In nearly every industry sector, electric tools and pneumatic air tools are used. Manufacturers will often prioritise reducing costs where they can, making electric power tools a clear choice initially. However, in the long-term, pneumatic air tools boast a lower total cost of ownership and prove to have greater productivity.

Read on to find out why pneumatic tools may be better than electric tools.

Better Ergonomics

The heavier the tool, the more strain is put on the operator. For ergonomic factors, weight and vibration are considered when thinking about holding equipment throughout the entire workday. Higher vibration levels can result in additional stress on the user, making the process longer and increasing the likelihood for work-related injuries and subsequent staff sickness. Overall, pneumatic air tools provide better ergonomics than electric tools.

Productivity Levels

A pneumatic tool is overall more productive than its electric counterpart, and is less likely to be overloaded, therefore maintaining its power. Electric tools on the other hand can become overloaded with use and the motor can be damaged as a result.

This means, electric tools may be more prone to repairs or in need of replacement than pneumatic ones. It is therefore possible to be more productive with pneumatic air tools.

Less Risks

Because air tools use no electricity, they pose less of a threat compared to electric tools. Tools are often used in conditions around flammable liquids, moisture, and conductive materials. If met with exposed cords or wires, there could be the threat of electric shock.

Air tools, however, don’t use electricity and because their rotary vane air motors don’t create a spark, they pose less of a risk in their working environment.

Resistant to Harsh Environments

Electric tool life is mostly affected by dust and heat, but other threats include water or extreme heat. Their motors need rest in between use as, over time, the heat generated can reduce performance and may cause tool failure. The tool’s open grate style motor compartments also create opportunities for dirt and debris to become built up.

To contrast, air tools have a 100% duty cycle enabling them to run 24 hours, 7 days a week without the need for periodic rest. They are designed for their working environments, therefore more resistant and less likely to fail prematurely.


Industrial grade tools can be rebuilt and serviced over the years but are not a disposable kind of equipment. The duration between each servicing ranges between 60 and 120 hours, and the tool will often need brushes after this also.

Garage or maintenance grade air tools can last up to 200 hours between servicing, and the industrial grade grinder is able to run 2000 hours between necessary tune ups.

Power to Weight Ratio

Since pneumatic tools are able to create more power in relation to their weight and size, they have a superior power-to-weight ratio compared to electric tools. For example, only approximately 50-60% of electric grinder’s wattage actually reaches the spindle attached to the tool. With pneumatic tools, power in equals power out, so the power rating specified is correct.

With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, we are trusted to provide a range of air tools management and air compressor servicing options. If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your air tools and the best way to maintain both the equipment and your operations, come to Air Power East for expert advice, guidance, and high-quality products.

Contact us directly to speak to one of our friendly team members about your requirements today.

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