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Types of Pipe Fittings and Their Uses

If your house is undergoing renovation or plumbing repair, you may notice different pipe fittings. But all the different types may seem confusing.

So what types of pipe fittings are there and what are their uses? Twelve types of pipe fittings are usually found. Likewise, their uses vary with their kind, all the different varieties are used for various purposes. Some are used to reduce, join, spread, throttle, or even stop fluid flow. 

Keep reading to learn about all the 12 types of pipe fittings and what they are used for in plumbing systems.

types of pipe fittings and uses

Types of Pipe Fittings and Their Uses

There are mainly 12 types of pipe fittings. They are mentioned below with their usage.

1. Elbow Pipe Fittings

If the pipe fitting changes the water flow direction between two pipes, go for elbow pipe fittings. They come in 3 different angles. They are:

  • 22.5°
  • 45°
  • 90°

If all the pipes used are made with the same diameter, choose a normal elbow pipe fitting. Otherwise, you have to use a reducer elbow, and we will discuss it in a bit. Elbows are built with different materials.

They contain female threads. Depending on the material, you can fix the end by the butt or socket welding.

2. Reducer Pipe Fittings

Reducer pipe fitting is used to reduce the flow, reducing the flow from bigger to smaller by decreasing the pipe size. Reducer pipes can be of two types.

  • Concentric reducer

They are cone-shaped fitting that decreases in size gradually around the pipe. But air accumulation can cause cavitation when reducer pipe fittings are used.

  • Eccentric reducer

This fitting has one side parallel to the main pipe for connecting the end of the pipes. In this case, air accumulation does not occur.

3. Tee type Pipe Fitting

As the name suggests, it is a pipe fitting built in the shape of a ‘T .’ The ‘T’ shape gives it one inlet and two outlets. The outlets are made at 90° to the inlet. The two outlets can also combine flows from two directions and out through one.

They are built with different materials and can be bought in different sizes. When the T-fitting’s three sides are equal, they are called Equal tee. If not, they are called unequal tee.

4. Cross-Type Pipe Fitting

The cross-type pipe fitting can be seen as a plus sign. It has four open sides in four directions. If you are connecting four pipes at one point, you must use a cross-type pipe fitting. Increasing temperature increases pressure on the pipes because they are connected with four connection points.

Thus, the everyday use for cross pipe fitting is in sprinkler systems on the lawn or anywhere.

5. Plug Pipe Fitting

This pipe fitting is usually used to close openings during repair and inspection. Plug pipe fittings are generally made of male threads, which can be screwed with pipes with female threading.

6. Coupling Pipe Fitting

You use coupling pipe fitting when you need to connect two pipes of equal diameter. In fixing leakage or broken pipes, coupling pipe fittings are used. Coupling pipe fittings are of two types.

  • Compression coupling

Compression coupling is used to connect two pipes to prevent leaking. This is done by the rubber seals or gasket arrangement on both sides, or glue is used.

  • Slip coupling

Slip coupling is different. Rather than connecting using rubber seals or glue, two pipes are put inside one another. Installing this is easier, and the inner pipe can slide upwards. That way, longer damage can be fixed using slip coupling fitting.

7. Nipple Pipe Fitting

A nipple pipe fitting is a small pipe stub with male pipe threading. The pipe fitting has both sides threaded or both sides threaded. To join the other two pipe fittings, pipe nipple fittings are used. Hoses, valves, and pipes can be connected using nipple pipe fittings.

This fitting is used when the pressure felt by fittings is low.

8. Adaptors

Use adaptors to make either male or female-threaded pipes from plain-ended lines with no special ends. You can do the threading according to your needs. These fittings are built with PVC pipes and copper, and male and female adapters contain male and female threads, respectively.

One side of the adapter is plain that is either welded, soldered, or glued to the plain end of pipes.

9. Union Pipe Fitting

Union pipe fittings are similar to coupling pipe fittings. Coupling pipe fittings can not be removed once they are attached. But removing union pipe fitting is possible anytime. They are made with both female and male-ended threads and nuts. This way, the pipes’ purpose can be maintained.

10. Olet Pipe Fitting

If the pipes can not be attached with standard-size pipe fittings, you must use Olet pipe fittings. When the inlet size is bigger than the outlet pipe size in the T-section, you need to use Olet. Olet pipe fitting can be of several types.

  • Threaded olet
  • Butt-Weld olet
  • Elbow olet
  • Socket weld olet
  • Lateral olet
  • Nipple olet
  • Flange olet
  • Sweep olet

11. Cap Pipe Fitting

This one is similar to a plug pipe fitting. But the difference is that cap pipe fitting contains female threading, and in comparison, plug pipe fitting contains male threading. That way, cap pipe fittings can be screwed on the male threading pipes. Cap pipe fittings are made of copper, plastic, steel, etc.

12. Valves Pipe Fittings

You use valve pipe fittings in places where you need to stop the fluid flow through pipes or regulate them. Several kinds of valve fitting are available.

  • Butterfly valve

This fitting is used when you need to isolate or throttle the flow.

  • Gate valve, plug valve, and Ball valve

Plug, gate, and ball valves three of them are used for isolating the fluid flow.

  • Check valve

When you need to avert the return flow of fluid, you need to use check valves.

  • Globe valve

This pipe fitting is primarily used for throttling the fluid flow.

  • Diaphragm valve

Diaphragm valve pipe fittings are utilized when isolating and throttling together is necessary.

types of pipe fittings and their uses infography


If you have been confused about the types of pipe fittings and their uses, you don’t have to worry anymore. Because now you know the different types, what they look like, and where their usage is in the plumbing system.

You can easily choose the pipe fitting by yourself. But if you need help, you can always refer to this article to find the answers. Moreover, you can call for an expert plumber to do your work.