When you think of a valve, you probably think of the type that shuts off the flow of water immediately. You might be thinking of a ball valve.
However, it’s important to consider gate valve vs ball valve and their uses. Both systems have their uses, and they’re better at different things.
What Is a Gate Valve?
A gate valve is a type of valve you use to stop the flow of water or another fluid. The valve inserts a gate into the fluid to stop the flow, and opening the gate will open the flow back up.
Gate valves have different parts that help move the gate up and down to help with the flow of a liquid. They are relatively reliable, and they have a long history of working well.
A gate valve has a handwheel that you have to turn to open and close the gate, which can take a while.
The gate is typically a solid or a flexible disk that moves with the mechanism. These gates are called parallel gate valves.
You might also find full-body through conduit gate valves, which places the valve body cavity next to fluid when open or closed.
Other types of gate valves have different designs based on how the gate works, but most work the same way.
How It Works
To use a gate valve, you need to place it in the piping or a similar part of your project. It uses a handwheel that you turn manually to open and close it.
As you rotate the handwheel, the mechanism moves so that the gate lowers to close. You can open it by rotating the handwheel the opposite way.
When you close the gate valve, it will cut off water and other liquids. However, you have to be careful.
The design of the gate valve means that it can’t control the flow of liquid. If you aren’t careful, the seat and the disk can erode.
What It’s For
Gate valves work well with petrochemical plants and refineries, but the pressure has to be relatively low. Parallel gate valves work well with liquids and gases that aren’t too hot or too cold.
You can use a full-bore through conduit valve to keep solids out of the body cavity. If you have a pipe that you need to scrape, you can use the full-bore valve.
Wedge gate valves work well when dealing with high and low pressure liquids. It’s also good for turbulent flow, and it won’t wear down as easily as some other gate valves.
What Is a Ball Valve?
While a gate valve is a good option, there’s also a ball valve. Ball valves are another popular choice for plumbing, and both types work well in manifolds.
A ball valve has a body that contains a circular hole. Usually, the diameter of the hole will match the diameter of the pipe.
However, some ball valves may have smaller holes. Ball valves have a shaft that sits horizontally, and it sits at a right angle to the hole.
As the ball rotates, it can allow or cut off flow.
You can find ball valves that come in one, two, or three pieces. One piece ball valves don’t require as much set up as those with multiple pieces.
There are also some top entry ball valves, which allow you to access the ball without disassembling the valve. The ball is what helps stop the flow of liquids and gases.
Ball valves tend to be less expensive than other options, so they can be nice for when you’re on a budget. They also open and close more quickly than gate valves, but there’s more to how they work.
How It Works
When you put a ball valve in a pipe, you can use the valve to stop liquids and gases from flowing. The valve can work quickly, and it’s easy to use.
Instead of a handwheel, you use a wrench to open and close a ball valve. You use a wrench to open and close the valve by turning it 90 degrees.
The valve won’t stick when you turn it, and it can keep the pressure stable between the open and closed positions.
You might hear ball valves referred to as shutoff valves since they can easily cut off water flow to areas downstream.
Ball valves come in two types, including full-bore and reduced-port. Both options are good for different things.
What It’s For
There are a variety of ball valve applications, and it can depend on the type of ball valve.
A full-bore ball valve is great for a larger piping system, and it also works with oil and gases. When liquid passes through the hole, it can help clean the system.
However, a reduced-port ball valve is a better option for smaller pipes. It’s also the best choice for pipes where there’s a lot of pressure.
The full-bore ball valve can’t handle high amounts of pressure as well as other ball valves. Overall, ball valves are better for when you need to open and close a valve quickly.
Gate Valve vs Ball Valve
If you have a piping project and need to install a valve, you probably will consider gate valves and ball valves. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, you should think about what you need from a valve.
Consider the size and extent of the piping you have to work with. If you have a lot of piping, you might want to use a ball valve.
On the other hand, gate valves can be good for smaller piping systems.
You should also think about what liquids or gases will pass through the valve. Gate valves are good for liquids and gases but not at extreme temperatures.
Ball valves can handle both, and they work well when faced with a lot of pressure from liquids and gases. The ball in a ball valve can rotate quickly whereas it takes time to open a gate valve.
Finally, you may want to consider your budget. Ball valves tend to be more affordable than other valves, so that could affect your decision on the best option.
The Valve for You
Gate valves and ball valves both have some amazing features. Whether you need to control a large piping system or manage high pressure, you can do that.
Before you choose which valve to use, think about how you’ll use it. Then, you can make the best decision possible.
Are you still undecided on a gate valve vs ball valve for your project? Take a deeper look at each to help you decide!