If you’re a plumbing enthusiast, you should know how to deal with twists and turns. Especially when you’re using Pex in your home plumbing job, the thing that probably confuses you is figuring out between Pex bend support vs elbow for successful Pex pipe connections.
Some might say it’s better to have bends with bend support, while others say adding an elbow is a better idea for the perfect bend.
There are factors that draw a clear differentiating line between both these tools allowing you to go for either the Pex bend or elbow.
Some of these comparison factors include dealing with sharp turns, protection from stud edges, compatibility with tight corners, or handling kinks.
Now, which one’s good for what? And can you use them interchangeably? In this article, you’ll get all these questions answered so that you can figure out which tool you should use in your next plumbing assignment.
Relevant Article: How To Bend PEX Pipe
What is PEX Bend Support?
Pex is an amazing material for making 90-degree turns when doing the piping job. But to make the bend perfect and secure the Pex in place for the 90-degree turn, you need the Pex Bend Support. What is it?
It’s a ¼-turn plastic or metal device that creates a smooth 90-degree turn with Pex tubing. It brings the Pex to the tightest possible 90-degree turn without creating folds or crimps. Bend support also eliminates the need for an elbow fitting.
Some of the Pex bend support comes with nails to ensure support to the surface below. It’s used for several benefits, including reduced vibrations, reduced potential leaks, and maximum protection from rigid, abrasive stud edges.
- Eliminates the need for additional fitting to make perfect 90-degree turns.
- Reduced installation and maintenance cost.
- Best choice for frame house piping networks.
- Provides the protection of the pipe against the abrasive/rigid stud edges.
- Reduced noise and vibration during installation.
- Provides the flexibility to work beyond the pre-determined angles only.
- Minimizes potential leak areas.
- Can’t create sharp turns like elbow fittings.
- The piping system can experience kinks with the Pex bend support installed.
When to Use PEX Bend Support?
Why and when would you use the Pex bend support? You’ll be using this tool in most frame homes and mainly for protecting your pipe from the rigid stud edges.
Pex generally doesn’t bend at sharp turns, and that’s where you need to use this tool for a perfect bend in your frame house. It minimizes the need for hammering; as a result, it helps in reducing noise and vibration for your home piping system.
The challenge with the Pex bend support is that it can struggle in tight corners or go through kinks at some points. But these issues have remedies and can be solved easily.
Relevant posts >> How To Bend PEX Pipe: Best Way Discussed [With VIDEO]
What is PEX Elbow?
Pex Elbow is an L-shaped, crimp-style fitting used for making 90-degree bends between two Pex pipes or a Pex pipe and another pipe or fitting. To be precise, it creates a transition (not creates a bend itself) between copper fittings and Pex tubing.
These elbows are generally made from lead-free brass and installed using clamp or crimp methods.
This fitting comes in handy in very tight corners and also when you can’t easily make bends. It has many benefits; hence it’s an integral part of any Pex plumbing network.
- Best choice for tight corners.
- Compatible with all kinds of Pex tubing.
- Solves issues with unrepairable kinks.
- Easy and flexible installation using crimp or cinch connection system.
- Compliant with water regulations for Portable Water Applications.
- An integral part of completing any plumbing system.
- Increases installation and maintenance cost.
- Can hurt pipes due to abrasive/rigid stud edges.
When to Use PEX Elbow?
When you look to complete a Pex plumbing network for your frame house, you must have the Pex elbow. You face situations when you can’t make a 90-degree bend comfortably, and that’s when the Pex Elbow comes in handy.
It’s highly efficient when the bend experiences a kink that can’t be repaired easily. In this case, you can cut the pipe and simply add the Pex elbow to solve the issue.
You’ll get high-quality Pex Elbows that come compatible with all kinds of Pex tubing. They follow regulations and standardizations to meet all Pex tubing requirements.
They’re also flexible and allow you to opt for a crimp connection system or a cinch connection system.
PEX Bend Support Vs Elbow: Head-to-Head Comparison
Now it’s time to check out how Pex Bend Support and Elbow perform in the head-on competition. So, let’s start!
Pex bend support is generally made of plastic polymer, but you also get the metal options out there. This kind of plastic is quite hard and durable as well. So you can use it with Pex pipes without worrying about wear and tear.
On the other hand, you’ve got the Pex elbow that’s made of lead-free brass, following the SDWA and ASTM regulations for Potable Water Applications. Hence it’s highly durable and compatible with all the Pex Tubing Requirements.
2. Cost Efficiency
Since Pex bend support eliminates the need for a Pex elbow, it certainly saves you money. Reduced the number of accessories also minimizes the overall installation cost. Besides, it protects your pipe from rigid and abrasive stud edges. So it’s a flexible and cost-effective plumbing system.
On the other hand, the elbow is considered as additional fittings; hence the installation becomes costlier than the Bend support system. It also requires clamps or crimps rings which further increases the system cost.
3. Handling Kinks
It’s critical to manage kinks carefully to maintain water flow constancy, as they might cause weak points in the tubing that obstruct water flow. In this case, your plumbing system is less likely to experience kink with Pex elbows than it’s with Pex Bend support.
Elbow fittings are considered a good solution to eliminate bends, but you should still avoid elbows as much as possible to avoid kinks.
The Pex Bend Support kit is more convenient to install than the Elbow when it comes to convenience. You get less noise and vibrations while installing the Pex bend support. The support kit also reduces potential leaks, which reduces maintenance costs.
The Pex itself is a material that you can cut and join easily. So joining two straight Pex tubing sections with a 90-degree Pex Elbow isn’t a big deal either. The cinch or crimp style installation is common; hence the process is slightly more tedious than installing the support kit.
Which One’s for You
Both the Pex bend support and elbow have their own set of pros and cons. The Pex bend support is more convenient and cost-effective to use, while the elbow provides sharp turns and performs well in tight corners.
We’ve seen contractors who are more comfortable with Bend supports. It’s because they think it’s more flexible as they don’t have to deal with pre-determined angles only. Many talk about kinks, but some good Bend supports are available out there that provide a kink-free bend radius.
Pex elbow has been an older and popular choice for regular plumbing systems, and you can’t complete the piping network without it. Many contractors still consider it when bends get kinks or are hard to repair.
All in all, the Pex elbow vs bend is stiff competition, but you can still come up with a decision based on your requirements.
You may still have some queries left; let’s find answers to some of the common FAQs around.
1. How much amount of bend can PEX accommodate?
You can bend a Pex tube enough to let it accommodate curves. The amount of bend depends on the Pex tube radius.
2. What size of PEX is enough to supply a house?
3/4 Pex is good enough for a medium-size house with high-pressure water taps. Luckily, you can use the 3/4 PEX bend support for such plumbing systems.
3. Is there a PEX 45-degree bend support available?
Pex Tubing can create 90-degree turns, so you can bend it 45 degrees if you want. The bend support kit is compatible with such an angle as well.
So what do we make up from this PEX Bend Support Vs Elbow article? Our plumbing enthusiasts recommend using the bends with bend support. It’s because bend supports save on resources while minimizing waste.
Some of the bend support kits even come with a metal base to help your piping system mount firmly. You can also use them around tight corners to stop kinking.
But again, we don’t rule out the use of PEX elbows; in fact, it has been an integral part of traditional plumbing for years. It’s just the Pex bend support is a better choice for frame houses, and contractors find it more flexible to work with.
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Hey! I’m Leanda Bailey. I’m here to explain every plumbing installation and repair you may have in your kitchen or bathroom. Also, I’ll try to find you the best products on the market for your plumbing work.