Power Hammers

The air hammer (sometimes call an 'air chisel') is a handheld device capable of performing a wide range of hammering or chiselling tasks with ease.

Cromwell stocks a wide range of high-quality air hammers, from trusted brands such as PCL®, Ingersoll-Rand®, Chicago Pneumatic®, Kobe® and more.

What are air hammers?

The air hammer is a handheld pneumatic tool, powered by a robust air compressor. It consists of a gun-like frame with handle, barrel, and trigger connected to a round shank and a retainer for holding attachments.

The air compressor powers a piston inside the hammer which operates at around 1200-1800 strokes per minute. This piston drives the attachment, resulting in effortless chiselling or hammering - think of the air hammer as a smaller, handheld version of a jackhammer. A huge amount of manual force would have to be applied to get the same results from a manual chisel or hammer.

Why an air hammer?

Known for its versatility and effectiveness in almost any professional job or DIY application, the air hammer makes a number of manual chiselling, hammering, or cutting jobs quick, efficient, and painless.

When are air hammers used?

• Chiselling - Air hammers are commonly used with chisel attachments, hence why they are often referred to as air chisels. With a chisel attachment, air hammers are typically used for cutting exhaust pipes and body panels, shearing off bolts, breaking off shock absorber fasteners and much more.

• Shaping / Cutting Metal - The air hammer is a staple in metalworking shops, due to their versatility when working with metals of all types, from aluminium sheet metal to structural steel. They are typically used to shape, cut, flatten, and split metals with relative ease.

• Removal - On site, air hammers are often used to remove cement, mortar, and tiling quickly and effectively.
If you're looking for the perfect tool for your job, feel free to ask our experts for specialised advice.

Types of air hammer

There's only really one basic air hammer type to pick from, so the majority of your choice lies in the power, performance, and efficiency of the one you buy. Once you've decided on the right one for you, the only job left is to pick the correct inserts and attachments.

Cromwell stocks a vast range of air hammer kits that come with a varied range of attachments, meaning all you need to do is turn it on and point it at the job at hand.

Considerations when choosing an air hammer

• Air Compressor - Without an air compressor, there is no 'air' in 'air hammer'. Most standard air hammers require at least 4cfm (cubic feet per minute) of airflow to operate reliably. More powerful compressors can require up to 14 cfm for heavy duty applications.
When it comes to air compressors, it's better to have too much than too little. Larger air tanks keep your air hammer performing smoothly over longer periods of time.

• Stroke Length - The stroke length is the distance travelled by the piston with each cycle. A longer stroke length results in a higher piston velocity, which means the air hammer can put more power into each hit.
Because of this, long barrelled air hammers are used for heavy duty, more demanding tasks. Shorter barrels are used for tasks that favour precision over power, so it's important to understand what you want from your air hammer before buying.

• Weight - The weight of your air hammer directly impacts the manoeuvrability, noise, and accuracy when in use. Heavy duty air hammers can weight as much as 3kg, which can put a strain on the user during long periods of use.

• Trigger - Some air hammers come with a gradual trigger system that gives users far better control over the speed of their air hammer. Look out for this feature if you value accuracy and control in the work you perform.

Air hammer jargon buster

dBA Sound Pressure
Air hammers come with a dBA rating, which is essentially the loudness responding to the threshold of human hearing. If your air hammer is above 75 dBA it is highly recommended to wear noise protection.

BPM
BPM means 'blows per minute'. The higher the BPM, the faster the air hammer will hit, and the more powerful it will generally be.

Standards to look out for:
• EN ISO 12100:2010 - General design and risk assessment
• EN ISO 11148-4:2021 - Safety requirements for non-rotary percussive power tools
• EN ISO 28927-10:2011/A1:2017 - Vibration emission for percussive tools

FAQs
Will an air hammer break concrete?
The fast repetitive chiselling power of an air hammer will break concrete. Obviously, heavier duty air chisels will be more effective.

Can I use an air hammer to rivet?
It's possible but not advised. Most air hammers aren't designed for effective feathering, meaning they are likely to destroy the rivet.

Can air hammer be used to remove brake rotors?
Yes. The small, quick pulses of the air hammer will easily remove rusted brake rotors.