Despite being relatively new, PEX manifold systems, as well as PEX plastic piping, offer many advantages for homeowners, remodelers, and contractors thanks to its flexible control when compared to standard rigid plumbing.
This method of water distribution is becoming more and more common to use for residential plumbing projects since it’s easier to install, less costly, and extra convenient as opposed to traditional copper systems.
So if you’re looking for the best PEX manifolds available on the market, we’ve got you covered with reviews of our top 3 picks as well as a detailed buying guide that’ll help you make the right purchase.
Top 3 Best Pex Manifolds in January, 2020
Viega 50243 ½-inch PEX Crimp Manabloc – Best Universal Pick
If you’re looking for a PEX manifold to deliver a professional-grade performance for your household, then I strongly recommend you consider this highly reliable manifold from Viega.
The Viega 50243 is what you think when you read the words “universal manifold”. It’s equipped with 24 ports divided as follows: 15 ports to supply cold water and 9 ports to carry hot water. This makes it great to use for residential water distribution.
A particularly neat aspect of the Viega PureFlow Manabloc is that it comes with parts made of zero lead PolyAlloy, making this manifold incredibly durable. It may even be currently the sturdiest one on the market.
The Viega 50243 includes PolyAlloy adapters that you can use to control your system. They’re suitable to apply with the ½ inch PEX pipes and standard copper crimp rings. On the other hand, the ¾ inch top and bottom inlets require ¾ inch adapters.
VIVO Loop ½ inch PEX Manifold Stainless Steel Set – Best Overall Pick
For the best all-rounder title, I nominate the VIVO PEX Manifold due to its reliable performance, affordable price, and wide applicability.
This PEX manifold is available in various sets housing different numbers of loops to accommodate your specific needs when it comes to water supply load. You can choose from as few as 2 loops all the way up to 12 loops.
The most popular use of the VIVO PEX manifold seems to be in radiant floor heating systems. This is probably because of the remarkable durability of this manifold as it’s made from sturdy stainless steel material.
One thing I really like about this PEX manifold is that it comes complete with its own heavy-duty mounting brackets. But it gets better since the brackets are preinstalled, making it easier for you to mount and install your hub.
You also get to monitor the GPM rate, as well as the supply and return temperatures thanks to the integrated 1-inch NPT connections and temperature gauges.
For extra detailed insight, the VIVO manifold features flow valves to indicate the flow of heat traveling throughout the whole system.
Moreover, you’ll receive ½ inch PEX adapters which are pretty handy as they convert ¾ inch to ½ inch. The drawn valves are fitted with a cap to facilitate filling and draining your system.
Also, there are automatic air vents to help get rid of the air from your radiant heat system as well as give you the freedom of testing the pressure.
All in all, the VIVO PEX manifold is a terrific system to own. It’s adjustable, convenient, and won’t break the back for sure.
CMI PEX Manifold System – Best Value Pick
The CMI PEX Manifold isn’t necessarily the cheapest option, but it’s certainly the one offering the biggest value for your hard-earned money.
This PEX manifold hub has pretty much everything you’d want in a water/heat distribution system. It’s made utilizing premium grade stainless steel to ensure maximum durability and the highest resistance against corrosion.
CMI has been part of the plumbing industry for a long time, and so, they built this PEX manifold to have an excellent range of applications. You can use it for radiant heating systems as well as hydronic or snow-melt projects.
It’s also available in multiple sets with different numbers of loops ranging from 2 to 12 loops. This means you can scale the system up or down according to how big or small your project is.
The CMI PEX manifold is pressure tested before it’s shipped. It also arrives at your doorstep pre-assembled, with included mounting brackets to make your setup task easier.
This PEX manifold is equipped with flow meters so you can keep track of the flow rate of water in GPM. It also includes 1-inch NPT shut-off ball valves, colored red and blue, to help you observe the water temperature of supply and return pipes.
The built-in drain valves come with a cap and hose connection for convenient filling and draining of your radiant heating system. Additionally, you can adjust the flow of water through the various manifold lines via manual balancing valves.
What is the Best PEX Plumbing Manifold and How Does it Work?
A PEX plumbing manifold is a recently developed water distribution system that’s widely applied in the modern residential plumbing industry.
The main purpose of a PEX manifold is to efficiently deliver water to different plumbing zones in a house or building with as much convenience as possible. It aims to give you adaptable control over the entire plumbing mechanism in a way that’s not allowed using old school methods.
Regular manifolds are manufactured out of conventional copper, bronze, and brass. However, PEX manifolds utilize cross-linked polyethylene which a more technologically advanced material.
A typical PEX manifold system consists of several chambers designed to serve both cold and hot water lines. It integrates flexible tubing to carry water throughout your household.
PEX manifolds are installed in connection with the main incoming water line at the closest entry point possible. The cold water is sourced directly from this main feed line, while the hot water comes from an already existing water heater.
The PEX manifold is usually mounted in a secure yet accessible location such as a garage, a basement, or the ground level of the construction, along with other utility systems.
Why Should You Use a PEX Manifold?
As we’ve mentioned above, PEX manifolds are now the superior choice for residential plumbing systems instead of traditional rigid networks.
PEX manifolds are more convenient, practical, and less expensive. However, there are several other benefits offered by this innovative hub including:
- Safe Expansion
A huge issue for most tubing or plumbing systems is handling different degrees of temperature.
While you don’t get much resilience in traditional pipes when facing both extremes of temperature, PEX tubing can reliably withstand the hottest and coldest temperatures without failing.
This is due to the ability of PEX tubing to expand by as much as 15% without breaking or bursting.
Consequently, such a manifold can be safely used in radiant heating systems as well as with heating elements nearby. They can also work very well during winters since no splitting will occur if water freezes in the pipes.
Dealing with temperature changes so efficiently makes for a significantly longer service time compared to conventional manifolds.
- Specific Control
One of the greatest advantages PEX manifolds have to offer is, of course, custom control. I call it custom because you can actually pick certain fixtures to shut off their water supply while the rest of the lines remain running.
This is possible because the PEX manifold houses individual valves, each one controlling a specific line.
So if there’s a particular fixture that needs some work of maintenance, you can simply turn off its designated valve without cutting off the water supply of the entire house or building.
- Scalable Option
PEX manifolds are highly suitable for residential projects, but they can work for commercial buildings just as efficiently.
All you need to do is install a manifold that’s large enough to accommodate the number of fixtures that’ll be used. This should be easy to do considering there are PEX manifolds with up to 12 loops or ports that you can connect to various water lines.
- Flexible Fit
As expected, the ideal use of a PEX manifold is with PEX tubing. However, you can also pair it up with different piping materials and sizes.
For example, you can hook it up with ½ inch copper lines or ¾ inch PVC tubing. It’s also possible to use ⅜ inch stainless steel supply lines if you need to.
- Easy Installation
Installing a PEX manifold is arguably the most convenient aspect of them all, especially if you’re doing the task yourself.
Unlike traditional plumbing manifolds, you won’t spend days getting your system to work smoothly. Once you mount the main box into the wall, you can consider yourself pretty much done.
The rest of the connections use cinch rings, clamps, crimps, or fittings that are almost always supplied within the PEX manifold package. This makes your job easier and quicker, taking minutes instead of days to complete.
Moreover, let’s not forget that PEX manifolds come with color-coded pipes to tell you exactly what each line is carrying. You’ll see red pipes for hot water, blue tubing for cold water, and white pipes that distribute both temperatures.
If you’re in need of a reliable, convenient, and highly flexible plumbing manifold, then you definitely want a PEX manifold.
However, it’s important that you first determine what your goal is. What size are looking for? How many loops/ports are enough for your project? Are you on a budget?
Once you answer such questions, you should be able to choose the perfect manifold for your needs from our 3 best PEX manifolds.