CPVC vs PEX vs Copper: Choosing The Best Plumbing Pipe

Choosing the right plumbing option for your home can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the materials and their benefits. The three most popular types of plumbing materials are CPVC, PEX, and copper.

So, what should you choose among CPVC vs PEX vs copper? Each material has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. And it’s essential to know which option is best suited for your home’s plumbing needs.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each material and compare their pros and cons so that you can decide which plumbing option is right for your home.

Brief Overview of Different Piping Systems

To know more about how they go up head to head, let us first get a brief idea about each of these pipes!

CPVC piping

  • CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) pipe comes in a range of diameters, from 1/2 inch to 2 inches, to suit residential and commercial plumbing needs.
  • It is also relatively inexpensive, costing 20 to 50 percent less than copper pipe.
  • However, CPVC pipe may not last as long as copper, typically needing replacement after 25-30 years versus 50-70 years for copper.
  •   To install a CPVC pipe, you will need CPVC fittings and cement or glue to join the pipes and fittings.

Be very careful when applying the cement, as it can irritate the eyes and skin. CPVC pipe cuts easily but requires sanding and cleaning before applying cement.

CPVC piping

PEX pipe

PEX pipe, or cross-linked polyethylene, is another popular option for residential plumbing.

  • PEX is flexible plastic tubing that is durable and resistant to chemicals found in plumbing systems.
  • It is easy to install as it comes in long coils that bend around corners and obstacles.
  • Besides, it requires fewer joints and connections than rigid pipes like copper.
  • PEX can simply be cut to length on site and connected using compression fittings and rings that grip the pipe.
  • PEX is very durable and long-lasting. It is resistant to corrosion, chlorine, and minerals found in water.
  •   PEX can last up to 50 years and comes with manufacturer warranties of up to 25 years.

PEX pipe

Copper pipe

  • Copper pipes are made of copper metal.
  • Copper is the most durable, longest-lasting option and is resistant to high heat, freezing, and corrosion.
  • However, copper pipes tend to be the most expensive plumbing pipe and require soldering for installation and repair.
  •   Copper can also leach small amounts of the metal into the water, especially in new plumbing systems.

Copper pipe

Factors You Should Consider Choosing Plumbing Pipe

If you have to consider the best plumbing option for your home, there are three main materials to use: CPVC, PEX, and copper. All of them have pros and cons, and it’s essential to keep these things in mind to make a better choice.

The ideal plumbing pipe for your needs depends on factors like:

  • Installation costs
  • Durability and lifespan
  • Water temperature and quality
  • Plumbing application (e.g. potable water, radiant heat)
  •   Susceptibility to scale or microbial buildup

For your plumbing needs, evaluate how these factors align with your priorities and budget. With regular maintenance, any of these pipe materials can provide high-quality plumbing for your home.

Comparing CPVC vs PEX vs Copper Pipes

Below is a table to compare the three pipes



PEX Pipe

Copper Pipe



Can last about 40 years

Can last for up to 40 years

Can last for 50 years or more



More likely to burst in freezing temperature

Flexible in Freezing temperature

More likely to burst in freezing temperature


Water Temperature(Hot)

High-temperature tolerance up to 200 degrees F.

Excellent Insulator for reducing heat loss

Excellent Conductor of heat

Ideal for carrying hot water from the pipe to faucets

Water Temperature (Cold)

Becomes Brittle in extremely cold climate

Ideal in freezing temperature

Can tolerate cold temperature


Ease of Installation

Requires fewer settings of tools


Requires fewer tools

Labour intensive

Can be bent to fit into tight spaces without needing specialized tools


Requires specialized tools


Chemicals in CPVC pipes can potentially leach into the drinking water

Chemicals in PEX pipes can potentially leach into the drinking water

Less prone to leaching chemicals or other health hazards


Installation Cost

Most cost-effective

Less expensive



Environmental Impact

Made from a type of plastic called chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, which has a lower impact on the environment than traditional PVC

Made from high-density polyethylene, which is a recyclable material that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions during production

The mining and extraction of copper can have a significant environmental impact, including water pollution and habitat destruction

Plastic-based materials can have negative impacts on the environment if not disposed of properly

Plastic-based materials have negative impacts on the environment if not disposed of properly

Requires a lot of energy to produce and transport, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions

Easier to produce & transport

Building Codes & Regulations

They have a lower heat tolerance than copper pipes and require special fittings for connections

Some building codes require PEX pipes to be protected from UV light, which can cause the pipes to degrade over time

Widely used in residential plumbing due to their durability

Some building codes require CPVC pipes to be covered with insulation to prevent them from melting or catching fire in the event of a house fire

Require soldering, which involves a high-temperature torch and lead-based solder. This method is highly regulated and requires specialized training to prevent accidents

Microbial Build up

Can build up bacteria over time

A good choice for areas with hard water as it resists mineral buildup

Resistant to bacterial build-up



Needs high maintenance

Needs minimal maintenance

Needs most high maintenance

Rusts over time

Prone to cracking or leaking over time

Resistant to Corrosion

Prone to corrosion

In summary, PEX and CPVC offer advantages in cost, flexibility, and ease of installation. However, copper piping is the most durable and reliable.

Which Pipe Is Best for Your Plumbing Needs?

When selecting a plumbing pipe for your home, there are several options to consider: CPVC, PEX, and copper. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs and budget.


  • Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride or CPVC pipe is a popular, low-cost option.
  • CPVC can handle high temperatures and pressures.
  • But it may release toxic chemicals if overheated and requires a special solvent to join pipes.
  •   CPVC pipe is best for hot and cold water supply lines.

PEX Tubing

  • Cross-linked polyethylene or PEX tubing is extremely durable and flexible.
  • PEX is also resistant to scale and chlorine, preventing buildup in water heaters and water softeners.
  • However, PEX may be damaged by exposure to UV light and high heat. P
  •   PEX tubing is ideal for radiant heating systems and repiping projects where flexibility and low cost are priorities.

Copper Pipe

  • Copper pipe is the most traditional and long-lasting option.
  • Copper resists corrosion and microbial growth, and it does not leach chemicals into the water supply.
  • However, copper is expensive, difficult to install, and can be damaged by acidic water.
  •   Copper pipe works well for any plumbing application but is best suited for potable water supply lines where durability and purity are most important.

Frequently Asked Questions For Best Plumbing Pipe

Now that you know all about pipe materials, let’s look into some of the most common queries people have regarding them!

Q: What are the advantages of using CPVC pipes?

CPVC pipes are affordable, durable, and resistant to corrosion. They also have a high-temperature tolerance and can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: What are the disadvantages of using copper pipes?

Copper pipes can be expensive and require special tools for installation. They are also prone to freezing and may corrode if exposed to certain chemicals or minerals in the water supply.

Q: Which type of pipe is the most environmentally friendly among CPVC vs PEX vs Copper?

PEX piping is considered to be the most environmentally friendly option because it requires less energy to produce than copper or CPVC pipes. Additionally, PEX pipes can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.


As a homeowner, choosing the right plumbing pipe for your needs is an important decision. After weighing the pros and cons of the three most popular options – CPVC vs PEX vs copper – you now have the information to select the best material for your plumbing system.

Consider your budget, water quality, ease of installation, and longevity to determine which pipe suits your situation. The pipes you select today will be delivering water to your home for generations.

Michael is the owner of Michael's Plumbing. He has experience over 15 years solved thousands of plumbing issues. 100% customer satisfaction made him best in this sector. Finally he decided to share his skills, experience and techniques through this PipesYard blog. Hopefully each and every post of this blog will be helpful for people seeking piping help.

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