A picture of a selection of PCL air tools

A Guide To… Air Tools


Now stocked at our new Trade Counter at Simm Engineering Group is a range of air tools, the subject of this blog.

Air tools are powered by air compressors – usually small portable machines that deliver a fairly low level of volume and pressure. Easy to operate, air tools deliver a powerful and precise result.

The size and type of air tool you are using will dictate the size of the air compressor you need, from five Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) to 20+ SCFM, and whether to choose a standard or oil-free compressor. Using the wrong size compressor can affect the performance of your air tools, either wasting energy or preventing them from working at full capacity.

Why use air tools?
They have several advantages over hand tools that are plugged in or powered by batteries:

  • Weight – they are relatively lightweight as they don’t need batteries or motors
  • Price – they are usually cheaper than other kinds of power tools
  • Convenience – lots of different tools can be plugged into a portable air compressor
  • Easy to maintain – they only require occasional cleaning and greasing
  • Safety – they are ideal for industrial environments as they can be used in places where combustible gases are used; they are also safer at sites where there’s a risk of electrical fires

Types of air tools
Common examples of air tools include air drills, saws, screwdrivers, hammers, staplers, wrenches and angle polishers.PCL air tools

They are ideal for home projects such as DIY or hobbies and crafts, but also widely used in the automotive industry and construction, where the operator needs to get to hard to reach areas, as well as in other manufacturing industries such as food and drink.

Other advice
Health and safety is always important when using any type of tool, including air tools. DIY accidents in the home are very common and workplace safety is equally essential. When operating air tools, it’s a good idea to wear protective eyewear such as goggles, and mufflers or earplugs. Also, make sure that air tools are not over pressurised.

Air tools are low in maintenance however there is a key difference for DIY and industrial applications. For DIY uses air tools simply need a drop of oil to keep them functioning correctly, but in an industrial set up air tools need a lubricating line to ensure they never run dry.

As well as keeping your air tools clean and regularly replacing the filter in your air compressor (see A Guide To… Air compressor filters), you should ensure there are no leaks in the pipework, as this will mean less pressure reaches your air tools, wasting both energy and cash. Using a longer hose rather than an extension lead will avoid a loss of voltage.

As there are several considerations when choosing your air tools and air compressor, it’s best to take professional advice. We are experts in a wide range of pneumatic equipment and can provide informed recommendations for all of our customers in Doncaster, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Rotherham, and Barnsley. Contact Simm Engineering Group on 0114 244 0764, fill in our handy online form or pop into our trade counter and we’ll be happy to help.