My experience is:
To have a great compressor is important.
To have a normal AB is good enough.
Best compressors are:
- Dry compressors (no oiled or oil parts) (They contaminate the art)
- Small and quiet to work inside
- With water trap (keeps your paints in same viscosity) also gathers the condensed water from the compressor
- with tank : keeps the pressure stable (this is super important)
- Strong enough to give 4-5 bars
Now having said those characteristics, Sparmax and Iwata have some very nice compressors that would fulfill the characteristics.
-Better gravity fed: More precision
-Non allergic chromed (to protect your skin)
-Double action (single action don't allow you to have control)
-Depends on what you are going to apply with it but better those who allow different nozzle and needle sizes in the same AB, less than <0.2 clogged a lot , >0.4 is un-precise (Iwata, H&S, come in 2 in 1 sets), After a lot of time I bought a second AB to not change the needles and nozzles. It is very advantageous.
-Get an AB that has easy access to spare parts!!, and get some spares from the first day (Nozzles and needles), you'll always damage something cleaning,changing the needle, or just because it felt or you missed the stand and hit the needle, or touching your surface or ... it will piss you off to have to wait for 10 days to get a replacement...
-No you don't need a very expensive one, I have a very expensive one and one simple one. I use the simple one more... they do exactly the same...
- Clean it everytime immediately after use, and during use... If you do this you'll never have issues... I give them a very good clean once in a while, with an ultrasound cleaner and a special acid ... they feel as new after this cleaning, yet you just have to clean them good after use.
Never clean the valves. You just clean what is in contact with paint, the rest leave it. You don't need to put everything under water!... and be careful with those tools they sell to clean.. they scratch your AB is you are not careful, I use only cotton buds ...
Ahh... the set can't be complete without the following:
- get a release valve to release the hose easy, is very practical!
- get a stand for your AB when is not in use... best a stable one the hose makes torque
- A MASK.. and this is your health!!! paint contain awful stuff to be inhaled after atomization... don't put that in your lungs!...