What are they?

Pneumatic tools, which are also known as air tools, are powered by compressed air. They are a cheaper alternative to electrical power tools and typically used to perform basic repairs and mechanics on vehicles. These tools are portable, lightweight and easy to use. They can further hasten works related to drilling, polishing, sanding, painting, spray painting, grinding and cutting. Pneumatic tools are also perfect when working in remote locations with little to no access to power [1, 2].

Pneumatic tools are usually used by factory workers, mechanics and professional contractors in the industrial field. A very well-known example is a jackhammer, which is used to drill holes on the road. However, they are now safer and can also be used for home improvements or vehicle repairs.

What are the different types of pneumatic tools?

Pneumatic tools are available in a variety of forms based on the tasks they do. Some of the different types of these tools according to their specific applications are as follows [1, 2, 3, 4]:

Buffers

Buffers use compressed air and buffing bonnets to clean, buff and shine concrete, granite, metals and other hard surfaces.

Nailing guns

Nailing guns or nailers can be used in building walls, woodworks, cabinetry and fastening shingles. They drive nails into the wood or any other materials. According to their sizes and the types of nails they can handle, they are classified as framing nailer, roofing nailer, flooring nailer, palm nailer, siding nailer, pin nailer, finishing nailer, brad nailer and a staple gun [5].

Grinders

Pneumatic grinders use rotary force on a disc, and they are commonly used in grinding, cutting or polishing materials. They can be held with two hands, depending on the type of the spinning disc and the brush attached to its end.

Paint sprayer

Pneumatic paint sprayers can do the paint coating of a large area faster by combining paint and compressed air. Adjustable nozzles can also be attached to these sprayers to manipulate the shape or the rate of the paint spray.

Drills

Pneumatic drills are assembled by attaching an electric power drill to an air compressor hose. These drills can be used for boring and fastening. The most common type of pneumatic drill is the jackhammer, while the smaller versions are called impact hammers. The applications of pneumatic drills include chipping, piercing, trimming, cutting and riveting [6].

Pounding tools

Pounding tools are best used on hard surfaces, such as concrete. They can easily pound and break any solid surface, and they are mainly used in digging, trenching and demolition.

Sanders

Pneumatic sanders make surfaces smooth by rubbing away with sandpaper. This tool has a plane bottom where sandpaper can be attached, and it makes a tedious sanding task easier. Pneumatic sanders also make a forward-backward motion, which runs the abrasive paper on the surfaces.

Wrenches

Air wrenches are largely used in construction project and in the automobile industry. They tighten or loosen nuts and bolts by providing high torque output. These wrenches spin sockets with their rotary force. When working on heavy ones, a larger size of the socket drive is needed. Air wrenches also have a torque adjustment feature for precise implementation.

Screw guns

Similar to other air tools, a pneumatic screwdriver makes screwing things easier. This tool is available in a pistol-grip design, which allows for easy and comfortable use. 

Shears

Pneumatic shears can cut through metal sheets like a scissor through a sheet of paper. They are good options when cutting such materials with precision.

What are the advantages of using pneumatic tools?

Pneumatic tools are not plugged into an electrical outlet, and they are not battery operated. These are already an advantage over traditional tools. Other significant advantages are as follows [1, 6, 7]:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Do not overheat
  • Less fatigue and strain in the hands
  • Simpler and less complicated to operate
  • Can be incorporated with smart technology
  • Can be used in places without access to power.

How can you use pneumatic tools safely? 

People like using air tools because they can complete the jobs quickly. However, they must be used correctly to ensure safety. 

Here are some guidelines to safely use pneumatic tools [8, 9]:

  • Perform a basic safety check before using any pneumatic tool.
  • Check gauges, connectors, hoses and guarding and see if there are bulges, kinks, cuts or deterioration. If found defective, replace the tools.
  • Use the proper hose and fittings with the correct diameter and make sure that these connections fit properly.
  • Use a safety clip to prevent attachments from ejection while the tool is being used.
  • When blowing out the air line before connecting a tool, hold the hose firmly and blow away from yourself and others.
  • Operate the tool in a well-ventilated area that’s not near any combustible materials.
  • Do not use the tool at a pressure that’s above the manufacturer’s rating. 
  • Always wear a PPE when using pneumatic tools.
  • Do not point a pneumatic tool at other people or at any part of the body.
  • Do not carry an air tool by its hose.
  • Avoid trip hazards by storing hoses on a hose reel.