I've read that an advantage with tri-clamp connections are sanitary. I get the impression that they say that camlock and QD are not sanitary.

What is it that makes tri-clamp sanitary and camlock isn't? What is the problem with using camlock on? Especially on the cold side? Wouldn't treating it with starsan be enough?

2 Answers 2


It's the design that makes them different. Tri-clamp / tri-clover are the simplest design, and have been a lab and medical clamp for very long time. While they take a little skill to flip on, they are by far the best style of fitting.

Cam locks are not a sanitary fitting by spec, mainly because of the moving hinge area that can come in contact with the "clean" surface of the receiver when attaching.

  • How can the hinge area come in contact with the clean surface of the receiver? Note that the clean area is on the inside of the connector, on the female where the hinge is it's only the gasket and the tube after the gasket and the hinge is mounted well before the gasket. Also note that one suppose that one handles the connector correctly and sanitize it, otherwise no connector in the world would pass...
    – skyking
    Oct 4, 2017 at 5:26
  • @skyking human error of actually touching it while connecting. Since the hinge of a cam lock can't be clinically cleaned its not a "sanitary fitting". Oct 4, 2017 at 12:37
  • But if you by a reasonable mistake touch it it would be the outside of the male connector touching the hinge. This is not part of the connector that comes into contact with the wort. Also the claim that the hinge can't be clinically cleaned is only partly true. Most of the hinge should be possible to sanitize, especially the surface that is in risk of touching the male connector.
    – skyking
    Oct 4, 2017 at 13:02
  • @skyking yes with proper care and use they can be "sanitary". But the question is why they are not a sanitary connector which is a clinical definition. Basically they're not idiot proof as much as a tri-clamp. One side note, rarely experienced in home brew but cam locks wear out due to metal fatigue, with tri-clamp, only the clamp ring needs replaced where cam locks one or both fitting need replaced. Oct 4, 2017 at 13:07
  • That being a clinical definition? Well now we're getting somewhere. I'm getting the impression that you're just trying to sell in triclamp as a superior design in every way, but this question is just about why it's considered sanitary and camlock isn't. As a subquestion of course is if/why starsaning a camlock wouldn't be enough.
    – skyking
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:03

Tri-Clamp fittings are the only types of fittings which are approved by 3A organization. 3-A SSI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing hygienic equipment design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.

The reason these fittings are approved is two-fold:

  1. Their design minimizes/eliminates the areas where harmful bacteria can harbor and grow.
  2. They are easy to disassemble and clean allowing.

With regards to 3A certification, it's on a per manufacturer basis. You may be able to purchase tri-clamp fittings from a variety of sources, however, companies that are producing 3A certified products will typically stamp the 3A logo directly on the fittings.

For more information about 3A Organization, you can check out their website here: http://www.3-a.org/

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