Types of Hydraulic Pumps

Types of Hydraulic Pumps

What is hydraulic Pump

Hydraulic pumps are a special type of fluid pump that utilizes hydraulic energy to perform various tasks. These tasks include but are not limited to the transportation of liquids/fluids from one point to another.

In most cases, you will find hydraulic pumps as electrically powered systems. The electric energy is thereafter converted to other forms of energy i.e. hydraulic energy.

The hydraulic energy generates force to transport liquid.

A practical example where we use these pumps is in hydraulic power packs.

Functions of Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic pumps are designed to perform numerous functions. Various types of hydraulic pumps carry out distinct functions from each other.

However, all types of hydraulic pumps are designed to utilize hydraulic energy. As such, this type of energy transports various types of liquids as well as gases from one point to another.

Functions of Hydraulic Pumps

Types of Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic pumps come in different types and hence differ from one another in terms of functionality, specifications, intended purpose as well as cost.

Below are some of the common types of hydraulic pumps.

Vane Pumps

1. Vane Pumps

Vane pumps are special types of hydraulic pumps that are designed with vanes. The vanes are significantly important since they aid in transporting the fluids from one particular point to another.

Features of Hydraulic Vane Pumps

Vane pumps have various features that make them stand out as one of the best types of hydraulic pumps. Below are some of the common features of vane pumps;


They are termed as cost-effective since they are cheap to maintain. Similarly, vane pumps are long-lasting and therefore require little or no maintenance costs.


This type of pump is efficient and reliable for both short-term and long-term applications. As such, they can effectively perform under unfavorable conditions such as excessive pressure and temperatures.


These pumps are versatile in the sense that they can handle various types of liquids without interfering with their performance and functionality. For example, they can transport liquids ranging from highly viscous to lowly viscous.

Working Principle of Hydraulic Vane Pump

The operation of vane pumps is inclined in the rotation of the vanes. The rotary vane pumps are powered by a motor.

Usually, the motor rotates the vanes to force the transport of liquids from the inlet to the discharge point. This is achieved by the close contact maintained between the vanes and the chamber casing.

As such, the close contact normally creates room after vane rotation that is thereafter occupied by liquids. The liquid is then forced out through the discharge point as a result of increased pressure between the casing and the vanes.

Advantages of Hydraulic Vane Pumps

  • Are versatile i.e. they can be used to offload and load liquids
  • Are cheap to maintain
  • Are reliable and consistent to use
  • Are effective and efficient to use

Disadvantages of Hydraulic Vane Pump

Despite the vast number of advantages provided by vane pumps, they also have a few setbacks. Below are some of the common disadvantages of vane pumps.

  • Cannot handle highly viscous liquids. As such, their functionality decreases with the increase of the thickness of liquids
  • They only work effectively and efficiently with clean water. Dirty water or water containing other foreign materials is likely to slow down the rate of functionality
  • Are prone to corrosion and hence not suitable for handling corrosive liquids such as sulphuric acids

Applications of Vane Pumps

  • This can be applied in the transfer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
  • Can be used in coolants such as refrigeration coolants
  • Oil and fuel transfer
  • Bitumen transfer

Hydraulic Gear Pumps

2. Hydraulic Gear Pumps

Gear pumps are a common type of hydraulic pumps that are commonly used in the transfer of medium from one particular point to another.

They differ from other types of hydraulic pumps in the sense that their design is simple and hence easy to assemble.

Features of Hydraulic Gear Pumps

Some of the main features of these pumps in hydraulic systems are:

  • They are cheap to purchase and maintain
  • Have fewer rotary parts
  • Constitutes thrust plates that play significant roles in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the pump system

Working Principle of Hydraulic Gear Pump

The working principle of hydraulic gear pumps is based on the mechanical movement of the two gears within the pump chamber.

Here, the two gears are designed with interlocking teeth of different sizes that lock them together during operation.

Furthermore, these gears are crucial in the transportation of liquids/fluids in that they create space in between them which is occupied by the liquids as they rotate. Continuous rotation of the gears reduces volume while increasing pressure which forces the liquids through the outlet.

Advantages of Hydraulic Gear Pumps

Gear pumps have gained recognition from customers due to the far-reaching benefits they provide to the user. Below are some of the benefits of gear pumps;

  • They generate high pressure hence capable of handling thick liquid (viscous) from one point to another. For example, they can transport viscous liquids such as paints
  • They are corrosion-resistant. Hydraulic gear pumps are well fabricated to withstand corrosion. As such, they are usually made of alloys of other metals such as stainless steel, and carbon as well as cat iron that are resistant to corrosion
  • Have a wide variety of applications as opposed to other types of pumps

Limitations of Hydraulic Gear Pump

  • Require constant lubrication to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness
  • Are prone to wear and tear since the interlocking teeth grind against each other. This explains their need for constant lubrication

Applications of Hydraulic Gear Pump

  • Can be applied in chemical plants such as in chemical additives.
  • Applied in food processing industries.
  • Oil plants

Hydraulic Piston Pump

3. Hydraulic Piston Pump

Piston pumps are special types of fixed displacement pumps that consist of pistons. The pistons in a piston pump are crucial for the pump’s functionality. As such, they are responsible for propelling the liquid from one point to another.

Features of Hydraulic Piston Pump

Below are some of the notable features of piston pumps.

Reliability and efficiency

Piston pumps are significantly efficient and reliable. As such, this type of pump can provide service over a long period without breaking down. Similarly, since piston pumps are efficient and reliable.

You can use these pumps for a long time. This also explains why piston pumps are mostly preferred by many people.

Pressure variability

Piston pumps are designed to handle both low and high pressure. For instance, they can handle pressure up to 14050 psi.

Reduced noise

Piston pumps produce little noise during their operation. As such, many customers opt to go for this type of pump for this reason.

Working Principle of Hydraulic Piston Pump

The working principle of the piston is primarily dependent on the movement of the pistons. As such, piston pumps have varied numbers of pistons depending on the purpose they are intended to serve. For instance, some have double pistons while others have three.

As the piston moves, it forces liquids to move from one chamber to another. Similarly, they initiate the closure of the inlet point and open the outlet. The outlet thereafter allows the liquids to flow out of the chamber.

Types of Piston Pumps

Common types of piston pumps include;

  • Axial pumps
  • Radial pumps
  • Force pumps
  • Lift pumps

Advantages of Piston Pump

  • Piston pumps can accommodate a wide range of pressure without interfering with their operation.
  • They are efficient types of pumps.
  • Can apply to highly viscous as well as corrosive liquids.

Disadvantages of Piston Pump in Hydraulic System

They are expensive to buy and maintain as opposed to other types of hydraulic pumps.

They are ineffective for liquids with high flow rates.

Applications of Piston Pump

Piston pumps are commonly applied in heavy machine engines. Examples of these machines include;

  • Loaders
  • Excavators
  • Tractor engines
  • Cranes

Electric Hydraulic Pumps

4. Electric Hydraulic Pumps

These types of hydraulic pumps are powered by electricity. As such, they essentially convert electrical energy into hydraulic energy significant for the transportation of liquids from one point to another.

Components of Electrical Hydraulic Pump

Electric hydraulic pumps consist of various components that work together to ensure that perform the intended purpose.  Below are some of the components of an electric hydraulic pump system.


Electric hydraulic pumps are designed with motors that are significant in the movement of hydraulic liquid through the system. The hydraulic liquid is a crucial component since it initiates the movement of liquids from one point to another.

Furthermore, the type of motor preferred in electric hydraulic pumps is normally an electric motor. As such, this type of motor is responsible for propelling the impellers which in turn aid in the transportation of liquids from one point to another.

Actuators/Suction chamber

This is an integral component of an electric hydraulic pump. It allows the liquids to enter the operation chamber. In this instance, the suction chamber consists of a liquid inlet that forms the entry point of the liquid to the operation chamber.

Working Principle of Electric Hydraulic Pumps

Electric hydraulic pumps utilize electrical energy for their operation. In this instance, the electric motor plays a crucial role in the transmission of electric energy.

Therefore, these motors ensure that the electric energy is supplied to other components such as the actuators and impellers.

Moreover, electrical pumps also operate based on pressure differences in the suction chamber. In this case, the pressure difference exerted in the suction chamber facilitates the drawing of liquids from the inlet into the chamber. Afterward, pressure builds inside the suction chamber that forces the liquids through the outlet.

Advantages of Electric Hydraulic Pumps

  • Efficiency: They are efficient to use in the sense that they do not require excess power during their operation
  • Economical: They similarly require little maintenance since they are long-lasting. As such, they normally require little maintenance thus cutting down on the costs that could otherwise render them in-economical.
  • Reliability: Similarly, they can also be relied upon for other critical applications.

Limitations of Electric Hydraulic Pumps

Common setbacks associated with electric pumps are as follows;

  • They require high initial costs. The initial amount of money required to purchase electric hydraulic pumps is normally high.
  • Require high skills and knowledge to handle them. These types of pumps are usually difficult to handle due to their complex structures. As such, this requires a high degree of knowledge and skills to effectively

Applications of Electric Hydraulic Pumps

They can also be used in heavy machines such as;

  • Tractors
  • Excavators
  • Escalators and elevators

Dump Pumps

5. Dump Pumps

Hydraulic dump pumps are special types of hydraulic pumps that are commonly applied in dumping machines.

These machines include garbage collection and dumping trucks that are designed to automatically lift and dump the garbage bins.

Working principle

This is a common type of pump mostly exhibited in garbage collection and dumping trucks.

Also, this pump works by generating pressure which is later slowly released to retract the trailer.

Usually, this facilitates hydraulic fluid which generates pressure. They can have three or two line systems depending on their intended purpose

Common Problems Associated with Dump Pumps

Some of the common problems that might arise as a result of working with hydraulic dump pumps include;

Oil leakage

This is a common problem experienced in dump pumps. As such, the presence of oil leakage in dump pumps indicates that the hydraulic system if faulty and needs urgent attention. To address this issue, it is advisable to observe the following measures;

  • Inspect the engine speed if matches the required speed.
  • Use only the required type of oil, and ensure that is free from foreign particles.
  • Ensure that the filters are in the correct state, clean and functional.
  • Always ensure that the control valve is adjusted to neutral when the system is not operational.

Cylinder knocks and leaks

Troubleshooting strategies for addressing this problem is as follows;

  • Ensure that all the cylinder seals are functional. Replace them when needed.
  • Always ensure that the liquids have no traces of air.
  • Regular inspection of the load.

Advantages OF Dump Pumps in Hydraulic Systems

  • Efficiency: dump pumps are normally efficient and fast.
  • Effectiveness: They are effective to work with.
  • They are easy to operate as opposed to other types of hydraulic pumps.
  • They are strong.

Disadvantages of Dump Pumps in Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic dump pumps have vast disadvantages. Below are some of the common disadvantages of dump pumps

  • They are susceptible to wear and tear and hence require regular checkups and maintenance. Close attention should be paid to the system through constant checkups to ensure everything is operational.
  • Can experience overheating. This type of pump can experience overheating as a result of a lack of enough capacity in the reservoirs.
  • They are deemed costly since they require regular maintenance and replacement of broken components.
  • Requires constant lubrication to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Applications of Dump Pumps in Hydraulic Systems

The common area of application for dump pumps is heavy truck trailers such as;

  • Garbage collection and dumping trucks.
  • Construction trucks.
  • Other heavy-duty trucks.

In a nutshell, hydraulic pumps significantly gained popularity in recent times due to the increased benefits they offer to the user. As such, customers should choose from a wide variety of hydraulic systems to ensure that they select the best system for their tasks. They should also consider other factors such as costs, durability, efficiency, and reliability.

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