Which is the Best Plumbing Material?

Which is the Best Plumbing Material?

Finding the ideal pipe material for your home plumbing system requires careful consideration of both advantages and disadvantages. Copper has long been considered reliable due to its durability, while pex is flexible enough to bend around obstacles more easily while needing less fittings to install.

Galvanized steel pipes tend to corrode quickly and reduce water flow; for this reason they should usually be upgraded with more durable materials like plastic or ABS.


Copper pipes are durable, long-term investments. Their corrosion-resistance and lead-free nature reduces contamination risk for drinking water supply; however, copper is costly to produce and its extraction/manufacture processes have environmental ramifications.

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) plastic tubing provides another copper alternative, offering flexible transfer of cold and hot water, without leaks and breaks due to being freeze resistant and flexible.

Galvanized steel pipes are coated in zinc to reduce corrosion, making them budget-friendly and ideal for most piping applications. While not recommended with hot water usage as its zinc component can leach into your drinking supply, alternatives to this material include ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride).


Brass is a copper-zinc alloy, composed of various metals such as iron, aluminum, silicon and manganese. The composition determines its color, strength and workability while its corrosion-resistance makes it perfect for many environments such as saltwater environments or chemicals. Brass can be found in musical instruments, decorative items and plumbing fixtures as well as machinery parts that require low friction applications.

There are two distinct categories of brasses: those suitable for cold working and those that require hot working. Cold worked brasses are known as alpha brasses and are used to manufacture pins, bolts, ammunition cartridge cases and ammunition cartridge cases; beta brasses have less ductility but stronger structures and are used in manufacturing faucet handles and window and door fittings.


Copper pipes have long been considered the premier material for pipeing safe drinking water, lasting for up to 100 years when properly maintained and installed by professionals. Unfortunately, copper can be more costly than other plumbing pipe materials and requires professional installation services for installation purposes.

CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) piping water pipes is another popular choice, due to its excellent temperature tolerance, ease of installation and cutback and cost efficiency. Unfortunately, it’s vulnerable to damage from UV rays so must be installed indoors for proper functioning.

PVC pipes are cost-effective and ideal for both hot and cold water delivery, while being non-toxic and not degrading over time. Consulting a licensed plumber should help determine the material best suited to you piping needs.


AB pipes (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) resemble PVC in appearance but are blacker and more durable, making them easier for plumbers to cut and connect using solvent cements. Furthermore, they’re more suited for cold temperatures.

ABS plastic does not rust or corrode like copper does, though it may warp under UV rays and shouldn’t be used in aboveground or outdoor pipe systems. Furthermore, it contains Bisphenol A which can be harmful to both people and the environment; nevertheless it’s less costly than PVC drain piping systems and ideal for underground drain piping applications such as underground drain systems; its quieter than metal pipes make it ideal for those with sensitive hearing. Copper pipes last much longer and tolerate higher water pressure; however they’re more expensive.

Galvanized Steel

There are five primary plumbing pipe materials still in widespread use today: copper, galvanized steel, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).

Galvanized steel pipes are coated in zinc to prevent corrosion, making them safe choices for drinking water delivery, but their lifespan can be short and they rust easily leading to discolored water and discolored pipes.

PVC pipes are economical, flexible and work well in most warm and cold water applications. Their durability means that they can withstand high temperatures as well. Unfortunately, PVC is not recommended for underground piping due to UV ray damage; for best results use them indoors instead.