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ABS Pipe Or PVC Pipe? Which To Use?

Depending on the project at hand, you may need to use either an ABS or PVC pipe. What’s the difference? And how do you decide which one to use? We have you covered. Take a look at the descriptions and usage notes below for each:


While both ABS and PVC Pipes work well, note that local plumbing codes might specify that one type to be used, as opposed to the other type. Some local codes even specify what color your pipes need to be. Be sure to check with your building inspector to clarify any regulations that need to be considered as you complete the project.

Qualities that you can count on between the two types of pipes include: longevity, permissable usage for projects above and below ground, non-toxic materials, and resistance to chemical and water degradation.


Now let’s take a look at the differences between ABS and PVC Pipes…


ABS Pipes (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Pipes)

These pipe are made of more flexible material and are easier to cut. If exposed to the sun, ABS Pipes would be more likely to deform than PVC Pipes.


This type of pipe only requires cement for joining, so installation is a bit simpler with this pipe type. Also, ABS Pipes are BPA-free.


ABS pipes are commonly used for pipes, instruments, canoes, luggage, appliances, and toys (to name a few). Even Legos, for example, are made with ABS.


PVC Pipes (Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes)

This type is made with more rigid materials, so it is more difficult to cut. For projects in which the pipes will be exposed to the sun, PVC would be a good choice because they are not prone to any deformations (as ABS pipes are) in this environment.


This type of pipe requires purple primer and cement for joining. For installation, simply glue the joints together and hold in place for 5 to 10 seconds. Also note that PVC pipes do contain BPA.


PVC Pipes are commonly used for pipes, cable insulation, clothes (often used to create leather-like material), toys, and even shower curtains.


(Sources: https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/abs-vs-pvc/ and https://www.diffen.com/difference/ABS_vs_PVC )

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