Guide To Ball Valve: Everything You Need to Know About It

In this blog post, you’ll read:A ball valve is called a shut-off valve that retains a liquid or gas flow by a rotary ball having a bore. Yet, by turning the ball a quarter turn (90 degrees) about its axis, the passage of the medium is either permitted or blocked. Even if the valve is not used for an extended period, they have a long service life. It provides a reliable seal throughout the life span.
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Want to learn more about ball valves? You’re in the right place! These handy gadgets are essential in plumbing systems for managing the flow of water, gas, and other fluids.

Ball valves are used in various applications due to their simple design and dependable performance. We’ll examine how they function, the many varieties available, and why they might be the ideal option for your plumbing problems. So, let’s get started and learn all about them. 

How does a ball valve work?

Ball valves employ a hollow ball to regulate the flow of liquids or gases. When the valve is open, the hole in the ball allows fluid to flow through. When it is closed, the flow ceases altogether. A spindle is used to turn the ball, which is fitted into a slot. The spindle is controlled by a lever that opens and shuts the valve.

The spindle is inside the valve body neck and contains many seals to prevent leakage. Furthermore, the ball is maintained in position by two chairs on either side. These seats have a tight seal, so nothing spills out.

Butterfly ball valve works
The butterfly ball valve works.

Types of Ball Valves 

Automatic ball valves

Some valves can be operated with an electric or pneumatic actuator rather than a handle. These actuators connect directly to the valve stem and rotate it a quarter turn. The ISO 5211 standard flange connection is the most often used method for connecting an actuator to a valve.

With an actuator, you may operate your ball valve remotely or with a controller, allowing the valve to function as an automated shut-off. A spring-actuated ball valve, also known as a spring-loaded or spring return ball valve, opens or closes the valve without electricity.

automatic ball valves
automatic ball valves

The actuator then maintains the valve’s open or closed position. These types of valves are useful for saving energy and safety reasons. You can get these from every ball valve manufacturer

Brass Ball Valves 

Brass is the most common material for valves. It is a copper-zinc alloy with good mechanical qualities. Brass valves are used for various applications, including drinking water, gas, oil, air, and other liquids. 

However, chloride solutions such as saltwater or demineralized water can induce a condition known as dezincification. This is a kind of corrosion in which zinc is lost from the alloy, leaving the brass weak and porous. Despite this, brass is ideal for air ball valves and plumbing ball valves.

brass ball valves with red level handle
brass ball valves with red level handle

Stainless Steel Ball Valves

Stainless steel is ideal for use in corrosive and severe conditions. This makes it an excellent solution for saltwater, swimming pools, osmosis systems, high temperatures, and various chemicals.

 Most stainless steel is austenitic, with the most common types being 304 and 316. Type 316 provides the highest corrosion resistance, whereas Type 304, sometimes known as 18/8, has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Type 316 has 18% chromium and 10% nickel, also known as 18/10.

One thing to know is that stainless steel valves often require more power than brass or PVC valves. This is critical when operating a stainless steel valve with an electric or pneumatic actuator.

stainless steel needle valves applications
stainless steel needle valve applications

PVC Ball Valves 

PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, is often cheaper than other materials (except for ISO-top valves) and is widely used in irrigation, water supply, drainage, and corrosive substances. 

PVC resists most salt solutions, acids, bases, and organic solvents. However, it’s unsuitable for temperatures above 60 °C and can’t handle aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons. PVC isn’t as strong as brass or stainless steel, so PVC ball valves have a lower pressure rating.

pvc ball valves
PVC ball valves

High-Pressure Ball Valves 

High-pressure ball valves are designed to withstand extremely high fluid pressures, often about 500-700 bars. When the valve is larger, it can tolerate less pressure, and vice versa. These valves are highly durable and are utilized in pipe systems with uniformly high pressure. If it is a manual valve, turn the lever 90 degrees to make it work. However, if it is motorized, it will activate with an electric signal.

These valves are manufactured from materials like carbon steel and stainless steel 316. Or more durable materials, such as Duplex, for pieces like the stem, ball, and seat rings. This allows the valve to handle high pressure and the maximum torque the actuator can provide.

high pressure ball valve
high-pressure ball valve

High-pressure ball valves are available in the following connection types:

  1. National pipe thread (NPT) threaded
  2. Compression type (DIN 2353/ISO 8434-1)
  3. Welding end
  4. British standard pipe parallel (BSPP) threaded

What’s the difference between 1, 3, and 3-piece Ball Valves?

One-piece Ball Valve

As they are made of a single piece of material, one-piece ball valves are extremely durable and have a low leak rate. However, they have a lower port size due to design than the inner diameter of the pipe they connect to.

As a result, there may be a little slowdown in the flow and a dip in pressure. Replacing them requires removing the entire valve, which may be a pain.

Furthermore, it costs less to manufacture these valves. Therefore, replacing them completely is always an option rather than attempting to fix them. 

Pros of One-piece Ball Valves 

  • Inexpensive 
  • Less chances of leakage 

Cons of One-piece Ball Valves 

  • Smaller port size results in lower pressure
  • Repairing can be tricky

Two-piece Ball Valve

Two-piece ball valves consist of two components linked together using bolts or threaded connections. Typically, one part comprises the body and one end connection, while the other holds the trim to the valve and includes the second end connection. This setting enables two-piece ball valves to have port sizes that match the connecting pipes. When this occurs, they are known as full port valves.

Because full port valves provide no pressure loss, they can withstand significantly larger flow rates.

Additionally, two-piece valves are designed to bear pressure from both sides, making them ideal for stopping fluid flow in both directions, a process known as bidirectional flow shutdown. 

Moreover, two-piece ball valves are often the most cost-effective option among full port valves. 

Pros of Two-piece Ball Valves

  • Full port size results in a higher pressure 
  • Relatively cheaper as compared to other full port options

Cons of Two-piece Ball Valves 

  • The whole assembly needs to be removed to repair 
  • More expensive than one-piece valves 

Three-piece Ball Valve

3pc ball valves works
3pc ball valves work

Three-piece ball valves are a trio of parts: two end caps and a body. Unlike the other types, you can separate the body from the end caps. This makes them super easy to clean and service whenever needed. Well, these valves are the best for cleaning things up very often.

They’re pretty popular in places like the pharmaceutical and food/beverage industries, where cleanliness is a top priority. While they might cost a bit more upfront, they’re totally worth it. Why? Because they come with added functions that are absolute must-haves for specific jobs. So, think of them as the superheroes of valves – a bit pricier, but totally worth the extra dough when you need their special powers.

Pros of Three-piece Ball Valve

  • Easier maintenance and upkeep 
  • Long-lasting with regular maintenance

Cons of Three-piece Ball Valve

  • Most expensive of all 

Connection types for ball valves.


Standard ball valves are pretty straightforward. They have a ball, seats, a housing, and a lever to spin the ball. Additionally, they have two, three, or four ports in varying sizes, which might combine male and female threading. Many ball valve manufacturers offer this type of valve.


Flanged ball valves are a bit fancier. They hook up to your pipes using flanges designed according to a standard. Their full-bore design allows them to provide you with a high flow rate.

Ball valves are, therefore, suitable for any plumbing task, regardless of whether you choose the traditional threaded design or flanged valves.  

Socket Weld Ball Valves

Socket weld ball valves are a specialized type of ball valve designed for high-pressure applications and permanent pipe connections. Unlike standard or flanged ball valves, socket weld ball valves use a socket weld connection, where the pipe is inserted into a recessed area at the end of the valve. This design ensures a robust, leak-proof joint, ideal for systems with common high-pressure and temperature variations.


The normal sizes of ball valves typically range from 1/4 inch to 4 inches. These sizes accommodate various applications, from small-scale residential plumbing to larger industrial systems. Here is a standard range of ball valve sizes:

  • 1/4 inch
  • 3/8 inch
  • 1/2 inch
  • 3/4 inch
  • 1 inch
  • 1 1/2 inch
  • 2 inch
  • 2 1/2 inch
  • 3 inch
  • 4 inch

These sizes ensure compatibility with different pipe diameters and flow requirements.

Final Thoughts 

There you go! It was all you needed to know about ball valves. Now you can go into the market and buy the right one for your needs. Plumberstar is a reliable ball valve manufacturer with 20 years of experience. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.



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