PEX-A and PEX-B are two different types of PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing, each with its own characteristics and installation methods. Here are the main differences between PEX-A and PEX-B:

  1. Flexibility: PEX-A is known for its high flexibility. It has excellent shape memory, which allows it to expand and return to its original shape without any damage. PEX-B, on the other hand, is less flexible and has lower shape memory. PEX-A is easier to work with in tight spaces or around corners, while PEX-B may require more fittings to navigate around obstacles.

  2. Expansion Method: PEX-A can be installed using the expansion method. The PEX-A pipe is expanded using a specialized tool, and the fitting is inserted into the expanded pipe, creating a secure connection as the pipe contracts. PEX-B is typically installed using crimp or clamp fittings, where a crimp ring or clamp is applied to compress the pipe onto the fitting.

  3. Durability: Both PEX-A and PEX-B are durable materials with resistance to corrosion and scale buildup. However, PEX-A is generally considered to have better durability due to its higher cross-linking percentage and enhanced flexibility. PEX-A is less likely to kink or break, making it more resistant to damage during installation or freezing conditions.

  4. Burst Resistance: PEX-A is known to have superior burst resistance compared to PEX-B. Its flexibility and ability to withstand high-pressure surges make it less prone to bursting in extreme conditions.

  5. Cost: PEX-B is typically less expensive than PEX-A. The manufacturing process for PEX-B is simpler, leading to lower production costs. PEX-A, with its enhanced properties and flexibility, tends to be slightly more expensive.

  6. Installation Methods: PEX-A offers the advantage of the expansion method, which can provide faster and easier installations with fewer fittings. The expansion method also eliminates the risk of incorrect crimping or improper clamping. PEX-B requires crimp or clamp fittings, which may require more precision during installation to ensure proper compression.

  7. Availability: PEX-B has been on the market for a longer time and is more commonly found in plumbing supply stores. PEX-A is becoming more popular and readily available, but its availability may vary depending on the region.

It's important to note that both PEX-A and PEX-B meet industry standards for plumbing applications and have been used successfully in residential and commercial projects. The choice between PEX-A and PEX-B depends on factors such as installation preferences, budget, project requirements, and local availability.

PEX A vs PEX B: which one is better?

It is important to know the difference as they are 2 different types of products. PEX is a rapidly growing market in the residential plumbing industry and is quickly replacing copper as a piping option. This is because PEX lasts very long and the cost of materials and labor to install it is cheaper than copper.

The two main brands of PEX are Uponor for PEX A and Zurn is a big manufacturer of PEX B. PEX A and PEX B have different ways to connect the fitting to the tubing and there are pros and cons to each.

Generally the PEX materials, fittings, and sleeves PEX B are less costly, it is important to look at the overall cost of labor and installation.

PEX A uses what is termed as an expansion fitting. These fittings are much larger in diameter the PEX B fittings, and require an expansion tool that is used expand and enlarge the tube and sleeve that goes over the tube so you can slide the fitting into the tube. Thus the term for PEX A is expandable. The tube itself has memory and it will shrink to the original size so it fits around the fitting inside.

The PEX A fitting is the same diameter as the pipe  so it eliminates the risk of flow restriction. Additionally, if you are working in hard to reach areas, the expansion tubing takes a few seconds to go back to the original shape, thus you can put the fitting in and then move the tube the right position.

The other issue to take not of  is PEX A can take a longer time to to shrink to its original shape if it is cold out. You can use a heat gun to warm the fitting and this will help the tube go back to original form quicker.

The joining method of PEX A and PEX B are different as with PEX B, you simply insert the fitting into the tube and secure it with  copper sleeve or stainless steel  sleeve  and either crimp or clamp it with a crimping tool. You do not use a more expensive expansion tool.

Since PEX B fittings are smaller in diameter (PEX A the pipe gets expanded and the fitting is a little larger.) you will get a smaller amount of water through the system.

PEX A is more flexible than PEX B which is more rigid. For obvious reasons PEX A is preferable when bending the pipe in different areas. Also if PEX A bends too much and kinks, you can use a heat gun to have the tubing go back to original shape. With PEX B, it cannot go back into shape and thus you would need to cut area out and reconnect.

Again in colder weather environments, when there is a possibility of pipes freezing, PEX A tubing has 500 PSI rating, which compared to PEX B which is not expansive and is more likely to break, we would much rather use the PEX A.

 

 

Just make sure you know and understand the difference between the two types and make the right decision for the job at hand.