PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), a durable and flexible plastic that is great for many indoor plumbing jobs, is quickly replacing galvanized steel and copper for creating cost-effective water supply lines. When working with PEX, it is important to have the correct fittings in order to properly connect and regulate your lines. We made this guide to showcase some of the best PEX fittings on the market today to take some of the guesswork out of your next DIY plumbing project.
What to Look for in PEX Fittings
There are definitely some important factors to consider when shopping for PEX fittings. For the best results, pay close attention to the fitting’s size and overall durability as well as the tools you will need for a proper installation.
- Fitting Size: While it tends to go without saying, the size of your PEX tubing and fittings should match precisely to ensure an optimal, leak-free fit. Luckily, most of the products listed below come in a variety of sizes, so you should be able to find the perfect sizes for your needs.
- Durability: While less-durable PEX fittings are certainly capable of achieving an easy liquid-tight seal upon installation, they might not stay that way for long. Durable, corrosion-resistant materials will last longer and can prevent future headaches, so spending a little extra on high-quality products is a no-brainer for DIY plumbers.
- Tool Requirements: While some PEX fittings utilize a simple push-to-connect design, others will require some tools to install them properly. Before making a purchase, be sure that you have all the tools for the job, including a high-quality crimp tool.
Best Straight Connector: SharkBite U072LFA Straight Connector Plumbing Female (1/2 in)
A reliable straight connector is the easiest fitting you can use to join PEX, copper, or many other types of pipe or tubing together, and the SharkBite U072LFA Straight Connector is as good as it gets. SharkBite is a brand known for high-quality push-to-connect PEX fittings, so you can trust this product. Featuring a corrosion-resistant body and rated up to 200 degrees and 200 psi, this fitting requires no special tools to achieve a liquid-tight fit. It’s also made of quality lead-free DZR brass, and while it’s not the cheapest straight connector out there, it’s well worth the price for those seeking fittings to withstand the test of time.
SharkBite 1/2 x 1/2 Inch FNPT Adapter, Push To Connect Brass Plumbing Fitting, PEX Pipe, Copper, CPVC, PE-RT, HDPE, U072LFA
This straight connector features a push-to-connect design and is made of durable, lead-free DZR brass.
Best Half-Clamp J-Hook: Highcraft ID234x50 Half-Clamp J-Hook with Nail For PEX Tubing
For those seeking an inexpensive product to support their PEX handiwork, the Highcraft ID234x50 Half-Clamp J-Hook with Nail For PEX Tubing is your best bet. This product comes in three sizes to be compatible with different sizes of PEX tubing. It makes removing and working on PEX much easier, as it stabilizes the tubing for easy access. While we love this product’s durable plastic construction and snug hold, you will want to be precise with the hammer when working in the nails to prevent them from bending. Either way, for the price, you get plenty of high-quality j-hooks with even more to spare for your next PEX project.
Highcraft ID234x50 Half Clamp J-Hook with Nail For Pex Tubing Pipe Support, 1/2 in, Black
These durable plastic half-clamp j-hooks come in packs of 50 or 100 and feature three sizing options to choose from.
Best Ball Valve: SharkBite Ball Valve
If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to minimize your water system’s downtime while you work on a DIY plumbing project, the SharkBite Ball Valve is the way to go. Featuring a single lever and push-to-connect design, this is hands-down the best tool for a localized water line shutoff to ensure the rest of the home can still enjoy the water system. Simply cut the PEX tubing, remove rough edges and debris, and push the tube into the fitting until it passes through the o-ring. While this can be an irritating process with lesser ball valve fittings, SharkBite makes it easy and effective.
SharkBite 1/2 Inch Ball Valve, Push to Connect Brass Plumbing Fitting, Water Shut Off, PEX Pipe, Copper, CPVC, PE-RT, HDPE, 22222-0000LFA
This ball valve fitting features durable brass construction and a push-to-connect design. It can be used with copper, PEX, CPVC, PE-RT, and HDPE pipe.
Best Brass Kit: Hourleey Brass PEX Fittings Kit, 1/2″ Tubing (14 Piece Set)
PEX fittings kits such as this one are judged for easily achieving a liquid-tight connection and long-term durability, and the Hourleey Brass PEX Fittings Kit scores high marks for both of these metrics. Featuring six PEX tee fittings, six PEX coupling fittings, and two PEX elbow fittings, this is definitely a great kit to buy for the several pieces you need now, knowing there will be a good use for the rest at a later date. These fittings can be installed without flame, flux, or glue and are definitely durable enough to justify the price tag.
Hourleey Brass PEX Fittings Kit, 1/2" Tubing 14 Piece Set, 6 PEX Tee Fittings + 6 PEX Coupling Fittings + 2 PEX Elbow Fittings, Lead Free for Multiple PEX Plumbing Projects
This brass fittings kit contains 14 pieces and is durably constructed. It includes two elbow fittings, six tee fittings, and six coupling fittings.
Best Poly Alloy Kit: PEX GUY PEX Poly Alloy Fittings (30 Pieces)
Rounding out our list are these PEX Poly Alloy Fittings from PEX GUY made from high-strength PPSU (polyphenylsulfone), which sports great corrosion-resistance. This is a good option for those with water acidity issues that have been a problem for their water system in the past. These fittings are for use with crimp or cinch rings and are slightly more leak-prone than the above brass PEX fittings kit. Nevertheless, with precise installation these fittings perform very well overall, making them a noteworthy pick.
(30) 3/4" Black Poly Alloy PEX Fittings 10 pcs Each: Elbow, Coupler, Tee for Crimp/Cinch/Pinch - PEX GUY
This 30-piece PEX fittings kit features polyphenylsulfone construction for excellent corrosion-resistance.