Backflow Preventer vs Check Valve: Which One Is Better For You?

As a homeowner, you should proceed with prudence when making a purchase based on your requirements. Regarding protecting your home’s plumbing system, two prominent devices stand out and are usually debated: backflow preventer vs check valve, both of which play a vital role in maintaining the proper functioning of your plumbing system. 

So, to help you decide which one to choose, we’ve prepared this post that will go over backflow preventer vs check valve differences, benefits and how each works, and, finally, which one is best for your home.

What is a backflow preventer?

It’s a device that prevents water from flowing in the wrong direction in a plumbing system. It allows water to flow one way, not the other. This is different from a check valve, which allows water to flow in one direction but not flow back in the other direction. 


It’s also an important safety measure to protect drinking water from contamination. And, because backflow preventers are easy to install and maintain, they can be a great way to save money on your water bill.

Our Top Pick For Backflow Preventer


The Wilkins Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer is our top pick for the best backflow preventer. It is devoid of lead and intended for use on drinking lines!

Backflow preventer with a Reduced Pressure Zone

A reduced pressure zone is a backflow prevention system consisting of two check valves and an intermediate relief valve. RPZ valves are the most reliable type of backflow preventer because if they fail, water drains out of the valve rather than back into the water supply.

Backflow preventer vs check valve: Pros of backflow preventer

Many homeowners are familiar with the backflow preventer vs check valve debate. While both are effective at preventing the backflow of water, a backflow preventer offers several additional benefits that make it the preferred choice for many. 

  • First, a backflow preventer has a much larger capacity than a check valve, meaning it can handle more water. This makes it ideal for homes with larger plumbing systems. 
  • Additionally, a backflow preventer is more reliable and less prone to breaking down due to its higher-quality components. 
  • A backflow preventer is much easier to install and maintain than a Check Valve, making it a much more efficient and cost-effective choice. 

So if you’re looking for a way to protect your plumbing system from backflow, a backflow preventer is the way to go.

What is a check valve?

A check valve is a mechanical device used to control the flow of liquid or gas. It is designed to allow forward flow and block reverse flow. They can be manual or automatic, depending on the system’s needs. 


The main difference between a backflow preventer and a check valve is that it allows a certain amount of backflow, while a backflow preventer completely stops it. 

Check valves are an essential component of any plumbing system and can use them to prevent a range of problems, including contamination and damage.

Check Valve Suggestion


The Zoeller 30-0181 comes highly recommended! It is inexpensive for any budget and is made of exceptionally high-quality plastic that will not crack or leak!

What exactly is a double-check valve?

A double-check valve compromises a check valve and a backflow preventer. They are typically used in situations where backflow must prevent with a one-way valve, but the investment must be less than that of a backflow preventer.

Backflow preventer vs check valve: Pros of check valve

When it comes to backflow preventer vs check valve, the latter is an excellent option for preventing backflow when it comes to a variety of plumbing applications.

  • Check valves are one-way valves that ensure water only flows in the desired direction. This prevents the backflow of contaminated water into the drinking water supply, thus preventing contamination and health risks. 
  • Check valves are more cost-effective than backflow preventers as they do not require regular maintenance and testing. 
  • Additionally, they are more reliable and durable, as they are designed to withstand up to five times the pressure of a traditional backflow preventer. 

Overall, check valves are an excellent choice for backflow prevention and offer many benefits in terms of cost, reliability, and safety.

Backflow preventer vs check valve: How does each work?

Backflow preventers and check valves are commonly used in plumbing systems to control water flow. A backflow preventer prevents water from flowing back into the system from an external source. It does this by creating a tight seal on both inlet and outlet of the system and using a spring-loaded valve to prevent the water from flowing back.

A check valve controls the flow of water in the same direction. It uses movable discs to open and close depending on the pressure of the water. The disc opens when the pressure is low, allowing water to flow. The disc closes when the pressure is high, preventing water from flowing. 

So while they both serve the same purpose, backflow preventers and check valves are two different tools that work differently. Understanding how they work will help you make the right decision for your plumbing system.

Backflow preventer vs check valve: Which one is best?

If you’re considering plumbing upgrades for your home, you’ve likely come across the debate over the backflow preventer vs check valve. Which one is best for your home? Well, it all depends on the situation and what you’re trying to accomplish. 

A backflow preventer is an excellent way to protect your home from contaminated water. It prevents the water from flowing backward and mixing with clean water. This is perfect for homeowners concerned about dirty water entering their homes.

On the other hand, a check valve is best for preventing the water pressure from pushing too much water back into the system- which is an excellent choice for homes prone to water pressure problems. 

It’s critical to comprehend your home’s requirements and the intended effects of the installation before choosing which is the best for your house. The right plumbing upgrade ensures your home runs smoothly and safely.

Last word

The Backflow preventer vs check valve; are two distinct gadgets with distinct functions. Backflow preventers often contain several parts, including a backflow preventer valve and a filter to trap debris. It prevents polluted water from entering the drinking water system.

While check valves are now the best solution for preventing backflow concerning some plumbing applications, check valves are one-way valves that ensure water flows exclusively in one direction. This keeps contaminated water from entering the drinking water supply, preventing contamination and health problems. 

Check valves are less expensive than backflow preventers because they do not need to be maintained or tested regularly. It all depends on the situation and what you want to achieve when deciding which is best for your home.

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Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is an ambitious entrepreneur who has been in the business of building homes since he was 19. Michael's commitment to honesty, integrity, and high-quality workmanship has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business.

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