Liquid Cooling Guide to Fittings & Tubing

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Because liquid cooling is all about the system, each component is crucial to the success of the system as a whole. If you choose the wrong products, your system will not work to its capability. Use our guide to learn more about fittings and tubing to help you better build and understand your liquid cooling system!

Choosing Your Tubing Type

A major conflict for many beginners comes from the variety of products available to the point where it is hard to know and choose which product is best for your system. Before you worry about product selection, you must understand the difference between the two main types of tubing; soft tubing and hard tubing.

  • Soft tubing is often made of rubber or silicone and has a variety of color options. Many builders choose soft tubing because of its ability to bend and be reshaped easily. This type of tubing is recommended for first-time builders.
  • Hard tubing avoids soft materials and is often acrylic or PETG. Hard tubing is easy to find and can be bent with the help of household tools.

Read Your Tubing Measurements

Once you choose a tube, you will need to reference it to choose your fittings. Read the tube measurements to make sure you are purchasing the right size fittings by checking the metric and imperial measurements as well as the inner and outer diameters. If you choose soft tubing for your project, you will be able to choose either barbed fittings or compression fittings but if you go with hard tubing, you will have a choice of push-in fittings or compression fittings.

Choose a Fitting Type

Now comes the time to choose the fitting type you’d like to purchase. Here is a little more information about each of the types of fittings:

Barbed Fittings

Barbed fittings are often the go-to choice for beginners, as they are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Most of the time, you will want to also purchase clamps for your barbed fittings.

Compression Fittings

Compression fittings can be used on several different kinds of tubes and are often a first-choice because of their appearance, most with vibrant colors. Unlike barbed fittings, compression fittings are marked with ID and OD markings so be sure to pay attention to these numbers when purchasing.

Push-In Fittings

These hard tube fittings only come in two types and sizes so the decision becomes a bit easier. These are easy to install and get the job done without any hassle.

Hard Compression Fittings

Hard compression fittings have a similar look to compression fittings with their variety and color but they are designed for hard tubing. Designed with a base and a top lock, this type of fitting is extremely stable.