A Look at the Different Types of Air Line Hose

Who’d have thought that a hose which is used to simply transport air from a compressor to another application could be complex?

Why are there so many types, materials and sizes?
Don’t worry – we have you covered! We’ve put together this guide on how to choose the right air line hose for your needs. Not only that, we will explain and show you the differences with the different types of hoses as best we can!


Red Banner with some pictures of air line hoses. If you click this banner it will take you to our shop page about Air Hoses.


Okay, let’s start with the basics…

What is an Air Line Hose Used For?

An Air Line hose is also known as an air hose, air compressor hose or hose for compressed air. They are connected up to an air compressor at one end with an attachment (often a tool, tyre inflator or blow gun) at the other end. Air is then passed through from the air compressor to the attached application.

The result?
A fantastically powerful and efficient tool, inflator or blow gun that will get the job done much faster than the non-air powered counterpart!


What is the Difference between an Air Hose and Air Tubing?

Tubing is specified by the outside diameter (O.D). You would typically get Nylon tubing or Polyurethane tubing which are used alongside push fittings (or push-in fittings). Tubing is often used in industrial applications and for distribution around a plant.

On the other hand, an Air Line hose is specified by the internal diameter (I.D) and are typically sold with swivel, rigid, barbed or quick disconnect fittings. Air hoses are typically used in garages, workshops and for using applications such as air tools and tyre inflators.

A man holds a reel or air line hose and a reel of air tubing to show the differences


What are Coiled Hoses Used for?

If you are working in an area where space is tight, then a polyurethane or nylon coiled air hose is ideal. This is because the coils are stretchy, but have a memory and so when you let go of the hose, it will shrink back down for easy storage. Coiled hoes are very popular in factories because they spring back out of the way when not in use.

Polyurethane coiled hoses are ideal for medium pressure applications and need a tighter bend radius. This makes them perfect for robotic machinery and pneumatic control machinery.

A person showing the difference between a polyurethane coiled hose and a nylon coiled hose by pulling on them.

Nylon coiled hoses can take a higher working pressure than polyurethane. For this reason it offers better heat and chemical resistance and is the one we would recommend when working with higher pressure applications.


Which Air Line Hose is best?

The best compressed air hoses depend on a few different factors. Primarily, the design of air hose (e.g. straight vs coil) and the material they are made from.

It’s a bit like opening a can of worms if we list which air hoses are best for which job, as there can be a lot of crossover. The best thing to do would be to give us a quick call: 01932 348777 to ask us for a recommendation.

Having said that, here is a very rough guide as to which air hoses are best for applications:


We would generally recommend a rubber air hose. This is because rubber hoses are robust and can withstand the impact from heavy air tools. Our rubber air hoses can be purchased with our without fittings.



We recommend a Lightweight Extra Flexible PVC Air Hose.

This type of air hose perfectly complements the lightweight tool you are using, making it easier to move freely in completing your task.

Our range of lightweight flexible PVC air hoses come with a range of fittings:


Lightweight PVC Hose Coils

Metroflex CX PVC 30M Coils


Lightweight PVC Hose Assemblies

Metroflex CX PVC Hose with Nuts/Tails


Lightweight PVC Hose Assemblies

Metroflex CX PVC Hose with PCL T19 Vertex


Lightweight PVC Hose Assemblies

Metroflex CX PVC Hose with PCL T25 XF/Euro


If you are on a tight budget then there is a standard PVC air hose. It comes in various colours and is also suited to the above mentioned applications.


What is the best way to Store a Standard Hose for Compressed Air?

Standard air hoses are straight and lay flat. Therefore the best way to store one would be to loosely wrap the hose in a loop and place it over a hook to store it.

Alternatively, retractable air hose reels can be attached to the wall of your garage or workshop. They are such a fantastic way to store your air hose and keep your workspace free of trip hazards. The retractable mechanism keeps the hose free of any kinks. Furthermore, the hose reel ‘Bump Stop’ stops the hose retracting into the reel. This can be fully adjusted to allow more, or less hose to hang out of the hose depending on where the hose is located, for example high up on a wall, or on a lower surface.

White banner with a picture of air hose reels. If you click on it, you will be taken to the retractable air hose reel shopping page.

Can you use an Air Line hose for Water?

Yes indeed you can! Although we would definitely recommend attaching brass hose fittings as these are much better suited to water.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a good industrial water hose, then you can take a look at the Nakoda 20M Water Reel.


Are Air Line Hoses Universal?

For the most part yes. However, we strongly recommend that you give us a call: 01932 348777 before purchasing an air hose if you are unsure. The reason being is that although air hoses are generally universal, there are so many different uses for them that it would be best to make sure you are choosing the right one for the right job. Not only this, but there are also different sized fittings for different sized air hoses.


What is an Air Compressor Whip Hose?

An air whip hose acts as a safety separator between your air tool and the air supply. When using an air whip hose, the distance it creates between the air tool and air compressor reduces vibration and prolongs the life of the attached couplings and adaptors.

Image shows an air tool being used without and then with an air whip hose.

We strongly recommend using an air whip hose (often called anti-whip hose) to avoid injury and get more productivity and longevity from your tools.


Can you recommend a good Flexible Hose?

Yes, the Superflex PCL air hose. As the name suggests, this hose is extremely flexible and hardwearing. It’s twice the strength of a standard PVC hose whilst feeling much softer. The reason being is that the Superflex is made from a special PVC nitrile grade, this improves elasticity without damaging the hose.

The best part? Due to the softness of the hose, the kink recovery is extremely fast which results in minimal air flow loss. You can purchase the Superflex air hose with or without fittings.

Custom Air Line Hoses

If you require a custom air hose to be made up for you please give us a call: 01932 348777

Need help with understand which fittings you need for your hose? Take a look at our ultimate guide to choosing the right air fittings.