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Air Tools Buying Guide

by Staff Writer

Man driving nails with an air tool

Air tools are powerful and rugged. They are perfect for the professional builder and craftsman as well as the weekend warrior. This air tools buying guide from will help you decide which air tools would be right for your home improvement projects.

What You Need to Know:

  1. No battery packs: Air tools, also known as pneumatic tools, work with compressed air. Most auto tools work with compressed air as well. The air compressor draws air into a holding tank and stops at a specified pressure, so it doesn't require a constant electric current. The compressed air reaches the tool through a hose, giving the air tools more torque and power than the motors in conventional power tools.

  2. Increased durability: Because they have fewer moving parts, air tools are much more durable than conventional power tools. They are also incredibly easy to use. Just plug in your air tool's hose to your air compressor and start working.

  3. Air tool accessories: There are air tools for almost every home improvement job, but to use your air tools, you will need some other equipment.

  4. Compressor: Air tools require an air compressor to drive their mechanisms. Air compressors power the individual air tools, so be sure to match the PSI (pressure per square inch) rating on your air compressor with that of your air tools. This will allow you to run your air tools at maximum efficiency.

  5. Hoses: Air tool hoses connect your tools to your air compressor. Finding the right air hoses is very important. Only purchase air-tool hoses that match the connection on your air compressor. To prevent air leakage and power loss, make sure your air hoses have a tight seal with your air compressor. Rubber hoses are the most common, but braided and coiled air hoses resist kinks and the elements.

  6. Hose reel: Hose reels allow you to store your non-recoil air hoses out of the way. If you have many air hoses, you should certainly have a hose reel to protect them.

  7. Nail gun buying tips: Nail guns seem to be the most widely used air tool. Big jobs can seem small with a nail gun. Air tool nail guns are often designed for specific applications, including framing, finishing and roofing. Nail guns will either fire immediately when you pull the trigger or require that you tap the barrel against a surface to fire the nail. Pneumatic nail guns come in two basic types:

  8. Stick: These nail guns hold 20 to 40 nails at a time in a long, narrow "stick." The nails in the stick can be held together with thin pieces of wire, paper or plastic.

  9. Coil: Coil nail guns hold nails in a drum or canister. The nails are usually held together by wire and form a long, flexible strip. They can hold up to 300 nails.

  10. Tools for every job: There is an air tool for almost any home improvement task. Most commonly, you'll find air guns, sprayers, air wrenches and nail guns. But you'll find a large variety of other tools to choose from.

  11. Blow gun/Air duster: These air tools shoot short bursts of air for cleaning hard to reach places quickly.

  12. Cut-off saw: This tool cuts sheet metal and fiberglass.

  13. Pneumatic drill: Drill into multiple materials with constant, reliable power.

  14. Grease gun: Apply lubricants evenly and thoroughly.

  15. Pneumatic hammer/chisel: This air tool shapes metal and removes materials like stone and sharp metal edges quickly with less physical strain.

  16. Paint sprayer: This tool lets you paint large areas or areas that are difficult to reach with a paintbrush.

  17. Power stapler: You can fasten different types of materials with staples quickly and securely when you have a power stapler.

  18. Ratchets and wrenches: These powerful wrenches accurately tighten and loosen nuts and bolts with steady torque.

  19. Sanders, grinders and buffers: Use these tools to smooth rough surfaces on wood, metal and stone.

Tips from

  1. Turn your air compressor on early. The smaller the compressor tank's capacity, the faster it will fill. The minimum CFM (cubic feet per minute) should be listed on the air compressor. It is good practice to drain the tank at the end of the day to clear out moisture. Generally, the lead time should be around two to three minutes after you start the compressor, depending on the PSI you need.

  2. Air tools are great for the tough jobs, but there are many other tools out there. Explore the home store and find great deals on more than just air tools. Find's discounted prices on auto tools, power tools and professional grade tools. When it comes to home improvement, has you covered.

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