With so many different types of pipe fittings available on today’s market it can be hard to know which one is the most suitable for your requirements. In today’s guide we shall look at one of the potions – brass pipe fittings.

What they’re used for

Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper and is one of the most common materials used in pipe fittings.

They are used for a variety of purposes; however they are most commonly used in residential and industrial situations for carrying materials such as water, slurries, chemicals, flammable gases and for fire sprinkler systems.

When used for plumbing, brass pipe fittings are best suited to hot-water distribution lines as they last longer than other types of metals such as steel. They can be used for cold-water distribution however they don’t work as well under cold conditions as other materials.

Types and Sizes

Brass pipe fittings come in a huge range of types and sizes. There are eight most commonly used brass pipe fittings: pipe adaptors, pipe couplings, pipe elbows, pipe nipples, pipe unions, pipe tees, pipe plugs and pipe wyes. All the different fittings serve different purposes, for example the brass pipe coupling are used to either extend or terminate a pipe run. They can also be used to change the pipe size (known as reduced couplings).

The types of brass pipe fittings are not limited to those eight, however, and there are brass pipe fittings manufactured to suit practically every conceivable requirement and usage.

They come in a range of shapes and thread sizes allowing you to connect, control and adapt the flow of air or liquid within the pipe.

Sizes vary depending on their purpose. Residential brass pipe fittings are considerably smaller than those used in industrial applications. Brass pipe fittings commonly come in sizes ranging from 1/8 to 12 inches in diameter. However, they can be found in sizes up to 36 inches in diameter if required.

Brass pipe fittings can also come in various types of finishes. This is largely for decorative purposes, particularly when the fittings are exposed. Some of the finishes include: antique brass, nickel finish, polished brass, lacquered brass and chrome plated brass pipe fittings.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Brass Pipe Fittings

There are a huge number of advantages to choosing brass pipe fittings. It is very corrosive resistant and is easily manufactured making it possible to create brass pipe fittings in any type, size or shape.

Brass pipe fittings are best known for their incredible strength along with excellent ductility in high temperatures. However, a disadvantage is that they are not quite as ductile in colder temperatures. They have good conductivity and a low magnetic permeability.

Brass pipe fittings are slightly more expensive than similar different materials such as galvanized steel and wrought-iron; however they do offer a range of added benefits. Brass pipe fittings do not rust, meaning that you can use a small size of brass pipe and fitting than steel without losing any water volume.

Brass pipe fittings are much easier to thread and bend than steel and iron.

There are also several disadvantages however. The main disadvantage of brass pipe fittings is that they are very heavy. This makes them expensive to ship and harder to maneuver. 

Brass pipe fittings should not be used with iron pipes or vice versa, as when the two dissimilar metals are in contact they can cause electrolytic decomposition of the iron.

Where can you find them?

Brass pipe fittings are one of the most readily available types of pipe fittings on the market. They are available from almost all local hardware stores – although not all sizes and types will always be available – particularly for industrial purposes. If you need brass pipe fittings for industrial purposes then it is best to seek out a specialist who will have a wider range available.

For the widest range of brass pipe fittings, the best place to search is on the internet. There are hundreds of websites that can offer you plenty of different brass pipe fittings to suit your needs. The only problem with purchasing brass pipe fittings online is that postage can be quite high in comparison to other materials such as PVC.