The method for feeding paint into the airbrush affects how it comes out.
Bottom feed airbrushes (also called siphon feed) create an internal siphon that draws in color from a jar attached to the underside of the airbrush. They enable artists to cover large areas quickly, and it's easy and fast to change colors just by switching jars. Because the jar is below the airbrush, you have a clear, unobstructed view of your work. However, to properly use a bottom feed airbrush, your compressor must be set to at least 18 PSI, resulting in less control and more overspray.
Gravity feed airbrushes use the force of gravity to draw paint down into the airbrush through a top-mounted color cup. They're excellent for fine detail work and the most artistic applications because they produce the finest dot spray pattern. You can set your compressor as low as 8 PSI with a gravity feed airbrush, which allows for greater control over gradations, shadows, and other effects. However, the smaller color cup isn't good for mass coverage, and the position of the color cup may block your view.
Side feed airbrushes deliver paint to the airbrush through a side-mounted color cup that can be adjusted for left- or right-handed users. On the side, the color cup is out of your sightline, and the cup can be swiveled to allow you to spray straight down on a tabletop or straight up on a ceiling. One disadvantage is that the compressor must be set to at least 12 PSI for the airbrush to work properly, so some experience is required to obtain precise control at the higher pressure.
return to all questions