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Differentiating between air hammer models can be difficult as most models you can find on the market have the same or similar set of features. This makes the process of choosing the best air hammer chisel complicated even if you have previous experience with using these pneumatic tools.
Completing a kitchen improvement project or renovating your shower will become much easier if you have an air hammer, as these versatile tools allow you to cut or process different materials. However, you should keep in mind that you cannot use them without an air compressor.
In this guide, we are going to take you through all of the most important features of air hammers and help you find the best air hammer chisel you can use to perform a wide range of tasks.
Best 6 Air Hammer Chisels
|Best Overall: Astro 4980||Check latest price|
|Best for Professional Use: Chicago CP717||Check latest price|
|Most Affordable: Ingersoll Rand 114GQC||Check latest price|
|Best for Hobbyists: DeWalt DWMT70785||Check latest price|
|Best Long Barrel: Sunex SX243||Check latest price|
|Kobalt Air Chisel Hammer||Check latest price|
What is an Air Chisel?
Air hammers are power tools that enable their users to chisel stone, cut metal or remove mortar from a wall. They are commonly referred to as air chisels as they can be used to carve and shape stone.
Unlike most power tools they are not powered by electricity, as they need a constant supply of pressurized air to keep the work bit running. Each model is compatible with an array of work bits, such as air hammer bits or chisel bits.
Air hammers also need air compressors to function, and you must check the model’s air consumption in order to determine which type of air compressor you are going to need.
Most air compressors for nail guns are capable of powering an air chisel as you won’t need more than 30 CFM to operate even the high-end models at their maximum capacity.
The most common types of Air Hammers
All air hammers can be divided into two categories, as short barrel models are designed for lightweight applications, while the long barrel air chisels are best suited for use in industrial settings.
Most standard models have short barrels and they are commonly used to cut a thin sheet of metal or remove a wheel stud. On the other hand, the long barrel air chisels don’t have regular shanks and they enable you to work with tough materials.
The level of vibrations these tools produce depends on their type, so if you opt for a long barrel air hammer you will have to deal with strong vibrations while you are using it.
Even so, air chisels are not heavy since they are designed to be held with one arm, and using them for 30 minutes continually is unlikely to cause fatigue.
What can I use the Air Hammer for?
Versatility is a big part of the reason why professionals and hobbyists consider air chisels to be an essential part of their tool kits. Removing frozen nuts, cutting through different types of pipes, or separating tie rods are among the most common applications for which air hammers are utilized.
The scope of tasks you can perform with this power tool depends on the work bits you have, as well as the model’s maximum operating speed and stroke length.
Besides, the shank diameter can limit the range of work bits you can use with a particular air chisel and you must check which ball joint separators, chisels or soothing hammers are compatible with the air chisel you are interested in.
The advantages of Air Chisels
- Flexibility – Compatibility with a broad array of work bits makes air chisels useful in different contexts. Hence, you can use the same tool to remove mortar from a wall and cut pipes you want to use for your basement improvement idea.
- Lightweight power tools – Most air chisels weigh less than 6 pounds and they are equipped with handles that ensure you can keep a firm grip of the tool while you’re using it. Despite being lightweight these tools can perform heavy-duty tasks with ease.
- Reasonably priced – You won’t have to spend a fortune on an air chisel, as even high-end models can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.
The disadvantages of Air Chisels
- Vibration and noise levels – Although the amount of noise and vibrations an air chisel produces depends on the model, these tools can be difficult to control due to the high vibration levels. In addition, some air chisels make more than 90dB of noise.
- Safety concerns – There are a number of safety measures you need to take before you start using an air chisel as the debris flying away from the material you are working with can easily end up injuring you.
The most important features of Air Hammers
Several factors can help you narrow down your search for an air hammer that fits your needs perfectly. The tool’s average air consumption, maximum stroke length, or barrel length are among the features that can grant insight into the model’s performance capabilities.
Here are some of the most important features you should pay attention to while selecting an air chisel.
Air Compressor size
The air compressor you are using to power an air chisel must be capable of supplying more PSI and CFM than the tool needs to function normally. For instance, an air hammer that requires 4CFM at 90 PSI cannot be powered by an air compressor that can only provide 70 PSI.
However, most air chisels can be powered with a portable 12V air compressor that is used to inflate tires or run other pneumatic tools. Checking the air chisel’s air volume requirements will help you determine which accessories you need in order to use it normally.
Maximum power output
Besides the tool’s air consumption demands, you should also pay attention to its maximum number of blows per minute. Manufacturers usually include the BPM value in the description of the product, so finding this information shouldn’t be too difficult.
Higher BPM values shorten the amount of time you have to spend performing a task, as an air chisel that offers 4500 BPM is considerably faster than the model that works at a maximum speed of 2000 BPM.
However, the tool’s vibration level increases with the power output, and controlling the tool at high BPM values can be difficult.
Maintaining control over an air chisel may prove to be a challenge, especially if you have no way of managing its power output. Models that are equipped with a progressive trigger allow you to increase the power output gradually and adjust it to the material you’re working with.
Safety is another reason to opt for an air chisel that has a progressive trigger as this feature makes it easier to keep the tool under control at all times.
The length of the barrel
Precision is one of the greatest advantages a short barrel air chisel has to offer. Despite having the ability to operate at 3000 BPI or more, these models are only suited for lightweight applications.
A long barrel air chisel offers a lower stroke rate than the short barrel chisel, but they are capable of handling sturdy materials. Also, a short barrel air hammer usually weighs less than a long barrel air hammer, which makes it more difficult to use them continuously for a long time.
Astro 4980 – The Best Air Hammer
The fact that Astro 4980 has dual functionality, makes it the best air hammer on the market. Besides utilizing the air chisel function, this tool lets you use its riveter features to fasten loose nuts or bolts.
This long barrel air hammer cannot supply more than 1800BPM, but that doesn’t impact its ability to cut, chip, or hammer. In fact, you can use this tool to install truck springs or I-beams effortlessly and even perform sanding jobs.
This Astro’s model has a ¼-inch air inlet and 3/8-inch air hose that ensure you can connect it to almost any air compressor. The 0.498 tool shaft allows you to pair this tool with a variety of work bits suitable for different purposes.
What’s more, the Astro 4980 has a feathered trigger control so that you can adjust its power output to the task you are performing.
- Offers air chisel and riveting functionalities
- Lightweight and compact design
- Compatible with a large number of air hammer work bits
- Moderately priced
- High noise and vibration levels
- All accessories must be purchased separately.
Chicago Pneumatic CP717 – The Best Air Chisel for Professional use
Arguably one of the most versatile air chisels on the market, the Chicago Pneumatic CP717 can handle even the most challenging surfaces with ease.
Like the Astro 4980, this long barrel air hammer cannot provide more than 1800BPM, although it is somewhat smaller and lighter. On average, this tool needs 7CFM to operate at full capacity, which means that you don’t need a powerful air compressor to use it.
The CP717 has a 0.498 tool shank that enables you to utilize larger and heavier work bits that can easily chisel stone or handle metals that are commonly used in the auto industry. The positive action trigger allows you to control the power output and increase the BMP gradually.
The tool’s case is made of steel and aluminum that make it durable and resistant to damage that may occur after an accidental fall.
- Positive action trigger provides additional precision
- Relatively low vibration level
- Requires only 3.13CFM to perform most tasks
- Durable and sturdy construction
- Costs more than similar models
- High maintenance requirements
Ingersoll Rand 114QC – The Most Affordable Air Hammer
The Ingersoll Rand 114QC strikes a perfect balance between cost and performance, as it offers excellent features at an affordable price. This short steel alloy barrel air chisel needs just 20CFM to provide you with 3500BPM.
This makes the 114QC perfectly suited for scraping, cutting, or chiseling jobs, while the quick-change retainer allows you to switch between work bits in just a few seconds. Moreover, the tool’s ergonomic design ensures that you can keep a grip even while performing challenging tasks.
The air chisel has a 2-5/8-inch length stroke and a 0.401 chisel shank diameter that is suitable for lighter work bits. This model comes with a regular flat chisel bit, tapered punch chisel, and a panel cutter piece that enable you to perform a variety of tasks.
Even so, the 114QC air hammer isn’t designed for heavy-duty usage and it is a poor choice for anyone who wants to use this tool professionally.
- Average air consumption is 4CFM
- Ships with three work bits
- The smooth bit removal process
- Capable of delivering 3500BPM
- Poor safety features
- The tool comes with a 1-year warranty
DeWalt DWMT70785 – The Best Air Chisel for Hobbyists
Although it isn’t the most powerful air chisel you can get, the DeWalt DWMT70785 is among the lightest air hammers on the market. Its average air consumption is approximately 4.5CFM while setting the air pressure value to 90 PSI will enable you to operate this tool at 2600BPM.
The aluminum body design reduces the DWMT70785’s weight and ensures its durability at the same time. This DeWalt’s model also features a shock-absorbing handle that dampens the vibrations and enables the user to chisel or cut materials without experiencing fatigue.
The tool has a standard 0.401 shank diameter so that you can use it with most work bits that are compatible with short barrel air chisels. Nonetheless, processing tough materials with the DWMT70785 is not possible, as it lacks the power to manage demanding tasks.
- Touch control trigger
- Excellent shock absorption capabilities
- Lighter than most air chisels
- 3-year limited warranty
- Not suited for professional use
- Accessories must be purchased separately
If you are looking for a long barrel air chisel that can provide both power and precision, then Sunex SX243 is one of the best options you have at your disposal.
The tool has an aluminum alloy housing and steel barrel that makes it both relatively lightweight and capable of withstanding daily wear and tear.
In most cases you won’t need more than 4CFM at 90PSI to perform hammering, drilling, cutting, or sanding tasks. The maximum speed of this air chisel is 2200 BPM, while its stroke length is 3-3/4-inches.
The SX243 also has a built-in knob that enables you to control its power output and adjust it to the material you are working with. The tool is equipped with a standard ¼-inch air inlet and its chisel shank is compatible with all 0.401 work bits.
- Regulating the tool’s speed is easy
- 3-3/4-inch stroke length
- Low air consumption
- Excellent price-performance ratio
- Chiseling stone with this tool will wear it down quickly
- The tool makes a lot of noise at high speeds
Kobalt Air Chisel Hammer
Homeowners in need of an air chisel hammer they can use for cutting metal or scraping rust should consider getting the Kobalt Air Chisel Hammer. However, you shouldn’t expect too much from this air chisel as you cannot use it to chisel stone or process any tough materials.
Its average air consumption is 5CFM at 90 PSI and its power regulator allows you to choose at which speed you want to use the tool. Despite having a heat-treated piston and a steel barrel the tool can be damaged easily if used to break bricks.
The rubberized handle eliminates the vibrations the tool makes, while the coil spring retainer lets you change the work bit in just a few moments. Nonetheless, the Kobal Air Chisel hammer is a highly reliable tool that will manage most lightweight tasks with ease.
- Features built-in trigger control
- Quick work bit replacement process
- Low noise and vibration levels
- Operates at the maximum speed of 4500 BPM
- The handle may be too short for some users
- Short warranty period
Frequently asked questions about Air Chisel Hammers
Answer: Wearing protective eyewear, ear muffs, or securing the material you are working with is recommended, as the debris generated by an air chisel hammer may injure you.
Answer: The BMP value suggests the maximum speed at which an air chisels hammer, but it doesn’t indicate if the tool is powerful enough to process robust materials.
Answer: The price of an air chisel hammer varies from less than $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the model and its features.
Answer: In case you are using your air chisel hammer on a daily basis, you will have to perform maintenance checks at least once in three months.
Our Verdict: Which Air Chisel Hammer Performs the Best?
The market is saturated with air chisel hammers that can easily chisel stone, break bricks or cut metal sheets, as brands like Chicago Pneumatic, DeWalt, or Ingersoll Rand all offer a wide range of models that can be used for professional or DIY projects.
A long barrel air chisel like the Astro 4980 is the right choice for you if you need a tool that can offer multiple functionalities, as you can use it for riveting or processing metal, stone, and other robust materials.
You should opt for the Ingersoll Rand 114QC or DeWalt DWMT70785 if you are searching for an air chisel hammer that can operate at high speeds, even though it doesn’t have the capacity to handle tough materials.
Which air chisel hammer are you going to choose? Leave a comment and let us know, or check out our hammer drill guide.