PEX fittings are utilized to make connections from PEX tubing to PEX tubing, PEX tubing to manifolds, PEX tubing to copper, PEX tubing to faucets & fixtures, and a variety of other applications. Fittings are commonly made of brass but are also available in plastic, bronze, and even stainless steel.
Advantages of PEX fittings include their cost effectiveness, flexibility, and durability when compared to traditional copper fitting alternatives. Due to the flexibility of PEX, a standard installation will require less connections than if the same installation was performed using traditional copper pipe and fittings. Consequently, having fewer connection requirements means less fittings and lower labor costs. Also, with fewer fittings in the system there is less leak potential.
PEX fittings are available in many different connection methods which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Each connection method may require a specific tool dedicated to completing a successful connection. Common connection methods include: Wirsbo Uponor ProPEX, crimp, clamp, Viega PEXPress, compression, and push-fit connections.
ProPEX Expander Fittings
ProPEX expander fittings are manufactured by Uponor (Wirsbo). ProPEX expander fittings require the Milwaukee ProPEX expander tool and a ProPEX ring to secure a successful connection. These fittings can only make connections in PEX-a tubing (Engel method) applications. ProPEX expander fittings are available in brass or an engineered pastic version, which is more cost effective but just as reliable.
Crimp Fittings/Clamp Fittings
Crimp/clamp fittings are the most simple and most often used by DIYs, however they are also popular with professionals in certain areas of the United States. Crimp/clamp fittings require a crimp tool which uses copper crimp rings or a clamp tool which uses a stainless steel clamp ring to secure a successful connection. Many DIYs prefer the clamp tool because it is slightly easier to use and cheaper than its crimp tool counterpart. These systems can be used with any standard ASTM size PEX tubing with the exception of PEX-AL-PEX.
Viega PexPress Fittings
Viega PEXPress fittings are growing in popularity with professionals across the country. Viega PexPress fittings require a Viega PEX press tool and press sleeves to secure a successful connection. Viega press fittings are commonly used with Viega FostaPEX tubing but can be used with any standard ASTM size PEX pipe.
A compression fitting consists of three parts: a compression nut, a compression ring, and a compression insert. Compression fittings do not require a special tool, making it simple for DIYs to install. One major advantage of compression fittings is their simplicity of assembly and disassembly when a repair is needed. Compression fittings are a great choice when a repair or small number of connections is required and purchasing an expensive tool is unwarranted. Compression fittings are available in versions that can be utilized with PEX or PEX-AL-PEX tubing.
Push-fit fittings are similar to compression fittings in that they are designed to connect to PEX in a matter of seconds. Push-fit fittings can be disconnected if required and they remove the risk of any scale build up. Because of their flexibility push-fit fittings make it possible to reduce installation time without the need for special tools. The most popular push-fit fittings are manufactured by SharkBite. John Guest also manufactures reliable push-fit fittings. and is best known for its Speedfit series. Push-fit fittings are compatible with any standard ASTM size PEX, copper tubing, and CPVC. However, push-fit fittings cannot be used with PEX-Al-PEX tubing.