What is the difference between a Ball, Toggle, and Plug Valve?

Lately we (technical service) have had multiple calls asking the question “What is the difference between a Ball, Toggle, and Plug Valve?”   The first call I took actually caught me off guard because this has not been a common question.  My answer went something like this “For two-handed operation, I prefer the ball valve and for single-handled operation, like when you need to reach behind a piece of equipment, I prefer the Toggle valve”.  Then I was asked about the Plug valve, and I said I never used one (that I remembered).

I didn’t give this brief conversation a second though until this same customer contacted their Restek Sales Representative and asked the same question because they said I did not provide them a sufficient answer. Lesson learned; I realized I needed a better answer than simply sharing my experiences with a customer.

I had an idea of how the Ball and Toggle valves worked, but not the Plug valve, so I tried to find some literature explaining the differences. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but Swagelok® had some very useful descriptions and drawings in their catalogs, so I decided to write this post and include the links below for those of you who may have the same question, or those of you who may already have a favorite valve, but not know the details of how they work.

 

Toggle:  http://www.swagelok.com/downloads/webcatalogs/en/MS-01-54.pdf

 

Ball:       http://www.swagelok.com/downloads/webcatalogs/en/ms-02-331.pdf

 

Plug:     http://www.swagelok.com/downloads/webcatalogs/en/MS-01-59.pdf

 

Toggle Valve

Swagelok® Shut-Off Gas Valve

 

Plug Valve

Swagelok® Shut-Off Gas Valve

 

Ball Valve

Swagelok® Shut-Off Gas Valve

 

 

Toggle Valve

Parker Balston® Shut-Off Gas Valve

 

Plug Valve

Parker Balston® Shut-Off Gas Valve

 

Ball Valve

Parker Balston® Shut-Off Gas Valve

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