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#1404365 Fri Apr 02 2021 05:56 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,934
Sir Searchalot
I have both. Here's the deal. Great for painting and maybe DA''s and blowing stuff off. Other than that they are a pain to the max.
1. Need big compressor for most tools. Big psi, large storage, CFM and of course, "etc."
2. Need 50A, 220V for that.
3. They will run out of air if compressor too small.
4. Gotta oil the tools before every use.
5. Gotta buy and keep special oil around for that.
6. Gotta drain them because they accumulate water in bottom and will rust. Gotta change the oil after xx hours.
7. Gotta drag hoses around.
8. Gotta have pipes and outlets, filters, separators, regulators, dryers...... Buncha ball valves.
9. Gotta have pipe drain legs and drain them every day.
10. Gotta have a place to roll up all that hose.
11. Compressor noisy, expensive, takes up space.
12. Can't use the tools at a relative's house to fix something or their vehicle. (Parents, grand parents, daughters, sons, granddaughters, grandsons, sisters, brothers, inlaws, uncle dimwit. Aunt CooCoo........)
13. The whole deal is a veritable nightmare waiting to happen or whatever.

Electric: (corded and cordless)
1. Plug it in to 120V....or keep several batteries charged.
2. Take tools with you to relative's house, job site, salvage yard, remote tire change, out in the yard, in the driveway, in the house..........

If you think air tools are so great, I got a green new deal for ya........ and a couple of bridges.

I do like the back rap sound of a big air impact after it busts a lug nut loose. Makes the neighbor lady think you are a handsome mechanic....but I digest, back to the point.

Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 591
Agreed. Electric is my first choice if I have the same tool in both. Another advantage the electric has is RPM control.

Larry Kephart
1937 Chevy Utility Express (Deerslayer)
1955 1st 3100 Chevy (BillyBob)
2017 Cadillac ATS-V (Elvira)
Boca Raton, Florida
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 701
A pneumatic die grinder is about $20 and a decent electric one is close to $100 and is 4 times the size and heavy. I have also never seen a right angle electric. JMHO.

Last edited by mick53; Fri Apr 02 2021 12:59 PM.

Old enough to know better, too young to resist.
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 34
I have no comment from experience but I appreciate your opinion with pros and cons. At this late start in the hobby some electric may be a good option.

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,436
Workshop Owner
Mostly agree, but still need a few air tools and a decent compressor for painting, blasting and blowing crud out of holes.


J Lucas

1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton
1942 Chevy 1.5-Ton SWB
1959 Chevy Apache 31 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Apache 32 Fleetside
1969 Chevy C-50 Grain Truck

My Flicker Photos! []

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,137
A necessary evil - the compressor that is. My tool of choice for sanding is the electric sander. I find battery tools to be a PIA because I always forget to charge them, or, I leave them on the charger and ruin the battery. But, for portability - you cant beat them.

I seem to have air tools for specialized applications - such as an inline sander, small die grinders and air guns. I don't know what other options there are for spraying a quality automotive paint job - other than a robust compressor.

But yeah - the cost? not for the faint of heart...after wiring, supplies, driers, hoses, connectors, oil, and maintenance.

All in all- a mix of both seems to be the best solution to respond to either large long term tasks, or for the short 10 minute job. I don't like firing up the Big Boy compressor just to remove one or two stubborn bolts with an air impact hammer - but its nice to have to get the job done. We have a small Dewalt pancake air compressor for filling tires, blowing off dust, fixing the mower, pumping bicycle tires and other small tasks when a large volume of air is not needed.

Attached Images
compressor 1.jpg (307.48 KB, 312 downloads)
Last edited by tom moore; Fri Apr 02 2021 03:00 PM.
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,591
I use it to top up tire pressure. Don't forget the spare. Last week, I checked the pressure in the spare in my 2010 truck; only 16 psi!

I use it to blow out the pipes in the underground sprinkler system when getting it ready for winter.

Last edited by Gord&Fran; Fri Apr 02 2021 03:11 PM.

1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,646
"Hey! I sound like Darth Vader!!
Originally Posted by bartamos
I do like the back rap sound of a big air impact after it busts a lug nut loose. Makes the neighbor lady think you are a handsome mechanic....but I digest, back to the point.

Take your pick. They come in 1/2", 3/4" or 1" drive. We've field tested the gun style in 3/4" and 1", and they work great. In fact, more than once I hear my guys asking, "Where's the impact?" knowing that they have air driven ones in their tool boxes. Our Engineers, vehicle spec people got them for us to try out as they want to eliminate compressors on our mechanics trucks to lighten weight/increase load. What about airing up tires in the field you ask? Milwaukee makes an inflator. Otherwise, we've gotten out of the heavy truck tire business and let our vendor take care of those. Cost savings, I guess.

By the way, sand blast cabinet. Discuss.......

Attached Images
1inchimpacta.png (552.76 KB, 286 downloads)
1inchimpactb.jpg (10.63 KB, 286 downloads)
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,934
Sir Searchalot
I do have a air die grinder and really really use my blast cabinet. It's why I got a compressor. I don't paint. Just warning new guys of the pitfalls and other opportunities. Those who have been around for awhile have figured out all if this already. Just want beginners to not forget electric. Just a greasy spoon type post. It boils down to the number of trucks/cars you are going to do. Some will just do one and others will do 20 or have a business. I've done over 20.
All the comments and opinions are good food for thought. Keep them coming.

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,174
Have air tools that sit in my toolbox, been using De Walt 20v stuff for years. Use them to make a living, or what passes for a living as fixing rig for the General.

1960 Chevy C10 driver 261 T5 3.73 dana 44
1949 GMC 250 project in waiting
1960 C60 pasture art
Retired GM dealer tech. 1980 - 2022
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