Types of Compression Fittings Explained

Updated: August 31, 2023

Part of our Series: The Ultimate Guide To Compression Fittings

Welcome back to our comprehensive series on compression fittings. In part two, we'll delve into the different materials used for compression fittings, with a special focus on brass compression fittings. We'll compare these materials and discuss the pros and cons of each, helping you understand the variety of compression fittings available in the market.

Typical Materials For Plumbing Compression Fittings

Compression fittings are typically made from a variety of materials, but in the world of plumbing, these are overwhelmingly brass, stainless steel, plastic, and bronze.

The choice of material often will almost always depend on the application, but we'll talk about this in more detail throughout this blog post.

Brass Compression Fittings

Brass compression fittings have earned a reputation for their robustness and exceptional ability to withstand high temperatures and pressures. With a capacity to handle pressures up to 16 Bar, these fittings prove to be a reliable and durable choice for various plumbing applications. Are brass compression fittings reliable? Absolutely. Their sturdy construction and superior sealing capabilities make them a preferred choice among professionals, ensuring peace of mind and dependable performance in plumbing systems.

Plastic Compression Fittings

Plastic compression fittings offer distinct advantages in domestic plumbing due to their lightweight nature and cost-effectiveness. They serve as a suitable choice for various applications in residential settings. However, it's essential to consider their limitations. Unlike their metal counterparts, plastic compression fittings may not be as durable and might not withstand high pressures as effectively.

Bronze Compression Fittings

Bronze compression fittings are highly regarded for their exceptional corrosion resistance and strength, making them a reliable choice for specific applications. However, due to the higher costs associated with the material and manufacturing process, bronze fittings are relatively expensive. As a result, you typically encounter them in marine applications or for specific plumbing connections that require a robust and long-lasting solution, particularly those above 54mm in size. While bronze fittings offer premium performance, their usage is often limited to scenarios where their unique properties are indispensable and justify the higher investment.

Stainless Steel Compression Fittings

Stainless steel compression fittings are highly valued for their impressive strength and outstanding resistance to corrosion. They excel in applications that need to handle high pressures, making them a reliable choice for industrial applications.

However, it's worth noting that their quality comes at a price – they are generally more expensive compared to brass fittings. As a result, they are primarily used in specific applications that truly require their exceptional properties.

Type A vs Type B Compression Fittings

Type A Compression Fittings

Type A compression fittings, also known as non-manipulative fittings, are what most people know as Compression Fittings. Compared to Type B fittings, they do not require any modification to the pipe or tubing. The straightforward installation process makes Type A fittings a popular choice for many plumbing applications.

Applications of Type A Compression Fittings

Type A compression fittings are commonly used for joining thin-walled pipes in plumbing, connecting plastic or copper pipes together and connecting hot and cold water systems. However, they should not be used with bent tubes or pipes.

Type B Compression Fittings

Type B compression fittings, also known as manipulative fittings, require a bit more work during installation. These fittings require modifying the pipe or tube by flaring it before installation. To install a Type B compression fitting, you slide the nut over the pipe, flare the end of the pipe, insert the fitting into the flared end, tighten the nut by hand, and then use a wrench to tighten it further.

Applications of Type B Compression Fittings

Type B compression fittings are less common and mainly used for below-ground connections, gas lines and high pressure applications. Removing a Type B compression fitting requires a specialised pulling tool to slide the nut and olive away from the pipe.

We’re here to help

If you have any queries or questions about the products we sell, or even your next project, give us a shout! We'll try our best to give you a hand.