The Cordless vs. Pneumatic Tool Dilemma

The Cordless vs. Pneumatic Tool Dilemma

Let's explore the ups and downs of the ways you power the tools in your shop.

When it comes to power tools, tire dealers and shop owners have a tough decision to make – pneumatic or cordless? Both have their advantages in an auto shop environment. Let’s break those down in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.

Technicians have relied on pneumatic tools for decades. The sound of compressed air powering tools is a surefire sign you’ve found yourself in a repair shop. Pneumatic tools never run out of juice and provide consistent power. Shops will always need compressed air delivery for tires and other equipment, so with air readily available, there’s always a power source for pneumatic tools.

Meanwhile, cordless tool technology has come a long way. Lithium-ion batteries now provide extended runtime with consistent power output. For most tasks, one or two batteries can provide a full workday of uninterrupted use.

Cordless tools shed the limitations that come with an air hose, like potential maintenance issues if not maintained properly. Users can also go anywhere within the shop without dragging a hose or trying to find an outlet. Maintenance needs are minimal for cordless tools – with no oiling before use required.

Brushless motors found in higher-end cordless tools increase efficiency and power density while reducing friction and wear. More compact and powerful than their predecessors, modern cordless tools close the power gap with pneumatic.

Of course, cordless tools do have downsides. Batteries and chargers add to the upfront cost and additional batteries may be needed to avoid downtime, but they too are pricey. Keep in mind that runtime is finite before a recharge is required.

For tire dealers and shop owners, the ideal scenario is to equip technicians with both pneumatic and cordless tools. Air power excels for prolonged use like sanding, grinding, or drilling where runtime isn’t a concern and pneumatic impact wrenches remain the go-to for tire changes and suspension work.

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