When to Use A Gear Operated Valve vs Lever Operated Valve

gear operated valve

Valves, which are devices that regulate flow in a pipeline, are staples of plumbing projects everywhere. Each valve needs a way that it can be opened (or actuated). There are many different types of opening methods available, but the most common actuating device for valves 14" and under are gears and levers. These manual operating devices are fairly inexpensive and easy to implement. Additionally, they don't require any extra planning or effort beyond simple installation (this article goes into more detail about the specifics of gear operation). This blog post gives a basic rundown of both gear operated valves and lever operated valves.

Gear Operated Valves

Gear operated valves are the more complex of the two manual operators. Their installation and operation usually requires more effort than lever operated valves. Most gear operated valves have worm gears that make them easier to open and close. This means that the majority of gear operated valves can fully open or close with only a few turns. Gear operated valves are usually used in high-stress situations.

Most gear components are made completely out of metal to ensure that they can take a beating and still function. However, the sturdiness of gear operated valves does not come without setbacks. Gears are almost always more expensive than levers and are extremely hard to find for smaller-sized valves. Additionally, the amount of parts present in a gear makes it more likely that something will fail.


Lever Operated Valves

lever operated valve

Lever operated valves are much more simple to operate than gear operated valves. These are quarter-turn valves, meaning that one 90-degree turn will open or close the valve completely. Regardless of the type of valve, the lever attaches to a metal rod that opens and closes the valve.

Another benefit of lever operated valves is that some of them allow for partial opening and closing. These lock in place wherever the turning motion stops. This feature is quite useful for projects that require precise measurements. However, like gear operated valves, lever operated valves come with downsides. Levers take up more space than valves and typically cannot stand as much pressure as gears, making them more prone to breaking. Additionally, levers can require a lot of force to operate, especially on larger valves.

Gear Operated Valve vs Lever Operated Valve

When it comes to the question of whether to use a lever or gear operated valve, there is no definite answer. As is the case with many tools, it all depends on what the job at hand requires. Gear operated valves are sturdier and take up less space. However, they are usually more expensive, with more working parts that can malfunction. Gear operated valves are also only available in larger sizes.

Lever operated valves are cheaper and simpler to operate.  However, they take up more space and can be hard to operate on larger valves. Regardless of which type of valve you choose for the job, make sure to check out our awesome selection of PVC gear operated and PVC lever operated valves!

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