Shutoff Valves: Quarter Turn Vs Compression

Published June 28, 2021

shut off valves

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.

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.

Reliable Valves Matter

As you look at quarter turn vs. compression valves, remember that you need reliable materials from a trustworthy company.

If you’re looking for reliable supplies made with quality materials, check out our inventory. We have shut-off valves that work effectively as an alternative to both compression and quarter turn shut-off valves. We can keep your systems intact. Contact us today to request a quote.

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