How to Measure a Hydraulic Cylinder

Published: December 16, 2020 Last Updated: December 13, 2023 How To Series ,

tape measure, measuring tape

When purchasing a hydraulic cylinder replacement, the best approach is to use your cylinder’s model number to determine which aftermarket cylinder is right for your machinery. However, if you are unsure of the model number, measuring your hydraulic cylinder is the next step in finding a suitable solution.

Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. can help. We offer answers to your frequently asked questions as well as free worksheets to record, guide, and submit your hydraulic cylinder measurements. Contact us for more information or with further questions about how to measure a hydraulic cylinder.

Telescopic vs. Welded Rod Cylinder Measurements

Knowing which type of hydraulic cylinder you need is essential as telescopic and welded rod cylinders feature different requirements.

Welded Rod Hydraulic Cylinders

Welded Rod Hydraulic Cylinder Diagram

Telescopic Hydraulic Cylinders

Telescopic Hydraulic Cylinder Diagram


The Most Important Hydraulic Cylinder Measurements

Measuring your hydraulic cylinder before you need to replace it can save time, money, and stress. Having the measurements ready ahead of time ensures your replacement cylinder is correctly measured for your equipment and keeps your shop organized for quick replacement turnaround. Necessary tools include a caliper, tape measure, and your manufacturer’s manual.

Determining Bore Diameter

The bore of the hydraulic cylinder is determined by measuring the outside diameter of the cylinder barrel and then subtracting the thickness of the tubing walls.

Rod Diameter Measurements

The most efficient way to measure cylinder rod diameter is by using a caliper to measure the rod’s thickness.

How to Measure a Hydraulic Cylinder’s Retracted Length

A hydraulic cylinder’s retracted length refers to the distance between one fixed location on the cylinder and the marked point on a cylinder rod while in a fully retracted position. Measure from one point to the other.

How to Measure a Hydraulic Cylinder’s Extended Length

Extended length marks the difference between the marked point on the rod and a fixed point on the cylinder. Extension is measured by the distance between these points when fully extended.

Measuring Stroke Length

Once you have measured your hydraulic cylinder’s retracted and extended lengths, you can determine your cylinder’s stroke length by subtracting the retracted distance from the extended length.

How to Find a Hydraulic Cylinder’s Base and Rod Mount Dimensions

How you measure your hydraulic cylinder’s base and rod mount dimensions will depend on your specific cylinder. Flange mounts, side lug mounts, pivot mounts, trunnion mounts, and tie rod mounts will all have differing requirements. Consult your manufacturer’s manual to determine which mount type your cylinder uses and to find your best measurement process.

Determining Hose Port Style and Size

As with base and rod mount dimensions, measuring your hose ports will depend on the style and configuration of your cylinder. The most common design features threaded female ports in the cylinder that require a male hose. Thread sizes generally measure 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, or 3/4 inches. Consult your equipment manual for more information on measuring your hose port size.

How to Measure a Hydraulic Cylinder’s Working Pressure

A hydraulic cylinder’s working pressure is determined by your application, hydraulic system, and hydraulic pump capabilities. Consult your manufacturer’s manual to find the parameters of your cylinder as values can vary widely.

Choosing the Best Aftermarket Cylinder for Your Equipment

If you need more assistance learning how to measure a hydraulic cylinder or identifying which replacement cylinder is right for your machinery, call Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. at 888-771-1894. We can walk you through the measurement process and help determine which replacement cylinder type is best suited to your needs.

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