Cost of Air Tools

Overall Costs of Running Compressed Air Tools

There are multiple things to look at when calculating what it costs to run an air tool such as

Energy Costs

  • Costs of running the air tool
  • Costs of air leaks


Additional Items to Consider

  • Maintenance costs for the air compressors
  • Time and materials to fill lubricators
  • Installation of new tool
  • Overtime (weekend install/fix air leaks)


In addition, there is a significant cost to install a compressed air, not only do you have materials but you also have labor costs to install the piping most likely on a weekend because the air compressors may need to be turn off.

Manufacturers looking to reduce energy costs have found potential savings through their compressed air system. One common outcome is that compressed air tools are inefficient and consume a large amount of energy not only to run the tool but to also keep the air compressor on standby. Here is an excerpt from the Compressed Air Challenge showing how inefficient a compressed air tool is to run.

"Compressed air is one of the most expensive sources of energy in a plant. The over-all efficiency of a typical compressed air system can be as low as 10%-15%. For example, to operate a 1-horsepower (hp) air motor at 100 pounds per square inch gauge (psig), approximately 7-8 hp of electrical power is supplied to the air compressor."

quoted from

Below is an example real scenario to show how much a manufacturer could be spending on energy costs for an air tool.

Example Application

A manufacturer puts together 60 parts per hour and each part requires 2 fasteners. They are running 2 shifts, 8 hours each, 5 days a week and with two weeks of shutdown.

Costs of Using Air Tools

To keep this simple we will only look at the running energy costs to run the air compressor for both the pneumatic tool and the air leaks.

Total Annual Energy Costs $505.01 Per Year

How might this example play out in your plant? Estimate the number of tools in the plant then multiply that number by $505.01. Example (20 Tools x $505.01 /yr. = $10,100.20 /yr. to supply compressed air for the tools).


Think about this, if your plant has 20 tools your company is spending $10,100.80 /yr. in electrical cost and $3,530.96 of the $10,100.20 is to keep the compressor on standby.

Interested in finding out what your company might be spending to run air tools or how much a cordless tool might save your company in energy costs. Click the image to download a copy of our Cost Savings Calculator to find out.