Different Types of Air Tools and Their Uses

Written by: Franklyn Liriano

Air tools or pneumatic tools or pneumatic-powered tools are powered by compressed air. Some variants are driven by compressed carbon dioxide stored in small cylinders that are designed to ensure portability. Most pneumatic tools use a pneumatic motor to convert the compressed air.

Pneumatic tools are known for their superior power-to-weight ratio, are less prone to short circuits, and are less likely to self destruct when jammed. Additionally, users don’t have to follow an elaborate process to maintain air tools.

Once considered to be equipment meant for experts, air tools have gone mainstream over the past few years. Pneumatic tools can be used in different types of home improvement projects to perform demolishing, dry-walling, and remodeling tasks.

Pneumatic tools have come a long way. Tools designed today are more reliable, compact, and efficient than ever before.


Air tools are easier to operate than their electrical counterparts. Pneumatic tools are lightweight, which helps improve their mobility. When stalling an air tool, you do not have to think about ways to combat a drop in Electromotive Force that results in motor burnout.

Air tools are designed to ensure spark-less operation, which helps avoid safety issues, especially when working around liquids or in a damp environment. Thanks to their compact design, air tools can be used in cramped areas. Additionally, air tools do not need a constant supply of power to function.

Some popular air tools

  1. Air-powered drill

    Different versions of air-powered tools are available on the market. The most popular ones are handheld. Look for a drill that has an ergonomically designed handle. Make sure it features lightweight polymer housing that can help avoid discomfort and fatigue caused due to excessive vibrations.

    Air-powered drills can be used all around the interior and exterior of your building. Some tasks that an air-powered drill can help you perform are chipping, piercing, cutting, trimming, and riveting.

    Look for a drill that features a barrel made of hardened steel alloy for enhanced durability and longevity. The barrel contains a shank chisel that delivers between 2,100-3,500 blows/minute. A hardened spring retainer holds the chisel in its position.

    When using your air hammer, make sure the chisel is in contact with the work surface. Use an air tool oil to lubricate different parts.

  2. Pneumatic grease gun

    Pneumatic grease guns can be used to swiftly lubricate different equipment, including some of the most used tools in an average home such as lawnmowers and chainsaws. 

    While most pneumatic grease guns feature single-shot capability and can deliver 600 psi with an input pressure between 60-120 psi, some advanced versions can switch into a constant delivery mode and deliver up to five ounces of grease/minute. Pneumatic grease guns feature an integrated air bleeder valve that is designed to eliminate air pockets.

    Look for a gun with an in-line hose swivel, which will make it easier for you to reach narrow crevices for lubrication.

    Before starting to use the gun, attach it to a grease hose. To engage the gun, pull the top trigger.

  3. Air-powered ratchet wrench

    An air-powered ratchet wrench is designed to operate in areas with limited/narrow space. Air-powered ratchet wrenches are usually equipped with a built-in power regulator that allows the user to control speed and power level. 

    A conventional air-powered ratchet wrench delivers between 50 and 130 pounds of torque and between 150 and 290 RPM. Most models are between ⅜ inch and ½ inch. When choosing a wrench, make sure that the impact drive sockets correspond to its measurements.

    Advanced versions come with sealed ratchet heads that are designed to prevent the head from spreading when the tool is subjected to extreme loads. While some models allow the air exhaust to rotate, others allow users to choose between two positions.

  4. Pneumatic impact wrench

    Most models are ½ inch in size. The tool can help you save time and effort while assembling and removing fasteners. A pneumatic impact wrench can deliver up to 500 pounds of torque or more. Thanks to the extra torque delivered, DIY enthusiasts who use a handheld or electric model do not consider twice when upgrading to a pneumatic model.

    All this extra power is put to good use when dealing with damaged and difficult fasteners or when you want to get rid of the ones that have been painted over or rusted.

    Most models come with ceramic balls. Designed to diffuse the air, these ceramic balls aid in quieter operation.

    Look for a pneumatic impact wrench with adjustable speed that allows you to control the power level without disturbing the compressor. We strongly recommend buying a corresponding impact socket set with your pneumatic impact wrench.

    If you are buying a ½ inch model, make sure it fits the drive as standard sockets can be dangerous when used with a pneumatic impact wrench.

  5. Pneumatic staple gun

    A pneumatic staple gun is designed to help perform a range of tasks. They are known for their ability to handle tough jobs. Some common tasks for which the tool is used are adjusting and installing siding, hanging pictures and other objects, and repairing furniture.

    Pneumatic staple guns are lightweight and accept a wide range of fasteners. Most models run on 60-100 psi. The magazine of a pneumatic staple gun is attached to the bottom of the tool. Look for a gun that features a dual trigger.

  6. Dual-action pneumatic finish sander

    If you hate sanding surfaces by your hands, a dual-action pneumatic finish sander can be the ideal tool for you. With a dual-action pneumatic finish sander by your side, improving the finish and quality of a surface will be as easy as 1,2,3.

    A dual-action pneumatic finish sander features a counterweight that oscillates as the tool is operated, resulting in a smooth finish.

    Look for a model with a built-in regulator that allows you to control the power level without manually adjusting the compressor. Make sure your dual-action pneumatic finish sander features an ergonomic handle designed to help you avoid fatigue and inconvenience caused due to handling power tools for hours at a time.

Need help Maintaining your Air Tools?

Our staff of trained pneumatic technicians are here to help. Give us a call today to schedule your repair.

Schedule Today

Your Air Tool Experts

You depend on your tools, and you can depend on the Pneumatic Tool Experts at Franklyn Tools to service and repair your tools back to working order.

Contact Us