Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Cristina
What are the types of outdoor water spigots? Well firstly, in case you wondered what a spigot was, it’s a fancy word for a tap – or a valve – that opens and closes and lets water flow or not flow!! That simple. Let’s have a look at a few of the better and not-so-good spigots out there.
What Is A Spigot?
A spigot is basically a valve that allows water to flow, or not to flow. This means it is a tap. Or faucet. Or any other funny name we have come up with for things that can allow or arrest the flow of water. It appears to have started being used in the 15th century, and was a middle English word – its use peaked in the 1950s and has basically waned to an all-time low at the point that I write this article.
The short answer to this whole article is that you should be asking “what is a tap” but anyhow, you want to know what a spigot is, so without further ado, here is a review of taps/spigots.
What Is An Outdoor Water Spigot?
An outdoor water spigot is any one of the many thousands of variations of things that can allow water to flow out of a pipe, or arrest that flow. These valves can take on a wide range of shapes and sizes, ranging from little dainty brass modern ball valves to things you may have expected the Ancient Romans to use. Its basic function is to allow water to flow and not to flow. An added function in some colloquial terms appears to be that it may have a thread on the end that allows you to attach an adaptor for a hosepipe.
What Are The Types Of Outdoor Water Spigots?
There are many types of outdoor water spigots, ranging from very simple on/off ball valves to really complex ones that can be part of your home electronic management system. Here are a few types of spigots I have used, and seeing as there is no standard classification for them that exists, I have given names to different types to make it easier to understand. From what I understand, engineers refer to spigot as a valve – and there are names for these. Being an ancestral/legacy term, the word spigot is something that is loosely applied to types of valves so that people who are looking for a “spigot” will find them.
A Classical Outdoor Spigot
This is one of the most common types of outdoor water spigot. It mounts to a wall and has a simple thread to attach a hosepipe fitting. This is a good example of a classical outdoor spigot. It is a twist-head spigot meaning that as you twist the head of the spigot the valve is lifted up and down on a thread allowing it to open and close the flow. You can achieve entirely accurate regulation of the flow rate of water down the pipe depending on how much you open this spigot.
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An Outdoor Ball Valve Spigot
This is one of the simpler-to-use types of outdoor water spigots – instead of having a screw thread in the mechanism that lifts the valve up and down to open and close it, this system just has a ball that turns around inside. The ball has a hole in it and the more you open the spigot, the more this hole aligns with the direction of flow, allowing more and more water to flow. I like these types of spigots as I find they are less likely to leak and wastewater. I have experience using my rainwater tanks. Rainwater is a scarce commodity when you need it, and the last thing you want is to have it dripping slowly away due to a faulty spigot. This is why I like ball valve spigots on my rainwater tanks.
Push Type Spigots – Types Of Outdoor Water Spigots
These are one of the more useful types of outdoor water spigots to use for dosing nutrients that are to be delivered by hand. A spigot can be easily fitted to a bucket or drums, and you can use this to release various chemicals you may wish to use in your garden. I had a unit such as this for a while to administer a product I invented. However the product damaged the rubber washers in the unit, and hence it is not in the “to be fixed one day” heap in my workshop. These units work well to administer any chemicals that are not oil-containing. Hydroponic mixes, micronutrient chelates solutions, and so on.
There are a number of reasons we would wish to have types of outdoor water spigots that are lockable. The simplest reason is to prevent accidental opening – this system works well. For these valves, there is a simple lift-up slide that you must activate to open or close the valve. This stops the spigot from being bumped open or closed. If you have pets, this is useful, because pets are normally (bar monkeys and ape pets) insufficiently intelligent or dextrous to figure out how to open such a spigot.
If you are however plagued by children, or drunk adolescents, then you may consider a genuine lockable spigot. A spigot such as this one, allows you to have a key that you carry around that allows you to turn spigots in your garden on and off. If you need an additional layer of security, you can use one of these and lock the spigot with a padlock. I am not a big fan of these in high theft areas as people will just unscrew the spigot from the wall to get water. In an area where you have to deal with vandals and drunk people, these systems are more efficient as you can encase the entire spigot.
Smart Spigots – Types Of Outdoor Water Spigots
Smart spigots are one of my favorite types of outdoor water spigots. These allow you to control water flow using your smartphone from anywhere in the world. On my property, I have a line of rainwater tanks around my house that store rainwater. These are all at the same level. I also have another line of tanks below an outbuilding. In dry periods I need to move water from the lower to the upper tanks, and I am currently building a system to do this using smart spigots. This will remove the need for me to constantly go and climb under bushes and boats and other clutter to find manual valves and turn these on and off. I also have a smart spigot in my greenhouse that is on a timer and can allow it to be irrigated on a schedule, and I can also supplement irrigation on hot days.
A Few FAQs
What Is An Outdoor Water Spigot?
It is basically a valve or tap that can turn the flow of liquid (water) on or off. It has a thread on the end that allows you to attach a hose adapter.
Types Of Hose Spigots
You get a number of types of hose spigots as outlined above already. You get ones that open and close by twisting the handle (gate valves) and ones that open and close using a ball valve. Some are lockable, and some are smart. Some have multiple outlets allowing you to control different hose systems.
What Is The Best Outdoor Spigot?
There is no best outdoor spigot per see. But if you read the above list of the types of outdoor water spigots, you can select the one that best suits what you need to do. For me, the best is maybe the slip-lockable type because I am clumsy and knock things with my boots, etc., whereas you may find you are less clumsy and just want a classic one that looks cute on a wall somewhere.
How To Freeze-proof Outdoor Spigots
Probably the easiest way is to cover it with a sock such as this. If you live in a really really cold area you may have to put some electrical heat tape on the pipes. This together with the heat sock should protect your pipes and spigot from freezing.
A Faucet Vs Spigot
Again this is one of those battles of legacy terms. Faucets and spigots are both old-fashioned words for valves. From what I can understand a Faucet does not have a thread on the end to allow connection of a hose or other item, whereas a spigot does. In other words, you would use a faucet in a basin or bath, and a spigot in the garden or some other place where you need to be able to connect pipes to it.
In Conclusion – Types Of Outdoor Water Spigots
I hope this has helped you understand the range of types of outdoor water spigots. I hope this allows you to choose something to solve your home water needs. I find despite the fact that my training is in industrial fermentation of alcohol and beekeeping, I derive a huge amount of pleasure from doing plumbing work.
There is something special about being able to control water. I think it is in our DNA from long ago – but opening a spigot and seeing my sprinklers start to nourish plants on a hot day just makes me happy. Much like turning on a light you have just wired into a barbeque or something like that. These little thrills we get are difficult to explain, but you will see what I mean.
Dr. Garth A. Cambray is a Canadian/South African entrepreneur and beekeeper with 28 years of experience in apiculture and specializes in adding value to honey. His Ph.D. research developed a new advanced continuous fermentation method for making mead that has resulted in a number of companies globally being able to access markets for mead. His company, Makana Meadery, exports honey mead to the USA where it is available to discerning connoisseurs. He has also developed technologies to commercially manufacture organic honey vinegar in Zambia for export globally. He holds a few patents globally in the ethanol industry and believes in technology and knowledge transfer for human development and environmental sustainability. One of his proudest achievements is the fact that the wind farm he started at one of his old apiary sites has essentially made his hometown carbon neutral.