Find the Right Fitting

Find the Right Fitting
Pipe fittings are used to connect pieces of pipe together. They help you run pipe where you need it to go, whether around corners, through ceilings or underground. The success of your project can depend on selecting the right size, materials and connectors for the function you need the fitting to perform. This guide will cover the materials fittings are made of, how they connect and how various shapes are used for different functions so you can feel confident you're using the right fitting for your project.

Shape, Material and Connectors

Selecting the right pipe fitting consists of combining the right shape, material and connection type for your pipe run. Pipe fittings come in a variety of shapes and materials, from elbows for diverting flow around corners to tees for splitting flows into multiple directions. While two different materials may often be connected together with special transitional connectors, it's best to match the material of the fitting to that of the pipes you are connecting whenever possible.

Materials for pipes and fittings include:

• Copper
• Brass
• Black and galvanized steel malleable iron
• Galvanized steel
• Polyethylene

Connection types include:

Sweat fittings use solder as a filler material.
Solvent weld fittings may be male (smaller) or female (larger), are smoothed walled and connect using quick 
  drying solvent cement.
Push-to-Connect fittings, including SharkBite®, make installation quick and easy.
Threaded fittings, which may be male or female. Female openings have threading on the inside of the fitting 
  and close around male connections, which feature the threading on the outside.
Compression fittings use a threaded body, nut and ferrule to join pieces of pipe together.
Flare fittings use a flare nut and flare fitting to connect the pipe to the fitting after the pipe has been flared.
Crimp fittings use a ring tightened around pipe after the fitting has been inserted.
Clamp fittings use a clamp tightened around pipe after the fitting has been inserted.
Refer to the table below for common fitting materials and the types of connectors used to join them. 


Connection Type


• Compression

• Sweat

Black and Galvanized
Steel Malleable Iron
• Threaded
Galvanized Steel • Threaded

• Threaded

• Sweat

PVC/CPVC/ABS • Compression
• Solvent weld

• Crimp

• Clamp

Polyethylene • Clamp

There are two major types of fittings used in residential construction: pressure (supply) fittings and drain-waste-vent (DWV) fittings.

Pressure Fittings

Pressure fittings utilize pressure to maintain flow. They are used above ground to connect the pipes that bring water to faucets and fixtures. They are available in copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX, polyethylene, brass, black & galvanized steel malleable iron and galvanized steel.
Fittings for each material are available in many shapes. Consult the table below to identify the supply fitting you need.

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Types and Applications

Divert water to another line Tee Straight Tees have three openings of the same
Reducing Tees have at least one opening smaller
  than the other
Change the direction of a pipeline Elbow Standard Elbows have two ends that accept the
  same size pipe
Street Elbows have one end to accept pipe and
  another end that is the same size as the pipe
Reducing Elbows join one sized pipe to another
Drop Elbows have "wings" to attach to a wall
Join pipe end to end Couplings and Adapters Standard Couplings have female threads or open
  sockets at both ends
Reducer Couplings connect smaller pipes to
  larger ones
Adapter Couplings connect soldered or glued
  joints to threaded joints.
Connect or disconnect pipe in the middle of a line Union • Necessary for threaded pipes
Dielectic Unions transition from steel to copper,
  block electrolysis and prevent corrosion
Seal the end of a pipe Cap • Fits over the end of a pipe
• Can be used for incomplete jobs to restore water
Seal a fitting with a plug Plug • Fits inside a fitting
Connect one type of pipe to another Transition • Connects pipes of different materials together, such
  as copper

Drain-Waste-Vent Fittings

Drain-waste-vent fittings, or DWV, use gravity to move used water and waste out of your home.  The fittings are designed to keep waste flow moving downwards efficiently by changing direction gradually. The fitting you select determines the slope of the system. The general rule is ¼" per horizontal foot of pipe.

Refer to the table below to determine the fitting you need.

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Types and Applications

Change the direction of flow Elbow • Elbows are available in 90°, 60°, 45° and 22 ½° turns
Connect a toilet to the main drain Closet Flange • Fits into elbows including closet elbows and closet bends
• Flange anchors to floor to
Join two lines together Wye • Used to bring branch lines into a run
• Wyes have a 45° angle to flow through the system
Be able to clear out clogs easily Cleanout • Male plug connects into an adapter fitting
• Should be placed in a convenient location for easy access
Prevent gases from coming into my home P-trap • Creates a seal by trapping water in the fitting's arc
Divert and remove water Tee Sanitary Tees have a directional sweep in the branch to direct water,
  waste and air
Long Turn Tee Wye have an extra long sweep to improve the
  removal of used or waste water
Vent Tees (and elbows) have abrupt 90° angles for fittings used only
  in the venting side of the system.

Flexible Couplings

Flexible couplings can be used to connect, adapt, reduce, plug or cap plumbing pipes of almost any size or material. They are easy to install and useful in all types of in-house plumbing, sewer and drain applications, especially when making small to medium sized repairs or modifications to older plumbing systems. You'll find a wide assortment of strong, leak-proof flexible couplings for any plumbing application at your local The Home Depot store.

Product Innovations


SharkBite® push-fit fittings and valves connect copper, CPVC and PEX pipe in any combination−without soldering, clamps, unions or glue. Perfect for do-it-yourselfers and contractors, SharkBite's innovative push-fit design makes pipe installation quick and easy. It's the ideal solution for any plumbing repair or new installation. You'll find a wide assortment of SharkBite products available at your local The Home Depot store.

SharkBite® push-fit fittings and valves