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PVC Pipe vs HDPE Pipe

  12 Dec 2021

PVC vs. Poly (or HDPE) Pipe: What Are Their Differences?

If you’re in the construction industry, you’ll definitely know that the water system is one of the most important features that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In order to deliver the appropriate quantity and pressure to all sorts of public utilities, commercial buildings, and individual housings, a system of suitable pipes is required both under and above ground level.

For years, engineers and homeowners have been actively searching for piping systems that are durable, lightweight, and have a low risk of leakage to be used in commercial buildings and houses – with this eventually becoming quite the hot topic in Lowyat. To date, there are continuous debates as to which pipe is the best to work with and for what type of project. Here in Malaysia, both PVC pipes and HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) pipes are the most widely used piping solutions that many people would recommend.

Today, in this article, we’re going to cover and answer the most common questions people have about the key differences and comparison between PVC and Poly (High-Density Polyethylene) pipes, as well as their usages. We hope this will help provide you with some guidance in selecting the right piping solution for your next project.

Let’s get started!

Introduction To PVC & HDPE Pipes

For starters, HDPE is short for High-Density Polyethylene. They are mostly used for fluid and gas transfer, or to replace ageing concrete and steel pipelines as it is highly flexible and durable. HDPE pipes can be applied almost anywhere - surface, underground, as well as floating.

You can read more about HDPE pipes in our earlier article here: Complete Guide To HDPE Pipes In 2021

On the other hand, PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride. They are strong, hardy, and have high abrasion resistance. From transportation of drinking water over drainage solutions to advanced fire-sprinkler systems, PVC is the go-to selection for many.

Both HDPE and PVC are made of plastic and are lightweight, corrosion-proof, and resistant to bacteriological and chemical build-up.

Common Characteristics

Common Characteristics

Resource from Creek Plastics

Key Differences Between PVC & Poly Pipe

Though both PVC and HDPE pipes are strong and durable, their strengths vary and are applied differently. Looking at the whole picture, PVC is the more commonly applied, while HDPE is widely used in specific circumstances that are unfavourable for PVC.

Here, we’ve made a summary to make the comparison between both easier to glance through.

Aspects PVC HDPE


Amorphous. Semi-crystalline.


May crack under heavy load. Proven to be more durable under events like rain, stress, wind, heat, and cold.

Failure Rating

1 in 48,650 incidents. 1 in 10,000,000 incidents.

Recommended Temperature

0°C to 45°C. -40°C to 45°C.

Chemical Resistance

Moderate resistance to acids and alkalis. High degree of resistance to acids and alkalis.


Relatively cheaper and is the third most commonly used plastic. A tat more expensive but more extensively used.


Stronger and stiffer, can be mechanically joined to valves and non-plastic fittings. But leakages may happen through these joints. The softer and more bendable HDPE pipes are able to provide leak-free joints.


Estimated at 50 to 70 years. Estimated at 50 to 100 years.


Uses gasket or gluing sealant. Can be joined underwater. Joined by heat fusion. Cannot be done underwater.


Installation of PVC pipes is much faster. They can be installed in any weather conditions, requires no specific machinery and can be done quickly. These factors help reduce the overall installation costs. Trained operators and expensive energy-intensive equipment are needed. Additional equipment is also required to manoeuvre piping with larger diameters.


Widely used for irrigation. For places where digging is hard or impossible, HDPE is the better choice.


Only moderate reusability due to jointing problems. Can be easily reused at different locations.

Let’s take a closer look on this video here by Denya which shows what the main differences are between both Polyvinyl Chloride and High-Density Polyethylene pipes.

The Different Applications of PVC & HDPE Pipe

PVC pipes require a water-resistant glue to connect individual pipe segments, be it for repair or a brand-new installation. This particular glue takes between 8 and 10 hours to dry, even longer if testing is required before installation can begin.

PVCs are more frequently used for homes due to their lower cost and a wide range of product selections. They are overall more suitable for direct burial and trenchless installations.

According to A&C Plastics, Though PVC can be used as a home’s water supply mains, but it is not suitable for hot water lines or in kitchen applications as it will bend at temperatures higher than 60°C. This is where HDPE comes into play.

HDPE pipes are best used for larger buildings subjected to heat, cold, and wind. As compared to PVCs, HDPEs are more resistant to salt, corrosive materials, and abrasion from sand and dust, making them an ideal choice for farms, industrial buildings, and the distribution of natural gas, petroleum, and chemicals.


That’s all for now! We hope this article is able to provide you with a clear understanding of how PVC and HDPE pipes work – their similarities, differences, also on how they are applied or installed.

To find out the best piping solution for your projects, remember to always consult an experienced supplier for professional advice. Make sure you receive your supply via certified suppliers for product quality assurance that meets the industry standards set by Malaysia’s regulatory bodies.

For more tips and guides on different hardware, be sure to visit our blog again in the future.