What is the best Air Pressure for Airbrush?

The Best PSI or Air Pressure Revealed

Since I have been blogging and posting videos on YouTube I have been asked this question a lot. It has always been a big mystery.  Some airbrush artists say 15 PSI while others say over 45 PSI. That is quite a disparity!  I was even more confused than when I started my quest for the best PSI, years ago.  I am going to share my own answer from what I have learned with the countless hours of painting in airbrush and much experimentation.

If you are not airbrushing t-shirts, you always want to reduce your paint to the consistency of skim milk or thinner (ink is already perfect out of the bottle). Since you are working with thin paint or ink, set the PSI on your compressor to 30 PSI. This will help you if you need to shoot out a rich opaque like white.

Make sure that you have some kind of micro adjustment valve on your airbrush. With the MAC valve you will be able to adjust the air pressure at the airbrush that works best with your paint and the amount of detail you are desiring.

Remember to always try and find the sweet spot, fine tune the MAC valve while you are working and don’t worry too much about the exact PSI. If your paint or ink is spidering, lower the air pressure on the MAC valve or increase the airbrush’s distance from the surface. Play around with it. Much is to be learned through experimentation.

If you follow my advice, you won’t need to worry about PSI again. If you are working with t-shirts, that is a different story.

7 thoughts on “What is the best Air Pressure for Airbrush?”

  1. Very timely!
    I was just about to experiment with different pressure settings vs India ink, acrylic ink and Golden High Flow acrylics. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I am so glad I found this… It has helped a lot. P.S. A big fan off your videos and live streams and am just about to start a india ink freehand portrait of Angelina Jolie…

  3. I have a question for you if you have a second. I heard vertical tank air compressors are better than horizontal tank compressors. Is that true? I was told that the vertical tank compressors can handle higher PSI. That doesn’t seem right though… I appreciate the response.

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