What Are Hydraulic Filters Used For


What Are Hydraulic Filters Used For

If you work with hydraulic machinery or vehicles, you know the importance of a proper filtration system. Hydraulic systems rely on dense fluids to tra

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If you work with hydraulic machinery or vehicles, you know the importance of a proper filtration system. Hydraulic systems rely on dense fluids to transfer mechanical energy in equipment like backhoes, cranes and vehicle braking systems. Without the right hydraulic filters, these systems can suffer from damage caused by debris, contaminants and metal wear. Contamination is the number one cause of system failure.


Using hydraulic filters prevents contaminants from damaging hydraulic components, thus improving the longevity and performance of your machinery. In addition, a proper filtration system can also reduce maintenance costs. Among the most common hydraulic filter types are pressure and return line filters.

These small independent filtration sub-systems operate outside the hydraulic circuit and can be switched in and out without interfering with system operation. These filters from hydraulic filter suppliers VA are popular with offline filtration systems (kidney loops) and can be used to extend drain intervals. Typically, these filters have openings for fluid input and output on opposite sides of the filter and have a cartridge or filter element filled.

Hydraulic Filters

When the filter reaches capacity, it will switch to bypass mode, usually by sending the fluid around the filter media rather than through it. It will alert the operator that the filter is clogged and needs to be changed. A good hydraulic system also uses a clogging indicator to detect if a filter is blocked before it causes damage to a machine.


The primary function of hydraulic filters is to remove damaging particulates that may be present in your system’s hydraulic fluid. They do this by forcing the hydraulic fluid through a filter element that catches the particulate contaminants, which prevents them from re-entering the fluid flow and potentially damaging other components downstream.

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These particulates are on a size scale much smaller than your eye can see, but they can cause massive damage to your machinery if not removed quickly. Dirty hydraulic fluid can plug small orifices in flow control and pressure valves, causing them to fail prematurely and creating unnecessary maintenance and downtime.

Hydraulic Filters

Depending on your filtration needs, you can choose from various filters to fit the multiple points in your hydraulic circuits. These include pressure filters, return line filters, offline filters and suction filters. It is important to properly position and size these contamination control devices to achieve the target cleanliness level required by your machinery.

Contamination Control

Hydraulic system filters keep the fluid clean by limiting the intake of contaminants and swiftly removing existing ones. Keeping the hydraulic fluid clean extends the life of the device and reduces downtime caused by dirty equipment. Particle contamination can enter a hydraulic system for multiple reasons, from routine maintenance to seal failure.

A hydraulic filter removes contaminants as they cycle back to the reservoir through the return line, ensuring that the next cycle starts with clean fluid. There are different hydraulic filters, including low-pressure suction filters that clean the fluid in a tank and high-pressure filters that filter the liquid before it reaches actuators and pumps.

There are also offline hydraulic filters, known as breathers, which prevent air from being drawn into the system. The filter’s position in the system determines its contamination-removal ability. When the filter reaches capacity, it has to be replaced. A switch typically activates an indicator to let the operator know it’s time for a new filter.


As the name implies, hydraulic filters filter out impurities from a hydraulic fluid. They force the dirty fluid through a porous filter that catches the contaminants while the clean hydraulic oil passes through to the downstream equipment. Dirt in the system causes various problems, from mechanical wear to overheating and even component failure.

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Hydraulic filters prevent contaminants from clogging hydraulic components, extending their life and increasing system efficiency. Hydraulic filters are also responsible for lubricating the hydraulic system’s internal parts. This lubrication is essential for smooth operation and to minimize friction, reducing the heat generated and saving energy.

Depending on the type of hydraulic filter, they may be positioned on the suction side of the hydraulic fluid line (before the pump) or the pressure side (before servo valves and cylinders). Some filters are designed to prevent particles from the air entering the reservoir. Other filters are conductive zero spark versions that allow charged particles to relax and dissipate along defined paths within the filter media.