Air Tools – the builder’s preference to getting work done

Air powered tools are not new.

In fact, they have been on the scene since the 1800’s and are still used today on many building sites.

They are popular for their affordability and are a great option for both home DIY’ers and more professional tradespeople. Although for a newbie these tools may require some specialist setting up, they can save you a huge amount of time and effort in the long term. 

The best part about them – a small to medium sized compressor is able to run multiple air tools all day, meaning your work productivity and efficiency will definitely increase. The more compressed air you have available, the better and more powerful your tools will run. The air runs from the compressors to the tools through a hose with quick-change adapter bits for rapid tool switching.

Air-powered tools are usually cheaper option than their electric counterparts and are often lighter and smaller but offer the same amount of power! 

These handy tools can be used for a range of different tasks, from building to automotive issues. The most common type of work carried out by air tools includes powering nail guns and clearing debris from construction sites. Actually, I recently visited a builder who absolutely swears by air tools when putting up stud partition walls and said they wouldn’t use anything else!

What are air tools used for?

Air tools are a lightweight, portable, very easy to use alternative to electric tools and they have the ability to speed up your work on site. They are very popular for their ability to drill, sand and paint, and are a favourable option in locations where there may not be a power supply. 

The most common types of air tools on the market today include:

What’s the difference between air tools and electric?

Air tools are lighter than their cordless battery and mains powered counterparts, but usually always offer the same power output rating. 

The lighter design is considerably beneficial for the end user who may be using their tool all day, as it offers more control with less fatigue stress. Because they are such a simple tool, with less moving parts, there is less that can go wrong with them meaning there need for repair is much less than electric tools. Electric tools have a universal motor, which ignite sparks from the brushes whereas an air tool doesn’t spark making them a much safer option. 

Oh and not to forget their slim and compact design, unlike their bulky counterparts – so they’re great for accessing hard to reach areas in cramped locations. 

Why choose air powered tools?

Pneumatic tools definitely offer many advantages over their electric alternatives, that make the perfect choice for builders looking for an affordable solution to their everyday work.

Lightweight and portable

Air tools are much lighter and easier to transport than electric tools, because they don’t rely on motors to function. This makes a huge difference when you are using the tool for a long period of time and haven’t got the strain of the heavy motor potentially slowing your work rate down. As air tools are significantly lighter, the user will have better control of the tool and be able to work more effectively. 

Low cost

As a result of their more simplified build, air tools offer a much more affordable and cost-effective option. Because they have fewer moving parts, less maintenance or repair work is generally needed, saving you money in the long run too. 


Air tools are much safer than electrical tools and can even be used in workstations which have moisture, conductive materials and even explosive and flammable substances. Air tools don’t use electricity to function, meaning even if their wires do get exposed, there is not much risk of a fire or any other hazard.

Productivity and Power

Because of their compact build, air tools are able to produce more horsepower than electric tools which only work off around 50% of power fed into the motors, making electric tools less productive and less powerful.

If you’re out in the market for tools, you will most likely find an electric and pneumatic variety of the same tool.  It can be quite confusing which one to go for, as both have their pro’s and con’s. You need to choose based on your specific needs, and what you will benefit from the most.  Think about the cost, power, maintenance, safety, weight and portability of the tool and what will suit your workload. Air tools are usually used for heavy-duty repair and construction so bare this in mind when shopping around!

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