Lubricated vs Non-Lubricated Plug Valves: What’s the Difference?

09 May,2024

Plug valves that are lubricated rely on lubrication systems to guarantee operation and secure sealing, which makes them suitable for high-pressure environments but necessitates regular upkeep. 

On the other hand, non-lubricated plug valves utilize self-lubricating materials or coatings to reduce maintenance requirements and the potential for contamination — though they may have constraints regarding temperature and pressure ranges. 

Understanding these distinctions aids industries in selecting the valve for their specific needs by balancing performance maintenance demands and cost considerations effectively.

Key Takeaway

Differentiating between lubricated and lubricated plug valves is vital when choosing the most appropriate valve for particular applications. While lubricated plug valves provide sealing and smoother operation with lubrication systems, non-lubricated plug valves offer lower maintenance needs and reduced risk of contamination. By taking into account factors like maintenance requirements, operating conditions, and budget limitations, industries can make informed choices to enhance valve performance and efficiency in their systems.

What is a plug valve?

A plug valve is a type of valve utilized to manage flow within a pipeline. It comprises a tapered plug that can be rotated within the valve body to open, close, or adjust flow.

Lubricated Plug Valves

Lubricated plug valves come equipped with a lubrication system that ensures the operation of the plug inside the valve body. 

This lubrication can be supplied through means or integrated systems within the valve itself.


Reduced Friction: The lubricant diminishes friction between the plug and the valve body resulting in operation and an extended lifespan, for the valve.

Enhanced Sealing: Lubrication enhances the sealing capabilities of the valve ensuring closure and reducing leakage risks.

Ideal for Demanding Conditions: Lubricated plug valves are a choice for high-pressure situations where smooth functioning and tight sealing are crucial.


Maintenance Needs: Regular upkeep is necessary for lubricated plug valves to maintain the lubrication and ensure performance.

Risk of Contamination: Without care the lubricant can get contaminated with debris or foreign materials affecting the valve’s efficiency.

Higher Costs: Lubricated plug valves may come with initial expenses compared to non-lubricated options due to the added lubrication system.

Common Uses and Applications

Oil and Gas Sector: Lubricated plug valves are used in oil and gas pipelines for managing flow, isolation, and control. 

Their ability to handle pressures and corrosive fluids makes them a go-to choice in operations within the industry.

Chemical Plants: In chemical processing facilities, lubricated plug valves are utilized to regulate corrosive chemical flow. 

Thanks to their sealing properties and resistance to chemical corrosion they are components in chemical production processes.

Power Plants: Playing a role in power generation facilities lubricated plug valves help control flow in boilers, turbines, and cooling systems. 

Their sturdy build and reliability ensure operation under demanding conditions, at power plants.

Water Treatment Systems: Within water treatment facilities lubricated plug valves are employed to regulate the flow of water and other fluids during filtration, purification, and distribution processes. 

Their capacity to ensure a seal and endure challenging environments plays a pivotal role in facilitating effective water treatment procedures.

Maintenance Recommendations

  • Regularly replenish lubricant levels as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Flush the lubrication system periodically to eliminate any impurities that could impact valve performance.
  • Monitor valve functionality for indications of wear or deterioration replacing any components as necessary.

Non-Lubricated Plug Valves

Non-lubricated plug valves operate without the need for lubrication. 

Instead, they incorporate self-lubricating materials or coatings on both the plug and valve body to minimize friction and ensure operation.


Reduced Maintenance: Non-lubricated plug valves only need less maintenance compared to their lubricated counterparts. They do not rely on external lubrication systems.

Contamination Risk: Self-lubricating materials help diminish the likelihood of contamination leading to cleaner operation and enhanced valve longevity.

Cost Effectiveness: Non-lubricated plug valves may offer lower initial costs. They also boast decreased maintenance expenses over their lifespan, which makes them a financially prudent option for specific applications.


Temperature and Pressure Restrictions: Non-lubricated plug valves may have limitations regarding the range of temperature and pressure they can handle compared to lubricated versions.

Risk of Jamming: Materials that self-lubricate may wear out over time which could lead to the valve jamming or experiencing performance.

Limited Suitability for Specific Uses: Non-lubricated plug valves might not be suitable for applications with high pressures or temperatures where external lubrication is crucial for proper functioning.

Common Uses and Applications

Water Treatment Sector

Non-lubricated plug valves are commonly used in water treatment facilities to control the flow of water, sewage, and other liquids. 

Their self-lubricating properties help reduce maintenance needs and lower the chances of water system contamination.

The Food and Beverage Industry

In the food and beverage sector, non-lubricated plug valves play a role in regulating the flow of ingredients, beverages, and cleaning solutions. 

Their hygienic design and self-lubricating materials ensure operations adhere to food safety standards.

HVAC Systems

Non-lubricated plug valves are components, in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems where they manage the flow of air, water, and refrigerants.

Their minimal maintenance needs and dependable performance make them perfect, for regulating temperature and air movement in both residential structures. 

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Non-lubricated plug valves are typically used to handle pharmaceutical ingredients, solvents, and process fluids. 

Their smooth operation and resistance to contamination ensure the integrity of products and compliance with standards during pharmaceutical production processes.

Maintenance Tips

  • Check valve components for any signs of wear or damage replacing any parts as necessary.
  • Maintain proper alignment and clearance between the plug and valve body to prevent sticking or binding.
  • Adhere to manufacturer guidelines for cleaning and upkeep to extend the life of the valve and enhance its performance.

Lubricated vs Non-Lubricated Plug Valves: FAQs

Which type of plug seals lubrication?

In lubricated plug valves, a lubrication system is utilized to seal and lubricate the plug as it moves within the valve body.

What is a plug valve lubricant?

A plug valve lubricant is a formulated fluid or grease used for lubricating the plug and internal components of a plug valve. 

These lubricants aid in reducing friction enhancing sealing capabilities and prolonging the life of the valve.

What is plug valve grease?

Plug valve grease is a type of lubricant intended for use in plug valves.

It typically has thickness and resistance to heat to ensure functioning and effective sealing, under different operational circumstances.

Lubricated Plug Valve Manufacturers in China: Pans Valve

Pans Valve is a known company that produces lubricated plug valves in China. 

With experience and knowledge in valve design and manufacturing, Pans Valve offers a range of top-quality plug valves customized to suit various industries and uses. 

Their lubricated plug valves are recognized for their dependability, performance, and longevity making them a trusted option for customers globally.

Article Sources
The Pans Valve uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Our commitment to accuracy and reliability ensures that readers receive well-researched information they can trust.
Tags: valves