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Harvey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/15/24 8:23 a.m.

I haven't been doing that much car work since I sold the C6 Z06 and got the C8, but anytime I do something I find myself never using air tools and instead just using battery tools. I'm curious about people's experiences and what they are using.


NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/15/24 8:31 a.m.

My air compressor doesn't see much action anymore. I really only use it for filling tires, DA sander and paint gun. Other than that I am all electric.

One of my friends still uses mostly air and when I work in his shop I am reminded of why I have gone mostly electric. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/15/24 8:40 a.m.

Yep, since I got an electric impact, my compressor is barely getting used. It's just so much more convenient.

rslifkin PowerDork
2/15/24 8:40 a.m.

The compressor in my garage gets used for filling tires and to run an impact.  Everything else I've got is electric (and I don't have a huge compressor).  I won't let the air impact go, however, as I've seen a $50 air impact easily out-perform a more expensive electric impact that's rated for more torque. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/24 8:42 a.m.

i never laid down the $$$ for a baller electric impact, so i still break out the air impact when i run into a fastener my pansy gun won't remove.  typically, i still use a breaker bar to crack 'em loose, and the battery tool to spin them out.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/24 8:45 a.m.

It's been a couple of years since I've needed air tools and even then, I only used them for really stubborn bolts. Getting the big DeWalt battery impact changed everything, but I use the smaller 3/8" drive one for most stuff. 

I use a little pancake compressor for tires and the locks on my lift. That's all I really need at this point .

The only reason I've held on to my big compressor is for the sand blaster, but I haven't even used that for a while, so I should probably sell them both. I could use some extra space. 

Sonic UberDork
2/15/24 8:46 a.m.
NY Nick said:

My air compressor doesn't see much action anymore. I really only use it for filling tires, DA sander and paint gun. Other than that I am all electric.

I'm the same way.  Can't get rid of it, but I am considering moving my air tools to a box in the basement as they never get used any more, freeing up a drawer in my tool box. 

RonnieFnD Reader
2/15/24 9:07 a.m.

This guy.  I still have a 1/2" air impact for the occasional over tightened lug nut but I use battery for everything. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
2/15/24 9:10 a.m.

I skipped air tools entirely, I have a whole bunch of Milwaukee stuff and my compressor just feeds the tire machine.

Harvey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/15/24 9:10 a.m.

I'm the same as AngryCorvair, I have a Ryobi battery 1/2" impact which works well, but it's not quite powerful enough, so I end up using the breaker bar for lugs at times or I have a Matco air impact that I got for cheap off eBay that will remove anything. I just find it annoying to bring the air online as the compressor is so loud. I considered buying one of the quieter ones, but then realized I hardly use the thing.

Last few times I've used the compressor were as a giant canned air blaster. If I need to air something up I use my battery powered air compressor.

I think I'm gonna go to Harbor Freight and get this impact and then my problems with needing more torque will be over.

I could also use more space in the garage and am considering just getting rid of the big compressor. Might give me an excuse to get something small and quiet like this.

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/15/24 9:11 a.m.

I have a whole box of air tools in the basement that are gathering dust. I am looking to probably well them off as they just are not getting used. I pull out my electric tools almost exclusively. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/24 9:18 a.m.

Air tools. You can't beat the power of a hundred psi backed up by a utility scale power plant, and they don't run out of battery at inopportune times. The key is hose reels. 

adam525i GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/15/24 9:21 a.m.

When things go bad and whatever part just needs to come off/out I still bust out an air line and grab the air hammer, then I wonder why I didn't just start there. There are electric SDS hammer drills that can sort of replicate this in a much larger package but they don't really compare, price wise you can probably get a cheap compressor and air hammer for less and deliver more power (and fill your tires too).

Otherwise I'm cordless electric.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
2/15/24 9:23 a.m.

The only time I fire up my air compressor anymore is when I need to blow something off or do body work. Battery powered Ryobi tools have replaced it for everything else and are far more useful and convenient and Powerful

adam525i GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/15/24 9:25 a.m.

I think part of this comes down to how much space you have to work with. In a large shop with a lift airlines running to a tool from a reel isn't that much of a nuisance. In my little garage where there isn't even space for a creeper so I'm crawling around on foam matts under a car an airline in the way is a pain in the ass. 

brandonsmash GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/15/24 9:29 a.m.

I went almost all-battery several years ago and haven't looked back. For automotive work I don't even have an air compressor in the garage anymore. 

Where I do use shop air is in the workshop where I need to have air for the plasma cutters and machine tool coolant hoses. That's about it, though. Every once in a long while I'll get out the air hammer or needle scaler but that's rare. 


theruleslawyer New Reader
2/15/24 9:33 a.m.

It never made sense to get air tools for me. A large noisy compressor in a tiny garage was a non-started. I'm just glad the electric versions are finally good and reasonably cheap now. The battery might be more of an issue if you're working all day, but for an average home garage it seems to work great.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
2/15/24 9:45 a.m.

Less and less. Tires (my emergency inflator is usually in my truck or trailer), blowing things off, and the occasional use of the impact when my 20v converted 1/2" impact can't get it done. If I had to paint something with a spray gun I'd probably use it more. I don't even keep the tank full anymore. 

rattfink81 Reader
2/15/24 9:52 a.m.

I ditched my air compressor as I didn't have a garage so it was a pain to move it and store it.

I have a bunch of 18volt tools but on a few occasions wish I still had access to air.

ShawnG MegaDork
2/15/24 10:07 a.m.

No way.

My air impact comes out when my battery impact won't cut it.

My long-barrel air hammer gets used for suspension work a lot. I've got carpal tunnel and beating something out with a club hammer and punch isn't my idea of fun anymore. Plus, the air tool is faster than I am and hits way harder.

Ranger50 MegaDork
2/15/24 10:10 a.m.

Next drag n drive I'm on, it will be all electric tools. I have Milwaukee m12 and m18 inflators, 1/2 and 3/8 impacts, and 3/8 and 1/4 ratchets. Zero reasons to have a pancake compressor or something else. 
Even at home, I don't use the compressor unless I am needed to use a blowgun.

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
2/15/24 10:12 a.m.

I also skipped air tools entirely. I have a compressor but my cordless stuff works so good for what I use it for I never invested in air stuff. Plus I cant stand listening to the compressor when working in the garage. It gets used to fill tires and that is about it. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/15/24 10:16 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Air tools. You can't beat the power of a hundred psi backed up by a utility scale power plant, and they don't run out of battery at inopportune times. The key is hose reels. 

I have 6 batteries on a multi-charger in my shop. That's part of the reason I went with Ryobi. Cheap batteries. I'm not too worried about running out of juice. Then again, I'm just a DIY hobbyist fiddling around in my garage, I'm not running a professional shop like you are.

2/15/24 10:18 a.m.

Prefer electric but die grinders seem to work better on air and the indispensable finger grinder/belt sanders cost a fortune if you opt for good ones and battery power.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/24 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

I'm talking about my home garage :) I have Ryobi electrics to as well (I have a few cordless drills for some reason) but they're not the latest. Nice thing about air, there's no need to keep buying the latest version that has another 2V :) What do 6 Ryobi batteries and a multi-charger run, about $500?

At the shop, the older guys run air and the young guys use battery. They also tend to attempt to use 3/8" for everything instead of 1/2" drive, go figure. Lug nuts are far more effort than they should be...

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