Choosing between tube and hose assemblies for hydraulic systems

When it comes to hydraulic applications, people often find they have to choose between a tube and hose assembly. Here, you have to ask yourself some basic questions. This includes when you’d select one over the other. The short answer is that both options come with their advantages. To help you make your choices, we are going to focus on the areas where tubing assemblies come out on top. Then, if you need services like tube drilling, bending, or end forming, you can rely on us.

Life span

The first area where tube excels is life span. In most cases, it’ll be the better option. This is a general rule, but it does not always apply. The effects of chemical exposure, heat, UV light, abrasion, and vibration can have an impact. Tube will normally outlast in certain applications. These are ones involving high-cycle, high-impulse applications, and exposure to UV light. However, there are cases when hoses can be better.

Expansion under pressure

Tube drillingAnother time when you will want to use tubes is when expansion under pressure is a consideration. When you pressurise a hose, its length decreases and the diameter expands. Overall, the hose’s interior increases slightly. When you use enough hoses within a system, the increase in how much hydraulic fluid you need to finish the job can become noticeable. Thus, you will have to consider this in the design stage. What’s more, the hose’s volume fluctuation lowers the hydraulic system’s efficiency and reaction time.

To compare, metal tube expansion is negligible. This makes it the better choice for applications needing accurate positioning. If you need our tube drilling service, please let us know.

Tight bends

Additionally, tube assemblies are better if you need a tight bend radius. They can have considerably tighter bends if you compare to hoses. Saying this, selecting a tight bend radius can increase flow resistance. It is possible to bend tubes using huge radius blocks. But, generating tube assemblies with several bend radii is difficult. For that reason, the majority of them only have a single bend radius for the entire assembly.

Abrasion resistance

If abrasion is a concern, tubing assemblies will be the better choice here as well. Even when they use resistant sleeves or covers, hoses will probably suffer more than tube. This is if you use it in very abrasive settings.


With regards to the resistance to the effects of UV light, tubing is the better choice. Steel isn’t influenced by exposure to it. Rubber compounds in hose covers break down with time from UV exposure. You can choose special thermoplastic cover materials that are resistant, but they won’t last forever.

Temperature ratings

For projects where temperature ratings are a priority, you should use tubes. The majority of hydraulic hoses are designed to function in temperatures ranging from -40ºF to 212ºF. High and low temperature hoses exist too. They can perform in temperatures as low as -70ºF and as high as 302ºF. But, a hose’s working pressure might be derated in specific ranges for particular media.

To compare, carbon steel tubes can operate in temperatures between -65ºF and 500ºF. Then stainless steel ones can work in ranges between -425ºF and 1,200ºF. It is still necessary to consider temperature derating factors with metal tubes, but it happens in far higher temperatures than hoses.


Lastly, tubing succeeds when it comes to maintenance considerations. Hoses often have shorter lifespans. Also, they usually give zero warning of failure. The result is they are more demanding when it comes to maintaining them. Overall, if you can use a tube, it won’t need as many replacements or as much upkeep. The cost of ownership over time is normally far less as a result.

We save people hassle and time with tube drilling and more

At Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd, we use our services to save our clients hassle and time. More importantly, we allow tubing to cater for even more applications. With high standards and great prices, we are the best team to work with.

So, if we can help you in any way with tube drilling and other services, please give us a call. You can discuss designs with us too if you want some suggestions.