A ball valve is something you don’t need to change very often, so choosing the best ball valves for your needs is important. This means that the first time you use it, it needs to be perfect. Choosing the best ball valve, though, isn’t that simple. We will show you the most important things to take into account when picking a ball valve in this post. As a starting point, let us review the basics of ball valves and their applications.
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Basics of Ball Valves
Ball valve is one of the most common types of valve used both in residential plumbing and industrial processes. Ball valve typically serves as a simple on/off valve. This is why they are called shutoff valves, isolation valves, or stop valves. They are operated by turning a sphere-shaped obstructer or “ball” 90 degrees (quarter-turn). There is a hole in the ball that allows the flow to pass through in one direction but stops it in another when rotated 90 degrees.
Visually, if a valve is in the open position, which means the handle is parallel to the valve body, then flow can pass through the valve. The flow is stopped when the valve is turned 90 degrees. The flow can no longer pass through this valve body. By looking at the handle, you can see it is closed since it is perpendicular to the valve body. Reopening is as simple as sliding the valve back into alignment with the valve body. All ball valves function this way.
Optionally, ball valves come with locking handles. This is important in situations where you may accidentally hit the valve and cause it to open or close when you do not want it to do so. Whenever livestock or cattle come in contact with an outdoor application, it will accidentally open or close it. There are several ball valve formats available, so if you are in need of that, you can get it.
Applications of Ball Valves
The ball valve is used when a tight shut-off needs to be achieved. These are wide-duty valves that can handle gas and liquids, as well as liquids with suspended solids. In ships, fire safety protection systems, and chlorine manufacturers, ball valves are commonly used. It is not recommended to use them for pharmaceuticals, bioprocessing, or food and beverage applications since they can’t be cleaned easily. There may be exceptions for chemical and non-sterile applications.
Features of Ball Valves
Ball valve manufacturers offer ball valves with a variety of features to suit a variety of applications.
A swing check provides the same function as a check valve. It keeps media from backing up in the system.
The stopper only allows 90° rotation.
On top of the ball are piston indicators that show flow direction. It is particularly handy for multi-port ball valves.
Standard Face-to-Face Dimensions
These dimensions are ASMS compliant and allow the ball to be retrofitted and replaced in line with most other valves.
This technology prevents static electricity from developing when the elastomer seat rubs against the valve. Fire can be caused by static electricity, especially when flammable liquids are present.
The metal seats of fire-safe ball valves provide backup protection. This is important if the system’s temperature rises to a point where the seal melts or softens. Whenever the metal seat rests across the seal, it serves as a seal.
Buying Guide of Ball Valves
The buyer can choose a ball valve according to its class, performance specifications, and additional features.
Method of Control
A ball valve is characterized by a ball-shaped disc as its closure element. A quarter-turn of the actuator opens the valve. In order for the media to pass through the valve, the hole in the ball is positioned parallel to the flow. Upon closing the valve, the ball rotates so that the hole is perpendicular to the flow, thus blocking the media flow.
The best applications for ball valves are fast stop/start functions. Known as quick-acting valves, they are operated by a 90-degree turn of the handle. With a quarter turn, operation time is minimized, and leakage can be minimized due to wear.
If high levels of accuracy are not required, ball valves can be utilized for throttling. High-velocity flow and pressure cause throttling to push the partially exposed seat to erode. Wear will eventually cause the valve to leak. By automating the manual ball valve and enabling it to move faster in response to a changing signal, leakage can be corrected.
Ball valves work very well with gas and liquid media. Dry chlorine, hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, and oxygen are all examples of chemicals that can be handled with this valve type. Transport of slurry is not highly recommended due to the tendency of the slurry to solidify in the cavities around the seats and ball. As a result, the valve may break due to the increased operating torque. Media trace solids should not exceed 3% according to most manufacturers.
Ball valves come as floating ball designs or as trunnion-mounted variations. Their type determines the way the ball fits into the valve. Classes are further distinguished by body styles and configurations.
Floating Ball Valves
Floating ball valves are the most common ball valve designs. In this type, the ball is not permanently attached to the stem, so there is much freedom. By pushing the ball back against the downstream seat, the pressure upstream helps create the seal.
Trunnion-Mounted Ball Valves
A pin secures the ball, so it does not dislodge in the trunnion ball valve design. High-speed systems can benefit from this design. Trunnion valves have special segmented balls. It supports the ball using a shaft on one side and another shaft or post on the other side. This shaft can be integral to the ball or can separate. The ball and seal have less friction when using trunnion valves.
For a valve to function correctly in a system, its performance requirements must be precisely calculated.
You can use a ball valve to stop and start the flow of media as well as throttle or regulate its movement within a system. The valve’s shape determines the number of directions in which the flow can pass. One to four ports can be found in the valve. The ports of the ball are either T-shaped or L-shaped.
With a T-shaped ball, the fluid can flow in two directions at once, or one can flow while the other is closed.
An L-shape allows for only one direction of flow at a time. This type of port is often used as a diverter valve. By controlling the center port, flow can be directed to either side of the valve, but it cannot be directed to both sides at the same time. Ball valves are tightly sealed due to the smooth surface of the ball.
Below are some calculations to determine the characteristics of the flow. In order to select the right valve, one needs to take into account the given and desired flow properties.
By definition, the rangeability of a valve is the maximum to minimum flow rate it can control. A valve’s rangeability can be calculated easily based on its geometry and actuator. Considering that the valve is not accurate at 5% of stroke, the valve has a rangeability of 20:1 (100% divided by 5%). The valve can then be adjusted to operate at a wider range of flow rates as the rangeability increases.
As most systems do not have a wide range of flow rates, it is not necessary that the valve has the highest rangeability. The maximum rangeability of a V-notched ball valve is 200:1, while that of a globe valve is 100:1. An increase in rangeability usually indicates a decrease in sensitivity when the valve is close to being closed and a rise in sensitivity when it is opened.
Valve sizing is determined by determining the flow rate through the valve’s diameter. Valve openings can have two different diameters to accommodate a pressure drop. For this reason, the sizing of throttle valves is almost always done.
Best Ball Valves Reviews
In today’s marketplace, there are several brands available, all of which claim to offer top-quality products. But the truth is entirely different. Ball valves manufactured by only a handful of brands are of superior quality. In light of that, we looked at different brands, customers’ experiences, and lab test reports. It is our goal to stay as clear and concise as possible to ensure you get as much information as possible as quickly as possible.
In the face of so many options available, it’s easy to become confused. For this reason, we’ve created a review section that presents facts and features. Browse through our list of ball valves and find the one that’s right for you.
1. SharkBite 22222-0000LFA Ball Valve
|Dimensions||1.3 x 2.3 x 5.4 inches|
In this industry, they are among the top manufacturers. It features a wide range of facilities and features. With the right-sized and shaped accessories, this manufacturer’s valves make plumbing so easy. CPVC, copper, and PEX pipe can all be joined with ease with this tool, regardless of their material.
SharkBite valves are strong and durable for long-lasting use. They are certified to withstand 200 PSI of pressure. Furthermore, they can handle temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The valves are structurally secured as they are made of a special O-ring compress. In addition, they can be easily sealed. Thus, they can be easily disassembled. Because they rotate easily, you can work in tight areas. The shut-off is also easily accessible.
Additionally, the 1/2 inch ball valve does not require any tools to install. It is designed so that it can be connected with just a push of a button. Soldering, crimping, or glue are not required. This ball valve has many plumbing applications. Compared to 15 years ago when we sweated copper, this makes the situation so much simpler. Rather than turning off the water to the whole house, you can simply turn off the hose outside.
2. HYDROSEAL Kaplan 3/4″ PVC True Union Ball Valve
|Dimensions||5.4 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches|
3/4″ PVC True Union Ball Valves can be used for commercial plumbing, aquariums, reef tanks, irrigation, swimming pools, water parks, and OEM. The Kaplan series has nine seals and two Teflon seats that are designed to maximize performance. The seats can be reversed to prevent downtime due to damages. It has a quarter-turn operation handle that enables smooth rotation even after years of use, ensuring long-lasting, superior performance. In addition to the socket (glue-on only), there are two EPDM O-Rings and two PTFE seats for durable and excellent performance.
3. YOO.MEE Shut-Off Ball Valve
|Dimensions||2.2 x 1.96 x 1.45 inches|
The one-piece copper valve body of YOO.MEE allows for water-saving and delivers a large flow. The product is surprisingly affordable for such an amazing quality. Also, don’t be concerned that the valve won’t fit into your pipe if you are unsure. Almost any kind of pipe will fit the valve. Versatility is a major advantage of this valve. Installation is possible anywhere in your house. This valve can withstand a certain level of pressure. You should, however, read the instructions carefully before installing it.
A copper brass valve and plastic handle make this valve very durable. You should not have any problems using it several times per day.
In addition, the valve is very flexible. If you don’t like the handle, you can remove it. However, the flow will not be controlled. Additionally, it includes a washer (O-ring). It can be used with a showerhead pipe or left with pipe tape.
4. DERNORD Full Port Ball Valve
|Dimensions||4.61 x 4.02 x 3.5 inches|
One of the leading brands of commercial brewery and food processing equipment is DERNORD. This is a product that has a wide range of applications. This ball valve can be used in water, oil, gas, or air. Moreover, it can handle acids, alcohols, and biodiesel comfortably. In particular, utilize this kit for irrigation, swimming pools, septic tanks, and house water systems to get the most use out of it. All pipe sizes can be used with this kit.
It is made of corrosion-resistant material. Teflon is used for sealing. A strong stainless steel body makes this item suitable for use in piping systems as well. The Valve loses a grade if it has a minor leakage issue. Thank goodness, this product is leak-proof.
Another interesting aspect of this ball valve is the availability of both Wog200 and Wog1000 versions. Wog200 is good enough for home use. Wog1000 is typically recommended for high-pressure applications and heavy industrial applications.
5. U.S. Solid Motorized Ball Valve
|Dimensions||4.21 x 3.5 x 2.8 inches|
U.S. Solid offers their top-notch motorized ball valve with some key features as a whole. The valve can be used for a variety of pipes with ease. Once it is returned to its original position, it automatically stops using energy. In this regard, motorized ball valves have the advantage over solenoid valves. Thus, motorized valves are both eco-friendly and affordable.
You can use this valve in either AC or DC power. With voltage varying from 9 to 24, there is no issue with the current type. Overheating can make it difficult to use the ball valve, regardless of how efficient it is. However, this valve does get hot.
In addition, an ideal ball valve should provide proper protection against solids. This means it will be able to seal in every direction. Therefore, it achieves an IP65 rating which truly shows its durability.
These ball valves are designed to integrate with water systems and home automation systems, which is another interesting feature. The motorized valve can also be used for irrigation systems. Finally, with a life expectancy between 80,000 and 100,000 cycles, it is one of the most durable motorized ball valves on the market right now.
6. Midwest Control 3/4″ NPT MxF Brass Ball Valve
|Dimensions||6.2 x 1.5 x 2.7 inches|
The Midwest Control is ideal for vacuum service, but you can also pick it up for water service, thanks to its outstanding quality and features. It is an ideal item for anyone looking for quality and durability because of its heavy-duty, forged brass body and chrome-plated brass ball.
Midwest Control’s top-notch quality and customer service compel customers to return to them for more. Surprisingly, the item does not work with low-pressure natural gas.
One of the most interesting features it offers is that it runs both ways. There are UL, CSA, and FM approvals for the valve. It is reliable all the way up to 365 degrees Fahrenheit when it is used for air. When it comes to water, however, the manufacturer does not clarify it.
7. MIDLINE VALVE 822T223 Lead Free Full Port Forged Brass Ball Valve
|Dimensions||7.1 x 3.3 x 2 inches|
A forged brass full port ball valve from Midline Valves Supplies, constructed from chrome-plated brass with a lead-free ball, is available in the economy line. IPS pipes can be connected to it using female threads. A chrome-plated brass handle equipped with a vinyl grip operates the valve.
These are WOG products. WOG stands for Waterline, Oil, and Gas. Therefore, the valve works well with all three media. Additionally, the valve is UPC certified and compliant with NSF 61-g, with a maximum pressure of 150 psi for saturated Steam and 600 psi for WOG.
8. Vibrant Yard Lead-Free Ball Shut Off Valve
|Dimensions||3.25 x 0.8 x 0.54 inches|
Throughout the United States, households have loved this brass ball valve for many years. You can depend on it for years to come. Few products are as durable as this one. Almost any medium can flow through it with ease. In addition, since it is a WOG valve, it can be used for compressed air, water, and oil. Furthermore, it saves the compressor from excessive wear and tear.
The Vibrant Yard ball valve has not been on the market for quite a while. Even so, its quality and incredible pricing strategy have earned it a good reputation.
9. Midline Ball Valve Brass 832C336-NL Premium Full port
|Dimensions||2 x 1 x 1 inches|
It is one of Midline’s top options and is extremely popular. Having been available since 2014, it has been able to make a good impression on ball valve users. It has the best selection of waterline control for piping systems considering the full port ball, the SWT connection, or the blow-out-proof stem. Furthermore, it incorporates a 1/4-turn vinyl handle as well as a PTFE packing seal.
Another advantage of this brass ball valve is that it is lead-free. Therefore, it can be used in the home. A full-house installation is possible with it.
Assume you install a ball valve in your piping system and the valve leaks. Obviously, this is frustrating and annoying. You need to select an SWT connection in order to avoid such situations. This ensures a secure connection and prevents leakage. Additionally, it has passed safety tests and been approved by UPC, CSA, UL, and FM.
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