How do Hydraulic Gear Pumps & Piston Pumps Differ?

Welcome to Industrial Parts Circuit, your one stop shops for all necessary parts and components for your industrial, electrical, aerospace, and defense operations. In this blog, we will be discussing the key differences between hydraulic gear pumps and hydraulic piston pumps. While both devices may utilize hydraulic fluid to create and transfer energy through the means of mechanical force, each of these components harbors key differences which makes them suitable for particular applications. 

To begin, all hydraulic pumps are positive displacement equipment; meaning, the outlet flow in such devices is sealed from the inlet flow to prevent liquid from flowing backward. Utilizing interlocking, rotating gears or cogs, these parts work to create suction. This sucking action subsequently pumps fluid through the gears or cogs, and carries it throughout the system until it reaches its destination or another pump. A self-lubricating component, hydraulic pumps are designed to leak internally. This helps to lubricate components making up the pump, while keeping the system cool to prevent part malfunction.

Hydraulic Gear Pumps

Hydraulic gear pumps are the most common design amongst hydraulic systems. Used to convert mechanical energy to fluid power energy, these components move fluid through a system by the means of positive displacement. Commonly applied in open center hydraulic systems, gear pumps employ two gears which rotate to trap fluid between their teeth and the body of the pump. Moving the fluid along the circumference of the gear cavity, it is then expelled along an outlet port. Additionally, thrust plates or wear plates are routinely implemented to improve pump efficiency by allowing a minimal amount of pressurized oil to tightly push against gear tips.

Having fewer moving parts, hydraulic gear pumps are relatively easy to service and are tolerable to contamination when compared to piston pumps. For the accurate measurement of fluid flowing through any particular gear pump, it must be measured in terms of the pump’s maximum pressure rating, cubic inch displacement, and maximum input speed limitation.

Hydraulic Piston Pumps

Often used with equipment like truck-mounted cranes, hydraulic piston pumps are efficient for applications that require varying flow rates without increasing engine speeds. Housed in a casing known as the cylinder block, such pumps make use of pistons that draw oil from a supply port, redirecting fluid to an outlet port for further implementation. Harnessing a stationary swash plate, the cylinder block which houses the pistons will rotate in tandem with the supply inlet, displacing fluid based on the volume of the pump’s cylinders.

Unlike hydraulic gear pumps, hydraulic piston pumps are used where high operating pressures are present and required for operation. However, piston pumps also typically come at a higher price point than gear pumps, and their resistance to contaminants is known to be limited. Despite their setbacks, these particular pumps are efficient when properly installed with additional moving parts by a qualified service technician.


Are you in the market for replacement hydraulic pumps? No matter your operational requirements, Industrial Parts Circuit has the OEM pump parts and components you need to resume processes quickly. Operating with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, we guarantee the authenticity and quality of each product ordered. In addition, our strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge ensures that all products are shipped in tandem with their qualifying certifications and manufacturer trace documentation. For all your hydraulic system needs, get in touch with us today! As we are available 24/7x365, all Instant RFQ submission will be returned in 15 minutes or less upon receipt of a completed form.


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