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What is the difference between a high pressure ball valve and a low pressure ball valve?

ball valves

In industrial piping systems, ball valves are often employed to control and restrict the flow of liquid or gas. Depending on the application, different pressure levels may be necessary, determining which type of ball valve was utilized. 

What is a Ball Valve?

Ball valves are a common component of industrial piping systems due to their quarter-turn function, which makes controlling fluid flow relatively simple – manually or in an automated system.

Ball valves provide maximum flow while requiring minimum pressure drop and little maintenance. The fluid flow rate is regulated or permitted to flow ultimately depending on the quantity of bore (hollowed-out center of the ball) exposed.

What is a High-Pressure Ball Valve?

In full open and full closure positions, high-pressure ball valves control the flow of high-pressure media. They are intended to handle liquid, gas, or corrosive liquids at higher pressure flows than usual. Pharmaceuticals, hydraulics, oil and gas, and cosmetics are commonly used for high-pressure ball valves.

High-pressure ball valves are designed for use in situations where the flow pressure goes beyond 3,000 psi (207 bar). Certain high-pressure valve variants, like 3-way ball valves, have the capacity to endure flows as high as 15,000 psi.

High-pressure ball valves provide tighter shut-offs and are designed to endure the wear and tear associated with high-pressure applications, making them suited for critical operations in various industrial situations.

High-Pressure Ball Valve Applications

High-pressure ball valves are utilized in various applications that demand dependable shut-off power. These are some of the applications:

§ Petrochemical and chemical industries

§ Offshore, high-pressure water cleaning systems

§ The hydraulics system

§ The mining business

§ Pipelines for natural gas

§ Agricultural equipment

High-pressure ball valves, or hydraulic ball valves, are most commonly seen in the water business.

High-pressure ball valves are utilized in the oil and gas industry to handle operations in extreme temperatures. This is due to their proficiency in both cryogenic and high-temperature activities.

They are also commonly employed in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic sectors, where leak-proof, durable, high-pressure ball valves are required to manage the flow of sensitive and caustic mediums. Because they are corrosion and abrasion-resistant, stainless steel or carbon steel ball valves are preferred in these industries.

ball valves

What is a Low-Pressure Ball Valve?

Carbon steel, stainless steel, and brass make low-pressure ball valves. Because of its strong corrosion resistance, stainless steel is the most commonly used material for a low-pressure ball valve.

A low-pressure ball valve functions similarly to a high-pressure ball valve in that it controls the flow of liquids or gases but can only sustain pressures of up to 2,000 psi (138 bar). They are also commonly utilized in temperatures ranging from -29°C to +150°C. The greater the temperature rises, the less pressure the ball valve can withstand.

Based on the channel’s flow, a low-pressure ball valve is classified as a full-bore or reduced-bore ball valve.

Low-Pressure Ball Valve Applications

Low-pressure ball valves are commonly used in various applications where the controlled fluid or gas operates at relatively lower pressures. These valves are designed to handle pressure ratings that typically fall within a few PSI (pounds per square inch) up to a few hundred PSI. Some of the most common applications for low-pressure ball valves include:

§ Residential Plumbing

§ Compressed Air Systems:

§ Laboratory and Research Equipment

§ Heating and Cooling Systems

§ Aquariums and Aquatic Systems

§ Water Treatment and Filtration

§ Fire Protection Systems

§ Chemical Transfer and Processing

§ Agriculture and Irrigation

§ Beverage and Food Processing

§ Fuel Systems

It’s important to note that while low-pressure ball valves are suitable for applications within their pressure rating, they should not be used in high-pressure systems, as they may not provide the necessary sealing and durability required for such conditions. For high-pressure applications, specialized high-pressure ball valves should be used instead.


In conclusion, high-pressure and low-pressure ball valves have distinct advantages and applications. Selecting the appropriate type is essential for ensuring the overall system’s safety, efficiency, and reliability. Consulting with industry experts and valve manufacturers can be beneficial in making an informed decision. Whether handling extreme pressures or managing standard flow systems, the right choice of ball valve will ultimately lead to optimal performance and longevity.

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