What Are Hose Clamps? – Types of Hose Clamps: In-Depth Discussion

Hoses are a part of our everyday lives. We use them for moving fluids such as water and gasoline from one place to another in various applications including the home water system, the coolant system, the car braking system, and the power steering system.

The problem with using hoses to move fluids is that the connection points aren’t always very strong, and are vulnerable to leaking. That’s where hose clamps come into play; they give the connection points the strength they lack.

In this post, we’re going to define hose clamps and explore the various types that are available.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

​What Is a Hose Clamp?

Also known as a hose lock or hose clip, a hose clamp is a small piece of equipment that is used to create a sturdy seal between a hose and a nipple or any other fitting.

This device is used where fluids are being moved from one place to another like in the coolant system, where the fluid is moved to the inlet pipe from the radiator’s lower section. In this example, a hose clamp is normally used to seal the pipe to the radiator nipple.

Picture this – when fluids are under pressure, and the pipe is connected to the nipple without any additional seal such as from a clamp, the odds are high that the pressure will create a leak. Or even worse, the connection will get knocked off completely.

The hose clamp is for preventing these unwanted scenarios.

With that aside, it’s now time to explore the available types of hose clips.

Different Types Of Hose Clamp

In a glimpse, here are the main types:

  • Screw clamps
  • Spring clamps
  • Wire clamps

Let’s delve deeper and see what each type is about, shall we?

Screw Clamps

A screw hose clamp is usually comprised of a steel band (either stainless or galvanized steel), which is attached to a screw on one side.

When the screw is opened, the ends of the steel band separate, so you can be able to fit the clamp around the pipe. After positioning the clamp around the pipe, all you have to do is reattach the ends, and by turning the screw, you’re able to create the seal.

Some folks refer to screw clamps as worm clamps, and that’s for a good reason. These clamps normally have a screw thread cut into the band, and when the screw turns, it fits into the threads, forcing the band to pull and create a tighter seal. The motions resemble those of a worm.

If you’re considering to use a worm clamp, there’s something you should know – it’s meant for hoses that have a diameter of at least a ½ inch. If your hoses are thinner, it’d be better to consider using another type of hose clamp.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Durable as it’s made of stainless or galvanized steel
  • Creates a tight seal and the degree of tightness can be adjusted
  • Can be used on big hoses

Cons:

  • Apply uneven pressure – pressure is greatest at the screw
  • The seal can diminish as the hose shrinks over time – unless the screw is appropriately tightened

Spring clamps

A spring clamp is normally fabricated from a spring steel alloy strip. Ordinarily, the strip is designed such that it looks like a ring, although with protruding ends that bend outwards.

In some designs, one of the protrusions is narrower, and it emerges through the wider protrusion, which is cut to create a space for the opposite protrusion.

A spring clamp is more difficult to use as the intermeshing ends have to be pushed toward each other, with the hands or a pair of pliers. Pressing the ends together increases the diameter, and the clamp can then be pushed, or rather slid onto the joint.

Once the clamp is around the joint, no further working is needed; the clamp automatically seals the joint with its clasping action.

Note that spring clamps aren’t meant for sealing thick pipes, as ridiculous sizes would be needed, and who’s got all that strength to open them? For the same reason, spring clamps aren’t meant for high-pressure pipes.

But for thin pipes (only a few inches in diameter), which don’t have very high fluid pressure, a spring clamp would be perfect, even better than a screw clamp, as the pressure applied is uniform.

Spring clamps are often used in car coolant systems.

Pros:

  • Even pressure around the joint
  • Relatively cheaper
  • The tightness automatically adjusts to the hose’s wear

Cons:

  • You may need lots of elbow grease to work them
  • Not usable with thick or high-pressure pipes

Wire clamps

Some wire clamps look a lot like screw clamps while some have a U shape. Either way, wire clamps are commonly made of heavy steel, and they’re pretty strong.

The U-shaped wire clamps have nuts attached at both ends, and these nuts may be designed such that a round shape is formed when they’re closed. As for the varieties that look like screw clamps, a screw is attached at the end, and it’s used for the opening and locking.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Adjustable tightness

Cons:

  • Uneven pressure on the joint

Other ways of sealing hose joints

Thought clamps were the only way of sealing hose or pipe joints? Well, there are other ways. They include:

  • Swage fitting – a rigid collar is used to compress the hose.
  • A compression fitting – you tighten a soft metallic ferrule or a nylon strap around the hose, compressing it.
  • Use of a crimp band – looks more like a screw clamp, only that in place of a screw, a crimp is used to tighten the seal.
  • Push-fit fitting – you insert the tube into a compression sleeve.

You can make do with these clamps, but realize that in most cases, they’re not as easy to use or appropriate as hose clamps.

Final Word

As you have discovered, there are various types of hose clamps, including screw clamps, spring clamps, and wire clamps. Now, remember, each variety may be applicable for one situation but inappropriate for another.

For instance, while a spring clamp is perfect for a hose with a diameter of a ¼ inch, a screw clamp would be unsuitable, as it’s only meant for diameters equal to or greater than a ½ inch. Again, the greater the diameter, the more appropriate it is to use a screw clamp.

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