CPVC vs PEX Pipes: What is the Difference Between Them?

We all know how difficult it is to start a construction project from scratch or to rebuild all the plumbing pipes in an environment. It is one of the hardest and most complex jobs there is! If we add to that, the difficulty of not knowing which materials we should use, we are in trouble!

One of the most difficult decisions is, without a doubt, Making the right choice between cpvc vs pex pipes.

It might be possible that you are searching the web to select a budget-friendly piping system or you are preferring a pipe with the highest durability.

CPVC and PEX are the most common pipes for water distribution. As they serve the same purpose, the difference between both materials is hard to define.  But don’t worry! We have made this task simpler for you by doing appropriate fact-based research on PEX and CPVC comparison.

Let’s look at the closest comparison of the two below.

What Is The CPVC Pipe?

cpvc pipe

You might want to use the CPVC pipe because of its high durability under extreme temperatures. This pipe is a chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. Chlorination is done by free radical chlorination reaction. We are using this pipe in favor of potable plumbing for more than 5 years.

This pipe has a very flexible material. A thermoplastic pipe that is mostly used for cold and hot delivery pipe systems. It is designed to withstand high temperatures of water that a simple PVC pipe cannot.

You can rely on these pipes to provide clean, and safe water for keeping your family healthy. You must know about how these pipes were developed first and who is the inventor!


In the 1960s, Genova products were the first ones to invent this piping tube. The main purpose was the distribution system of cold water. With the help of B.F. Goodrich Company ad Genova products, the first formulas of tetrahydrofuran and methyl ethyl ketone for CPVC pipes were developed.

After 1985, we are commonly using this pipe for fire sprinkler systems. Major industries are widely using this tubing system for different piping applications.

Measurements of CPVC Pipes

You can get CPVC tubes in nominal sizes starting from 1/2 to 2 inches. This is also available in copper tube size (CTS). Mostly pipe sizes start from 1/2 to twenty-four inches.

Overall, we can say that it is an SDR11 tubing (1/2 to 2 inches). SDR means standard hydrostatic pressure that is 400 psi at 73 Fahrenheit and 100 psi at 180 Fahrenheit for CPVC tubing. However, we recommend you to consult a professional or manufacturer before buying this piping system for suitable measurements.

They always come in straight forms.


The process of how CPVC material is formed is quite interesting. Do you know CPVC is a simple PVC? The difference is it undergoes a free radical chlorination reaction. Thermal or UV energy with different conditions is applied during this process.

Free radical chlorine is formed by the decomposition of chlorine gas. This changes the hydrogen percentage in PVC with chlorine.

Now when different conditions are applied, different chlorine percentages are added to achieve varied properties. Keep in mind that the end product can vary from manufacturers to manufacturers. The amount of polymerized chlorine can be as low as 56.7% or as high as 74%. We are talking about the weight percentage.

At the commercial level, the most common chlorine amount is 63% to 69%. So, it is a great possibility that your purchased pipe is manufactured by that much quantity. By increment in chlorine amount, glass transition temperature decrease.

However, CPVC cannot be formed with more than 70% of chlorine as it becomes unstable. Additives like stabilizers, pigments, and lubricants are also added in the process.

Advantages of CPVC Pipe:

Higher Durability

CPVC certainly offers you excellent corrosion resistance to rust. Under conditions of operation such as low pH atmosphere, marine salt air exposure, and acidic soils the pipe does not break. You can rely completely on these tubes to witness the most appropriate drinking water source.

However, note that according to NSF Specification 45 CPVC tubes are constructed for water movement. With copper tubing, you won’t get exceptionally much efficiency. As well as count the low weight of those plastic materials.

They are also thinner with greater energy than any of the other metal tubing. And, when hanging those tubes from the roof, you do not need any usually long stuff.

Little Flammability

CPVC has a very low flammable temperature of 482 degreesCelsius and would be the lowest point over which gas is potentially flammable when exposed to extreme heat.CPVC also provides a high quantity of Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) that specifies the quantity of LOI required for ignition to initiate. Consequently, CPVC functions very well in severe temperatures, especially in industrial regions.

CPVC piping systems are resistant to rust all its life. It rising maintenance costs as well as boosts the efficiency of the whole network. Such tubes can also survive extreme temperatures for long-term use, making them suitable for most industries.

Ease in Installation

Do not even think about the method of building these less dense tubing. You would already realize that we do need welding for metallic tubes too. Configure these tubes, and avoid the annoyance of welding. Instead of forging you can easily attach various bits of CPVC.

Another big advantage is that they can be configured on current old copper pipes too. Just screw the required CPVC tube length into that spot.

Disadvantages of CPVC

CPVC has not that many significant flaws but isn’t always the best choice.

Restricted application: If exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, CPVC is potentially vulnerable to breakdown.

Cost: although the cost has been considered as a benefit of CPVC, it costs more when compared directly with its closest relative, PVC.

What Is PEX Pipe?

cpvc pipe

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), a sort of lightweight material, is now replacing standard copper and stainless metal as drinking water service lines in all completely new infrastructure such as remodeling ventures.

You probably saw wraps of red and blue PEX tube in your area home renovation center’s plumbing section, but may not realize that this vibrant piping today makes it easy for enthusiastic DIYers to swap their leaking water lines instead of calling a professional.


In 1968, German investigator Thomas Engle discovered a means by radiation to introduce specific standard plastic material (polyethylene) to produce a considerably suppler version of the material.

The newly designed plastic, molded into incorporating PEX pipe (also known as PEX tubing), was first introduced in the US in the 1980s for glowing floor heating systems: the adaptable tube is integrated with a cement block as well as hot pressurized water to heat the brick and radiate heat to the rest of the building.

Although PEX usage has been common in Europe for freshwater supply schemes since the 1980s, it was a newcomer over here since some first iterations failed somewhat when exposed to the elevated levels of chlorine common in US drinking water sources.

The introduction of anti-oxidants while processing made PEX suitable for holding water supply as well as meeting our drinking water standards over the past 2 years, it started catching on.

Issues concerning original PEX water equipment arose when the fittings used to connect the pipes failed and leaked. Improved fixtures solved that problem and PEX recognition also boomed. PEX is now being used in far more than 60% of new housing water supply systems being installed.


The words PEX pipe and also PEX pipes are interchangeable terms, however, some manufacturers differentiate between the 2 by producing to the different inside / outside radii.

For example, PEX pipe can be engineered to IPS ID (iron pipe size, inside diameter, monitored) sizes with different thicknesses to meet strain requirements, while PEX tube can be engineered to CTS OD (copper tube size) dimensions were governed by outside radius, often with standard SDR 9 density (conventional dimension ratio).

Perhaps the most popular PEX tube developed for CTS OD sizes, with available sizes comprising 3/8, “5/8,” 1/2, “3/4” and 1. “On this link,” PEX tube “relates to this recognizable CTS OD commodity.

The HDPE may be painted before extrusion to yield a color-coordinated pipe. Popular varieties of PEX tubing are actually “natural” (noticeable hazy, black, white), blue and red.

The colors blue and red are generally used to support carpenters, as well as homeowners, differentiate between the supply routes for cold and hot water. On the outside, the tubing should be labeled to indicate what standards it meets.

PEX is directly wounded into spools for shipment and storage when it is made. A regular 1⁄2-inch PEX spool can carry 1200 tubing legs.

Advantages of Pex Pipe

Low Maintenance

PEX piping methods, unlike conductive options, are resistant to the redox and mineral absorption. PEX is hesitant to hold injury, as it increases in size as both moistures freeze and refreezes in the tubing, keeping away from expensive ruptures.

Simple To install

PEX plumbing systems require much fewer fixtures to be installed and do not require welding. Furthermore, since PEX plumbing is flexible, the tubing can turn ninety-degree angles without the need for elbow fixtures. PEX does not demand adhesive, which means that you do not have to work in well-vented spaces or maybe wear a dust mask. Usually, simple deployment leads to decreased costs also for the owner too!

Excellent Performance

Even if PEX wiring doesn’t release energy almost like copper, this particular piping material exhibits much more heat in heated water lines as well as repels condensation on cold water lines. As an extra advantage, water goes through PEX tubing much quieter than it can via the copper, erasing the distinguishing “water spear” intervention of metallic pipe techniques.

Low Cost

PEX is comparatively cheaper than copper. Half inch PEX ducting costs around one-quarter of copper ‘s cost! Furthermore, since PEX is flexible, it should be shipped and stored on spools, where tight metal or plastic packaging could be cut to a reasonable holding and shipment volume. This translates to lower delivery when juggling the prices.

Disadvantages of PEX

PEX isn’t ideal for use in backyards. Uv rays lead to pretty fast digestion of PEX-tubing left outdoors will stiffen as well as fracture within a few months.

PEX cannot be recycled at all, as it does not dissolve like many other recycled materials. None the less, with the recognition of PEX rising, the necessitate for a way to recycle it will likely increase as well.

While installation is very DIY-friendly, PEX needs to work with special connections.

PEX vs CPVC: Head to Head Comparison

High-Temperature Capacity

When it comes to temperature bearing capacity of both, remember that they are both designed to bear high-temperature exposure. However, there are differences based on both chemicals used in both pipes.

If we take a look at CPVC, it is pressure rated as high as 200°F. Other pipes can be used for pressurized service up to 160°F. It means temperature capacity of CPVC pipes are greater and is suitable to use under high temperature as compared to other materials.

However, if you are going to select a PEX piping system, don’t worry. Our research shows that it can withstand temperature up to 180°F for plumbing projects. That is also a good pressure rating. But if you think that you need more capacity than that, go with CPVC pipes.

When you are going to buy any of the tubes, you will see the highest temperature limitation on the pipes or tubes in small words. So, purchase according to your requirements.

Pressure Rating

The test shows that CPVC pipes have a pressure rating of 73°F that is equal to 22.8 degrees in Celsius. Both CPVC and PEX pipes are manufactured according to ASTM and SDR standards. So, PEX is no less! PEX can also withstand high pressure.

Mostly PEX tubes have a pressure rating of 80psi at 200°F or sometimes 160psi at 73°F. This is the same as CPVC. It is clear that both materials are very strong and have good pressure ratings. You can choose either of them.

Chlorine Resistance

CPVC is a certified product by the AWWA and EPA. It offers a great chlorine resistance but Its property can get affected due to higher temperatures and UV rays. However, you can rely on the CPVC piping system for managing focused chlorine purifiers at drinking water treatment services.

Now, PEX also provides a great chlorine resistance but is a little low than CPVC. Before discussing that matter further, you should aware of the fact that different manufacturers use different techniques and chemical percentages.

So, it is important to buy a good quality of both products that offer good resistance. If you are getting our point, you will always check the measurements and resistance capability of pipes. Whether you are choosing CPVC or PEX.

PEX resists chlorine at 4.3ppm, however, different tests and researches claim that higher temperature harms chlorine resistance and brings down its overall performance. PEX items are approved by ASTM F2023. This standard of piping has temperature and pressure limits. Though, these limits are not for all kinds of construction.

We can say that even though both temperatures have good temperature and pressure ratings, less chlorine resistivity can bring down the performance of PEX tunings.

You should know that CPVC is not immune to chlorine resistance. If temperature and pressure exceed, these pipes will also get damage.

UV Resistance

Pipes’ performance can get affected by ultraviolet rays. Besides the sun, any bulb can be a source of these rays. While comparing both materials, we think that CPVC has higher resistance against this deadly radiation. This is because of how both are manufactured.

You should always take care of any plastic pipes and keep them away from heavy UV exposure. These radiations can cause your pipe to appear very yellowish or ugly. If you will use both pipes under regular conditions far from too much sun exposure. They will keep working fine without any discoloration.


Both pipes are easy to install and don’t require welding. So, if you choose any of them over metal pipes, it is going to save you some money.

They can easily set up by just connecting the various sizes in lengths with each other. CPVC is less complicated than PEX to understand.


As you might have figured out by now through the CPVC VS PEX comparison, both plumbing items carry pros and cons. There are greater advantages to both so we cannot focus on their drawbacks.

Many people prefer CPVC over PEX but some plumbers think that PEX is a more durable material. The truth these reviews are experience based on material quality.

Whether you want to replumb or going to do a new construction project, choose according to environmental facts and your project requirements. No matter, what piping system you are choosing, don’t forget to share your experience to let the world know more.

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