The confusing thing about people referring to "sharkbite" connections and tools is that in some cases they mean the "push-fit" O-ring sealed fitting type that connects without tools
, and in other cases they mean SharkBite brand
tools and components used for the entirely different crimped barb connections.
Unrelated to the SharkBite name, there is actually another connection method for PEX: expansion
(see video demo
). There are power tools which expand the tubing, which then slips easily over the barb of the fitting and contracts to fit tightly without needing a crimped ring clamping it. There is
a ring used, but it is just a bit of larger PEX tubing to reinforce the joint. If crimping tools look expensive for occasional use, this system is worse!
I've used the O-ring connectors, but I don't really trust them. They depend heavily on a near-perfect outside surface of the PEX tubing, and although it seems like they work fine for everyone, I shudder at the thought of one leaking inside a cabinet. Now that I know about the band-cutting tool (thanks Eric
) I'll probably do only crimped rings on barbs with PEX in the future. I don't mind buying the tools - a single visit by a plumber would cost as much as basic tools, and they're last a lifetime (or what I have left, anyway).