Airbrushing is a fantastic way to create eye-catching body paint effects. With so many options on the market, finding the best airbrush for body paint can be challenging. However, if you know what you are looking for, you can separate the wheat from the chaff and choose your trusty airbrush.
Over the years, I have tried a variety of airbrush brands for body paint. After trying some of the top names in the industry, I settled on the Iwata Eclipse HP CS for my go-to airbrush. This article will go through the most important features to have in a body painting airbrush and explain why I think the Iwata Eclipse is the best airbrush for body paint.
Best airbrush for body paint features
A good body paint airbrush should always have these four features:
For this reason, I recommend getting a double action airbrush with a gravity feed hopper. The reason being is that the double action airbrush will give you far more control than any single action unit. You can lay down both high volume fades or fills, as well as come in for small freehand designs – giving you both versatility and precision.
Top airbrush for body paint brands
As far as getting something sturdy and reliable, go for a model with great design, construction, and building materials. In the airbrush industry, several brands stand out from the rest for delivering this kind of product – Paasche, Badger, and Iwata Medea.
Paasche has great craftsmanship and design, but I find that their airbrushes can be fragile. They’re built great for small indoor projects where inadvertent drops and bumps are unlikely. Unfortunately, bodypainting is active and can be straight-up chaotic at times. You’ll want something that can take some abuse without crapping out in the middle of a job.
Badger has a great reputation in the airbrush industry. They produce great specialty airbrushes such as small nozzle, micro-tip airbrushes and some great wider nozzle options. However, they seem to lack a great in-between option – something that has a large hopper, a medium sized nozzle for both wider spray and fine detail – something that has the versatility to thrive in body painting.
Iwata – Medea combines the most desirable characteristics together to make the most versatile, sturdy, precise, and reliable airbrush on the market.
The Iwata Eclipse HP CS takes the cake
The airbrush that I have personally used over the years for all of my body painting gigs is the Iwata Eclipse HP CS. This airbrush hits all of the most important features for a body painting airbrush – versatile, precise, reliable, and sturdy.
Balanced spray pattern for all kinds of artwork
Coming with a 0.35 mm nozzle, the Eclipse has the perfect balance between wide spray and fine detail capability. Stencil work and freehand are no problem for this unit. Additionally, the nozzle is optimally sized for spraying both thicker water based acrylics and finer grade urethane based paints. Check out this post to learn more about the best airbrush paints for body painting.
Finely tuned dual-action trigger system
The Eclipse is a dual action airbrush, which is a must for producing great body paint artwork. The trigger is very sensitive, giving you full control over the paint stream – no blown-out dagger strokes or uneven fades. The eclipse delivers paint to the substrate exactly where you want it.
Easy to disassemble, clean, and repair
The best airbrush for body painting has to be reliable – quick repairs in the field are common. You don’t want to be caught with a lineup of people while you’re fooling around with a non-functioning airbrush. Fortunately, the Iwata Eclipse makes field repairs super easy. You don’t need any tools to take the airbrush apart or put it back together – finger tightening is enough. Over the years, I bought several Eclipse airbrushes with backup nozzles and needles. This makes mix-and-matching parts extremely easy. After some practice, I could complete a full disassembly, cleaning, part swap, and reassembly in under 5 minutes. Reducing downtime means keeping the paint flying and the money coming in.
Works in all conditions
As a testament to the eclipse’s durability, I’ve inadvertently dropped this unit in the sand many times at events, picked it up, quickly dunked it in water, and kept painting. It’s spring steel needle resists barbs and resists breakdown from cleaning solvents. The tip features a needle guard which allows you to press the end of the gun against surfaces without damaging the needle. For example, you can hold a stencil in place on someone’s body momentarily while you readjust your grip.
Body painting is a dynamic artform that demands top notch performance from your gear. However biased I am as an Iwata Eclipse advocate, I hope this article has given you an idea of what to look for in the best airbrush for body paint. The brands Badger and Paasche are great in their own right, but in my opinion as a professional artist that has tested this product on the front lines, the Iwata Eclipse is your best choice.