View Full Version : Air tool efficiency

11-29-2001, 12:08 PM
Is it efficient to runs air tools vs electrical? I have been given an 80 gallon 5 horse compressor and was wondering if I should get air tools such as drills, grinders, sanders, ect. that I have the electrical counterparts already in my possestion.

11-29-2001, 09:45 PM
Some types of air tools are a great improvement over electric. I really prefer air powered screw guns over rechargable drills, they are much lighter, smaller, and you don't run down batteries. Air power is also perfect for small hand grinders, and sanders. However you need to be careful of the CFM requirment on all tools, try to get the most efficient tools you can.

James Kilroy

kap pullen
11-29-2001, 10:50 PM
Air tools are supposed to be less efficient than electric but don't ever overheat which is a great advantage to the serious industrial type.
less efficient or waiting for the tool to cool down? you pays your money and takes your choice

11-30-2001, 12:25 AM
And there are air tools for which ther is no electrical equivalent, my favorite being a needle gun, used for knocking paint and rust off irregular metal surfaces. They may have been developed for scaling rivetted ship hulls.

grace & peace

11-30-2001, 01:39 AM
Air tools are also (usually) lighter. If you are using a tool for a extended period of tine you notice it. Also as noted before there are somethings that are air only. I looked in my toolbox and found air riveter (pop rivet), air riveter (solid), air ratchet,air impact, (2)die grinders,(4) spray guns, cutoff tool, blow guns, etc.

All profesional mechanics I know use air tools, if there was a better way they would use it.


11-30-2001, 03:41 AM
If you plan on painting anything (in particular autobody work) proper cleaning is a must before painting or you WILL get fisheye defects in the finish. This is because of Silicone fluid in the air tool oil. It is difficult to find air tool oil with out it (most are repackaged ATF). For your compressor get a SAE40 non-detergent compressor oil (presuming piston type). Amsoil PCK is great and performs very well at low & high temps. Their PCI SAE20 Rotary compressor oil is great for air tool motors and far superior to plain old tranny fluid.
To maximize the life of your air tools make sure you install an air dryer and drain it and the tank often. It is possible to set up an automatic tank drain and is a spiffy feature but not required. If you get auto matic oilers for your air tools, intall them on the tool, not your compressor (you want CLEAN air for blowguns). Blowguns should be used with extreme caution - it is safer to vacuum than blow (use a HEPA filter on the Vacuum).

I would also wire your compressor motor to 220/240V (8A) as it will use less amperage than 110/120V (15A! - need 20A circuit minimum).

You should not have any problems running the majority of air tools - big impact (some 1/2" + up) wrenchs are the biggest exception.

Follow safety rules and have fun


[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 11-30-2001).]

11-30-2001, 02:19 PM
Thrud is right on about oil. The proper way to deal with this is to use a tool oiler at the far end of the hose. Never run oil through your hoses, otherwise you *will* have to keep seperate and clean hoses for painting. You also want a quality water trap close to the tank, and drain the tank at the end of every day.

James Kilroy

George Hodge
11-30-2001, 09:37 PM
Torpedo8,sometime,grab a 1/2in electric drill motor and a 1/2in air drill and compare the weight. It's possible to break the same finger twice in one day,with an electric drill that size! Also there's not the greater chance of sparks igniting something with the air tools. Newer air tools don't seem as loud as the older ones.Air wrenches and drills and grinders don't need variable speed switches,just control the speed with the finger pressure on the trigger.