Fittings are just as important to your house’s overall plumbing as pipes are. With the right fitting you can increase and decrease water pressure and can ensure that water is distributed efficiently throughout the house. However, even while playing such a critical role, fittings are still not as well understood as pipes.

This guide will teach you about the different types of fittings are what role they exactly play. Hopefully, this guide will enable you to do odd jobs around the house and turn you into a DIY enthusiast in no time.


As the name would suggest, adaptors are used to join different types of pipes and can be vital to a house’s plumbing. For example, an adapter would have to be used to transmit water from the main water line to the house’s main plumbing and then from there on to the different rooms in the house. Without adapters, we would have to install pipes the same size as the main water line around the entire house.

Adaptor ends could either be threaded, letting you screw in the pipe or non-threaded where you would have to solder the pipe or glue it.


A barb is used to connect hoses to supply pipes. You’ll usually see a barb to join a pipe to a flexible copper tube which would feed into a water heater. Barbs are made of either metal or plastic depending on what type of water they are transmitting. Plastic is used for cold water, while metal is used for hot water.


Couplings are used to connect the same type and diameter of pipes. Their main use is to repair a broken pipe, where you can cut around the broken part and attach a coupling to “cover” the broken part.


A cross fitting is shaped just as the name suggests, in the form of a cross. With four openings, this fitting is used either to transmit one water source to three different places or to bring water from three different places and feed it to one place.

Cross fittings have to be made of durable material as they have to withstand great amounts of pressure. This is why they are usually made of metal or high-grade plastic, so as to avoid any potential breakage or leakage.


Elbow fittings are used to change the direction of pipes and are available in three different variations, a 22.5-degree angle, a 45-degree angle, and a 90-degree angle. The name comes from the similarity to the elbow joint of the arm.

Elbow joints are used on pipes of the same diameter, whereas reducer elbow pipes are used for two pipes with different diameters. Elbow fittings mostly consist of female threads and are made of a variety of materials depending on the water temperature and water pressure that you intend to use the elbow fitting for.


This sleeve consists of a metal casing with an inner tube that tightens around pipes with the use of a screw. When the screw or clamp is tightened, the metal casing presses down on the rubber compressing it against the pipe. The rubber on the inside ensures that water does not escape from the jointed section. Their main use is to address misalignments in the pipe direction caused by small spaces.


While most of the fittings mentioned in this article are used to join two or more pipes, nipples are used to connect two different fittings. Some locations around the house may require the use of two different joints, for example, a reduced elbow fitting and a cross-fitting, and nipples offer a non-permanent solution as opposed to soldering two fittings together. The threading is continuous across the entire fitting and is usually male but female threading can be found if you look hard enough.


As the name would suggest, these fittings are used on the end of pipes and are mostly used to stop water flow during repairs and inspections. Both fittings have threading, with plugs having male threading and caps having female threading. While there are plugs available that can be glued or welded, it defeats the purpose as these fitting are mainly used temporarily and are removed after repairs are complete.


As the name suggests, reducers are used to reduce both the amount and pressure of water flowing from one pipe into another.


These fittings are T-shaped and are used either to bring two water sources together to feed into one place or take water from one source and divide it into two different places. Somewhat similar to cross fittings, these fittings are available in different materials. However, they are considered to be much sturdier than cross fittings and for this reason, are used for heating systems.


Like couplings, union fittings are used to join two pipes of the same diameter together. However, unions are threaded and are a temporary fixture, allowing them to be removed and re-used at a later stage, provided the material is a durable one. Couplings usually have to be cut out and cannot be used again.


Valves are used to adjust, or sometimes halt, water flow and pressure. Depending on the type of valve, they are used for a variety of reasons. Non-return valves are found in drains and the water flow can’t be controlled as much as it is opened, as the liquid flows in one direction and does not stop until completely drained.

Isolation valves allow you to open or close the water flow completely, without adjusting the water or pressure levels. These are used for maintenance purposes. Finally, there are throttling valves that allow you to adjust the pressure and water flow according to your needs. These valves are under immense pressure and tend to wear out fast.


This Y-shaped fitting is used to connect three pipes the same way a tee fitting does. However, the angles allow you to reduce turbulence in the water and prevents the pressure from putting too much strain on the pipes.

We hope this article has been educational for you. Check out EasyMerchant if you’re looking to buy fittings for your home.