Skip to main content

Although the terms are interchangeable sometimes, there is a notable difference between pipe and tube, mostly in terms of ordering and tolerating the material. Because tubing is utilized for structural purposes, the outer diameter is the most critical dimension. Tubes are frequently used in applications that need exact outside diameters, such as medical devices.

The outside diameter is significant because it determines how much weight it can support as a stability element. Pipes are usually used to carry liquids or gases, therefore, knowing the capacity is critical. It’s essential to know the flowing capacity of a pipe. The pipe’s round form makes it effective at handling force from the liquid running through it. When you are a steel pipe buyer you must know the details well.

Purchasing Tubing or Pipe

Tubing is most commonly bought by wall thickness and outside diameter, but it can also be ordered by OD & ID or ID and wall thickness. Despite the fact that tubing has three dimensions, only two of them may be defined with tolerances. Tubing is frequently ordered with tighter tolerances and standards than pipe and is kept to them. Pipe is commonly ordered using the NPS standard, which requires a nominal diameter and a schedule number to be specified. Pipes and tubes can be bent, cut, flared, and manufactured.


Tube and pipe are distinguished by a few essential characteristics:


The pipe is usually round. Tubes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including square, rectangular, and round.


Outside diameter and wall thickness are commonly specified when ordering tubes. Tubing is subject to stricter tolerances and requirements than pipe. Pipe is usually ordered by the NPS or nominal pipe size standard and specifying the details as wall thickness and diameter.


Pipe is brittle and cannot be formed without the use of special tools. Tubes can get shapes with some effort, with the exception of copper and brass. Tubing can be bent and coiled without causing severe deformation, wrinkling, or breaking.

Types of Metal

Tubes can be cold or hot rolled. Only hot rolled pipe is used. Both of these items can be galvanized.


Larger uses can be accommodated using pipes. When small diameters are necessary, tubing is commonly employed.


Tubes are more durable than pipe. Tubes are more durable and strong in applications that demand them.

International Pipe is a Company That Specializes in steel

International Pipe has proudly served the industrial, energy, medical, and aerospace industries around the world for over many years, earning a status as a world-class tubing parts and components supplier. If you’d like to get a product quote or a steel pipe buyer, see us!