PVC vs. Copper: Which is the Right Pipe for You?

by Tracie Johnson 

Do you need to install new plumbing in your house? Perhaps you are building a home and want to know what material is best for the pipes. The answer, of course, depends on many factors, including your budget, the environment where you will install it, and more. If you want to replace your plumbing system, it could be due to corrosion caused by acidic water or other chemicals.

The comparison of PVC and copper are discussed below to help you choose the right one.

PVC pipe


PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. It is a thermoplastic material that can be easily molded into different shapes and sizes. It does not corrode or rust, making it ideal for plumbing systems. The main advantage of using a PVC piping system is its affordability. Furthermore, it has flexibility, so it will not break under pressure if the pipe happens to bend at certain points in your home. It is important to note that you cannot break this pipe unless you have the proper equipment like pipe cutting tools.

There are also many color options available so you can match the color of your pipes to the décor in your home. However, this material may contain chlorine which could pollute water sources improperly. You should also know that there are types of plasticizers used during the manufacturing process which may contaminate drinking water. There are just a few concerns about PVC material. However, if proper care is taken when installing the plumbing system, it will work for many years without any problems.

copper pipe


Copper piping systems are typically used in high-end homes due to their premium quality. It has the appearance of natural materials found in old houses, so homeowners prefer copper. These pipes are sturdier and more durable than PVC so that they can stand pressure against heavy traffic inside your home.

A benefit of using this type of material is that you don’t have to worry about plasticizers leaching into your drinking water since these types of additives are not used during the manufacturing process. However, installing a plumbing system made from copper will be more expensive, so many people choose PVC products. If you think that the cost of your home depends on the quality of the plumbing materials used, then consider using copper because it will last longer and lead to higher value for your house.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Either PVC or Copper

Now that you know the difference between PVC and copper, here are some factors to consider when choosing either one.


Before installing a new plumbing system in your home, it is best to assess your financial capability first. If you have a limited budget but still need a high-quality product, choose PVC because it is cheaper than other materials used for plumbing systems. On the other hand, if money isn’t an issue, opt for copper because of its durability and classic design.

Plumbing System

As mentioned above, PVC has flexibility, making it ideal for homes with old construction materials where water pipe bends are common since they can easily bend without breaking compared to other types of pipes. On the other hand, copper is suitable for heavy-duty applications in large office buildings or hospitals.


Another factor to consider is the location of your home. Suppose you live in an area with acidic water, then copper piping might be a better option because it does not rust like PVC. However, if you live in an area with soft water, PVC would be a better choice because it will resist corrosion and rust.

The Environment

PVC should not be used in areas with a high fire risk because it emits toxic fumes when burned. Copper should be your go-to material if your home is in an area with wildfires.


Although both PVC and copper have their own merits, you should note that you can’t go wrong with either one as your material of choice for new plumbing installation in your home. There are some benefits obtained from having both types installed inside your house, so if budget permits, you may want to replace all pipes from old rusty ones to PVC or copper, depending on where they are located in your house. Although the price of copper is higher than PVC, it does come with benefits such as the material will not corrode or rust, so that quality installation will lead to higher value for your money.

Wrapping It Up

Pipes made from both materials are sturdy and long-lasting, which is why they both have their own merits. However, if you can’t afford to use copper, then choose PVC but remember that there are certain concerns regarding plasticizers leaching into water sources which are why some people choose pipes made from ABS instead of PVC. If you think that having both types installed in your home is a good idea, then go ahead because it’s up to the needs of individual homeowners.