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Foot Valve vs Float Valve – What’s the Difference

Foot Valve vs Float Valve

When selecting valves for your pipeline system, it is important to understand the different types available. The most commonly used valves are the foot and float valves. While both valves serve similar functions in controlling flow, they significantly differ in determining how they are best used. In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two types of valves and the situations where one is more appropriate.

What is Foot Valve?

A Foot Valve is a check valve used in fluid piping systems. It consists of a flap attached to a stem and an open port at the bottom, allowing water to pass through it while keeping pressurized flow from escaping back up the line. The rubber flange on either side of the valve body forms a seal between the pipe and prevents leakage. This helps maintain pressure in pipelines, irrigation systems, and other applications where higher pressure levels are desired.

What is Float Valve?

Float Valve is a mechanical device that regulates the water level of tanks, pools or other bodies of water. It operates using a weighted float on the surface and controls an inlet valve at the bottom. When the float moves up, it opens the valve to increase the water level, and when it moves down, it shuts off to decrease the water level back to its original position. Float valves are low maintenance and can help reduce costs due to evaporation losses.

Difference Between Foot Valve and Float Valve 


Foot valves and float valves have different designs. A foot valve is a type of check valve placed on the end of a suction hose and submerged in the fluid. It prevents fluid from siphoning back into the pipeline when the pump stops. On the other hand, a floating valve is a type of control valve that operates based on the principle of buoyancy. It is designed to regulate fluid flow in the pipeline system when the fluid level changes.


Foot valves provide several functions, such as preventing backflow, water hammering, and reducing the priming time of the pump. They ensure fluid flow in only one direction, i.e., towards the pump through the suction line. A float valve helps maintain a constant fluid level in a tank or reservoir by automatically adjusting fluid flow into and out of the tank as the liquid level fluctuates.


Foot valves are made of durable materials such as bronze, iron, or plastic. To ensure steady flow, they require periodic cleaning to remove debris that may have accumulated on the inner side or around screens. Float valves, on the other hand, need regular inspection and maintenance to ensure the floats and other internal parts are functioning correctly.


Foot valves are commonly used in irrigation, firefighting, and chemical processing plants. Suppose the pumped fluid solidifying is risky, such as in the mining industry; a foot valve is an ideal option. Float valves are used in liquid storage tanks, artificial pools, and water supply systems. They are also ideal for applications where liquid levels need to be maintained at a constant level.


The cost of both valves depends on the manufacturer, size, and construction material. Typically, foot valves are less expensive than float valves. However, in some applications where fluid flow control is critical and constant fluid levels need to be maintained, float valves may be the better economic option.


In summary, despite their similarities, foot and float valves have significant differences in design, functionality, maintenance needs, applications, and cost. It is important to assess individual requirements and understand the benefits and limitations of each type before making a purchase decision. Consultation with a valve expert can help determine the type of valve most suits a given application. Investing in the right valve can optimise pipeline operations, ensuring efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

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