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Hose clamps are useful tools that slide over the end of a hose and tighten down against the hose, applying even pressure over the circumference to cut off the flow and stop the hose from leaking.
Many people may not have used a hose clamp before, and so this article will provide you with all the relevant information about the different kinds of hose clamps as well as a buying guide to ensure you get the right one for your application!
Table of Contents
- What is a Hose Clamp?
- How do Hose Clamps Work?
- Types of Hose Clamps
- Hose Clamp Buying Guide
- Hose Clamp Tips
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is a Hose Clamp?
A hose clamp is an accessory that is designed to secure over a hose fitting by clamping the hose down. By doing so, it prevents the fluid or gas in the hose from leaking at the connection. Hose clamps can commonly be found attached to car engines and bathroom fittings. They can also be found being used across a wide array of different industries to secure the transportation of products, liquids, gases, and even chemicals.
There are various types of hose clamps available and each one is used depending on the type of hose in question and the attachment at the end.
How do Hose Clamps Work?
The way in which hose clamps work is that they’re first attached to the edge of a hose that is then placed around a certain object. For example, a pool pump has two places in which you need to hook up hoses, the input, and the output.
Therefore, a clamp must be placed at each of those spots along with the attachments on the inside and outside of the pool to connect it with the pump. Now, these hose clamps are able to hold the hoses in place at both ends so that water can flow freely without leaking onto the ground!
In general, the steps of a hose clamp can be summarized as:
- A hose clamp is first attached to the hose edge
- The edge of the hose is then place around a chosen object
- The clamp is tightened, securing the hose in place and not allowing the medium to leak out
Types of Hose Clamps
There are several different types of hose clamps available, each has their own strengths and are designed for certain applications. These types include:
- Screw Clamps
- Spring Clamps
- Ear Clamps
- Wire Clamps
- T-Bolt Clamps
There are more types of clamps for hoses available, some being modifications of those listed above. But, I wanted to focus on the most common ones you’re likely to come across!
Screw-style hose clamps, or otherwise known as worm gear clamps or band clamps, are used to fasten piping sections in the water industry.
These clamps typically feature a long stainless band that wraps around itself as well as a screw that allows the installer to tighten the band when it is in place. As the screw is tightened, it pulls the two ends of the band in separate directions, pulling them together and applying a lot of pressure.
They get their name worm from the mimicking motion of the screw protruding and cinching its way upward around the hose. Due to their design, screw-type hose clamps are adjustable for several sizes of hose.
Here’s an example of screw clamps readily available on Amazon!
Spring-style clamps are tightened with pliers and are readily available in many different shapes and sizes. Their name typically comes from their property of springing back to their original shape after being altered.
These clamps are made from one piece of steel bent to a specific diameter. There are two tabs that the user can squeeze with a pair of pliers to be able to open the clamp. Once they are released, the clamp springs shut and apply pressure to the hose.
Spring-style clamps are fast to install but one downfall is that they’re not adjustable. They can also be difficult to use in tight spots due to needing to use a pair of pliers. Spring clamps are ideal for use with coolant hoses in engines.
Here’s an example of spring clamps readily available on Amazon!
Ear-style clamps get their name because their closing mechanism is similar to that of a human ear. They are made from a band of metal that wraps around itself, similar to that of a screw-type clamp but a lot thicker. The metal tab in these clamps sticks up from the band and there are several corresponding holes for the tab to slip into.
The installation process involves a special pair of pliers that are used to squeeze the ear of the clamp, typically a collapsible section of the clamp, and pull the clamp shut which allows the tab to drop into place and secure the fitting.
Ear clamp pliers permanently deform the closing mechanism when secured and for this reason, they are particularly useful for hose lines that move around but don’t change pressure.
Here’s an example of ear clamps readily available on Amazon!
Wire clamps are heavy-duty clamps. They are quite similar to spring clamps, with the difference that they do not spring shut, their spring force resists closing. Therefore, to shut a wire clamp, during installation you must tighten a bolt and nut which pulls the wire clamp tight and applies even pressure.
Wire clamps live up to their namesake in that they consist of a single wire. The wire is typically pressed and manipulated into the shape of the letter U, where the opening features a captive nut and a captive screw. With the screw removed, you can place a wire clamp over a hose and then add the screw, followed by tightening it with a screwdriver.
Once the wire clamp is tight enough, you can secure it with the captive nut. Wire clamps are capable of applying a lot of pressure over a relatively small area, which in turn creates a very tight seal!
Here’s an example of wire clamps readily available on Amazon!
T-bolt clamps, or otherwise referred to as racing clamps or EFI clamps are a good balance between screw-type and ear-type clamps. The benefit they provide over those is that they can provide 360° of tension, they can be reused at any time, and are easy to install and remove.
The 360° sealing pressure around the hose and fitting assemblies help prevent leaks and blowouts. Their wide band provides greater clamping force as well as being smooth, and eliminating any chance of tearing or cutting hoses.
These types of clamps are ideal for a wide range of applications that include high-vibration environments and tight spaces. They are well-suited for discharge and suction hoses or with silicone hoses and firm plastic and rubber hose and tube!
As you will have learned by now, some of these hose clamps mentioned require the use of hose clamp pliers to be able to fit them. If you don’t have some already, they’re very easy to source only and you can even find kits like this 9pcs kit readily available on Amazon!
Hose Clamp Buying Guide
Other than the different types of hose clamps, which are obviously very important to understand, there are a few other considerations I’d like to bring to your attention to help you select the right hose clamp for you! These include:
Some hose clamps are designed to work with several hose sizes, making them incredibly good options to have at hand. Screw-type clamps tend to offer the most adjustability, with ear and wire clamps not being too far off.
In general, hose clamps will be able to offer between 1/4″ to 1/2″ of adjustability. Of course, some may be able to provide a bit more than this. In many cases, tightening beyond that range will cause the clamp to misshape. If this occurs, the uneven pressure from the clamp on the hose could cause it to buckle.
Another thing to be wary of is using a hose clamp past its recommended range can affect whether you are able to reuse the clamp after servicing the hose at some point.
Ensuring you use the right type of clamp for your specific job is crucial. For instance, it would be silly to use a thin clamp if you’re tightening a hose over a barbed fitting with several ribs because if it is not applied perfectly straight, it will not be able to apply pressure evenly across the fittings ribs. And that’s going to guarantee you have a leak!
A clamp with a flat band like a screw-type or ear clamp is the best for barbed fittings. While spring-style clamps are excellent for clamping a hose over a grooved fitting, such as a radiator fitting inside a vehicle.
The hose’s material tends not to matter as much as ensuring you size the clamp properly. Forcing a clamp that’s too small will cause the hose to buckle, that’s if the clamp even works at all! And, using too large of a clamp will simply not put on near enough pressure to work as it should.
It’s important to choose a hose clamp that is made from the best material so that repair and installation last and you stay leak-free. Why is this so important? Well, hose clamps can certainly be put in some difficult positions, in that they’re often in damp environments or they’re exposed to corrosive liquids.
Stainless steel is the best hose clamp for use in construction for sure. It is strong, durable, and has excellent corrosion resistance. Another good option is heat-treat spring steel, but its corrosion resistance isn’t as good as stainless steel.
Weaker materials will rust far more quickly due to condensation and chemicals hastening the oxidation of the material. If your clamp were to become weak, it will eventually separate under pressure and no longer be able to do its job.
Hose Clamp Tips
When using hose clamps, it can generally be advised that you should not over tighten your clamps, as this could lead to potentially serious problems later on. It’s also important to not choose a hose clamp that is oversized.
Hose clamps are available in a variety of sizes, and though oversized clamps may potentially still do the job fine, they are going to pose a safety risk on your system and be aesthetically displeasing.
Quality is key, it’s important to find reputable brands when it comes to hose clamps that ensure durability rather than saving a few dollars for a product that may not last long at all.
When it comes to safety, there are a few things to consider. First of all, band-style clamps are often stamped by manufacturers from long sheets of metal. You must be careful handling them because the stamping process is liable to leave razor-sharp edges on the band.
Spring clamps are known to be a bit unstable when pinched in the jaws of a pair of pliers and so it is best to wear eye protection to avoid any accidental hose clamp to the eye damage.
When tightening a clamp it’s important to understand that hose clamps apply pressure quickly. When holding a clamp in place, ensure that you are holding the outside of the clamp to avoid any skin getting caught between the clamp and the hose.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The main different types of hose clamps include screw-type clamps, ear clamps, T-bolt clamps, wire clamps and, spring clamps. Each is installed and tightened in a slightly different way, offering its own benefits for different applications. Choosing the right one for you depends on your application!
There is no simple answer to which hose clamp is the best, as this typically depends on your application. T-bolt clamps are said to be the strongest available, but they may not be the best in terms of what you need. Every type of hose clamp is designed for use with specific applications, so only when you know what you need the hose clamp for, can you discover which is best for that application!
Hose clips are commonly referred to as hose clamps, and this will be the case across the whole world. They can, however, also be referred to as hose locks or even Jubilee clips in the United Kingdom.
First of all, choose a hose clamp based on your application, certain clamps are designed for certain tasks, so a quick internet search will provide you with this answer. Next, you will need to measure the outside diameter of the hose and the fitting places over it and select a hose clamp that accommodates this measurement.
If you have any questions about the different types of hose clamps, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!