electric vs. pneumatic jack hammer

Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?

Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?

Getting the right tool for a job is key, but especially if you’re getting a jackhammer.

Too light and that concrete slab will laugh at you. Here’s how to pick.

Jackhammers are powerful tools.

41I91LNYn8L Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?They are vital when demolishing old concrete, pavement, and other surfaces. This is one of the many reasons why this tool is one of the leading tools in the industry.

These tools are used in the professional construction world, and its technology has increased throughout the years.

There are two main types of jackhammers: electric and pneumatic. To understand the tool you need, you need to understand these types of tools.

Whether you’re buying this tool for yourself or as a gift, read this guide to understand the difference between electric and pneumatic, and to choose the right one for you.



A pneumatic jackhammer performs by using high-pressure air from an air compressor. The air compressor is powered by a 41VVBKx2BJL Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?diesel engine.

This unit is comprised of a compressor drive, through a centrifugal clutch, by a diesel engine. When using pneumatic, you need the correct materials in order for the tool to work properly.

When pressurized gas is used to create motion, it results in a cheaper and equally powerful tool. A pneumatic is a leading tool in the industry for this reason.

Pneumatic has two speeds:

  • Idling
  • Maximum

Pneumatic is idling when the clutch is disengaged and is at the maximum when the clutch is engaged and the compressor is running. Think of it like this: when you put the pedal to the metal in a Lamborghini Aventador, it will GO GO GO GO GO!

In 1849, pneumatic is one of the first types introduced when it was first created.

Early pneumatic tools were powered by a reciprocating compressor which ran on a crankshaft. Modern ones use air that runs on fuel.


When To Use Pneumatic

A pneumatic is used when digging a hole, especially in a tough material such as asphalt or concrete. Pneumatic jackhammers are also good to use for mining, excavating, quarrying, and tunneling.

Popular uses for pneumatic include road and highway work, anything involving rock, and personal and commercial excavation.


51aH2B6wmUsL Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?Here are some safety tips:

  • Wear proper protection such as safety goggles, steel-toed boots, and protective clothing.
  • Always wear ear protection to prevent hearing damage
  • Try to not use this tool for extended periods of time.
  • Don’t use a defected or damaged tool
  • Make sure all parts are securely fastened
  • Do not hammer after the material has been cut
  • Always barricade the work area


Pneumatic produces a lot of noise. Modern pneumatics don’t produce a lot of noise, 100 decibels to be exact.

This is a factor you should still consider when deciding if a pneumatic is a tool you should be using.


Electric jackhammers work very similarly to a pneumatic. But unlike pneumatic, they have electric motors and function using electric power.

Electric uses a motor that rotates the crank, or cam, which converts the motor’s spinning motion. This pumps a piston and forces small air cushions to push back and forth.

One of the most notable features of this tool is the absence of a separate air compartment. All of the power comes from within the tool.

However, this makes the electric heavier. You can’t push down too much when using this tool.

When To Use Electric61ebsQs7ntL Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?

While the electric is powerful, its electric motor doesn’t compare to the air compressor action that a pneumatic provides.

This is why you commonly see electric jackhammers for home-based jobs, such as remodeling work.

Unlike the pneumatic, an electric is more portable and easier to use. You simply plug this tool into an electrical socket.

This is another reason why it’s easier to use this tool inside of a home.


The same safety features mentioned for the pneumatic apply to the electric. However, there are additional safety tips: check the cord for tears or frays and don’t use a wet electric tool.


Electric jackhammers are significantly quieter than pneumatic. For this reason, most construction companies have been switching to electric.

Should You Choose Pneumatic or an Electric Jackhammers?

Both types are effective and versatile. But there are some points to consider before you choose.


51h8XPRHL Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?What job do you need your tool to do? Will it require lots of power?

If your job requires a lot of power, use a pneumatic.

Use a pneumatic if you’re performing any excavation services, digging through asphalt or concrete, mining, quarrying, or tunneling. Since it runs on air pressure, a pneumatic can dig through tough surfaces.

Electric is also very powerful. However, it runs on electrical energy, and not pressurized air such as a pneumatic.

An electric is best used if you’re doing any remodeling in or around your home or any task that doesn’t require major power.


If you’re buying or renting a jackhammer and don’t want to worry about carrying heavy or an abundance of equipment, choose an electric.

All of the mechanisms of an electric is done within the tool. A pneumatic requires a separate air compressor. While the electric is heavier, you won’t need as many components like you do with a pneumatic.


If you’re in an area with noise regulations, such as a residential area, use an electric. Even though they produce a considerable amount of noise, electric is much quieter than pneumatic.


If you’re working on a construction site or anything commercial-based, it’s more efficient to use a pneumatic. These are commonly used at construction sites for their power.

Electric jackhammers are commonly used at the home for their convenient use. You can easily buy them at retailers.


51XBnoj2cvL Electric vs Pneumatic: Which Jackhammer Do You Need?Both require protective gear and common sense safety information. However, electricity creates more safety hazards while the pneumatic is more damaging to your hearing.

In this case, both types have the same degree of cautions.

Which One Will You Choose: Pneumatic or Electric?

These tools can be used for a variety of construction, excavation, or mining tasks. These tools can be used for personal and commercial use, and follow several safety standards.

The two most popular types are pneumatic and electric. These tools have different pros and cons and work best with what’s situational. Choose the tool that best fits your needs.

If you need additional help, educate yourself on other DIY tools.


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