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PVC vs Rubber Fuel Hose: Which Is Best for You?

PVC vs Rubber Fuel Hose: Which Is Best for You?

Choosing the right fuel hose is essential for a multitude of reasons, from saving you money and time, to ensuring you’re as safe as possible when using any machinery or transporting fuel from one place to another.

But when it comes to material, how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll look at the positives and negatives of PVC vs rubber fuel hoses, and how this can impact which one will suit your needs.

Keep reading to find out more…

What is a fuel hose?

First things first, what is a fuel hose?

Fortunately, the name makes this piece of equipment pretty self-explanatory: fuel hoses transport fuel from one place to another. However, even though the function is largely set to moving fuel and oil, fuel hoses are used across a variety of applications.

Perhaps the most obvious is within the automotive and mechanical industry. Fuel hoses are used to help power machinery by supplying fuel from tanks to engines. They play a vital role in ensuring mechanical equipment is working safely and in a controllable manner. 

Fuel hoses can also be used logistically, like in the transportation of fuels and oils. They’re needed for fuel delivery (from tanker to pump for example), or to suction the material into a container.

Why is fuel hose material important?

Different materials will impact the way your fuel hose performs, so it’s important to understand the qualities you need your fuel hose to have. For example, are you looking for increased chemical resistance? Does your fuel hose need to withstand high pressures? Will your fuel hose be submerged in liquid? These are just some of the considerations that will affect which fuel hose is right for you.

The majority of fuel hoses are plastic or rubber (with other materials like neoprene also useful). However, plastics and rubbers behave better or worse in certain conditions - so it’s worth exploring your options before you choose your next fuel hose.

PVC fuel hose

First, let’s take a look at PVC fuel hoses.

PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, is one of the most-widely produced synthetic polymers (or plastics) in the world. PVC typically comes in rigid or flexible forms as it is mixed with other substances to enhance certain qualities.

PVC fuel hose is made from one of the more flexible forms of this type of plastic, and is used across different machinery and applications. For example, you can use PVC fuel hoses on lawn mowers and other smaller garden machinery.

Clear PVC fuel hose

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Advantages of PVC fuel hose

But what are the advantages of PVC fuel hoses? Below, we’ve picked out a few of the top qualities that make PVC fuel hoses incredibly useful.

  1. Light – PVC is very light, which makes it a useful fuel hose for smaller machinery where you don’t want to add too much additional weight to the system.
  2. Low cost – as a plastic, PVC is reasonably low cost to make, which means PVC fuel hoses can be a more budget-friendly option for certain machinery.
  3. Chemical resistance – plastics are well known for being chemically resistant, which means your fuel pipe should degrade slower when made of PVC versus other materials.
  4. Durable – PVC is incredibly durable, so this is a long-lasting, and cost-effective type of fuel hose.

Disadvantages of PVC fuel hose

However, there are disadvantages to using PVC that means these fuel hoses would not be suitable for certain applications.

  1. Stiffer – PVC piping is still stiffer than other options, which can limit how and where you can use these fuel hoses.
  2. Pressure resistance – PVC fuel hoses are not suited for high-pressure applications, as they could burst or break, which is dangerous and costly.
  3. Temperature resistance – high temperatures can cause PVC fuel hoses to warp, which could lead to safety issues within your machinery.

Rubber fuel hose

An alternative to plastic, rubber fuel hoses are used across several industries and applications. This could be anything from automotive fuel delivery systems, to logistical fuel transport.

Whilst rubber is a naturally occurring material, many fuel hoses use nitrile rubber. This is a synthetic rubber made from a combination of acrylonitrile and butadiene, which gives it enhanced qualities compared to other forms of rubber.

Nitrile fuel injection hose

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Advantages of rubber fuel hose

The combination of materials that make synthetic rubber fuel hoses creates a product with plenty of valuable qualities to suit your purpose. Some of these advantages are:

  1. Flexible – rubber fuel hoses are much more flexible, which means they can be fitted easily into different systems.
  2. Chemical resistance – nitrile rubber in particular is known for its high chemical resistance, which is essential when you’re working with fuels and oils.
  3. Pressure resistance – rubber fuel hoses perform better under higher pressures than plastics, because they have more flexibility as a material.

Disadvantages of rubber fuel hose

As with everything, rubber fuel hoses do have certain disadvantages that mean the wrong fuel hose could have serious consequences on your safety, and the safety and efficacy of your machinery.

  1. Longevity – rubber fuel hoses can degrade faster than plastic alternatives. This means they may need replacing more frequently, which can be expensive.
  2. Permeability – unfortunately, fumes can leak through certain plastic hoses, so it’s vital you ensure they’re not used in cabins or in enclosed areas with people.
  3. Durability – rubber is more susceptible to abrasions, especially around metals. They can rub through if they’re not secured properly.

Top tip – make sure your fuel hoses are properly secured in place with the right hose clips.

Which fuel hose is best for you?

Now that you know the overarching qualities of PVC vs rubber fuel hoses, it’s time to take a deeper dive into which hose is better for certain applications. As we mentioned above, there are several questions you need to ask yourself before choosing your next fuel hose. So, let’s look at some of these answers.

What fuel are you using? 

Diesel, unleaded petrol, oils, and biofuels have different chemical compositions so you need to check which material is better for your needs. 

PVC is very chemically resistant, especially from alcohols. This is ideal for ethanol-infused fuels. On the other hand, ethanol can cause rubber to dry out, so you need to be careful when you choose your fuel hose. Some biofuels can also degrade rubber fuel hoses, so PVC or other polymers may be more suitable.

Note – both materials perform well with regular petrol, diesel, and oil-based liquids.

Is your fuel hose being submerged?

One application where you need to pay particular attention to your fuel hose is when it’s going to be regularly submerged, or likely to get wet.

Boat engines, and other marine applications, need the correct types of fuel hose to ensure the machinery is kept running safely and securely. This is where you should explore specific marine hoses. These are tested and certified to extra standards to ensure they can survive the rigorous conditions.

Marine fuel hose

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Top tip - marine fuel hoses should have their purpose and specifications written on them, to ensure you’re using the right ones.

Do you need a fuel injector hose?

Fuel injector hoses are a vital component in a fuel injection system. These hoses are specifically designed to withstand higher pressures and temperatures, so you need to make sure you have the right one. They’re typically made of strong, synthetic rubber as this material performs well under pressure.

In summary

Overall, the right type of fuel hose will depend on exactly what you need it for. Both PVC and rubber fuel hoses are suitable for petrol, diesel, and oil transmission. However, external factors like pressure and temperature will have an impact on which one is the best fuel hose for your needs.

  • PVC fuel hose – these are suitable for low pressure and temperature applications, like in smaller motors and engines. They’re also useful for biofuels and ethanol fuels in particular, or in enclosed spaces.
  • Rubber fuel hose – rubber fuel hoses are suitable for high pressure applications, like fuel injection engines. They’re also good for marine applications.

Find a wide range of fuel hoses here at The Hosemaster

At The Hosemaster, we have a comprehensive range of hoses and accessories, so you’ll be sure to find the right one for your needs.

Plus, we have decades of experience as one of the leading hose and couplings suppliers, which can only benefit you. Our friendly team of experts are always on hand to answer questions and offer more personalised advice throughout your buying journey. Contact us today for more information.

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