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Thread: Sharkbite vs Gatorbite

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member miamicanes's Avatar
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    Default Sharkbite vs Gatorbite

    Is there any qualitative difference in long-term reliability and general likelihood of good outcomes by inexperienced users between Sharkbite and removable-type Gatorbite fittings?

    I've read lots of bad things about their non-removable fittings, but most of the comments about their (new?) removable fittings have been somewhere between "no real difference between them and Sharkbite" and "their old nonremovable ones sucked, so I don't trust their new ones either". As far as I can remember, I haven't seen anyone who's actually USED Gatorbite's removable fittings write anything bad about them.

    I've noticed two physical differences between them:

    * Gatorbite plastic inserts are removable. Possibly, this is a plus if you're using copper, and a slight annoyance if you're using PEX. I'm not aware of reading any reports of unreliability due to it. The biggest problem I can see is the fact that some of the bagged fittings at Lowe's had chipped plastic inserts, and there's no apparent way to replace them unless Lowes is willing to give you a refund (vs claiming it was your fault for breaking them).

    * Gatorbite instructions tell you to twist the tube into the fitting. Sharkbite instructions tell you to insert it into the fitting and say nothing about either twisting or refraining from twisting it.

    Right now, I have a pile of Gatorbite fittings ready to use, mainly because I have a Lowe's credit card & don't have a HD card.

    Opinions?
    Last edited by miamicanes; 11-11-2009 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member miamicanes's Avatar
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    Actually, problem #2: the instructions on the Gatorbite fittings never actually tell you exactly how the tube liner is supposed to go in. I've kind of figured out that it goes in flange first, but I'm still trying to figure out whether it just sits inside, or whether I'm supposed to work it past the first point of resistance so it sits behind it in what appears to be a ring-shaped depression beyond it. Argh

    ^^^ Update: you stick the liner into the PEX, then stick both into the fitting.
    Last edited by miamicanes; 11-11-2009 at 03:05 PM.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    the instructions on Sharkbite fittings tell you to remove the internal stiffener piece if using it on copper...the instructions show you how. Basically, grab it with some pliers and pull it out. They have a picture that shows what is in there, and it works best if you pull one edge out first, then the rest will come out more easily. I've not seen Gatorbite fittings...the Sharkbite ones seem quite robust.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    the instructions on Sharkbite fittings tell you to remove the internal stiffener piece if using it on copper...the instructions show you how. Basically, grab it with some pliers and pull it out. They have a picture that shows what is in there, and it works best if you pull one edge out first, then the rest will come out more easily. I've not seen Gatorbite fittings...the Sharkbite ones seem quite robust.
    Until the O-ring breaks down.

    John

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    O-rings on moveable seals tend to wear out. On a Sharkbite fitting, once installed, they normally aren't moved. It's the same rubber that is in a no-hub connector, and those last a very long time...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Sb

    Sharkbite, gatorbite? What's next TigerBite, or CrocBite. Sharkbites ARE removable, and I take the insert out when using them on copper.

  7. #7
    Journeyman/Inspector Inspektor Ludwig's Avatar
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    Well, I have to tell you that most of the inspectons that I've done for water flood damage inside of a house, were because these types of fittings were installed on a hot water plastic line. All were located on outside walls and all were 90's right before the angle stop to a sink. As a plumber, I would never have one in my house, as an inspector, it just proves to me why. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    O-rings on moveable seals tend to wear out. On a Sharkbite fitting, once installed, they normally aren't moved. It's the same rubber that is in a no-hub connector, and those last a very long time...
    No-hub connectors are not under pressure. Maybe the O ring doesn't move but the pipe moves with expansion & contraction.

    John

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default o ring

    quote; Maybe the O ring doesn't move but the pipe moves with expansion & contraction.

    And the fitting, along with the o ring, moves WITH it. The pipe does not expand and contract OUT OF the fitting.

  10. #10
    In the Trades sharkbitepro's Avatar
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    John you are right, I've been using Sharkbite products since I purchased my home 2 years ago. I was told by The Home Depot master plumber that the rubber used in Sharkbite o-rings are "static." I didn't really know what that meant at first but he explained that it is the same kind of rubber that is used to make the hoses in a car. And becasue it sits outside the tubing wall there is very little movement to casue friction. As far as the pipe expanding, the little metal ring inside with the teeth on it would stop movement with any expansion or reduction of the piping...

  11. #11
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Yes, in this type of o-ring seal, since there are no moving parts, in theory nothing to wear the rubber. On the submarines where I served, we were held together with o-rings! 3000 PSI hydraulics, 4500 PSI air, it all ran o-rings. The only application where o-rings are not used is nuclear. They want to avoid even the remotes possibility that some chunk of something breaks off and gets into the primary. "chunks" of anyting floating around the primary loop is NOT GOOD! For the same reason, no teflon tape is allowed even on the rare pipe fitting. Pretty much every thing is either welded, or if a joint is used, it is metal to metal.

    Anyway, Sharkbite by Cash-Acme and Guest fittings, were the first two. There are many immitators now...gator bite, croc bite, pro bite. etc.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default ??bites

    Going back to the original posting, Sharkbites are also "removable".
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    nobody is even going to touch what he said about the Home Depot Master Plumber comment? lol

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    DIY Junior Member alnbonnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    nobody is even going to touch what he said about the Home Depot Master Plumber comment? lol
    As a do-it-yourself homeowner, I Have used both Gatorbite and Sharkbite. I can't see any significant difference. I used them mostly to connect from copper to cpvc. I have some that have been in place for years and no leaks or deterioration. I have had several occasions where I had to disconnect them and reconnect later. They performed great. I would warn that some require a good deal of pressure to make them seat with copper and could be an issue if you don't make sure they are seated. Also, I would not use them too close to a joint or other fitting since you will not be able to remove them if needed. You must use the removal ring and you need at least 1 to 1 1/2 inch of pipe to get enough snap on the ring to remove it. They will not pull apart, it does require the ring and a healthy snap-push. Also, I have tried removing the insert and leaving it in place with no real difference in performance. You just have to make sure the insert goes inside the pipe being connected.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member bobur7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    the instructions on Sharkbite fittings tell you to remove the internal stiffener piece if using it on copper...the instructions show you how. Basically, grab it with some pliers and pull it out. They have a picture that shows what is in there, and it works best if you pull one edge out first, then the rest will come out more easily. I've not seen Gatorbite fittings...the Sharkbite ones seem quite robust.
    Per the Sharkbite web site "The SharkBite® fittings have an integral Tube Support Insert that is effective in supporting PEX tubing to ensure the O-ring seals correctly on the outside of the PEX tubing. The Tube Support Insert is not required when using CPVC and copper tubing; however it is not necessary to remove the insert when using these materials."

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