What Is an Air Hose Coupler?

Lori Kilchermann

An air hose coupler is a device used to easily fasten extra air hose, air tools and other attachments to an air hose. Comprised of a type of cam coupler, the air hose coupler uses a spring-assisted slide collar to hold the female coupler onto a male coupler component by pressing ball bearings into a groove machined into the male coupler half. The air hose coupler is easily released by sliding the locking collar down, thereby releasing the ball bearings and the male coupling, allowing it to pop out of the coupler.

Mechanic's pneumatic wrenches and other tools that use compressed air often have quick couplers.
Mechanic's pneumatic wrenches and other tools that use compressed air often have quick couplers.

One of the many benefits in using an air compressor and air tools is the easy and quick changeability of the many different air tools. This is made possible through the use of an air hose coupler. By installing the coupler onto the end of the air hose, the attachments can be changed over and over in a matter of seconds without losing air pressure in the compressor tank. The coupler is designed with a diaphragm or check valve inside that seals the air from escaping when no attachment is plugged into the coupler. This valve is held open by inserting the male coupler fitting into the air hose coupler, thus providing air for the tool or attachment.

Prior to the air hose coupler, an air tool or attachment was required to be affixed directly to the air hose by way of a threaded connector. This made the connection of an air tool or attachment inconvenient in that the air pressure required bleeding down and the compressor needed to be turned off in order to change the air tool or attachment from the air hose. Some mechanics, in an effort to eliminate the time- and air-consuming act of changing air tools, used a manifold on the compressor with several air hoses coming off it. Each of the air hoses had a different type of air tool or attachment on the end to eliminate the need to change tools. This system often led to a tangle of air hoses and the loss of air power if more than one air line was being used at the same time.

There are several styles and sizes of air hose couplers available to fit most needs. Large coupling sizes promote more air flow and should be used on large-capacity air compressors so as not to drain the air supply from a smaller compressor. It is imperative that all couplers and male counterparts be of the same size and style to allow the components to seamlessly attach to each other.

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