Apollo vs SharkBite PEX [A Comparison of PEX Plumbing Systems]

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) has become one of the most popular piping materials for plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings. Compared to copper, PEX is more flexible, cheaper, and easier to install. It also resists scale buildup and freezing better than metal pipes.

There are two major brands that manufacture PEX plumbing supplies – Apollo and SharkBite. Both companies provide pipes, fittings, valves, and tools for complete PEX plumbing systems. This article compares Apollo and SharkBite PEX to help you choose the right system.

Here is an in-depth comparison table between Apollo and SharkBite PEX:

FeatureApollo PEXSharkBite PEX
Pipe MaterialPEX-a, PEX-b, PEX-cPEX-b
Pressure Rating160 psi @ 73°F, 100 psi @ 180°F160 psi @ 73°F, 100 psi @ 180°F
Temperature Rating-40°F to 180°F-40°F to 180°F
Pipe Sizes Available1/4″ to 4″1/4″ to 1″
Standards ComplianceASTM F876, F877, UPC, IPCASTM F876, F877
Installation MethodCrimp, expand, clampPush-to-connect
Fittings OfferedBrass crimp, expansion, ProBite push-to-connectPEX barb push-to-connect
Connector TypesElbows, tees, couplings, valvesElbows, tees, couplings, valves
Warranty25 years25 years
Code ApprovalsUPC, IPC, NPC CanadaLimited approvals for concealed settings
UV ResistanceRequires protection from sunlightRequires UV protection
CostCheck Latest PriceCheck Latest Price
Ease of InstallationRequires tools for crimping/expansionTool-free push-to-connect
FlexibilityLess flexible PEX-a pipeFlexible PEX-b pipe
DurabilityVery durable, 50+ years lifespanModerate durability, 50 years

Overview of Apollo PEX

Apollo PEX is a leading manufacturer of PEX tubing and fittings. The company was founded in 1965 and introduced its first crosslinked polyethylene pipes in the 1980s. Apollo produces its PEX pipes and fittings in the United States.

Apollo PEX Pipe Types

Apollo offers PEX pipes that comply with ASTM F876 and F877 standards. Their pipes are available in coil formats as well as straight lengths.

  • PEX-a pipes have a crosslinked structure for high temperature rating. They are stronger and more rigid.
  • PEX-b pipes use silane for crosslinking. They are more flexible and cheaper.
  • PEX-c pipes have crosslinks created by electron beam radiation. They lie between PEX-a and PEX-b.

Apollo PEX pipes come in diameter sizes of 1/4″ to 4″ and have pressure ratings of 160 psi at 73°F and 100 psi at 180°F. They can withstand temperatures between -40°F to 180°F.

Apollo PEX Fittings and Connectors

Apollo offers crimp, cold expansion, and PEX clamp fittings to join PEX pipes. Their ProBite push-to-connect fittings are some of the most popular fittings used by plumbers. ProBite fittings have dual o-ring seals and a full flow brass body.

For making connections, Apollo provides brass and polymer valves, elbows, tees, couplings, and adapters. There are also manifold, flange, and access fittings available.

Apollo PEX Installation Tools

To install Apollo PEX pipes and fittings correctly, you need the following tools:

  • PEX tubing cutter
  • Crimp tool and copper/stainless rings
  • Expansion tool with expansion rings/heads
  • Pipe cutter for ProBite fittings
  • Tube bender for curves
  • Deburring tool
  • Depth gauge for inserting fittings

Apollo provides all the required installation toolkits for complete PEX plumbing.

Overview of SharkBite PEX

SharkBite is another major brand that manufactures crosslinked polyethylene PEX pipes and plumbing fittings. The company is based in Utah and was founded in 2000.

SharkBite PEX Pipe Types

Like Apollo, SharkBite offers PEX-a, PEX-b and PEX-c varieties of pipes in coil and straight length format. Their PEX tubing meets ASTM F876/F877 standards and comes in 1/4″ to 1″ sizes.

SharkBite PEX has a pressure rating of 160 psi at 73°F and 100 psi at 180°F. It can withstand -40°F to 180°F temperatures. The pipes are NSF certified and reliable for potable water applications.

SharkBite PEX Fittings and Connectors

The most popular PEX fittings from SharkBite are their push-to-connect fittings. These PEX barb fittings have stainless steel clamps for leak-free connections without requiring any special tools.

SharkBite also offers brass crimp fittings and expansion PEX fittings. Their valve line includes ball valves, stop valves, manifold valves, and hose bibbs. For PEX to copper connections, SharkBite provides coupling and elbow adapters.

SharkBite PEX Installation Tools

For installing SharkBite PEX systems, you will need the following basic tools:

  • Tubing cutter
  • PEX pipe deburring tool
  • Depth gauge for insert fittings
  • Tube bender
  • Pipe cutter for cutting push-to-connect pipes
  • Wrenches for tightening fittings

SharkBite fittings do not require crimping or expansion tools. Their push-to-connect design allows easy installation without any special tools.

This covers a high-level overview of Apollo and SharkBite PEX piping systems. The next part will compare them in detail in terms of performance, fittings, reliability, and cost.

Comparing Apollo vs SharkBite PEX

Now that we have looked at both Apollo and SharkBite PEX systems individually, let’s compare them to see which one is better for your plumbing needs. Here are some key differences between Apollo and SharkBite:

Performance and Durability

Apollo PEX tubing is more rigid and durable than standard SharkBite PEX pipes. Apollo uses PEX-a grade crosslinking that can withstand higher temperatures and pressures. Their pipes have undergone chlorine resistance testing for over 10,000 hours.

SharkBite uses flexible PEX-b grade pipes that are easier to install around corners. But Apollo PEX-a pipes have longer lifetimes, especially for hot water plumbing.

Fittings and Connections

The ProBite fittings from Apollo provide secure metal-to-metal seal without O-rings. This gives better hydraulic performance and lower risk of leaks. ProBite uses smart bite technology with interlocking teeth for full metal contact.

SharkBite, on the other hand, relies on O-ring seals inside its plastic push-to-connect fittings. The O-rings can get dislodged or damaged over time, increasing chances of a leak. SharkBite fittings are also prone to coming off if not fully inserted.

Reliability and Code Approvals

Apollo PEX tubing meets code approvals from major plumbing bodies like UPC, IPC, and NPC Canada. It also withstands rigorous testing from PPI, NSF, and CSA groups. This makes Apollo more compliant and reliable for commercial plumbing applications.

SharkBite fittings have faced some flak for not meeting codes approved for concealed installations, like under slabs or in walls. Some contractors prefer Apollo for its code approvals and rigorous testing.

Cost Comparison

Apollo PEX piping is generally more expensive than SharkBite. Their PEX-a tubing costs around 30% more than flexible PEX-b pipes. But Apollo fittings like ProBite offer long term value through leak-free performance and durability.

SharkBite PEX systems are more budget friendly. Their pipes and push-to-connect fittings cost significantly less than Apollo. But you compromise somewhat on quality and code approvals.


Does PEX pipe need to be insulated?

PEX tubing does not require insulation for freezing protection like copper and PVC pipes. The flexible nature of PEX allows it to expand when water freezes inside it. However, insulating PEX in very cold climates can help retain heat in hot water pipes.

Can PEX pipes withstand UV exposure?

PEX piping is not UV stabilized to withstand prolonged sun exposure. Apollo and SharkBite PEX pipes should be shielded from UV rays. Use opaque insulation or install them in areas away from sunlight.

How long does PEX piping last?

With proper installation, both Apollo and SharkBite PEX pipes can easily last over 50 years. PEX-a tubing from Apollo is generally more durable with a lifespan of over 70 years.

Does PEX pipe reduce water pressure?

No, PEX tubing results in very low friction loss and does not reduce water flow rate or pressure significantly. The smooth interior resistant to scale buildup maintains optimal water flow.

Can you use metal fittings with PEX pipes?

Yes, PEX tubing is compatible with brass, copper, and stainless steel fittings and valves. Use insert fittings with PEX ends or transition fittings to connect to metal plumbing components.


In summary, Apollo PEX offers better performance, durability and compliances for a premium price. It is ideal for large plumbing projects and commercial use. SharkBite PEX provides a budget-friendly alternative for DIY and residential installations, but lacks in code approvals.

Apollo PEX requires more skill to install crimp/expansion fittings correctly. SharkBite just needs to be pushed on. Your specific project requirements should determine which plumbing system is better for you. Both brands provide complete PEX solutions with pipes, fittings, and tools.

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