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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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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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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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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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 :thumbup:
 

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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" :rolleyes: 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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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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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. :pimp:
 

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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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oldred said:
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" :rolleyes: 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 :thumbup:
 

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oldred said:
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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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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Oldred is dead on, sounds to me like you need to go get the higher-end cheap stuff. Unless you plan on making this a carreer change they should service you well. I would like to recommend that you make sure you lube them with a good air-tool oil. I prefer marvel mystery air tool oil ("what's in it" I don't know it's a mystery) :D but that's personal preference, most all are good just use it. Brian :thumbup:
 

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Oldred

and I agree about how quality trumps cost all day, everyday. As to marvel mystery oil.............. that is a highly underrated product that has been around for most of my life. I did not think to use it on my air tools. It will do the most outrageous things, it will also clean and free up a sticky valve when poured down the carb. The magic bullet so to speak. I bet there are loads of people (older mechanics) that know very well the benefits and uses of marvel mystery oil, good stuff, always have some around.
 

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Can't add anything the guys haven't covered except to agree, you get what you pay for.
I've used Campbell Hausfeld air tools for the most part doing just my own work. Fairly cheap tools but seems to work fine for hobby work. The straight and angle grinders seem to work fine. The cut off wheel is a little hard to work with with the guard in place.
I've also found that while the 3/8" air ratchet doesn't have a lot of grunt for frozen nuts and bolts, the 1/2" impact has handled anything I've needed it to.

I went to the local cheapo store today and they had several tools on close out for $10, got an medium size air chisel that I doubt I'll use more than a few times but for $10 it's almost disposable.
 

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Ok my two cents...just be sure to oil the tools, cause if you don't they will wear out much quicker...especially the HF tools
 

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Mostly for me it depends on quality of work I'll be doing, the amount I'll use the tool vs. cost and then compare that with warranty or replacement issues...

For instance I wouldn't buy a welder from HF - you'd have to send it out for service/repair - this I would buy locally for warranty and service/parts

Craftsman makes some great tools and are perfect for a home shop, but if you make your living Snap-On, Matco, or others where they come by your business can actually save you money..if you value your time and don't want to have to drive to Sears to replace/buy a tool.

I have a complete Craftsman set I built from scratch a couple of years ago (2500.00+), and a another full-set of a combination of Snap-On and Matco from when I was working full time in the bodyshop some 20+ years ago.

My only suggestion if you buy Craftsman is get the Professional Level hand tools. The wrenches and ratchets are highly polished (look better and easier to clean) and better ergonomically than the cheaper sets.

Get Sockets that have the sizes laser engraved on the sides for easy identification...you'll be surprised at the difference when using them.

Again I look at my criteria outlined above and for instance..I bought 8 Snap-On body hammers and 4 snap-on dollies...they're expensive but they are the best...I have one that I have used for over 25 years with the original handle and still use it.

HF tools are cheap, but for low use or throw-away tools HF is the one of the best for the buck.

Air tools are kinda a [email protected] shoot if you ask me...any of the newer tools I don't think would ever hold up like some of the old ones I still have and use constantly...for instance I have a National Detroit 900 Mudhog that I bought in 1982 for 160.00+-, it's never been rebuilt other than pad replacements - still works like a champ...I have another hand-held no-name grinder I bought at the same time (1982) and this one also has never been rebuilt and still works like a champ and the bearings are tight!

Then you take an air tool like a mini right angle grinder - HF routinely sells these for under 20.00 - but the bearings are cheap and they don't last more than 1 year under constant use...same with HF mini-air saws...

Just my .02
 
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