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Plug Valve vs Butterfly Valve – What’s the Difference

Plug Valve vs Butterfly Valve

If you’re an engineer looking for information on valves, you may have encountered the terms “plug valve” and “butterfly valve.” Even though these two valves are often used in similar applications, a few key differences set them apart. This blog post will look at what makes plug and butterfly valves different and explain when it’s best to use one over the other.

How They Work

Plug valves work using a cylindrical or tapered plug to open and close a port inside the valve. The plug is usually made out of metal or plastic, depending on the type of application. When the plug is rotated 90 degrees, it either fully opens or closes off the port for fluid flow. This type of valve is usually used in applications where the low-pressure drop is desired and when precise flow control is needed.

On the other hand, butterfly valves use a disk-shaped plate that rotates around its axis to open and close off ports inside the valve. This type of valve is typically used in applications where high flow rate capacity is desired and can be found in many industrial settings such as power plants and water treatment facilities. One important thing to note about butterfly valves is that they can only offer partial closure because the disk never completely blocks off all ports at once—something which may not be ideal for specific applications.

Difference Between Plug Valve and Butterfly Valve

Advantages & Disadvantages

The main advantage of using a plug valve compared to a butterfly valve is its ability to offer full closure when needed—something butterfly valves can’t provide due to their design. On top of this, plug valves also require less maintenance than their counterparts since they don’t rely on any complex moving parts as butterfly valves do. The downside with plug valves is that they tend to be more expensive than butterfly valves due to their intricate design.

Referring back to butterfly valves, while they may not be able to offer full closure as plug valves do, they do have some advantages over them, such as lower cost and higher flow rate capacity due to their more straightforward design. On the flip side, though, butterfly valves are more prone to wear and tear over time since their disk-shaped plates are constantly rotating around their axis—something which requires regular maintenance for them to continue working correctly.

  • Plug valves have a cylindrical or conical plug that fits into a matching seat in the valve’s body.
  • Butterfly valves have a disc-shaped butterfly plate that rotates to open or close the valve.
  • Plug valves are typically used for on/off applications, while butterfly valves are better suited for throttling applications.
  • Plug valves are less likely to leak than butterfly valves, but they are more difficult to repair if they do leak.
  • Butterfly valves are typically less expensive than plug valves.


In conclusion, plug and butterfly valves can be used in similar applications. Still, some key differences between them should be taken into consideration before making your decision between one or the other. While plug valves offer full closure capabilities compared to only partial closure with butterflies, it comes at a higher cost due to their intricate design. In contrast, butterflies cost less but require more frequent maintenance due to their constant movement needed for operation. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one suits your needs better!

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