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Difference Between Butterfly Valve And Gate Valve

At first glance, choosing between gate valves and butterfly valves for practical applications might not be easy. That’s why understanding the differences between these two types of valves is crucial to avoid unnecessary frustrations during operations. In simple terms, both gate valves and butterfly valves are used to turn flow on and off, but butterfly valves can also regulate flow by partially closing the valve disc. Butterfly valves belong to the family of rotary valves, and they close much faster than gate valves (also named multi-turn valves). Gate valves are more suitable for high-pressure systems, while butterfly valves are better for larger port sizes.

gate vs butterfly valve diagram

Butterfly Valve VS Gate Valve

Source: ZECO Valve

From the illustration, we can quickly grasp the external differences between gate valves and butterfly valves. However, they each have their own applicability and pros and cons. In this article, TIANYU Valve, a trusted butterfly & gate valve manufacturer & supplier, outlines the fundamental similarities and differences between gate valves and butterfly valves through text and tables, covering aspects such as design and construction, size and weight, flow control, pressure drop, and applications.

Difference Between Butterfly Valve And Gate Valve

Butterfly valves and gate valves are both types of industrial valves used to control the flow of fluids in pipelines. However, they have distinct designs and operating mechanisms, leading to differences in their applications and performance. Here are some key differences between butterfly valves and gate valves:

1. Design and Construction

Butterfly Valve: It consists of a disc mounted on a rotating shaft within the valve body. The disc can be rotated 90 degrees to either allow or block the flow of fluid. The disc is typically positioned parallel to the flow in the open position and perpendicular in the closed position.

Butterfly Valve Structure

Source: POV

Gate Valve: It has a sliding gate or wedge that moves perpendicular to the flow of the fluid. When the gate is lifted, it allows the fluid to pass through, and when it is lowered, it blocks the flow.

Trouvay & Cauvin gate valve structure

Gate Valve Structure

Source: Trouvay & Cauvin

2. Size and Weight

Butterfly Valve: Generally more compact and lighter compared to gate valves. They are often used in applications where space and weight considerations are important.

Gate Valve: Typically larger and heavier than butterfly valves. Gate valves are commonly used in applications where size and weight are not critical factors.

3. Flow Control

Butterfly Valve: Provides moderate flow control and is well-suited for applications where quick opening and closing are required. However, they may not provide the same level of precision in throttling as some other types of valves.

Gate Valve: Offers more precise control over the flow of fluid. Gate valves are often used in applications where a tight shut-off is crucial.

4. Pressure Drop

Butterfly Valve: Generally has a lower pressure drop across the valve compared to gate valves. This can be advantageous in applications where minimizing pressure loss is important.

Gate Valve: May result in a higher pressure drop due to the design of the gate and the flow path when fully open.

5. Applications

Butterfly Valve: Commonly used in large-scale systems and applications where quick on-off operation is sufficient, such as in HVAC, water treatment, and some industrial processes.

Gate Valve: Suited for applications where precise flow control, minimal pressure drop, and tight shut-off are essential, such as in water distribution systems and certain industrial processes.


Gate valves are well-suited for applications demanding a high level of sealing. In contrast, butterfly valves are ideal when a valve is required for throttling purposes and needs to occupy less space. Butterfly valves are more commonly utilized due to their high-performance capabilities. In the end, the decision between a butterfly valve and a gate valve hinges on the specific needs of the application, taking into account factors like size, weight, flow control precision, and considerations regarding pressure drop.


Are butterfly valves suitable for high-pressure applications?

Butterfly valves are generally better suited for moderate-pressure scenarios. For high-pressure applications, gate valves may be more appropriate.

What industries commonly use gate valves?

Gate valves are prevalent in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, and power generation, where tight shut-off capabilities are crucial.

Do butterfly valves require less maintenance than gate valves?

Yes, butterfly valves often have simpler maintenance requirements, contributing to their popularity in various industries.

Can gate valves be used for flow modulation?

While gate valves are primarily designed for on-off operation, some variants may allow limited flow modulation.

Are there hybrid valves that combine the features of both butterfly and gate valves?

Yes, some manufacturers offer hybrid valves that aim to combine the advantages of both butterfly and gate valves.

How To Choose Between Double Offset Vs Triple Offset Butterfly Valve?

Indeed, the application-specific requirements play a crucial role in making the right selection. It’s important to balance factors such as precision, sealing performance, maintenance, and pressure suitability.

If precision and a higher degree of sealing performance are critical for your application, especially in high-pressure scenarios, a triple offset butterfly valve might be the preferred choice. On the other hand, if your application is less demanding, and ease of maintenance and repair are significant factors, a double offset butterfly valve may be sufficient.

The trade-offs between the two types, such as the balance between sealing effectiveness, ease of maintenance, and suitability for different pressure conditions, highlight the importance of understanding the specific needs of your system. Consulting with experts in valve selection or process engineers can provide valuable insights tailored to your unique requirements.


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