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What you need to know about Compressed Air Blowguns

What you need to know about Compressed Air Blowguns

Used in workshops, car body shops and elsewhere, compressed air blowguns are a commonly used piece of equipment in many industries. But, if you’re looking to buy a new one, what do you need to know to ensure you purchase the very best blowgun? Keep on reading and The Hosemaster will tell you everything you need to know about compressed air blowguns.

What is a compressed air blowgun?

Let’s start with a definition. What exactly do we mean when we talk about blowguns?

Well, we’re referring to a device which is attached to the end of a compressed air line to produce a consistent jet of air.

This jet of air is then used in applications such as the removal of debris and dirt, drying and blowing.

Sounds straightforward right? Well, sort of. But there are a few things you need to consider in order to buy the correct compressed air blowgun for your particular circumstances.

Below, The Hosemaster team has set out the key things you should think about when buying a new blowgun.

Shop Now - PCL Low Noise Safety Blowgun
Shop now - PCL Low Noise Safety Blowgun

What to look for when buying a compressed air blowgun

As with many different types of tools, you have a number of options when it comes to selecting a blowgun, including different air intake types, common output types (nozzles), flow control, housing and more.

We’ve provided more details on each of these below.

Air pressure safety

We’ll begin with arguably the most important point, as you’ll want to make sure you buy a blowgun which guarantees safe operation.

It’s generally recommended that you select blowguns with safety valves that reduce the output of air to 2 bar. Other useful safety features to look for include the ability to slowly release air in the event of a blockage.

Blowgun brands such as PCL tend to include such air pressure safety features in their blowguns.

Whilst there currently isn’t any UK legislation related directly to the use of blowguns, there is some US legislation which is relevant.

The OSHA regulations 29 CFR Part 1910.242(b) states that ‘compressed air should not be used for cleaning purposes except if reduced to less than 30psi (2 bar) and only with effective protective equipment’.

So, if you want to make sure you’re buying a safe blowgun, look for models which say they meet the OSHA standard.

Air intake type

It’s important that you check the input connection type of the blowgun before you buy it.

You’ll need to make sure that the input connection of the gun matches the type and size of your air compressor hose.

Here at The Hosemaster, many of our blowguns feature a Rp ¼ female BSP inlet. This means that you’d need an R ¼ male BSP adaptor or hose fitting.

You’ll also need to check that the adaptor is compatible with the coupling. It’s also handy to use a relevant thread sealant to ensure you don’t experience any air leaks whilst using the blowgun.

Type of nozzle (output type)

This is a particularly important buying consideration, as the type of nozzle on the blowgun will influence the types of jobs the blowgun is capable of.

There are a number of different nozzles that you can generally pick from which we’ve outlined in more detail below.

Traditional canonical nozzles

Traditional canonical nozzles are simple, usually angled, nozzles which are used to clear dirt, dust and other detritus from tight or enclosed spaces.

Many canonical nozzles can be easily customised to meet your specific requirements. For example, it’s possible to cut down these nozzles as well as change the angle at the output end of the nozzle.

It’s important to note that traditional canonical nozzles should only be used with blowguns that have tamper-proof 2 bar valves.

Aircurtain safety nozzles (flat)

Aircurtain safety nozzles are designed to help clear dust and dirt from a surface whilst simultaneously protecting the user from any ‘blowback’.

As their name suggests these aircurtain nozzles tend to have a flat appearance which helps to create an aircurtain around the main airstream. It’s this aircurtain which prevents detritus from flying back into the operator’s face.

Aircurtain safety nozzles tend to be used for applications such as drying.

Reduced jet-velocity nozzles (concentrated)

This is another type of nozzle which aims to reduce the likelihood of debris hitting the operator.

However, this type of nozzle does this in a slightly different way from an aircurtain safety nozzle.

Reduced jet-velocity nozzles feature an extension tube which has holes surrounding the main nozzle at the bottom. These holes help to pull in atmospheric air to both increase the volume of air flow, and slow it down.

This results in a jet of air which is still powerful enough to clear debris, but in a way which won’t result in ‘blowback’ to the operator.

Shop Now - Safety Aircurtain Blowgun
Shop now - Safety Aircurtain Blowgun

Blowgun housing

Aside from checking the air intake type and nozzle of a potential new blowgun, you’ll also want to think about the type of housing it has.

In general, when it comes to blowgun housings, you’ll have three choices:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Zytel Nylon

Metal

Metal housings offer a long service life for your blowgun. As you would expect, metal is able to withstand the knocks, drops and scrapes that are inevitable in an industrial environment.

The downsides are that blowguns with metal housings tend to be the most expensive, and are also heavy making prolonged operation uncomfortable.

Plastic

At the other end of the price spectrum, there are blowguns with plastic housings. Whilst not as durable as metal, plastic housings are still able to withstand considerable abuse and offer excellent value for money.

Zytel Nylon

Zytel nylon offers a great ‘mid-point’ between metal and plastic. Zytel nylon is very durable and offers both heat and chemical resistance.

Whilst being very tough, it also has the advantage of being lighter than metal and has much better ‘handfeel’.

Note - regardless of which material housing you choose, it’s important to remember that the rest of the blowgun will be made from other materials e.g. nozzles will be metal, internal components made from a mix of brass and stainless steel.

Flow Control

You will want to ensure that the blowgun you buy offers excellent flow control. Pistol grip designs are generally favoured by many people as they offer the ability to modulate the flow of air from the nozzle.

In other words, pistol grip blowguns allow for variable flow control based on how much (or little) you pull the trigger.

Shop Now - PCL 9” Extension Nozzle Blowgun
Shop now - PCL 9” Extension Nozzle Blowgun

Time for a new blowgun?

If you’re in the market for a new blowgun, then check out our range here at The Hosemaster.

We stock air pressure blowguns from leading brands such as PCL and Jamec at competitive prices and with quick delivery.

Shop air pressure blowguns at The Hosemaster now