There are basically two common types of plastic plumbing pipes that are being used today. They are ABS pipes and PVC pipes. There are differences between these two and these differences will determine what projects they are best used for.

Below is a chart showing the differences and similarities between these two pipe materials.

  ABS Pipes PVC Pipes
Non Toxic Material Yes Yes
Resistant To Corrosion and Cracking Yes Yes
Can Be Used Above Ground Yes Yes
Can Be Used Underground Yes Yes
Withstands Sun Exposure Less Likely Yes
Easy To Install Easier Than PVC  
Used In Sewer Plumbing Yes Yes
Used In Electrical Insulation Yes Yes
Material Durability Higher Than PVC  
Flexibility   More Flexibile Than ABS
Cost Usually Less Than PVC Usually More Than ABS
Biodegradable No No
Tolerate Severe Cold Weather Better Than PVC  
Stronger Material Stronger Than PVC (but less flexible)  

What Is ABS Plastic Pipe Used For?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) pipes are often used in sewer system plumbing as well as electrical insulation projects. But - we have to say that PVC pipes can also be used for these projects as well. The big differences that determine which one to use are...

  • How flexible do you need the pipe to be? ABS pipes are less flexible than PVC pipes.
  • Will there be exposure to the sun? PVC pipes can tolerate sun exposure better than ABS pipes.
  • Which is easier to install? ABS pipes are easier because it's a one step process whereas PVC pipes require two steps.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between ABS and PVC Pipes?

Usually, ABS pipes are black and PVC pipes are white - so that's a very easy way to tell the difference.

Another difference is that PVC pipes tend to be more flexibile than ABS material.

Which Is Better - PVC or ABS Pipe?

Honestly - one type of pipe is no better than the other - it's just a matter of what is needed for the project. It boils down to cost, flexibility, ease of installation and if the project is an outdoor project - will there be any exposure to the sun?

These factors will determine which type of PVC piping you will use.

If you have any questions about your plumbing system, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.