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Iwata vs Grex

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by Dr_Phil1956, Apr 27, 2018.


  1. Dr_Phil1956

    Dr_Phil1956 Young Tutorling

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    Hello all.

    I've been lurking here for a while now, and this is my first post. Well, second, after the introduction.
    I do mixed media acrylic and colored pencil works. Right now I'm using a Neo for Iwata CN brush with the .35 nozzle. I've been moderately happy with it, but it does get moody at times. I'm looking to upgrade and I need some advice, so a couple of questions:

    What's the consensus regarding Iwata vs Grex in general? I know the Eclipse is pretty much the go to, but I'd like to find out what the differences are. It's pretty hard to find much objective information regarding the Grex. So, what I'd like to know is:

    The difference in the actions. Which one is smoother?
    Reliability of Grex in general.
    Availability of parts (besides needles and nozzles).

    I'm thinking of going to a brush with the .2 nozzle, but I think at this point any brush is better than I am. My reasoning is I'd like to get better at the details with the AB and rely less on colored pencils.

    I hope this hasn't been to vague; basically I'm looking for a broad comparison between the two manufacturers. Thanks!
  2. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    merriartist sells all the parts/ they are far cheaper than iwata parts.
    The new grex models have the H+S style action (xgi,xb), some have Iwata style (xd, xg)
    all the new stuff with the available cool accessories like fan caps and such have h+s style action (pull back for air pull back further for paint, like sprayguns)
    So something to look at if you have a preference
  3. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    apologies if im stating the obvious
  4. Dr_Phil1956

    Dr_Phil1956 Young Tutorling

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    Not at all! I’m grateful for the information. Thanks!
  5. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    I did a bit or a write up on a Grex I have here - https://www.facebook.com/1063587837080137/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1085001394938781

    Much of it is on this forum too, but I could not find it as fast ;). I was not terribly impressed by the one I have, and actually wound up using Iwata parts on it to make it perform the way I like. Quality wise, I would give it a "fair". I am not familiar with any of them with a trigger that works like the Euro guns, in that they initiate air, then paint with one motion (fixed double action). Some do have a trigger that uses an auxiliary lever that looks like those on the H&S brushes, but that does not signify a fixed double action, just a different style lever. The Trigger grip brushes do however normally work with air on, then paint with one motion on the trigger...

    I have spoken with several people that use the other style Grex than the one I have; like the Xgi series, and they speak very highly of their performance. I have been meaning to add one to my inventory to test (based on their comments) but have not gotten there yet.
    HellBird and Robbyrockett2 like this.
  6. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Disregard that action thing I always just assumed when looking at them that the aux lever and screw on cups that resemble H+S meant it had the fixed action.
    Guess its only on their pistol grips.
  7. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    from H&S, the models that have a fixed double action are ones that they acquired- so, it is the Grafo models, T1, T2, and T3 - as well as some of, but not all the Hansa models - I think it is 181, 281 , and 381 that have the fixed double action.
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  8. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    Ooops, I should have mentioned earlier that the Iwata brushes, once you get past the Neo, and Revolution, which are entry level brushes and can be a bit hit or miss - and get to the Eclipse and above, well, any of these brushes can be considered benchmark brushes. They operate, have finishes, feel and performance that most other brushes can be compared against in terms of being top of the line - at least in my opinion. I have more brushes than most sane people think reasonable - and I always compare everything to what my Iwata's can, and do for me.
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  9. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    It's awesome what you do with them though.
    All the testing and info sharing
  10. OzAirbrush

    OzAirbrush Spider Splatterer

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    As far as quality and reliability Grex is every bit as good as Iwata IMO (that's why I sell them :) ). How they feel in the hand is a personal thing but I don't mind either brand (I have a HB-C+) but I'm liking the new grip on the Grex and the XGi has 3 cup sizes and are finished quite nicely.
    Changing needle sizes is easy with a kit and needles and nozzles are interchangeable with most models (air caps differ a little). There are other accessories that can extend the use of your ab as well such as fan caps, more cup sizes etc.

    Feel free to ask here or DM me if you have any particular questions about the Grex range, cheers.
    hth
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  11. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    As brands go especially being youre looking at a .2 Ill put it like this;
    Ask about any other brand and youll find a handful of people that love theirs and some people who were disappointed.
    I think youll be extremely hard pressed to find anyone who says they were disappointed in their HP-b or b+
    You'll find some people that prefer something else, but noone disappointed.

    And ill plug my procon boy just for fun. I borrowed a b+ and found it equivalent in fit, finish,quality and performance ( to my skill level at least). I think it's a great option if you arent concerned with the name or if like me you prefer a closed handle and dont mind the bigger cup. At $100
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  12. Ronald art

    Ronald art Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    I really cant remember when I bought the grex xn but that must have been over 10 years ago , my first impression back then was that the grex xn was preforming about the same as my Iwata HP SB+ but the Grex had one big problem back then : the nozzle and needle materials were to soft and mine started to preform less and less after just a few weeks up to a point I had to change the nozzle and needle to get it working again as it did when it was still brand new
    But like I said that was a long time ago and Grex may have improved since then but I am like once bitten twice shy and wont buy a Grex airbrush ever again
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  13. mike k

    mike k Spider Splatterer

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    I have both iwata and grex, i perfer the xgi side feed its very versatile, it does blow out alot of air so working at lower pressure is alittle bit easier, the .5mm and .7mm conversions consume ALOT of paint and fast, iwata does have a great product, but as far as cost, spare parts for maintenance and reliability grex is A+ to me, but this is my opinion
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  14. Dr_Phil1956

    Dr_Phil1956 Young Tutorling

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    Thanks for the info. I like the fact that the Grex comes with a crown cap and that the air caps are magnetic. One question I do have is regarding the nozzles and needles. I've read--here and elsewhere--that at least on the older models the nozzles and needles are relatively soft. I just read a review this morning that stated the needles are stainless steel, so it would seem they've solved the needle problem. How about the nozzles? The nozzles for the Neo are pretty soft and I've been through several, mostly due to operator error. How do the Grex nozzles hold up?
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  15. DaveG

    DaveG Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    just an FYI, many needles are made from stainless steel - depending on the grade or type of stainless, they can range from butter soft, to really hard ;)
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  16. mike k

    mike k Spider Splatterer

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    I have an older grex xn and a new xgi side feed, and the difference is night and day i feel, the older models have the traditional screw in nozzles like iwata and several others, the xgi line has nozzles like the paasche talon, except the grex the nozzle screws into the body and it is bigger and stronger, i have hit my needle against my surface quite abit when doing fine detail and i scratched my surface before damaging the needle, honestly i am quite impressed with the newer grex line, but just so you know they are assembled in Taiwan to precision standards according to grex, my grex xn holds alot of sentimental value because i learned alot with that brush, but i wouldnt buy another brush from that line, only the newer xgi top feed side feed or the tritium, i will also say that with the grex it is picky with paint reduction, as if you were to get fine lines with an eclipse with lets say 1 drop of paint to 10 drop reducer, i find the grex will need more reduction to get the fine line like the iwata can, but all in all a very well built reliable brush with sok many accessories, you can even get an adaptor to use iwata side feed cups, this is all my opinion, someone might of experienced something different, but im not nervous one bit when changing my needle and nozzle as i am nervous with my micron or olympos or any other brush with the little guy nozzle, and juat remember ghe grex eats up paint! And blows out alot even at .3 and .2 more than my other brushes, so doing coverage is top notch i feel
  17. Ronald art

    Ronald art Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    it is good to know the needles and nozzles are much better now
  18. OzAirbrush

    OzAirbrush Spider Splatterer

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    I haven't had any issues that I know of from sales to date. I haven't sold that many of the earlier xg/s models so that may be why, I tend to sell more of the Tritium models to modellers and cake decorators although I have sold a few to ab artists that find it easier on their hands. The new XG/Si's are starting to pick up though, they are a pretty good deal :)
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  19. Dr_Phil1956

    Dr_Phil1956 Young Tutorling

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    Okay, I made a decision.

    As I was looking around and trying to do my due diligence, I found that Blick sells a Grex XGi2.ES. It appears to be the XGi2 without the green ergonomic thingy and with just the 2 ml cup. I never use the larger cups on my Neo (usually no cup at all) and I hate the look of the ergonomic grip. They sell it for $119, and they have a 20% discount right now, making it $95.00. That's pretty hard to pass up so I ordered it this morning. I think I'll convert my Neo to the .5 needle/nozzle and use it for broader coverage. It works great for that, it's just the finer detail stuff that's iffy.

    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I'll let you know how it goes.
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  20. wagspe208

    wagspe208 Double Actioner

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    I bought a Grex Genesis XGi from Blicks... discount deal... it was a smoking deal.!
    It was in IL in 2 days.

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