The terms “pipe” and “tube” are often used interchangeably. However, there are important key differences.

Tubes are measured by outside diameter, rather than inside diameter. Tubes will be hollow, like pipes, but their inner specification is not as important as the outer measurement. Tubes are often used in precisely measured areas that require a very specific outer size to be maintained, such as medical equipment.

Pipes, on the other hand, are measured based on the inside diameter only. The nominal diameter (the inside diameter) is specified, as with tubes, but the outside of the pipe is measured in thickness rather than a precise diameter.

Tubes can also be made in a variety of shapes, like oval or square, whereas pipes are always round. Tubes are also stronger than pipes and are used in applications where strength and durability are required.

It is essential to maintain the integrity of the outer diameter measurement of the tube when bending. Because tubes are often used in precision equipment where the outer diameter must be precise, it is vital to use a professional and experienced manufacturer when tube bending is required.

If a fabrication tool can bend a tube, it can bend a pipe. Tubing requires more precision when bending to maintain that outer measurement. Pipe bending doesn’t require maintaining the same standard of outer diameter. In situations where the tube or pipe in question is very small or very large, however, a special machine capable of handling the specified size would be required.

Please visit SAMS Fabrications at for more information on tube and pipe bending services.