What are Refrigerant Hoses? Types, Sizes, and Application

Refrigerant hoses allow you to add or evacuate refrigerant when fixing a car AC system. Below is everything you may be looking to know about them.  

Refrigerant hoses for charging the AC system during repair and maintenance
Refrigerant hoses for charging the AC system during repair and maintenance
Resource: https://www.cumminsforum.com

Servicing a car AC system requires the use of several tools and materials, one of them being refrigerant hoses. These hoses come in different sizes, with different fittings, and many other features. If looking to know more about AC evacuation and charging hoses, suggest that you keep reading below.

What are Refrigerant Hoses?

Refrigerant hoses are a type of hoses used to charge or evacuate refrigerant from an air conditioning system. When used with pressure gauges, they help you monitor a car HVAC system, so you can also call them AC service hoses.

Refrigeration hoses are made in different sizes and come with different adapter and fittings. Some are designed for high pressure applications while others are specifically intended for vacuum service or low pressure fluid transfer.

The standard AC hose is a flexible tube with fittings or couplings at either end. It will usually support a particular type or refrigerant, or it can be universal and fit all refrigerants. Below is a closer look at the internal construction of these hoses.

The Anatomy of Refrigerant Hoses

Air conditioning hoses are typically made of several layers of flexible but sturdy material. This allows them to hold in refrigerant while also shielding it from the outside environment. The layers also ensure the hoses’ durability and include the following layers.

  • Outer Cover– this is the outermost layer, the rubber that you see on the outside surface of the refrigeration hose. The layer provides protection to the inner layers.
  • Woven Fabric Layer– the woven layer is found underneath the outer cover. Its function is to provide structural support or strength to the hose.
  • Innermost Layer– this is the layer that’s in contact with the refrigerant. It’s normally rubber and serves as a permeation protection. Some refrigerant hoses have an additional nylon layer underneath this layer.

Refrigerant hoses a typically made of rubber. This makes them very flexible. A flexible refrigerant hose is easy to work with. It will also not break when bent to reach different positions when servicing car AC systems.

Refrigerant Hoses Set

A refrigerant hoses set is the different tools that you use alongside hoses for an AC system repair task. It also includes the different types of hoses such as pressure testing hoses, evacuation, and charging hoses. These will normally be color-coded. The different colors enable you to identify each type.

Red refrigerant hoses– for connecting to the high pressure side of the AC system or pressure gauges and can be used to recharge the system or remove excess refrigerant.

Blue Refrigerant Hose– the blue hose is typically used to evacuate or charge the system with refrigerant. Also connects to the low pressure side and forms part of HVAC manifold hoses. .

Yellow Refrigerant Hose– the yellow hose charges and evacuates refrigerant. When used with manifold gauges, it connects to the central port.

A refrigerant hoses set will also include the necessary adapters and fittings to use with the hoses. These come in different types. A refrigerant hose adapter allows the hose to fit conveniently, while different fittings make the hoses more usable.

Refrigerant hose tubing sizes range from ¼ to 5/8 inches
Refrigerant hose tubing sizes range from ¼ to 5/8 inches
Resource: https://www.globalwealths.org

What Size are Refrigerant Hoses?

Refrigerant hoses are available in many different sizes both in terms of diameter and length, with variations depending on the application and the type of hose. A charging or vacuum hose, for example, is commonly larger in its diameter than high pressure or discharge hoses.

Starting the inside diameter, refrigerant hose sizes include ¼, ⅜”, ⅛”, and ⅝”. Most hoses are ¼- inch sizes. For length, the most common refrigerant hose measures 3-5 feet. The 5-foot hoses fit most applications and can be used with a range of HVAC tools.

These sizes influence several functions of the hose. Evacuation or refrigerant vacuum hoses, for example, need to be a large diameter. It ensures a faster removal of fluid and makes evacuating the AC system more efficient.

Refrigerant hose fittings including can tap, gauge, and coupling
Refrigerant hose fittings including can tap, gauge, and coupling
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq1O3YJ_bE4

Refrigerant Hose Fittings

When repairing an air conditioner, it is necessary to fill and evacuate the refrigerant system with a “suitable” hose. That means selecting the right fitting for your refrigerant charging hoses, evacuation hoses, or pressure monitoring hoses. Below are the various options.

Refrigerant Hoses with Ball Valves

HVAC hoses with ball valves are more convenient. They provide you with control over the flow of refrigerant, which makes the process to recharge the AC system more efficient. It means you won be getting refrigerant sprays when you disconnect it from the refrigerant can or bottle.

Refrigerant Hoses with Gauges

A refrigerant hose with gauge assembly allows you to analyze the performance of your car AC system. During a refrigerant recharge, it means monitoring the pressure in the system in real time. Only ensure the gauge is large enough to be readable.

Refrigerant Hoses with Can Taps

This fitting suits refrigerant charging hoses. The tap gives opens the can so refrigerant can flow. Charging hoses with this type of fitting allow you to service the AC system from a refrigerant can or bottle. You get to top up the system conveniently and without the need for additional tools.

Refrigerant Adapters

The end fittings include connections to suit different applications and convenience features. The ends that connect to AC service ports are normally equipped with depressors to press against the ports’ Schrader valves. The couplers or refrigerant hose adapters may be automatic and effortless to connect, or manual and requiring you to press a button, among other variations.

HVAC refrigerant hoses with gauges offer more versatility
HVAC refrigerant hoses with gauges offer more versatility
Resource: https://www.jaguarforums.com

Best HVAC Charging Hoses

What are best HVAC refrigerant hoses? Most of the time, the suitability of HVAC hoses or quality depends on these factors: material used and hose size, the types of end fittings ,and adapters. When purchasing the AC hoses to use when fixing a cars AC system, look out for these features. Let’s go a little deeper to see the considerations.

Refrigerant Compatibility

Some AC hoses are meant for specific refrigerant. A 134a refrigerant hose for example, will not be compatible with R-12 refrigerants. To avoid mix-ups, the hoses are normally available in several different colors. The most common are red, blue and yellow, sometimes also green and black. These color codes usually indicate the type of refrigerant the hose is meant for.

Type of Refrigerant Hose

Different hose types will best fit specific applications. The refrigerant charging hose, for example, is typically used when adding refrigerant into an automobile’s air conditioning or AC system. These are often a smaller size than vacuum refrigeration hoses in diameter. When used as vacuum hoses, they restrict the flow of refrigerant. .

Refrigerator Hose Pressure Specs

AC refrigerant hoses must indicate working or operation pressures and burst pressures. The values will usually depend on the type of hoses well as the type of refrigerant it’s built for. Most hoses built for pressures lower than R-410a are usually specified for 500 psig operating pressure and 2500psig burst pressure. For pressures higher than R-410a, specs are typically 800 psig and 4000 psig respectively.

Other Important Factors

AC Hose Length– ensures that the hose is long enough to reach all the service ports of your car’s AC system. Many people find hoses up to 5’ (60 inches) adequate.

AC Hose Materials– look for a hose that is made of a special material to resist damage by either impact or corrosion. You will need the hoses for a long time.

AC Hose Fittings– look for fittings that make the tool more convenient and effective to use, these include automatic connections, valves, and other features.

AC Hose Price– Automotive refrigerant hoses are widely available at auto parts stores, both online and offline. Be sure to compare the prices offered by different sellers.


Refrigerant hoses, also called refrigeration hoses, are a vital parts of AC system tools. They connect various AC servicing equipment to the air conditioning service ports, enabling a variety of repair functions. Connecting refrigerant hoses allows you to add small amounts of refrigerant to the air conditioning system, flush it, or remove contaminated or excess refrigerant. You want town one so you can monitor your cars AC system and schedule servicing sessions as necessary.

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About Author
Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a writer and a content marketer who works for hand in hand with Sunbright Automotive Tools. Beforehand, Richard Johnson worked for multiple industries that had helped both small and big businesses to build better brands online through web page contents that productized services.

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