A Complete Comparison Guide To Needle Valve vs Ball Valve

Home A Complete Comparison Guide To Needle Valve vs Ball Valve

Based on the particular type of flow control valves utilized, they can perform a variety of distinct duties within a hydraulic flow system. One of the most frequent applications for a flow control valve is overseeing the system’s motor or cylinder speed. The capacity of a control valve to alter the rate of energy transfer at any specific point in a system by affecting the flow rate makes this function possible.

Because of their design, flow control valves are also renowned for their dependability and frequently have a lengthy operating lifetime. They can be used in automated factory and warehousing equipment, food processing, and material procedure because of their adaptable performance criteria. There are different types of valves, and the most common ones are needle valves and ball valves. 

What Is Needle Valve 

Needle Valve
Source: Dombor

The element for flow control is the needle valve‘s most defining characteristic, and its plunger is shaped like a needle. The needle-shaped plunger’s location is controlled by a threaded rotating stem mechanism, which allows for extremely accurate control.

Although a needle valve’s open or shut setting can be adjusted precisely, switching promptly between totally open and totally closed becomes challenging because it often takes 5 to 6 full revolutions to accomplish. A few needle valves can handle up to 1000 psi, making them suitable for use in high-pressure applications. 

As per the production materials, these valves are extremely resistant to incredibly high and cryogenic temperatures. They perform well under situations of high pressure and high vibration and retain a long lifespan. Due to significant pressure drops when they are opened, they make process measurement and control tasks easier. 

They feature metal-to-metal closing, while soft seats are available upon request. For simple packing replacement while in use, a stem with a back seating feature is an option. The rear locking mechanisms keep fluid from coming into touch with the packing, prolonging the valve’s life.


  • Allows for customization and flexibility
  • High-end precision 
  • With finger-tight pressure, it is simple to turn off.
  • Shows resistance to both extremes of heat and cold temperatures
  • Can effectively withstand ongoing high pressure and vibrations
  • When open, it features a decline in high pressure 


  • Limited passage flow between the seat and the needle and it prohibits flow and is utilized for low flow rates. 
  • Valve open or close status is difficult to determine

What Is Ball Valve 

Trunnion Ball Valve
Source: Dombor 

A ball valve’s primary feature is that it has a flow control component that is shaped like a ball. The ball is not entirely solid as it has a channel running through the core that enables fluid to travel through when the valve is open. Though they can be ordered with a reduced bore, ball valves are often made as full-bore valves. 

A ball valve can be turned only a quarter of a turn (90 degrees) to switch it from open to close and vice versa. As a result, by seeing where the handle is located, it is simple to determine whether the ball valve is open or closed. The ball valve is open when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, and it is closed when it is directed across the pipe or valve body.

Because there are fewer pieces, less cleaning and maintenance are necessary. In high-flow operations, the total bore design assists in determining pressure dips. For greater pressure ranges and fluid uses, various materials are employed for the body and seats. POM, PEEK, and PTFE are some materials used in typical seat construction. These valves are mainly strong for highly demanding applications in different industries. 


  • The valve’s seat cleanses itself when the ball rotates, making cleaning simple and preventing accumulation.
  • As there is a lack of internal components, they require only less maintenance. 
  • Dependable and reasonably priced
  • Distinct and adaptable to a variety of uses 
  • Features low pressure drops when open
  • Full port ball valves keep the flow constant and unhindered.


  • Not appropriate for permanent throttling or accurate flow control
  • In the event that fluid particles clash with surfaces and adhere to them, leakage or abrasion may happen. 

Needle Valve Vs. Ball Valve 

The distinctions between a ball valve and a needle valve are quite clear. Here are some notable distinctions: 

needle Valve1
Source: Unsplash

Applications requiring quick state modifications, such as going from open to shut or from close to open instantaneously, are better suited for ball valves. However, needle valves are a preferable choice when the application requires highly accurate flow control by altering the plunger position. 

In situations requiring high flow rates, needle valves are not as effective as ball valves because of the pressure drop and restricted flow that their tiny adjustment causes.

Evidently, one primary difference is the layout of the flow control element. The ball valve features a handle, whereas the needle valve retains a hand wheel. The flow rate can be altered by the needle valve but not by the ball valve. 

When blending procedure lines are needed, needle valves are fantastic for valve manifolds. Ball valves should not be used in these situations since expanded or permanent throttling can result in failure.

A needle valve offers additional regulating chances that ball valves do not, which is another feature that sets these valves apart from one another. Considering the precision the needle valve provides, calibration applications are its optimum use.

In comparison to a needle valve, a ball valve makes it simple to discern whether it is open or closed. When the needle valve is totally opened, a few turns on the screwdriver are required, but only a 90° turn is needed for the ball valve. 

The functioning element is one of these valves’ primary design differences. A needle valve has a pointed shaft that is forced up against a seat that is lifted or decreased by a screw attached to the top of the handle or wheel. A sphere is sandwiched between a gasket in a ball valve. Normally, this globe or “ball” has a gap with the same bore as the inlet connection, and it is attached to a stem, which is then attached to a handle.

For applications in marine or seawater settings, petroleum refining, brewing, and other industries, the stainless steel ball valve can boost corrosion resistance. Automatic combustion control systems, gas bleeder chains, metering operations, liquid power systems, sampling chains, and vacuum systems are a few examples of common applications for needle valves.

Ball valves are frequently used in agriculture, HVAC, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining sectors. Chemical processing, HVAC, petrochemicals, manufacturing, wastewater treatment, and pharmaceuticals are some sectors where needle valves can be used.

Are Ball Valves Better Than Needle Valves 

Ball valves have been shown to be superior to needle valves in a number of ways. A ball valve is inexpensive and has excellent durability. Because of this, ball valves are being employed more frequently in applications that demand a reliable sealing mechanism. 

Because of the increased reliability and airtight sealing when kept in a closed posture, ball valves have demonstrated good performance in the industries. The oil and gas sector, mining, building, manufacturing, heating and cooling, and many more sectors use ball valves extensively.

Ball valves are more dependable and come in a wide variety of designs. These valves are becoming more and more popular as a result of their cleanliness and low maintenance requirements. In addition to that, they also keep the flow open and unhindered. 

How To Choose 

In order to select the valve that will work best for the desired system, it is crucial to understand how each of these valves functions. The petrochemical, heating and cooling, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, wastewater treatment, and chemical processing industries are some sectors that use both valves. Below, more specific usage of both valves are listed, which can help pie people choose the right valve type. 

  • Choose a Needle Valve
needle Valve
Source: Unsplash

The additional regulating capabilities a needle valve offers are the fundamental distinction between the two valves. Since needle valves can be fine-tuned, their accurate control makes them “a perfect choice for calibrating applications.” It is preferable to remain with the needle valve when a high level of control and accuracy is crucial.

The needle valves allow media to pass through the small aperture, enabling the system to make limited modifications. Vacuum systems and metering networks are two prominent instances of applications where accurate flow regulation is required, and needle valves are the superior choice. Sampling chains, gas bleeder chains, automatic combustion control systems, and fluid power systems are a few additional typical applications. 

  • Choose a Ball Valve
ball Valve 1
Source: unsplash

Ball valves are favored in applications where a reliable sealing system is expected due to their reduced cost and sturdy longevity. Due to their dependable and airtight sealing while in the closed position, they are a well-known industrial option. Oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, construction, and heating and cooling are a few common industries that use ball valves.

Stainless steel ball valves are renowned for their use in brewing systems, marine settings, and petroleum refining because of their exceptional resistance to corrosion. A ball valve permits the entire flow after only a quarter turn from fully closed. 


It is recommended to choose between a ball valve and a needle valve using the information mentioned above and the needs of the applications. A ball valve would be the preferred option if it were to govern when fluid should be traveling through a pipeline at high flow rates. However, a needle valve will work best for fine-tuning the flow rate to a precise setting. 

Be sure to take into account additional factors as well, such as pipe sizing, operating conditions (temperature), substance compatibility with the procedure liquid, pressure capabilities, sealing necessities, and connection types for simple installation. 

Contact a reliable industrial valve manufacturer to get the best control valves for your business needs. 

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