How to Choose the Right Hydraulic Cylinder for My Applications?

You know you need a hydraulic cylinder, but, don’t you know how to identify the one you need? First of all we are going to know a little more about the Hydraulic cylinders and their operation;

Hydraulic cylinders can be classified according to the effect they generate: single and double. And according to its type:

Stems – Stronger for Heavy Duty
Soldier: smaller and weaker for light work
Specialized: for specialized and custom industrial machinery
Knowing all these data will help us when choosing a hydraulic cylinder. To do this, now we must ask ourselves: How to choose the right hydraulic cylinder for an application?

There is a very extensive range of cylinders, general techniques and mounting rules to meet the wide range of application needs that exist. Therefore, selecting the right cylinder for an application is critical for maximum performance and reliability. This means that we must take into account several parameters.


In an application involving hydraulic cylinders it is important to consider the operating conditions. The cylinders have to be adapted to the specific application so it is vital to know the amount of pressure, the force exerted and the space requirements (which are imposed by the design of the machine).

When carrying out a job that requires the use of cylinders, we also have to see if they are capable of withstanding extreme high or low temperatures, or, for example, handle problems related to humidity or salt water. For example, taking the temperature into account, we will choose a synthetic rubber cylinder, if it reaches more than 150 ° C, since the Buna-N nitrile rubber cylinder could fail. If we have doubts, it is best to assume harsher operating conditions than, a priori, it may seem.

The type of metal used for the cylinder head, base and bearing is also important as it can make a difference. Most cylinders use SAE 660 bronze for bearings and medium grade carbon steel for heads and bases, which is suitable for most applications. However, stronger materials such as ductile iron 65-45-12 can improve performance for complex industrial tasks. In addition, when choosing the type of piston material, it is necessary to take into account humid or high humidity environments, where 17-4PH stainless steel can be more durable than carbon steel hardened with chrome plating, which is the one that it is used in the vast majority. Likewise, it is necessary to take into account and be careful with the possible pressure drops and overpressure that can affect the materials and the operation of the cylinders.

And there are a series of characteristics that we must take into account when selecting a cylinder for a specific application or job. We must know perfectly what its use and purpose will be, that is, what application we will give it for a specific job. In general, some characteristics that must be specified and taken into account are:

The type of operation required: push, pull, or both. And if it will be single or double effect according to the needs and interests of operation.

  • Force
  • Fluid
  • Pressure
  • Ambient and fluid temperature
  • Cushioning
  • Race
  • Plunger height and speed
  • Material
  • Base
  • Tube
  • Accessories
  • Mounting
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Diameter
  • Endurance


At Mecanix Machinery we can give you the advice you need and together we can find the best solution for your need, we work seriously.