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Pneumatic Air Hose: Selecting the right pneumatic air hose

Updated on August 24, 2012

Do you have pneumatic air tools? What type of air hose do you have? Do you get frustrated every time you have to use it?

I have several types of pneumatic air tools, but the most frustrating part is the air hose line. Most tools in your gargage or shed are durable and you know what to expect even in all weather conditions. But the pneumatic air line is the most frustrating at times, mostly because of the material its made of.

The slightest change in temperature, the twist of the hose, or any obstacles in the path and the air hose is a problem, especially while you are in the middle of trying to complete a project.

Your selection of hose will depend on budget, work habits, environment and the tool being used.

Rubber

Regardless of the project, if you want a air hose without a learning curve, get rubber. I realize, it's the heaviest hose of them all, it stays flexible in a wide range of temperatures, lies flat on the surface, not likely to kink, and is easy to coil up as an extension cord. Rubber hoses traditionally comes in 3/8 in. I.D., but some manufacturers now make 1/4" hoses also.

PVC

If you are only an occasional tool user and you are not looking to spend a lot of money, PVC hoses are worth a look. They won't mar interior trimwork, and they can be repaired with hose clamps, just like rubber hoses. But, be aware that PVC's stiff material makes these hoses a little more difficult to us, especially in cold environments.

Nylon

Although their lower durability and tendency to kink make them a poor choice for heavy job sites. Nylon hoses, which are sold almost excclusively in springlike recoil configurations are a nice option for use in the shop. Most commonly available in 1/4" I.D., nylon hoses are a fine choice if most of your work involves low volume air tools, such pin,brad and finish nailers. Combined with these smaller tools, a nylon hose's extremely light weight can provide excellent freedom of tool movement.

These hoses are not repairable.

Polyurethane

It's not the cheapest selection, but is the favorite of a wide variety of people. It's lighter than rubber and PVC, which makes it great over long distances and when working from ladders. It's also a favorite of framing contractors and roofers for its mix of durability and excellent cold weather flexibility. Finish caperenters appreciate its nonmarring surface and easy cleanability. Polyurethene can also be reparied quickly without the need for hose clamps. The trade offs are a higher price and a tendency to kink, twist, and curl. Its tacky surface also causes it to snag on itself and on other objects.

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