Best air tools

Find out what blows when it comes to tools.


Things to know about air tools

The best air tools provide you with an efficient and affordable alternative to some conventional power tools. As their name suggests, air tools make use of compressed air in order to do work, sometimes replacing power needs that rely either on electricity or gas. 

Air tools originated from much larger pneumatic tools that date as far back as the 17th century. With the performance and functionality of industrial-grade pneumatic tools brought down to a personal level, air tools are quickly making a name for themselves in transforming the landscape of work via convenience and consistency of power output.

Air compressor hose for air tools

What are the benefits of air tools?

  1. One of the biggest advantages of using air tools is that they have safe power options. Compressed air is less volatile and reactive compared to gas or electricity.
  2. Air tools are also lightweight and have simple designs and components, making them less costly in terms of price and maintenance.
  3. Lastly, air tools are highly versatile because the reliable power source can handle even multiple material types. Be aware that compressed air is still very dangerous, never expose your skin to compressed air.

What are the drawbacks of air tools?

  1. The most evident disadvantage of using an air tool is that the air compressors that power them are rather loud. While you can try and ignore the noise, too much exposure can potentially damage your hearing.
  2. Another big drawback is that while there are portable compressors, the tool’s range of motion is limited by its tether to an air hose.

What are the advantages of pneumatic tools to electric tools?

Pneumatic tools are generally more affordable than electric tools because of their simple designs and fewer mechanical parts; it costs less to build, purchase, and maintain a pneumatic tool. Pneumatic tools are also a bit longer-lived than most electric tools because they do not require lubrication, reducing friction and lowering the likelihood of part-breakage and repair. 

Pneumatic tools, because of fewer parts, are also lighter, reducing fatigue and increasing productivity. The use of compressed air also makes these tools generally safer, as you don’t need to worry about the risk of overheating or getting shocked by exposed wires. 

Must-have air tools for DIY professionals and builders

If you have been looking for the best air tools to own, here are the most essential air tools.

Portable air compressor

Investing in a portable air compressor means that you can use it either at home or bring it to other locations. The most important and best air tool to start with is an air compressor that needs to be used to drive pneumatic power tools.

Brad nailer

A brad nailer is a specialized tool that’s used to drive small nails called ‘brads’ into various materials. Brad nailers are good for detail-work with wood and even thin metals and can be used to trim, mold, and more.

Using DeWalt DCN680D1 brad nailer

Finishing nailer

Similar to a brad nailer, a finishing nailer is a nail gun that’s specifically designed to nail moldings and attach trim boards. A finishing nailer has a stronger hold than a brad nailer because it uses higher-gauged nails.

Orbital sander

These are usually small, palm-sized power sanders that are especially useful in polishing wood, metal, and other surfaces prior to polishing, varnishing, or painting.

Pneumatic metal nibbler

A nibbler is a metal cutting tool that works best in handling metal sheets for roofing and can even be used for certain automotive tasks.

Best air tool for metalworking

A pneumatic nibbler is definitely the best air tool to have if you intend to work with metal. Though seemingly small compared to other metal-cutting tools, a nibbler is actually one of the best at cleanly and smoothly cutting corrugated metal. In fact, a nibbler is so surprisingly capable that you can do fast and uniformed cuts even along with compound material such as car panels.

Makita JN1601 air nibbler tool for cutting metal

Best air tool for mechanics

As a mechanic, you’ll probably be working with metal more than anything else. With that being said, one of the best air tools for mechanics would be an air cut-off tool. An air cut-off tool is an air-powered multi-tool, sporting differently shaped disc heads that can cut through metal and is great for automotive fabrication and machining

Aircat air cut off tool cutting metal

What brand makes the best air-powered tool?

Have you been searching for the best air tools brand? Here are a few names of the best air tools for woodworking, mechanics, and metalworking.

Ingersoll Rand

Founded in 1859, Ingersoll Rand is an American-based company that provides industrial equipment internationally. Ingersoll is among the top manufacturers of air compressors and air tools and serves a large number of industries.

Astro Pneumatic

Astro Pneumatic has over 40 years of experience in automotive importing in the United States. Catering heavily to the automotive industry, it’s only natural that they also produce some of the best air impact tools around.

DeWalt tools

An all-American company built-in 1922, Dewalt has become an industry leader in the production and distribution of quality power tools. With their vast catalog of products, it’s not surprising that they also produce high-quality air tools, especially impact wrenches and air drills.

It’s natural for first-time buyers to ask who makes the best air tools. So if you think you’re ready to press the check out button, remember to look out for these names as they always come as a wise investment.

What the air volume and pressure means and how it affects using an air tool

Air volume is the amount of space occupied by air and air pressure is the amount of force it exerts. Airflow is determined by both the volume and pressure and is necessary in order for air tools to reach desired performances.

Standard units of measure for volume and pressure are cubic feet (cfm) and pounds per square inch (psi). Average amounts are between 0 – 5 cfm and 70 – 90 psi for general use.

It’s important to be aware and mindful of both as too little will have subpar results and too much can cause an implosion that leads to damage and injury.

Air compressor hose and gauge for air tools

Handling the pressure: Tips on using the air compressor

Air compressors are the heart of air tools and are required to power the bad-blowing boys. While air compressors do come with instruction ad user manuals, here are a few tips to get the most out of them.

  • Perform routine maintenance regularly to ensure that your compressor remains in top shape and condition. This also minimizes the risk of failure and malfunctions.
  • Ensure that your compressor is working at properly regulated temperatures. For water-cooled compressors, the water inlet temperature should be kept at 10℉ and the cooling water outlet temperature should not go over 120℉.
  • Ensure proper lubrication and use optimally formulated lubricants in addition to clearing up any unwanted moisture build-ups. This helps prolong the compressor’s life and prevents rapid performance drops.
  • Never ignore the air filter. This is a vital component of your compressor and maintains air cleanliness so that your tools can operate at 100%. Save on time and cost of filter replacement by properly tending to the air filter.

Alternative to air tools

Rather, air tools are the alternatives, so looking for an alternative for them is to simply check out power tools that do the same thing. Save for an air compressor, almost all other air tools have their electrical or gas-powered counterparts. Take for example an orbital sander; orbital sanders are small yet are great for polishing surfaces. A detail sander is an electric tool that also polishes but is better at smoothing out corners and tight spaces. 

Power tools are more varied and can cover a wider range of applications. You have more options with power tools, but they’re also heavier and more expensive.


Air tools are a great addition to any tool kit. Air tools are some of the most beloved tools by car enthusiasts and DIY’ers because of their simplicity and affordability. Adding to their great utility, these tools are also safer to work with as their power source is not as hazardous.

If you don’t mind a little noise, air tools will serve you just fine.

That’s it for now and if you’re looking to find all the best tools for the job, you can find them here.

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