The problem of energy tests of hydraulic systems with hydraulic cylinders, seemingly simple displacement machines, is more complex than that of rotary hydraulic systems. The results of the researches provide an insight into the impact of external loads, required speed, structure of the power supply system, viscosity of hydraulic oil on friction loss, and the efficiency of cylinder drive. The hydraulic cylinder is the strongest structure in the system. Failure of the system is most likely due to failure of the pump supplying the cylinder. The high load of the pump is often caused by the very low energy efficiency of the cylinder, which, despite a relatively low external load, requires high inlet pressure due to large mechanical losses of friction between the piston and the cylinder and between the piston rod and gland. These losses depend on the type of seal used, its shape, the material it is made from, pre-clamp, and the operating parameters of the cylinder. Improperly sealed or assembled seals can cause energy losses of up to 25%. Due to the use of moving seals in the hydraulic cylinder, its energy behaviour is completely different compared to the energy behaviour of a rotary motor, which does not have any seals. The friction force connected with the work of the sealing joints and the mechanical efficiency of the cylinder are determined not only by the external load but also by the method of the applicable supply of the cylinder resulting from the throttling structure, and in particular the pressure level generated in the discharge chamber of the cylinder.