Moving from hand and power tools to air tools is a big step for any home mechanic. They can be expensive—especially the better brands—but there are some bargains and entry-level tools that are quite affordable. Anyway, never having to fight with a lug nut or rusted fastener can be worth it.
We talked to experts at four shops in southeastern Michigan: Quality Foreign Car Service in Berkley, Copeland Tire in Detroit, Capaldi Racing in New Baltimore, and the go-fast gurus at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.
Ingersoll Rand was mentioned often; they make quality pneumatics that won’t break the bank. The Snap-on and Matco brands were also pointed to more than once, as was Chicago Pneumatic. Note: While tools in this list are what the pros are using, don’t be afraid to buy a cheap tool if you are only going to use it once in a while. If you find yourself reaching for a tool on a regular basis, then at that point maybe you want to treat yourself to some pro-grade equipment. Also, these tools all require an air compressor to operate.
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