With any major plumbing jobs, you will likely need pipe and pipe fittings. Pipe fittings are plumbing parts used to connect different sections of a pipe. Pipe fittings are available in various shapes and sizes, and are essential when trying to fit pipes where needed, around corners, underground, or up a wall.

Purpose & Types of Pipe Fittings

The shapes, sizes, and material of pipe fittings vary with the purpose. Typically the pipe fitting material should be the same as the pipe being fitted.

The chart below shows common uses and pipe fitting types:

Pipe Fitting Purpose
Pipe FittingCouplings, Adapters, Unions, Caps, and Plugs Pipe PurposeExtend or seal a pipe
Pipe FittingElbows PurposeChange a pipe's direction
Pipe FittingTees, Cross, Side-inlet Elbows, Wyes PurposeConnect two or more pipes
Pipe FittingReducers, Bushings, Couplings PurposeChange pipe size
Pipe FittingValves PurposeChange direction of the flow

Pipe Fitting Connections

The type of pipe material, shape, and size, will determine the type of connection you need for your pipe fittings.

  • Threaded pipes attach by screwing together. The pipe will have either exterior (male) threads or interior (female) threads to connect
  • Slip fit, crimp, and clamp connections use sleeves, rings, or clamps that fit over the pipes once they are connected
  • Push-to-Connect fittings such as SharkBite ® , connect easily when pushed into place
  • Sweat fittings require the use of solder at the connection
  • Solvent weld fittings connect with quick-drying solvent cement
  • Compression connect threaded pipes with a nut and ferrule

Selecting Pipe Fittings

When trying to find the right pipe fittings for the job, there are few key things to keep in mind:

  • Material—The fitting must be compatible with the pipes and the fluids it will carry
  • Temperature and Pressure—Be sure the temperature and pressure ratings are appropriate for the situation
  • Design and Application—Choose right size and type of fitting for job

The reliability of any pipe fitting depends on proper installation and application.