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Is Hydraulic Oil The Same As Air Tool Oil?

Author: E. Silva (aka Mr. Awesome - The Niche Specialty Expert)

SIMPLE ANSWER : NO, IT IS NOT QUITE THE EXACT SAME. BUT I have some more things that I want to say. Keep this in mind. Write it down if you need to. Got your pen and paper? ( Always be ready to write useful notes down, whenever reading any blog of mine, as they are all loaded with info, he he he he heh ) …..

Now then, to begin with, let me just state that air tool oil is also known as pneumatic oil …. it’s basically its other name. Same oil. Some prefer to call it air tool oil ( like myself, he he he he he heh ) yet other people call it pneumatic. Just remember that.

Now keep in mind that hydraulic oil simply moves the hydraulic system’s energy from one place to another, in a sense, and the oil is basically the catalyst that kick starts the whole process and makes it happen … thank you, hydraulic oil ( ha hah ah ah hha hah hah ) . Now, a hydraulic system itself can use one of so many different kinds of oils … yes, they make so many hydraulic fluid oils these days, that it’s even hard to keep up with every name or kind, he he he he hheh. But usually, to tell which oil you need ( hydraulically – speaking, he he he heh ) , just look at the type of machinery you have and its capacities. Call the manufacturer, if ever in doubt. Read through your manual, too.

Get familiar with your product and the oil it craves. Don’t get the wrong kind. Now, then, as for pneumatic / air tool / lubricating oil ( same oil … 3 different names, once more, he he he he heh ) , this basically works within a pneumatic system and not a hydraulic system. Hence, the name difference, too. Ha hah ….

And with that being said, keep in mind that this 2nd oil has a low viscosity and that is one major thing that makes it different from hydraulic oil at the end of the day. It is also super easily atomized which just means that it’s easier for it to move around ( by the compressed air in your system ) . You might more often see a soft of oil reservoir with this system, too, one that often dispenses the oil ( or you can manually drop it in yourself at the usual intervals recommended by the maker ) .

If you have got a high – pressure application going on, then what you want to go with is a hydraulic fluid type of oil ; whereas for something simpler ( perhaps something using a lighter – loading compressor ) , air – tool oil is your best bet instead. Remember that fact alone, and you will be a happy camper!

Is hydraulic oil the same as air - tool oil?

It’s not. And I know you may be confused. Or possibly not ….

Anyways, hydraulic oil and pneumatic oil ( aka, air - tool oil, in the more common term as people prefer to refer to it as ) are not the same oil. Pneumatic / air - tool oil is also called air compressor oil, in some cases. Just keep in mind that people know it by different names … all the same oil, though. Now, moving forward, I would like to present you with this very next fact —- that hydraulic oil is MAINLY made to be able to transfer ( as its top job, task, role, etc … get the point? He he heh ) all hydraulic power from one component in your compressor to another, and vice versa. But air – tool oil, on the other hand entirely, is made more so to be able to lubricate all the moving parts that are inside the compressor. Can you note the difference there?

Now, then, I would like to follow that up with this — please keep reading …..

My next point : These two oils carry different properties and functions, altogether. Let’s start with air – tool oil and compare it with hydraulic oil ….

For this kind of oil, respectively, you are dealing in terms of lower viscosity, and with lower viscous oil, in general, here, you come across better lubrication at the end of the day ( especially when it’s at higher temps, all in all ) . You are looking at 20 – 30 weights as the standard sort of viscosity for this kind of oil.

Yet if you want a better conduction of power transmission, all throughout, then a hydraulic oil is what you want. That is what it specializes in doing, all in all. It moves the oil across all of your power transmission and controls a better, more secured mechanical output, when all is said and done ….

Now, the viscosity you will find in a hydraulic oil system usually ranges between 40° to 100° Celsius. That’s its ‘perfect sweet spot range’ as some like to call it. Keep this in mind, but the following point, too ….

With that being said, any time that your viscosity should rise, your temperature will generally be lower or decrease … and certainly vice – versa. It’s good talking about the viscosity of the whole thing ….

Keep in mind hydraulic oils don’t contain detergents ; air – tool oils can. And any time you engage anti – foaming types of additive chemicals, you tend to have greater chemical stability ( but other risks, though ) . All in all, I hope that pointing out these differences between two oils has helped you notice they are not at all the same. I hope you will consider which one YOU need for your compressor. Get yourself the best one!