Hydraulic Press vs Mechanical Press – A Complete Comparison

Hydraulic press and mechanical press machines are two unique types of press machines you will find in most workshops.

But, what point should you decide whether hydraulic press or mechanical press is good for you?

Well, this guide compares all the critical aspects about these machines – from definition, working principle, features, differences to similarities:

What is Mechanical Press Machine?

Mechanical press machines are machines generate their “working power” through mechanical means. This mechanical force is applied mostly through motor-driven methods for cutting, forming, or shaping materials.

Mechanical Press Machine

Mechanical Press Machine

What is Hydraulic Press Machine?

Hydraulic press machines are machines that expert force on materials using hydraulic pressure. You will find them mostly used in manufacturing industries for molding, shaping, and compressing objects.

Hydraulic Press Machine

Hydraulic Press Machine

Difference between Mechanical Press and Hydraulic Press

The main different between mechanical press and hydraulic press is in its methods of generating force in performing tasks.

Pressure Generation

Hydraulic press generates pressure through hydraulic fluids while mechanical press has its pressure or force generated through mechanisms or mechanical press parts like gears, screws, or gears.

Operation Method

Hydraulic presses operate more on Pascal’s law, which says, when there is pressure applied on a restricted fluid, this pressure is moved undiminished all through the fluid.

Mechanical presses, however, work by converting rotating motion into direct motion in order to have force exerted on work pieces.

Driving Method

Hydraulic presses use pistons driven by hydraulic pressure to apply force to materials that are being worked on while, mechanical presses are driven by electric motors or other sources of power.

It is clear here that these types of press machines work differently to achieve various needs.


Similarities between Mechanical Power Press vs. Hydraulic Press

Below are those similarities:

Main Functions

Both presses can be used to press, stamp, cut, punch, shape, and form in manufacturing.

Generation of Force

Both presses perform their tasks or work through force generation.


Both presses are versatile and can be used for different applications such as molding, assembly processes, metalworking, and forging.


Both presses can be made to achieve operations that are precise which leads to accurate forming and shaping of materials.


Both presses are designed to come with some fine safety features. These features are there to keep operators secure and prevent any accidents. Some of these hydraulic and mechanical press parts for safety include two-hand controls, guards, and emergency stop buttons.


Both presses come with different control levels, which allows operators to have parameters like speed, strong length and pressure adjusted to meet different processing needs.

Maintenance and Cost

Although differences in initial cost and maintenance necessities are possible, both press types necessitate maintenance regularly to ensure it performs well and stays safe.


Both presses come in different capacities and sizes to meet different work piece sizes and production needs.

Mechanical Power Press

Mechanical Power Press

Press Machine Operations

How Hydraulic Press Machine Works

Step 1 – The hydraulic pump powers the electric motor. This draws in the hydraulic fluid in from its reservoir and pressurizes it.

Step 2 – After the fluid is pressurized, it is evenly shared through the different valves and pipes all the way to the hydraulic cylinder.

Step 3 – With the fluid now in the cylinder, it pushes the piston, which makes it move along the cylinder length.

Step 4 – Then, force is then generated here as the pressure and size of cylinder has been controlled.

Step 5 – The work piece that needs to be formed is then positioned between the platen and the stationary surface.

Step 6 – Force that was generated in step 4 is then applied on the work piece through the platen or movable ram.

Step 7 – The force applied creates the ideal form based on the mold or die shape.

Step 8 – Finally, hydraulic cylinders are released which allows fluid to go back to its reservoir.

How a Hydraulic Press Works

How a Hydraulic Press Works

You can repeat this process based on the number or types of forming processes you wish to achieve.

Working Principle of Mechanical Press

Below is the process through with the ideal mechanical punch press design can be achieved:

Step 1– You will need to begin by having the machine powered using an engine or electric motor.

Step 2 – After powering the machine, the rotational motion from the power is moved to the flywheel.

Step 3 – After the flywheel is powered, the clutch comes in to employ and deploy the flywheel from the presses main drive shaft.

Step 4 – After the clutch does its work, the brake system is set in motion to ensure flywheel is stopped when needed to prevent any accidents.

Step 5 – Here, the flywheels rotational motion is changed into linear motion through the crankshaft or toggle mechanism.

Step 6 – When the rotational or circular motion is changed into linear motion, the work piece is placed into the die or mold.

Step 7 – After that, the flywheel rotates and moves energy to the press system which is the ram. Then, it puts the force on the work piece.

Step 8 – With the operation done, the clutch deploys, and the ram goes to its ideal position.

To achieve various mechanical press design outcomes, the above working principle is what works.

Mechanical Press Working Principle

Mechanical Press Working Principle

Comparing Hydraulic vs Mechanical Press Advantages

Advantages of Mechanical Press

  1. Mechanical presses work with higher speed compared to hydraulic presses.
  2. These machines do not consume much energy as hydraulic presses do.
  3. These presses do not require much maintenance.
  4. Mechanical presses does not generate much heat when operating.
  5. Initial costs for mechanical presses are low and reasonable.

Advantages of Hydraulic Press

  1. Hydraulic presses work silently compared to mechanical presses.
  2. These presses are safer compared to mechanical presses.
  3. A hydraulic press comes with much flexibility compared to mechanical presses.
  4. These press devices are easier to use compared to mechanical presses.
  5. Mechanical press are safe to use.
  6. These devices do not experience wear and tear easily as hydraulic presses do.

Limitations of Hydraulic Press vs Mechanical Press

Limitations of Hydraulic Press

  1. Hydraulic presses work slower compared to mechanical presses.
  2. Hydraulic presses consume more energy compared to mechanical presses.
  3. Hydraulic presses need more maintenance compared to mechanical presses.
  4. Hydraulic presses mostly lead to overheating if cooling systems are not turned on because it generates more heat compared to mechanical presses.
  5. Initial cost for hydraulic presses are mostly higher compared to mechanical presses.

Mechanical Press Limitations

  1. Mechanical presses work with more noise compared to hydraulic presses.
  2. Mechanical presses are not as safe as hydraulic presses.
  3. These presses are not as flexible as hydraulic presses.
  4. These presses are quite complex to use compared to hydraulic presses.
  5. Mechanical presses easily experience wear and tear on their moving parts compared to hydraulic presses.

Press Machine Applications

Depending on the production capacity and efficiency, where to use these equipment may vary slightly. In fact, the applications in the hydraulic machines may at times overlap.

Hydraulic Press Applications

Some of the most common applications of hydraulic press machines include molding, forming, bonding, crushing, baling, tablet production, pills manufacturing, brake lining, clutch facing, die cutting, press-fit assembly, powder compaction, shearing, extrusion and testing, just to mention a few.

Uses of Mechanical Press

On the other hand, you can use mechanical press in applications such as stamping, blanking, bending, punching, embossing, coining, riveting, deep drawing, extrusion, perforating, sintering, etc.

Even as we finish this comparison, you may also be interested in:


Knowing about these two types of press machines and their uniqueness will always help you benefit rightly from them. Reading this article will provide you with all the information you need.


More resources:

Hydraulic Press vs Pneumatic Press – Source: TSINFA

How Does a Hydraulic Press Work – Source: TSINFA

10 Types of Hydraulic Presses You Must Know – Source: TSINFA