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Poppet vs. Spool Valves

Poppet vs. Spool Valves


A poppet is a valving element that seals on a valve seat. A return spring and the inlet pressure assist in sealing the valve.

Poppet Valve



Higher flow rate
Closed crossover 
Longer life 
Faster response times
Low maintenance
Lower cost


Higher force required to actuate

Can only be operated in an open or closed position
Not suitable for complex switching operations
 Back pressure can open valve if supply pressure is removed


A spool is a cylindrical valve element that opens and closes ports when moved axially within the valve bore. Most spool valves use elastomers to seal between flow paths.

Spool Valve


Can be used as selector valves
Less force required to actuate
Can be used to lock pressure downstream
Quieter and smoother
Higher level of functionality
Unaffected by changes in operating pressure
Response times remain constant


Open crossover
Lower flow rate
Shorter product life
Higher maintenance
Higher cost

Which valve type will work best for your application?

To choose which valve type will best meet your specific needs, consider the factors that are most critical for your application:

Critical Factor Valve Type Reason
Precise Control Poppet Closed crossover (no transitional state from one function to the next)
High Flow Rate Poppet Larger internal surface area
Long Life Poppet Less wear on internal seals, few precision parts
Fast Response Times Poppet Opens immediately upon actuation, shorter stroke
Vacuum Spool Poppet is not typically recommended for use with vacuum
Hold Pressure Downstream Spool Back pressure can open a poppet valve if the supply pressure is removed
Balanced Spool  
Selector Valve Spool High & low pressure or vacuum & pressure
Low Cost Poppet Spool valves require precision manufacturing & seals are exposed to wear
Consistent Response Time Spool Change in pressure has less of an effect
Valve Function Spool Available in 2, 3, 4 and 5 ported 4-way
Versatility Spool Balanced design allows normally-open, normally-closed, selector or diverter