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Know Your Threads

July 23, 2014

Drip irrigation parts and components are connected together using different methods, one of which is by threaded connections. A garden hose connected to a hose bib (sometimes referred to as a spigot) is a simple example of this type of connection.

Threaded connectors are available in two options, one option has a male threaded end and the other option has a female threaded end.  You can see the difference just by taking a look at them; if the ridges are raised and prominent, it is a male connector. If the ridges are on an inside surface, they are female threads. As an example, the spigot outside your home has male threads and the hose that you attach to the spigot will then have female threads allowing you to screw one onto the other making a tight, leak-free connection.

What Types of Fittings are Available?

Of the threaded connectors, the fitting can be either hose thread or pipe thread depending on the application. Hose threads are always the same size, ¾”. Whereas pipe threads can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another and one system to another as well. Pipe threads found in drip irrigation systems are usually between ½” to 1".

Hose threads and pipe threads are not compatible with each other and cannot be interchanged with systems using one or the other. Just as only male and female threaded fittings can be used together, certain sizes of pipe threads can only be used with those sizes that fit appropriately and adapters must be used otherwise.

Common acronym designations have been adopted to easily describe the different types of fittings:

MHT = Male Hose Thread

FHT = Female Hose Thread

MPT= Male Pipe Thread

FPT = Female Pipe Thread

As we mentioned earlier, hose thread sizes are usually all ¾” so you may not always see this number after the MHT or FHT designations. Pipe thread sizes will always have the size clearly marked on the fitting and this includes specialty pipe thread fittings that have a different size fitting on each end. For these, you will see descriptive markings for each end showing exactly what size fitting you have. An example would be: ½ MPT x ¾ FHT refers to an item which has ½” Male Pipe Threads on one end and ¾” Female Hose Threads on the other end.

How Do These Fittings Work?

Now that we know about the different types of threaded fittings, it is important to know how they work. For a hose thread connection to make a tight bond, pressure is applied to a washer seating within the female fitting and all that is needed to create this pressure is hand-tightening of the fittings. Pipe threads, for their watertight seal, use Teflon tape and a wrench to tighten the seal.

You will find a variety of drip irrigation parts in both pipe thread or hose thread fittings. Drip Depot carries a wide array of drip irrigation components in standard hose thread fittings so they can be easily attached to any garden hose and used within minutes of set-up. We also carry a full line of adapters to be used with other drip irrigation components that have either pipe thread fittings or any other type of fitting on the market. 

As always, Drip Depot staff is available to assist you in obtaining the right items to make the right connections for your particular drip irrigation system. We love getting feedback, so please feel free to share your experiences on this topic, whether or not you found this article helpful, and if there are any specific topics you would like us to cover in the future.

    Drip Irrigation Expert Mike

    Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: