7 Best Air Hammers | March 2017

We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you need to carve in stone or break metal objects apart, you need the right tool for the job. Professionals and DIY-ers will find the perfect air hammer or chisel from our top-notch selection. Skip to the best air hammer on Amazon.
7 Best Air Hammers | March 2017

Overall Rank: 3
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 7
Best Inexpensive
The BOSTITCH BTMT72394 is ideal for automotive applications, with its medium sized barrel design. It features a touch control trigger for maximum speed control, and a cushioned grip to help absorb any shock.
Perfect for both professionals and home DIYers, the Thinset Removal offers an impressive 4,500 blows per minute, for finishing even the most stubborn jobs. Plus it is compatible with other standard 0.401" pneumatic accessories.
For general repairs, count on the rugged Ingersoll 114GQC, featuring an alloyed steel barrel and heat-treated piston that is built to last. The award-winning design delivers exceptional torque accuracy and increased productivity.
Be prepared for your next project using the Sunex SX243, which boasts a sturdy aluminum alloy housing in a hardened long barrel design. This hammer offers maximum performance at an exceptional value.
  • great choice for auto mechanics
  • built-in knob for easy adjustment
  • powerful and solid impact
Brand Sunex
Model SX243
Weight 5.6 pounds
The short barrel Ingersoll 122MAXK delivers the punch you need for effective results. It comes equipped with built-in anti-vibration technology and an ergonomic grip that provides comfort for all-day use while lessening hand fatigue.
  • higher impact force than the competition
  • durable carrying case
  • hammer is relatively quiet
Brand Ingersoll Rand
Model 122MAXK
Weight 9.2 pounds
The compact Wilmar M668 is a cost-effective solution for panel cutting, hole punching and removing rivets. It includes 5 treated chisels to complete your project swiftly and precisely with confidence.
  • quick change spring safety retainer
  • great for home use
  • sleek black contoured handle
Brand Performance Tool
Model M668
Weight 4.8 pounds
Designed with professionals in mind, the heavy duty Chicago Pneumatic CP717 offers the widest range of applications to tackle any job. It also has superior precision and control over its speed range thanks to its unique spool valve.
  • weighs just 3.33 lbs.
  • 3.13" pistol stroke length
  • 2000 blows per minute
Brand Chicago Pneumatic
Model CP717
Weight 5.2 pounds

The Power Is In The Air

Air hammers are pneumatic tools, and, for the record that's a silent 'p' in pneumatic. What that means is that they utilize air pressure to create the force of the blow.

At a certain place on the tool, most often the bottom of the handle, there's a little nozzle that attaches to a hose running to an air compressor.

When air from the compressor reaches the hammer, it moves an internal piston with incredible force than translates directly to a bit, usually a chisel or similar element. Internally, the units are rather simple, which is lovely, since that usually implies durability.

That chisel bit is interchangeable with a whole slew of tools, from ends that allow you to use your air hammer more like a simple hammer, to the pickle forks we mentioned above, and more.

One of the most common pneumatic hammers you've probably seen in use is a kind of extra large version we usually call a jackhammer. When air powered (there are electric models), the jackhammer works by the same mechanism as the air hammer, just on a different scale.

Ends For Your Means

Air hammers are a little bit like pizzas. They're all pretty much made from the same ingredients, though the quality of those ingredients can differ. They all do the job you ask them to, which in the air hammer's case is to drive your chisel, hammer, or other element, and which, in the pizza's case, is to satisfy your hunger.

Where the comparison fails is in durability, reliability, and price variance. If you can find me a posh slice of 'za that's nearly three times more than the average price, there's a good chance I'll want to try it, but only if you're buying, and I don't think it's going to last any longer in the fridge than that $2 slice from the corner.

So, how do you choose your pizza? Well, it's going to have a lot to do with price to start, but there are also important considerations beyond that. Getting back to the air hammers, if you're looking to make an investment, odds are the least expensive option isn't the one built to last your lifetime and handle anything you throw its way.

There's also the question of intended application, which has greatly to do with the power behind an air hammer's blows. If you have heavier duty jobs in front of you, you're going to need a pricier unit. It's pretty much a directly proportional relationship.

If the toughest thing you have in your future is automotive work on your SUV or lighter, you'll be just fine without the best air hammer on the market. The attachments are almost endless (like toppings!), so as long as you don't need that extra burst of power you should be able to find the end you need to fit the job at hand.

The only downside in buying a cheaper air hammer is that you can't grow with it. But, then again, you can't grow with pizza either.

Pneumatic By Another Name

We call them air hammers, presumably because spelling and pronouncing 'pneumatic' is not, well, automatic. Now, I know you know what 'automatic' means, but it's educational if we break it down here. 'Auto-' is from the Greek for self, or one's own, and '-matic' from the Greek for thinking, or animation.

In a language called Proto-Indio-European, that is supposed to have existed between 4500 and 2500 BCE and which left no written textual record, etymologists believed there was the word 'pneu-' meaning to breathe.

So pneumatic comes from the marriage of breath and animation, or "to be powered by air."

It was in the late 19th century that an inventor named Jon W. Duntley began to develop what would become the world's first pneumatic hammer. With a big investment from the steel magnate Charles Schwab, the patent hit in late December of 1901, and an industry was born.

Since then, advances in the safety and accuracy of the hammers themselves, as well as increases in the power harnessed by the air compressor itself, have placed the power of this industry capably in the hands of everyday homeowners and handy folk.

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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information