I'm using nylon garden hose type fittings for all connections. Much cheaper and only slightly less convenient to use. I prefer the nylon as it doesn't retain much heat energy making handling the fittings much easier. As for SS, it's top notch, but other than for the kettles I don't use it. I have no qualms about using brass valves and other fittings and it's a lot less expensive way to go. Stainless is pretty and for some it seems to satisfy a fetish of sorts, but I have a hard time justifying the expense.