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Which is Better for PEX Crimp or Cinch?

Are you planning to purchase a crimping tool of your own? Or maybe you are a newbie trying to understand PEX plumbing. Whatever the case, you have come to the right place. I recently came across a review platform where both plumbers and DIY enthusiasts discussed their experiences with various fittings and PEX connection systems. With so many pipe sealing tools out there, choosing the best tool for a reliable connection can be confusing.

Why Use PEX?

PEX connection system is a household name in the plumbing field. The numerous benefits have convinced professionals to switch to PEX. The first reason why you should use PEX is that it is cheaper compared to copper.  If you want to remain competitive in the plumbing industry, then PEX is the ideal choice. Other reasons why you should consider PEX pipes and connections include:

·         Flexibility

Due to the flexible nature of PEX, it easily bends with a change of direction, thereby requiring fewer connections. As a result, the installation process is made easy and faster, leaving little room for error.

The flexibility of PEX also means that the material can contract and expand to its original size. This feature allows it to withstand frozen water in pipes.  It is impressive that some kinds of PEX can expand up to three times their average size.

·         Durability

PEX is highly resistant to scale buildup, pitting, and corrosion. You will never have to worry about the restricted flow of water or leakage. ASTM provides guidelines to ensure that PEX pipes’ life expectancy is at least 50 years. To sum it all, PEX is very durable and affordable. Not only will it give you a lifetime service, but it also requires little material, and the installation process is simple and faster.

Which Is Better for PEX Crimp or Cinch?

When it comes to finding the most suitable crimping tool, you might come across PEX clamping tools. This may make you feel more confused than you started. So, which is better for PEX crimp or cinch? Which one is ideal for your project? Read on to find out how they work and their differences. While PEX crimp might be an ideal choice for your plumbing workload, PEX clamp device can be the better option.

Usually, there are two main methods of connections in PEX installation; the crimp method and the cinching method. Others also include press or push connection, which eliminates the use of any tool whatsoever. Although users find it fast and easy, it leaves a wide margin for error. Another method is the expansion technique. It is considered very reliable but quite pricey to install.

PEX Crimping

It is the oldest and most popular method of sealing connections. Both professionals are homeowners trust PEX crimping tools to provide fast, reliable, and accurate seals. PEX crimp tools typically feature copper rings for proper tightening. Besides, the teeth inside the ring firmly seal the PEX tubing. The device squeezes the copper ring between the PEX fittings and PEX pipes to make a watertight seal.

PEX Cinching

This sealing method is similar to the crimping technique in that it uses a metal ring to make a connection. But instead of copper, it uses a stainless steel ring. Moreover, with PEX cinches or clamp tools, you only tighten a specific spot on the ring rather than the whole body. The cinch method is much cheaper because it eliminates the need to acquire tools of varying sizes.

The Differences

Although crimping and cinching aim towards achieving a perfect connection, they differ in varying aspects.

Versatility

Cinch tools are advantageous due to their versatile nature. You only require one device for multiple projects. This saves you money because you won’t need to buy other tool sizes. Furthermore, the cinching tools are more flexible for both tiny spaces since they require little effort. You can also use them with both copper and stainless steel rings.

When it comes to the crimping method, usually, crimp tools make connections for only a single size of PEX fittings. They are designed in angle or straight models with the former featuring shorter handles. Also, they are flexible enough to be used in hard to reach area.

Some versions of crimp tools work with two PEX sizes like ½ inch and ¾ inch.  Although you won’t need to purchase another tool of different size, the dual-size tools are much complicated to use than the single-sized tools. As an alternative, PEX crimp devices come with interchangeable jaws to fit various sizes of pipes.

Reliability and Accuracy

PEX crimping method is reliable in making secure connections that don’t leak. They also include a Go/ No Go gauge for checking if connections are properly sealed. While cinching tools may lack this feature, they are designed to stop working when the pipes are fully closed. The link snugly fits that you end up with two bumps like a copper ring. Some users feel that the crimp connections are more secure because the ring tightens the whole body.

Usability

As a professional plumber, you want your work to be fast, easy, and perfect with the first attempt. The crimping method is very popular with its ease of use. You don’t require any special skills to use crimping tools. This makes them suitable for both beginners and experts. On the other hand, cinching is relatively technical and requires expertise. However, it is easy to remove the clamps if you make a mistake.

Durability

Crimping involves copper rings while cinching woks with stainless steel rings. Because copper is more prone to corrosion than the latter, it is less durable. The copper material can also cause damage to the pipe system due to freezing water.

Read : Shower Valve for Pex

Takeaway

PEX has changed the dynamics of plumbing for both professionals and homeowners with its affordability and flexibility. When it comes to which method is better between crimping and cinching, it all comes down to personal preference and workload. If you are looking for a fast and more secure connection that will stand the test of time, crimp tools are your better option. But if you want more flexibility without working more, go for PEX clamps.