Hoses: PVC vs Rubber air hose
Air Compressor Hoses are one of the most important components in air tools. They are used to connect the air compressor with an air tool, for example for blowing out water from pipes or doing power blasting. There are two types available on the market: PVC and rubber hoses.
The differences between these two types of hoses can be significant, depending on what they are used for. The following article will provide insight into these differences and recommend when it would be best to use each type of hose.
- Light weight
- Easily cut and repaired by the user
- Can be used with gas engine-powered compressors
How does PVC hose work?
PVC is very easy to handle and store. A 35M hose, for example, weighs around 6kg when empty. PVC is an inexpensive solution for low-pressure tools.
When using PVC hose with high-pressure tools make sure you are connecting all the joints properly in order to avoid having leaks in your system which will decrease the performance of your tool significantly. This hose is prone to kinking if not handled correctly in smaller diameters (17mm). The operating temperature range for this type of hose starts at -15 degrees Celsius and reaches up to +30 degrees Celsius.
When it comes down to cold weather performance rubber hose wins every time. Just because it’s not insulated doesn’t mean that this type of air compressor hose is not great for cold weather. In fact, a rubber hose provides the best performance during freezing temperatures.
When to use PVC hoses
PVC is the best option for low pressure, stationary tools such as staple guns, brad nailers, or low air requirement tools. For high-pressure tasks, a rubber hose is a better choice where durability is of utmost importance. It will protect your equipment against explosions by preventing fire or sparks from entering the hose through joints. This hose is resistant to temperature changes which makes it an excellent choice for cold weather situations. PVC hose also comes in handy when you are looking for a quick fix, because it can be easily repaired by using PVC glue.
Pros and cons of PVC hose
- Poor resistance to petroleum products
- Prone to kinking in smaller diameters (17mm)
- Leaks easily
- Not resistant to oil and gasoline fumes
- It is very light
Rubber air hose features
- Flexible and lightweight
- Retains its shape even under pressure
- Additional weight for better handling during use
- Can be used with electric or gas engine-powered compressors
How does rubber hose work?
Rubber hose is a flexible solution for high-pressure tools. Furthermore, it also provides the highest possible burst pressure rating which makes it an excellent choice for working with tools that require nitrous oxide hookup. The operating temperature range for this type of hose starts at -35 degrees Celsius and reaches up to +60 degrees Celsius.
Useful for high-pressure tools in harsh conditions, since it has excellent resistance to cold weather. The operating temperature range starts at -4 degrees Celsius and goes up to +80 degrees Celsius. Rubber hoses are also resistant to most chemicals they come into contact with, except acetone, tetrachloride, benzol, etc.
This makes them perfect for industrial applications where chemical hazards are present. If you are using this type of compressor hose with a hot engine or near sparks or fire make sure that the end of the hose is plugged.
When to use rubber air hose
A rubber hose is a perfect solution when you are working in a wet environment because it will not burst if water enters through joints or holes. It can be used with standard electric compressors with an output of 6-10 CFM, which means it gives an exceptional performance with low-pressure tools such as spray guns, Sanders, or grinders.
This type of hose is also known for resisting heat, oil, and most chemicals found during industrial work. The smooth interior surface prevents clogging and allows for uninterrupted suction even with fine dust particles entering the compressor.
For high-pressure applications, rubber hoses are ideal because they offer more than PVC but are lightweight enough for easy use. They are also affordable, so it doesn’t hurt to keep an extra rubber hose on hand in case your first one gets damaged or lost.
Pros and cons of rubber air hose
- Heavy duty inflation
- Excellent resistance to most petroleum products
- Resistant to oil and gasoline fumes
- Heavy weight
- Not resistant to oil and gasoline fumes
Working efficiency of both hoses
An air hose isn’t just something that transfers air from the compressor to the tool. It also reduces the fatigue of the user because it takes away weight and decreases muscle strain. This is why smaller diameter hoses are not efficient, because they reduce airflow quantity which increases operating time or forces you to move your compressor closer to the job site.
During high-pressure applications avoid using tubing by replacing it with a rubber hose since it has great resistance to punctures. Even though PVC is lightweight and low cost, rubber hose wins when it comes down to power tools in wet areas because its flexibility protects against kinks caused by water presence in joints. When carrying large volumes of airflow rubber hose provides more comfort due to less weight allowing for better handling during use without setting the compressor down.
For everyday home use, a rubber air hose is sufficient.
For professional use in demanding environments rubber hose has better durability, flexibility, and reliability. It also offers a higher burst strength rating which makes it a safer choice.
Materials used for air hoses
The most common types of rubber components used by HVAC companies are EPDM, silicone, neoprene and nitrile. All these materials have good resistance to chemicals which is the reason why they are mostly preferred in harsh environments. EPDM has better wear resistance but it’s also more expensive than other options. Silicone is identical to nitrile gloves, just like nitrile it has excellent chemical resistance but it doesn’t stretch as much.
Neoprene on the other hand can be stretched under high pressure which makes this material perfect for compressors because it reduces the risk of damaging your equipment if something goes wrong during installation or repair processes. PVC is made of polyvinyl chloride which is one of the most commonly used thermoplastics in this industry.
It offers high abrasion and chemical resistance which makes it great for use under harsh conditions. One of the main advantages of PVC tubing is its lightweight and flexibility making it very suitable for pneumatic applications.
Which type is more time-saving?
Since the rubber air hose is heavier, it takes more time to move around, but at the same time, it reduces the fatigue of your arms. PVC tubing on the other hand is very lightweight which makes working for several hours much easier.
Which type is more reliable?
Both types are equally reliable because they are lightweight and resistant to cold weather. The rubber air hose has excellent resistance to most chemicals found in industrial work which makes it great for harsh environments while PVC doesn’t have that kind of pressure resistance making it less suitable for rugged conditions.
PVC hose is more affordable, as well as easier to replace, and generally better for less demanding applications.
Which type of compressor hoses works with nitrous oxide?
Because rubber hoses have resistance to acetone, tetrachloride, benzol, etc., they are not suitable for connection to nitrous oxide. Only PVC hoses can be used unless you want to risk damaging your tool or the whole system altogether. Moreover, if you use an expensive industrial compressor with a pro-grade aluminum coupler make sure that you are using G1/4 male threaded fittings because other types may cause leakage due to high pressure being transferred through the nipple section of the fitting.
Safety tips while using hose
It’s very important that you handle the hose with care and respect because even though it has a high burst pressure rating, just like any air tool or equipment, it can fail under certain circumstances. When unrolling the hose try to stay clear of sharp objects such as stones and dirt which may cause cuts in the outer jacket, increasing leakage rate.
The rubber material tends to tear so if possible use entrance ramps when trailering your compressor or work vehicle into a job site. You should also avoid sitting on the hose because it will stretch out over time decreasing its diameter which causes air loss during operation. If this happens, replace it immediately to avoid further problems with the performance of your tools that are connected to the system.
Always inspect hoses before using them because the rubber material can get damaged during transportation. When not in use make sure that it’s not on top of hot surfaces, preferably store it coiled up somewhere out of the sun or any other source of heat.
As it’s been mentioned in the article PVC vs rubber air hose, there are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing between these two types. First of all, it’s performance under pressure, weather conditions, and strength. The best way to compare them is using an analogy – when deciding on which material to use for your house construction you would choose metal because of its durability but when picking a floor covering for the living room you would opt for carpet or tiles because they add that homely feeling while being very easy to clean making this decision much easier.
Rubber air hose offers great flexibility and resistance against abrasion and chemicals while PVC tubing has low weight and good chemical properties with a few drawbacks such as lower durability in harsh environments, poor resistance to cold weather, lower burst pressure rating. Because of all these factors choosing between PVC vs rubber air hose can be quite difficult so be sure to inspect your requirements on an individual basis and choose the type that matches your specific needs best.