When trying to control flow for your plumbing system, gas system, or other similar structure, you want to be sure that you select a top-quality valve that will keep your lines secure and leak free for years to come. There are different types of valves that you could use; however, the most commonly used are ball valves and gate valves.

Using the best valve is vital for your system. Both types of valve are designed to restrict and control flow, but ball valves are arguable the much better of the two (or any other sort of valve for that matter). You want the best type of valve for your plumbing project for the sake of longevity and preventing leaks.

What Are Gate Valves and Ball Valves?

These two types of valves essentially perform the same function, but they are structurally quite different. This difference makes the ball valve better for long term use and gives the gate valve a higher failure rate.

Gate valves have a flat gate closure that slides in and out or up and down between two parallel plates to open or close the valve. Gate valves are not used for flow regulation, but rather for shut off, as there are only two settings: on and off. Because of how these are made, gate valves are more prone to corrosion, which will, in time, lead to leaks or stoppage. The gate will corrode and fall into the line, creating a blockage.

Ball valves have a round closure element with a hole in it. When the hole is lined up with the flow, the valve is opened. The valve closes when the solid side of the ball is turned to the flow. Packing and washers are utilized to prevent the valve from leaking. The actual ball in the ball valve prevents corrosion because of a chrome outer layer. Ball valves just last longer.

What is the Price Difference?

Valves are not terribly expensive items, particularly when you think about what an important function they have. They are not very different in cost, however. Ball valves will tend to cost a bit more when compared to a gate valve of comparable quality. The small savings that would probably be gained by buying the gate valve is definitely not worth the potential problems in the future. The ball valve is worth the minor price increase.

Which Seals Tighter?

Ball valves seal much tighter. They feature a 100% shutoff. Gate valves, on the other hand, are much more prone to leaks. Just one reason why a gate valve is more likely to leak is because it is manufactured in a way that has more channels for a potential leak. There are more avenues where water is being regulated could leak out.


Ball valves are superior to gate valves for many reasons. The primary reasons they are better includes greater longevity and a lesser rate of failure. Ball valves may cost a little more, but almost all professionals will agree that they are well worth it.

It should be noted that on top of all of the aforementioned reasons why ball valves are superior, people report that ball valves are much easier to use than gate valves. This makes them a better choice for the daily user. Ball valves are the best option to use in your next project.