Difference Between ABS and PVC

From diff.wiki

There are different kinds of pipes in plumbing and among them, ABS and PVC pipes are two of the most popular ones. People who don’t have much experience with plumbing may think them similar, but they actually have differences that can be relevant to your plumbing needs. Here, we will discuss the difference between ABS and PVC plastic pipes.


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) pipes have a black color and contain BPA. BPA is often the subject of argument due to the possible harm it can cause to one’s health. However, the FDA has confirmed that the current levels of BPA in human food is still safe. ABS pipes are good at withstanding cold and are sturdier than ABS pipes. These pipes are also better at withstanding shock, although they do tend to warp when exposed to direct sunlight. They are ideal for underground plumbing.


PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) pipes have a white color and do not contain any BPA. Their main characteristics are their flexibility and durability. They are also soundproof - PVC pipes muffle the sound of running water. This trait makes them ideal for indoor plumbing.

Full name Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Poly Vinyl Chloride
Molecular formula (C8H8·C4H6·C3H3N)n (C2H3Cl)n
Contains BPA Yes No
Color Black White
Key traits Sturdy, can withstand shock and cold temperatures, tends to warp when exposed to direct sunlight Flexible, durable, soundproof
Installation One step - connected using special cement Two steps - primed and cemented
Ideal for Underground plumbing Indoor plumbing

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