Single Acting vs Double Acting Cylinders: Which is Right for Your Bucket Loader?

Though there are various bucket cylinders in the market, the most popular types are single-acting and double-acting. These two are commonly used in excavators, so it is vital to know what each entails. The type of bucket cylinder you choose should be the right one for the job. You might be familiar with the two, but what is the difference between them in terms of functionality? The main aim of this article is to differentiate the two. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in.¬†

What are single and double-acting cylinders?

Single-acting cylinders and double-acting cylinders are types of bucket cylinders that are used in a variety of industrial and agricultural applications.


A single-acting cylinder is used in applications where the cylinder is required to do work in one direction. A single-acting cylinder has a chamber filled with pressurized fluid, usually air or hydraulic fluid. This pressure pushes the piston inside the cylinder in one direction, allowing for a single-action operation.


On the other hand, double-acting cylinders are designed to work in both directions. The chamber within the cylinder is split into two sections, each filled with a different pressure. This allows the cylinder to extend and retract, providing power in both directions. Double-acting cylinders are typically used in more complex machines where more force or power is needed in both directions.


How do they work?

Single-acting cylinders are the most common type of bucket cylinder used in bucket loaders. They feature a single chamber that houses a spring-loaded plunger. When the plunger is forced down, the hydraulic fluid is pushed into the chamber, causing the cylinder to extend and move the bucket arm. The spring then pulls the plunger back up, creating a vacuum that draws the fluid back into the reservoir, causing the cylinder to retract.


On the other hand, double-acting cylinders feature two chambers and two plungers, one on each side. When the plunger on one side is forced down, it pushes the hydraulic fluid into its chamber, causing the cylinder to extend and move the bucket arm. Then, when the plunger on the other side is forced down, it creates a vacuum, which draws the fluid back into the reservoir, causing the cylinder to retract. This allows for precise control and accuracy when operating a bucket loader.


What are the benefits of each type?

Single acting cylinders

  • They are simple, lightweight, and therefore suitable for small equipment like bucket loaders.
  • Require less maintenance and are less prone to failure than double-acting cylinders.
  • They are also easy to install compared to double cylinders; they need a small installation area.
  • The cost of its accessories, like the valve and hoses, is lower than those with dual cylinders.


Double acting cylinders

  • They are powerful and perfect for heavy-duty applications.
  • Double bucket cylinders provide precise control and move objects in two directions. Therefore are suited for applications that need precision and speed, like bucket loaders.
  • They are well-equipped to handle higher pressure allowing for powerful movements.

How do I choose the right one for my bucket loader?

When choosing the right bucket for your loader between the single and double bucket cylinder, the type of work it will do should be the determinant.


Single-acting cylinders are typically used in applications where the bucket needs to be quickly lifted and lowered. These cylinders use compressed air or fluid pressure to raise the bucket but require a manual reset or release valve for reduction. This can be beneficial for applications where precise positioning is not needed.


Double-acting cylinders are better suited for the precise positioning of the bucket. They allow for a controlled lift and descent of the bucket, as the exact compressed air or fluid pressure powers both travel directions. For applications that require accurate and delicate control, double-acting cylinders are the ideal choice.


No matter which type of cylinder you choose, make sure that you select one designed specifically for your particular bucket loader. The size and operating pressure should match the requirements of your loader, and you should also look at factors such as durability, reliability, and safety.



Choosing the correct type of bucket cylinder for your loader can significantly impact its performance. Single-acting cylinders are often more straightforward and more cost-effective, but double-acting cylinders may offer more power and flexibility. Consider the type of work you will do with your bucket loader, and decide which kind of cylinder is best for you. Both single and double-acting cylinders can be reliable and effective, but it’s essential to know the differences between them to make the best decision for your needs. For more information on SEO Agency please visit Pro SEO House.