SharkBite vs GatorBite vs TecTite

allthumbsdiy-images-push-fit-couplings-b010-header-v3-fl

One of the most daunting tasks when working on a plumbing project is soldering.

I know I had my share of gaffes When first started tinkering around with Bernzonmatic torches, flux, solder, and copper pipes. The feeling of sweating a joint and seeing a leak when the water was turned back on was shall I say, very frustrating.

Soldering isn’t that hard. It just takes lots of practice with little knowledge from Taunton’s For Pros by Pros Remodel Plumbing book. There are other versions of this book, but I own and prefer this 2005 version (hey what can I say, soldering techniques don’t change that often!)

 

However, as much as I prefer to “sweat” a joint whenever possible, there are certain instances where a quick push-fit fitting is appropriate and I will review three major brands: SharkBite, GatorBite and TecTite.

SharkBite

allthumbsdiy-images-push-fit-couplings-a020-sharkbite-logo-flSharkBite is the original Push-Fit fittings manufacturer.

It’s patented fittings became widely available in the US via Home Depot (Free shipping on most orders over $45) stores back in 2005 (however, the same design had been used in Australia for many years prior).

The Sharkbite brand is owned by Cash Acme which is in turn owned by the Reliance Worldwide.

GatorBite

allthumbsdiy-images-push-fit-couplings-a030-gatorbite-2-flGatorBite came on the market somewhat mysteriously.

Its fittings became widely available via Lowes but the company did not have its own website, nor did Lowes or the manufacturer or GatorBite offered any installation tips and instructions.

Other than some packaging materials that came in Lowes’ blue instead of Home Depot’s orange, their brass fittings were virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Initially I thought SharkBite and GatorBite fittings were made by the same manufacturer but that turned out to be not true. GatorBite is actually made by a company called Elkhart Products Corporation (see TecTite brand).

Tec Tite

allthumbsdiy-images-push-fit-couplings-a040-tectite-flTecTite is the brand owned by the Elkhart Products Corporation. Its push-fit fittings seems to be identical to that of GatorBites, minus SKUs and packaging.

For some reason, TecTite fittings are not available through Home Depot or Lowes. I checked around and only a handful of plumbing supply stores carried them. Online, I saw that Ace HardWare Outlet and Amazon carried limited fittings.

Comparison

As you can see from below, GatorBite column is noted in black. That is because there is no available information at Lowes stores, Lowes.com or GatorBite.com (does not exist) other than some vague information which is similar to Tectite.

However, GatorBITE’s packaging is starting to appear with Elkhart Product Corporation contact information in the back.

 

SB
GB
TT
No Soldering, clamps, unions or glue
Fits copper, CTS CPVC and PEX
Integrated Tube Liner (a1)
Dezincification resistent brass (DZR) body
Certified to ANSI/NSF-14, 61
Certified ASSE 1061
Fluid Applications – potable water
Fluid Applications – potable water system flushing chemicals
Fluid Applications – chilled water with corrosion inhibitors
Fluid Applications – hydronics heating (b1)
Fluid Applications – Rainwater / Greywater
Approved for Underground use, behind walls without access panels (c1)
Meets UPC, IPC and cUPC requirements
Warranty
25 years
50 years
Operating Temp
200 F
180 or 250 F? (d1)
Working Max pressure
200 psi
200 psi
Solder Distance
18″
12″


(a1) : GB / TT comes with a tube liner in the packaging that you must insert, if needed
(b1) : SB / TT – glycol mixture hydronics is not to exceed 100% concentration
(c1) : SB / GB / TT – you must check with your township before using in this manner
(d1) : TT – Conflicting info. FAQ document states max temp up to 180 F. All other document specifies max temp up to 250 F.

PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES

allthumbsdiy-images-push-fit-couplings-e010-half-inch-couplings-flAfter examining their online brochures and specifications, I thought they looked incredibly similar. But I wanted to physically compare them side-by-side so I went out and purchased a 1/2″ straight coupling along with a 3/4″ 90 degree elbow from Sharkbite, Gatorbite and Tectite.

Other than PVC inserts that came separate in Gatorbite and Tectite packagings, they all had virtually same physical characteristics. As suspected, Gatorbite and Tectite connectors even had identical stampings containing the source of origin and other product related information.

Being a curious DIYer, I used my nifty Blade-1KG Pocket digital scale to weigh these products and this was the result:

SB
GB
TT
1/2″ Straight Coupling
56.2 g 58.3 g 58.3 g
3/4″ 90 degree elbow 131.11 g 135.3 g 135.3 g

 
* digital scale was calibrated using a 500g weight. Results are within plus or minus 0.2 grams.

As you can see from my rough weighing, Sharkbite couplings are consistently lighter than Tectite/Gatorbite couplings. Now, I am not proposing that this somehow implies that Sharkbite couplings are inferior but I wonder if there are any pros or cons of being more “hefty”?

Anyways, I will show you how I ended up using 7 Sharkbite couplings in my bathroom remodeling project that saved money and time.

 

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • Although these fittings are categorized as being lead-free brass, SharkBite and GatorBITE packaging comes with California Proposition 65 Warning, “…this product contains chemicals known to the State of CA to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm…”. This is because the Federal requirement for lead-free brass is any brass containing less than 8% lead. California’s definition of lead-free is 0% lead, hence the warning. So if you have little ones around, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap, and maybe wipe your hands with baby wipes.
  • O-ring inside the fitting is preventing leaks. Make sure to de-burr copper pipe ends before mating to prevent nicks and cuts to the o-ring
  • SharkBite fittings come with a tube liner built-in that is NOT intended for use when mating to copper. Make sure to remove it first!
  • GatorBITE / Tectite come with a tube liner (white) that you MUST ADD when mating to PEX or CPVC.
  • GatorBITE / Tectite – Only the white tube liner is to be added; DO NOT REMOVE the black piece that is integrals to your fitting!
  • SharkBite / GatorBITE / Tectite – Although they all use Dezincification Resistent brass bodies (DZR) to minimize corrosion from hard water but manufacturing defects can and will happen. So you want to pay special attention to your installed fittings for any leaks if you have particularly hard water (i.e. lots of minerals; you can see green crust around faucets, tub stains, etc.)

REFERENCES

 

36 thoughts on “SharkBite vs GatorBite vs TecTite”

  1. im looking for a 1/2 female treaded to tectite 90deg elbow. Tried Lowes, HD, plumbing stores etc.

    is there a website you can order these parts? Thanks!

  2. You article contains several errors. First SharkBite does NOT have a patent for their technology sold in Home Depot. Tectite and GatorBite are the same products, which are made by the same company… EPC. Both products require California Proposition 65 warnings because the use Arsenic in their brass formulation. Arsenic is a toxic poisonous substance requiring that listing in California since 1987. California’s lead-free requirement is not “0% lead”, the requirement is the same as the U.S. Safe Water Drinking Act of .25% lead. Otherwise, very nice article.

  3. @David-

    Thanks for your comment!

    Regarding EPC owning both Techtite and Gatorbite brands, I did mention something like that it in my last sentence under the Gatorbite section.

    Great info on California Prop stuff. Thanks again! -Kevin

  4. I bought a house and the basement had copper pipes sealed off with the Gatorbite product. I now want to plum this to a sink and bought the Gatorbite 1/2 inch removal tool.
    The directions don’t even show the direction to use the tool. Is the open end applied to the seal or is it the closed end? Would love to see a video of this in action.

  5. @bob-

    you simply slip on the removal tool on the copper pipe and push towards to Gatorbite fitting to remove it. it is very simple. here is a video link (not mine) -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz4Bl5JhxiU

  6. @wayne

    Thanks for the heads up. I think some models always had this “permanent” markings, though they usually carry 20-25 year warranties so I don’t know how permanent they really are.

    thanks again,
    kevin

  7. One difference people might care about is where the fittings are made. The Sharkbites are made either in the U.S. or in Australia, whereas the others are made in China. Although not physically visible, I have heard the materials used in the Sharkbites are of much higher quality, especially the O rings, so after several years of service you are more likely to get leaks with the Chinese made fittings.
    Also, it’s nice to support our own economy, at least to me it matters a lot always.
    Nice article Kevin.

  8. I work at EPC, the tec-tite copper, non-removable is a very good product.. Rubber o_ring is very high quality, O-ring is prelubed with a owens- corning grease (food grade). Parts are assembled, gaged, and greased again. I helped design, work tooling, and testing of these parts. On the 1/2 coupling, it took up to 3200 psi to invert the grab ring in the part. Don’t think anyone has that much water pressure. You can’t beat copper,

  9. @Scott-

    Thanks for the awesome info. Is it possible for me to reach out to you to ask you about your products in detail?

    Kevin

  10. I am looking for shark bite elbow 5/8″ P/N U252. Can’t get them in CA .Any advise where I can buy them?

  11. Kevin I found your critiquing of the Shark-bite fittings to be really great.
    Its really obvious that you diligently investigated all areas of these connectors
    right down to weighing one manufactures connector against the other!!!
    I am a layman in the arena of plumbing and have been lucky in what I have taken on,
    My first time using the Shark=bite connector just took place installing a kitchen sink
    faucet. that was all most greater then sex!! The job went so easy that I wasn’t sure I had done it correctly.
    Reading your installation tips
    “SharkBite fittings come with a tube liner built-in that is NOT intended for use when mating to copper. Make sure to remove it first!”
    I did not remove this liner, being a newcomer to Shark-bite.. At present everything is doing just fine.
    Should I leave everything alone or re-do the kitchen faucet?
    Gil

  12. @Gil-

    I think that tube liner is there to provide support for softer material. I don’t think you need to remove it unless you are having problems. Just tape on a little note on it so if you have problems with it years down the road, you will remember it.

    Thanks for you kind comments!

    Kevin

  13. @wehms2

    afaik, sharkbite fittings are rated only for potable water and used to join copper, pex, cpvc and pe-rt pipes.

    you can read more about it in their faq page here

    good luck

  14. all manufacturers state that these push fittings are specifically designed for potable water system

  15. please check your tectite links, as they give the 404 page not found error.
    thanks

  16. I am a house flipper. I am more interested in patents of those products. I wonder if I should buy directly from China manufactures. Sharkbite, GatorBITE and Tectite are expensive, usually 7 to 8 dollars.

    If I directly buy from China, do I violate the patent law?

  17. @ Michael-

    I would not know about such patent laws but I wouldn’t install cheap knockoffs and create problems for the future home owners. You can always learn to solder 🙂

  18. I love sharkbits, today I am using Gatorbits 1/2″ unions Copper to pex, there is a small drip from two of them on the pet side they are remivable’s but they won’t come off I have taken sharkbites brand of plenty of times, I build and tile showers all the time and have only had problems with the Gatorbits brand. Why doesn’t it remove? You can contract me at 951-375-0388 my name is Jeff thanks.

  19. Gator bite save me one time I was in a pickle with stupid black pipe because my dad bought a modified house which was a brick around trailer anyway had black pipe what a mess
    Came across another leak and no one wants to go under the house
    Which is what plumbers do right
    Anyway under sink we’ll under house of under sink had to cut a hole in the floor of my cabinet
    So I could fix it because I am closetic forbic well you know what I mean closed spaces
    But now Lowes don’t sale Gator bite no more but shark bite they say works just as well
    Fixing to try it
    Going to run a new line under the house just need to find someone to do it. Last quote I got was like 800.00 5 years ago
    I had other things come up and I’m not a plumber just a kill of all trade hehe
    Probably going to be more now

  20. @ Hope-

    Wow, 800 bucks?! Definitely save some money and do it yourself! Let us know how it turns out.

    ps. I think the word you are looking for is claustrophobic. Not an easy word to spell so I too had to look it up in the dictionary.

  21. I used two GatorBite 194724 3/4 x 3/4 x 20″ water heater hoses to install a new water heater. Three years later, the white gasket on the threaded side of the hot water outlet decomposed enough to cause a significant leak. Fortunately someone was home, and they stopped the leak in time to prevent major water damage. I checked the fitting on the threaded cold supply side and sure enough, it was badly decomposed as well. I replaced the GatorBite fittings with comparable SharkBite fittings. Presumably they will hold up better. Rest assured I will not use GatorBite fittings again.

  22. Tectite was actually the original metal push fit fitting. Invented and patented by Yorkshire fittings, now Pegler Yorkshire, in the UK. A licence was granted to “SharkBite” for the US and Australia. This licence agreement has now finished and SharkBite and Tectite compete in the same markets.
    Tectite fittings were first launched 25 years ago. SharkBite is a relative newcomer at only 15 years old.

  23. Thank you Kevin for the great comparison. I just saw a Tectite fitting at my Home Depot, haven’t checked it out at Lowes yet.
    Great Info. and great name!

  24. I’m not a plumber although I did all my own plumbing with copper/sweat 50 years ago. I recently tried tectite fittings when installing a new water heater. I had difficulty pushing them on and much greater trouble removing them with the sharkbite removal tool. I’m now doing some more repair work. I find that my old copper pipes have a diameter about half a mm greater than modern pipes and that the sharkbite fittings are slightly less snug on the old pipe than the tectite fittings. I would advise sticking to sharkbite for repairing old copper pipes.
    Tom

  25. I have bought SharkBite valves and fittings from Lowes & Home Depot many times for DIY plumbing repairs. Recently I had a SB 1/2″ ball valve fall apart from corrosion. I noticed it has the word china stamped on the underside of the handle. I took it to lowes and discovered all of their SharkBite products have made in china on the bags and china stamped on anything with a handle. On SharkBites website they promote that ALL their products are proudly made in Alabama USA. The corroded ball valve looks to be made of cheap pot metal with a thin cheap film of shiny brass looking metal coating. It seems Lowes or SharkBite is buying or making cheap Chinese junk.

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