Shutoff Valves: Quarter Turn Vs Compression

Published November 14, 2022

shut off valves

Oil spills, water leaks or even chemical pools; leaks are expensive. Not only are they a clear indication that your control systems need reviewing, but they will cost you downtime. And with American businesses losing $100 billion in downtime, your daily operations cannot afford spills.

Industrial systems require industrial shut-off valves. Companies and factories use shut-off valves for a variety of industrial applications. Thus, if you’re an engineer for a factory or just a company trying to understand your applications better, you can benefit from understanding the difference between quarter turn vs compression valves.

Both quarter turn and compression valves work effectively as shutoff valves. So what’s the difference then between quarter-turn vs. compression valves? Keep reading to learn more about how these valves work.

What Is a Compression Shut Off Valve?

A compression or multi-turn valve is a type of valve that opens and shuts after multiple turns. The compression valve has a rubber seal at the bottom of the stem. The stem is attached to the handle. Once the seal connects with the base of the internal seat, the valve shuts off the flow of fluid within the system.

What Is a Quarter Turn Shut Off Valve?

The quarter turn valve got its name from its simple design and opening and closing mechanism. You only need to turn the handle at 90 degrees or a quarter to open and close it. Once the handle is turned, the valve’s ball design will either ease or restrict flow within the control system.

Quarter Turn vs. Compression Valves

Quarter turn and compression valves have the same function. They shut off the flow of a given application. These shutoff valves block the line of whatever flows through the pipes be it gas, chemicals, water, or other materials. While both valves have the same function, these types of valves complete their task differently.

Compression Valve Design

Engineers also refer to compression valves as multi-turn valves. The valve has a rubber washer on its end attached to a handle. When you turn the valve handle, the stem of the device lowers into the hollow of the valve, pushing the washer against the inside of the valve and sealing off the flow. Engineers call compression valves multi-turn valves because they require multiple turns to push the handle down into the seal.

Quarter-Turn Valve Design

Quarter turn valves require just that, a quarter of a turn. These are a newer type of valve that uses a ball valve design. You have to turn the valve 90 degrees to move the hollowed-out ball. The ball blocks the path once you turn the valve handle.

Pros and Cons of Quarter Turn Valves

Quarter-turn valves have a relatively simple design. Their newness makes them a novelty to some engineers and suspicious to others. Here are their basic pros and cons.


Quarter turn valves have a fairly simple design with their hollowed-out ball and quarter-turn handle. Because you’re not having to grind away at them, they tend to last longer than a compression valve. With that said, the durability of the valve depends heavily on its material and construction. If you’re going to use a quarter-turn valve, purchase a high-quality one. Do not go with the plastic ball inside the valve. Rather, purchase a quarter-turn valve that has an all-metal construction.


You cannot repair a quarter-turn valve adequately when it starts leaking. You must replace it. Quarter-turn valves close rapidly compared to compression valves. This works well when you need a quick response. However, not all applications react well to a quick shut-off.

A quick shut-off of water and other liquids can cause pipes to “hammer” or shake. This response causes undue stress on the pipes and their fittings.

Ease of Use

You want a user-friendly valve when you’re in the middle of a disaster. Quarter-turn valves qualify as easy-to-use. They require only a quarter turn for a shut-off compared with multiple turns of a compression valve. You can also read a quarter-turn valve easily. You know the valve is shut because the handle has turned only partially. You need only to glance at the valve to know you’ve shut off the application successfully.

Pros and Cons of Compression Valves

Because compression valves are the original shut-off valve, older engineers trust them. Like with any newer technology, experienced professionals case a skeptical eye. Here are the pros and cons of compression valves.


Unlike quarter-turn valves which you have to replace when they break, compression valves lend themselves to simple repairs. If degradation renders the compression washer useless, you can replace it. You can also replace the packing in the valve, the goods that keep leaks at bay around the stem. Sometimes you just have to tighten the packing nut to stop a leak.

Though you can repair a compression valve, you may not always want to. Anything more complicated than the fixes just mentioned really means you should replace the valve. Plus, if you’re working with an older compression valve, you may have a difficult time tracking down the necessary parts.

So while you can repair the valve, replacing it will always fix the problem for the long term.


The durability of the compression valve depends heavily on its construction. The more durable the parts, the more likely the valve is to last a long time. Look for a quality valve with quality parts. As a whole, though, compression valves do not last as long as a well-made quarter-turn valve. They have more parts to wear down, and thus they can be more problematic.

Ease of Use

Quarter-turn valves win this category in the compression vs quarter-turn valve race. When you’re in a hurry to shut off your application, you want a process that requires as little strength and effort as possible. With that said, shut-off valves love to seize up when you need them to work the most. Sometimes the handle just freezes, and you can’t move it. Other times the stem of the handle will snap off.

Compression valves work better in these cases since you can work out the seizing by manipulating the handle. Quarter-turn valves cannot do this. Plus, compression valves are easier on your pipes. You do not have the hammer you experience with the rapid shut-off of a quarter-turn valve. The compression valve will close at a slow, more controlled rate.

Which Valve Is Worth Your Investment?

Both these valves stand out when it comes to the best shut off valves. The compression shut off valve is a time-proven model. It needs a bit of muscle energy to open, but there is nothing wrong with a bit of exercise. The quarter turn, on the other hand, has a simple design that is easy to use. The short answer is: it depends all on your business needs.

At Everlasting Valve, we build premium valves for all your industry needs. With experience from petroleum production to the chemical industry, our valves are engineered for exceptional performance and longevity. Contact us to hear if our valves can fit your business.

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