How to Choose the Right Hydraulic Hole Punch

buy hydraulic hole punch

Before you buy a hydraulic hole punch, there are several important factors you should consider to ensure you choose the right one for your needs. We’ll go through each of these below, but first, let’s look at the benefits that a hydraulic punch offers.

Benefits of a Hydraulic Hole Punch

Hydraulic punches are a simple tool for punching holes through steel and metal. Round, oblong, and square punches are the most common shapes of dies available for your punching applications. For some tasks, hydraulic hole punchers can be much faster than drilling. Mess is kept to a minimum, unlike drilling, which produces swarf and sometimes needs coolant.

Do I need a double acting hydraulic punch or a single acting one?

A double-acting hydraulic punch applies hydraulic force on both the forward and return strokes and therefore reduces cycle times. This makes them the best choice for high-cycle production applications. They also provide more precise control over the punching operation – resulting in better accuracy and consistency in the final product.

A single-acting hydraulic hole punch is a simpler solution that’s perfectly capable for many workshop applications. They’re generally easier to operate and not as expensive to buy. Ultimately, the choice between a single-acting and double-acting hydraulic punch depends on the specific needs and requirements of the punching application.

What hole shapes do I want my hydraulic hole punch to create?

Hydraulic hole punches are used with interchangeable dies to create mostly round, square, and oblong holes. They’re usually easy to change over using simple tools such as Allen keys.

What thickness can a hydraulic hole punch handle?

A 35-ton hole punch can create holes through mild steel up to 0.5” (12.7 mm) thickness. For harder materials such as Hot Rolled C-1095 steel, the same die set will only manage around 0.25” thickness (6.25mm). A common rule of thumb is for the metal thickness not to exceed the hole diameter.

Punch and Die Sets

Hole punch manufacturers and distributors usually offer many different options, including various combinations of punch, pump, and dies. Buying everything you need at the same time is likely to be the most cost-effective approach. When buying a die set don’t assume it will include the dies needed for different shaped holes. Some sets contain various sizes of round dies only, with dies for square and oblong holes needing to be ordered separately.

Power Sources for Hydraulic Punches

You can buy suitable a pump for your hydraulic punch from a selection of manual lever-operated pumps, air-driven pumps and electric pumps. A manual pump will be the simplest and most cost-effective option best suited to low usage cycles, whereas air-driven and electric types require less effort – making them the best option for repeatable high-cycle industrial environments. If you buy a hydraulic set that includes both your punch and pump this will eliminate any concerns about compatibility.

hydraulic hole punch set with pump

Above: Enerpac SP50 50-ton hydraulic hole punch with a ZE4 Series electric pump. A typical combination for heavy usage cycles in production environments.
Above: Enerpac SP35 ton hydraulic punch used with a P80 hand pump.


Hydraulic hole punches come in various sizes and weights, so it’s essential to consider the space you have available and the portability you need. If you need a punch to transport to various job sites, before buying, be sure you know its weight, along with the pump and other essentials. A 35-ton capacity hole punch will typically weigh around 35 lbs (16kg).

Brand Reputation and Warranty

If you buy a hydraulic hole punch from a reputable brand you can expect:

Efficiency: A superior quality hydraulic punch will be designed for precision and accuracy – allowing you to work efficiently, deliver better results and save time and effort in completing projects.

Consistency: Quality hole punches will perform consistently and deliver the same level of performance each time they’re used. This can help ensure that the work being done is of high quality and meets the desired standards.

Warranty and support: Reputable tool brands offer warranties and customer support services that can provide peace of mind, and help to resolve any issues that may arise with the tool.

Accessories for your Hydraulic Punch

Having extra punch and die tools handy to create different-sized and different shaped holes is also a good idea. You can see what dies are available on the Enerpac website.

For changing the dies on 35-ton punches we recommend the SPK10 Tool Kit.

If you are opting for a punch for repeated high-cycle use (such as the SP50) you might want to fix this to your workbench. This can be done with the SP120 Punch Foot Mounting Kit.