Brass vs. plastic fittings is a long-running argument between consumers and plumbing professionals. While some claim that brass is unmatched in quality, others believe that plastic fittings are on par with or even better than brass.
The fittings you decide to employ as a consumer ultimately depend on the installation style, financial constraints, and personal preferences.
We will cover the whole debate about plastic fittings vs. brass in this article. It is meant to assist you in making a wise purchase choice. Before we begin the comparison it’s better for you to understand the different types of plumbing pipes. Let’s begin.
Different Plumbing Fittings
There are various plumbing fittings in the market and to avoid getting mixed up, we will highlight a few in this section. They include;
When pipes don’t have special ends, adaptors help to convert them to either female or male threads, depending on the requirement, with male threads on the exterior and female threads on the inside.
Pipes made of copper and PVC typically use adapters. Both male and female adapters have threads that are exclusive to them. The adapter’s plain end is attached to the plain end of the pipe via adhesive, welding, or solder.
One of the most common and crucial types of fittings is the pipe nipple. It joins two straight pipe runs and pipes to appliances like water heaters. There are five different types of pipe nipples, each with two male ends on the nipple fitting:
- Hexagon nipple
- Weld nipple
- Close nipple
- Swage nipple
- Barrel nipple
To ensure you receive the right fitting, take into account the thickness, material, and diameter before making a pipe nipple purchase.
A sort of fitting called a union performs comparable duties to coupling. Nut, male, and female ending threads make up unions. Thus, this serves to retain the pipe’s intended purpose. A nut, a female, and a male end are the three components that make a union fitting.
They are made to join two pipes with the option of removal without causing harm or deformation to the pipes. They are useful in maintenance situations or when future replacements are anticipated. The ease of installation is one of the numerous benefits of union fittings.
Unions and couplings have a lot in common. However, removing them would cause harm to the pipes. Two pipes with the same size and diameter can be connected together using couplings.
Additionally, bell reducers, a common coupling for this purpose because it joins a large pipe to a smaller one, are frequently used to modify pipe sizes.
There are four openings in four directions in cross-type fittings. When four pipes converge at one location, these are joined.
Due to their central location between four sites of connection, these fittings put extra stress on the pipe when the temperature fluctuates. For fire sprinkler systems, cross fittings are typically employed.
Tee-type fittings are plumbing components that are shaped like Ts. It has two outlets that are positioned 90 degrees from the main line connection and one intake (inlet).
Additionally, the flow from two inlets to one outlet can be combined using it. Additionally, they come in a variety of sizes and materials. T-fittings are said to be either equal or unequal depending on whether the three sides are the same size.
It is mainly used to change flow directions with elbow fittings since they are curved. Commonly available elbow angles are 22.5°, 45°, and 90°.
Reducer elbows are utilized unless the pipes are the same diameter, and then conventional elbows are used. There are various materials used to make elbows.
These typically have female threads, and we are able to fix them using socket or butt welding as well.
This type of plumbing fitting is typically used to seal off pipe openings during examinations and repairs. In order to be removed for future usage of the pipe, plugs often have male threads and are threaded.
The main distinction between a plug and a cap is that a plug has male threads, whilst a cap has female threads that screw onto the pipe’s male thread.
Caps are a sort of pipe fitting that perform the same job as plugs. These come in a variety of materials, including rubber, copper, steel, and plastic.
This is another pipe-fitting component that decreases the pipe’s size to reduce the flow size from larger to smaller. Reducers can be classified into two types.
There is a concentric reducer with a cone-like shape that gradually reduces in size around a pipe. However, in this situation, air may collect and cause cavitation.
The other is an eccentric reducer, which has one edge that is parallel to the connecting pipe and prevents air collection.
A clean-out fitting has detachable components that make it possible to reach drains without taking apart plumbing equipment.
Clean-outs make it possible for an auger (a type of drill) to access and unclog a drain. Since an auger isn’t the longest tool, it has essential clean-outs that are located in convenient areas.
Larger plumbing systems have many clean-outs that are spaced periodically. Most clean-outs are constructed of PVC.
The above guide on plumbing fittings might have not covered everything concerning fittings. Check out the video below and learn other types that we did not mention.
Source: YD Valve
Brass fittings are a kind of plumbing fixture that is manufactured out of brass, which is a sort of metal.
Applications of Brass Fittings
Pipe fittings are frequently made out of brass, making them one of the most prevalent types of materials utilized for this purpose. Because of the one-of-a-kind qualities that make it suitable for a wide range of applications, the alloy of zinc and copper has been utilized for a considerable amount of time.
Of course, the most widespread application for brass in more recent history and in present times is found in the pipes and fittings that are utilized in plumbing.
Due to the dynamic qualities of brass, pipe fittings made of brass are frequently the material of choice for plumbers and other construction experts. It outlasts other material possibilities in terms of both durability and flexibility, and it is resistant to corrosion.
Pipe fittings made of brass are commonly utilized for plumbing applications such as the transportation of water, chemicals, combustible gases, slurries, and other materials.
Pipe fittings that are composed of brass can connect, adapt, or control any liquid or gas that is transported through pipes. They are available in a broad variety of shapes and thread sizes.
In addition to their use in plumbing, brass fittings have several applications in the automotive industry. Some examples of these applications are hose ends, air brakes, and fuel line valves.
Compression fittings, refrigerator cooler fittings, and ballcock adapters are a few other places you could look for brass fittings.
Benefits of Brass Fittings
Since brass is such an effective material for pipe fittings, your plumbing system will be equipped with components that are both reliable and long-lasting thanks to its use.
Brass fittings are an excellent investment, despite the fact that their price may be somewhat more than that of some other types of fittings.
The following are five compelling arguments to support your decision to employ brass fittings in your upcoming plumbing project:
They are long-lasting. Because brass is suitable for heavy-duty use and maintains its quality for years, it has been utilized in both commercial and residential plumbing.
Brass is a wonderful option for plumbing projects that need to survive for a long time because it does not easily corrode or even crack over time. Use of it in hot water supply lines is also ideal.
They can endure high temperatures. Brass is the best material for installing hot water distribution systems because it offers outstanding conductivity and boosts system effectiveness.
Brass fittings can actually withstand temperatures far greater than fittings made of other materials, to the point where they become fire resistant.
They can be molded. A fitting could require shaping or molding in order to fit in a particular space. If so, a brass fitting would be the best option.
Compared to iron or steel, brass is a far more pliable metal. Because of this, brass fittings are a particularly adaptable choice for numerous awkward plumbing spaces.
They are resistant to corrosion. Brass is extremely corrosion-resistant and doesn’t corrode.
When you want fittings that will last for a long time, brass is the best material for the task because rust and corrosion quickly speed up the wear and tear process on the fitting.
They are adaptable. Brass fittings come in a wide range of styles and dimensions, so you can always find what you need for your individual plumbing needs.
They are Easy to Install. Installing brass valves is simple because they already have threads. Watch the video below to learn more about how to assemble brass fittings.
Plastic Plumbing Fittings
Source: YD Valves
These are plumbing fixtures manufactured out of plastic. Their primary function is to join two pieces of plumbing. Plastic fittings are portable, adaptable, strong, and multifunctional.
However, plastic fittings offer significant weight and installation savings. They are offered in several typical materials and are available in solid wall and corrugated versions.
Applications of Plastic Fittings
Below are the applications of plastic fittings:
- Fire water sprinklers
- Potable water distribution
- Chemical fluid handling
- Floor heating systems
- Natural gas distribution
Materials Used in Making Plastic Fittings
Source: YD Valves
The following materials are commonly used for plastic fittings:
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE).In drainage systems and constructions, HDPE fitting offers good temperature resistance.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC).PVC pipe fitting has a smooth surface, exceptional elasticity, and is non-toxic. Some grades of PVC piping are utilized in the processing of chemicals and food since it is inert.
- Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). Many of the benefits and applications of PVC are also true of CPVC fitting, which often has higher temperature ratings.
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). This fitting type offers stability and strong acidity and creeps tolerance.
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE).Drainage systems, industrial process parts, sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, and fittings made of LDPE are all used.
Benefits of Plastic Fittings
Below is some of the advantages of using plastic fittings.
Resistant to Corrosion
Both internal pipe corrosion and subsurface exterior corrosion cannot harm plastic fittings. Because their materials are damaged by corrosion, some pipe makers are still looking into “solutions,” yet plastic fittings are undeniably resistant to it.
With regard to a variety of chemical reagents and disinfection chemicals, plastic fittings display good resistance.
Plastic fittings are ideal for the majority of water infrastructure projects because they can transport the majority of strong acids, alkalis, and aqueous solutions with little chance of the ingredients eating through the pipe.
Low Probability of Blockage
When compared to brass fittings, the plastic fittings’ extraordinarily smooth interior reduces water flow resistance and makes sure that water travels at the right pressure to its destination.
Plastic fittings maximize water pressure while allowing water to flow freely. PVC pipes’ increased flow also prevents accumulation in sewage and wastewater systems.
Free of Leak Joints
Plastic fittings have smooth surfaces that lower pumping costs, and their joints that don’t leak freely minimize loss of water, which might hit 40% higher in some old-school and corrosion-prone piping networks.
Plastic fittings can be rapidly and simply attached using elastomeric seals without the use of electricity or weather protection.
Considering the low rate of breakage, installation, and life cycle costs, plastic fittings provide projects with significant cost savings.
Due to the durability of plastic fittings, pipes also function more effectively, requiring less continuous maintenance, which eventually lowers the cost of the pipe.
Brass VS Plastic Fittings: A Quick Comparison
Before we go deep into the detailed head-to-head comparison, let us check the table below to get a hint of the comparison.
|Parameter||Brass Fitting||Plastic Fitting|
|Original Products||Less available||More available|
|Procedure of installation||Straightforward||Complicated|
|Corrosion resistance||Lower rate||Higher rate|
Now that we have done short summary of their differences, let’s look at brass vs. plastic fittings in more detail.
When deciding whether to purchase a plumbing fitting, strength is a crucial factor to take into account. The fitting’s resistance to a water hammer serves as the primary justification for this decision.
When a valve is closed and water floods through a pipe, a water hammer occurs because a shockwave travels through the plumbing system. The pipe is under stress as a result.
Hence, great strength and durability are crucial for your fitting. Because of their greater robustness, brass fittings are popular for a number of reasons. People no longer need to worry about shockwave damage.
Plastic fittings are weaker than Brass ones in comparison. This frequently becomes a crucial consideration in someone’s decision to buy.
Brass fittings typically have a pressure limit of 140 pounds, while plastic fittings often have a maximum of 90 pounds.
Most of the time, while discussing installation methods, individuals want them to be as simple as feasible.
Compared to brass fittings, installing plastic fittings is a little more difficult. Installing a plastic fitting requires a number of tough processes,
but installing a brass fitting is not as challenging. Because of this, some people elect to use brass fittings rather than go through the tedious installation process.
Brass fittings’ resistance to corrosion is one of the main reasons individuals choose not to use them in certain applications. After a few years of use, their low rate of resistance becomes very apparent.
Brass’s inferior corrosion resistance is mostly due to the fact that it is an alloy made up primarily of copper and zinc, two metals that are unable to entirely thwart corrosion.
Plastic fittings are becoming more and more common in plumbing systems today. This shift is caused by corrosion resistance.
There is only one place for the corrosion to go now that the shift has begun, and that is the brass fittings. But because the brass area is not very large, this does not become a significant issue.
Fittings made of copper and brass are also growing in popularity. This equally distributes the rusting.
On the other hand, when it comes to plastic fittings, such corrosion-related pressures are substantially lower. Due to the fact that plastic is less prone to corrosion, its use is growing as more individuals adopt a long-term perspective.
One thing to keep in mind is that corrosion is constantly influenced by the quality of the water flowing.
The corrosion decreases as water quality improves. However, that does not guarantee that the water will be of the highest caliber everywhere. Therefore, the fittings need to be flexible to accommodate various situations.
The volume or quantity of liquid that moves through pipes in a certain amount of time is known as the flow rate. When picking a fitting, the flow rate is also a crucial factor to take into account.
Instead of being positioned outside of pipes, fittings are installed inside of them. As a result, the flow rate is decreased right away. Plastic fittings have a lower flow rate than brass fittings because they have a smaller ID.
The flow rate will be even lower if your system contains many fittings. At first glance, this might appear insignificant, but if several fixtures are working simultaneously, the flow limitation could result in a lack of pressure further along the line.
The fact that brass fittings have a smoother 90-degree elbow is the key factor causing plastic fittings to have a lower flow rate. Less resistance is created as a result, allowing for greater flow rates.
The ability of something to adjust to shifting conditions or environments is referred to as adaptability. The capacity of pipe fittings to adapt to various types of water is what gives them their greatest degree of adaptability. Types refer to the quality of the water.
Brass fittings, as we just mentioned in the previous paragraph, tend to corrode less in good water flow conditions.
However, if the situation is the opposite, corrosion will happen more frequently. Plastic fittings don’t typically have this issue because they can better adjust to shifting water conditions.
Because of their versatility, they can stop corrosion from occurring more frequently, especially when the quality of the water suddenly deteriorates.
Before you make any purchases, pricing is a crucial consideration. Whether a thing fits in your budget depends on its pricing. This applies to either fitting as well.
Brass fittings are significantly more expensive than plastic fittings. In general, brass fittings cost close to five times as much as plastic fittings.
As a result, many people prefer plastic fittings to brass fittings. For the majority of people, purchasing a product with five times the quantity and a significant likelihood of rusting appears like a foolish choice.
The importance of pricing has led to nearly three times as many sales of plastic fittings as metal. Today’s skilled plumbers tend to use plastic fittings.
Because they are so readily available, brass fittings are one of the main causes of their high cost. They are quite rare compared to plastic fittings. Manufacturers and merchants have raised prices as a result.
Here, you can apply the most fundamental economics principle: when there is a shortage of supply, prices rise; when there is an abundance of supply, prices decline.
Since they are so scarce, as we just explained, brass fittings are far more expensive. Finding original things might be challenging.
Even though certain brass fittings are produced in China and Korea, they tarnish very quickly. Few businesses are able to regulate both the quantity on the market and the price they are charging.
The availability of plastic fittings is higher, on the other hand. They are less expensive because they are more easily accessible. They are highly well-liked in part due to their simplicity of acquisition; you can find them practically any place.
In the market, fake brass fixtures are widely available. These could be advertised to be sold at high costs while still being insufficient to give you the right service.
You should be careful not to fall for these frauds as they are. That’s the main reason we recommend YD Valves manufacturers offering top notch quality brass and plastic plumbing fittings.
Protection Against Leakage
Leaks may be rather inconvenient, particularly in your bathroom. You might need to completely change your pipes and fittings if the leaks are serious. As a result, depending on the type of repair you need to make, you will need to spend a lot of money.
Sometimes the only way to remedy leaks below your home is to cause damage to the interior. Brass fittings are not particularly adaptable, as we’ve already discussed, and they also don’t fare well against corrosion. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to leakage.
Their use becomes dangerous if they are prone to leaks, and the expense of repairs could be significant. These damages can occasionally be so severe that your entire property may sustain serious harm.
You might be blind to an issue with bathroom fixtures since they are hidden from view. So take care. On the other hand, plastic fittings are more effective at thwarting corrosion.
Additionally, they are better able to adjust to shifting water conditions. They are therefore also capable of stopping leaks. As a result, you wind up saving a significant sum of money that would have been required to repair the damage.
Other Products Available at YD Valves
Apart from supplying quality brass and plastic fittings, YD Valves also offers:
The advantages and drawbacks of using each set of fixtures have been discussed in the plastic fittings vs. brass topic. In some cases, brass fittings are stronger and endure longer than plastic ones.
However, plastic fittings are more affordable, simpler to install, and appropriate when transporting acidic water.
Brass was popular in the past, but plastic is gaining popularity because of the advantages mentioned above. Whatever system of tubing and fittings you select, make sure that installation is done with the necessary caution.
This involves following industry standards to make sure the system works as it should for you. Luckily, YD Valves is here to provide you with brass and plastic plumbing fitting of high quality and affordable. Kindly, contact us.