SPECIAL OFFERS Hoses cut to length sales@thehosemaster.co.uk

A Guide to the PCL Quick Release Coupling & Adaptor Range

A Guide to the PCL Quick Release Coupling & Adaptor Range

Do you regularly use air-powered tools? Are you looking for quick release connectors that’ll make using those tools even easier? Then you definitely need to know about PCLs coupling and adaptor range. Keep reading to find out more…


In this guide, we’ll explore the following topics: 

  • What a quick release coupling is.
  • How they work and what they’re most commonly used for. 
  • How they’re made and how secure they are. 
  • What PCL connectors and adaptors are. 
  • An introduction to the PCL connector range, available at The Hosemaster.

What is a quick release air coupling?

Quick release air couplings (AKA ‘air quick couplers’) are specifically designed to provide a leak-free connection between lines or hoses. More specifically, they are used to securely connect pneumatic tools to an air supply by completely containing internal pressure.

Common places you’ll find quick release air couplings (including PCL connectors) used are in the industrial, construction, and automotive industries. They’re manufactured for use with air tools such as paint sprayers, nail guns, and impact wrenches.

Quick release air couplings allow for faster set-up and more streamlined tool changeover, making operations more efficient and reducing downtime. This is because they negate the need for a shut-off valve or any manual threading.

How does a quick release air coupling work?

Quick release air couplings work by creating an airtight join that makes the use of pneumatic devices far more safe, efficient, and reliable. This is achieved by connecting a ‘male’ plug and a ‘female’ socket, sometimes secured by a seal or internal O-ring. 

The male plug and female socket click together to facilitate slicker attachment and detachment of air-powered tools and hoses/lines. The male plug is attached to the tool end, while the female socket is attached to the air supply to form a joint that is still flexible enough to avoid kinking.

One of the main benefits of quick release couplings is that they allow the connection and disconnection of hoses, pipes and lines without the need for tools. As you can imagine, this can significantly increase the speed of work and lead to greater efficiency gains in a workplace. 

What are quick release air couplers made of?

Quick release air couplers are typically made of durable and corrosion-resistant materials but will vary depending on who made them and what they are being used for. 

Common materials used in the creation of quick release air couplers include:

  • Brass - super strong, corrosion-resistant, and able to withstand high pressure.

  • Steel - extremely durable and suitable for heavy-duty use.

  • Stainless steel - also extremely durable and suitable for heavy-duty use but also resistant to corrosion in harsh environments or high moisture.

  • Aluminium - lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

  • Composites - reinforced plastic or polymer blends, for example, which are lighter than metal but still robust.

It's worth noting here that the male plugs and female sockets of quick release air couplers are normally made from identical or compatible materials. 

Seals and O-rings made of materials like Nitrile (Buna-N) or Viton can be used to further bolster airtight connections and prevent leakages.

Compressed air couplers for workshops

Do quick release air couplings come in different sizes?

Yes, quick release air couplings come available in a number of different sizes to accommodate various air-powered applications and tools. 

The most common sizes for couplings include ¼ inch, ⅜ inch, and ½ inch. These are popular sizes often sold as standard, but other sizes are available for less common applications, such as 3/16 inch, 5/16 inch, ⅝ inch, and more.

Given that you’ll be working with compressed air, it’s super important that you buy couplings of the correct size. Make sure to triple-check your dimensions before buying any couplings or adaptors.

In terms of the level of air pressure couplings are able to withstand, remember this general rule; the narrower the diameter of a coupler, the higher the air pressure it’s able to withstand. 

Are air couplings secure?

Yes, a high-quality quick release air coupling from a reputable brand or retailer should be completely secure. It will provide an airtight connection that allows compressed air to flow freely from the air supply to the pneumatic tool without any leakage whatsoever.

No additional sealant or tape should need to be applied when using a quick release air coupling. If you find that air is leaking out, there could be a fault with the coupling itself, or you might be using an incompatible size.

Pro-tip: technically, couplings mean you can create lines that are long as you like, infinitely. However, we recommend connecting longer hoses with fewer couplings over shorter hoses with more joins. This is because the more couplings and adaptors required for attachment and operation, the more likely you are to experience problems with low pressure. 

What is a PCL connector?

A PCL connector is simply a popular brand of quick release air couplings, manufactured in the UK by a company called Pneumatic Components Ltd—hence the initialism. 

With over 80 years experience developing sophisticated pneumatic equipment and parts, PCL is one of the most highly regarded manufacturers of compressed air products. Today, PCL continues to lead the way, designing and manufacturing its products in the heart of Sheffield in the UK.

Like any air coupler, PCL connectors are designed to provide a tight, leak-free connection between pneumatic tools, hoses, and air supply lines. However, they have some unique features that set them apart from other alternatives on the market.

The most distinguishing feature of a PCL connector (i.e. quick release coupling) is the signature twin-click connection mechanism. When slotting the male plug and female socket together, two audible clicks signal a fully locked and secure connection.

PCL connectors come in various sizes, including the common ¼ inch and ½ inch sizes we mentioned earlier. They’re typically made of super-durable materials like brass and steel to ensure they will withstand high-pressure applications and resist corrosion.

The full PCL connector range provides a broad selection of compressed air line fittings for any solution, including:

  • Quick release air couplings.
  • Couplings with BSP thread.
  • Pneumatic nipples.
  • Non-corrodible brass couplings for specialist applications.

The different types of PCL quick release couplings and adaptors

There’s a PCL coupling or adaptor for almost any application—you just need to know what you’re looking for and that’s where we come in. 

Below is a breakdown of each of the main types of PCL quick release coupling or adaptor:

PCL Airflow range

PCL Airflow Couplings

Shop Now - PCL Airflow Couplings

The Airflow range features PCL’s original coupling design, the modern version now evolved through 60+ years of design developments. Airflow products are specifically designed for use with fixed applications only - this is important to note.

Each quick release air coupling in this range is made from hardened steel, which is scratch and corrosion-resistant. This makes Airflow couplings ideal for use in engineering and workshop environments.

PCL Vertex range

PCL Vertex Couplings

Shop Now - PCL Vertex Couplings

The Vertex range of quick release air couplings is suitable for use with trailing hose applications and is designed to help prevent disconnection when lines and tools are in use. 

Vertex couplings are the ideal choice for garages and workshops.

PCL Safeflow range

PCL Safeflow Safety Couplings

Shop Now - PCL Safeflow Safety Couplings

Safeflow couplings have all the same features as the Airflow range with the innovative addition of hose whip elimination. This means using a Safeflow quick release air coupling will significantly help prevent the uncontrolled rapid motion of a flexible line or hose.

Safeflow offers ‘maximum safety with minimum outlay’ and is available to use with various thread forms and integral hose trails. 

PCL 60 Series range

PCL 60 Series Couplings

Shop Now - PCL 60 Series Couplings

The PCL 60 Series of quick release air couplings is specifically designed for use with fixed and trailing hose applications in garages, tyre shops, and industrial environments. These air couplings are perfect for general and portable air tool applications.

This range features an anti-kink swivel feature to help promote the safe and efficient use of pneumatic tools and connected lines.

It’s important to note that the PCL 100 Series is not interchangeable with the 60 Series. The 60 Series is smaller in size and therefore suited to smaller flow rates and smaller tools.

PCL 100 Series range

PCL 100 Series Couplings

Shop Now - PCL 100 Series Couplings

The PCL 100 Series of quick release air couplings offers all the same fundamental features as the 60 Series, including the handy kink-resistant swivel feature. However, the 100 Series is bigger in size and therefore allows for a much larger flow rate. 

The 100 Series air couplings are perfect for use with larger tools in heavy-duty garages, tyre shops, and workshop environments.

PCL Non-Corrodible range

The PCL Non-Corrodible range is designed for specialist applications such as breathing air, non-spark applications, and damp or high-condensation environments. 

All the quick release air couplings in this range cannot be corroded, rusted, decayed, or eroded because of the materials they are made of.

Looking for PCL connectors online?

When you’re using lines and equipment that need to be connected and disconnected regularly, you need to know you’re purchasing top-quality products from a company you can trust.

Look no further—here at The Hosemaster, we stock a wide selection of high-quality quick release air couplings and adaptors, including a range of PCL products, all at great prices.

Not only do we make purchasing premium air couplings and adaptors as fair in price as possible, but we also give you speedy delivery options and our 5-star-rated customer service. 

Hopefully you’re able to find everything you need on the website but if you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch—we’re more than happy to help!

Shop the PCL connector range at The Hosemaster today

For more news, information, and product advice, read The Hosemaster blog

How to Choose the Correct Air Hose for Your Air Compressor | How to Choose the Correct Air Treatment Unit for Your Compressed Air System | How Do You Stop an Air Hose From Whipping? A Guide to Whip Hoses