Remember when we just had to argue about if press fittings were as good as soldering? Oh, simpler times. Fast forward a decade or so and consistency of press connections and longevity are not really in question any longer. Pressing has become the preferred option for many, and in doing so, opened a much larger market.

In the beginning, Viega ProPress was the household name for Press Head fittings. You got your RIDGID Press Tool with your ProPress set of heads, Bob’s your uncle, all the names matched. Then, MegaPress came along for Black Pipe, along with PEX connections–but that’s a whole different beast you can learn about here. Fast forward a few years and now there are multiple fitting manufacturers: Mueller, NIBCO, Aollo, PurePro and more. Most people still refer to all fittings as ProPress, similar to Kleenex with Tissues or SAWZALL for a reciprocating saw. However, other manufacturers can’t use the ProPress or MegaPress trade names without paying some big royalties to Viega, so they launched their own names, like NIBCO BenchPress or Mueller with ACR and PRS fittings. Essentially, the more brands that rolled out, the more names we got, which brings us to today’s topic… what the heck are RLS, CTS and IPS? And is any of it compatible?

What is CTS-V vs CTS-N?

Recently we started to see CTS more, then CTS-V and CTS-N pop up on a few products. If you tried to figure out what CTS-V was on your own and all you got on Google was info on Cadillacs with performance engines, that’s why we decided to write this blog! With more manufacturers, like Milwaukee and Dewalt, rolling out press tools these days, it can be difficult to figure out what heads and fittings are compatible.

Obviously, there are underlying standards at work here that allow tool manufacturers and press fitting manufacturers to work together, as well as engineers, building inspectors, and those of us who like the liquids to stay in the pipes to feel confident in this whole system. That doesn’t make it less confusing, though. So, to sum it up, CTS-V is essentially a Viega ProPress or Muller PRS–an overarching name used to describe the standard fitting that all the major brands, including NIBCO, can use for ½” – 2” copper press fittings.

The confusion comes into play when you start getting into larger fittings like 2-½”, 3”, and 4” where the CTS-V standard actually switches connection type and goes to a grip ring style (see images above), which functions very differently. For RIDGID, these come together in a XL-C Kit (20483), or Milwaukee has the updated FORCE LOGIC (49-16-2690X.)

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
20483RIDGID Standard ProPress XL-C Rings (2-1/2 – 4″)$3,199.99
49-16-2690XMilwaukee 2-1/2″ – 4″ CTS-V Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tools$3,399.00
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.

NIBCO, however, took a different path for the larger 2-½” – 4” fittings, keeping the same connection O-ring mechanism as the smaller CTS-V, but changing the name to CTS-N.

Currently, your best option for NIBCO CTS-N fittings come from Milwaukee’s 49-16-2690NX, which gives you 2-½” – 4” press heads and a matching actuator in a kit. The included actuator is unfortunately different than the one that works with their other CTS-V Press Heads, but this was intentional so that you don’t mistakenly pair them together and mix them up. These heads are just being branded “NIBCO”, so they shouldn’t be easily mistaken anyways, but they are branding their other set as CTS-V, which might possibly be the first time the Milwaukee Product Team chose not to give a product a clever name and used a boring industry standard instead. Consistency, finally!

Milwaukee CTS-V Pivoting Press Ring Kit for
M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tools 49-16-2690X

Do Different Heads fit into Different Tools?

So, do these new NIBCO press heads fit into your RIDGID tool, or visa-versa, will your MegaPress (RIDGID) head fit into your M18 tools? Each Manufacturer will tell you that they designed and tested their tools to work with their press heads and do not hold any liability if you swappsies. But of course, we have seen first-hand that many do fit each other and we’ve watched them press fittings onto pipes. How do these presses hold up in the real world though, especially after many years? Maybe ok, but that’s a lot of extra liability. For that reason, we don’t suggest anyone swap heads. The prices are pretty similar, just keep it within the same brand and rely on the full faith and warranties of these tool manufacturers.

Why Choose Pivoting Press Heads

For the larger diameter Press Heads, majority of people opt for the pivoting press head style for a few reasons. These heavier heads are being attached to much larger tools that would be very difficult to manage and keep inline.

Breaking the head into a ring and actuator allows the ring to properly align easily, and the actuator attached to the tool can be positioned within 180 degrees, which helps in tight spaces or simply to be more comfortable for the user. Because of these benefits, these heads are still a sought after design even on smaller sizes and tools.

Milwaukee 1/2″ – 1″ IPS-P Pivoting Press Ring Kit for
M12 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool 49-16-2496X

Combinations We Recommend:

For CTS-V, the RIDGID ProPress C1 ½” – 1-1/4” Kit is a great option that is compatible with RIDGID’s Compact RP240 and RP241 Press Tools.

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
28043RIDGID C1 Compact Rings Kit for ProPress (½” – 1-1/4″)$1,648.59
57398RIDGID RP 240 Compact Press Tool Kit with ProPress Jaws (½” – 1-1/4″)$2,535.46
57363RIDGID RP 241 Compact Inline Press Tool Kit ProPress Jaws (½” – 1-1/4″)$2,399.97
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.

For non-compact Standard Pressing Tools, RIDGID’s RP350 and RP351, we recommend the Pivoting V1 Kit (½” – 1-1/4”) or V2 Kit (1-½” – 2”). 

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
67053RIDGID RP 350 Press Tool Kit ProPress Jaws (½” – 2″)$3,929.99
67178RIDGID RP 351 Inline Press Tool Kit w/ ProPress Jaws (½” – 2″)$3,929.99
27423RIDGID Standard ProPress V1 Kit (½” – 1-1/4″)$1,648.59
27428RIDGID Standard ProPress V2 Kit (1-½” – 2″)$1,122.29
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.

If you’re on Milwaukee’s platform, for CTS-V, their Compact M12 Press solution for ½” – 1-1/4” is the 49-16-2490X Kit. If you have the larger Standard M18 Press tool, the ½” – 2” 49-16-2692X is what you’ll want to go for.

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
49-16-2490XMilwaukee ½” – 1-1/4″ CTS-V Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M12 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool$1,769.00
49-16-2692XMilwaukee ½” – 2″ CTS-V Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tools$3,049.00
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.

So How Does IPS-P Fit with Black Pipe Fittings?

As of right now, all the IPS-P fittings and press heads are the same across all the major brands for ½” – 4” carbon steel fittings. So, despite what we mentioned earlier about swapping, RIDGID’s MegaPress Jaws or Milwaukee’s IPS-P Jaws do work on fittings from Viega MegaPress or Mueller STL or NIBCO BenchPress.

Milwaukee 2-1/2″ – 4″ IPS-P Pivoting Press Ring Kit for
M18 FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tool

Obviously, there are different applications and ASTM standards you’ll need to understand to determine what fitting and materials are right for your application, but the tools to press these fittings are the same standard from RIDGID or Milwaukee, or even now from DeWalt. We know… it makes so much sense!

Pressing Black Pipe requires a little more juice though, so while the ½” – 2” heads can be used with compact or standard press tools, you’re going to need some additional hardware or larger pressing tools when you get to the 2-½”+ range. To amp up your power, the RIDGID MegaPress XL Booster Kit is a great option that’s compatible with their Standard RP340 or RP350. Or, if you don’t have a tool yet, just opt for the RP342-XL kit (65478) that comes with the tool and all the large heads.

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
60658RIDGID MegaPress XL Press Booster for use with Standard Press (RP340, RP350)$2,716.49
60638RIDGID Press Booster with Viega MegaPress XL 2-1½” – 4″ Heads$5,038.31
65478RIDGID RP 342-XL MegaPress with Z3 Actuator and 2-½” – 4″ XL Rings Kit$6,886.39
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.
RIDGID Press Booster with Viega MegaPress XL 2-1/2″-4″ Heads

Similarly for Milwaukee, there is a new M12 ½” – 1” Pivoting Head IPS-P kit (49-16-2496X) and M18 ½” – 2” IPS-P kit (49-16-2697X). For any larger 2-½” – 4” pressing though, it will require a step up to the M18 FORCE LOGIC Inline Press Tool (2773-20L) and 49-16-2698X ring kit.

Product ImageSKUProduct NameProduct Price
49-16-2496XMilwaukee ½” – 1″ IPS-P Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M12 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool$1,769.00
49-16-2697XMilwaukee ½” – 2″ IPS-P Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tools$4,200.00
49-16-2698XMilwaukee 2-½” – 4″ IPS-P Pivoting Press Ring Kit for M18 FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tool$3,899.00
2773-20LMilwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tool Kit$3,399.99
*Prices as of time of posting and subject to change.
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Milwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tool Kit 2773-20L

RLS and ZoomLock for HVAC

Now lets talk RLS & ZoomLock. These 2 were functionally the same and interchangeable… But that was too simple, so they split and ZoomLock MAX is now different, old ZoomLock is same as RLS (If you would like to learn more about the history of RLS & ZoomLock check this Mechanical Hub article out right here!). These look very similar to pressing heads for CTS/ProPress systems, but are not the same and instead are designed for specific types of HVAC installations. These heads can, however, be used with your existing press tools from Milwaukee, RIDGID, etc., so that just by adding a few specific heads, your tools can become even more versatile.  

ZoomLock, ZoomLock MAX & RLS fittings are designed to meet ASTM B280 standards, which specify requirements for seamless copper tube for air conditioning and refrigeration field service. CTS & ProPress fittings, on the other hand, are widely used across both plumbing and HVAC systems. They utilize a similar press technology, but are compatible with a broader range of materials, including copper, stainless steel, and carbon steel. The versatility of CTS is enhanced by its compliance with ASTM F1807 standards for metal insert fittings and PEX tubing, which underscores its suitability for a variety of plumbing applications beyond just HVAC systems.  

While ZoomLock’s ASTM B280 is focused on the specific needs of refrigeration and air conditioning systems using copper tubes, ASTM F1807 covers a broader spectrum, allowing for use in a variety of plumbing scenarios.

Ridgid & Milwaukee offers RLS Press Heads but only Milwaukee offers ZoomLock MAX Press Heads, 49-16-2462Z kit specifically.

So what is Streamline ACR Compatible With? 

Streamline ACR (Air Conditioning and Refrigerant), on the other hand, is a totally different press system than the Streamline PRS (which is compatible with CTS-V fittings). ACR stands alone in its design, but meets the same B280 standards as RLS & ZoomLock. The ACR system is specifically designed for high pressure and varying temperature conditions. The obvious difference is that this system features DuelSeal design with 2 separate O-rings and a TrapZone gap to prevent leaks, which make the fittings clearly larger and noticeably different than other press fittings. Because this requires essentially 2 presses simultaneously, it also requires a larger Standard Tool (32 kN), such as an M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool Kit (2922-22). At this time, Milwaukee is only brand with compatible ACR press heads, but of course that may change in the future.         

All of these tools, accessories, and kits are available at Ohio Power Tool right now, and we’re always happy to help you figure out which one is the right fit for you! Don’t hesitate to reach out at or 614-481-2111 with any questions, comments, or concerns, and be sure to follow us on all your favorite social media channels to stay in the know on all the latest announcements, deals, news, and more!