PVC Vs. Polyurethane Tubing

Written by ben beers
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PVC Vs. Polyurethane Tubing
PVC pipe is rigid but stable. (pvc image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com)

PVC and polyurethane tubing are both useful for home plumbing and remodelling, and both can be purchased at most hardware stores. The difference between the two comes down to logistics, as they are installed and assembled in different ways.

PVC Pipe

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe is often used in sewage and plumbing systems. Although rigid, it can be bent by heating the pipe in order to soften it. It can also be bent by attaching straight pipes to elbow joints.

Polyurethane Tubing

Polyurethane tubing is less rigid than PVC pipe. Additionally, PVC is ordinarily opaque, while polyurethane tubing is normally clear (although a variety of colours are available). Polyurethane tubing is also very flexible, but has a strong "memory" despite its flexibility. Even when bent and shaped, it tends to return to its original shape when not held in place.


Polyurethane tubing is the best choice for applications where flexibility is required. If you have to bend a tube around a lot of corners or through a small space, go with polyurethane tubing. PVC must be heated in order to bend. Large PVC pipes are cheaper than large polyurethane tubes, so PVC is more cost-effective when moving a high volume of liquid.

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