9 Types of Under-Sink Shutoff Valves and How to Choose One

Having the right shutoff valve under your sink is important for controlling water flow and preventing leaks or flooding. There are various types of under-sink shutoff valves to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. This guide will outline the 9 most common types of under-sink shutoff valves and provide tips on how to select the right one for your needs.

Introduction to Under-Sink Shutoff Valves

An under-sink shutoff valve, also known as an angle stop valve, is installed where the water supply line connects to the faucet or appliance under your sink. It allows you to turn water flow on and off with a quarter-turn of the valve handle.

Under-sink shutoff valves serve several important purposes:

  • Shutting off water – Allows you to stop water flow to make repairs, replace faucet fixtures, or prevent leaks and flooding.
  • Adjusting water pressure – Valve can regulate water volume/flow.
  • Isolating appliances – Shut off valve allows you to work on specific sink, appliance or fixture without disrupting the rest.

Having the proper type of shutoff valve provides control over your water system. This guide covers the most common options to consider when selecting an under-sink shutoff.

9 Types of Under-Sink Shutoff Valves

1. Basic Compression Valve

This is the most common and inexpensive shutoff valve used. It consists of:

  • Compression nut – Tightens seal around supply line.
  • Valve body – Usually brass, joins to supply line.
  • Inlet – Threaded connection to supply line.
  • Outlet – Compression nut sealed supply line.
  • Handle – Turns water on/off.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy installation.
  • Compatible with most sink connections.


  • Prone to leaks over time as washers wear.
  • Handle may be difficult to turn.

This is a decent basic option for shutting off most sinks. However, maintenance is eventually needed as compression washers must be replaced when they wear out and leak.

2. Ball Valve Shutoff

Instead of compression washers, these use a rotating ball inside to control water flow. Ball has a hole through the center and when aligned with water supply, is open. Rotating 90 degrees closes it.


  • Extremely durable with no washers to wear out.
  • Smooth handle operation.
  • Quick open/close.
  • Less prone to drips.


  • More expensive than a basic compression valve.

If you want a maintenance-free, long-lasting shutoff valve, the ball valve type is an excellent choice.

3. Quarter-Turn Shutoff Valve

These specialized valves use a fast-acting quarter-turn mechanism to open and close instead of multiple rotations.


  • Very quick and easy to turn water on and off.
  • Durable.
  • Many types available – ball, globe, ceramic disk.


  • Cost more than basic compression.

Quarter-turn models are convenient if you need to frequently access the shutoff. The quick on/off is useful for sinks used often.

4. Needle Valve Shutoff

Needle valves use a thin needle inside that precisely controls water flow. Turning the handle raises and lowers the needle to allow more or less water volume.


  • Fine adjustment of water pressure/volume.
  • Compact size for tight spaces


  • Not a complete on/off shutoff.
  • Prone to wear and drips.

Needle valves are best used where precise water flow control is needed rather than a complete shutoff.

5. Globe Valve Shutoff

Globe valves utilize a rounded disk to seal off water. Lifting or lowering the disk stops or allows flow.


  • Allows fine water flow adjustment.
  • Completely shuts water off.


  • Rubber washers can wear out.
  • More costly.

Globe valves are an excellent choice when both flow regulation and positive shutoff are required.

6. Gate Valve Shutoff

Gate valves use a gate-like disk inside that lifts up and down to control water. Fully down is closed, fully up is fully open.


  • Straight through design doesn’t restrict water flow.
  • Solid shutoff when fully closed.


  • Can be harder to operate smoothly.
  • Not for flow regulation – only fully open or closed.

Gate valves are a decent option when a straight flow and solid shutoff is preferred.

7. Ceramic Disk Valve

These use overlapping round ceramic disks to stop water flow when rotated. The disks do not wear out.


  • Extremely long-lasting and drip-free.
  • Easy to operate.


  • More expensive but worth cost.
  • Disks can be damaged if debris in line.

Ceramic disc valves are a top choice for a durable, drip-free shutoff valve. They far outlast rubber washers.

8. Solenoid Valve

An electrically controlled shutoff valve. Uses a solenoid coil to open and close the valve.


  • Operates via automation, remote control, or timer.
  • Good for accessibility.


  • Requires power source.
  • Costly.

Solenoid valves are useful for sinks where remote shutoff control is advantageous, such as handicap access.

9. Stop and Drain Valve

Designed to not only shut off water but also drain pipes. Has a release vent to allow drain down.


  • Doubles as both shutoff and drain.
  • Allows pipes to be fully drained.


  • More expensive than standard shutoffs.
  • Some don’t fully shut off.

Stop and drain valves are convenient for seasonal homes or situations where you need to routinely drain pipes for freezing weather.

Choosing the Right Under Sink Shutoff Valve

When selecting a new under sink shutoff valve, consider these criteria:

Frequency of Use

If you will be accessing the shutoff often, choose a durable and smooth operating valve like quarter-turn or ball valve. Needle or globe valves are better for fine tuning flow in fixtures used regularly.

Freezing Risk

In areas prone to freezing, stop and drain or gate valves allow full drain down of pipes.

Distance from Supply

If the shutoff location is far from the water supply line, go with a type that provides full flow like a ball or gate valve.


For a permanent solution, spend a bit more on a ceramic disc or ball valve that will outlast rubber washer types.

Applicable Fixtures

Some valves may not work with certain sink, ice maker or reverse osmosis systems. Verify compatibility.

Ease of Use

Elderly, children or anyone with hand strength issues will appreciate an easy turning shutoff like a quarter-turn or ball valve model.

Valve Size

Ensure you get the proper valve inlet/outlet size to match your existing water lines. Under sinks commonly use 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch valves.


For visible areas, choose a shutoff valve with an attractive polished chrome or matching finish.

By evaluating these factors, you can select the perfect under sink shutoff valve for your situation. Combination valves that offer durability, full flow, and precision control are ideal for most homes.

Shutoff Valve Installation Tips

When installing a new under sink shutoff valve, follow these tips for proper operation:

  • Position it properly – Shutoff should be easily reached through the cabinet and allow room for supplies.
  • Secure tightly – Use wrenches to firmly tighten compression nuts and fittings. Don’t over tighten.
  • Apply thread seal tape – Wrap male threads with 2-3 layers of Teflon tape to prevent leaks.
  • Check for cracks – Inspect valve for any cracks and don’t use if present.
  • Ensure alignment – Install the shutoff valve so the handle moves up and down or left and right. Not diagonal.
  • Test water flow – Once installed, slowly turn on water supply and check for leaks. Then operate shutoff valve several times.

Taking a bit of time to properly install the shutoff valve will ensure it functions smoothly for years to come. Be sure to shut off the main water supply line before beginning any work. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific valve model too.

Replacing an Existing Under Sink Valve

If you need to replace an old leaking or corroded shutoff valve, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water supply line and open the sink faucet to drain and depressurize lines.
  2. Disconnect supply lines from the old valve. Unscrew the compression nuts at the inlet and outlet.
  3. Unscrew the old shutoff valve from the supply line. Use wrenches to loosen if needed.
  4. Clean the supply line threads with steel brush or sandpaper to remove buildup.
  5. Wrap the supply line threads in Teflon tape, 2-3 overlapping layers.
  6. Screw in the new shutoff valve by hand first then use wrenches to finish tightening.
  7. Reconnect supply lines to inlet and outlet. Tighten compression nuts firmly.
  8. Turn water back on slowly and check for any leaks. Fix as needed.
  9. Flush lines and test operating the new shutoff valve several times.

With the proper valve for your sink fixtures selected and installed correctly, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can control water flow as needed for repairs or emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where should under sink shutoff valves be located?

The shutoff valve should be installed on the hot and cold water supply lines under the sink. Position it close enough to reach easily through the cabinet access doors. Allow enough room for supply hoses.

Q: How do I stop a shutoff valve from leaking?

If the valve leaks from the handle spout when closed, replace the internal O-rings or seals. For leaks around the valve fittings, tighten the compression nuts carefully or reseal the threads with Teflon tape.

Q: Why does my shutoff valve drip when fully open?

This is caused by worn washers or valve seat damage that prevents it from sealing fully open. Replace the washers or the entire valve to fix this issue.

Q: Can I turn water back on slowly with the shutoff valve?

Yes. Open the shutoff valve slowly to avoid water hammer. Fully open the shutoff once flow is initiated then adjust as needed with the faucet handle.

Q: Do I need a shutoff valve on both hot and cold lines?

Yes. Having shutoff valves on both supply lines allows you to work on one side while keeping the other line flowing. It also lets you isolate leaks or damage.

Q: How do quarter turn valves work?

Quarter-turn valves use specially designed internal parts that allow the valve to open and close with just a 90 degree turn of the handle. This makes them very quick and easy to operate compared to valves requiring multiple rotations.

Q: What are the best shutoff valve brands?

Top brands include Brasscraft, Dahl, Kohler, Delta, Gre sorts, MOEN, Fluidmaster and Apollo for durable, smooth-operating shutoff valves. Look for models with ceramic discs or quarter-turn valves.

Q: How do I know if my shutoff valves need replacing?

Signs that shutoff valves need replacement include leaking or dripping from valve body, lack of full water shutoff, broken handle/stem, valve seizing up, and corrosion or cracks.

Q: Can a bad shutoff valve cause low water pressure?

Yes, if debris or mineral buildup in the valve prevents it from fully opening, it can restrict water flow and cause low pressure. Inspect and replace the valve if flow is reduced.


Choosing the optimal under-sink shutoff valve for your plumbing system provides control over water supply and prevents damage from leaks or bursts. Consider the frequency of use, materials, and ease of operation when selecting a new valve. Popular options include durable ball valves, precise needle or globe valves, fast quarter-turn valves, and drip-free ceramic disc models. With the shutoff valve properly positioned and installed under sinks, you can quickly shut off water for repairs when needed. Investing in a quality valve will give you peace of mind and years of trouble-free performance.