Choosing the Right Hydraulic Adapter Material

Hydraulic adapters come in many different shapes and sizes. They are widely used, oftentimes referred

Three steel hydraulic adapters in various sizes

to as a type of fitting, and applications are endless. Some are for performance applications and others are best for construction, automotive, marine, diesel engine or a variety of other markets.

One thing is for sure, though. Not all hydraulic adapters are the same. They have different configurations, can be straight, cross or bent at different degrees. Some are male to male, some female to 

female, some male to female. Whether dealing with Japanese, French, British, Metric, German or conversion adapters, an important part of deciding which adapter is right for your application comes down to material. Material determines the weight, the resilience and the right fit for your application.

The purpose of adapters is pretty straightforward: to make different pieces of fluid conveyance materials come together to form a cohesive system, where fluid can flow uninterrupted. Adapters connect hose, 

Blue anodized aluminum adapter for high performance applications

tube and pipes. These separate pieces need to be connected, and oftentimes they are different sizes or materials. That’s where adapters come in. They act as a type of translator, making one component work with another. 

The first type of material that hydraulic adapters come in is aluminum. Aluminum adapters were primarily designed for the high performance industry, meaning race cars and machines of that nature. Aluminum is great for these applications because it is lightweight, and weight is always a top priority in designing race cars. They come in different colors such as blue, black and red-blue. 

Stainless steel hydraulic adapter

A bit more heavy-duty, steel adapters are very corrosion resistant, rust resistant and can withstand high pressures. Many (including PDI’s) can withstand pressures beyond SAE standards.

Stainless steel adapters are great for any application where cleanliness is of utmost importance. PDI’s stainless steel adapters undergo passivation to remove microscopic foreign particles. 

Black iron is a type of adapter that is not always considered in the realm of hydraulic adapters, but it is exactly that. Black iron adapters are Black pipe fitting on black pipe for return side of hydraulicssometimes called black pipe fittings and what they do is connect low and medium pressure black iron and black steel pipe systems. In stark contrast to the other adapters that deal with high pressure, black iron adapters are used on the low pressure (return) side of hydraulic systems. They are used in noncorrosive environments that can withstand high heat.

So let’s put this all together and start back at square one: First, determine what need you have. Perhaps it’s a new hose assembly. From there, you’ll need to know the configuration of the adapters that go on that hose assembly to make it work within the rest of the 

PDI's Buffalo Express Hose Center adapter shelvingsystem you are getting that hose assembly for. After that, it’s just a matter of determining adapter material and working with a place that can properly create that assembly for you. 

Although the options of adapters seem endless, it really just comes down to these few key considerations.