What's the Difference Between Double and Single Hydraulic Cylinders?

What’s the Difference Between Double and Single Hydraulic Cylinders?

December 30, 2021

Hydraulic cylinders are essential components of many high-powered jobs. You’ll find them in bulldozers, dump trucks and many other pieces of heavy-duty machinery. Your two choices for a hydraulic cylinder are a single-acting cylinder or a double hydraulic cylinder. This post will cover the differences between the two and help you decide which is the best option for your application.

Single hydraulic cylinders

A single hydraulic cylinder has one acting port where the hydraulic fluid enters and forces the plunger in a single direction. Depending on the piece’s design, the plunger can be retracted using a return spring, by the weight of the load or by gravity.

Double hydraulic cylinders

As you can probably tell by its name, a double hydraulic cylinder has two ports—one for the fluid to enter and extend the plunger and another for retracting the cylinder. In a double-acting hydraulic cylinder, the plunger retracts when hydraulic fluid is pumped into the top port. This forces the plunger back to its original position, which can be done immediately or gradually with precise control.

Single hydraulic cylinder pros

Singly hydraulic cylinders are a perfect solution for many applications. These are a few of the reasons you may want to choose a single-acting cylinder:

  • Lower cost: With only one port to support instead of two, single hydraulic cylinders are typically much less expensive than their double-acting counterparts. In addition to lower manufacturing costs, single hydraulic cylinders are cheaper to install, maintain and repair.
  • Venting requirements: The spring mechanism inside single-action cylinder interiors requires ventilation. While this gives the piece access to the outdoors, particles can enter the cylinder, leading to breakdowns.
  • Compact design: Because they only have one port and small housing, single hydraulic cylinders are compact and ideal for smaller pieces of equipment or for use in tight spaces. So long as there’s room for the port and venting, the cylinder is highly compatible with small equipment.

Advantages of double hydraulic cylinders

When a single-acting hydraulic cylinder just won’t do, you’ll need to go with a double hydraulic piece. Here are a couple of advantages of double hydraulic cylinders:

  • Versatility: The two ports in these hydraulic cylinders allow for hydraulic power in two directions. Additionally, the push and pull motion is more easily controlled. Even though they’re larger than single-acting cylinders, double hydraulic cylinders are more versatile pieces.
  • No venting concerns: A double hydraulic cylinder is closed off from the rest of the environment. As a result, there’s no risk of outdoor particles entering the system and wreaking havoc.
  • Longevity: Double-acting hydraulic cylinders must be built with accurate and highly precise dual ports to accommodate for the precision work of hydraulic pistons. As a result, double cylinders are much more durable than single-acting cylinders.

Come to us for all of your hydraulic equipment

Whether you need a double or single-acting cylinder, be sure to purchase it from Royal Brass Incorporated. We only carry the highest quality hydraulic products to ensure all of your needs are met. Contact us today to see what we have in stock for you.

Categorised in: