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Old 01-14-2007, 10:23 AM
jor jor is offline
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Air Tools

I'm going to buy a few air tools now that I have an adequate compressor and piping system in my garage and I'm looking for brand recommendations. I've had a Craftsman impact for a long time and it works fine. I also have a Husky cut-off wheel and an Allied Pneumatic 3/8" drill motor. They all seem to work fine. I see Central Pneumatic at Harbor Freight, TPTools stuff there along with Chicago Pneumatic and Rockwell and, of course, Craftsman at Sears. The prices seem to run the gamut. Anyhow, looking for some recommendations. Thanks.
jor

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Old 01-14-2007, 12:08 PM
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The old adage of "You get what you pay for" definitely applies here. Most of the cheaper tools will seem to work ok but most have some trade-offs such as they will consume more air for the same amount of power as the better ones and of course some cheapies just don't last long. The Harbor Freight knock-offs seem to work ok but it depends on what you intend to do with them, if you are going to use them to make your living then go with Snap-On, IngerSoll, CP, Etc and forget the "bargain" brands. If you intend to use them for home shop/hobby use then the cheapies may be ok but it is a crap shoot. For example the Harbor Freight "Earthquake" impact wrenches are a knock-off of the IngerSoll "Thunder Gun" and cost less than half as much and are real brutes for torque, I mean these things have some punch! Will they hold up? Probably not as long as the real IngerSoll but who knows? Some HF air tools are just plain junk, most cheap die grinders seem to do ok with stones but most will ruin a carbide burr($$$$$) in a hurry because they will not run as smooth as the good brands and so will beat the teeth off them. There is much to consider when deciding which brand such as "What do I intend to use it for? (work-hobby) and how much are you willing to spend. It would be a bad idea to go to HF or Tractor Supply for air tools for professional use but it would also not make sense to buy Snap-On just to use occasionally for home /hobby use.
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Old 01-14-2007, 12:36 PM
jor jor is offline
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I'm just a shade tree, nothing professional. How about the HomeDepot Husky brand vs. Craftsman? Most of my hand tools are Craftsman. Thanks.
jor
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:33 PM
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Air Tools

It depends on what your going to do. I have air tools from HF that Ive used for many years, air ratchets,sanders impact wrenches, you name it. Most of these have only seen use on a part time basis, but at times have been called on to put in a full days work when Im pushing to complete a project. Others I used at work as an A&P mechanic, and I have yet to have a failure. Keep them lubed and keep the water/ moisture out, and HF will do just fine.
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:02 PM
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Air Tools

I have quite a few Harbor Freight air tools and I am overall happy with them. I have used and abused them, but have gotten go sevice out of most of them. If you watch for sales u can save some bucks, u can even afford to buy backups if you are not close to a store. I have had some fail, but for the prices I am way ahead. I have a lot of tools of all brands and not hung up on any particular brand.
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Old 01-14-2007, 06:11 PM
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I have an aircat nitrocat 1/2" impact, 1/4" & a 3/8" aircat ratchets, they can't be beat if you like QUIET tools. Sad thing is I bought another brand 3/8" ratchet which will never get used because it is LOUD. The aircat ratchets are about as loud as my 3/8" electric drill. Try to figure out what kind of work you'll be doing & what tools you'll need to do it. The ones that'll be used a lot get high quality ones the first time, it's cheaper & less frustrating, stuff that you'll seldom use look into the cheap stuff to save money. Don't buy your tools in a toolkit, buy them individually you'll get better tools & won't get things like an impact that won't take off tight lugnuts, etc.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:28 PM
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Was a line mech for Land Rover (where being without work is never a concern), and am now doing this for a living. Have had the gamut, and would confidently recommend most anything from the Craftsman Professional series. My 1/2" impact from them has taken off many a nut that my Snap-On and others wouldn't touch. I've been the most happy with these, although I have a little blue 1/4" air rachet (Snap-On / Blue Point) that is the best I've found for that size (not strength, but finesse & flexability). Stay away from the cheapies (HF, NAPA, Home Depot, etc), IMHO...
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Old 01-14-2007, 11:33 PM
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ingersoll rand is the best air impacts u can get it will do anything as long as u have enough air for it, i promise

Harbor Freight makes good electric motor stuff like grinders (bought one for $9.99) and reciprocating saw ($20) i promise u that too

as for hand tools Snapon, Mac and Craftsman beats all,
Longneck aint that bad either (life time warranty)

but when i took Automotive Tech, they preached to us that it pays to get the best tool

hope that helps
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:46 AM
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If you have decided to go the "bargain route", and that may not be a bad idea for home/hobby use, then HF is the way to go because of price. The "quality" of HF tools is as good as the Home Depot, Advance Auto, etc stuff and costs a lot less--never pay full price because if what you want is not on sale today it will be soon! IngerSoll makes a mid-grade, as does CP, line that costs less than the true pro tools but more than the cheapies so these may be a good compromise. Actually even HF has some better grade tools such as that "Thunder Gun" impact I mentioned before which is a really good tool for the money but the really cheap ones are total junk so dont buy the cheapest they have, I would put that "Thunder Gun" up against anything for torque. The Craftsman pro line is good but it is nothing more than relabled "brand name" tools and costs about the same, not sure about the newer ones but back in the early 80's they were mostly CP.
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Old 01-15-2007, 09:36 AM
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hands down Ingsol rand, I am also a hobby builder and started out with a couple of HFs. I thought I would not need the better branded tools... well save your money and buy the better tool up front cause you'll end up spending it in the end. The best example I can give is take 2 angle grinders one HF and an Ingsol rand, chuck up a rolock and go to work on a sheet metal panel, try to rough it up 40/80 grit and just see which one stalls with the least amount of pressure that will tell you all. The HF will hardly put teeth in the metal. The other information I would offer, and frankly I have not seen anyone mention this before, but here goes. With the better branded tools you can put an air control valve (HF) on the tool and run it at different speeds and get the job done. The advantage of the better tool is it has horse power and will work at lower speeds, which gives the user better overall control, will not get away from you, less mistakes. Going at full speed all the time is just right for drag racing, but using tools requires a little finesse now and then. One other note IR tells the user the horse power of the tool, most others just list cfm/rpm, this is consumption information . Hope you are not getting confused but there is a lot more to a tool then the price.
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Old 01-15-2007, 10:19 AM
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I have a Craftsman that never did as well as I expected.
Until I installed larger air fittings, wow, what a difference.
If you have the std 1/4" fittings that everyone uses,
try the 3/8" ones. It makes a big difference.
I got mine at Home Depot, they connect to std air hose threads.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:28 AM
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Pepi, You make a really good point and that is one of the "compromises" I mentioned earlier when I said the cheap tools will use more air for the same power but your explanation makes a lot more sense. The parts fit on the cheap tools is sloppy thus they will leak air internally and if you try to run them slowly most will simply stall out even if they seem to have a lot of power wide open. Also the fact that most cheap air grinders do not run very smooth causes grinding discs and stones to get out of balance fairly quickly and as I mentioned before most will ruin a carbide burr in short order for that reason.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
If you have decided to go the "bargain route", and that may not be a bad idea for home/hobby use, then HF is the way to go because of price. The "quality" of HF tools is as good as the Home Depot, Advance Auto, etc stuff and costs a lot less--never pay full price because if what you want is not on sale today it will be soon! IngerSoll makes a mid-grade, as does CP, line that costs less than the true pro tools but more than the cheapies so these may be a good compromise. Actually even HF has some better grade tools such as that "Thunder Gun" impact I mentioned before which is a really good tool for the money but the really cheap ones are total junk so dont buy the cheapest they have, I would put that "Thunder Gun" up against anything for torque. The Craftsman pro line is good but it is nothing more than relabled "brand name" tools and costs about the same, not sure about the newer ones but back in the early 80's they were mostly CP.
Plain and simple,I use my tools to make a living with. You need to have a good 1/2 inch impact.(look around find what feels good in your hand ck the torque rating) I have a 600ftlbs CP that I have had about 4 years,I use it almost daily.The only thing that has happened is the socket retainer is worn and I need to replace it. I(with another mechanic) keep a fleet of 74 delivery trucks (average 9000mi a day). I have a Cmpbell Hausfeld professional air ratchet noisy but works good. My other stuff is HF stuff (90* angle grinder,3in cutoff wheel, drill, 3/8 impact) I use it at least weekly and it all works fine. Now Pepi is right about the power of these cheaper tools but if you don't get into to big hurry they don't take but alittle bit longer, for me not worth the extra expense. you can sign up for HF to send you the sale papers and for them to contact you via e-mail. Brian
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Pepi, You make a really good point and that is one of the "compromises" I mentioned earlier when I said the cheap tools will use more air for the same power but your explanation makes a lot more sense. The parts fit on the cheap tools is sloppy thus they will leak air internally and if you try to run them slowly most will simply stall out even if they seem to have a lot of power wide open. Also the fact that most cheap air grinders do not run very smooth causes grinding discs and stones to get out of balance fairly quickly and as I mentioned before most will ruin a carbide burr in short order for that reason.
Another item I have noticed is they (IR) run quieter, not a big deal cause I use ear protection but is true about the product.
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:29 PM
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For over thirty years I used my tools to maintain some of the largest mining machinery in the world and our tools were used to the limit and then some. We could not afford tool failure because of working out in the sticks far away from a quick replacement and equipment down time was far more important than taking care of tools so they got abused to the max. In this environment the good stuff gets separated quickly from the ones that can't cut it so at work I would never consider using anything but the pro lines of which there are several good brands, my overall favorite being Snap-On. For air tools the pro line IngerSoll is top notch with the Snap-On and CP being nearly as good but for home/hobby use these may be overkill unless the cost is ok with the buyer. I have seen just about everything used over the years and I know from first hand experience that there is a vast difference in how well a tool will hold up when pushed to the limit so if tool failure would cause problems then the pro lines are the way to go. We could talk about different makes of tools all day but the best way is to compare the things hands on if possible then the differences will quickly become apparent.
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