Quick disconnects are (as the name would imply) connectors that can be connected and disconnected quickly. These seal very well (no drips at all) and support liquid flow in either direction. Mates with the male end to form a locking seal. The female end comes with a spring loaded cover (that must be pulled back when connecting or disconnecting), ball bearings that lock into the male groove, and a food grade o-ring that creates the seal.
This part is basically a compact version of our Stainless steel female quick disconnect 1/2" NPT male already mated with our Stainless steel 1/2" NPT female x 1/2" barb fitting.
We opted to use the two separate pieces instead as it makes the solid ends of the hose a bit heavier (better when sparging into the boil kettle and filling fermenters) and a bit longer (easier to grip). Which option you choose is up to you.