Air Tool Basics

Air Tools are familiar to anyone who has worked in the construction business or in an industrial setting.  Even though Air Tools are commonly used, not everyone understands exactly what they are. By learning a little bit about Air Tools, how they work, and what they do, you’ll have a better understanding of how these tools can benefit you.

What are Air Tools?

Simply put, an air tool is a mechanical tool whose action is driven by compressed air or gas. The air is supplied by a compressor which connects to the tool via a hose. Because air tools use compressed gas and air, they’re sometimes called pneumatic tools.
The Air Tools you’ll find on a job site will likely include:

  • Airbrush
  • Air ratchet
  • Sandblaster
  • Jackhammer
  • Pneumatic jack
  • Air-powered nail gun
  • Paint sprayer
  • Pneumatic angle grinder

These are just some of the most widely-used Air Tools; there are many others being used on construction sites all over the world.

What do Air Tools do?

As you can see from the list above, many common tools have pneumatic counterparts. An airbrush can do many of the same things a traditional paintbrush can and with greater speed and accuracy. A pneumatic nail gun can drive a nail into wood in a fraction of a second. Air Tools can do almost all of the same jobs that hand held tools can and many things they can’t.

How do Air Tools Work?

Air Tools are powered by a tank of compressed gas (such as carbon dioxide) or compressed air (a mixture of more than one gas). The air is passed through a hose into the tool where it is held until the action is triggered by the user. Once the action is triggered, the pressured air activates the tool’s internal mechanism. A pneumatic hammer will drive a nail and a sandblaster will begin spraying.

The passage of air from the tank to the tool is regulated by a series of valves. These valves are essential because they moderate the amount of air passing into the tool. If too much air is present there is a risk of equipment damage and if there is too little, then the tool won’t function correctly. There is often a gauge present in addition to the valve to show the operator exactly how much air pressure is present.

Once the Air Tool is connected to the gas source and the air pressure has reached the correct level, the tool can be used; under normal operating conditions this will occur almost instantly so there’s no waiting on your part. The operator must use a trigger, button, or switch to begin the tool’s action. Precisely controlling the action of the tool allows the operator to execute very detailed work.

Why are Air Tools Needed?

Because Air Tools deliver high performance without slowing down, they are an indispensable part of any modern construction site. Even home DIY enthusiasts have embraced lightweight, affordable air tools.

If you’d like to try air tools for yourself, but aren’t aren’t ready to invest in a set of your own, consider renting the items you need. Many home improvement centers and industrial supply companies, including GTI, are happy to rent equipment to customers..