When you are considering what type of hydraulic cylinders to use, an important decision to make is whether a single or double acting hydraulic cylinder is best for a particular application. Both have their benefits and uses for various applications. Here, we discuss the single acting hydraulic cylinder, along with its operation, application, and benefits.

Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinder Operation

The operation of a single acting cylinder takes place as fluid or oil is pumped into it from a hose by the means of a pump. As the fluid as prompted pushes the piston in the cylinder. As a single acting cylinder, there is no fluid on the other side propelling the piston back to its initial position. Therefore, another for such as gravity weight or the action of the spring must bring this about for proper operation.

There are two standard types of single acting hydraulic cylinders – they are spring return cylinders and spring extended cylinders. With the spring return cylinder, a cap end receives pressurized fluid which extends the piston rod. As the fluid leaves the cap end, the return spring is enabled to advance the piston back to its starting position. A spring extended cylinder has a piston that is detained by the spring until it receives compression from hydraulic pressure.


A single acting hydraulic cylinder can be applied ideally to the application in which forces such as weight, gravity, or compression are available to drive the cylinder in a direction opposite of the hydraulic force. Often less equipment and space is required with this type of piston which only uses force in one direction. It can be less expensive as well.

Single acting hydraulic cylinders are very customizable. They can be set up with gravity or spring return and operated rammer piston. The chance for leaks using these pistons may be reduced due to the fact that they feature a single hydraulic fluid connection. These cylinders have defined position which can prove beneficial if power loss occurs. Through the use of a 3/2-way directional control valve, this type of cylinder is easily actuated.

If you need to implement one or more single acting hydraulic cylinders into your applications, contact an experienced hydraulic cylinder supplier today.

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