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Technical Resources

What air pressure do I use to run my pneumatic tool?

What does CFM mean?

  • CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a volume measure of air flow. This is the amount of air your tool uses per minute at 90 psi of air. Make sure your compressor can produce at least that amount of CFM at 90 psi, or your air tool won't work at full power. There is a direct relationship between your compressor’s horse power and CFM ratings. As a very general rule of thumb each horse power produces approximately 3 to 5 CFM of air flow. Therefore a right angle die grinder consuming 30 CFM should ideally be ran on a 7.5 HP to 10 HP compressor. Air tools consume more air than you might have previously thought.

What type of oil do I use?

  • Use a light-weight oil (5 or 10 weight). Never use an oil that has detergent. This will cause a soapy, sticky black residue to adhere to the internal parts of your tool. Also, try to use an oil specially designed for air tool use, because this type of oil will suspend any condensation droplets from your air source so they will not lie against any metal parts within the tool.
  • Ingersoll Rand and Marvel offer good quality air tool oils. However, in a pinch any lightweight non detergent oil will work or even WD-40.

Air and Hand Tool Safety

This booklet is designed to present to employees and employers a summary of the basic safety procedures and safeguards associated with hand and portable power tools.

What size compressor should I buy?

  • For small grinders, air hammers, and up to ½” impact wrenches, we recommend a 7.5-horsepower (HP) air compressor that can supply at least 22.5 to 30 CFM at 90 psi. For larger, production style impact wrenches a 20 HP unit may be in order. Also, the larger the holding tank, the less times the compressor cycles. Less cycling translates to less energy consumption and a lower electric bill.

What size air hose do I use?

  • It’s always better to error on the side of a larger diameter air hose. We recommend at least a 3/8" diameter hose for all air hammers, needle scalersorbital sanders, and die grinders. Vertical and Horizontal Type 27 Wheel and Cup Wheel Grinders should have a 5/8" or even ¾” diameter air hose.

What does BPM mean?

  • BPM is an abbreviation for Blows per Minute. This term is used to describe the number of times (cycles) the piston goes back and forth (reciprocates) within a percussive air tool (air hammers, tampers, pavement breakers etc.). The lower the BPMs a tool has, the harder it hits the chisel. A lower BPM tool will have a longer stroke while a shorter BPM tool has a shorter stroke, but hits more frequently. In other words, a lower BPM results in more impact or cutting power in the tool. Use a low BPM tool for greater material removal and high BPM tool for surface preparation and light rust removal.

Why doesn't my air tool have the power it had when it was new? What can I do?

  • Start by placing 3-5 large drops of clean, non-detergent, light-weight oil down the air inlet of the tool. Then operate the tool a few times to see if this increases performance. Air tools should be oiled once in the morning and once in the afternoon during an eight hour work day. If oiling has not improved the performance, your tool likely needs a new set of motor vanes, bearings, seals and possibly new end plates. We sell air tool repair kits for most major industrial brands and we also offer air tool repair service. A good starting point for determining what parts you need is the service section of the respective manufacturer’s website. Identify the parts you need and contact us for a quote. If you need help obtaining a parts breakdown please email:

There is a lot of water built up in my air lines. Why is this?

  • During most summers, there is higher humidity; therefore, more water condenses within your compressor tank. All fixed air supply lines should angle back to your compressor. Also, every morning before you start the compressor, the tank should be drained of excess water (there is a small peck cock like valve at the bottom of most compressors). Any of your rubber hose lines should be bled of any water within the hose. Make sure you oil your tools twice daily to prevent rusting of internal parts. We also recommend the use of Filter, Regulator, Lubricator (FRL) units which can greatly extend the service life of any air tool.

What about repair service--how long does it take?

  • Speed of repair service is often determined by the availability of parts. It typically takes us 3 to 5 days to diagnose your tool after receiving it, one to two weeks more to obtain parts, and 3 to 5 days more to repair the tool and test it. You should plan to be without your tool for 4 weeks, however we often time finish repair jobs much sooner.

Do you have repair centers other than your shop in San Diego?

  • We also utilize our manufacturer’s service centers. Ingersoll Rand has two locations, one in Dallas and one in Syracuse. Apex Tool Group also has two locations: one in Los Angeles and one in Lexington, South Carolina. Desoutter Tools has a repair center in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Please call our offices for details and scheduling info: (800) 608-5210.

Can I try one of your tools before I buy?

  • Yes, we offer “Guaranteed Test Orders”. We ask that you issue a temporary and non-posting purchase order which allows you a 21 day test period without obligation. At the end of the trial if you are happy with the tool, you keep it and we bill you. If you are not happy with the tool you return it and pay nothing.

If you have additionally questions, please contact us:

Toll Free: 1-800-608-5210 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST
Local: 1-442-515-3765 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST
Fax: 1-619-599-8880 – 24 Hours
Email: – 24 Hours
In person: International Air Tool & Industrial Supply Co. 1611 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd. Suite A San Marcos, California 92078