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On The Tool Truck

Cordless vs. Pneumatic Tools

Professional Tools. Professional Facts. You Ask The Questions, We Get The Answers.

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As the gleaming white truck pulled into the parking lot and backed into place, the vivid Matco Tools artwork first drew my attention, then I settled on the bold red letters that read, “Denny Morgan, Authorized Distributor.”

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Morgan climbed out of the cab and greeted me with a handshake and a smile. Just coming off his route for the day, Morgan agreed to meet and give me a tour.

Stepping inside, I was like a kid in a candy store. Every square inch was taken up by neatly organized tools, toolboxes, work apparel and accessories and the unmistakable smell of “new” filled the air.

After perusing every inch of the truck and making my wish list, I explained that this issue of TechShop would feature cordless and pneumatic tool innovations, and I asked which of these tools are more popular with his customers.

“Technicians like cordless tools,” Morgan said, without hesitation. “The 1/2-in. and 3/8-in. impacts are very powerful and the batteries are smaller and lighter, making them very user friendly. Cordless tools are extremely amazing and versatile, and new lithium batteries are much more forgiving and have a longer shelf life.”

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Morgan also pointed out that mobile repair has been completely revolutionized by cordless tool technology.

For Morgan, the cordless market is the stronger one and impacts are some of most popular cordless tools, followed closely by hex bit drivers and drills.

“With the advancements in cordless tools, the power tool market has really changed in the 15 years that I have been a Matco dealer,” Morgan said. “But I still sell a lot of air tools.”

On the pneumatic side, 1/2-in. impacts and die grinders are the two most popular tools, followed by air hammers, air drills and 3/8-in. impacts.

“More technicians still use the air impacts and tools in the shop where they have air available,” Morgan said. “Especially the 1/2-in. impact, it will always be a necessary tool in your shop due to its power-to-weight ratio.”

Morgan explained that certain industries use air tools over cordless, for example in the aircraft and collision repair industries. Tools that see continuous use for extended periods of time, such as air drills, die grinders and body-refinishing tools, can only be efficiently operated on air.

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Even though cordless tool technology and innovation is on the forefront of power tool evolution, pneumatic tools are still seeing innovations and improvements.

“New air tools are smaller, lighter and much more powerful than they used to be,” Morgan said. “Composite materials and superior motor designs are the primary reason.”

I asked Morgan about his favorite tools and things that he likes to keep on his truck and he replied, “Toolboxes, Redback boots, cordless tools, beef jerky and flashlights. My customers like the beef jerky and I can have a snack if I need it,” he added with a chuckle.

“I’ve been wearing these Redback boots since I started with Matco,” he said while tipping up a foot. “They are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever had, and they last for years. I like to keep both the slip-on boots and the lace-up boots on my truck. I have customers who will buy nothing but Redback and it helps that I wear them, too.”

Morgan said that even in shops where the boots see continuous exposure to oil and grease, the soles are incredibly resilient and they still last for years. He also keeps a selection of Redback insoles and socks on his truck to complement the boots.

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“Thinking about toolboxes brings something else to mind with cordless tools,” Morgan continued. “Matco is building toolboxes with power outlets and USB ports both externally and inside drawers for laptops, tablets, cell phones and cordless tools. With these features, techs can charge their cordless tools overnight while keeping them securely locked up.”

Morgan cleaned and organized as we talked. He spoke about his excellent experience with Matco Tools and the great customers that he has. As I thanked him and stepped down out of the box, I found myself already thinking about my next candy store visit.

Denny Morgan has been a Matco Tools Authorized Distributor since 2003, servicing areas of Summit, Stark and Portage, OH counties. Outside of work, he loves his family, old cars, playing guitar, golf and target shooting.

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