Learn About the Difference Between Steel Tube and Pipe

stainless steel piping

Pipes and tubes are two of the most common materials used in construction and other applications. Although they are different components, the terms pipes and tubes are used interchangeably. Even professionals sometimes make this mistake.

But what is the difference between steel tube and pipe? To help you learn which material you need for your project, we’ll discuss the various factors that differentiate stainless tube and pipe.


One of the main differences between tubes and pipes is their shape. A pipe is always round, with a smooth external surface that allows maximum flow capacity.

On the other hand, a tube can be round or rectangular. Stainless steel square tubing is also available. This allows the material to be used in a variety of applications.


Pipes and tubes are measured differently. A tube is usually measured according to its outside diameter and wall thickness. Tube measurements are also stricter because they must be precise to ensure that it fits into the other components of a system.

Pipe, on the other hand, is measured using the nominal pipe size (NPS) standard. This is a standardized measurement that indicates the inside diameter of the pipe, not its outside diameter.

Individuals or companies that order pipe may also specify the pipe size and wall thickness they need. This helps if the project needs exact measurements for a specific system.

steel pipe


For projects that need flexibility, a pipe might not be the best option. This is because this material is rigid and requires special equipment to be shaped into any other form.

In contrast, tubes are more pliable and can be bent or shaped into different geometric configurations without the use of complex equipment. Custom stainless steel tubing can also be created without causing too much distortion, wrinkling, or fracturing in the material. However, tubes made from copper and brass might be difficult to form into other shapes.


Pipes are typically used in applications that involve transporting gasses or liquids. That is why their capacity to handle pressure is one of the most important factors when selecting them.

Their circular shape is also caused by their application. This shape is more effective in handling pressure, especially when transporting liquids.

On the other hand, tubes are typically used in structural or mechanical applications. These materials are used to construct railings, ladders, frames, and other components of a structure. Their ability to be bent or formed allows them to fit into spaces that would otherwise be impossible to reach.

Additionally, tubes are used in medical devices. Since this type of equipment requires precision, the tube’s outside diameter should be measured accurately. This can suggest the material’s stability and reliability during medical procedures.

stainless tube and pipe


Stainless tubes and pipes are available in different sizes. But because of its application, a pipe is generally larger. To transfer large volumes of liquids and gasses, pipes with bigger diameters are necessary.

On the other hand, tubes come in smaller sizes. Its flexibility allows it to fit into tight spaces and areas with limited access. However, if the application requires larger sizes, custom stainless steel tubing options are available.


Both pipe and tube are made from stainless steel, which makes them durable. But because of their construction, tubes are more resistant to corrosion than pipes. Additionally, it can handle higher pressure and temperatures and offers better strength retention even when exposed to harsh elements.

Tubes are also better for applications that require extensive durability. This is why it’s commonly used in the construction of railings, buildings, and other structures.

Choose the Best Material for Your Project

When it comes to pipes and tubes, there are many differences in terms of size, rigidity, and application. To ensure the success of your project, it’s best to consider all these factors before making a final decision.

If you need help deciding which material is right for your project, consult with our team at Global Nexus Corporation. We can provide expert advice and help you find the best stainless steel pipe or tube for your needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products and services.

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