In our last blog post, we listed some of the ways in which air tools were preferable to electric ones. This post will examine the flip side of the coin – the advantages that electric tools have over air power tools.

First of all, batteries. Portable battery-powered electric tools are getting smaller and lighter all the time. While you can run a pneumatic tool with an attached tank of compressed air or CO2, these solutions are heavy and rare. While bigger tools such as portable band saws give way more bang for the buck if you use the air variety, there’s simply no pneumatic equivalent for a small rechargeable hand-held screwdriver.

Second, price. If you’re looking for top performance and reliability, air tools are your thing, but for private workshop fix-ups where tools are used on household-grade materials and failure won’t doom an oil rig, you can find equivalent electric tools that run you way cheaper.

Next, while electric tools will run as long as they’re plugged in, with air tools, you also need to keep in mind compressor CFM (cubic feet per minute) pumping capacity vs. the CFM demands of your tool. This isn’t much of a problem with tools that are weak or used intermittently – for example, a pneumatic flooring stapler is powerful, but uses up air in short bursts, so the compressor has plenty of time to refill the tank. However, if you plug a powerful air tool into an underpowered compressor, and use it continuously, prepare to spend some frustrating intervals waiting for the tank to fill up.

These are some of the advantages that electric tools have over pneumatic ones.