ABS vs PVC Pipes (What’s the Difference?)

ABS vs PVC, what’s the difference? These pipes are very similar, but they also have their differences. ABS and PVC pipes are plastic pipes that are very common because of their durability and inexpensive price tag. 

Similarities Between ABS and PVC

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) are both commonly used for pipes. They are resistant to the majority of acids that can become a problem in your plumbing systems. While they are resistant to these, they are not resistant to chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons. They can be used above ground as well as underground, but PVC pipes do better above ground when exposed to the sun. 

Before you look into PVC vs ABS and their differences, it’s important to be familiar with the plumbing code. Depending on where you live, you may have no choice on which pipe to use. Some buildings will require one of the two types of pipes for their code. 

ABS vs PVC pipe

Differences Between ABS and PVC

ABS and PVC have many similarities, but they also have quite a few differences. First thing to take note of is that PVC is white and ABS is black. ABS is tough and rigid, while PVC is flexible but durable. These are small differences, but enough to make one preferable over the other for different projects. 


ABS handles cold temperatures better than PVC. This makes it great for sewer lines, especially during freezing temperatures. While it handles cold temperatures well, it doesn’t do very well when exposed to direct sunlight. If exposed to direct sunlight for long enough, it will begin to warp. Because of these differences, there are things that are more preferable to use ABS pipe for such as;

  • Sewer systems
  • Waste systems
  • Vents
  • Drain systems
  • Electrical installations
ABS pipe
ABS pipe


PVC pipes are most commonly used for main water lines and they are the more ideal pipe for indoor plumbing. They also do a great job of covering the sound of running water, and unlike ABS they are able to handle the heat of the sun. These pipes are great because they require fewer joints, which lessens the likelihood of leaks. They are also rust resistant and have less friction. PVC pipes also have certain projects they are best for such as;

  • Conduit
  • Irrigation
  • DWV

Why Choose Plastic Pipes?

As mentioned earlier, both ABS and PVC pipes are inexpensive, lightweight, and durable. Most plumbers use these plastic pipes because they are extremely versatile and can be used for many different projects. Whether you choose PVC, ABS, or CPVC pipes, you will surely be able to find the right pipe for your project.

PVC Pipe

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose ABS pipes or PVC, you’ll still be getting a good pipe that isn’t going to break the bank. Even though they are similar, it’s important to note their differences. Make sure to check your local plumbing code to ensure you are using the pipe that is allowed. If you don’t know what’s best and you need help installed new pipes, contact your local plumber to help you out!

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need a plumbing service. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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