Types Of Water Shut Off Valve & Top Picks

types of water shut off valve and top picks

What Is A Water Shut Off Valve

A water shut off valve is a device used to control the flow of water through a pipe. By turning the valve on or off, you can either allow water to flow or stop it completely. This simple tool is often used in plumbing and is key to managing water supply in homes and buildings.

In this article, we will explore the different types of water shut off valves, understand how they work, and why they are important in maintaining a safe and functional water system in your home. Whether you're looking to replace an old shut off valve or just want to learn more about your home's plumbing system, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about water shut off valves.

What Does A Water Shut Off Valve Look Like?

A water shut off valve typically features a handle attached to a body, which contains the mechanism controlling the water flow. This handle can be a lever, a wheel, or a knob, depending on the type of valve. The body of the valve is usually made of metal or plastic and is connected directly to the plumbing. The main water shut off valve in a home is often located near the water meter or where the main water line enters the house.

Benefits Of Having Water Shut Off Valve

  • Water shut off valve allows for quick and easy control over the water flow in your home, preventing water waste and aiding in conservation efforts.
  • Installing a shut off valve can significantly reduce the damage caused by leaks or burst pipes by allowing homeowners to cut off the water supply instantly.
  • A shut off valve enhances safety by providing a means to stop water flow immediately, which is crucial in emergency situations.
  • Regular use of a water shut off valve helps in maintaining water pressure and prolonging the life of your plumbing system.
  • Knowing the location of your main water shut off valve ensures that you can act fast to minimize damage from water-related emergencies, potentially saving on costly repairs.


How To Find Water Shut Off Valve

Knowing where your water shut off valve is located can help you quickly respond to plumbing emergencies and perform routine maintenance. Here are simple steps on how to find water shut off valve:

  1. Start inside your home: Common locations for the water shut off valve include basements, crawl spaces, or near the utility area where the water heater is located.
  2. Check near the water meter: For homes without basements, the shut off valve is typically located near the water meter. Look for a box either in the ground or on an exterior wall.
  3. Look for an access panel: In some homes, the main water shut off valve might be hidden behind an access panel or in a utility closet.
  4. Search outside: If you can't find the valve inside, check the perimeter of your home. The shut off valve may be buried near the street or under a cap labeled "water."
  5. Ask for house plans: If you're still struggling, consult any house plans or property documents that might indicate the location of the water shut off valve.
  6. Use a metal detector: If the valve is buried and hard to locate, using a metal detector can help pinpoint its exact location.
  7. Contact a plumber: If all else fails, a professional plumber can help you locate the shut off valve quickly and provide advice on how to access it easily in the future.


Types Of Water Shut Off Valve

It is important to know the different types of shut off valve when selecting the right one for your home's plumbing needs. Each type has unique features and benefits, suited for various applications.

Gate Valve

A gate valve is a type of water shut off valve that uses a metal gate to control the flow of water. This gate is lifted or lowered by turning a wheel handle, which makes it easy to see whether the valve is open or closed. Gate valves are commonly used as a main water shut off valve because they provide a reliable seal but are generally recommended for situations where they are not frequently turned on and off. They are best used where steady, uninterrupted flow is needed.

Ball Valve

Ball valves are another popular type of shut off valve that offers excellent durability and control. They use a rotary ball with a hole through the center, which aligns with the water flow when open and blocks it when closed. Ball valves are known for their longevity and quick shut-off capabilities, making them ideal for both indoor and outside water shut off valve applications where quick, reliable operation is essential.

Angled Shutoff Valve

The angled fixture shutoff valve is specifically designed for tight spaces where pipes enter a room at an angle. This type of shut off valve bends at an angle, which allows it to fit in places where a straight valve cannot. They are commonly used under sinks and toilets and provide an easy and effective way to control water flow to individual fixtures. Angled valves are particularly helpful in managing water flow in bathroom or kitchen remodels.

Straight Shutoff Valve

Straight fixture shutoff valves are the simplest form of water shut off valve, designed for straightforward, direct line applications. These valves are most commonly used where the water pipe enters a fixture directly from the wall. Because of their simple design, they are easy to install and maintain, making them a popular choice for internal plumbing systems. Straight valves are essential for controlling the flow to specific areas without affecting the entire system.

Which Direction Do You Turn A Water Shut Off Valve?

The direction to turn a water shut off valve often depends on its type. Here's how to operate each kind:

  • Gate Valve: To close the gate valve, turn the wheel handle clockwise; turn it counterclockwise to open it. This action lowers or raises the gate to stop or start water flow.
  • Ball Valve: Rotate the handle of a ball valve 90 degrees clockwise to shut off the water. To open it, simply turn the handle 90 degrees counterclockwise.
  • Angled Shutoff Valve: Similar to other valves, turn the handle clockwise to close and counterclockwise to open this type of shut off valve.
  • Straight Shutoff Valve: For straight fixture shutoff valves, turning the handle clockwise will stop the water flow, and turning it counterclockwise will allow water to pass through.

These directions ensure proper operation of the valves, whether they are used indoors or as an outside water shut off valve.

Buying Guide

When choosing the right water shut off valve for your home, consider these crucial factors to ensure compatibility, ease of installation, and durability.


The material of a water shut off valve plays a significant role in its durability and suitability for specific environments. Valves made from brass or stainless steel are resistant to corrosion and can be ideal for both indoor and outside water shut off valve applications. Plastic valves may be more cost-effective and are resistant to chemical degradation, making them suitable for treated water applications.

Type Of Valve

Selecting the type of shut off valve depends on your specific needs, such as frequency of use and required flow control. Ball valves are best for applications requiring frequent operation, while gate valves are suited for infrequent use but offer a tight seal. Consider an automatic water shut off valve for enhanced protection against leaks and water damage, especially in high-risk areas.


The size of the water shut off valve should match the diameter of your existing plumbing pipes to ensure a leak-free installation and efficient water flow. It’s crucial to measure your pipes accurately or consult with a professional before purchasing a valve to avoid compatibility issues.

Pipe Compatibility

Ensure that the shut off valve you choose is compatible with the type of piping in your home. Some valves are specifically designed for copper, PVC, or PEX pipes, and using the wrong type can lead to improper fitting or even damage to the piping system. Compatibility is particularly important for outside water shut off valve setups where environmental factors might influence material choice.


Installation ease can vary greatly between different types of water shut off valves. Some valves may require professional installation, especially in complex plumbing systems or where major pipe modifications are necessary. For simpler setups, look for valves that offer straightforward, tool-free installations, particularly if you plan to install the valve yourself.

Water Shut Off Valve: Top Picks

SharkBite Compression Angle Stop Valve

The SharkBite Compression Angle Stop Valve is highly regarded for its user-friendly design and versatility in tight spaces. Customers applaud its quick, tool-free installation process, highlighting the convenience of the push-to-connect feature which allows for easy setup even on wet lines. The durability and sleek chrome finish also make it a favorite among both professional plumbers and DIY enthusiasts. Positive reviews often note its reliability and the ease with which it can be installed and removed, enhancing its appeal for routine maintenance and emergencies.

Quick and easy push-to-connect installation suitable for a variety of pipe types.
Quarter-turn full-port brass ball valve for straightforward operation.
Sleek chrome finish adds a clean, professional look to any plumbing setup.

Type: Angled shutoff valve Material: Brass Size: ‎1/2 x 3/8 inch Pipe Compatibility: ‎ PEX, CPVC, PE-RT, SDR-9 HDPE, and copper pipes

Eastman Multi-Turn Angle Stop Valve

The Eastman Multi-Turn Angle Stop Valve is designed to offer precise control over water flow to various household plumbing fixtures without needing to shut off the water supply to the entire home. Its robust design features Teflon seats and a high-performance celcon stem, ensuring a watertight seal and dependable leakproof performance. Ideal for use with bathroom faucets, toilets, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, and ice makers, this valve is appreciated for its versatility and reliability in residential settings. Users also benefit from its certification by the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), which assures safety and quality in plumbing applications.

Leakproof performance with durable Teflon seats and a celcon stem.
Versatile compatibility with a range of household fixtures.
Certified by the Uniform Plumbing Code for assured safety and quality.

Type: ‎Angled shutoff valve Material: Iron Size: 1/2 x 3/8 inch Pipe Compatibility: Not mentioned

Westbrass Round Handle Shut Off Valve

The Westbrass Round Handle Shut Off Valve offers both functionality and aesthetic appeal, making it a suitable choice for enhancing the plumbing in water closets, faucets, or tubs. Constructed from lead-free brass, it prioritizes safety and durability, providing a reliable option for household installations. The design features a traditional compression closure mechanism that ensures a positive seal, minimizing the risk of leaks. This valve is particularly noted for its ease of installation, requiring soldering to set it in place, which ensures a secure and permanent setup.

Stylish round handle design complements a variety of plumbing fixtures.
Made from lead-free brass for enhanced safety and longevity.
Features a traditional compression closure for a reliable watertight seal.

Type: ‎Round handle, angled shutoff valve Material: ‎Brass Size: 1/2 x 3/8 inch Pipe Compatibility: ‎Not mentioned

Moen Automatic Shut Off Valve

The Moen Automatic Shut Off Valve is an advanced solution designed to enhance home water management through smart technology. This valve learns your home's water usage patterns, using this data to detect abnormalities such as leaks or continuous running water, and will automatically shut off the water to prevent potential damage. It offers real-time monitoring and alerts through app, phone, and email, ensuring you can respond quickly to any issues, whether you're at home or away. Its integration with the Smart Water App allows users to control their water usage proactively, providing a high level of protection and water optimization.

Smart technology learns and adapts to your home's water usage patterns.
Provides real-time notifications and controls through a mobile app.
Uses FloSense technology to optimize water savings and enhance security.

Type: Automatic water shut off valve Material: ‎Plastic Size: ‎3/4 inch Pipe Compatibility: Not mentioned


How To Loosen Water Shut Off Valve?

Sometimes, a water shut off valve can become stuck due to mineral deposits, rust, or lack of use, making it difficult to operate. Here’s 5 easy steps on how to loosen water shut off valve:

  1. Turn Off the Main Water Supply: Before attempting to loosen the main water shut off valve, ensure that the main water supply is turned off to prevent any water damage during the process.
  2. Apply Penetrating Oil: Spray a liberal amount of penetrating oil at the base of the valve handle and along any visible joining parts. Allow it to soak in for several hours, or even overnight, to help break down the rust and corrosion.
  3. Use Pliers or a Wrench: If the valve remains stuck after the oil treatment, gently use pliers or an adjustable wrench to turn the valve. Place the tool around the valve’s body for a firm grip, being careful not to apply excessive force which might break the handle.
  4. Apply Heat: For extreme cases, applying gentle heat can expand the metal slightly, making it easier to move. Avoid using open flames as this can damage the water shut off valve and its components.
  5. Tap Gently: Sometimes, tapping the valve gently with a hammer can help loosen the parts. Tap around the valve body and handle, alternating with attempts to turn it, to gradually loosen the stuck components.

Following these steps should help you loosen a main water shut off valve without causing damage to your plumbing system. For best results and to ensure safety, professional assistance is always recommended.

How To Replace Water Shut Off Valve?

Replacing a water shut off valve is a crucial maintenance task that ensures your plumbing system functions efficiently and prevents potential leaks. Whether it's an outdated model or a malfunctioning valve, replacing it can enhance your home's water management.

5 Easy Steps on How to Replace a Water Shut Off Valve:

  1. Turn Off the Main Water Supply: Always start by turning off the main water shut off valve to your home to prevent water from flowing while you work. This step is vital to ensure a dry working environment and to avoid water mishaps.
  2. Remove the Old Valve: Disconnect the old water shut off valve. If it's a threaded valve, use a wrench to unscrew it from the pipe. For soldered valves, you might need to cut the pipe just below the valve with a pipe cutter.
  3. Prepare the Pipe: Clean the pipe thoroughly where the new valve will be installed. Ensure there are no residues or burrs that could interfere with the installation. This is particularly important for automatic water shut off valve systems that require a clean, smooth connection for optimal performance.
  4. Install the New Valve: Fit the new water shut off valve—whether it's an automatic water shut off valve, a traditional manual valve, or an outside water shut off valve. If it's threaded, wrap Teflon tape around the pipe threads before screwing the valve on to ensure a tight seal. For compression fittings, slide the nut and ferrule onto the pipe, then tighten them onto the new valve.
  5. Test the Installation: Once the new valve is in place, slowly turn back on the main water shut off valve and observe the new installation for any leaks. Make any necessary adjustments and ensure that the valve operates smoothly and effectively.

These steps provide a general guide for replacing water shut off valves. For the best results and to ensure safety, professional assistance is always recommended.

FAQs on Water Shut Off Valve

Where Is Water Shut Off Valve?

The water shut off valve is typically located near the water meter for easy access outside the house or in the basement or utility area inside.

How To Turn Off Water Shut Off Valve?

To turn off a water shut off valve, rotate the valve handle or knob clockwise until the water flow stops completely.

How To Fix A Stuck Main Water Shut Off Valve?

To fix a stuck main water shut off valve, apply penetrating oil, let it sit, then gently use tools like pliers or a wrench to turn the valve.

Is Water Shut-Off Valve Inside Or Outside?

Water shut-off valves can be located both inside (such as in basements or utility closets) and outside (near the water meter or property line).

What Are The Two Main Water Shut Off Valves?

The two main water shut off valves are the main house valve, which controls water to the entire property, and individual fixture valves that control water to specific appliances.

What Is The Most Common Water Shut-Off Valve?

The most common water shut-off valve is the ball valve, known for its durability and ease of use, providing a reliable seal with a simple quarter-turn operation.

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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.