Sanitary Tee Vs Wye: Know Difference Between Them

Placing the wrong sanitary fitting in your drainage system can create unnecessary turbulence or completely clog the drain. As sanitary tee and wye are quite similar, people often confuse them with each other.

Sanitary Tee Vs Wye:  Know Difference Between Them

This is why we brought Sanitary Tee Vs Wye. We will discuss these sanitary tees fittings in detail and point out their differences.

Next time you handle a plumbing job, you can place the right fitting at the right place to keep the drain water flowing in the right direction.

Let’s get started with the sanitary tee.

What is Sanitary Tee?

What is Sanitary Tee

The name comes from its shape. It is a T-shaped sanitary fitting with three open ends. Sanitary tees are used to connect a horizontal pipe drain to a vertical drain. This is the reason their extended side has a downward sweep.

Because of this curved center section, liquid can easily flow through the tee to the vertical drain. And there is always some room for air to pass so that the liquid flow remains laminar.

Sanitary tees are made of different materials like stainless steel, carbon steel, cover, PVC, or ductile iron.

You will see straight or reduced tees in various docking forms.

A double sanitary tee or sanitary tees cross is also a common fitting that has four openings.

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When to Use a Sanitary Tee?

When to Use a Sanitary Tee

Know when you should use a sanitary tee fitting and not the other to keep the drainage system working.

  • If you are connecting a horizontal line to a vertical line, you must use a sanitary tee. But never do the opposite. Using a sanitary tee to connect a vertical line to a horizontal line can block the drain quickly.
  • Sanitary tees can also be used as vent tees. The room for airflow will ensure the liquid flow is normal.
  • Sanitary tees should always be used in vertical orientation. If you use a sanitary tee with a side inlet open in horizontal orientation, the waste falling from the top will splash through the opening.

For your convenience, I have provided a button here so that you can easily purchase.

What is Sanitary Wye?

What is Wye

A sanitary wye is a special fitting having the shape of a lowercase Y.

It has three openings that are positioned at a 45-degree angle. With this slight bend, wyes are used in opposite cases of tees.

They are used to connect vertical lines to horizontal lines.

Wyes are also used to combine two lines into one in the horizontal direction. This ensures a perfect flow of liquid through the vertical pipe lines without any clogging.

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Like sanitary tees, wyes also can be made of stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, PVC, or ductile iron.

When to Use Sanitary Wye?

When to Use Sanitary Wye

You should use sanitary wyes in the following cases.

  • If you are connecting multiple horizontal lines to a single one, you should use a wye. This will reduce the chance of clogging.
  • Wye is also used to create different branches of a line. You can create two lines in different directions with a wye.
  • Vertical lines can be connected to a horizontal line with a wye.

Sanitary Tee Vs. Wye: What’s the Actual Difference?

Sanitary Tee Vs Wye:  Know Difference Between Them

Though both are sanitary fittings, there are some identifiable differences between plumbing wye vs sanitary tee. Let’s differentiate them based on key factors.


Sanitary tees have a T-shaped build while wyes are shaped like Y.

The extended branch of a tee creates a right angle to the mainline. But in a wye, the extended line creates an acute angle with the mainline.

The center of the connection is curved in the tee. This directs the liquid in the horizontal direction.

But wyes have a straight center of connection.


There isn’t any noticeable difference in the material of these two fittings.

Both of them might be made of the same material. In fact, using all the vertical pipe and fittings of the same material is the right thing while plumbing.

This ensures everything connects well, and there is no mismatch around the joints.


Both these fittings have three openings. Due to their different shapes, the direction of the openings isn’t the same. So, you should consider the right fitting for your purposes.


The main difference between these fittings is in their usage.

These two fittings can’t be used interchangeably. That means you can’t replace a sanitary tee with a wye or vice versa.

Sanitary tees are used to connect horizontal lines to vertical lines.

But wyes are used to connect vertical lines to horizontal lines. You can also use wyes to combine or split horizontal lines.

Wyes can be used as a replacement for vent tees as well.

But a sanitary tee should only be used in one specific case. Using a tee in the wrong place might create water locks and clog the whole drainage system.

Which One is for Me?


As you can’t use these fittings instead of each other, there is nothing like choosing one over another between wye vs sanitary tee.

Both of them are required to create a perfect plumbing solution.

The most important thing is to use the right fitting in the right place. You should use sanitary tees while connecting a horizontal line to a vertical line.

The other fitting is required in opposite cases.

Though they look quite similar, you must be careful while using these fittings in a drainage system.

Having an overall understanding of the purpose of these two fittings will help you choose the right one in any given circumstances.

Sanitary Wye Vs Sanitary Tee

Final Thoughts

It is pretty clear from the above discussion of Sanitary Tee Vs. Wye. These fittings are built for different purposes. Even though you use them in the same drainage system, they have distinctive usage.

Using one instead of the other will create big chaos in the drainage system. These fittings should be used reasonably to keep the waste liquid flowing properly.

Know how these fittings are different and when to use them to make your plumbing jobs easier than ever.


What is the difference between a sanitary tee and a Wye?

The main difference between a sanitary tee and a wye is the shape and function. A sanitary tee is a plumbing fitting that is shaped like a “T” and is used to connect horizontal pipe drainage pipes to vertical ones. It allows waste to flow in one direction and prevents any backflow. On the other hand, a wye is also a plumbing fitting that is shaped like a “Y” and is used to connect horizontal drainage vertical pipe to vertical ones as well. However, a wye allows waste to flow in two directions, making it suitable for situations where two branch lines need to be connected. Overall, the key distinction between a sanitary tee and a wye lies in their shape and the direction of waste flow they allow.

When should you use a sanitary tee?

A sanitary tee should be used in plumbing systems when there is a need to connect a horizontal pipe drain line to a vertical vent or stack. It is specifically designed to allow waste water to flow smoothly while also providing ventilation to prevent the build-up of harmful gases. The use of a sanitary tee ensures proper drainage and ventilation in plumbing systems, promoting overall hygiene and preventing potential health hazards.

Can you use a wye for drain?

Yes, a wye can be used for drain purposes. A wye is a type of vertical pipe fitting that is shaped like a “Y” and is commonly used in plumbing systems to create a branch connection. It can be used to connect multiple drain pipes together, allowing wastewater to flow in different directions. The wye fitting is designed to provide a smooth and efficient flow of water, preventing any blockages or backups in the drain system. It is a versatile and effective option for managing drainage in various plumbing applications.

Can you use a wye for a toilet?

No, a wye cannot be used for a toilet. A wye is a type of pipe fitting that is used to connect two pipes at a 45-degree angle. It is commonly used in plumbing systems to divert water flow. However, a toilet requires a specific type of pipe fitting called a closet bend or a toilet flange. These fittings are designed to connect the toilet to the plumbing system and provide a secure and watertight seal. Using a wye for a toilet would not provide the proper connection and could result in leaks or other plumbing issues.

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