Pros and cons of pneumatic systems

Once the difference between a pneumatic and hydraulic system is understood, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each system before making a choice.

Pneumatic systems use compressed air in their systems, while hydraulic systems use compressed fluid, with both being better suited to certain applications.

Pneumatic systems come with various advantages and disadvantages:


  • Pneumatic systems are generally cheaper in cost than hydraulic systems due to their size, and the less space that needs.
  • They are best suited to the food and pharmaceutical industries as there is less risk of contamination and offers a very clean environment.
  • Due to the use of dry, compressed air, the system can move items at a quick rate.
  • Reduced maintenance and clogging due to design elements.
  • Easy to install and are portable.
  • Low set up cost.
  • No storage container is required as the system uses compressed air drawn from the surrounding atmosphere.
  • The air is dried and free from any moisture so that it does not create issues to internal components.
  • Available in a variety of different sizes.
  • It is an agile system and changing the direction of the system is simple and can be done quickly.


  • Does not exert as much force as a hydraulic system.
  • Cannot be used in applications that require lifting and moving of heavy loads.
  • Compressed air can experience air pressure fluctuations and therefore the movements can be jerky while moving or lifting loads.
  • A larger cylinder is needed to produce the same amount of force that a hydraulic ram can produce.
  • Energy costs are higher with pneumatic systems, as they can lose energy through the heat produced while compressing air.
  • Pneumatic systems are very noisy, and therefore employees’ hearing needs to be protected.

Power Team SA through years of experience is on hand to discuss the needs for your application, should you require pneumatic or hydraulic equipment. Suppliers of quality hydraulic equipment allows for Power Team SA to gain an insight and understanding into what a client’s business needs, and how to help them achieve their desired result.