The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (2024)

The Basics About Blowguns

PCL’s versatile range of air blowguns are designed to be used in a wide range of applications. Here we look at the different types available and how to select the right one for your application.

Where are they used?

Commonly usedin laboratories and manufacturing industries but also workshops and car body shops, for a range of jobs from tyre fitting to paint spraying. Blowguns are fitted to a compressed air line to produce a jet stream of air, they are used to quickly and efficiently clear equipment and surfaces of debris such as dust or chips, with the nozzle directing the air flow.

What is the law relating to using compressed air blowguns?

There is no current legislation relating to the use of blowguns, nor is there any specific legal restriction regarding the type of blowgun that should or should not be used.

However, there are laws which must be adhered to surrounding the conditions in which a blowgun may be used, and which could result in penalties should they be neglected.


  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), Chapter 37, Section 2, which stipulates that employers must ensure the safety of employees

There are also codes of practice and guidance which should be followed to ensure the safe use of equipment.

These include:

  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2306) – these include mandatory requirements for employers to pay due care and attention to working conditions and potential risks to health and safety where equipment is used, and also to any additional risks associated with its use
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242), which state that employers must carry out a risk assessment and implement appropriate health & safety measures

How to select the right blowgun

Should I choose plastic or metal?

This is down to personal preference.

PCL’s latest range of blowguns, ERGO and ERGO EXTREME, are manufactured from Zytel nylon, which is highly durable offering heat and chemical resistance but lighter in weight than metal products and feels warmer in the hand. Nozzles are usually metal, with the internal components made from brass and stainless steel adding to the increased durability and longevity.

PCL’s entry level range of blowguns are also manufactured from plastic, represent excellent value for money but do not have the same high levels of durability as the ERGO and ERGO EXTREME

Metal blowguns are more likely to be chosen when longer life is a higher priority than increased comfort, in which case PCL has versions manufactured from die-cast alloy in two styles – pistol or palm – both of which are compact and robust.

Entry Level Plastic Blowguns

Ergo Mid Range Blowguns and Ergo Extreme Premium Blowguns

Metal Blowguns

Pressure required

This will depend on the maximum pressure relevant to your air supply and working practices in relation to Health & Safety. Whilst there is no specific UK legislation relating to this, the OSHA states that industrial safety air blowguns should be used for industrial applications. PCL’s safety blowguns feature a cleverly designed safety valve that reduces the output of air to 2 bar and slowly releases air if there is a blockage.

Safety Nozzle Blowguns without a tamper-proof 2 bar valve may be used on a normal factory air supply at 6 bar. However, the manufacturer must be able confirm that pressure from the main nozzle, when blocked, is low enough to mostly reduce the possibility of injury.

How can I tell if I have a 2 bar Safety Blowgun or a Standard Blowgun?

The below image demonstrates the two visual differences between 2 bar Safety and Standard Ergo and Ergo Extreme Blowguns.

Blowgun without 2 bar safety valve

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (4)

Blowgun with 2 bar safety valve

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (5)

Type of nozzle

Air nozzles allow the operator to control and optimise the flow of compressed air. To select the most suitable nozzle, you should consider your application.

There are two nozzle types to consider, conical or safety nozzles.

Traditional Conical Nozzles

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (6)

A simple angled nozzle which facilitates access to tight spaces, this traditional conical nozzle is also available as a 9” nozzle which can be further cut and bent to suit individual applications.

For industrial applications, conical nozzles should only be used with a blowgun that has a tamper-proof 2 bar valve. PCL offers conical nozzles with and without the tamper-proof 2 bar valve.

Safety Nozzles

Safety nozzles are designed to prevent blockages, ensuring that the pressure at the main nozzle, in most cases, remains low enough to reduce the possibility of injury.

There are two types of safety nozzles; Aircurtain and Reduced jet-velocity.

Which one you should choose will depend upon the size and shape of the object the air stream is aimed at, as this will dictate whether you need a flat or concentrated pattern of air.

Aircurtain Safety Nozzle (Flat)

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (7)

An Aircurtain Safety Nozzle will ensure that debris will not fly towards the user. This type of nozzle is central, and incorporates a design that will form a curtain of air shaped like an umbrella around the main air stream. Recommended for use in large areas, an Aircurtain Safety Nozzle is an effective method of drying as it works like a squeegee.

Reduced Jet-velocity Nozzles (Concentrated)

Reduced Jet-velocity Nozzles are equipped with an extension tube with holes surrounding the main nozzle at the bottom, through which atmospheric air is pulled in to increase the volume of air flow whilst also slowing it down. This reduces the risk of debris hitting the user.

PCL offer two types of reduced jet-velocity nozzles:

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (8)

Low Noise Nozzle

Designed to reduce the risk associated with noise exposure, meeting OSHA safety standards.

The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (9)

TURBO Nozzle

The TURBO Nozzle is ideal when increased airflow is required

How to choose the right fitting

It is important to check your input connection type and size to match the air compressor hose. All blowguns in our range have a Rp 1/4 female BSP inlet therefore you will need a R 1/4 male BSP adaptor or hose fitting. Make sure that the adaptor is compatible to the coupling. For a leak-free seal, use a relevant thread sealant.

Unsure which coupling and adaptor series you have? Click to see our handy guide on how to identify a coupling and adaptor profile.

Blowgun Safety Tips

It is the duty of a business to ensure the health and safety of its employees, and this includes making sure the equipment they use is safe, that the user is trained to use it and is aware of associated risks and necessary precautions. Here are some tips to ensure the safe use of air blowguns:

  • Choose a safety blowgun with a safety valve to reduce the output of air to 2 bar and slowly release air if there is a blockage
  • If your blowgun does not have a built-in safety mechanism, reduce the pressure to 2 bar or 30 psi gauge pressure
  • Wear eye and ear protection at all times
  • Ensure the blowgun does not exceed 90dB to avoid the risk of partial or permanent hearing loss, preferably with a noise level that meets OSHA standards
  • Ensure the end of the blowgun is never blocked
  • Never point a blowgun towards yourself or anyone else. Compressed air can enter the bloodstream by getting underneath the skin which can cause an embolism
  • A blowgun should not be used as a general vacuum or for cleaning clothing, particularly when the clothing is being worn
The basics about Compressed Air Blowguns and how to select the right one | Support & Advice (2024)


What should air blowguns be regulated to? ›

OSHA 26 CFR1910.

Limit the air supplied to the gun by using a regulator that is set to 30 PSI or less, or have a restrictor built into the gun.

What are the OSHA regulations for compressed air nozzles? ›

The enclosed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.242(b) requires that compressed air used for cleaning purposes must be reduced to less than 30 psig (pounds per square inch gauge, 204 kPa).

What precautions should be taken when using compressed air? ›

Compressed Air Safety Caution

What psi is an OSHA approved air nozzle? ›

In short, the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes at pressures greater than 30 P.S.I. is permissible, if the outlet or source is fitted with a relief device that drops the pressure to less than 30 P.S.I. if the flow is dead ended.

Are longer blowguns better? ›

Our results proved that the longer the barrel length is, the more energy there is in the projectile.

Are blowguns legal in the US? ›

Any imported blowgun must be deactivated by either drilling a hole or by blocking. In the Republic of Ireland, blowpipes (blow guns) are classified as illegal offensive weapons. In the U.S. state of California, blowguns are illegal. They are also illegal in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., but are legal elsewhere.

What does OSHA say about compressed air? ›

Employees shall be protected by chip guarding and personal protective equipment complying with the provisions of Subpart E of this part during cleaning with compressed air. Compressed air used for cleaning shall not exceed a pressure of 30 psi. Compressed air shall not be used to clean employees.

When using compressed air and a blowgun What is the maximum allowable air pressure? ›

To be classified as safe, by OSHA, the air blow gun is only allowed to have a static pressure of 30 psi (2.1 bar).

What are the safety standards for compressed air? ›

Air compressor equipment should be operated only by authorized and trained personnel. The air intake should be from a clean, outside, fresh air source. Screens or filters can be used to clean the air. Air compressors should Never be operated at speeds faster than the manufacturers recommendation.

What PPE is required for compressed air? ›

Safety glasses are always required when using compressed air or pneumatic tools, and face guards or shields and hearing protection are required with some impact tools. Gloves and steel-toed shoes may also be required.

What are the standard conditions for compressed air? ›

The standard temperature for calculating SCFM flow rate ranges from 60°F to 68°F, at a pressure of 14.7 psi and relative humidity of 36%.

Which of the following is a rule regarding compressed air? ›

Never clean yourself or your clothes (while you're wearing them) with compressed air, and never point an air nozzle at any part of your body or at anyone else – even when you're sure the pressure does not exceed 30 psi.

What is a safe PSI for compressed air? ›

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.242 (b) requires that the nozzle pressure of an air gun used for cleaning purposes remain below 30 pounds per square inch (psi) for all static conditions.

Do you need a nozzle for compressed air? ›

Air nozzles are not a must if you blow with compressed air. But if you want to improve the working environment and save energy, installing nozzles can be an easy and efficient solution. Air nozzles help you lower the sound level, decrease the usage of compressed air and prevent occupational injuries.

Are airguns regulated by ATF? ›

Accordingly, the domestic sale and possession of air guns is normally unregulated under the Federal firearms laws enforced by ATF.

Are airguns regulated in the US? ›

Air guns are considered firearms, with both a high muzzle velocity (greater than 152.4 meters or 500 feet per second) and a high muzzle energy (greater than 5.7 joules or 4.2 foot-pounds). These high-powered air guns are subject to the same licence and registration requirements as a conventional firearm.

What is the PSI limit for air guns? ›

Compressed air can also rupture internal organs if introduced into a body cavity, such as a nostril or ear. In order to protect employees, the static pressure at the tip of a blocked gun must be limited to less than 30 psi.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Last Updated:

Views: 5777

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Birthday: 1998-02-19

Address: 64841 Delmar Isle, North Wiley, OR 74073

Phone: +17844167847676

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: LARPing, Kitesurfing, Sewing, Digital arts, Sand art, Gardening, Dance

Introduction: My name is Amb. Frankie Simonis, I am a hilarious, enchanting, energetic, cooperative, innocent, cute, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.