#454 – Sprinkler Showdown: VK3001 vs TY313 vs V2704 vs RA1425

Choosing a quick-response, 5.6K, standard coverage upright sprinkler

How do you pick a fire sprinkler head? The design process determines crucial variables like K-factor, response type, coverage type, and activation temperature. But many high-quality, listed sprinkler heads from major manufacturers have all the characteristics you need. So, if they’re all good, how do you choose?

That’s what QRFS’s Sprinkler Showdown series is all about. We pit similar heads against each other so you can see the real differences. Spoiler alert: all the listed sprinklers from major manufacturers are great and will work for their specific applications. However, there are some slight differences.

In our last installment, we looked at quick-response pendent sprinklers. This time around, we’re comparing quick-response, standard coverage, 5.6K, upright, glass-bulb sprinklers: Viking’s VK3001, Tyco’s TY313, Victaulic’s V2704, and Reliable’s RA1425.

Learn about:

After you make a choice, find the parts you need at QRFS! We have the sprinklers, escutcheons, wrenches, and more you need from Tyco, Reliable, Victaulic, Viking, and Senju.

Applications of upright quick-response sprinklers

Quick response heads activate faster than their standard response counterparts to prioritize life safety. They are used in light-hazard occupancies, where NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems mandates QR heads, and some ordinary-hazard applications.

As for why systems use upright sprinklers instead of pendents, uprights are commonly employed in environments with an industrial look and no finished ceilings. Often, a designer wants to run branch lines lower to avoid conflicts with other utilities (like ducting) or exposed structural members (beams).

In these cases, an upright orientation is necessary because sprinkler activation depends on heat rising off a fire and collecting under a hard surface. NFPA 13 has maximum distance rules guaranteeing this. Uprights ensure that a sprinkler’s heat-sensitive element is close enough to the unfinished ceiling.

Offices, schools, and restaurant dining rooms with unfinished ceilings are examples of light-hazard occupancies that might use quick-response upright sprinklers.

Examples of ordinary hazard occupancies that might use quick response uprights include grocery stores, car dealership sales floors, airport seating areas, or restaurant kitchens.

Upright sprinkler installed
Systems in buildings with unfinished ceilings where pipes run under structural members need upright, not pendent, sprinklers. An upright, installed on a riser nipple, meets NFPA 13 rules for being close enough to the unfinished ceiling, where heat will collect during a fire.

Comparing listings and approvals

Marks like “UL” and “FM” are stamps of approval for fire sprinklers, indicating that they meet rigorous industry standards for safety and reliability and qualify as “listed” in NFPA 13 terms.

UL Listed and FM Approval are dominant certifications in North America, but many other approval marks are relevant worldwide, including:

  • CE: the European Union
  • LCPB: the Loss Prevention Certification Board mark
  • VdS: a major test lab in Germany
  • UKCA: the UK Conformity Assessed marking for sale in the United Kingdom
  • MED: the Maritime Equipment Directive mark, indicting suitability for maritime use
  • EAC: a mark for acceptability in the Eurasian Customs Union
  • CCC: the China Compulsory Certificate mark for import and sale in China

Among the four quick response uprights we’re comparing, Victaulic’s V2704 has the most approval marks, including, along with Viking, a CCC mark that provides access to Chinese markets. Regardless, all four sprinklers are high-quality, have numerous certifications, and are acceptable to most authorities having jurisdiction.

Upright QR sprinkler listings table

Basic specs: activation temperatures, sprinkler sizes, and threads

The basic specifications of these four sprinklers are identical:

  • Upright
  • Quick response
  • 6K (or 80.6 in metric units)
  • Max pressure ratings: 175 PSI (12 bar) approved by FM, and 250 PSI (17 bar) listed by UL
  • Thread sizes: 1/2” NPT or 15 mm BSPT (also known as ISO-7R ½”—read more about this in our recent blog post)
  • Activation temperatures: 135°F (57°C), 155°F (68°C), 175°F (79°C), 200°F (93°C), and 286°F (141°C) (Remember to check a sprinkler’s data sheet for specific approvals for specific temperatures.)

However, one key difference is their physical size.

Viking’s VK3001 is the smallest of these uprights, measuring 1-15/16” long (49 mm). The VK3001 is part of Viking’s XT1 line, whose primary selling points are compact size and durability (at a slightly higher cost).

Size table

Sprinkler construction materials

All sprinklers must be made of high-quality materials to achieve their listings. However, there are still some differences between these four sprinklers in their construction—specifically, in the body, frame, deflector, pip cap, spring, and pip cap seal.

Here’s how things stack up between Viking’s VK3001, Tyco’s TY313, Victaulic’s V2704, and Reliable’s RA1425:

  • All four sprinklers use bronze or brass frames
  • All use PTFE in the cap seal
  • Viking and Tyco use stainless steel pip caps
  • Viking XT1 sprinklers have stainless steel deflectors
Fire sprinkler head components
Fire sprinkler heads have a sealing assembly, a frame, a deflector, and a heat-sensitive element. Different manufacturers can use different materials for these parts.

Viking’s VK3001 and Tyco’s TY313 use stainless steel parts for extra durability and corrosion resistance compared to brass or bronze. This material may help prolong sprinkler life in corrosive environments, but these parts are not officially “listed” as corrosion resistant—unlike some sprinkler finishes. More on that in the next section.

Upright sprinkler materials table

Available finishes: VK3001 vs TY313 vs V2704 vs RA1425

Sprinkler finishes serve dual purposes: they provide a pleasing appearance, and some of them provide extra protection from corrosion. Listed corrosion-resistant finishes can be invaluable in some environments. We have a whole blog entry on the subject—check it out.

Here’s a quick summary of the finishes available on Viking’s VK3001, Tyco’s TY313, Victaulic’s V2704, and Reliable’s RA1425:

  • All four manufacturers offer brass, chrome, and polyester paint finishes
  • Polyester is always cULus listed as a corrosion-resistant finish and is available from manufacturers in white, black, or custom colors
  • Viking and Reliable provide an electroless-nickel-Teflon (ENT) corrosion-resistant finish with cULus and FM marks
  • Victaulic has a proprietary corrosion-resistant finish (cULus and FM) called VC-250
From left to right: brass, chrome, white polyester, and black polyester are common sprinkler finishes available from all manufacturers. Electroless nickel PTFE (far right) is a corrosion-resistant finish some manufacturers offer. Rightmost image source: Viking

Upright finishes table

Sprinkler accessories: water shields and head guards

Unlike pendent sprinklers, upright heads never need escutcheons. But in environments such as warehouses, fire sprinklers sometimes need water shields and sprinkler head guards. 

Although generic (often heavy-duty) guards and shields exist, they require approval from the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Otherwise, NFPA 13 specifies the use of the manufacturer’s listed parts. Viking, Victaulic, Tyco, and Reliable all make water shields and head guards to go with their upright sprinkler heads.

Here’s what they offer:

  • All four of these companies make sprinkler head guards, a protective cage for use on heads exposed to potential physical damage.
  • Viking and Reliable make water shields, special plates that act like umbrellas for storage sprinklers. If water from higher-up sprinklers hits lower sprinklers, the latter may be cooled, delaying activation. Water shields help prevent this.
  • Viking, Tyco, and Reliable produce dual guard/shield combos for their sprinklers.

Upright qr accessories

To learn more about storage sprinklers and head guards, check out these previous blog posts:

Water shields
In storage environments, water shields (like the one on the left, from Tyco) or combination water shields and cages (right, from Viking) play essential roles in ensuring sprinklers activate when they are supposed to.

VK3001, TY313, V2704, or RA1425?  All are excellent fire sprinklers!

If you need a quick response, standard coverage, upright, 5.6K, glass-bulb sprinkler, you have great choices in Viking’s VK3001, Tyco’s TY313, Victaulic’s V2704, and Reliable’s RA1425. As their UL, FM, and other marks attest, you can count on quality and functionality from all of them.

Again, while the differences are few, there are a few standouts in certain areas:

  • Victaulic’s V2704 has the most worldwide certifications
  • Viking’s VK3001 and Victaulic’s V2704 have certifications that help them access Chinese markets
  • Viking’s XT1-brand VK3001 is the most compact and uses stainless steel in the deflector
  • Victaulic has a proprietary corrosion-resistant coating

However, the bottom line is that Tyco, Reliable, Victaulic, and Viking sprinklers are all excellent choices.

Check out QRFS’s inventory of sprinklers, escutcheons, wrenches, cage guards, and water shields, or use our QuickFinder to identify and buy heads and accessories quickly.

If you don’t see what you need on our website, contact us at 888.361.6662 or support@qrfs.com.

This blog was originally posted at blog.qrfs.com. If this article helped you, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.

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