Air-powered tools are often less expensive than electric equipment, and they are designed to be simply and regularly updated. Air-powered tools are lighter and smaller than electric tools, yet they have the same (or frequently greater) punch. Because air compressors are easily obtained and inexpensive to repair, they are useful for occasional use by a single person or small team of people.
Electric tools are generally more expensive than their air-powered counterparts, but they are also more durable and able to perform tasks electric power is not suitable for. They require no maintenance and rarely need repairing. Electric tools are ideal for use by large teams because only their batteries need replacing rather than the entire tool.
The main disadvantage of electric tools is that they cannot be used if there is no electricity available. This can be remedied by carrying extra batteries with you. Alternatively, solar-powered tools have become available in recent years that would remain operational during daylight hours.
Tools powered by air pressure instead of electrical current include pneumatic drills, saws, and grinders. These tools are similar to their electric counterparts in that they all share the same advantages and disadvantages. The difference is in the source of air pressure they use: air from a compressor or tank.
Electricity is the only way to power some types of tools.
Because they have fewer moving parts and a simpler design, air tools are low-cost to maintain and operate. Air tools lessen the risk of electric shock and fire hazards. They also operate cooler and are not affected by overloading or stalling.
Air tools use compressed air instead of electricity to power the tool. The user controls the output of the tool by controlling the amount of air that flows through it. Air tools can be divided into two main categories: powered and nonpowered.
Powered air tools need an external source of air pressure to operate. These tools include drills, saws, and sanders. Nonpowered air tools do not require an external source of air pressure to function. They include hammers, plows, and scoops.
Drills create new holes in materials by rotating cutting tools called bits. There are two types of drills: rotary and linear. Rotary drills rotate when you turn a dial on their body, while linear drills move back and forth along a fixed path. Both types of drill can be powered or nonpowered. Powered drills must be plugged into a source of electricity every time they are used because they contain small motors that run off of batteries or AC power. Nonpowered drills can be used anywhere there is a source of air pressure (such as inside your home) because they do not contain motors to run on battery power.
These devices are propelled by air. Compressors, either electric or gasoline-powered, generate air pressure. Pneumatic tools include air hammers and pneumatic nailers. Fluid pressure drives these gadgets. The tool receives its power from a hose connected to the compressor.
Air compressors can be electric or gasoline driven. Electric motors are more efficient than outboard engines, but they also are more expensive to purchase and operate. Gasoline engines are less efficient, but they are cheaper to buy and run. Most manufacturers recommend an electric motor as part of any automatic back-up system because it will continue to run the tool even if there is a leak in the gas line. This would allow you to finish your project without having to stop to repair the gas line.
The type of tool you need depends on what kind of job you need to do. If you only need to drive nails, then an air hammer is enough. These tools use a heavy steel ball called a quill that is thrown at high speed against the metal head of the nail using compressed air. The force of the blow opens up small holes in the head of the nail through which more air can flow when the tool is recharged. This process continues until the nail pops into the hole cleanly.