Choosing the Right Hydraulic Oil for a Hand Pump

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Choosing the right hydraulic oil for a pump can lead to higher efficiency and lower operating costs.

Just because a machine will run using a particular oil, it doesn’t mean that oil is optimal for the application. By using the wrong oil, you could drastically shorten the lifespan of your hydraulic pumps. If your oil is too thick, the system may work slower as it needs to work harder, and if your oil is too thin you may cause wear and tear on moving components. Using the wrong oil can lead to: decreased efficiency, lack of lubrication, corrosion and sludge, damage to seals, increased generation of heat and reduced component life.

Good properties to look for in hydraulic oil:

  • Non-Corrosive
  • High flashpoint to resist fire
  • Anti-wearing to components
  • High Viscosity index

It is worth considering a good balance of life vs the cost. By using high purity oils, you will have lower overall operating costs.

There are two main things to consider with hydraulics when it comes to oil. The viscosity grade, and the oil type. You should select the best product that your system requires.


Viscosity is the measure of how easily a liquid flows. Low viscosity liquid is thin and flows easily, whilst high viscosity is thick and flows slowly.

The lubricating oil must be thin enough to circulate between the moving parts, but not too thin that it will be forced out from between them. If it is forced out, parts can be left in direct contact with each other and can be damaged. If you use an oil that is too thick, it can move too slowly to protect the parts and the system may be starved of oil. This can cause internal damage to pump components and reduced pumping efficiency.

To ensure the perfect level of lubrication, it is important to select an oil that is meant for the operating temperatures of the system. You should look for the viscosity index (VI). This indicates the effect of temperature on the viscosity.

Choose an oil with a higher viscosity index if you are working in an environment that has extreme temperature changes.

Oil Types

The three main types of hydraulic oil are synthetic, mineral-based and water-based.  As well as the viscosity, addictive’s help with how an oil performs. They can come with many benefits:

  • Anti-wear which prevents metal to metal contact
  • Anti-oxidation
  • Anti-corrosion to help prevent rust
  • Anti-foam

It is always best to choose the hydraulic oil that is specially formulated for your hand pump, and the oil you choose should state on the packaging that it can be used with a hand-operated pump.


Our engineers are available to discuss your requirements to offer the best solution for your application, making the job easier, safer and more efficient.

choosing the right hydraulic oil

The SPX 9639 and 9538 are standard hydraulic oils.


  • For dependable performance of all your hydraulic pumps and cylinders.
  • Contains foam suppressant additives and has a high viscosity index.

Flame-Out® 220 fire resistant hydraulic fluid*

  • Contains anti-rust, anti-foam and antisludge additives.
  • Provides fire resistant protection.
    (Note: Will burn if heat source is extreme enough. Will not, however, propagate the flame and is self-extinguishing when there is no ignition source.)
  • Provides maximum lubrication and heat transfer.
  • Offers a wider operating temperature range.
  • No need to change seals in your Bolting Systems and Power Team equipment. Just drain the standard oil and replace it with Flame-Out® 220.

Low Temperature Oil

  • Provides smooth, reliable operation in the coldest climate conditions.

Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluid

  • Biodegradable, non-toxic fluid withstands moderate to severe operating conditions; provides excellent protection against rust.
  • Offers superior anti-wear properties, has excellent multi-metal compatibility.

Developed to meet stringent performance requirements and satisfy growing environmental needs for hydraulic fluids which are readily biodegradable and non-toxic. Can be used with all Bolting Systems and Power Team pumps, cylinders, valves and other accessories using standard seals. Depending on the contamination or degradation levels which might be present in used fluid, small amounts of this substance, if spilled, will not affect ground water or the environment. Acceptable methods of disposal include use as a fuel supplement.

Since this fluid will not typically be hazardous waste, additional disposal options may be available, including land farming or processing through sewage treatment facilities, if necessary approvals are obtained from appropriate regulatory authorities. This fluid has been tested against EPA 560/6-82-003 and OECD 301 for biodegradability, and toxicity has been tested against EPA 560/6-82-002 and OECD 203: 1-12. Not recommended for operation in temperatures below 20°F (-7°C) or above 160°F (71°C).

Recommended storage temperatures not below – 10°F (-23°C) or above 170°F (77°C).


Specific Gravity
@ 60°F (16°C)
Flash PointFire PointPour PointViscosityFoam Test
100°F (38°C)
210°F (99°C)
Standard Oil2150.882400°F
Flame-Out®2200.91Light Amber500°F
Low Temp.0.876.5




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Choosing the Right Hydraulic Oil for a Hand Pump

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