Paint is feed through the airbrush’s side. But the way it functions is based on where the paint level is in relation to the airbrush’s nozzle.
The rule is simple. If the paint level is above the nozzle’s tip the airbrush is gravity fed. If the paint level is below the nozzle’s tip the airbrush is siphon fed.
Side feed airbrushes adapt to your needs depending on the attachment you choose. There are many different kinds of cups or bottles that can be attached.
They also have one trick that only pressure fed airbrushes can duplicate; they can spray upside down.
A side feed airbrush can become a gravity feed airbrush or a siphon feed airbrush simply by changing the side mounted cup.
As long as the paint is above the airbrush’s tip it’s a gravity feed airbrush. As soon as the paint falls below the level of the airbrush’s tip it’s a siphon feed airbrush.
Gravity feed cups. 1 and 2oz bottles. Side feed cups. Customization opportunities abound.
I tell people “no soaking the airbrush body” but cups are detachable. Soak then scrub a bit and viola! Clean cups!
If you’re painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling flat on your back, this is the airbrush for you.
The bottles cost a bit more than siphon feed bottles for the right angle elbow, but the cups are really expensive. All that flashy chrome and machining adds up.
Longer paint passages mean more to clean up. Not much, but enough to notice.
This is also a benefit–except when you’re first learning to airbrush. Airbrushes have a lot of variables under your direct control. The more variables to control the steeper the learning curve.
If you’re just beginning you can get around this small pitfall by sticking to one cup while you’re getting started. Then you can branch out and explore.
I love side feed airbrushes. It’s really that simple.
But, I don’t like recommending them to beginners…
However, if you have the extra money, and you’re willing to put in the extra learning time a side feed airbrush is the ultimate do-it-all airbrush.