Differences between Single-Acting and Double-Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

Published: February 17, 2021 Last Updated: October 12, 2023 How To Series ,

Single and Double Acting CylindersFor industrial heavy lifting packed with power, hydraulic cylinders offer you the unidirectional force needed to power your industrial equipment. Ideal for dump trailers and platform truck trailers, telescopic hydraulic cylinders provide the long stroke lengths needed for a variety of mobile applications.

When deciding to purchase telescopic hydraulic cylinders, buyers are often tasked with choosing between single-acting and double-acting hydraulic cylinders. Learn what differentiates the two telescopic cylinder types to see which cylinder is best for your high-power hydraulic needs.

Single-Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

Offering a simple cylinder design with easy maintenance, single-acting hydraulic cylinders extend by relying on pressure from one side of the piston. The cylinders retract via gravity or weight of the load.

Advantages of Single-Acting Telescopic Cylinders

  • Simplistic design with one line
    • Works best for one direction powered movement applications
  • Compact/space-saving
  • Cost-effective
  • Perfect for mobile equipment

Double-Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

Double-acting cylinders provide more versatility than single-acting cylinders. Single-acting hydraulic cylinders have fluid pressure applied on one side of the piston, whereas double-acting cylinders have hydraulic fluid applied to both sides of the piston.

Advantages of Double-Acting Telescopic Cylinders

  • Ideal for two-directional power options for mobile equipment
  • Multi-directional power provides versatility
  • More acceleration control than single-acting cylinders

Factors to Consider for Double-Acting Cylinders

  • Less output force than single-acting cylinders
  • More complex than single-acting cylinders

Single-Acting and Double-Acting Cylinder Comparison

Single-acting cylinders have power up and gravity down capabilities, whereas double-acting cylinders have power up and power down options.

  • Two-directional power provides double-acting cylinders more control and versatility.
  • Double-acting cylinders offer more precise stroke movements and increased flexibility.
  • Single-acting cylinders provide robust, single direction heavy-duty lifting.

Get the Industrial Power You Need with a Single or Double-Acting Hydraulic Cylinder

Not sure where to begin? Our hydraulic cylinder experts can help you find the right single or double-acting hydraulic cylinder.

Know what you need? Check out our replacement telescopic hydraulic cylinders. We stock a wide selection of cylinders, well-suited for a variety of mobile equipment types and functions. We also manufacture custom telescopic cylinders built to spec.

Read more about hydraulic cylinder maintenance and how-to guides in our latest blog posts.

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