The Uponor Q&E (Quick & Easy) Shrink-Fit is a pipe jointing system for PEX pipe that utilises a shrink back effect to create a secure joint. It's marketed as easy to use, quick, clean and is recommended predominantly for underfloor heating specialists and plumbing and heating engineers, but what do we think? Our full review below...
How does the Uponor Q&E Shrink-fit work?
The Q&E Shrink-Fit requires PEX pipe, Q&E fittings and a Milwaukee expansion tool.
The pipework and fittings for the Q&E Shrink-Fit come in a wide-range of sizes; starting from 16mm, they are available in 20mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm & 63mm dimensions. The Milwaukee expansion tool that's required is also available in different sizes:
- Milwaukee M12 (used for 12mm-25mm pipework and fittings)
- Milwaukee M18 (used for 25mm-40mm pipework and fittings)
- Milwaukee M18 VLD (used for 40mm-63mm pipework and fittings)
The Q&E Shrink-Fit itself is simple and easy to use:
- Cut the PEX pipe to the size required using standard pipe cutters
- Place the Q&E ring around the pipe and use the Milwaukee expansion tools to expand the pipe
- Add the Q&E fitting and wait 30 seconds for the pipework to shrink back around the fitting
- Check the connection is secure and carry on
We predominantly use the Q&E Shrink-Fit on radiators, tap water connections and hot and cold water supplies for domestic customers.
Benefits of the Uponor Q&E Shrink-Fit
We've used the Q&E Shrink-Fit for some time and here are the key benefits...
Cost of the Q&E Shrink-Fit pipework/fittings
Whilst the cost of the Q&E Shrink-Fit's pipework and fittings are roughly the same price as other plastic plumbing systems, the cost is inexpensive compared to copper. Not only this, we've also found that the Q&E Shrink-Fit's pipework is more flexible than other plastic plumbing systems, but remains rigid enough so you can have confidence that it will last.
Ease of use
The Q&E Shrink-fit is easy to use and takes just a couple of minutes to make a secure joint.
Minimise mess using the Q&E Shrink-Fit
Using the Q&E Shrink-Fit means there's no need for any hot works, saving time and mess. Not only this, because there's no need for O rings or any other moving parts that could potentially fail, and because you can undertake a full review of the connection afterwards, you can have complete confidence that the system is 100% secure.
Converting to copper
A key benefit of the Q&E Shrink-Fit is the ease at which you can convert from plastic pipework to copper pipework using copper fittings to remove that DIY element, which we think customers really appreciate.
Drawbacks of the Uponor Q&E Shrink-Fit
We've also highlighted a couple of drawbacks of the Q&E Shrink-Fit, however...
Cost of the expansion tools
In order to use the Q&E Shrink-Fit, you also need to purchase a Milwaukee expansion tool. However, if you have enough jobs in the pipeline to make use of the Shrink-Fit, the cost will soon be paid back in terms of time spent on the job.
Availability of the pipework/fittings
The Q&E Shrink-Fit expansion tools aren't widely available online or in merchants.
Conclusion - Do we recommend the Uponor Q&E Shrink-Fit?
First introduced to the Uponor Q&E Shrink-Fit in early 2018, we've used it ever since. We'd highly recommend it to all underfloor heating specialists and plumbing and heating engineers. Why? It saves time, it's relatively inexpensive when compared to copper (after the expansion tools have been purchased) and it allows us to go home knowing that our customers have got a safe and sound connection that will last.