What are SharkBite Fittings and How Do They Work?

Posted by
John Woodard on April 04, 2019


A SharkBite fitting creates strong connections with simple installation. SharkBite push-to-connect fittings grip pipes and tubing with a ring of teeth to seal connections and prevent leaks. John Woodard, our Master Water Specialist, answers whether or not SharkBites are reliable and where to use them.

What are SharkBite fittings?

Sharkbite fittings are push-to-connects for plumbing fittings. Recently, many plumbers have gone from pulling out their solder torch and welding copper pipe together to pushing a SharkBite fitting onto a pipe. SharkBite fittings save time, they're easy to install, and they're reliable.

SharkBite fittings

How do SharkBite fittings work?

SharkBites are simple to use. You push a tube into the fitting, far enough that it grabs a hold of the pipe. The O-ring seal inside creates a watertight seal.

Learn more about how SharkBite fittings work.

Are SharkBite fittings reusable?

SharkBite fittings are reusable. Keep in mind that each time you use one on plastic pipe, the pipe may get scratched. If the scratches are deep enough, the pipe will bypass the seal inside of the fitting and create a leak. So yes, they're reusable, but reuse them with caution.

SharkBite disconnect tools

How do you install and disconnect a SharkBite fitting?

The installation is straightforward. Inside of a SharkBite fitting is a tube stiffener or an insert. If you're using PEX, make sure this insert is in the fitting when you push in the tubing. SharkBite offers a tool that deburrs the end of the pipe to ensure that your pipe is cut is even. If there's a sharp point on the end of the pipe, it could lacerate or take a chunk out of the O-ring seal.

SharkBite deburr tool

You can also use the deburring tool as a depth gauge. Make a small mark on the tubing so that when you insert it into the fitting, you know the tubing is all the way in and that you've got a good seal. To remove SharkBite fittings, you need another special tool. One reason SharkBite fittings are so reliable is that they can't come apart without a tool. A SharkBite disconnect tong goes onto the fitting and the tube and allows you to compress the ring, which pushes the gripping teeth out of the way so you can pull the tubing out. You can also use a disconnect clip that fits onto the tube. The clip works like the tongs except you use a clip to pull the tubing up and out of the fitting.

Are SharkBite fittings rated water and air use?

SharkBite fittings are rated for use with water, but they are not rated for use with gas or air.

Can you use SharkBite fittings underground?

Whether or not SharkBites are rated for underground use or even behind the wall use has to do with the application they're used for. SharkBite offers a product to wrap the fittings to keep any moisture or dirt and debris from getting into the fitting. If you're going to put SharkBite fittings underground. SharkBites are rated for behind the wall use, but if you use them behind the wall, make sure you have an access panel. That way, if anything should happen, you can take care of the problem.

SharkBite fitting sizes

What kind of tubing can SharkBite fittings be used with?

SharkBites are rated for CPVC and copper. These fittings work great with copper, whereas, some other push-to-connect fittings work better with plastic connections. SharkBite fittings also work with PEX tubing. When you use them with PEX, however, you need to use the tube stiffener because you don't want the fitting to give way because the tubing size flexes.

How can SharkBite fittings be used?

SharkBite fittings are most commonly used in household plumbing. The household plumbing fittings range from half-inch, three-quarter, inch and a quarter, and a little bigger. As long ask you're installing the fitting onto CPVC or PEX, you can use them for water anywhere in your plumbing system.

How long do SharkBite fittings last?

SharkBite fittings last a long time. In fact, SharkBite warrants the fittings for 25 years when used with SharkBite tubing. 

Are SharkBite fittings supposed to spin?

SharkBite fittings will spin. The tubing is gripped by an O-ring seal. One of the benefits of SharkBite fittings is that you can put plumbing pieces together and rotate them into place to make the installation easier. You can rotate the fitting without any problems.



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