Air hoses are useful whether you are a professional using them for tools or a DIYer doing some work around the house. They deliver airflow to power tools that use them. An air hose has to be tough and strong.
In this post, we will run down five of the best air hoses that are on the market and make a comparison table to help you decide which one to choose. We will also dive into what makes a good air hose in our buyer’s guide.
Best Air Hose 2019
|Continental 047 Industrial Hose (Editor’s Choice)||Rubber||50||200PSI|
|Flexzilla Air Hose (Editor’s Choice)||Flexible Hybrid Polymer||50||300PSI|
|Apache Air Hose||Rubber||25||300PSI|
|Continental Safety Hose||Rubber||50||250PSI|
|Coilhose Pneumatics R38012N||EPDM*||12||200PSI|
*-Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Rubber
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Continental 047 1/2-Inchx 50 Red Rubber Industrial Hose – Best Durability
The Continental has a length of 50 feet and 200 PSI. It has 3/8-inch connectors and a half-inch diameter. It has brass connectors and rubber construction. It has an industrial-strength body and enough PSI for most household tasks.
The biggest attribute of the Continental is how tough it is. The rubber is strong and maintains its flexibility and integrity under a wide range of temperatures. The connectors themselves are also built tough and they are joined tightly to the hose, minimizing the possibility of a leak.
The fifty-foot length is on the long side, so this hose is well-suited to working away from the air source.
Flexzilla Air Hose – Best Value
As the name implies, the Flexzilla is a quite flexible hose. It uses standard 3/8 inch connectors and it is built to resist abrasion, light cuts, and other obstacles. The hose is rated for -40 degrees Fahrenheit up to 140 degrees. Flexzilla stays flexible throughout the whole temperature range.
The Flexzilla’s most striking performance aspect is how well it keeps its shape. It doesn’t move around or twist, even when you turn the pressure on, and that’s a big relief with 50 feet of hose to manage. As with the Continental, that is probably more length and PSI than most users will ever need.
Apache 98108942 3/8″ Rubber Air Hose – Best PSI
The Apache is a step down in length at 25 feet. It has a 3/8 inch NPT connector, as is standard. It is rated for 300 PSI and a max temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The hose comes with a 2-year warranty.
The Apache is the go-to hose for any tools that need more than the typical 150-200 PSI. 300 PSI is quite a lot and is enough to handle a much wider variety of needs. However, it is less durable than the two previous hoses, especially if you frequently use high PSI draws.
Continental Safety Yellow Rubber Hose With 1/4-Inch Ends – Best Quarter Inch
The hose is rated for 250 PSI. The yellow color helps distinguish it from the other Continental hoses that have a larger connector.
Just as with the other model, the Continental is a tough and strong hose that will handle many years of use. It handles the abrasion of being moved over a rough surface and will maintain its seal for as long as necessary.
Coilhose Pneumatics R38012N – Best Short Hose
Coilhouse rounds out the list with an interesting hose. It is just 12 feet long and has a 3/8 inch MPT connector. It is blue and costs $24 for one unit. It is rated for 200 PSI and a temperature range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees.
The Coilhouse performs well in its special role, which is in short-range applications. It is very tough and its short length means that it won’t be dragging on the ground as much. That translates to a long lifetime. The blue color really stands out well.
Best Air Hose Buyer’s Guide
Nothing is more annoying than a hose or a cord that is too short. It’s annoying to work with and it leads to wasted time. You might not get the right angle that you want with your tools, and in some cases, you’ll have to totally alter your plans to make things work. However, a hose that is too long is also a problem. The coils and extra length will lie around on the floor as a tripping hazard.
You want a happy medium, a length that is long enough to suit your needs without having too many extra loops. In general, it is easier to err on the short side. You can always buy two hoses and link them together for more length if you need it, although of course a new linkage means a new potential failure point.
Do a little measuring to see how much length of hose you think you need. A longer hose also usually means more weight to carry around because there is more mass. There is no right answer here: go with what is best for your needs.
A major challenge with hoses is the fact that the materials that they are made of can be susceptible to damage as a result of temperature changes. This is especially true with cold weather, which can cause hoses to crack and get stiff. That is the last thing you want because it introduces leaks and breakage, as well as making the hose harder to maneuver. Heat can be a problem as well if it causes melting or other damage as a result of expansion.
Before you buy any air hose, check out the rated temperature range. If there’s no information about the temperature tolerance, that is a bad sign. The manufacturer should have tested the hose to see how much heat and cold it can endure. The better a hose can hold up to temperature, the longer it will last. Depending on where you live and work, you will experience different temperature ranges.
Big temperature swings can also cause damage, so be prepared for that just as much as the local extremes. Working indoors means you won’t need to worry about this as much, but remember that the temperature controls will be turned off when you go home at night.
A hose has to be tough. If the air hose breaks, you could lose usage of multiple tools until you get a replacement. There are all kinds of ways for air hoses to get damaged in the shop. We have already gone over temperature, but getting stepped on or rolled over are also possibilities.
Your air hoses will be potentially exposed to sharp tools and heavy weights. The hose has to find a balance between having durable walls and permitting airflow. If it is too rigid, then it won’t function well.
The newer a hose is, the less you can know about how durable it is because it hasn’t been around long enough for people to put them through real-world testing. Air hoses from established brands tend to be more likely to be strong, so if there is a brand that you favor, it should take a lot to convince you to switch to something else.
The durability of an air hose should keep it functioning at peak performance and without pressure loss for several years under normal working conditions. You don’t want to buy these too often because it’s a needless expense. Unless something catastrophic happens to the hose, it shouldn’t need replacing until it wears down or the connectors lose the joint.
Ease of Use
Your air hose shouldn’t be a hassle or annoying to use. Examples of annoying hoses include ones that have a tendency to kink, loop, coil, and otherwise move around on their own when under pressure. This can wear down the hose and make it more difficult to move and carry it around. It can also create potentially dangerous conditions if a hose that was lying flat loops and bends off the ground.
The best air hoses do not move and stay exactly where you leave them. They need to be flexible and remain so under any temperature and pressure. Anything else introduces some additional risk to your work environment.
The material that the air hose is made of will contribute significantly to how flexible it is and how well it retains its shape. Remember that a hose that behaves well may not work the same way under different conditions, such as different pressures or temperatures. Do not assume that a hose will stay put until you actually test it yourself.
The PSI that a hose can accommodate makes a big difference to what kind of tools you can use with it. You should never try to push more pressure through a hose than it is rated for, because the results could be dangerous.
Look up the pressure needs of all the tools that you expect to use with the hose and determine what strength of hose you require to power all of them. The needs of someone who is just using a few tools around the home and a professional can be quite large.
In general, a good air hose will provide plenty of capacity- more than enough for household applications. You should expect it to continue to provide that same level of capacity over its useful lifetime. If you think you might be experiencing a leak, then there are two main culprits- a breach of some kind along the hose or a leak at the connector. Check both.
The best air hoses will have tough siding and strong connector joints, so you can count on them to deliver PSI for years. However, you should never try to move past the rated PSI, even if you believe it is safe. Not only are the hoses not demonstrably safe in those conditions, but you are almost certainly causing at least some damage and weakening for future use.
The connectors are a crucial point because the air hose often fails at the zone where they join to the rubber hose. Your connectors should adhere tightly and there should be no signs of fraying or other problems.
In addition to that, there are different connectors available for different applications. In general, a larger connection allows for greater maximum pressure because more air can flow through.
If you need to use an adapter to get your hose to connect properly to a tool or another hose, you are introducing another potential failure point. Take care that these adapters are rated for the given PSI and are free of flaws.
Poor connectors can leak air, harming performance.
They should be made of a strong metal out of one continuous piece. They should not pull off or appear loose. Always inspect the connectors before using an air hose.
The most common size for a connector is a diameter of 3/8 inches. Your tools should connect to that, as should other hoses. A more powerful tool could require a larger connector and a thicker hose, but this is rare.
When taking all of these factors into account, the best air hose is not just the one with the best materials and construction- it is also the one that fits the best into your budget. The more hoses you use, the more careful you need to be about spending money on them.
The best way to save money is to avoid buying more than you need, especially when it comes to size and PSI. Don’t buy a hose that can do more than your current needs “just in case” when it will come with a significant bump up in price. You can always get a new hose if your needs change.
Value is closely connected to durability. Do a quick calculation to see how many times you will need to replace a hose and how much that will cost. Sometimes, the most expensive air hoses are of poor value because they won’t give you that much more lifetime than a less-expensive model.
Conversely, the cheapest air hoses are often made with lower-grade materials that will break more quickly and easily. Do your research to ensure that the hose you choose will be worth the money that you put into it.
Buying the best air hose is far from a trivial decision. A good air hose keeps your tools running smoothly for years, and you won’t even need to think about it. A bad air hose will break, or trip you by coiling into a loop, or develop a leak after six months. Use the key characteristics in our buyer’s guide to settle on an air hose that works for you. That goes for all potential buyers of an air hose.
A little bit of planning now will save you time and money down the line by helping you find a good match. It might be a good idea to have a few different kinds of hoses for different special cases if you have a variety of tools and tasks ahead.