What to Consider in a Hydraulic Cylinder

There are many factors to consider before buying a hydraulic or lift cylinder. These specifications may contribute to the efficiency and functionality of the cylinder in your business. This is why these specifications are so important in your decision. Today we’ll be going over the top five specifics to keep in mind.

Cylinder Type

You should be aware of the type of hydraulic cylinder, you’re looking at i.e., double acting, single acting, telescopic etc today we’re looking more specifically at its structure. Moreover, there are many forms that a hydraulic cylinder can apply and stabilise the force exerted by the piston rod.

A welded cylinder has a smooth external surface which is welded to a protective cylinder housing. This form of cylinder provides additional operational stability.

A tie rod cylinder provides stability to the component through the tie rods attached to the outside diameter of the cylinder housing. These absorb most of the operating load, allowing the cylinder to be more compact and made of lighter weight materials.

Hydraulic rams are used to exert a pushing, rather than pulling force and can produce extremely high forces. These are usually single acting cylinders, but not exclusively. A ram is recognised by a hefty rod with a cross-section area 50% or more the size of the surface area of the moving piston.


The stroke length is displayed by the speed and size of the hydraulic cylinder, literally measuring how far the piston must travel within its tube from the closed to open position. Stroke varies widely from cylinder to cylinder, with larger units having a longer stroke length. Stroke is one of the defining characteristics of a cylinder, knowing your cylinder’s stroke can tell you how far you can exert it.


A hydraulic cylinder bore is another way of describing the inside diameter of the cylinders tube. This is an extremely important factor because you can determine the piston area and maximum operating pressure or force the cylinder can produce. Hydraulic cylinders can be purchased in a range of ISO standard measurement bores from 40mm to 800mm. One thing to watch is the use of OD and ISO, OD refers to the outer diameter if you take the wrong measurement, you’ll be bringing home the wrong cylinder to what you need.

Rod Diameter

The size of a cylinder’s piston rod through its diameter is important in measuring its force exertion and reach. A standard pull-stroke cylinders have a rod diameter between 0.5 to 2 inches, giving them a force of up to 5,550kg. As an example, a high force hydraulic cylinders with a piston rod diameter of over 10 inches, can move loads of over 800,000 kg in the right circumstances.

If you want to assess the piston rod’s comprehensive strength, thrust capacity and safety factor you’ll need to calculate its SLRD. That’s the slenderness ratio, length, gyration radius and rod diameter. The higher the ratio (anything over 50), the greater the rod’s stability and safety.

Operating Pressure

The maximum operating pressure can tell you how much pressure a cylinder can withstand before damage. It is important to pay close attention to your unit’s operating pressure, or you’ll risk damage and safety risks. For reference, most standard hydraulic cylinders can operate at a pressure of 2000 to 3000 psi.

Those are just some of the most important features to be aware of when looking for a new hydraulic cylinder. If you still have questions or are unsure of which cylinder would best suit yours needs constant us today or browse our range of hydraulic cylinders online at Motus Hydraulics


Hartley Currie – General Manager

Bob Kerins – Sales & Marketing

Ryan Carrol – Sales