How to buy air tools
An air tool buying guide
Air tools are powerful, rugged pieces of equipment, useable by many, from the weekend crafter to the professional builder. You will see when buying air tools that there are many types of air tools on the market. As such you will want to keep a few things in mind.
>> How will you use your air tools?
When learning how to buy air tools, begin with how you will use your tools. Industrial-strength tools, which compress air, lubricate, fasten, grind and secure parts, are some of the best air tools. These types of tools can be used in a number of situations, including automotive repair jobs. Grease guns are another example of a popular air tool for automotive work.
If you are into carpentry, use air tools like nailers and staplers to replace hammers and quickly and efficiently secure pieces of wood. Sand blasters and blast guns are must have air tools for any sand blasting job. Clean up jobs, such as removing sawdust, are easier and faster with quality air tools like these.
>> What type of air tools might you need?
Think about the following types of air tools and how each might pertain to your specific jobs and needs:
- Pneumatic drills: These high quality air tools are made with a pistol grip and forward and reverse switches. These drills have pressure triggers to control their speed and can generate high RPMs, which make them great tools for drilling into wood or concrete.
- Air grinders: One of the best air tools is the air grinder. There are two types of air grinders available: angle grinders and die grinders. An angle grinder is attached to a grinding wheel by a protruding 90-degree shaft. A die grinder has a straight shaft in which a wide array of attachment wheels may be attached. Air grinders can be used for a variety of tasks, including sanding, cutting and sharpening.
- Pneumatic hammers: Designed to shape metal and dispose of sharp edges quickly and easily, these hammers are also known as air chisels, and they are one of the many types of air tools available for purchase. The hammer creates a high-speed hammering motion used to straighten out metal, cut stone or even engrave marble. A variety of interchangeable chisel heads helps to expand this tool's uses.
- Nail guns: These handy tools are designed for projects such as roofing, framing and finishing. Nail guns are made to either fire immediately upon pulling the trigger or when there is a tap against the barrel. There are two styles of nail guns: stick and coil. Stick guns can hold 20 to 40 nails on a strip, with the nails being stored in a long, narrow stick. Coil nail guns can hold up to 300 nails, which are stored in a drum or canister and held by wire.
- Paint sprayers: These air tools are a must-have if you plan to do any kind of painting. This type of air tool is often used by body and paint shops to refinish the exterior of vehicles. At home, use them to paint fences, interior and exterior walls or trim pieces. Paint sprayers allow for greater control and more color options compared to spray cans and provide better coverage.
- Pneumatic ratchets and impact guns: Pneumatic ratchets and impact guns are some of the top air tools, and they can be found in the garages and work-spaces of many mechanics, carpenters and builders. These tools make quick work of nut and bolt fastening. With the push of a button or squeeze of a trigger, you can easily operate these tools and get a job done in the fraction of the time it would take to use manual tools. They are designed with pistol grips and allow for a powerful torque. Impact guns are often seen in the sport of auto racing when the pit crew removes lug nuts on the cars.
- Tire inflators and blow guns: Tire inflators are considered one of the top air tools because they have so many uses in and around homes and businesses. In addition to their use in inflating vehicle tires, inflators can be used to inflate any number of household objects such as air mattresses and bicycle tires. Due to their versatility, you might consider inflators to be must-have air tools.
- Air sanders and saws: Other types of tools that might round out your list of the best air tools are air sanders and saws. These can be used on wood, metal or other types of surfaces. Air sanders and saws operate much faster and with more force than their electric counterparts, allowing you to slice through wood or plastic as easily as a knife through butter.
>> What type and size of compressor do you need?
When thinking about how to buy air tools, consider the size and type of compressor you'll need to run your new tools.There are two types of air tools compressors: piston and compact.
- Compact: Compact compressors have no tank in which compressed air is stored. Compact compressors will keep running as they are providing air pressure. These are small in size, portable and lightweight. These air compressors are mainly used for tire inflating, airbrush painting, lubricant guns and glue sprayers.
- Piston: Piston compressors utilize a pump to pressurize a tank of air. Compressed air is stored in the tank until it is ready to use. Once the air pressure dips below a certain level, the compressor switches on and then rebuilds air pressure within the tank.
As you are learning how to buy air tools, you will realize that compressor size needs be taken into consideration. There are two types of small compressor sizes and three large ones:
|Pancake compressor (small) ||A pancake compressor consists of an oval tank with the motor on top and a one gallon capacity. |
|Dual tank compressors (small) ||Dual tank compressors contain a motor that sits between two tanks of air with each tank having one to two gallon capacity. |
|Roll around compressor (large) ||The roll around compressor has a capacity tank of six to ten gallons. The air compressor sits inside a wheeled cart with the motor on the top of the cart. |
|Stand up tank compressor (large) ||A stand up tank compressor has a capacity of more than 20 gallons. These are perfect for workshops and job sites. |
|Two stage compressor (large) ||The two stage compressor is ideal for heavy duty jobs in which added pressure is needed. These are most often used in paint, body and repair shops. |
Most air tool brands manufacture compressors in a variety of sizes, so stick with the names you know and trust.
>> Consider what you need for safe operation
Lastly, knowing how to buy air tools includes knowing which power tools and air compressor accessories might be needed. Given the vast array of different types of air tools, you will want to see what accessories are available for not only each type of air tool, but each air tool model as well. Be sure that any accessories you wish to use are compatible with the air tool you are considering purchasing.