Copper Coils and Pipes

Differences between Copper Coils and Copper Pipes

differences between copper pipes and coils

You might find the terms copper coils and tubes used interchangeably in many industrial applications but their construction, structure, shape, and applications are what differs them. This article will let you make the right choice after comprehending the difference between tube and pipe.

Copper Tube/Coil:

A copper coil is a circular coil that primarily focuses on the functioning of heat transfer in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The coil generally uses refrigerant or any other fluid to transfer the heat into the air or water. The Copper coil is malleable in nature and can be molded or folded into certain shapes without applying much pressure.

Diameter is considered important when it comes to tubing as copper tubing is used in structural applications. The diameter of any copper tube specifies its durability and strength factor.

Copper Tube comes in various shapes and sizes. The tube can be round, square, rectangle, or oval depending upon the required application. These tubes are used in the mechanical and instrument systems and are hollow from the inside to be utilized in the pressure equipment. Their manufacturing tolerance is higher than the Copper Pipes.

Copper Pipe:

Copper Pipes are straight pipes made of copper to aid the transportation of fluids. These fluids can be water or gas. The copper pipe applications extend plumbing in residential and commercial buildings. Both hot and cold water can be transported with the help of copper pipes. Different heating systems like radiators and boilers use copper pipes for the transportation of steam and hot water. Copper Pipes are not easily bendable and require fittings to be used around corners. It is important to know the capacity when it comes to copper pipes as they determine the flow of the liquids. Their circular shape assists in conducive pressure handling during the liquid flow.

Measurements of Pipe VS. Tube

Both copper tubes and pipes are measured differently.

  • A copper tube is measured by its OD (outside diameter) and Wall Thickness which is commonly regarded as “schedule”. These measurements are taken in inches or millimeters. The greater the wall thickness of the tube, the more its strength.
  • On the other hand, a Copper Pipe is measured by its inside diameter known as its Nominal Diameter. Nominal Pipe Size (NPS or DN) is the method of measurement officialized by the North American Set of Standard Sizes. This measurement efficiently reflects the capacity of fluid conveyance in the pipe.
Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) Outside Diameter (OD) Schedule 5 Schedule 10 Schedule 40 Schedule 80
1/2″ .840″ .065″ .083″ .109″ .147″
3/4″ 1.050″ .065″ .083″ .113″ .154″
1″ 1.315″ .065″ .109″ .133″ .179″
1-1/4″ 1.660″ .065″ .109″ .140″ .191″
1-1/2″ 1.900″ .065″ .109″ .145″ .200″
2″ 2.375″ .083″ .120″ .154″ .218″
2-1/2″ 2.875″ .083″ .120″ .203″ .276″
3″ 3.500″ .083″ .120″ .216″ .300″
3-1/2″ 4.000″ .083″ .134″ .226″ .318″
4″ 4.500″ .109″ .134″ .237″ .337″
5″ 5.560″ .109″ .134″ .258″ .375″
6″ 6.630″ .109″ .134″ .280″ .432″

Characteristics of Copper Tube and Copper Pipe

Here are some general characteristics of copper tubes and pipes:

Size and Form:

Copper Coils and Pipes come in only round shapes. However, the Copper Tube can be round, square, rectangle, and oval according to requirements. Larger applications use copper piping whereas smaller applications use copper tubing.

Retractable Abilities:

A major difference between tube and pipe is the retracting or telescopic ability of the tube. A copper tube can be telescoped unlike a pipe to expand into another tube.


A copper pipe cannot be shaped or folded easily without using different tools. You have to use different fittings to make them stay put in certain locations. However, a copper coil or tube can easily be bent with a little effort due to its ductile nature.


Both copper coils and tubes can be galvanized. Although the copper tubes can be hot rolled as well as cold rolled, the copper pipe can only be cold rolled.

Pipe vs. Tube Strength:

The strength of the Copper Tube is greater than the strength of the copper pipe. When it comes to Copper Pipes, factors like pressure rating, yield strength, and ductility are considered.

Corrosion Resistance:

As the Pipe and Tube both are made of copper which is commendable due to its corrosion-resistance qualities, it makes the piping and tubing safe for many applications such as HVAC systems and plumbing.

Heat Conductivity:

Copper is a very effective heat-conducting metal which makes copper tubes and pipes excellent conductors of heat during the heat transfer applications.

In conclusion, It’s important to note that the terms “tube” and “pipe” are sometimes used interchangeably, and the specific characteristics can vary based on the intended application and regional standards. Always refer to the relevant standards and specifications when working with copper tubes and pipes.

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