Round Steel Tubing

Contrasting the Different Qualities of Steel Pipes and Tubes

Monday, February 22, 2016

As a leading steel tube manufacturer, we’re often asked what the primary differences are between steel pipes and tubes. While, on the face of it, it may seem that the two words refer to the same end product, the opposite is true. Steel piping and tubing have different manufacturing processes, specifications and applications. In this post, we’re going to contrast the differences between the two and, hopefully, shed a little light on what is an occasionally confusing subject.

1. Tolerances

The properties of most pipes are very strictly defined, in comparison to tubes, which typically have looser specifications. As a result, if your application has stringent requirements, steel piping is likely the obvious choice.

2. Testing and inspection

Because of the tighter tolerances that piping requires, it demands more testing and inspection that tubing. Because of this, manufacturing times may be longer and the amount produced lower than steel tubing, which can be more easily mass produced.

3. Pricing

In addition to longer production times, the manufacturing of round steel piping requires additional labor, equipment and materials meaning that, often, it is more expensive than tubing.

4. Usage

Pipes are often used for gases and fluids. Tubes, on the other hand, are used when specific outside diameters are essential. As a result, tubing is often used in the medical, defense and cooling industries.

5. Connections

Just like in the manufacturing process, connecting steel pipes is more labor intensive than connecting steel tubes. Tubes can be quickly connected using couplings, whereas pipes often require welding or threading.

At Sterling Pipe & Tube, our flexibility is one of our greatest assets. With a team of experienced personnel, we can work with you to understand your application and make recommendations based on your needs. If you’ve been looking for a trustworthy, reliable partner that will help you get the job done, contact us today to discuss our products.