15 Key HDPE Pipe Advantages and Disadvantages | Benefits & Applications of HDPE Pipes

15 Key HDPE Pipe Advantages and Disadvantages | Benefits & Applications of HDPE Pipes

What is HDPE Pipe? HDPE Pipe Advantages and Disadvantages | Benefits & Applications of HDPE Pipes | HDPE Vs PVC

What is HDPE Pipe?

HDPE pipe is a type of plastic piping used in plumbing. They are often used for their resistance to corrosion and chemicals, as well as their durability.

 It’s important to understand that the HDPE pipes you buy may be different than the ones we use at our company because they can come in various sizes, thicknesses, bends and lengths.

 The most common size is 1/2 inch which has an outer diameter (OD) of 5 inches and a wall thickness of about .375 inches.

HDPE pipe is made from polyethylene resin-coated high-density polyethylene material with a uniform cross-sectional shape. This type of pipe has many uses including irrigation systems, sewers, storm drains and potable

HDPE pipe is a type of plastic that is flexible and resistant to corrosion, which makes it an ideal material for water transportation. It’s also easy to install yourself, so there are plenty of DIY tutorials on the internet.

HDPE pipe is a type of plastic pipe that is durable and resistant to corrosion. It can be used for water, sewage, gas lines, and other purposes.  

 HDPE stands for high density polyethylene which is the material it is made from. There are three types of HDPE pipes: general purpose (GP), heavy wall (HW) and extra heavy wall (XH).

 GP has a thickness around 0.5 inches or 12 millimeters while HW has a thickness of 1 inch or 25 millimeters with XH having 2 inches or 50 millimeters.

The thicker the walls, the more pressure it can withstand without bursting; however, this also means there’s less flexibility in fitting sizes available because they come in certain sizes based on the wall thickness.

Benefits of HDPE Pipes

1. Pipes made from HDPE are very resistant to freezing. This is because the pipe has no expansion or contraction during the freezing process, as opposed to PVC. This makes HDPE pipes ideal for use in areas where water freezes; including pipes that are used for ice hockey rinks, swimming pools, and pools in hot climates.

2. HDPE pipes also have less weight than PVC pipes. You can easily see this when reading a label before buying a pipe; the thickness and weight rating is usually included on the same label.

3. HDPE can be used in any type of pipeline, including potable water. It resists corrosion from most acids and alkalines, which makes it ideal for use under a house or inside a building. This material is also strong enough to support even the heaviest of water pressure; you could compare this to a water tower with hundreds of gallons of water pressing down on it – HDPE will not break or burst.

4. Finally, the material is among the cheapest of all plastic piping materials.

LDPE vs. HDPE: Similarities and Differences

While LDPE and HDPE have overlap in many properties, their fundamentally differing internal compositions result in a wide range of differences.

The polymer chains that make up both materials are branched in LDPE, but have a more crystalline structure in HDPE. Because of the differences in polymer organization, each material has its own set of features.

LDPE is a softer and more flexible material than HDPE. It is also more translucent and has a lower melting point (115° C). It is more likely to crack under stress than HDPE.

HDPE is more stiff and strong, as well as more chemical resistant. Because to its greater melting point (135° C), it can endure higher heat than LDPE. Its higher crystalline structure also leads in greater material strength and opacity.

Although both LDPE and HDPE are recyclable, they must be recycled separately. LDPE is rated as recycling number 4, while HDPE is classified as recycling number 2. LDPE can also be more difficult to recycle depending on the product because it is softer and can get snagged in recycling gear.

HDPE is less difficult to transport and process through recycling machinery.

LDPE is made by condensing monomer ethylene gas in an autoclave or tube reactor to aid in polymerization, or the joining of monomers into polymer chains.

HDPE is manufactured by heating petroleum to extremely high temperatures. This method produces ethylene gas monomers, which combine to form polymer chains.

Although LDPE and HDPE have many desirable traits, such as excellent chemical resistance and low solubility, they also have significant material properties that affect their utility in certain applications.

HDPE is a far more dependable option than LDPE for molding and shaping stronger and more durable items.

HDPE Pipe Advantages and Disadvantages

HDPE Pipe Advantages

1. Resistance to Corrosion

Corrosion is one of the most expensive issues with metal piping systems. It happens both within and outside the pipe and has an impact on hydraulic efficiency.

Many towns treat their water to slow the rusting and pitting that is unavoidable with metal pipes.

Others opt for costly cathodic protection, plastic coating, or sleeving to try to extend the pipe’s service life.

HDPE pipe, unlike traditional metal infrastructure goods, does not rust, rot, or corrode. It is not susceptible to biological growth. This translates to a longer service life and long-term cost savings.

HDPE pipe is resistant to chemicals such as: chlorinated water, acid, chlorine, alkalies, sulfurous compounds and other elements found in tap water.

Transparency of the pipeline construction with HDPE pipes can prevent corrosion and reducing the use of costly cathodic protection systems.

2. Resistance to Fatigue

HDPE pipe is not hard, but rather flexible and ductile. It has exceptional fatigue resistance. It is constructed and pressure rated to handle the type of infrequent and periodic surge occurrences that are typical in water distribution systems, unlike conventional plastic pipes.

In many cases, this will allow you to use a thinner wall HDPE pipe than other types of plastic pipes.

HDPE pipe with an extended service life is a safe and long-lasting product that is appropriate for your pipeline system.

HDPE has a projected service life of 50 to 100 years, depending on application, design, and installation.

3. Lightweight, easy to transport

A lighter pipe means that you can move and install the pipes more easily. This also translates to reduced freight costs and a smaller environmental footprint.

4. Easy to install

HDPE pipe is flexible enough that it can be installed with simple hand tools, making it ideal for even the most basic applications.

It is easy to connect elbows and tees since there is no need to pre-drill the end of the pipe prior to joining pieces of pipe together as with traditional metal piping systems.

5. Resistance to Heat and Cold

HDPE pipe contains no additional materials to resist heat or cold. HDPE has good heat resistance characteristics but it is important that the pipe be installed at recommended temperatures and in a manner that maintains those operating temperatures and pressures.

HDPE pipe has good cold pressure limitations despite its flexibility.

6. Safety of potable water and long-term reliability

HDPE pipe is made of HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene), which is non-toxic, does not retain tastes or odors and, as a homopolymer, is uniformly resistant to chemicals.

HDPE pipe and components are internationally recognized as safe for potable water use.

The material and the finished product itself is safe from any bio-toxicity.

7. Resistance to corrosion, tuberculation, deposits

HDPE pipe is resistant to corrosives such as acids, alkalies, salt water and cutting oils. The material does not absorb any chemical or physical matter which can create deposits.

HDPE pipe has a very low tolerance to deposit formation, and consequently the installation of it in the pipeline is very simple. When compared with other systems with metals, HDPE is one of the most resistant to corrosion and deposit forming elements in the long term.

8. Flexibility to speed installations

The application of HDPE in the pipeline is very flexible. The following types of installations are possible: drilled, punched, cast, extruded (concave) or extrusion (convex).

HDPE pipe can be installed in a number of ways that other pipes can not do. It is possible to make the whole installation by hand or machine.

The downside of this type of installation is that if it is not done properly and properly installed, the end result may be a leak.

9. Durability and toughness to survive Jobsite installations

HDPE pipe is a tough material that is durable and resistant to damage during installation and use. It has good impact resistance characteristics when compared to other plastic pipes under similar operating conditions.

As with all plastics, HDPE can be expected to resist heat degradation for long periods of time in use.

10. Recyclable, eco-friendly material

HDPE is part of a system that is designed to be re-used, and therefore can be processed through the recycling process.

The resulting product can be used again as a raw material in the manufacturing of other plastic products.

 The same materials and processes can also be used for producing polypropylene (PP). HDPE has approximately 60% recyclability after production.

HDPE is 100% compostable: one of the most environmentally friendly materials.

11. Eco-Friendly

In addition to its great physical properties, HDPE is known for having a low environmental impact.

Disadvantages of HDPE Pipes

1. High thermal expansion

HDPE pipe can crack and become damaged when exposed to high temperatures. In some instances, the pipes have to be replaced.

2. Poor weathering resistance

High temperatures and direct sunlight cause poor weathering resistance.

3. Reduced pressure

The pressures available in water distribution systems are typically very low and when these systems are pressurized, HDPE does not provide the same resistance to seal failures as do other materials.

This is more likely with dense walled pipe than with wall thicknesses of lesser density.

4. Subject to stress cracking

HDPE pipe is unable to withstand stresses and under certain conditions it can crack.

5. Increased risk of damage from freezing

Freezing water can cause permanent cracking and partial failure of the pipe system. It also decreases lifespan due to the need for maintenance or replacement of the system, which may include other plastic pipes.

6. Unsuitable for high temperatures

As with most plastics, HDPE pipe is not suitable for installation at very high temperatures in direct sunlight or in any circumstances where continuous operation at exceptionally high temperatures is expected.

7. Flammable

HDPE pipe is not resistant to fire, and in the event of fire, it will burn.

8. Adverse impact on health

HDPE is a homopolymer and therefore does not contain additives to minimize adverse human or ecological impacts.   

 HDPE Pipes FAQs

1. What are some pros of HDPE Pipes?

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene Pipe) is a thermoplastic pipe that can be melted and reformed. It is tough, flexible, and long-lasting.

 It is extremely resistant to chemical and environmental stress cracks.

In comparison to current infrastructure such as ductile iron, concrete, or PVC, HDPE appears to be a new product.

 In actuality, it has been utilized successfully in a wide range of piping applications for more than 50 years.

HDPE pipe’s superior physical and performance advantages make it the ideal choice for your plumbing systems.

2. Why HDPE pipes are preferred?

HDPE Pipes contain no metals, thus reducing the chance of corrosion. HDPE pipes are low-cost, durable and long-lasting. They are non-corrosive and non-toxic.

They can withstand temperature extremes, as well as high pressures, while maintaining consistency in their insulation properties.

HDPE pipe is a polyethylene plastic which is completely recyclable and can be melted down for remanufacturing other plastics required for your projects.

3. Why HDPE Pipes are good for plumbing?

HDPE Pipes are extremely tough and flexible. It can be used in a wide range of applications such as; underground drainage, storm water drains, and supply lines. The pipes are also lightweight making them easy to handle.

They can also be recycled after their useful life is over. HDPE pipes contain no metals, thus reducing the chance of corrosion and helping to prolong the life of the pipes; which saves you money.

4. What are the things that you need to consider while choosing your HDPE pipe?

The thermal expansion of HDPE pipes is not constant. The temperature of the pipe and length (expansion) should be considered when estimating materials.


HDPE Pipe in various lengths and diameters are available from your local suppliers.

Wall thickness – It ranges between 5-30 mm, commonly 15mm is used for water supply lines and 25mm for domestic drainage lines. You may contact your local suppliers or manufactures for details.

6. What are the Advantages of HDPE pipes?

HDPE pipes have many advantages over its competitors. It is suitable for water pressure levels up to 1,500 psi and temperatures of -30°F to 160°F. HDPE pipes are lightweight and easy to install.

It is inexpensive; the cost of these pipes is comparable or less than other piping materials available on the market today.

7. What are some pros of HDPE pipes?

HDPE is a lightweight material that is generally less expensive to transport than metal pipes. Because of the flexibility of HDPE and the use of heat fusion to link the pipe, fewer fittings are required. … HDPE pipe can be recycled and reused in non-pressurized pipeline applications.

8. What is HDPE pipe used for?

HDPE pipes are mostly used for domestic and commercial water supply. HDPE pipe can transport potable water, wastewater, slurries, chemicals, hazardous waste, and compressed gases.

 Polyethylene pipe, in reality, has a long and renowned history of service to the gas, oil, mining, and other industries.

9. Is HDPE pipe suitable for my application?

HDPE pipes are suitable for your domestic water supply lines which provide local communities with potable water.

 HDPE pipe is strong enough to handle the high pressures of water distribution systems, but flexible enough to bend and flex in accordance with minimum requirements.

10. How long will HDPE pipe last?

HDPE pipe is durable, resistant to chemicals and temperature fluctuations, and can be recycled to create other products.

The biggest advantage of HDPE pipes is that they will never crack or corrode over time.

The polyethylene pipe industry believes that HDPE pipe has a service life of 50-100 years.

11. Can you explain the advantages of a HDPE pipe?

HDPE pipes offer many advantages as compared to steel or iron pipes. First, it is lightweight and easy to install; it can be installed without the use of heavy machinery thus labor cost will be less.

12. What are some of the disadvantages of HDPE pipes?

There are many limitations with HDPE pipes and one of them is that it does not have a long service life as compared to steel or iron pipes.

Another disadvantage is that, since HDPE is quite weak, its application should be limited to domestic and commercial water lines only.

Also, due to its adverse effects on the environment when it is recycled, it may not be suitable for the construction industry.

13. Which is better PVC or HDPE?

Both are robust and long-lasting, yet their strengths differ and they serve different purposes. PVC is heavier and stronger, whereas HDPE is harder, more abrasion resistant, and heat resistant.

HDPE pipes have been shown to be capable of dampening and absorbing shock waves, hence decreasing surges that can disrupt the system, but PVC cannot.

14. Is HDPE pipe stronger than PVC?

HDPE is softer and more bendable, with a smaller bending radius. HDPE, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for both pressure and non-pressure piping applications.

Through heat fusion joints, HDPE provides a leak-free system. Because PVC is a stronger and stiffer material, it is appropriate for direct burial and trenchless installation.

15.  What are some common applications for HDPE 

Plastic Bottles: Most individuals are introduced to the long-lasting plastic through water bottles.

 Because it does not leach into the contents of the bottles, HDPE is ideal for blow-molding applications, notably food and beverage containers.

Furthermore, HDPE is recyclable, making it an excellent alternative for these highly throwaway devices.

Toys: Because HDPE is UV resistant, it helps preserve toys resistant to the harmful and discoloring effects of UV rays.

HDPE’s chemical resistance makes it ideal for laundry, shampoo, conditioner, household cleaning goods, motor oil, antifreeze, and recycling bins. When these bottles are dyed or tinted, their potency increases.

Pipe systems: When compared to the normal HDPE used in the preceding examples, HDPE pipe grade sheet has a higher molecular weight.

This toughening, combined with its UV resistance, makes it perfect for pipe and outdoor applications. Pipe grade sheet can tolerate temperatures ranging from -220 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is resistant to most chemical reactions, making it suitable in a wide range of industrial applications.

16. What are some pros and cons of HDPE Pipes?

Pros of HDPE:

  • Low cost
  • Impact resistant from -40 C to 90 C
  • Moisture resistance
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Food grades available
  • Readily processed by all thermoplastic methods

Cons of HDPE:

  • High thermal expansion
  • Poor weathering resistance
  • Subject to stress cracking
  • Difficult to bond
  • Flammable
  • Poor temperature capability

17. What is the difference between Low density polyethylene (LDPE and High density polyethylene (HDPE) ?

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic is versatile, resistant to chemicals, and waterproof. It is used to make a variety of products including as grocery bags, plastic wrap and film, flexible packaging material, and injection molded parts.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is more stiff and durable than low density polyethylene (LDPE). It comes in translucent to opaque variations and has great chemical resistance. Rigid packaging containers, toys, outdoor furniture and constructions, kitchen equipment, and plumbing pipes are all constructed from HDPE.

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