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Manifold vs Branch Plumbing: What Is the Difference?

What is the difference between branch and manifold plumbing?

There are two primary options to consider when carrying out a PEX pipe installation within a residential or commercial property:

1) A branch plumbing system

2) A manifold plumbing system


Both options have their relative merits (as explained below), for example manifold plumbing can help an end user save water as most of the pipe between the water heater and faucet is removed. However, this option is not always available.

Before conducting an installation, we recommend that you contact Uponor via customersupport.uk@uponor.com for further advice.

Plumbing Systems

Uponor UK Branch Plumbing Method
Manifold Plumbing by Uponor

Branch Plumbing


The Uponor PEX Plumbing System can be installed in the  same fashion as a traditional “Tee” system using the various  range of Q&E fittings. The advantage with this installation method is that it uses less piping than the manifold system.


However, the traditional method has some inherent disadvantages that should be taken into consideration. There are more joints than with the manifold system and  these are often inaccessible within the floors or walls.  There are temperature and pressure variations due to the fact that one pipe has more than one draw-off point. The  design work is more complicated,as most engineers wish to reduce the pipe diameter, from the beginning of the  system to the end, which is why more careful calculations are needed to determine the various pipe sizes.

All in all, branch plumbing would be the best choice for installers who are more used to traditional installation methods using  materials such as copper pipe and fittings.

Manifold Plumbing


The basic principle of the Uponor manifold system is to provide joint free pipe runs from a centrally positioned manifold to each radiator valve or tap or water outlet. The system can be designed with one single pipe dimension from the manifold to the draw-off point, which simplifies design and installation work.  With joints only at the manifold and the radiator/taps, the risk of leakage from joints is considerably reduced and there are no connections within the walls or floors. Since there are also no other draw-off points on the same pipe, pressure and temperature variations are minimal when taps are turned on and off. Small pipe diameters and fewer fittings save on installation time and labour costs.


The only real disadvantage of this system is that it can't be installed in existing buildings and is more suitable for new properties. An exception to this rule is that the system can potentially be integrated within older victorian homes which have a joisted system.

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Products that are related to these systems

Uponor MLC System

Learn more about the Uponor MLC plumbing range

Quick and Easy Shrink-Fit PEX plumbing

Learn more about the Uponor Q&E Shrink-Fit PEX plumbing range