Soldering Vs. Compression Fittings: In-depth Differences With Features

The most frequently used formula among PROS, soldering requires more tools than Compression and probably creates stronger bonds in copper and brass pipes. Of course, there are lot more differences between the two!

Whether installing new plumber pipes or repairing a damaged one, soldering or compression fittings can be your way out. Both of them are old reliable techniques.

But which one is best for you? Let’s check out!

A Quick Comparison Table

Here is a quick comparison table between soldering and compression fitting:

Fitting TypeComplexEasy
MaterialsAcid Core SoldersMetal
Special FeatureSolder A Copper Pipe In Two Different WaysJoins Two Different Pipes
BenefitsMore BenefitsFewer Benefits
Necessary ToolsRequires More ToolsRequires Fewer Tools
CompatibilityCross MaterialCross Material

In-Depth Comparison Between Soldering And Compression Fittings

The above comparison table has given you some basic knowledge about both fittings. Now we will dive deeper to learn more about them. More information will help you make the right choice.

So, here are some key differences between soldering and compression fittings:

  • Fitting Type
Compression Fittings
Compression Fittings

Soldering and compressing are two different ways to join pipes. Led-based solder is used for plumbing.

Solder is a filler metal that goes into the pipe joints.

But unlike welding, you do not have to melt pipes. The solder itself will melt and create joins.

Here are my recommended lead-free solders for you.

On the other hand, Compression is another traditional plumbing fitting.
You can use it to install new pipes or fix a leaking one. The compression unit has a brass sleeve that seals and joins two pipes together.

  • Material

Both soldering and compression units are made from metals. So they can create a tight and strong bond that lasts longer.

In Soldering, professionals use acid core solders in most cases to join metal pipes. Solder is a composite material usually made from tin and mixed with lead or nickel to make it stronger. Besides, its joining tube is made of metal.

On the contrary, compression fittings are also made of metals. It has metals nuts and a brass sleeve to join metal and plastic pipes.

Generally, compression fitting for iron and copper pipes is stainless steel made. But for plastic pipes, brass plated copper fittings are used.

  • Features

As both fittings are different, it’s natural they have distinctive features. Let’s see how their characteristics differ from one another.

You can solder a copper pipe in two different ways. One is called sweat fitting, and the other one is brazing.

In sweat soldering, you will have to melt a pipe or tube over the end of your copper pipes. In brazing, you will use a metal tube between two joints.

Brazing will create a powerful bond if you can do it well. Besides, most plumbing professionals prefer soldering for its superior performance and durability.

In contrast, compression fitting is better when joining two different pipes. Plus, you won’t have to use any flare to join pipes. It is a fast and reliable option for homeowners who need to fix the leaking issue quickly.

  • Benefits
Copper Pipe

Soldering and Compression offer a lot of different benefits. After looking at them, you might be interested in either one of the products.

The most important pros you will get from Soldering is using it in many bending and flexing applications.

Plus, it can withstand a considerable amount of vibration and tube movement.

On top of that, you can use this fitting outside as its base metal won’t melt in sunlight.

You can join any metal and non-metal pipes using Soldering. On top of that, it can operate in low temperatures.

By contrast, the most significant advantage of compression fitting is that you won’t need any flare to join pipes. You can quickly and easily join two pipes using this method. Besides, you can use places where Soldering is banned.

On top of that, you won’t require any special tools in a compression fitting. Plus, it costs significantly lower.

  • Necessary Tools

Soldering requires more tools to join pipes compared to the compression fitting. You will need a flaring torch, solder, flux, striker, pipe cutter, sand cloth, and fitting brush.

On the other hand, compression fittings require fitting nuts, wrenches, pipe cutters, and sandpaper. 

While Soldering requires more tools, it’s pretty natural most homeowners don’t have a flaring torch. That’s why Soldering is more prevalent among professionals.

Make sure to use safety equipment to work in both methods.

  • Performance

Soldering offers a stronger bond than compression fitting as far as performance is concerned. Soldering joints in copper pipes can tolerate a 440 psi pressure rating. The braze fitting can handle a 293 psi rating.

In contrast to Soldering, Compression is used in low-pressure applications. Its tolerance ranges between -5 psi to 125 psi.

  • Compatibility

Both soldering and compression fittings are compatible with various pipes. Soldering works excellent with metal pipes, namely copper.

On the other hand, compression fitting is specially designed to cross material pipe joins. You can join plastic pipes with copper ones using compression fitting.

  • Cost

Soldering fitting will cost you significantly higher than compression fitting because Soldering requires special tools like a flaming torch, which will be extra for you. Besides, for Soldering, you will need more tools than compression fitting.

Which Fitting Is Best For You?

With my above discussion, it is clear that soldering fitting offers a more robust and durable bond than its counterpart compression fitting. It can tolerate more water pressure and temperature.

So, in bold lines, you should use Soldering.

But the thing with Soldering is it requires a lot of extra tools, which will affect your wallet. Plus, if you are a homeowner, working with a flaring torch might not be wise if you are not experienced.

In this circumstance, I suggest you go with compression fitting.

But if you are professional or has experience working with a flaming torch, you must go with Soldering. For better understanding, watch this video carefully.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How reliable are compression fittings?

Compression fittings are reliable but not without issues. It cannot tolerate vibration or pipe movement and temperature compared to Soldering. Plus, you cannot use it in any bending applications. However, it’s better than threaded fitting.

Do plumbers use compression fittings?

A compression fitting is popular among homeowners and DIY lovers. It does not require any special skills and a lot of tools. So, anyone can fix pipes with this method. But it is not very common among plumbers and professionals.

Are compression fittings better than shark bites?

Both SharkBite and compression fittings are fast and easy to use. But SharkBite is a new formula. That’s why nobody knows how it lasts. Plus, it’s costly compared to the compression fitting.

Are copper pipe compression fittings vs solder?

Most professionals and plumbers use soldering for copper pipes. More specifically, sweat fitting is used for joining copper pipes. However, you can also join them using compression fitting.

Final Thoughts

Imagine any of your plumbing pipes are leaking. How would it feel? I’m sure you will start thinking about different fitting repairing options and get confused.

But not a chance after reading my Soldering vs. compression fittings review.

Now you know the best fitting option in different situations. So, you won’t have to kill time deciding from now on.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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