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FAQs about Air Tools

by Paul Sanders

Man holding a nail gun air tool

Serious construction and home improvement projects require serious tools. When you're embarking on a large project, such as a home addition or major painting, regular power tools may not be up to the challenge. That's where using air tools can make things easier. Air tools, or pneumatic tools, don't need to be recharged, and they are more durable than power tools that use electric motors and batteries. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that will help you decide if using air tools is the right move for your next home improvement project.

Questions about Air Tools:

  1. How do air tools work?
    Air tools use compressed gas, usually air or carbon dioxide, to propel the mechanism rather than electric motors. All the force that goes into driving a nail, propelling a paint spray or applying torque to a bolt comes from the pressure of the compressed air.

  2. Which types of tools use compressed air?
    The most common air tools are paint sprayers, air wrenches, nail guns and air drills. Many of these tools are collectively referred to as "air guns."

  3. What are the advantages of using air tools?
    Air tools provide a lot more force than power tools driven by electric motors. They also have fewer moving parts and no electric motor to wear out. Their durability and simplicity make them ideal for extended use in large-scale construction projects and in commercial garages.

  4. What extra equipment do I need to use air tools?
    To operate air tools, you will need a compressed air source and safety gear. The compressed air can come from an air hose connected to a compressor or from pressurized CO2 cartridges. Always wear goggles and any other safety gear specified by the air tool and air compressor safety instructions.

  5. How much air pressure is needed to operate an air tool?
    Typically, air tools will need at least 70 pounds per square inch (psi) to operate. Be sure to check the instructions that come with your air tools and adjust the air compressor to fit the specifications.

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