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ELECTRIC vs PNEUMATIC (air)...what tools do you prefer?!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Buzznut, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    I've always liked that pneumatic tools seem to be tougher / built better, are cheaper to run, can reach longer distances without lugging around a heavy power cord and seem to offer more torque, but in all honesty the constant cycling of my 60 gallon compressor and having to wait for it to full up to get peak torque is driving me crazy and delaying my project when it comes to stripping paint using a DA and grinding, buffing, and polishing aluminum and stainless using a die grinder. Are there any electric DA's or grinders worth buying that offer decent torque and reliability at less than an arm and a leg price? What do you guys use? Prefer?
  2. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    I havent had a compressor for 5 years or so, dont miss it a bit. why run a 6 horse motor to run a 1/4 horse tool?
  3. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    Yeah Tinman, I hear ya. I am so tired of the noise and the cycling I really don't even want to hook the hoses up to my air tools anymore...
  4. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    The hardest thing about it, besides not having air to run the tool for more than 240 seconds at a time, is that everyone wants to hang out at the pool house and go swimming while I'm in the garage and the noise it makes is so irritating that they don't even want to be within 50 feet of the pool. I want them all to enjoy the summer so I haven't touched my project much in the past 45's killin me.

  5. hozem396
    Joined: May 4, 2011
    Posts: 287

    from ohio

    I have both pneumatic & electric. I have found that I mostly use manual. Maybe there is something wrong with me but I am always under the car wrenching away thinking to myself, "you know, you have an air compresser....." By the time I get the tools out and run the hose around the garage I would have been done. The electric seems to not fit anywhere except when I am taking off the wheels - even then, I find myself using a 4-way. Am I stupid, sick, or both? Probably both.
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,271


    I use a big electric grinder for removing a lot of metal at once. I use a small right angle air grinder for small jobs. And the small air cutoff wheel too. I use electric drills, I never got the hang of using an air drill--too fast, not enough stall torque, or something.

    I don't know what to do about your air compressor noise problem, except to suggest that you build a shack for it on the other side of the shop? or something. Mine is outside.

    The problem with the air getting used up to fast, is that you need to spend $1200 for a real compressor.
  7. alex211
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 39

    from NW PA

    My compressor is in its own little room, it runs at a fairly low rpm and you can barely hear it when it kicks on in the shop.

    My little compressor, old tank with a china pump. Makes enough air for painting and most air tools, I just wouldn't try sand blasting with it though.

  8. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    I don't think ours was that cheap...I remember it being around $800 or $900 back in 1998. It's an upright orange tank, black compressor - I think it's Campbell Hausfeld but I could be wrong.
  9. Imwalkin
    Joined: Jul 29, 2004
    Posts: 539

    from Tucson, Az

    I use a porter cable electric da. A little pricey but worth every penny.
  10. I like air tools for some jobs and keep my tank filled up all the time. But I don't care for air driven drills. So I own a corded drill as well. If you use your drill a lot investing in a high quality cordless drill and a couple of extra batteries makes a lot of sense.
  11. Happy to say I am blessed with both and use them. More often I use the electric, except for the big air impact. There are just jobs that the electric 1/2" drive wont cut it. For a little tech tip--- buy yourself a H/F or Grizzly electric Router Control for the small electric tools. You can get one in foot control or knob adjustment. Its great to be able to control the speed like you can with the control. Saves $$$ on the expendables too. Dont try using the router control for a drill press or something like large that, sure way to smoke a motor. Real small port work, or making a precision fixture or tooling, a 1/8" die grinder and air is the only way to go, TR
  12. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

    I have both but tend to use my electric tools for sanding and grinding because I have the typical problem of waiting for my 60 gallon compressor to fill up when I use a pneumatic sander or grinder. When I get the chance, I am going to sell my compressor and by a 2 stage compressor so I can run my pneumatic tools without waiting.
  13. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    For a good electric grinder/sander go to a real welding shop and buy a Metabo. Bosch also holds up well for the money in angle grinders. Frankly, I would rather drag an extension cord than an air line. In small angle grinders, DA sanders, inline sanders, etc, air.
  14. ecna
    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
    Posts: 128


    Electric drill, cordless for screws, air for everything else.

    Actually, I find myself just wrenching more often than I think I should!
  15. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,917


    I use a foot control on alot of tools as well. You can use the foot control on any motor that has brushes.

    I like electric tools, but air tools are light and usually fit into tight areas
    better. I have both....
  16. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    i like my air impacts,small angle grinders , small angle drill and small body big grinder is electric.and ive started using my cordless drill alot and a cordless sawsall..

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