Connectors are a vital component of pressurised gas and air tools, ensuring a reliable flow of pressure from the compressor. They are used to join hoses to compressors or tools, to attach lengths of hose or divide a hose in different directions. They are also known as couplings, couplers fittings, splitters or manifolds. As with other types of adaptor, those for air hoses are typically divided into male and female connections.
Different-sized air hoses require different adaptors. A further factor is the pressure tolerance required. The following are some of the most commonly-seen types of connector:
- ¼” British Standard Pipe Thread (BSPT)
- ¼” Push Connector Locking (PCL)
- 3/8” National Pipe Thread (NPT)
Despite the name, British Standard Pipe is an internationally used standard for connected threaded tapered male to female pipes and tubing. Male connections are labelled ‘BSPM’ and female fittings ‘BSPF’.
PCL couplings are a variant design made by British company Pneumatic Components Ltd (PCL). They are operated by a collar which exerts backwards pressure on the hose and are ideal for use in quieter fixed settings.
NPT is a similar standard to BSPT but with a steeper angle. Male NPT connectors create a tight seal by stretching the female receptacle. NPT and BSPT connectors are compatible but do not create a seal when joined.
Quick-release couplings are an alternative to threading which make use of O-rings instead of valves. These are less prone to twisting the air hose when in use.
Most connectors are made from plastic, brass, aluminium or steel. Sturdiness and reliability are also important so look for brands that have been quality tested.
Coiled or retractable air hosing typically includes built-in male and female connectors at either end for swift connection to gas tanks, compressors and tools. These may be threaded connectors or quick release couplings.
To change an industrial hose fitting in the event of wear and tear:
- Cut off the old connector
- Measure the internal diameter of the hose
- Locate a replacement fitting of the correct size
- Attach the new fitting using a clip or wrench
Available accessories for air hose lines include:
- Tube clips for securing air hosing to work surfaces away from obstructions and machinery
- Tube cutters for ensuring the air hose is the correct length
- Crank-operated hose reels for easy access and storage
- Pressure washers to create a tight seal between connectors and air hose lines
- Hose tails, a device used to connect couplings to air hoses