Air hammer also known as an Air Chisel, is a pneumatic hand tool used to carve in stone, and to break or cut metal objects apart. It is designed to accept different tools depending on the required function.
Here are the most powerful air hammers you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 Super Duty Air Hammer/Riveter
- Runner up: Sunex SX243 Long Barrel Air Hammer
- Best Budget: Ingersoll Rand 114GQC Air Hammer
- Best for Home Use: DEWALT DWMT70785 Air Chisel Hammer
- Premium choice: Chicago Pneumatic CP717 Air Hammer
- Most Powerful: Ingersoll-Rand 132 Super Duty Pneumatic Air Hammer
|6 Most Powerful Air Hammers|
|Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 Super Duty Air Hammer/Riveter|
|Sunex SX243 Long Barrel Air Hammer|
|Ingersoll Rand 114GQC Air Hammer|
Best for Home Use
|DEWALT DWMT70785 Air Chisel Hammer|
|Chicago Pneumatic CP717 Air Hammer|
|Ingersoll-Rand 132 Super Duty Pneumatic Air Hammer|
Best Overall: Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 Super Duty Air Hammer/Riveter
- Heavy-duty powerful tool
- May have lot of vibrations.
The Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 is a “big nasty” powerful, super-duty, durable air hammer and riveter combined.
It is designed for drilling, punching, hammering, chipping, and cutting as well as sanding and spraying. The 4980 can capably remove or install I-beam suspension rivets and heavy-duty equipment and truck springs, bushings, king pins and more faster and easier.
The Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 has an alloyed-steel long barrel and feathered trigger control handle that enhances torque accuracy, efficiency, and safety.
The 4980 is harder-hitting than most of its competitors. Its heavy-duty, durable, dual purpose design aids production and comfort to reduce fatigue. It has a spring retainer for faster chisel bit changes.
The Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980’s ¼” air inlet and ⅜” size hose ensure maximum air flow/pressure. Specifically, the 4980 is 4.8 pounds, measures 12 inches long, has a ¾” bore, and an extra-large 0.498 in. tool shaft/shank for automotive, heavy-duty, off-road, or industrial applications. It offers a 2-11/16” (2.69 in.) piston stroke and it delivers 1,800 blows per minute (BPM).
|Astro Pneumatic Tool 4980 Super Duty Air Hammer/Riveter Specifications|
|Bore Diameter (in.)||3/4-inch|
|Stroke Length (in.)||2-11/16"|
Lightweight but versatile
Runner up: Sunex SX243 Long Barrel Air Hammer
- Long barrel design
- Aluminium alloy housing
- Built-in regulator
- Does not come with any chisels
- No carrying case included
The Sunex SX243 air hammer combines high power with a lightweight design. This is mostly due to the aluminum casing which reduces the total weight of the model to just .48 ounces. However, it does have some parts reinforced with steel, for durability’s sake. Despite its small housing, the bigger part of the hammer is the barrel, making this model a long-barrel one. So, this Sunex model can tackle heavy-duty tasks.
You can punch, chip, or cut into stone and metals with the SX243 that delivers up to 2,200 blows per minute (BPM), which is a little less than our top choice but still gets the job done. Large projects get done in record time without any of the usual hassles that are familiar with traditional hammers.
High efficiency and durability are injected into the design of the SX243, with a ¾-inch bore diameter and a 3 ¾-inch piston stroke length. With a stroke length that high, you can expect higher velocity from the piston and more power delivered to the chisel.
|Sunex SX243 Long Barrel Air Hammer Specifications|
|Bore Diameter (in.)||3/4-inch|
|Stroke Length (in.)||3-3/4|
|Average Air Consumption||4 CFM at 90 PSI|
Suitable for various applications, including driving, grinding, and cutting
Best Budget: Ingersoll Rand 114GQC Air Hammer
- 3 piece chisel set included
- Medium length barrel
- Ergonomic trigger and grip handle
- Retainer system for quick and easy removal and insertion
- No carrying case included
- Not as powerful as similar tools
Ingersoll Rand Air Hammer 114QC is a high-rated model. Mainly because it is cheap and also because of its power to tackle anything from moderate to heavy jobs. It is also rugged to last in excellent condition. Being part of the Ingersoll Rand Edge Series, we were pretty eager to see what this air hammer is all about.
This especially comes in handy with the three included chisel pieces: a regular flat chisel piece, a panel cutter chisel and a tapered punch chisel. Each one is of good alloy quality and is very easy to insert or remove. Ingersoll installed a retainer system that makes switching chisels fast and easy, while also making the individual pieces stick in tight and securely. This is especially great for anyone looking to improve their efficiency by cutting down on unnecessary busywork.
The construction entails alloyed steel and heat-treated piston to offer a strong impact. The diffused handle exhaust is efficient in providing a smooth action. Above all, this tool has an ergonomic handle that keeps hands protected and comfortable.
|Ingersoll Rand 114GQC Air Hammer Specifications|
|Bore Diameter (in.)||0.75 inch|
|Stroke Length (in.)||2.63 inch|
|Average Air Consumption CFM (L/MIN)||4 (115)|
Overall the Ingersoll Rand air hammer is great for tasks involving tiles or panels but sometimes it falls a little short for heavy duty tasks.
Best for Home Use: DEWALT DWMT70785 Air Chisel Hammer
- Not for heavy tasks
This air hammer has a lightweight aluminum body. It has a medium barrel and a shock absorbing handle. It’s a good choice for light to medium duty tasks. It is backed by Dewalt’s three-year limited warranty, which is one of the best in the market today.
The medium barrel on this particular air hammer model is shorter than the rest from its class, making it slightly less powerful when it comes to heavy-duty tasks. And, speaking of power, this hammer requires 4.5 CFM on average to deliver 2200 BPM of force.
The hammer has a touch control trigger which makes it easier to operate, and the handle has an added shock absorbing layer of rubber that helps absorb excess vibrations. Even though this model is considered light-to-medium duty, it is covered by a 3-year limited warranty, which is a lot longer than the rest from its range.
|DEWALT DWMT70785 Air Chisel Hammer Specifications|
|Stroke Length (in.)|
|Max Air Pressure||90 PSI|
|Average Air Consumption CFM (L/MIN)||4.5|
Best for home use, appropriate for general home repairs.
Premium choice: Chicago Pneumatic CP717 Air Hammer
- Suited for heavy-duty tasks
- Detailed machine manual
- East to control trigger
If you want a heavy-duty air-driven hammer, then this piece should be what you need. We love its solid built which can handle the impact, vibration falls and much more.
This Chicago Pneumatic air hammer is one of the most powerful in its class, with a price to follow that. It has a simple casing made of aluminum and steel combination. It is somewhat lightweight at 4 pounds, considering the power that it delivers.
Its long stroke heavy duty piston, combined with a long steel barrel can deliver a force of 1800 BPM, the tool is suited to all super heavy-duty task due to its superb body construction and power output. In fact, the hammer has 1800 bpm, ¾ inch bore diameter, 7 cfm, and 2-11/16 inch stroke length, it works well on different surfaces. Heavy-duty construction is excellent in maintaining the machine performance and keeping user enjoying operating it.
This model is popular with construction workers and truck drivers around the world because it delivers an extra kick of power comparing to the others in its range. It comes with an extra-large .498 shank for maximum utility.
|Chicago Pneumatic CP717 Air Hammer Specifications|
|Bore Diameter (in.)||3/4"|
|Stroke Length (in.)||2.69"|
|Average Air Consumption CFM (L/MIN)||3.13 cfm (89 l/mn)|
Thanks to the benefits of its quality performance, durable build, and precision power making this the best air hammer on available.
Most Powerful: Ingersoll-Rand 132 Super Duty Pneumatic Air Hammer
- Super heavy-duty tasks
The Ingersoll Rand Super-Duty Air Hammer - IR-132 for a variety of applications, including front end work, heavy exhaust work, riveting, king pin removal, bushing driving and bolt shearing. Use this air hammer and you’ll have the convenience of a longer tool lifespan and better performance for each job you take on.
|Ingersoll-Rand 132 Super Duty Pneumatic Air Hammer Specifications|
|Bore Diameter (in.)||0.56 inches|
|Stroke Length (in.)||4.0 inches|
|Average Air Consumption CFM (L/MIN)||3 cfm (85 l/mn)|
In short, the most powerful for the professional.
Air Hammer Buying Guide
Most air hammers can be fitted with a variety of tips. These include hammer tips, for shaping and smoothing, and chisel tips, for scoring or cutting. Pneumatic tools are rated using several metrics: Free Speed (RPM), Air Pressure (psi/bar), Air Consumption (cfm/scfm or m3/min), Horse Power (hp), and spindle size. Each individual tool has its own specific requirements which determine their compatibility with air compressor systems.
Before buying an air hammer, consider these important factors:
- Blows Per Minute (BPM): BPM is the number of those cycles that piston pushes it to hit the hammer and return it per minute. Compressed air enters the barrel and makes the piston go back and forth for several thousand times in a single minute. The lower the number of BPM the stronger the impact of the hammer;
- Revolutions Per Minute (RPM): is a measure of the frequency of a rotation. It states the number of full rotations completed in one minute around a fixed axis. It is used as a measure of rotational speed of a mechanical component. In other words it is how many times something rotates every minute. It is used as a measure of how fast a mechanism is turning. So if a motor is turning at 100 rpm it means that for every minute the motor is running it makes 100 complete turns.
- Barrel size: To accommodate pistons with a certain stroke length, an air hammer can have a short barrel, a medium barrel, or a long barrel.
- Short barreled air hammers with low cfm are suitable for light work that require dexterity and control rather than sheer power, such as cutting through sheet metal and body panels.
- Medium and long-barrel air impact hammers are suitable for heavy-duty tasks.They tend to be heavier, and are often more powerful, harder to control, and prone to more vibration and louder operation.
- Stroke length: Stroke length is the distance the piston travels with each cycle, and this figure is usually given in terms of inches. A typical, medium-duty air hammer will have a stroke length of 2-5/8 inches and can go up to 3 inches. The longer the stroke length, the higher the velocity that the piston can achieve at the end of one stroke cycle, and the more power it can deliver to the chisel.
- Compressor/Tank Size: An air compressor and air hammer perform professional work, maintenance, and repair tasks easier and faster. Compressor tank size, motor horsepower (hp), air volume output (CFM), and air pressure (psi) must be sufficient to operate the air hammer. The volume of air the compressor can produce (CFM) and the air pressure contained in the tank (psi) are the most important considerations. These specifications are typically marked on the tank’s label. Each air impact hammer requires a minimal CFM (cubic feet per minute) at a prescribed psi (pounds per square inch) to properly operate at full efficiency.
Most air hammers/chisels require around 4 cfm of airflow to operate on a continuous basis.
- Attachments: (hammer and/or chisel tips included or optional)
Popular Brands of Air Hammer?
Ingersoll Rand: Steady producing quality products since 1871, Ingersoll Rand is a top player in the manufacturing industry. The Irish-American company deals in air solutions, tools, material handling and so on. Ingersoll Rand air hammers are designed with maximum efficiency in mind - ensuring that the tool does the work, not you. They will deliver the punch you need to get the job done fast and comfortably, including exhaust and front-end jobs, general bolt cutting, pin driving and body shearing work.
DeWalt: This manufacturer doesn’t need any introduction; you’ve probably walked past one of their products in a hardware store. It's a trusted American brand and a subsidiary of Black & Decker. They are known for manufacturing quality power tools and hand tools for construction, manufacturing and woodworking industries.
Sunex: This manufacturing company has been running for over 40 years, with a specialty in the production of innovative tools for the automotive market as well as commercial and industrial segments.
Chicago Pneumatic: Chicago Pneumatic is a brand name in the pneumatic tool industry which has a history traced back to 1889. Since decades, Chicago Pneumatic has a heart for the general industry and matches your highest demands with the right solutions. While our history and general product offer provides you with a general background of our brand, the principles and technologies section will familiarize you with the practical side of our products. This gives you the right know-how and confidence to take your business to the next level. It is simple, really. You have work to do, customers to serve. Chicago Pneumatic is there to help you get the job done, without compromise.
Like most power tools, an air hammer is a powerful tool packed into a handy kit. Do not underestimate an air hammer – the pressure it can exert will easily cause serious harm, especially with a sharp chisel attached.
Always wear protective eye gear and gloves when working with air hammers, especially if you are cutting or chiseling metal or stone. Never operate an air hammer in areas with suspended dust, combustible gas, or any area where a spark can trigger an explosion.