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What is a Plumbing Nipple

What is a Plumbing Nipple?

Plumbing is an intricate network of interconnected pipes, fittings, and fixtures, and at the heart of this complexity lies a small yet indispensable component known as the plumbing nipple. Serving as a crucial link in the plumbing chain, nipples come in various types, each tailored for specific applications. From connecting pipes to adapting fittings, these unassuming devices play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of plumbing systems.

In this article, we will explore the different types of plumbing nipples, ranging from the common pipe nipple to specialized hex nipples and hose nipples. Understanding these variations and their applications is essential for anyone involved in plumbing projects, whether a professional plumber or a dedicated DIY home repair person. So, let’s dive into the world of plumbing nipples and unravel their significance in the realm of plumbing infrastructure.

Pipe Nipple Types

Barrel Nipple / Pipe Nipple

Barrel Nipple / Pipe NippleA barrel nipple is a type of pipe fitting commonly used in plumbing and industrial applications to extend or connect two lengths of pipe. Typically manufactured from materials like steel, stainless steel, or brass, it features a cylindrical shape with male threads on both ends, allowing it to screw into place between two female fittings. The design of the barrel nipple makes it ideal for situations where a simple, durable extension is needed. Its straightforward structure ensures reliability and ease of installation, making it a go-to choice for professionals looking to create secure, leak-proof connections in a variety of piping systems. Whether used in water supply lines, gas pipelines, or heating systems, the barrel nipple plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient and uninterrupted flow within piping networks.

Hex NippleHex Nipple

The hex nipple, as the name suggests, is characterized by a hexagonal shape in the middle of the pipe. This design facilitates easy installation and removal using a wrench. Hex nipples are commonly used in plumbing applications where a secure and tight connection is necessary.

Hose Nipple

Hose NippleHose nipples are designed with threads on both ends to facilitate the connection of hoses or tubes. These nipples are particularly useful in applications where flexibility and fluid transfer are essential, such as in irrigation systems, pneumatic systems, or even some plumbing installations.

Running Nipple / Close NippleRunning Nipple / Close Nipple

Running nipples, also known as close nipples, are short lengths of pipe with threads on both ends. They are used to connect two fittings closely together, allowing for a tight and compact connection. Close nipples are often employed in tight spaces where longer pipes may not be practical.

Other Types Of Pipe Nipple

In addition to the mentioned types, there are various specialized pipe nipples designed for specific applications that come in many different materials. Other types of nipples include tapered nipples and swage nipples. Each type serves a unique purpose, making them valuable in different plumbing scenarios.

Application of Pipe Nipples

Pipe nipples find widespread applications across diverse plumbing systems. They are used to connect pipes of different sizes, extend pipe lengths, or adapt pipe fittings to various configurations. The versatility of pipe nipples makes them indispensable in both residential and commercial plumbing projects.

In residential plumbing, pipe nipples are commonly used to connect fixtures, such as faucets, to the main water supply lines. They are also employed in hot water heater installations, allowing for the smooth flow of hot water. Commercial applications may include connecting large pipes in complex systems, ensuring a secure and leak-free connection.

The durability and reliability of pipe nipples make them a preferred choice in many plumbing projects. Their ease of installation and ability to withstand pressure and temperature variations contribute to their widespread use in diverse settings.


In conclusion, there are various types of nipples which cater to specific needs, providing flexibility and adaptability in different applications. Whether in residential or commercial settings, understanding the characteristics and applications of pipe nipples is crucial for successful plumbing projects. For plumbing services and assistance within the Calgary area for any plumbing issues, reach out to the team at Harper’s Plumbing.

Do you have any questions about the application of plumbing nipples? If so, contact us. We would love to hear from you.

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