Brass Valve Vs. Bronze Valve

In this blog post, you’ll read:How do brass valves vs. bronze valves compare? Brass and bronze have similar appearance, composition, and applications. Both are commonly used copper alloys for valves, although their properties and costs vary. Bronze is primarily an alloy of copper combined with tin, but rarely other metals. However, brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. The properties of these two alloys make them useful in many applications. This article will discuss these characteristics and their particular uses and benefits. We'll do an in-depth comparison of brass valves vs bronze valves to learn the key distinctions between the two valves.
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How do brass valves vs. bronze valves compare? Brass and bronze have similar appearance, composition, and applications. Both are commonly used copper alloys for valves, although their properties and costs vary. Bronze is primarily an alloy of copper combined with tin, but rarely other metals. However, brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. The properties of these two alloys make them useful in many applications. This article will discuss these characteristics and their particular uses and benefits. We’ll do an in-depth comparison of brass valves vs bronze valves to learn the key distinctions between the two valves.

What Is Bronze Valve?

bronze valves
Bronze valves

Modern bronze alloys frequently incorporate manganese, aluminum, copper, and tin. Although certain bronze alloys containing nickel or lead can retain a polish. Bronze has a generally porous, uneven exterior. The methods for producing bronze valves are casting and machining cast ingots.

This material may only be used for creating parts by casting them into a mold or milling a pre-cast bronze ingot. Due to the casting process, bronze develops tiny gaps and rough, permeable surfaces. Bronze alloys possess the capability to retain a polish. It became less abrasive through the incorporation of specific compounds.

Bronze possesses many beneficial characteristics. It includes increased ductility, resistance to corrosion, and affordability. Bronze valves have many applications, including flow direction regulation, shut-off, and safety relief. Lead-free bronze ball valve varieties are available for use with potable water. However, they must meet or exceed the lead specifications set by the Clean Water Act.

What are Brass Valves 

Brass is made from copper and zinc. It can be cast, heat extruded, forged, or drawn brass to make valves. Brass is more flexible and easy to shape than bronze. The material has a smooth finish, saving you money on finishing costs.

Brass doesn’t rust or corrode easily. However, chlorine or water can break down the zinc in the metal over time. For natural gas and drinkable water, brass valves are the best choice.

Brass is resistant to rust but not as well as bronze. It will break down more quickly if it comes in contact with high chlorine levels. The main benefit of brass valves is that the metal has much less lead. Because of this, brass is usually safe to use in places where drinking water is present. Natural gas pipes can also have brass valves used as shut-off valves.

Regarding natural gas and drinkable water, brass valves are the best choice. The malleability of brass makes it easy to cast or machine. Brass valves last longer and work better than bronze valves.

brass valves works on pipeline
Brass valves work on pipeline.

Bronze Valve Vs. Brass Valve: What Is the Difference

  • Heat Endurance

Brass and bronze valves handle high temperatures without difficulty. At 1590 degrees Fahrenheit (865 degrees Celsius), bronze melts. However, brass melts at 1710 degrees Fahrenheit (930 degrees Celsius). Brass thus possesses a slightly higher thermal resistance than bronze. Low temperatures diminish the efficiency of brass relative to high temperatures.

  • Durability

Valves made of brass and bronze are both strong and last a long time. Bronze valves aren’t as good as brass valves. Brass endures longer and is more robust. Moreover, brass is more flexible than bronze. Chlorine and salt levels that are high damage brass, so bronze is better. Before choosing a valve, consider how to use the media that makes it more stable.

  • Manufacturing Technologies

The primary distinction between bronze and brass valves is their distinct manufacturing techniques.

  • Bronze
bronze casting
Bronze casting

To manufacture components, a casting process involving the removal of semi-finished metal from casting is required. The result is an inequitable and irregular surface. The forging process cannot ensure or preserve the integrity of the component.

The casting process has restrictions. It includes the formation of shrinkage voids, porosity, melting, and isolation. Identifying these defects becomes difficult due to the variability of the process. The results include leaks, structural collapse, and corrosion.

  • Brass

Cold drawing, casting, forging, and heated extrusion are feasible processes for manufacturing brass parts. A high demand is for forging parts instead of casting them due to the increased density of the metallographic design. This results in poor porosity, reduced size tolerance, and a clean surface. Under-pressure gas sector brass is used to demonstrate its defect-free nature.

brass parts machine
Brass parts machine
  • Lead Levels

Using brass valves in home pipes is safer because less lead is present than bronze valves. Because of this, it is better to use brass valves for drinking water applications. They lower the chance that lead will get into the water and cause health problems.

  • Uses and Media

This is essential to remember when choosing between bronze and brass valves. They have distinct capabilities and weaknesses. This makes them better or worse for various tasks. The brass valve is the best choice for plumbing and drinkable water uses. Also, the oil and natural gas industries can use it without problems. The applications for food and drinks might be concerned.

  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Brass 

In sanitary hydrothermal applications, brass reveals corrosion resistance. The chlorine-rich water can cause the brass to corrode and become difficult. Dezincification is the process by which zinc leaches from brass alloys. It contains more than 15% zinc in the presence of oxygen and moisture.

When considering this condition, dezincification-resistant brass is the more favorable choice. The pipe connectors made from DZR material are suitable for potable water. Applying a particular surface protection coating prevents corrosion resistance of brass.

  • Bronze

Bronze possesses high resistance to dezincification corrosion. However, it is susceptible to confined corrosion. This may result from metallurgical limitations. Although corrosion cracking in bronze is tolerable, it never occurs to it.

  • Melting Point

The melting point is a term directed to the specific temperature at which a solid substance changes from solid to liquid. Bronze has a 1590 degree Fahrenheit (865 degrees Celsius) melting point. In contrast, brass has a melting point of 1710 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Metal Mash

“Metal mash” is the amount of metal the valve blends with the media. Bronze has at least 5% lead, while brass has only 2% to 3%. Bronze extends more metal in the media. Because of this, brass valves work better with drinkable water.

  • Conductivity

In terms of conductivity, bronze valves differ from brass valves. Bronze is preferable to brass in applications where electrical conductivity is critical. These are used in electrical connectors due to their high electrical conductivity. Moreover, brass exhibits superior thermal conductivity. This makes it suitable for applications in which efficient heat transfer is critical. It is used in heat exchangers.

The difference in conductivity between brass and bronze enables industries to pick the material for their use. Also, understanding the conductivity differences between brass vs bronze valves is crucial. It ensures optimal performance in various applications.

brass bronze valves types
Brass bronze valve types


  • Brass

Due to its high machinability with mechanized machinery, brass is used in the valve industry. Increased cutting rates improve the manufacturing process. It results in a reduced cost of production. Due to the parts’ uniform surface, polishing and varnishing them is feasible at a minor expense.

  • Bronze

Despite the lead, bronze exhibits a diminished capacity to adjust to mechanized machinery. Certain components have surface defects and roughness—particularly those manufactured through casting- leading to pressure loss. The resultant surface is less reflective and polished due to the galvanic process.

  • Interface and Color

The combination of other parts determines the color of brass and bronze, with the main copper part. Brass valves are a dull pale yellow hue nearly identical to gold. The bronze valves exhibit a reddish-brown type. However, additional treatments, such as chromium plating, are possible. Natural color or many finishes are better to ensure that the valve interface matches the intended application.


  • Brass

Zinc, the major alloying of brass, is an alloy of copper. The chemical composition of brass differentiates it from brass and copper. Due to its plasticity, it finds application in fabricating plates, tubes, rods, and wires. It is also used in parts such as condenser tubes and heat pipelines.

Copper and zinc have a lower malleability than brass. It exhibits a low melting point (900 degrees Celsius). This enables its casting into molds and causes it to leak when malleable. Copper alloys, including aluminum, manganese, silicon, and iron, contribute to brass’s erosion and corrosion resistance. Ammonia exposure reduces these valves susceptible to tension fracture.

The composition of each alloy differs according to its particular application. The material employed in fabricating firearm cartridges contained 30% zinc. For many applications on ships, marine brasses could contain as much as 39.7% zinc compounds. Bismuth bronze is a bronze alloy composed of one component of bismuth. It contains 30 components of nickel, 12 components of zinc, five parts of lead, and 52 parts of copper.

  • Bronze

Metal bronze is brittle and rigid. Tin content dictates the alloy’s melting point, approximately 950 degrees Celsius. Bronze is superior to most steels in terms of thermal and electrical conductivity. It also resists corrosion and metal attrition more effectively than steel.

Copper alloys in bronze comprise additional elements besides tin and aluminum. It includes beryllium, manganese, silicon, and lead. Numerous variations of this substance are available. These are silicon bronze, lead bronze, and numerous others. Pressure-treated bronze and cast bronze are additional types of bronze.

It maintains a high elastic limit and fatigue limit. It has exceptional wear resistance and is nonmagnetic. It is corrosion-resistant and possesses adequate thermal and electrical conductivity. It remains noncombustible when exposed to collision sparks. Tin bronze has extensive applications in various industries. It includes shipbuilding, machinery, chemicals, instrumentation, and more. Its primary purpose is to produce magnetic and elastic components. These are resistant to corrosion and wear and components for machinery.

  • Material

Copper constitutes 57%–63% of the alloy metal brass, while zinc comprises 35%–40%. Lead can sometimes fulfill the rest. In contrast, bronze comprises tin—10% to 12%—and copper—80-88%. Bronze also contains non-metallic elements. These are phosphorus, arsenic, silicon, and other metals such as nickel, aluminum, manganese, and lead. Valves possess a variety of properties due to the diverse material combinations.

  • Cost

The cost factor is crucial in comparing brass valves vs bronze valves. This is due to not all components being priced the same. In contrast to bronze, brass is three to four times more affordable. Due to the reduced cost of zinc, brass is comparatively more affordable. Additionally, brass has machineable qualities and a clean surface. It contributes to reducing finishing expenses in the process of valve manufacturing. Conversely, bronze components are expensive. It requires extra polish for its rough exterior polishing, which increases the cost.

Applications of Bronze Vs. Brass Valve

Bronze valves exhibit distinct characteristics that render them most suitable for the following applications:

  • Marine
  • Safety relief
  • Flow Control
  • Flow shut-off
  • Petrochemical
  • Flow direction control

Brass valves are distinctively suitable for these uses:

  • Flow Control
  • Natural gas shut-off
  • Air and liquid shut-off
  • Potable water
  • Flow direction control
brass valves type
Brass valves type

Are Brass Valves Better Than Bronze Valves

In general, brass valves are considered superior to bronze valves in efficacy and durability. The deficiencies of the bronze valves render the brass valves superior to them. A persistent and porous substance, bronze is susceptible to progressive deterioration and may occasionally contain elevated lead levels.

One significant limitation of brass valves is their susceptibility to decomposition when exposed to high chlorine concentrations. Aside from that, their corrosion resistance is relatively low. They contain negligible to no lead. Moreover, the brass valves are exceptionally flexible and resilient.

Although brass exhibits exceptional corrosion resistance, the elevated chlorine levels have the potential to degrade the zinc content. Brass is suitable for various media, including natural gas. Brass is inherently superior to bronze for potable water containers. It has considerably less lead content than bronze.

How to Select Between Brass Valves and Bronze Valves 

Brass valves and bronze have an elevated level of corrosion resistance. They are frequently employed in the petrochemical and marine sectors. Brass limit and ball valves are also commonly employed in natural gas. It has been discovered that these materials can tolerate fire exposure and more expensive stainless steel substitutes.

Make sure to choose brass valves if they are to be used in the following applications:

  • Air and liquid shut-off
  • Natural gas shut-off
  • Flow direction control
  • Potable water

Bronze valves are frequently employed in high-performance applications and the petrochemical industry. It is especially used in marine situations where low levels of corrosion are necessary. Make sure to choose bronze valves if they are to be used in the following applications:

  • Petrochemical
  • Marine
  • Safety relief
  • Flow direction control
  • Flow shut-off
  • Flow Control

FAQs: Bronze Vs Brass Valve

Are brass valves safe to use with drinking water?

You can use brass valves for drinking water, but you must ensure they don’t have any lead. There is a chance that lead can get into water from some brass alloys. For use with drinkable water, look for valves that are free of lead.

Which valves are best for low-temperature applications?

Bronze and brass valves may remain open in low temperatures. Bronze valves are often used in very cold environments because they don’t break as easily.

Which is more durable, bronze or brass valves?

Most of the time, bronze valves last longer and are more durable than brass valves. Their sturdiness makes them useful in naval and industrial settings.

Final Thoughts

Both brass valves and bronze valves are used in many applications and industries. Regarding performance and longevity, brass valves are better than bronze valves. But, the best way to pick between brass valves vs bronze valves is to check the medium and uses you want to make.

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