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What is the Difference Between Single Acting and Double Acting Cylinders?

There are two common types of hydraulic cylinders- single acting and double acting. 

But what is the difference between the two? 

Simply put, a double acting cylinder has both an A and a B Port

This means oil enters the cylinder via the A port, which pushes the piston down. When the control calls for the piston to retract, oil is diverted to the B port, which then pushes the piston up. A double acting cylinder uses hydraulic power to both extend and retract. You can tell if a cylinder is double acting by looking at the number of ports. See the image below as an example.


In contrast, a single acting cylinder has an A port for running the piston down by pressure from the pump but is retracted with an internal spring. 

See the image below as an example.

A double acting cylinder has pressing and pulling power and is generally controlled with a joy stick control. A single acting cylinder only has pressing power. 

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