Back in the day, home mechanics would fix broken exhaust pipes using a tin can and a couple clamps. In more recent years, it’s become illegal to jerry rig a car in this fashion, but hose clamps remain an essential tool in numerous fields.
Whether you’re working on your car, doing some plumbing, or even a bit of HVAC, hose clamps are an unspoken best friend.
There are several types of hose clamp out there, as well as many sizes and materials. The following information should help you make sure you always have the right clamps for the job at hand.
What Are Hose Clamps Used For?
Hose clamps are used to attach a hose or pipe to another hose, pipe, or appliance. For example, a pool pump has two places in which to hook up hoses, the input, and output.
You need to have a clamp on each hose at each of those spots along with the attachments on the inside and outside of the pool that connect it with the pump. The clamps hold the hoses in place at each end so the water flows in and out freely but does not leak onto the ground below.
Beyond this example and the one from the intro, hose clamps are found all around the home. They hold the hose in place for your dryer vent, connect hoses to your washing machine, and keep the dishwasher drain tightly affixed.
You might find a hose clamp on your garden hose. They can also be handy for keeping a compressor hose from extending too far or from uncoiling during transport. They’re even a vital component in mason jars, where they keep the seal airtight.
Types of Hose Clamps
Hose clamps can be split into four basic categories: band (AKA screw), ear, spring, and wire. Each type is designed for a specific type of hose.
Related: 33 Different Types of Pliers
#1 – Band Clamp
Band clamps (also called screw clamps or worm gear clamps) tend to have a wide, solid band that most often connects a hose to a fitting.
When you think of hose clamps, these are probably the image that comes to mind. They’re the modern replacement for the aforementioned tin can method when patching exhaust pipes on vehicles. Proper sizing is essential for this tool to work properly.
These clamps are comprised of a band of metal with a screw affixed to an enclosed worm gear on the outside. As you turn the screw, the gear causes the band to tighten around your hose or pipe, holding it solidly.
These clamps are best used when fitting one hose over another or to hold connecting pieces (again, the aforementioned tin can as a good example).
#2 – Ear Clamp
Ear clamps get their name from the metal protrusion, or ear, on one side. These clamps are fitted around the connecting pipe, then the ear is compressed using ear clamp pliers, forcing the clamp to tighten.
As a result of this process, they’re sometimes referred to as pinch clamps. One of the most popular brands of ear clamp is Oetiker.
#3 – Spring Clamp
Spring clamps are only popular during one-fourth of the year. The rest of the time, they’re used for jump-starting dead car batteries. But seriously, you’re probably familiar with spring clamps, as the most popular type is used on car jumper cables and in hobbies.
This type of spring clamp functions just like a spring-loaded clothespin, with the jaws opening as the handles are compressed and closing when released. The spring provides tension to keep the jaws together.
In terms of hose clamps, the spring clamp closely resembles a band clamp instead of the pincer-like design you might associate with it. Instead of the worm and screw assembly, one end contains a spring-loaded lever. Once the opposite end is fed through, the lever is flipped, causing the space to compress and hold the band firm.
#4 – Wire Clamp
Finally, wire clamps are essentially a screw clamp that uses a loop of wire instead of a metal band. While not as strong as band clamps, they have a lower visibility and can be fit into smaller spaces.
They come in single and double wire varieties and are most often used for thinner and more fragile pipes and hoses.
How Are Hose Clamps Sized?
When looking at a size chart, you might notice there are two different hose clamp dimensions. This is due to the fact that these clamps are adjustable. The smaller size denotes its minimum diameter, while the larger represents the maximum diameter for that clamp.
How Do I Know What Size Hose Clamp I Need?
The way a hose clamp works is to first attach it to the edge of a hose that is then placed around a certain object. As a result, you need to measure the outside diameter of the larger piece being connected.
In other words, test fit the two pieces and see which one goes on the outside. Measure the outside diameter of this part to find out the diameter you’ll need for the hose clamp.
Next, you will simply need to pick a clamp that can fit that diameter (i.e. it has a range that includes the size you need). Note that some forms of clamp will tighten slightly when closed, so choose a clamp type that won’t damage or break your hose when working with softer materials.
Hose Clamp Sizes Chart (Band Clamps)
Note: Actual hose clamp size ranges are often manufacturer specific. The data below includes diameter ranges for Patlin brand hose clamps but the actual size ranges may vary depending on your brand of hose clamps.
|Diameter Range (SAE)||Diameter Range (Metric)|