With so many different pipe fittings available it can be hard to know what all the terminology means. In today’s guide we shall try to clarify some of the terms related to pipe fitting ends by looking at some of the most popular and common pipe fitting ends.

Male and Female Pipe Threads
A threaded pipe fitting end refers to a pipe fitting with a screw-threaded end to assist in assembly. A male pipe thread is how you refer to the external thread that connects to the female pipe thread (the internal thread).
Male and female pipe threads are used in many plumbing applications, but most commonly in systems that deliver gas and fluids under pressure. The benefit of using pipe threads is that they provide a very strong connection and a labyrinth seal.
In many cases, plumbers and pipe fitters will also use a sealant in between the male and female pipe threads to further secure the joint. However, sealant should only be used on the male pipe thread.
Male and female pipe threads are available in a range of materials – most commonly metals such as copper, brass and galvanized steel – however they are also available in plastic. It is quite common, however, for the female pipe thread to split when made of plastic due to over-tightening. In some areas of the USA, the use of plastic pipe threads is restricted.

Male and Female Straight Threads
Male and female straight threads are similar to the pipe threads, however they do not usually provide any sealing function that the pipe threads can offer. They are generally not adequate enough for use in most applications.
To provide a good seal using straight threads, a cone seal or gasket must be used. Male and female straight threads are commonly used in faucet and toilet pipe fittings.

End Bell/Socket Pipe Fitting End
An end bell or socket pipe fitting end refers to an end that matches the outside diameter of the pipe or tube, as well as an additional opening that matches the inside diameter of the pipe or tube.
End bells are used to protect wiring that is going through a wall – often concrete. They are generally used to connect one end of a pipe to the other end of the pipe. They are easier to install than other popular fittings such as butt welding pipe fittings.

Compression Fitting
Compression fittings are commonly used in plumbing to join two tubes or thin pipes together. They are largely used for hot and cold water faucets as well as toilet stop valves.
They are best known for their ability to provide water-tight seals between pipes. They are also very helpful for connecting two pipes together of different materials (such as PVC and copper). The compression fitting will be made of a material that is appropriate for the connection of the two dissimilar materials.
Compression fittings don’t require soldering and are very quick and easy to use. They have the ability to work at high pressures as well as with toxic gases. They are commonly used in situations where it is not possible for a soldering iron to access.
They work by forming a tight seal between the pipes and the fitting using a compressive force that prevents any materials from leaking.

A groove fitting refers to a pipe that has a grooved end. Grooved pipe fitting ends are generally made of metal, and the groove end receives another component such as a gasket to connect two pipes together.
There are many advantages to grooved pipe fitting ends, including: no risk of a fire hazard during installation as no soldering is required, they allow for angular deflection-misalignment and there is no weakening of the pipe at joints.

Pipe Clamp End
Pipe clamp ends are another type of pipe fitting end. They are most commonly used to stop the flow of a fluid or gas, and are typically limited to use with moderate pressures. Their purpose is to create a tight seal that prevents leaking by putting even pressure on all sides of the pipe with no gaps.
They can be made from a variety of materials, however various types of metal are the most popular choice due to their strength.

Barb Pipe Fitting End
The final pipe fitting end we shall look at today is the barb. Barbed pipe fitting ends look similar to the barb on a scorpion or rattle snake. They work in a similar way to barbed wire, in that they can easily be inserted but are not so easy to remove due to the barbs.
Barb pipe fitting ends are used to help prevent leaking and are primarily used in water pipes such as hosepipes. Their barbs grab and hold onto the sides of the pipe or tube. They are very difficult to remove once put in and are fantastic at minimizing leakages.