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Harbor Freight Air Compressor

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
  • From: Ayer, MA by way of Queens, NY
  • 71 posts
Posted by TheGamp on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:04 PM

Never having airbrushed before I picked up the HF kit, which may or may not be the exact same compressor (I think the website claims to have both a 1/5 and 1/6 HP model).

It was apparent soon that the sustained 40 or so PSI that it puts out is a little forceful for the airbrushing I wanted to do and found, unlike Julian, that I was able to easily swap the moisture trap with this one with a regulator on top:

Now I can dial it down to 10-15 psi. If I had to do it all over I'd buy a compressor with a tank so it doesn't run continuously, but it works. Better now that I replaced the HF suction action airbrush with a Badger gravity-feed.

I also bought the 1/3 HP hot dog (very loud) and paint tank from HF to make a pressure tank for resin casting but haven't yet bought the fittings to try it out with the airbrush. 

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,578’ (3,224 m)
  • 831 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:44 PM

Hello all,

Yes, I bought the Airbrush Compressor with Airbrush Kit (#95630).

I have been using rattle cans for all of my hobby painting needs. I saw this item in the HF flyer.

The price was right at $79.99; including the airbrush with accessories.

I got home, unpacked it and assembled the kit. 

The first thing I noticed was that the "regulator" on the compressor (attached to the moisture trap) is not a regulator. It is just a P.S.I. gage.

When I activated the airbrush the gage only monitored the P.S.I. of the flow to the airbrush. It dipped and climbed with the release of air through the airbrush.  

There is a knurled knob on the bottom of the moisture trap that acts as somewhat of a regulator.

Air was leaking from this knurled knob assembly. I pulled it apart to discover that one of the O-rings had been crushed during assembly.

I called HF customer service and they could not provide a replacement part for the damaged one. They told me to return it to the place of purchase for a replacement.

The only problem is that the nearest HF; where I purchased this kit, is an hour-and-a-half away- -one way!

I went to the LHS; 6-miles away, and found the replacement O-ring for less than $1.00!

The unit worked but there was no true pressure regulation.

For $20.00 I purchased a true pressure regulator, an adapter nipple and sealing compound.

I installed the pressure regulator, reassembled the kit and everything is now working just fine.

The airbrush itself is not the highest quality for really fine lines, but for my general needs it does the trick.

The bottom line:

Yes, it did take additional time, effort, parts and money to bring this kit up to a reasonable working order.

The actual compressor is quite and does reach the 58 P.S.I. listed, once the O-ring issue was solved.

The airbrush is an inexpensive model that I will eventually "upgrade".

I'm a tinkerer so "customizing" this kit was not a deal-breaker for me, but might be the deciding factor for others.

Would I recommend this kit to a friend I would say, "Yes, with caveats!"

Hope this helps.

Post Script:

Micro-Mark offers what appears to be the identical compressor (#86108) for $99.95. A separate regulator/moisture trap (#86113) for $27.95. This does not include fittings, an airbrush, hose and other accessories.

HTH- -J.J.D.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 3,164 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:51 PM

Necro Thread Alert

I was just looking at their pancake compressors. The regulators they sell in the store do not permit fine adjustment.

I ended up with a Porter Cable pancake compressor from Home Despot.  I bought a water trap/ regulator off amazon and it started leaking after a couple hours.

I used to have a little Badger compressor.  The pancake is so much better for airbrushing, the Badger, having no tank, ran continuously.  Moisture was also a problem and has not been a problem with the larger compressor, even though the water trap died.

Porter is not part of Stanley Black and Decker, which is located in my old home town.  I don't feel bad about not sending money to China.



COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • 2 posts
Posted by DK.Alice on Thursday, February 08, 2018 4:18 AM


Although I do not own this particular one it looks—to me—like a better choice than the Harbor Fright one (yes I spelled it correctly)

I bought a different C-H compressor that is VERY quiet but it is no longer offered by C-H but instead by Dewalt:

I highly recommend it but again, at twice the price but it will last ten times longer and will DO the job:

I have never purchased a single thing from Harbor Fright but from many conversations from people who have, I'll pass thank you.

Good Luck, Ed



Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV is 3 Gallon Horizontal, Oilless or oil free air portable air compressor. I found there are 10 Piece Accessory Kit Including Air Hose & Inflation Gun . As a best quality product its low price is only $69.99  USD.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,229 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, February 08, 2018 7:54 AM

I bought this compressor a couple years ago and am very happy with it. And it is very quiet, much quieter than my old Badger compressor.


I also use a California Air Tools Compressor for airbrushing.


It is very quiet, and I am very happy with it.





Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 7,713 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 11, 2018 12:12 PM

LION has no air copmressor...

Is BIG 100 psi compressor in the boiler room. (Used for blowing out the firetubes on a big coal fired boiler)

LION just uses a small pressure tank and bleeds of what him kneads and takes that to the train room of him.


More than one way to skin the cat (but don't let the cat hear you say that!)



The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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