ABS Vs PVC | A Comprehensive Comparision

Hello People; today, I will share a detailed guide on PVC VS ABS to determine which material is the best for your piping needs.

ABS Vs PVC Pipes 

There are several reasons for choosing plastic piping over copper or metal piping. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and will never rust. Plastic pipes keep hot water hot and don’t collect condensation from cold water, which metal pipes tend to do. Having said that, not all plastic pipes are the same. The most common materials used for making plastic pipes are PVC, ABS, and HDPE.

Here we will discuss the difference between ABS and PVC and what fits you best according to your application.

ABS Vs PVC: The Key Differences 

The main difference between ABS and PVC pipes is that the former contains a chemical called Bisphenol-A, aka BPA, which PVC doesn’t. The chemical substance is blended with plastic materials to make them hard and durable, making them useful for many applications.

Including BPA in plastics and resins is a controversial topic, as research on animals shows that it affects their health adversely. No proof has been obtained that it affects human health and is also considered safe in specific amounts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Apart from BPA, other differences between ABS and PVC include their color – ABS pipes are always black, but PVC Pipes are primarily white (depending on the type). But since pipes aren’t meant to be seen, plumbers are usually more interested in other attributes.

Another critical difference between the two is their installation process. With ABS pipe, connections have to be made using special cement, and PVC pipes are primed, then cemented together, making PVC pipe installation a two-step process rather than one in ABS piping.

Talking about ABS and PVC’s physical attributes, PVC is more flexible than ABS, and the latter has greater strength and can resist higher impacts or shocks. ABS is better at handling drastically cold temperatures, but it warps if exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period of time. PVC is considered the best for muffling the sound of running water. In addition, they are both resistant to water and chemical degradation.

In terms of costs, both pipes have similar prices in almost all countries.

Interesting Read – Plastics Vs. Polymers | What are the Differences?

Applications of PVC and ABS Pipings 

ABS pipes are a desirable choice for residential and commercial uses. It will not peel, flake, rot, dissolve, fade, or leak. It’s suitable to be used outside, underground, and in the extreme cold where it is not exposed to direct sunlight. Plumbers often use ABS pipes for drain, waste, and vent piping systems. You will also notice that ABS pipe is also used for a sewage system in drainage and as electrical insulation.

PVC pipes are also used in several applications as well. It’s generally a fantastic choice for indoor uses as it is suitable for muffling the sound of running water. Schedule 40 PVC pipes will be ideal for drains and wastewater. PVC pipes are used extensively for drain, waste, and vent piping systems like ABS pipes. Its versatility, durability, and applicability make PVC pipes a good choice for professionals.

How to Join ABS and PVC Piping 

Ideally, using PVC and ABS pipes in the same piping system is not recommended. As a matter of fact, many plumbing codes deny gluing ABS to PVC, so it’s necessary to check the local regulations before endeavoring something like that. However, if there are restrictions in your location, joining ABS and PVC pipes can be quickly done using fittings rather than glue.

Typically, professionals use glue for joining pipes, but it’s not the best way to join ABS and PVC pipes. Rather than making a perfect clamping connection, rubber sleeves, and a metal jacket are more competent options. The sleeve is placed at the end of two pipes to connect them. Ensure that you are using coupling indicated as plastic-to-plastic.

Engaging Read – CPVC VS PVC | Difference Between PVC and CPVC

ABS Vs PVC: What to Choose and When?

As mentioned easier, both ABS and PVC pipes are suitable for residential and commercial applications. However, knowing which one would be best for a specific scenario is the most crucial part. ABS pipes are best suited for underground applications without exposure to sunlight. On the other hand, PVC pipes are a fabulous option for indoor applications as it is soundproof.

Check the Code

Another super important factor for choosing between ABS and PVC is the local codes. Your local government might have already decided for you. Some local building codes mandate the use of one pipe over the other. However, many leave the option to professionals.


Below are the frequently asked questions on PVC vs ABS. Let’s dig deep to know more.

How much weight can a PVC pipe hold?

Most PVC pipes can hold at least 28 pounds of weight before they start bending. However, sometimes longer PVC pipes begin to bend under their weight. A prime rule of thumb is never to use PVC pipes to hold larger quantities of weight, especially if you don’t want them to become stiff.

Why are PVC and ABS piping better than copper?

Contrary to copper pipes, PVC and ABS pipes can resist corrosion as it is plastic, and as they are thicker than copper pipes, they can also withstand a good amount of pressure and impact. In addition, PVC and ABS pipes are better placed in high-traffic areas as they’re not a good heat conductor like copper.

What is the lifespan of pipes made from PVC and ABS?

The average lifespan of ABS and PVC pipes is 75 to 100 years.

What are the disadvantages of ABS pipes?

Although I’ve discussed all the great aspects of ABS pipe, we should still look at the other side. Below are the disadvantages of using ABS pipe:

  • Poor UV resistance unless protected.
  • Maximum continuous use temperature approx. 70 °C ( 160 °F ).
  • Poor bearing properties for high friction and wear.
  • High smoke evolution.

What are the disadvantages of PVC pipe?

Below are the disadvantages of PVC pipe:

  • At higher temperatures, the strength of the pipe will be reduced.
  • Easily cracked.

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The Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing between ABS and PVC pipes depends on the specific needs and requirements of the project. PVC pipes are more cost-effective and lightweight, making them popular for residential plumbing systems. ABS pipes are more robust and durable, making them suitable for industrial and commercial applications.

Ultimately, it is essential to consider factors such as cost, durability, chemical resistance, and environmental impact when selecting between ABS and PVC pipes.

That’s from my side. Kindly share your reviews in the comment section.

Have a Fantastic day ahead.

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