Choosing the Right Air Hose Fittings

March 28, 2012

Learn how to choose between plastic and metal air hose fittings, and to get the right measurements.

Metal Air Hose

Regardless of their relatively small size air hose fittings are a very important part of the overall performance of the compressed air tools they are used with. Making sure that the fittings are in good shape is a necessary part of keeping this equipment in its optimal working condition. These fittings maintain a constant flow of air and pressure within the hoses so that the performance of the air tools is not compromised.

Types of Fittings
There are two types of these fittings, one for industrial use and the other for automotive use. They do not interchange. Take note of the NPT number on the part you are replacing and make sure that the replacement has the same number. The measurements are taken on the inside diameter of the fitting.

Other accessories that you may need to replace along with air hose fittings are couplers and clamps to keep them is good shape as well.

What Your Air Hose Fittings Should Be Made Of

Primarily, hose fittings are made of plastic. Generally, plastic is light and able to withstand a significant amount of pressure. Moreover, plastic fittings are very affordable. Plastic fittings, however, aren't recommended when air hoses have to be connected to each other or to an air compressor. In such circumstances, all components need to be very sturdy and low in maintenance. Plastic fittings are prone to cracks as they're not very durable. The most common use of air hoses is in air compressors for fridges and automobiles.

Metal Air Hose Fittings
It's advisable to use air hose fittings that are made of metal, and more specifically of brass, for greater durability.

For air hoses in cars, metal air hose fittings are commonly used, as they are durable and cost effective. A variety of metal hose fittings are available and you can even have them made to order. Copper air hose fittings aren't as widely used as brass fittings. The latter are able to resist rust, they're affordable and they cool faster than both plastic and copper. Other options are steel and aluminum fittings, but in most cases, brass fittings suffice and do the job well. Steel fittings can handle substances being blasted between hoses at high speeds and prevent connecting hoses from breaking apart. For the automobile industry, stainless steel fittings aren't used, as this application isn't a requirement in vehicles.

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