What’s the Difference Between Plug Valve and Gate Valve

In this blog post, you’ll read:Choosing between plug and gate valves depends on your specific needs. Plug valves offer quick operation and are ideal for low-pressure systems, while gate valves provide reliable performance in high-pressure applications. Both types efficiently stop water flow, but their design differences affect installation space, response time, and maintenance. Explore Plumber Star for top-quality valves tailored to your requirements.
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Do you want to know about the most reliable valves that completely cut off the main supply when shut off? Both plug vs gate valves are stop-valves or shut-off valves that work efficiently with various applications. Especially they are. They are designed to reduce or halt water flow at a particular pipeline location.

However, a number of factors determine which valve suits you best. Below is a list:

  • Fluid characteristics
  • Pipe diameters
  • Fluid Pressure
  • Flow rates

Additionally, they are well suited for clean media like water and gas and media with solids like crude oil or petroleum. But you should consciously choose which valve goes better with your plumbing system. Read on to learn how to select the suitable valve for various applications.

Plug vs. Gate Valve Distinct Manufacturing Features

plug valve stainless steel
plug valve stainless steel

Different value manufacturing brands mentioned characteristics that set gate valves and plug valves apart during the valve manufacturing process.

  • The number of ports must be for installation
  • Maximum operating time for perfect functionality
  • Optimal temperature and pressure for the entire system
  • Recommended installation space
  • Construction Design
  • Flow control
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Purchasing cost

Plug vs Gate Valve Functional Comparison

Plug and gate valves get their names from the regulatory mechanism they naturally possess to permit or restrict fluid flow. Plug valves possess a plug-like aperture or opening for fluid flow. Whereas the gate valve contains a disc, if it is parallel, it allows the fluid to run through the valve or perpendicular to block the fluid.

Plug vs Gate Valve Operating Principles

A plug valve’s foundation is a plug with a hollow passage in the valve body. Furthermore, plug valve dimensions determine whether the valve is off or on. These are quarter-turn valves, meaning all it takes is a 90° valve stem rotation to open or close entirely.

For this purpose, you may need to turn the plug valve actuator. Firstly, locate the lever attached to the plug valve actuator and twist it to 90 degrees. When the plug’s opening aligns with the ports, fluids and other materials can pass through it. Or you may say that the plug valve is switched on.

At the same time, if you rotate the plug opening opposite to the port line, it is shut off. And it stops the media from flowing through it.

So, plug valve dimensions around 90-degree rotation finally tell us about the opening and closing of the valve.

Gate valves are multi-turn valves, which means that for the valve to open or close fully, they need 360-degree rotation. Thus, they need more time to close and open than the plug valves. The gate valve stem position determines if it is open or closed.

You must rotate a hand wheel to control the rising gate valve stem. A nonrising gate valve stem indicates the valve is closed and the media supply is shut off. On the flip side, the rising gate valve stems portray that the valve is open and the media flows without interruption.

bonnet type gate valve
Bonnet-type gate valve

Plug Valve Design

Different valve manufacturing brands mentioned four main structural attributes of plug valves that make them unique from other valve types. Have a look!

  1. Plug Shape
  2. Plug opening
  3. Lubrication status
  4. Number of ports

Let’s discuss all these features in detail to make your valve selection easy.

1. Plug Shape

Plug valve suppliers and wholesalers provide various plugs along with actual valves. Plugs exist in cylindrical and tapered shapes depending on their place of fixation and usage. Round ports are also widely used where flow restriction is not a significant concern. The ideal ports for a system’s throttle control are diamond-shaped ones.

Plug valves for oil and gas
Plug valves for oil and gas


These are the most popular plugs. But unfortunately, they are not worth buying because of the short lifeline. Conversely, they offer greater flow through the valve because it has a grand opening.


These can be the ideal plugs for your system because they are long-lasting and durable. But they allow a narrow passage or limited flow of fluids and gasses.

Plug Opening

Different types of plug openings are present in plug valves. For your ease, we compiled all the data; scroll down to read.


It is one of the most common plug openings in your valves. The reason is it has a broad diameter that holds at least 70% of the inner diameter of the connected pipe. Thus, it fits best with your plumbing system. Additionally, it has rectangular ports throughout the bore section.


Round plug openings contain significant round holes. Sometimes, these holes are restricted to half-bore but are primarily present throughout the entire bore system. Furthermore, it has round ports in both the plug and plug valve body.


Whenever you observe a diamond-shaped opening through the valve, don’t be surprised; it is a diamond plug opening. Although it looks great in Shape, its narrow aperture is used for flow throttling and features a venturi-restricted flow type. So, it does not support vast unrestricted flow.

Lubricated Vs. Non Lubricated

Plug valves also vary in terms of lubrication, which is as follows


Lubricated plug valves are entirely made up of metallic components. Efficient and effective lubrication is a seal that lessens friction between the plug and valve body and stops corrosion. But always consider your plug valve’s manufacturer’s instructions before lubricating it.

Valve manufacturers near me mostly recommend lubricants that can tolerate line temperature. Plus, lubricants must not wash away with fluid, water, or other chemicals during cleaning.

Non Lubricated

Usually, non-lubricated plug valves support low-pressure supply lines. As well as to improve sealing, a Teflon or plastic sleeve is fitted around a tapered plug and pressed up against the valve body. However, they need less maintenance but are inappropriate for high-temperature situations or surroundings.

These valves possess a specific cavity that contains an elastomeric body sleeve. The sleeve against the body will act as a wedge whenever you press the plug. As a result, the sleeve lessens friction between the body and the plug.

Here is a list of non-lubricated plug valves:

  • Lift-type plug valve
  • Elastomer-sleeved plug valve
  • Fully lined plug valve

Number of Ports

Based on the number of ports, plug valves are of the following types:


Ports are holes in the valve body that allow fluid to enter or go out. A double port plug valve has two bidirectional openings with a full or reduced bore. Moreover, it is a standard and widely used plug valve that permits flow when open and shut off when closed.



Plug valves are also available in the 3-way ports option. In more advanced forms, 4- and 5-way options are also available. You may use multiport plug valves for efficient functioning for both diverting services and transfer lines. One port of a three-way plug valve can guide flow to the second or third port.

Sometimes, you may replace several gate valves with a single multiport plug valve to upgrade your system.

Gate Valve Design

Do you want to know why gate valves are so special? Here is the answer. The main features that set a gate valve apart from the others are

  • Its disc
  • Vonnet and the valve body connection
  • Rising or non-rising stem

Furthermore, gate valves can be operated mechanically, pneumatically, or electrically.

Disc Types

The following disc shapes are common in gate valves.


wedge gate valve
wedge gate valve

It is the most common disc type in gate valves because it is robust and durable. Because of its wedge shape and two inclined seats, this kind offers a significant wedging force that helps with sealing. A valve with this wedge can be fitted in any position and is suited for nearly all fluids. However, it is ideal for turbulent flows.


knife gate valve
knife gate valve

Knife gate valves are primarily intended for on-off and isolation services in plumbing systems. They are significantly helpful when dealing with viscous, corrosive, and abrasive media. Its key features are

  • Modest pressure drop
  • Simple to operate
  • Lightweight
  • Cost-effective

Its sharp knife-like disc also cuts down solids through floating media that have built up due to strong, cohesive forces.


It is composed of double discs that lie parallel to each other. Hence, it creates a tight seal with the help of these two discs when they expand apart. The parallel discs contract whenever you press the wedge and the gate is closed.


This type of valve consists of a single unit with a hole in the center. When the gate valve is fully open, the hole lines up with the ports to permit flow, and when the gate is entirely closed, the disc body prevents passage through the ports.

Bonnet Types

The following bonnet types are common among gate valve water sealing connections.

gate valve design
Gate valve design


In this type, the body-bonnet joint is welded, and the valve body is inserted. Thus, it is a strong connection and is not prone to leakage. Plus, these valves are light in weight and hence more popular. The most popular design is a 1/2 to 2 inches gate valve and operates at pressures between 800 and 2,500 PSI.


Do you need a large valve? The bolted type works well in situations requiring big valve sizes and high pressure. Indeed, it is the widely accepted connection type used in all large industrial and oil gate valves.


It is ideal for small-size valves. Plus, it’s a special union connection used to maintain and disassemble plumbing systems. You may commonly observe this connection in bronze valves.

Pressure Sealed

The body-bonnet joint seals tight with the valve’s internal pressure. Usually, high-pressure applications above 100 bar employ this type. It weighs much less than any other bonnet connection.

Rising vs. non-rising stem

Rising Stem

Rising stem gate valves are preferred over other types because they are easy to operate. The position of the gate may be readily determined by examining the position of the valve stem. If the stem is up, the gate will open. If the stem is down, the valve is closed. In other words, the stem travels up or down with the valve opening or closing.

Non-Rising Stem

Non-rising stems are typically employed in tight spaces when you don’t have space for an extended stem. In non-rising, the stem remains inside the valve when it opens or closes. It may cause corrosion, erosion, and the formation of deposits on the stem threads, making it challenging to use years after installation.

Gate Valve Vs. Plug Valve Features Comparison

Let’s have a sneak peek at the significant differences between the plug valve and the gate valve.

Features Plug Valve Gate Valve
Installation space Requires less space Requires more space
Response time Faster Slower
Operation frequency Frequent cycles Infrequent cycles
Torque High Low
Corrosion/Wear Less Corrosion More Corrosion
Pressure Suitable for low-pressure Suitable for high-pressure
Temperature Suitable for high-temperature applications Suitable for higher  temperature applications
Flow control Provides on/off functionality Provides on/off functionality
Flow restriction/Pressure drop Yes No
Flow capacity Lower Higher
Flow direction Bidirectional and multiport Bidirectional
Power requirement Higher Lower


After reading this blog, we hope you understand the basic difference between plug vs. gate valves. Both are shut-off valves that work efficiently to cut off the water supply. You can choose one according to your needs and installation space. If you still have any questions, you can contact us. Plumberstar valves are the best among the top valve manufacturing brands.

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