Have you noticed your hydraulic hoses flexing less and cracking along the length? Or maybe you are starting to see signs of wear on the outer protective material? 

Or worse, your hose has completely burst or worn through. Now your production is at a standstill. You are tempted to look around and jerry-rig something from the spare parts you have lying around. 

It is a huge mistake to ignore the warning signs or try to replace the hose with what you have laying around. The smartest and safest course of action is to buy a new hose that meets the pressure and volume demands of your machinery.

There is really no excuse either, with the hose and belt industry growing by 0.4% each year. There are plenty of options for you to choose from. 

Not sure where to get started? That’s ok, we are here to help. Follow this guide to walk you through the buying process to find the right hose for your needs.  

Safety First 

Before we get started talking about what hose to buy, we need to talk about safety. It is vitally important that you buy the right hose or you risk a catastrophic event. 

A hose bursting failure will result in environmental contamination or production downtime. At worst, a hose failure could result in someone getting seriously injured or even killed. 

Do not fall into the trap of buying a less than adequate hose in an attempt to save money. 

Hose Whipping

When a hose fails, it can result in the end of it whipping around and flailing. This is quite dangerous considering that there is a steel fitting on the end. 

Your employees can get seriously injured from getting hit by that steel cable flinging around at a high rate of speed. 

SAE and EN Standards 

Make sure that the hose you buy adheres to industry safety standards. Those in the United States, Europe, and Australia follow SAE standards. 

EN standards are followed by those in Germany and Asian countries. 

The two ratings are not the same. When comparing equivalent hoses, the SAE hose will have a lower pressure rating than the EN hose. 

Pressure Rating

You need to choose a hose that has a maximum pressure rating above the normal operating pressure of your equipment. You also need to consider the maximum pressure rating for momentary pressure surges. 

Make sure to pair the right hose to the right fitting. If your fittings are not on par with your hose, then the whole system is compromised and only capable of the lowest pressure rating. 

Burst Pressure Rating

This is often 4 times that of the working pressure rating. These ratings are tested and proven through destructive testing. 

Not all hose bursts are violent and big. Sometimes they can be smaller cracks and leaks. 

The Diameter Inside the Hose

You need to buy a hose that has the right inside diameter. If the inside of the hose is too small, then the linear velocity will be too high. 

Too much velocity means too much friction and turbulence. All of this means that your system will operate with too much heat and pressure. 

You need to factor in how long your hose is. The longer the hose, the bigger the inner diameter will need to be. This is to help you keep the friction and heat down. 

Hydraulic Hose Length

Once you find the right hose type, you need to make sure you buy the right length of hose. The hose needs to be able to move, flex, articulate, and bend. 

If the hose is too short then it will put unnecessary stress on both the hose and the fittings. There is also the problem of shrinkage. 

At maximum pressure, a hose can shrink up to 4% in length. If you don’t have slack in the hose, then you’ll hose will be too short. 

You don’t want to buy a hose that is too long, though. Excessive length adds pressure because of the increased restriction to the flow. This will reduce the overall efficiency of your system. 

The Material 

You have a few different options when it comes to the outer material of the hose. Where you plan to use the hose will dictate which type of material is right for your application. 

Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber is a common material and great for uses where the hose will experience abrasion. Just be prepared for the hose to not bend easily and be quite heavy. 

Rubber performs well in between temperatures of -40 and 100 degrees. You will also need to check the manufacture date of the hose. The maximum shelf life rubber hoses are 10 years at most

Neoprene

Neoprene is another common material, as it is more flexible than the rubber option. It can also handle a wide range of temperatures while maintaining its integrity and performance. 

Thermoplastic

If you have weight concerns then thermoplastic is a better choice than rubber. These hoses have inner tubes made of braided nylon or copolyester. 

This synthetic fiber is a must over steel in applications where you need the hose to be electrically nonconductive. 

Replace Your Hose

You may be tempted to try and get creative with your hose replacement when you have one break or wear out. Don’t do this, as it is both a safety and efficiency concern. 

You need to think about the intended application of your hydraulic hose. Then select a hose that has an appropriate pressure rating. 

Consider the length and inside diameter together. This will ensure you buy the correct sized hose for your equipment. 

Let’s find the right hydraulic hose and fittings for your equipment.