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Plumbing Fixtures vs. Fittings

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It can be challenging to figure out the difference between plumbing fixtures vs. fittings, and even more difficult to determine what is best for you. The team at Goodbee Plumbing is here to help. We’ve compiled a guide that breaks down what constitutes a fixture and a fitting, the different types of the two, and more, so keep reading to become a fixtures vs. fitting expert.

What are Fixtures? 

A fixture is a device for receiving water and waste matter that then directs the substances into a sanitary drainage system. Examples of fixtures include toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and show receptors. 

Types of Plumbing Fixtures

Fixtures are often made with durable materials such as PVC, fiberglass, tile, marble, glass, stainless steel, or copper. Below are the common types of fixtures. 


Toilets are integral to day-to-day life. The design consists of a water tank with a curved drain at the bottom. The toilet is mounted to the floor, and the drain pipe is connected over the sewer pipe. In addition, there are flush toilets, composting toilets, urinals, high-tech toilets, and more. 


Modern tubs feature overflows, drains, and faucets to regulate how water flows and drains. Common tub styles include Western, Eastern, claw-foot, whirlpool, and hot tubs. 


Sinks are in bathrooms, kitchens, powder rooms, and even outdoors! They typically have both hot and cold water features, with the hot water temperature depending on the user’s needs. Sink types include self-rimming, bottom-mount, solid surface, butler, and stand-alone. 


Despite the type of nozzle or showerhead a shower has, they all have the same function – to produce hot or cold water over a particular space. Varieties include water showers, electric showers, air showers, steam showers, bucket showers, beach showers, and more. 

In addition to the types all of the above fixtures come in, they also have various styles, colors, and designs allowing users to customize the fixture for their individual needs. It’s also important to note that while these fixtures are built to last, that does not mean they don’t require maintenance. Upkeep and maintenance are essential. If you need help with your fixtures, contact the team at Goodbee Plumbing, and we are more than happy to help! 

What are Fittings? 

Fittings control and guide water flow. Think of faucets, shower heads, shutoff valves, and shower valves. 

Types of Plumbing Fittings

Fittings have different functions and are often used to regulate and measure water flow. Below is a list of the most common fittings used in residential and commercial plumbing systems. 

Water Line Fittings

While PVC, CPVC, copper, and galvanized steel are still used for water lines, PEX is quickly rising in the ranks of top materials. PEX is flexible so that it can bend around corners, doesn’t require gluing or soldering or even screwing them together, all you have to do is put the pipes and fittings together. Here are the top fittings used when assembling or repairing water liens. 


Couplings connect pipes of the same diameter. You can get a coupling in regular or compression format. 

Tee Type

Shaped like the letter T, this fitting has two inlets that are 90 degrees and serve as a connection to the mainline. 


Pipe elbows change the direction of water flow and typically come in 90 and 45-degree angles.


This fitting is similar to couplings but can be removed when they are not needed, unlike couplings which are fixed. Unions also rely on their own nut to create the seal between the pipe ends. 


Adaptors are commonly used with copper or PVC plumbing and change the end of a non-threaded pipe to male or female ends. 


Compression fittings allow you to join plastic or copper together without glue or smoldering. Most feature a ring in the center that tightens to the fitting. 


This type of fitting is used to connect pipes with different diameters, and as the diameter changes, water flow does too. As in the name of the fitting, this will reduce the diameter and overall water flow. 

Waste and Drain Fittings

Most drains are made with PVC or ABS plastic. Below are the standard drain fittings. We did not include couplers and ordinary bends since they are listed above for water pipes and serve the same use for waste and drain installations and repairs. 

Long-Sweep Elbow

The bend is longer than a traditional elbow for smoother water flow. Long-sweep elbows are traditionally used to connect vertical drains to horizontal ones. 

Straight Tee

These fittings perform the same function as tees but are typically used for vents and tying horizontal pipes to vertical stacks. 

Sanitary Tee

Also called a Santee; these fittings connect horizontal waste to vertical ones but never the other way around.  


Shaped like the letter Y, they do the same function as the above but with less chance of backflow. For these fittings, you need to connect the vertical drain to the sewer. You can also connect a horizontal pipe to a vertical one using a Wye. 

Double Wye

Same function as a Wye but with two ports instead of one. 

Transition Fittings

You’ll typically always need transition fittings. Sometimes you can use threaded adapters of different materials and screw them together, but your best bet is to use adaptors specifically for the transition. 

Plastic to Copper Slip Adapter

This fitting has male copper threads on one end, and a PVC or a CPVC slip joint on the other. You need to solder a female thread adaptor to the copper pipe, screw in this adaptor, and glue the plastic pipe to the slip joint. 

Dielectric Union

This fitting is used to connect copper or brass to galvanized steel and prevent corrosion. This is most commonly utilized when installing water heaters. 

Cast Iron to Plastic Coupling

Also known as Fernco couplings, they consist of a rubber cylinder surrounded by stainless steel and two or more pipe clamps that must be tightened with a screwdriver. 

Types of Fitting Connections

The common types of fitting connections include

  • Butt weld
  • Compression
  • Grooved end
  • Flanged
  • Flare
  • Threaded
  • Push on / Push to Connect
  • Socket Weld
  • Solder Joint 

Contact Goodbee Plumbing for your Fixtures and Fittings Needs

Learning the difference between plumbing fixtures vs. fittings can be complicated, especially with the added pressure of needing to choose what is right for you. Take the above into account and if you are still unsure, give Goodbee a buzz. We take pride in providing you with quality service at a price that doesn’t drain your bank account. Our expert plumbers are ready to help you, so schedule your service today! 

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