PEX Plastic Fittings Vs. Brass (2023): Main Differences

Are you a homeowner who just can’t decide whether to get a PEX plastic fitting or a brass fitting? Tired of going through online articles that go on and on but can’t seem to be conclusive?

Well, you are in luck because, in our PEX Plastic Fittings vs. Brasscomparison, we will be breaking down both the types of fittings to help you decide which one is the better choice for your bathroom.

A Quick Comparison Table

Before we dive into the descriptive comparison, let us look at the chart below to get a general overview of their differences. The comparison has been made in relative terms:

CriterionBrass FittingPlastic Fitting
Installation ProcedureEasierHarder
Flow RateHigherLower
Corrosion ResistanceLowerHigher
Original ProductsLess AvailableMore Available

Detailed Comparison Between PEX Plastic Fittings and Brass

brass vs plastic pex fittings

Now that we have seen the chart, let us get into details about the differences in the next segment of brass vs. plastic PEX fittings.

  • Strength

Strength is a very important criterion to consider when making the choice to buy a PEX fitting. The main logic behind this consideration is the ability of the fitting to withstand a water hammer.

A water hammer occurs when there is a shockwave passing through a certain plumbing system while a valve is closed and water barrages down a pipe. This causes stress on the pipe.

Thus, it is very important for your fitting to have high durability and strength.

One of the main reasons why people prefer brass fittings is because of their higher strength. This saves people from worrying about damages caused by the shockwaves.

In comparison, the strength of plastic fittings is much lower. Oftentimes, this becomes a key factor behind someone’s purchase decision.

Conventionally, brass fittings can withstand pressure up to 140 pounds, whereas for plastic fittings the limit is usually ninety pounds.

  • Installation Procedure

When we talk about the installation procedures, people usually prefer it to be as easy as possible. The installation process of plastic fittings is a bit tougher in comparison to that of brass fittings.

If you want to install a plastic fitting, you have to go through some rigorous steps, whereas it is not as difficult when installing brass fittings.

Because of this, sometimes people choose brass fittings in order to refrain from going through meticulous steps of installation.

  • Flow Rate
plastic and brass pex fittings

Flow rate can be defined as the volume or amount of liquid that passes through pipes per unit of time. Flow rate, too, is a very important aspect to consider when it comes to choosing a fitting.

Fittings are inserted inside pipes, rather than being placed outside. Because of this, the flow rate is reduced from the start. Due to having a smaller ID than brass fittings, plastic PEX fittings have a lower flow rate.

If you have multiple fittings in your system, the flow rate will be lowered even more.

Initially, this might seem negligible, but the restriction of flow might cause a lack of pressure down the line when there are multiple fixtures operating at the same time.

The main reason behind plastic fittings having a lower flow rate is that brass fittings have a smoother ninety-degree elbow. This raises less resistance, thus enabling a higher flow rate.

  • Corrosion Resistance

One of the key areas where people opt against using brass fittings is their resistance to corrosion. They have a low rate of resistance, and this is especially palpable after a few years of usage.

PEX Plastic Fittings

The mean reason why brass has the lower corrosion resistance is that it is an alloy made up of mainly copper and zinc.

These elements cannot fight corrosion as well as other elements, per se.

These days, many plumbing systems are moving to plastic fittings. Corrosion resistance is a factor behind this shift. Now that the shift has been started, there is only one place for the corrosion to go and that is the brass fittings.

But this does not become a big problem as the brass area is relatively small in area.

Copper/brass fittings are becoming more popular as well. This spreads the corrosion out evenly.

On the contrary, such tensions about corrosion are much lower when it comes to plastic fittings. Plastic is less susceptible to corrosion; thus its usage is increasing as more people tend to think long term.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that the quality of the water flowing always plays a role in corrosion. The better the quality of water, the less is the corrosion.

But that does not necessarily mean that water everywhere will be of top quality. So the fittings have to be adaptive to different circumstances. This brings us to the next point, which is –

  • Adaptability

By adaptability, we mean the ability of something to adapt to changing circumstances, or environment. When it comes to pipe fittings, adaptability primarily comes from their ability to acclimatize to different types of water.

By types, we mean the purity of water. 

As we have already said in the previous point, brass fittings tend to corrode less if the condition of the water flowing is good. But in case it’s the opposite, corrosion will occur at a higher rate.

This problem is not prevalent for plastic fittings as they have better adaptability to changing water conditions.

Because of this adaptability, they can prevent corrosion from happening at higher rates, especially when the condition of water shifts from good to bad abruptly.

  • Pricing

Pricing is a very important factor to consider before you make any purchase. The price of a product determines whether it falls within your budget. This also goes for either fitting.

brass fittings

The price of brass fittings is much higher than that of plastic fittings. Generally, the brass PEX fitting will cost you almost five times that of plastic fittings.

As a result, a lot of individuals have chosen plastic fittings over brass fittings.

Buying a product with five times the amount, and with a high probability of corrosion seems like an irrational decision for most people.

Pricing has become such an important aspect that the sales of plastic fittings are almost three times that of brass. Most professional plumbers use plastic fittings these days.

One of the key reasons why brass fittings are so expensive is because of their availability. In comparison to plastic fittings, they are very scarce. As a result, manufacturers and retailers have spiked up prices.

  • Availability

You can run the most basic rule of Economics here – price rises because of less supply, whereas price falls when there is more than enough supply.

As we have just mentioned, the price of brass fittings is exponentially higher due to the less availability. Original products are difficult to find.

Some brass fittings are made in China and Korea, but they tend to corrode rather quickly. Because of this, few companies can control the market supply, as well as the price they are charging.

On the contrary, the availability of plastic fittings is higher. Because of being accessible easily, they do not cost as much. Also because of this easy availability, they are very popular as you can get them almost anywhere.

There are a lot of fake brass fittings in the market. These might be marketed to be sold at high prices, all the while not being good enough to provide you with the proper service.

These are scams, and you should be careful not to fall for them.

  • Defense Against Leakage

Leakages can become quite a nuisance, especially in your bathroom. If the leaks are severe, you might have to make wholesale changes to your pipes and fittings.

As a result, you will have to spend a lot of money depending on the type of repair you have to do.

Sometimes, you have to damage the interior of your home in order to fix leaks underneath. As we have already mentioned, brass fittings are not that adaptive, and nor can they survive well against corrosion.

As a result, they are very much prone to leaks.

Being prone to leaks makes their usage a hazard, and has the potential to cost you a good chunk of money to fix damages. Sometimes these damages are so severe that there might be significant damages to your entire property.

Because bathroom fittings are not visible insight, you might be unaware of the existence of a problem. So be careful!

But on the flip side, plastic PEX fittings are better suited to fight corrosion. They are also more adaptive when it comes to dealing with changing water conditions.

As a result, they can also fight off leaks. Subsequently, you end up saving a lot of money that would have been otherwise spent to fix damages.

This video has explained their differences better!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are plumbers using plastic fittings instead of metal or brass?

Yes, these days plumbers are buying three times the number of plastic fittings in comparison to that of metal fittings. If you had your doubts, well doubt no more!

Can PEX fittings burst?

If the water coming out is acidic, and the fitting is made up of brass, there is a good chance that the pipe will burst.

How Long Do PEX fittings last?

Generally, plastic PEX fittings last for about ten years. Brass fittings do not last as much.

Do Brass Pex fittings corrode?

It depends on the quality or condition of the water. If the condition of the water is good, they tend to wane slowly.

Final Words

At the end of the day, what you will buy is entirely up to you. In this article, we have broken down different facets to help you come to a decision. We recommend doing proper market research on your own as well to make a decision.

Assess your budget as well before you decide which you want to buy. If you do not have constraints, get the best product.

We hope our PEX Plastic Fittings vs. Brasscomparisonwill help you in your pursuit!

Clyde Mitchell

I run a hardware store nearby Court Anaheim, CA. Over the last 7 years, I have been blogging about home improvement and yes, I own From me and this website, you can expect some useful tips on great ideas for a modern bathroom.

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