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    Table of Contents

     

    Often, people get confused between steel pipes and steel tubes. However, there are a few differences between them. Before understanding the difference, one has to know the definition of pipes and tubes.   This article elaborates on the meaning of steel pipes and steel tubes and also the differences between the two products.

    Steel pipes: Meaning

    Pipes are round hollow sections that are used mainly in the transportation of fluids, gas, powders, etc. Steel pipes are used in various ways. Water supply in cities is generally done through steel pipes.

    Steel tubes: Meaning

    Steel tubes come in various shapes such as round, square, rectangular, oval, and so on. Tubing is commonly specified by its outer diameter and wall thickness, and it is typically subject to stricter and more precise tolerances and specifications compared to pipes.

    Also read: What is steel tubing?

    Difference between pipe and tube

    Here are some key differences between steel pipes and steel tubes on various parameters. The key difference between steel pipes are tubes is pipes are made to convey or transport various materials such as gas, water, liquids, powder and so on. On the other hand, steel tubes may or may not be made for carrying or transporting materials. For example, steel tubes are commonly used in steel railings.

    Steel pipes vs. steel tubes: Shape

    Steel pipes Steel tubes
    Shape Steel pipe is always round in shape. Steel tubes can be round, square, rectangular or oval.

    Steel pipes vs steel tubes: Measurement criteria

    Measurement criteria for steel pipes and steel tubes are very different. Here is what the difference is.

    Steel pipe Steel tube
    Measurement criteria Pipes are typically ordered using the nominal pipe size (NPS) standard. Steel tubes are typically measured inches and millimetres.
    Capacity NPS denotes the approximate conveyance capacity of the steel pipe. Inches and millimetres denote the outside diameter of the tube.

     

    Steel pipes vs steel tubes: Rigidity and durability

    Steel pipes are invariably rigid but are the tubes rigid? Here is more:

    Characteristics Steel pipe Steel tube
    Rigidity Steel pipes are typically rigid Steel tubes may or may not require special equipment for shaping.
    Need of special equipment Steel pipes can not be shaped without special equipment. Steel tubes may or may not require special equipment to shape.
    Durability Steel pipes are lesser durable than tubes. Steel tubes feature better durability and strength than steel pipes.

     

    Types of steel pipes and steel tubes

    Steel pipes as well as tubes can be manufactured with different kinds of steel. Here is a list.

    Types of steel pipes Types of steel tube
    • Carbon steel pipes
    • Alloy steel pipes
    • Galvanised steel pipes
    • Stainless steel pipes
    • Carbon steel tubing
    • Alloy steel tubing
    • Stainless steel tubing
    • Galvanised steel tubing

     

    Applications of steel pipes and tubing

    Steel pipes and tubes are used in various applications. Here are some of the common uses of steel pipes and tubes.

    Steel pipes applications Steel tubes applications
    • Water supply and distribution
    • Residential plumbing
    • Sewage and drainage systems
    • In drilling operations of the oil and gas industry
    • Used in the transportation of fluids, gases, and bulk materials within manufacturing facilities
    • HVAC systems
    • Agriculture and irrigation
    • Bicycle frames
    • In the mining industry for transporting materials
    • Water and wastewater management systems
    • Steel railings
    • Scaffolding
    • Automotive components such as exhaust systems, roll cages, and suspension components
    • Aerospace components like landing gear, hydraulic systems, etc.
    • Railway infrastructure like tracks, signal systems, rolling stock components
    • Power plants
    • Oil & gas industry
    • Conveyors systems
    • Robotics

    Manufacturing steel pipes and steel tubes

    Pipes: Steel pipes are manufactured with hot rolled steel.

    Tubes: Steel tubes can be hot rolled or cold rolled.

    Steel pipes and tubes, both can be galvanised as per the need. Additionally, both can be either seamless or welded.

    Sizes (length)

    Steel pipes are available in variety of sizes in terms of NPS. However, pipes come in standard sizes. Most pipes come in 21 or 42 feet.

    Similar is the case with steel tubes. Although tubes are available in various diameters, however, most tubes are sold in 20, 24, 40 and 48 foot lengths.

    Having said this, steel pipes and tube sizes are customisable.

    Prices

    Steel pipes are available in a wide range of prices depending on the size, type and steel grades used. For example, the range of steel pipe prices is ₹80 to ₹250 kg.

    Steel tubes are also available at a wide range of prices. Steel tubes’ price range is ₹60 to ₹250 kg.

    List of steel pipes and tube manufacturers

    Here is a list of some steel pipes and tube manufacturers

    • APL Apollo Tubes
    • Group Nirmal
    • JSW Steel Ltd.
    • Kalyani Steels Ltd.
    • Aditya Stainless
    • Bhuwalka Pipes (P) Ltd.
    • Reliant Pipe & Tubes
    • ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India

    Also read: ERW pipe: Meaning, full form, manufacturing process, sizes, specifications

    Frequently asked questions

    Are steel pipes and steel tubes the same?

    No. Steel pipes and steel tubes are two different things. Steel pipes are meant for carrying or transporting materials such as liquid, powders, and so on. On the other hand, steel tubes are not necessarily meant for transporting. For example, steel tubes are commonly used in scaffolding.

    Are steel pipes stronger than steel tubes?

    Generally, steel tubes are known to be more durable and stronger than steel pipes. However, strength and durability depend on the grade of steel material, application and so on.

    What is more corrosion resistance steel pipes or steel tubes?

    Corrosion resistance depends on the type of steel used. For example, stainless steel or galvanised steel is more corrosion resistant whether they are used for pipes or tubes.

    What should you choose – steel pipes and steel tubes?

    Whether to use steel pipes are steel tubes, totally depends on the application. For example, automotive components and medical equipment need tubing while residential plumbing systems need pipes for water distribution.

    Swati Deshpande

    Swati is a passionate content writer with 6 years of experience crafting content for the business and manufacturing sectors, and helping MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) navigate complexities in steel procurement, and business services. Her clear and informative writing empowers MSMEs to make informed decisions and thrive in the competitive landscape.