There are a variety of quick connectors along with quick disconnect couplings and quick disconnect fasteners. Different industries use varying terms to identify connectors, couplings and fittings, and there are many areas of overlap.
In the broadest definition, quick fittings provide fast connections for pipes and hoses that can be attached or separated with one hand without the need for tools. The connections are generally leak-proof, but since there are no valves or seals, once the fitting is removed, any fluid within the pipes or hose can flow out. Because of this, they are not used in heavy duty applications where regulation of product flow depends on the connector. They are best used within a larger system of hoses and pipes.
These fittings, also called quick release fittings, can usually be removed as easily as they were installed. Some styles require a twist-and-pull technique, while others with a tighter gasket necessitate a special one-step removal tool. Quick disconnect fittings are made of plastic, brass, stainless steel, aluminum or glass reinforced resin. Fittings are certified to withstand high temperatures and pressures. They are used in plumbing, sprinklers and water transport as well as with chemicals and other fluids.
Like quick disconnect couplings, there are different designs of fittings that have different features. Most fittings are one of three shapes: straight, tee or a 90° elbow. Some quick disconnect fittings are push fit, which means that pipes and hoses are inserted with force into the fitting and held in place by lubricated gaskets or stainless steel teeth on the collet. Making the connection does not require flame, heat, crimping, rotating or any other action. They are easy to use in tight spaces and can be installed quickly.
Other fittings make connections by using hose barbs. This style has at least one tapered end with low repeating ridges, or barbs. When a hose or tube is pulled over the end, the barbs grip the material and hold it in place. External stainless steel hose clamps encircle the connection and hold it tight.
Hose barbs are available in a wide selection of styles such as hose barb unions that are used to join two hoses together and have two tapered ends with barbs. JIC and SAE threaded barbs are made according to the standards put in place by the Society of Automotive Engineers, and other variations are custom made for specific kinds of piping and operations.