Maintaining a clean air system in the shop is one of the key factors in running an efficient, profitable operation. Everything from the air compressor, to inline filtration and drying, to air hose selection plays an incredibly important role in working conditions and on-time delivery, resulting in both employee and customer satisfaction.
Today, we are specifically focusing on our Top 10 Tips for Best Air Hose Selection.
There are a number of materials to select from, but it is important to know the working environment in which the hose will be used. Will it be hot or cold? Indoors or outdoors? What types of other contaminants (dirt, grease, oil, chemicals, dust, water, abrasives, etc.) may the hose come into contact with?
If you are noticing issues in the performance of the hose or there are obvious signs of wear such as cracks or it is aging rapidly, find a new hose that is better suited for the working environment.
The chosen material will also affect the hose’s performance, durability, and weight.
The chosen material will of course play the largest role in the durability of your hose. Again, consider the environment the hose will be used in with an understanding of how that environment will impact the durability of the hose material.
Another important factor to consider is who manufactured the hose? How have they engineered it in order to be durable and flexible across the widest range of uses and environments?
Air hoses are typically measured by their interior diameter. The interior diameter, combined with the hose length, determines how much airflow will be pushed to your tool. Most body shop tools require hoses with interior diameters ranging from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch, with some uses requiring an interior diameter up to 1 inch.
Use the optimal airflow rating of your tool(s) to know what combination of interior diameter and hose length to choose. This will result in the best ease of use for your air tools.
Hose length is a major factor in optimal airflow and ease of use for your tool(s). So how do you know what length to choose for the best-case scenario? Start off with knowing the distance between the main air source and the furthest point away from that you will need to use your air tool(s).
Consider what combinations of material, durability, length, and interior diameter could be combined to provide the lightest weight use case for your shop employee.
All of the previous factors determine how much your hose will weigh. Again, this is important for easier working conditions around the shop and safety when mounting your hose reel or other hose storage option.
Any increase or decrease in length and interior diameter affects the weight, as does the material it is made of and to a minor degree the fitting type.
The main reason fittings are a key factor to consider is simply based on the type of connection on the air tool(s) that will be used. Will you be installing quick-connect adapters to your air hose and air tools? If so, be aware of the inlet size, threading, and whether or not the ends are male or female fittings.
7. Temperature Rating
Have you ever experienced an air hose that became very rigid in a colder temperature? How about a very soft hose at a hotter temperature? Either of those cases certainly increases the difficulty of use and reduces the effectiveness of the air hose.
A hose with a wide temperature rating range will provide a more versatile solution for all environments of the shop, and maintain proper flexibility in changing weather conditions.
Maintaining proper flexibility across differing temperature conditions allows for greater ease of use and mobility. It makes the air hose easier to carry, lift, and maneuver. The ability to roll a hose up quickly in a variety of environments without worrying about kinks or leaks saves loads of valuable working time and results in greater safety.
9. Max Pressure
Another important safety feature is the max air pressure or max burst pressure. Not only do you need to be aware of the maximum PSI (pounds per square inch) rating of the hose itself, but you also need to be aware of the max working pressure of the compressed air system as a whole. Ensuring that the max pressure rating of the hose is greater than that of the max working pressure of the system is the recommended best practice.
Last but not least, you will want to be aware of the stated life of the product and warranty information. The longer the product life and warranty guarantee, the less time you may have to spend shopping for a replacement or having to reinstall a new air hose in your shop.
We Recommend Milton’s Ultra Lightweight Ruber (ULR) Air Hose
Built to withstand every extreme, the line of Milton® Ultra Lightweight Rubber (ULR) Air Hoses offers the durability of typical rubber hoses while maintaining the ultra-lightweight convenience of a hybrid hose. The oil-resistant core tube and cover resist abrasion and strain and will not break down over time. The brass National Pipe Fitting thread ends are built with bend restrictor ergonomic handle grips for leak-resistant performance.
- DURABILITY OF RUBBER — Made out of strong rubber, this heavy-duty hose connector is built to withstand extreme environments, resisting abrasions and kinks. Built-in ozone resistance protects the air compressor hose from extreme weather.
- ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT – Up to 40% lighter than traditional rubber hoses, this super lightweight hose mimics the ease and weight of a hybrid hose while maintaining the durability and flexibility of rubber hoses.
- FLEXIBILITY — Easy to carry, lift, and maneuver in the field, this flexible, non-tangle hose provides an ergonomic grip and can operate in conditions from -50°F to 190°F. Roll it up quickly in a variety of work environments without worrying about leaks.
- BUILT FOR EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS — With a max burst pressure of 1,200 PSI and handle grip brass end air hose fittings, this hose protects against repair costs and withstands heavy-duty use.
- BUILT TO LAST – With a 10-year warranty, this high-quality hose is built to withstand extreme work environments. The high-strength polyester-braided reinforcement provides abrasion resistance as well as oil and diesel resistance, providing 300 PSI working pressure for years to come.
Available in a number of diameters and lengths.