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What Are Quick Release Couplings?

What Are Quick Release Couplings?

Quick release couplings are widely used in a variety of industries. However, for the sake of efficiency and safety, it’s important that you know exactly what type of coupling you require. So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about quick release couplings…


In this guide, The Hosemaster team will explain precisely what a quick release coupling is, how they work and the common materials that are used in their fabrication.

We’ll also have a look at the different types of coupling that are available and the applications for which they are suitable.

What is a quick release coupling? 

Let’s begin with a definition; what exactly is a quick release coupling? 

Put simply, quick release couplings are devices that are designed to create a tight, leak-proof join between hoses, tubes, lines, or piping and various tools and systems. 

The main function (and benefit) of a quick-release coupling is that it facilitates rapid connections and disconnections in various applications. For example, quick release couplings are typically used as part of hydraulic systems, pneumatic systems, and general fluid or gas transfer operations. 

As a result of the way they function, quick-release couplings allow for the speedy swap-over of components, fluid lines, or equipment without the need for time-consuming procedures or the use of tools. 

In short, quick-release couplings can make your work quicker and more efficient - improving your profitability. 

What are the different types of quick release coupling? 

When it comes to buying a quick release coupler, you’ll find that there are many different types of coupling interfaces available. However, at a broader level, quick release couplers can be divided into two categories: 

  • Hydraulic quick-release couplings. 
  • Pneumatic quick-release couplings. 

Below, you’ll find more information on each main type of quick release coupling. 

What is a hydraulic quick-release coupling? 

As the name suggests, hydraulic quick-release couplings are designed for use as part of hydraulic systems. 

You may see hydraulic quick-release couplings referred to under a variety of different names, including ‘hydraulic quick couplings’, ‘quick release couplings’, ‘quick connect couplings’, or even simply ‘quick couplings’. 

Like other types of quick-release couplings, hydraulic quick-release couplings have two ends; a male end and a female end. The male ends tend to have protruding plugs or nipples, whilst the female ends have sockets. 

Hydraulic Quick-Release Couplings

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As they have to withstand considerable pressures and loads, you’ll find that hydraulic quick release couplings are fabricated from metals such as stainless steel or brass. 

Hydraulic quick-release couplings are available in a broad range of sizes, with diameters ranging from ¼ inch to 2-inch. The most common threads you’ll find on hydraulic quick-release couplings are BSPP (British Standard Parallel Pipe), and NPT (National Pipe Thread). The latter is an American standard thread.

Hydraulic quick-release couplings are available with a number of different connection types, including; ball lock, flat-faced, bayonet (quarter turn), roller, and pin lock. 

What is a pneumatic quick-release coupling? 

Pneumatic quick-release couplings share many characteristics with their hydraulic siblings; although there are some important differences to note. 

Most importantly, pneumatic quick couplers are designed for use with pneumatic systems rather than hydraulic systems. In other words, they’re designed to withstand the sometimes significant pressures and loads that are associated with pressurised air. 

Pneumatic quick-release couplings are designed to allow users to quickly and conveniently connect and disconnect lines, pipes, or hoses in compressed air systems. For example, a quick-release coupling may be used to facilitate the quick connection or disconnection of an air gun from a compressed air system. 

Pneumatic couplings will automatically seal when disconnected, and will include an internal o-ring to ensure that no dangerous leaking of pressurised air can occur. 

Pneumatic Quick-Release Couplings

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Like hydraulic quick couplings, pneumatic couplings have both a male and a female end. The male end will usually have a protruding plug or bayonet, whilst the female end will have a socket. Depending on the type of coupling you buy, the female socket may have one of a number of locking mechanisms such as ball locks, rollers, or pins. 

As they have to withstand considerable pressures, and are used in tough working environments, pneumatic quick-release couplers are made from metals such as steel or brass. 

You’ll find that pneumatic quick-release couplings are available across a range of sizes and diameters from ⅛” through to ½”. Where pneumatic couplings feature threads, these tend to be either BSPP (British Standard Parallel Pipe) or BSPT (British Standard Pipe Taper). If you’re shopping for couplers in the U.S., then you are more likely to find NPT (National Pipe Thread) threads used on connectors. 

Pneumatic quick-release couplers are available in a wide range of connection types, including; push-in fittings, threaded-to-tube fittings, thread-to-barb fittings and more. 

It’s important to note that many manufacturers of pneumatic quick-release couplers make couplers for specific applications/use cases. For example, PCL’s Airflow range of couplers is designed for fixed applications, whilst their Vertex range is designed for trailing hose applications etc. 

Do quick release couplings come in different sizes?

Yes, as we mentioned above, quick release couplings are available in a whole array of different sizes to suit various different lines, hoses, tools, and applications. The most common size range is between ¼ inch and 2 inches.

Other fairly common couplings sizes include ⅜ inch, ½ inch, 3/16 inch, 5/16 inch, and ⅝ inch. That list is by no means exhaustive though so if you think you might need another diameter, don’t worry, you’re sure to find something to suit.

As a general rule, however, the smaller the diameter of a coupling, the higher the pressure it can withstand.

Having said that, though, it’s critical that a quick release coupling fits securely so that the connection between lines and tools is safe and leak-proof. In some cases, adaptors can be used to ensure an exact fit.

What are quick release couplings made of?

The male and female components of any quick release coupling—whether it’s a pneumatic quick release coupling or a hydraulic quick release coupling—are normally always made from identical or compatible materials.

Quick release couplings are always made from a variety of robust and corrosion-resistant materials—these vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and the applications they are being used for. 

The most common materials used to make quick release couplings are:

  • Carbon steel - extremely durable and suitable for heavy-duty applications.

  • Stainless steel - super robust and suitable for heavy-duty use but also resistant to corrosion in harsh and moist environments.

  • Brass - extremely strong, corrosion-resistant, and able to withstand high pressures. Brass is often the material of choice for applications that involve the transfer of high temperature fluids or air flows.

Quick release couplings can also be made from other materials too, including different types of plastics and composites.

How reliable are quick release couplings?

If you’re purchasing your quick release couplings from a reputable supplier, they should be of high quality and therefore completely secure. 

Many quick-release couplings are manufactured in-line with strict international standards. 

For example, many hydraulic quick-release couplings are designed and fabricated in line with the requirements of ISO 7241:2023 (Hydraulic fluid power - Dimensions and requirements of quick-action couplings).

Likewise, some pneumatic connectors are designed and fabricated in line with the requirements of ISO 6150:2018 (Cylindrical quick-action couplings for maximum working pressures of 1 MPa, 1,6 MPa, and 2,5 MPa (10 bar, 16 bar, and 25 bar) - Plug connecting dimensions, specifications, application guidelines and testing). 

If you buy a quick-release coupling that has been designed and fabricated accordion to the relevant international standard, then you can be assured that it’s a safe and quality component. 

Get everything you need right here at The Hosemaster

Whatever type of quick release coupling you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll be able to find everything you need on our website. 

We stock a wide range of couplings, from pneumatic quick release couplings to hydraulic quick release couplings, depending on the tools and applications you’re working with.

Not only can you be sure you’re shopping high-quality products at great prices with The Hosemaster, but you’ll also benefit from our speedy delivery options and 5-star-rated customer service. 

Got questions? All you need to do is get in touch—our team of experts will be more than happy to help find the perfect products for your requirements.

Shop pneumatic quick release couplings and hydraulic quick release couplings today

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

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