What is the difference between branch and manifold plumbing?

Branch vs 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 support.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.