Tubes vs. Pipes: Knowing The Difference

Plumbing Pipes Stacked in a WarehouseIndividuals who are looking to personally replace an old pipe would typically have to go to a hardware store to obtain a replacement pipe. Of course, simply grabbing a cylindrical tool isn’t advisable. This is because the person might purchase a steel tube instead of a pipe.

While tubes and pipes share certain similarities, they’re very different from each other. Keep these differences in mind with regard to tubes and pipes so that you do not end up buying the wrong product.

Take Note of How Tubes and Pipes Are Measured

To measure pipes and tubes, one would consider the Nominal Pipe Size (NPS). One measures tubes by its exact outside diameter (OD) and its wall thickness. On the other hand, a person measures pipes through its nominal OD or through the NPS and its wall thickness.

A Difference in Shape and Malleability

Pipes are typically round or cylindrical. In contrast, tubes come in various shapes. They can be square, rectangular, round, or cylindrical in shape.

In terms of malleability, pipes are usually rigid. Conversely, tubes, to a certain extent, can be flexible.

Take Purpose into Account

Tubes and pipes both have very different purposes. Individuals would usually use pipes to transport liquid or gases. You can see them in residential properties and business establishments like restaurants. On the other hand, people use tubes in structural applications and construction purposes.

In other words, pipes are usually for residential and commercial purposes while tubes are primarily for industrial purposes.

A Difference in the Installation Process

Pipes can be a bit difficult to install. Depending on the situation, they may require welding, threading or flanges. In contrast, one can easily join tubes by flaring, blazing, or couplings. Of course, it’s best to leave the installation of these materials to professionals.

When buying a tube or a pipe, take note of the differences in measurement, shape, malleability, purpose, and installation procedure. Knowing these differences ensures that you get the right product for your requirements.