Here is my new airbrush air compressor, the Badger TC-910 Aspire Pro.
My review on YouTube
I’m completely new to the world of small compressors and airbrushing, so I’m not qualified to make informed comparisons between this unit and any others available on the market. I do feel comfortable, however, offering my general impressions of this machine. In short, I’m quite pleasantly impressed by this Badger.
There are several reviews posted on various scale model forums and some useful YouTube videos. I carefully studied each of them, then made this my final choice. It helped the Badger’s cause that I could make my purchase from a local retailer. Michaels Canada carries this compressor as a regular stock item, and I used one of their famous 50% off coupons to get it for half the regular selling price. Usually $430, I paid only $215. A comparable compressor from Iwata sells locally for about $700. I feel that’s far too much to pay, when a bargain like this exists.
I mentioned I had read and watched a number of reviews before buying this – something I noticed, the instant I took it out of the box, the design of this compressor has evolved recently.
The layout of piping and other components has been nicely tidied-up, replaced by a manifold situated alongside the motor and air tank. This manifold is also where the pressure release valve has been relocated to. Addressing a complaint often mentioned in reviews, the pressure release valve is now encased in soft plastic, which prevents its pull ring from rattling around.
The power cord has been moved, now exiting from the back of the motor. Previously, it attached to the side of the motor. The On/Off switch, which many reviewers noted as being awkwardly located on top of the motor, is now also placed at the back of the motor.
Other minor changes I’ve detected are the bolder “Badger” logo, larger cooling slots on each side of the casing, and the airbrush holders are now both designed for gravity feed brushes (one used to be for a siphon feed brush). All these upgrades, together, make this compressor quite user friendly.
The compressor sits on four soft rubber feet, which, I imagine, will help soak-up vibrations created while the motor runs. The air tank’s drain valve can be accessed via a hole in the bottom of the chassis.
The packaging states that this compressor is “Made in China, Quality Inspected in U.S.A.” That’s meaningful to me. I’ve seen interviews with Ken Schlotfeldt, the President of Badger. He’s very upfront, saying that Badger doesn’t make their own compressors, rather they source them from overseas, and take care to ensure they meet Badger’s quality control standards. I like that. I get an affordable product, with the reassurance it’ll be backed by a North American company with a long and respected history.
I’m happy I got this compressor, and at a favourable sale price. Unfortunately, it may be some time before I can really put it through its paces. Purchase of an airbrush will have to wait for a little while yet.