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Plumbing Wye Vs. Sanitary Tee – All You Need To Know

Installing the wrong plumbing fixture can cause significant problems. It’s easy to make a mistake when doing a plumbing installation. Two of the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to plumbing are installing a wye where a sanitary tee should be and vice versa.

This can lead to flooding in your home, so you must always install the right fixture. So what is the difference between wye vs. sanitary tee?

The main difference is tees are attached to horizontal and vertical pipes to change their directions 90 degrees. On the other hand, wye pipes change the pipe’s direction 45 degrees while also maintaining the main flow.

Read on to discover when to use a wye and when to use a sanitary tee. Doing so will help you avoid costly mistakes like using your bathroom sink as a showerhead!

plumbing wye vs sanitary tee

What Is the Main Difference between Plumbing Wye Vs Sanitary Tee

To make it easy for you, here is a table that summarizes all the differences between the two pipes.

TraitsPlumbing WyeSanitary Tee
ShapeY shapeT shape
Space requiredLessMore
FlowPositively directedSmooth flow
Installation processHarderEasy
AccessoriesNot includedIncluded


The main difference between a wye and a sanitary tee is the shape of the fitting. A wye is shaped like a “Y,” and a sanitary tee is shaped like a “T.”

Space required

Because of its flexible nature, a sanitary tee can fit well into tight spaces. The wye can also fit into tight spaces but has more length and width requirements than the sanitary tee.


The wye is an expensive plumbing fixture, and the sanitary tee is a cheap plumbing fixture. Although the price of a wye is higher than a sanitary tee, they are sold at similar costs in many stores.


A sanitary tee smoothly. This is because it doesn’t have any restriction points. The wye, on the other hand, may have some restriction points.

Restriction points are areas where water can’t flow freely. This is due to excess pipe size in a specific area.

Installation process

A wye is more challenging to install than a sanitary tee. They need cutting which is difficult to do in tight spaces, such as under your kitchen sink. A sanitary tee is much easier to install. There is no cutting required, and it is easy to fit the piping into small spaces.


The wye has a vertical angle of 45 degrees, and a sanitary tee has an upward angle of 90 degrees.


A sanitary tee is more flexible than a wye. The wye is not as flexible as the sanitary tee and has some limitations when fitting it into tight spaces.


Sanitary tee has various accessories such as a valve, trap, and flange. The wye does not come with such accessories.

What is a plumbing wye?

A wye is a particular type of fitting that joins two different plumbing lines into one. These fittings resemble the letter Y, contain one elbow joint, and allow an easy transition from one to the other.

When to Use Wye Fitting?

Wye fittings are helpful in cases where an existing line needs to be split or when a flow needs to be divided into multiple directions.

A wye fitting can connect two straight branches with a single discharge to another branch or a drainpipe.

When you do not have enough room for a cross-connection fitting, you add another drop as part of your long drop.

What is Sanitary Tee?

The word sanitary describes the pipes used to carry waste only and not drinking water.

A Sanitary Tee is just like the plumbing wye, but in this case, it connects two different sanitary pipes into one main line. It is a fixture consisting of two vertical pipes and a horizontal pipe that goes between them.

This allows both the toilets and sinks to be connected to the sanitary piping simultaneously, without having to create an unnecessary branch into the rest of the building. The material can be stainless steel, copper, PVC composite, or carbon steel.

When to Use a Sanitary Tee?

There are many reasons why you might choose to use a sanitary tee. Some of the most common include:

  • When you need to connect two horizontal lines that lead from different sources
  • Drain for a sink, bathtub, or laundry tub to drop into the floor drain system.
  • When there is no room for a cross-connection, you need to build a horizontal tee over the connection.

Sanitary tee or wye which one to choose?

Many factors must be considered when deciding which type of fixture to use. The choice depends on your plumbing system; the number and arrangement of branch lines and pipe alignment will all affect the best kind for your situation.

A sanitary tee can be a good choice when you need a fixture that is easy to install and disconnect.

However, you should know if the existing plumbing lines are horizontal or vertical. If they are all vertical, then the wye function is better.

When you want to connect several fixtures to one line or need a connection point at a distance from where it comes, then the wye can be the best option.


A wye and a sanitary tee are fitting that carry multiple water lines into one. Although both fixtures are often used together and serve more or less the same purpose, they are not the same.

The difference between plumbing wye vs sanitary tee is in their shape. A wye fitting looks like the letter Y, and the shape of a sanitary tee is the letter T.

So if you want to avoid costly plumbing mistakes in your home, choose the right plumbing fixture for each job.