875HT Smart Jet Plus Iwata Compressor – Studio Series

Published: October 30th, 2013     
Reviewed by: 
Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: Iwata Medea
Price: $370.00
Product / Stock #: 875HT Smart Jet Plus

There are a number of companies that produce air compressors for the artist and hobbyist, and an even larger number that produce larger and more powerful compressors that can be "regulated down" into the "hobby range". This review focuses on the Iwata IS 875HT Smart Jet Plus Tubular Compressor.

This Iwata-Medea compressor is a top-of-the-line tool that delivers tremendous quality for the price. A comparison of the characteristics of this compressor and the characteristics of any high-quality compressor will show the reader why this compressor is rated so highly by this reviewer.

Characteristics of a High Quality Compressor

A smooth flow of air is a must. If there is any "sputter" or variation in the flow of air, the end result will be a paint job that reflects this deficiency.  Frankly, most compressors on the market today, especially the small compressors designed for airbrush work, do not exhibit this problem. Even larger industrial compressors, such as my trusty Husky 5.5HP 32 gallon compressor, have a regulator or a tank that all but eliminates pulsing airflow. In the case of the 875HT Smart Jet Plus, the air tank is actually of tubular design and serves as a base and handle for the compressor. The 875HT delivers a smooth and regular flow of air to your airbrush, and that is a very good thing. The 875HT has a "tank" that assists in providing a smooth airflow. The air is stored in the handle and base, which are formed from a metal tube. The "tank" can hold 0.45 liter.

A regulated airflow is significant. A regulator with a PSI range of zero (no airflow) up to the mid-30 PSI range is appropriate for modelers. In some cases, modelers will want higher PSI settings, and the 875HT Smart Jet Plus meets this requirement. In the case of the 875HT Smart Jet Plus, the air pressure gauge tops out at 100 psi. The regulator consists of a black knob which controls the airflow, and a pressure gauge that measures the airflow in "bar" and "psi" increments. Since most readers will be using the PSI index on the gauge face, it should be noted that the hash marks are set at increments of 5 lbs. It is a very easy task to adjust the psi by small increments using the gauge as a guide. The gauge is easy to read and out of the way of the air hose and adjustment knob.

Weight and Size are important. The 875HT Smart Jet Plus weighs in 11.6 lbs. With the  air hose attached, the 875HT will need an area about 16 inches long, 11 inches high, and 7 inches wide. All in all, it is a very compact piece of gear and can be easily transported.

Noise level is important.  I acquired this particular airbrush to use during "Build Night" with the troops stationed at a local hospital. It was imperative that the compressor be as quiet as possible, since noise within the facility was frowned upon. My older Paasche was just a bit noisy and attracted the attention of the staff when in use, but the 875HT Smart Jet Plus is far quieter and the sound it makes during operation is simply inconsequential. I have actually carried on a cell phone conversation, with the speaker on while painting. The person I was speaking with did not know that a compressor was operating nearby. Now that is quiet !

The compressor is adaptable to a variety of airbrushes. The most cases, it is the hose that is the critical factor in its adaptability to support different airbrushes. In the case of the 875 HT, a high-strength, braided nylon-covered hose is provided in the compressor package and it fits all Iwata airbrushes. Adaptors are provided for Paasche, Badger, and Aztec equipment. My old Paasche air hose fits the coupling on the compressor without an adaptor, and that air hose accommodates the Grex airbrushes that I sometimes use. Of course, this compressor works great with the Eclipse BCS (40 psi), the Kustom TH (40 psi fan/round cap), the RG-3 (40 psi round cap), and the Eclipse G3, G5 and G6 (42-44 psi).

The 875HT has several other notable features. The compressor shuts itself off automatically when not in use or when pressure in the tubular "tank" reaches the maximum capacity. An on/off switch is mounted on the compressor, and power can be shut off manually by using this rocker switch. The auto-shutoff is a very nice feature and helps with noise control as well. The compressor, for all intents and purposes, can be described as zero-maintenance. There is no need to apply any oil to the piston or piston arm.

A built-in airbrush holder comes with the compressor and is attached to a plate on the cylinder head by a couple of bolts. I chose not to use this airbrush holder. The compressor is usually placed on the floor next to my work table and a table-mounted airbrush holder is used instead.

This product is highly recommended. The 875HT Smart Jet Plus is the best compressor I have ever had the opportunity to use, and I am very impressed with its adaptability, very low noise level, design, and airflow. Regardless of your airbrush of choice, this Iwata product will enhance your painting effort. Thanks to Iwata Medea for supplying this product for review and for use in the IPMS Support the Troops program.

  • Airbrush holder mounting point
    Airbrush holder mounting point
  • Moisture trap protective cover removed
    Moisture trap protective cover removed