted base coat primer, a Zenithal overhead spray and then zoom in tight for the tiniest detail is a must. In airbrushes, this translates into a small needle/nozzle size of .3mm or less and a gravity-fed airbrush system. Small paint cups are the rule, as large volumes of paint are not needed for painting miniatures.
Also, be aware that fine detail airbrushes require meticulous thinning of the paint before you add it to the cup and even more meticulous cleaning during and after each use. The needles are tiny and clog easily if you are not careful.
For an in-depth review of each airbrush, see our buying guide and article on airbrushes here.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these airbrushes. They are incredibly similar and from reputable companies who stand by their products and have great customer service.
The price point differences are based on the quality of engineered construction and the precision of paint application with ease and reliability. We note small differences between brands which don’t make them better or worse but may affect your personal preferences.
If you are short of time, here is a quick list to show you the best airbrush for miniatures:
- Iwata Eclipse <<My top recommendation
- Sparmax SP 35
- Grex Genesis XG13
- Grex Genesis XT
- Paasche TG-3F
- Harder and Steenbeck Infinity
- Harder and Steenbeck Ultra
- Harder and Steenbeck Evolution
- Badger Sotar 2020
- Iwata Medea Neo Trn
Here are our recommendations for the best airbrushes available online that fit those parameters:
1. Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Airbrushing System with Silver Jet Air Compressor
We included this kit because it is a great price point with the highly respected Iwata brand. Please see our review article for more impressive compressor and airbrush kits here.
.35mm needle nozzle. We like the needle protective cap that enables back bubbling for fast cleaning. As painting miniatures is a small scale paint session, the Silver Jet air compressor will be useful, especially for beginners. More experienced airbrushers will crave more features and precision.
2. Sparmax SP35 Airbrush
3. Grex Genesis XGi3 0.3mm Nozzle Top Feed Airbrush
A highly respected manufacturer of airbrushes, any Grex airbrush is going to deliver excellent results. We especially like the comfort grip. If you get sweaty hands, this alone is a great reason to get a Grex!
and here’s the side feed version:
4. Grex Genesis XSi3 0.3mm Nozzle Side Feed Airbrush
5. Grex Genesis.XT Double Action Pistol Style Trigger Side Gravity Airbrush, 0.35-mm Nozzle, 7ml and 15ml Cups
Many airbrush users prefer a trigger release as it is very comfortable on the hand and has an easier learning curve than button airbrushes. We really like the side feed position of the barrel cup so that viewing your painting surface is not blocked by the cup at all.
6. Paasche TG-3F Double Action Gravity Feed Airbrush
One of the best airbrushes that is versatile enough to go in tight yet also give the option for wider paint applications, this Paasche airbrush comes with three head sizes and is internally fitted with all PTFE packing for spraying solvent-based paints. Coming in at the lowest price point of our picks, it is a great value and if cleaned well, will last for years of use. We love that it is made in USA.
7. Harder and Steenbeck Infinity 2in1 two in one airbrush
Considered by many owners to be the ultimate airbrush because of its precise and beautifully German engineered construction and design. This is airbrush will last decades and give superb performance and reliability. It is also fitted with PTFE packing for spraying solvent-based paints.
8. Harder & Steenbeck ULTRA 2 in 1 two in one Airbrush
A great price point for an entry level into the legendary German engineering that goes into each Harder and Steenbeck airbrush.
9. EVOLUTION SILVERLINE Airbrush 2 in One with 2 & 5 ml cup and 0.2 and 0.4 mm nozzle set Harder & Steenbeck
10. Badger Air-Brush Co. Sotar 2020-2F Large Gravity Feed Airbrush with Fine Head
The small paint cup on the Sotar makes for a graceful, sophisticated feel in the hand. Sotar users are passionate in their loyalty to the brand and love the ease of spray and detail they can get with their brush. It has a unique rear release of the needle which some claim makes it superior for easy cleaning. An extra fine .2mm needle is included with the airbrush. Somewhat delicate nozzle tip needs a soft cloth to muffle it for back bubbling. Also the Badger hose connector is proprietary and is really small. Many people recommend the Badger 51-042 QD Coupler for quick release and easier cleaning which also fits most standard hoses and compressors Made in the USA.
11. Iwata-Medea NEO TRN 1 Trigger Airbrush
Fine detail yet comfort in the hand is the hallmark of the Neo Trigger TRN.
Here are some demonstrations and opinions on several of these airbrushes: