Flared Fitting vs. Welded: Which One is Better?

What’s better: a flared fitting or a welded one?

In the video below, we will answer whether a flared fitting or welded fitting that’s better for the gas installation on your camper trailer and caravan.

We get a lot of questions about why in all of our jobs we try and weld the joints wherever we can. Unfortunately you can’t use the crimp fittings that we normally use on standard houses. They are actually really great because it doesn’t use heat and they’re very quick and easy. The fittings are expensive, but you save it on a bit of time. But because we can’t use that, the only other option you’ve got on a caravan or a camper trailer is the flared fitting. Or you weld them, but that looks a bit old school.

Reasons Welded Fittings Are Better

Well, we weld them because we can, and we think they’re a far superior model. Here’s why. When you’ve got a tee and you flare the joint, what has to happen is you cut the pipe, stick it through the nut, and it comes out. Now, you got to de-bier it, which is cool. And then we always heat up the copper, and that anneals it, right? So it makes it soft again. Then we can flare it and actually heat it up again, if we need to do one of these joints, to make it so it’s really malleable. When it goes back on, the copper sticks out at 45, and it goes up, and it presses against the bit of brass. And then the nut inside’s got a 45 on it as well, and that gets screwed on with the copper in there and the flared, and it jams the joint together. And that’s where the seal happens. So it’s copper on brass, tightened up. That’s when it seals.

Now, you imagine when that’s vibrating, even on standard houses, people pull their stoves out to clean and push it back, and then suddenly they could smell gas. It’s because the flared’s had a bit of tension left or right, and that’s when it starts to leak. Now with natural gas, it rises and you can smell it. But with LPG, it’s heavier than gas, so it actually sinks and sits in low areas. Now, if one of these under your camper trailer leaks, it goes on the ground, and you could empty your bottle out overnight. Now, even when the people have the big bottles of LPG that can get changed out all the time, if they handle the pipe a bit too rough, sometimes that cracks a joint, and they wake up and there’s no gas anymore, and the whole bottle’s been blown off into the atmosphere. Wasting a lot of money. So that’s why we don’t rate these joints.


If we can get away with it, we’d rather weld. Now, welding’s harder. Because you’re using heat. You could burn stuff. It’s a little bit more annoying, but we think the finish looks so much better. And also you can fold up. Often we grab a bit of cardboard, draw out exactly what I need to do, bend it all up in the one hit/ And then if I can, grab that whole section and weld it up outside in the vice, and then pop it under. We might have to have three more joints that we’ve got to weld in place, but there are ways to protect the wood floor or the sides of it, or the wires, so you’re not going to cop any heat.

The Sleeve

What is good about it, too, is when you do it up in one section, whenever you have a flared fitting, you’ve got to have these massive nuts. Now, when you do it all in one section, you can use this sleeving. It’s fully rounded, fully enclosed, and you can slide that onto your pipe. And then you just leave a little section, so you still can weld it up, and then you cool it off so it doesn’t melt. And then the last little section you can use the split tubing. It’s got a bit of a split in it that can go over a tee. You can then cable tie it on there. So it looks really neat. Still protects it.

Now with the flared fitting, you need to have a massive one of these to protect it. These can cop the rocks and stuff, but again, the rocks knocking it, that’s what cops the flare. So that’s why we like to weld them. We haven’t seen anyone else do it, even on the vans that come out. Well, for the road vans flared’s all right. You’re not going to rattle that much. But if you’ve got an off-road camper trailer or caravan, even Ningaloo station’s pretty rough.

Case Study

So to give you an example, this Adventure Kings MT1 camper trailer that they’ve just brought out. We’ve just done the gas. Put three bayonets for the hot plate with a quick connect. We’ve got another video on that one, so if you want to check that out. Now, we’ve welded all the tees, and it looks great. Bent all the pipe up in the one go, sleeved it all. And we’ve only got two joints, one for the regulator, which is very easy to check. You can smell it because you’re opening bottles up in the future. You’ll get onto it quickly. You’re not blowing a bottle when you’re out four days away from anything.

And also the other one is underneath the hot plate. So you got to have one underneath the hot plate, because you got to be able to disconnect it and take it away to service it or replace it in the future. Sometimes you need flared fittings, which is fine. But if we went down the flared option with all the joints, we would need something like 11. Each bayonet would need one. So that’s 3, one for the Joolca hot water system, one for a marine barbecue, and one for the cooker. Then you got two tees. That’s another 3 for each one of those. We’re up to 9 now. Then you got one for the regulator and one for the hot plate, which makes it 11. So just by welding it, it’s brought that down to two. Yes, it’s taking a bit more time and a bit more difficult. You need a little bit more skill to do it. But it’s so much better.

If you have a gas plumber who’s going to add bayonets, even if you just add a normal bayonet, you’ll need at least 4 of these joints in there. But you can get rid of them. So, anyway, we hope that’s helpful and made things a bit clearer.