Staff, Courtesy of Ingersoll Rand
Air hammers, or “air-chisels,” might not be the most common power tool you think of, but these powerful little machines put a tremendous amount of power in the palm of your hand. Think of them as mini-jackhammers, whose compact size and pistol grip allows them to be used in a variety of demo applications, and also allow users to maintain control while they work. Although they’re primarily used for auto-body work like removing frozen wheel-bearing hubs and exhausts, and popping ball joints loose, they’re also useful for metal or masonry demolition tasks, like cutting sheet metal and busting up concrete.
What to Consider
You should first consider what type of job you want your air hammer to perform before you purchase one. A good way to find the best option for you is to compare the BPM (blows per minute) generated by each model. Lower BPM hammers have longer barrels, which takes more time for the piston to return to position, and allow the hammer to transfer maximum force in each blow, which is perfect for less precise, but more destructive jobs. As a general rule, the higher the BPMs, the less power is transferred per blow, which is usually more suited for lighter-duty tasks that require a bit more control.
How We Selected
After thorough online research, including expert opinions and customer feedback, we narrowed down our list of the best air hammers to these eight options. We made sure to include picks from most of the well-respected and high-quality brands in the business, like Ingersoll Rand and Chicago Pneumatic, who have been making tools for over a hundred years. Although air hammers aren’t cheap tools, we did our best to include several lower-budget options in our selection, while also keeping a couple high-end options for those who need maximum durability and hammering power.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Ingersoll Rand 114GQC Air Hammer
This Ingersoll Rand air hammer would be a great choice for anyone who wants a high-quality tool at a reasonable price. Its rugged steel construction will stand up to the abuse of busy workshops, and with the ability to generate speeds of 3,500 RPMs, is more than capable of handling most air hammer jobs.
It also comes with a three-piece chisel set, which includes a panel cutter, flat chisel, and a tapered punch. These chisels are simple to swap out too, thanks to this model’s quick-change retainer. An ergonomic handle also makes for a sturdy, comfortable grip.
- Low price
- Durable construction
Best for maximum destruction
Chicago Pneumatic CP717K Super Duty Air Hammer Kit
This Chicago Pneumatic hammer wouldn’t be ideal for projects that require a lighter touch, but if you just need to break down large fasteners and metalwork by any means necessary, this hammer could be a great option. The positive action trigger provides total control over its speed, and thanks to the four included chisels, should have you covered for any large-scale, heavy-duty projects.
It’s capable of delivering 1,800 blows per minute, and the ultra-powerful operation allows you to easily shear bolts and remove kingpins. The included hard-sided carrying case is also a nice perk.
- Very powerful
- Durable construction
- Extremely expensive
- May be too powerful for smaller tasks
Best Budget Option
Rockwood Air Hammer 4 Chisel Set Kit
Don’t have the budget for a high-end unit, but still need the functionality of an air hammer? This Rockwood model could be a good fit. It’s probably not going to hold up as well as more expensive hammers, but its four chisel bits and 4,500 BPM speed — for about $20 — make this deal hard to pass up. Its compact size makes it useful for projects that bulkier hammers would have trouble accessing, and also makes it easier to store when not in use. At only 3.19 pounds, it’s also one of the lighter options on our list.
- Very affordable
- Includes four bits
- No carrying case
- Not suited for heavy-duty projects
Best Short-Barrel Option
Ingersoll Rand 123MAXK Short Barrel Air Hammer Kit
The short barrel design of this Ingersoll Rand hammer makes it ideal for tasks that need a bit more precision, like light-duty automotive work and demolition.
Its shock-resistant handle also makes it comfortable to use, and helps to prevent slippage and arm fatigue while you use it. We also appreciate the full set of five chisel bits, as well as the swiveling air inlet keeps your hose from getting twisted and kinked during use. At just 7.2 inches in length, this hammer is also going to be easier to store and transport than bulkier, heavier options.
- Good selection of bits
- May not be powerful enough for heavy-duty jobs
Best for Occasional Use
CRAFTSMAN CMXPTSG1010NB Air Hammer
This Craftsman hammer delivers mid-range power at a surprisingly low price, and generates 2,800 blows per minute. The rubber grip is another big selling point of this tool, and should provide a sturdy and solid grip while you work, making it useful for tasks that require maximum control.
The biggest drawback to this model is the lack of a quick-change bit adaptor, which makes it less convenient to swap out different bits. But if you think you’ll be sticking with a single bit for most of your projects, that might not be a deal breaker.
- No quick-change mechanism for bits
Most Affordable Heavy-Duty Option
Chicago Pneumatic CP714 Classic Series Heavy-Duty Air Hammer
We’re big fans of how much control this hammer gives the user. A regulator mounted on the bottom of the handle allows you to dial in the output power to your specific task, and the positive action trigger increases or decreases its speed depending on how much pressure you apply.
This is also a nice and lightweight tool — weighing just 3.3 pounds — and thanks to an ergonomic handle and trigger, should be comfortable to use for longer projects. The one-year limited warranty is a nice perk as well, and will have you covered in the event of any manufacturer defects.
Most chisel options
Ingersoll Rand 121Q Super Duty Air Hammer
The 3,000 BPM rate and collection of six chisel types makes this hammer an especially useful option, capable of handling the majority of small and large hammering tasks.
The variable speed trigger makes it even more versatile, allowing you to control its speed and customize the power output to your specific task. The steel constriction and heat-treated piston also make this tool nice and durable, and should extend its lifespan longer than cheaper options.
It’s a bit heavier than the other hammers on our list, but the included storage case should make it easy to carry around and transport.
- Includes bottle of oil
- Affordable price
Best Heavy-Duty Option
AirCat 5300-A-T Super Duty Air Hammer
If your priority is raw power, this AirCat model might be just what you’re looking for. It’s designed to quickly and effectively drive out heavy-duty pins and cut through large bolts and fasteners, producing 1,760 blows per minute.
A quick-change retainer allows you to easily switch out chisels and punches, and the included 2-year warranty should have you covered in the case of any manufacturing defects. Keep in mind that this hammer doesn’t include any chisels, so if you’re just starting out, you may want to consider one of our other sets.
- Ergonomic handle
- Very powerful
- Does not include any chisels
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below