I Just Sold My Badger Airbrushes. Here’s Why.

Back in April, I scored a really good deal on two Badger airbrushes – the 105 Patriot and the Renegade Velocity.

When I first picked them up, I was impressed by their solidity and their balance. They felt substantially different from the Iwata and Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes they joined in my stable, much in the way that Japanese, German, and American cars have subtle yet decidedly different personalities.

Yet, today, I sold both Badger brushes.


It’s simple. Or complicated. Or both.

Basically, it comes down to feel. An airbrush, like any other tool – a paintbrush, scalpel, hockey stick, game controller, cavalry saber, nerf bat, etc – ultimately has to serve as an extension of the body to get the job done.

And some tools just “feel” better than others. More natural. More easily extensible.

Back in my offroad days, when I was doing a ton of wrenching, I became a big fan of Kobalt wrenches from Lowe’s. They were designed in such a way that the just gripped bolt heads better than the old set of Stanley wrenches I had. Similarly, I have favorite pens, a favorite spoon for eating cereal…I’m even picky about the cars I drive based on steering feel.

Holding the Badgers – both the Patriot and the Renegade Velocity – feel great in the hand. They are solid with good balance and a taut trigger pull.

But…in use…the feel changes. My Iwata and Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes use single-taper needles. That is, they form a single “cone” from the point of the needle back to the main cylinder. Badger needles, by contrast, employ a double taper.

Some people love the double taper. Not me. I’ve long grown accustomed to the linear paint flow associated with single-taper needles, and I just could not get a feel for that tipping point in the double-taper needle. I kept going from no paint to way too much paint without the ability to balance precariously in the middle.

Ultimately, I just found myself far more comfortable with my linear flow, single-taper airbrushes.

But, I’ll also stress that, while I was not particularly taken by the Badger Patriot and Renegade Velocity, the reasons are entirely subjective, and your mileage may and probably will vary.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick says:

    great feedback Doogs, am soon going to take the airbrush plunge and I have been waffling on the single vs. double taper. this has given me some strong data when I begin asking questions. there may be a “climate” issue such as Austin vs. DC. however, at least I can speak with some marginal intelligence, albeit my wife will argue that is impossible 🙂

    YOUR THUMB INJURY…2 recommendations:

    a) airbrush that “purple nail” a good challenge to mix color to a good match. don’t forget a semi gloss varnish.

    b) pierce the base of your nail just above the cuticle with a pin to relieve the pressure, this will accelerate the nail dying and dropping off process.

  2. Tim Wilding says:

    The Patriot 105 is on my Christmas wishlist. I have only used a Badger 150, so I am used to their set-up, or so I hope.

  3. Ken Driggers says:

    Besides feel, my main criteria is that a AB cleans quickly. Iwata and Harder & Steenbeck meet these guidelines…Badger, not so much. At least, for me that is the way it fell.

    1. Doogs says:

      Ken – see, I’ve had frustrations cleaning the Iwatas. The shape of the color cup doesn’t seem to lend itself well to cleaning IMO. Favorites to clean are a Grex Tritium TG that I sold because of the nightmare that was it’s pistol trigger and my Harder & Steenbeck Evolution. But the Badgers weren’t too bad on that front.

  4. CDavis says:

    Doog, thanks for sharing your insight on your sale. I’ve read your reviews in the past and considered getting into the airbrush hobby. I found a great deal on a 105 and decided to take the plunge. As it happens, Im the buyer of the 105 you sold. Ill be interested to see if i notice the same issue, being new to the hobby. Of the reviews ive read, this is the first time ive heard comment on taper preference.

    1. Doogs says:

      Hey man – enjoy it! I know lot of people who love Badgers and even several who love them specifically for that double taper. I’d venture I’m probably in the small minority, actually, but I call them like I see ’em, and the Badger’s just not for me.

  5. Scott Atchison says:

    Didn’t even know about the single/double taper issue. I have noticed the same problem with my Bader 155 and 100G, no paint to too much. So I take it the new Infinity is a double taper needle? What made you go to that one?


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