What is the advantage of compressed air

Pneumatic tool: advantage and application

Pneumatic tools work on the principle of pneumatics, they are driven by compressed air. The working medium is supplied via a compressed air hose. The tools are used in different areas, e.g. in metalworking, screwing and measuring technology or in the area of ​​drilling and cutting.

Synonym (s): compressed air tools, compressed air devices


How it works pneumatic hammer as an example for pneumatic tools

How does a pneumatic tool work? A compressed air tool uses the principle of pneumatics (compressed air technology). Instead of a rechargeable battery or electrical energy, the tool works with the help of air or compressed air drive. The compressed air tool is therefore not connected to a power cable but to a compressed air hose. A compressor generates compressed air, which is fed into the corresponding tool via a hose, where it causes the mechanical system to move. With pneumatic nailers, for example, the driver is moved, which thereby drives the nail in.

This process is illustrated by the video, in which a jackhammer is shown horizontally. Compressed air (red) enters the system through the compressed air connection on the left. A valve (spool valve) regulates the amount of compressed air that is passed on into the cylinder, in which a piston is located. This causes the piston to move and apply force to the hammer (yellow). The atmospheric 'used' air is shown in blue in the video.

Pneumatic tools are real powerhouses. The torque indicates how strong the tool is.

There are a number of tools and machines that are pneumatically operated. Due to their simple structure, compressed air tools are efficient, robust and easy to maintain compared to electrically operated tools with an electric motor and are therefore very popular across all industries. They are used in private as well as for workshop, industrial and manufacturing activities.

Pneumatic tool in use

Which pneumatic tools are there?

Pneumatic hammer or jackhammer

The pneumatic hammer is used for demolition work. The tools, also known as pneumatic crushers, are operated in the mobile version by a compressor. The advantage of the pneumatic hammer compared to a battery-operated tool is that it is significantly lighter with the same performance.

Pneumatic screwdriver

Screwdrivers are used to assemble or disassemble screw connections with bits. The pneumatic screwdriver impresses with its precise torques, precise operation and high ergonomics. With the same power as an electric screwdriver, it consumes significantly less energy and does not generate any vibrations or sparks, thus preventing the risk of explosion. There are different versions of the pneumatic screwdriver depending on the requirements: straight, angled and angled screwdrivers and grip screwdrivers. In this way, you can work in tight areas or use an angle screwdriver to create angled screw connections.

Pneumatic screwdriver

Pneumatic screwdrivers or pneumatic angle screwdrivers allow you to work in hard-to-reach places for inaccessible screw connections. The use of a pneumatic screwdriver as an alternative to a power tool is particularly useful in damp and wet locations, difficult local conditions or when the tool is used continuously.

Compressed air guns

Compressed air guns are available for different areas of application. This includes:

  • Compressed air blow gun (blow gun, cleaning gun): Blow guns are used to remove fine dirt and dust from surfaces, drill holes or workpieces.
  • Compressed air sandblasting gun
  • Compressed air spray gun
  • Pressurized air rivet gun
  • Compressed air spray gun: for sealing and repair work. The compound used can be pressed evenly out of the cartridge or foil pouch through the sliding piston, which is driven by the supplied compressed air.

Impact wrench (pneumatic impact wrench)

In contrast to "normal" screwdrivers or drills with a constant rotary movement, the pneumatic impact wrench is impulsive in its movement. It is used for powerful screw solutions. The impact wrench performs impulsive lifting movements from the direction of rotation and has a significantly higher torque.

Pneumatic straight grinder

Straight grinders are used for deburring, brushing or grinding workpieces in order to achieve precise and clean edges.

Pneumatic sander / eccentric sander

The application area of ​​the compressed air grinding machine is surface treatment. Various surfaces can be cylindrical grinding, roughening, polishing or smoothing as required.

Other pneumatic tools are:

  • Hammer drill
  • Drilling machines
  • Drill deburrer
  • Belt sander
  • Pneumatic saws
  • Screwdrivers
  • Angle grinder
  • Tire inflator / tire inflation tool
  • Jack
  • Angle wrench
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Grease guns
  • pneumatic torque wrench
  • Pneumatic polishing machines
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Chisel hammer
  • Pneumatic grinder

Many of the tools listed are also available as electrically operated versions or with a battery. The most popular are impact wrenches, pneumatic screwdrivers, nailers (pneumatic nailers) and spray guns in the compressed air version. Its high torque and great driving force are particularly impressive. In addition, your performance is constant and suitable for continuous operation.

Pneumatic tools also differ from devices that work with electrical power, as they can be used in potentially explosive areas, as no sparks or electromagnetic fields are generated.

There are also compressed air tools that perform tasks that power tools cannot do at all, including cleaning guns (compressed air guns).


The air with which a compressed air tool works naturally has to come from somewhere. In industrial halls there are the right systems for this: A compressor generates compressed air at a central location, this is processed and routed directly to the respective workplace via compressed air pipe networks. A permanently installed compressed air pipe network is of course unnecessary and impractical for private use. A mobile compressor is used here to generate compressed air. The tool is then connected to the compressor with a compressed air hose.

Find the right compressed air tool

It is particularly important: the compressed air tool and the compressor must fit together.

Which compressed air tool is the right one depends on the application or the air requirement of the compressed air device.

Air requirement

The air requirement is given in liters per second (l / s) or air consumption per action. The latter can be the need per punch or per nail.

In order to find out the air requirement, it must be calculated how many nails, blows, holes (...) per minute are necessary for the application. This results in the air consumption per minute, which then has to be coordinated with the effective delivery rate of the compressor.

Work pressure

In addition, there is the maximum required working pressure for the compressed air tool, which must also be taken into account.

Most pneumatic tools have a working pressure of around 7 bar. Smaller compressors with average performance quickly reach their limit with very powerful devices at this value. Particularly powerful compressed air tools are, for example, impact wrenches or sandblasting guns.

Which oil is suitable for air tools?

When choosing the oil, you should make sure that it is acid-free and resin-free.

Pneumatic oil, sewing machine oil or precision mechanics oil are particularly suitable.


In a direct comparison with power tools, pneumatic tools can score points with a number of properties. This is especially true for professional use, where efficiency and ease of work save time and money.

  • Robustness and a long life cycle due to the lack of vulnerable electronics
  • efficient energy conversion
  • stepless adjustability
  • high load
  • insensitive to temperature fluctuations.
  • high working speeds with constant force
  • Especially for do-it-yourselfers: compressed air tools are lighter in weight than power tools
  • lots of choice in the affordable price segment
  • Simple speed control: Components are required to control the speed of electrical tools. Pneumatic tools, on the other hand, can easily be controlled in speed by reducing or increasing the air flow cross-section with a diaphragm.

application areas

Pneumatic tools can be used in different areas and for different activities:

  • in the industrial sector
  • in car workshops (check tire pressure, lubricate and screw e.g. with a tire pressure gun / tire inflator. Tire inflators are also available with calibrated calibration)
  • on construction sites or when renovating (drilling, chiseling and grouting, e.g. when building the interior of a house)
  • in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector (energy sector)
  • for cleaning purposes (spraying, cleaning and disinfecting e.g. with a high pressure cleaner)
  • for assembly & fastening purposes
  • in painting and varnishing companies (priming, spraying and varnishing e.g. with a paint spray gun)
  • in metal processing (grinding, cutting and sawing)
  • in wood processing (nailing, stapling and sanding)
  • in the DIY sector

The market: manufacturers, suppliers, brands, online shops

These include Aircraft, Chicago Pneumatic, Metabo, RODCRAFT, Würth, DEPRAG, elmag