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CTS Pipe Vs PEX: Which One Is More Preferable?

Considering the compatibility of the pipe with the fluid’s pH, temperature, and chemical composition is essential before picking any pipe type. Otherwise,  the incompatibility may reduce the fluid flow through the pipe or damage the pipe soon.

But which one is better in the CTS pipe vs. PEX comparison? The latter is cheaper, more corrosive resistant, and easier to install than the first one. Yet, the first one will have a relatively higher temperature tolerance, water flow rate, and higher recyclability than the latter one.

In this article, we will enlighten you about several key differences between these two pipes and their detailed comparison.  Ultimately, it will be easier for you to decide which one to choose. Now, let’s go through the article.

Table: Differences Between CTS Pipe And PEX

Let’s see some of the most common differences between these two pipe types:

ParametersCTS PipePEX
MaterialCopper or copper alloy, or Chlorinated polyvinyl chlorideCross-linked polyethylene
Available sizes½”,¾”,1″,1 ¼”, and upto 6 inches⅜”, ½”,¾”, and 1″
Ease of installationComplicatedStraightforward
Rate of WaterflowHigherLower
Possibility of pinholesHighMinimal
Cost$0.5-$15 per linear foot$0.2-$2.5 per linear foot
Temperature Tolerance-4°F to 302°Fbelow freezing to 180°F
Recyclability100% recyclabilityCan’t be recycled as pipe

CTS Pipe Vs. PEX Comparison In Details

cts pipe vs pex

If you want to compare these two pipes, first, you need to know about their vital differences in detail. Here is the comparison between their distinguishing parameters:


The CTS stands for copper tube sizing. Generally, this type of pipe is made of copper or copper alloy. Sometimes you may also find CPVC CTS pipes, which are typically made of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride.

On the other hand, PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene. Depending on the manufacturing process method of this cross-linked polyethylene, you can term the pipe as A, B, or C.

Available Sizes

Usually, you will get ½”,¾”,1″,1 ¼”, and up to 6 inches standard sizes of CTS pipes in the market. The larger diameter pipes of 1 ¼” up to 6″ are suitable for large-scale industrial and commercial applications. But the smaller size range of ½”, ¾”, and 1″ is more appropriate as residential plumbing options.

On the other hand, ⅜”, ½”,¾”, and 1″ diameter sizes are available for PEX pipes. Here, the ⅜” sizes are more suitable for small-scale applications, whereas ½” are a good choice for mainline residential plumbing. However, ¾” and 1″ sizes are appropriate for industrial uses.

Ease Of Installation

PEX pipes are so flexible that you can bend a ½” tube at 90° within an 8″ radius. Thus, you can use its bending capability to replace the need for fitting. But as the CTS pipes are rigid, you will need precision in measurements while installing the pipes.

Also, you can install the PEX pipes using crimping, push fit, or DIY methods. But the copper CTS pipes will require soldering for installation.

Rate Of Waterflow

The water flow rate will be more significant in the case of CTS pipes due to their smoother inner surface. Also, the thickness is lesser and has a larger inner diameter than PEX in this pipe.

As a result, there will be fewer chances of water blocks in this pipe than in the cross-linked polyethylene pipes.

Possibility Of Pinholes

The CTS pipes are prone to pinhole leaks due to corrosion or high water pH. Usually, the pH of the copper piping will need to keep around 7.

Generally, PEX pipes aren’t susceptible to pinholes due to their excellent corrosion resistance. But sometimes, due to poor installation, chemical reactions, or rough handling, pinholes may occur, which is a rare case.


The price of these pipes may vary with your location and the suppliers. But in general, for buying Copper CTS pipes, you may need to pay around $2-$15 per foot. Yet, you can get CPVC CTS pipes within the price range of $0.50-$5.

In the case of the PEX pipes, the price will vary with the pipe grade A, B or C. You can buy grades A and B by spending around $0.3-$2.5 and $0.25-$2 per foot, respectively. The grade C types come within a cheaper range of $0.2-$1 per linear foot.

Temperature Tolerance

Generally, the temperature tolerance of the copper tube sizing pipes ranges between -4°F to 302°F. On the other hand, the PEX lines are capable of handling temperatures below freezing to 180°F.

But the heat transfer rate is higher in the copper tubing than in the PEX tubes. Thus, in freezing temperatures, this CTS pipe will need additional insulation to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes.

However, due to freezing resistance, the PEX pipe can function well without bursting even in freezing temperatures.


The CTS pipes have 100% recyclability as you can recycle and reuse them without minimum waste. But the reclining process of PEX pipes is complicated and unavailable everywhere. Even if you recycle this pipe, you can’t reuse it as a pipe again.

Which One Is More Preferable Between CTS pipe And PEX?

The preferability of these two pipes will depend on your installation requirements, budget, and personal preferences.

  •  When your budget is low, you can pick PEX pipes, and their installation will be easier.
  • If you are choosing pipes for fluids with low pH and corrosive chemicals, copper CTS pipes are the worst decision. In this case, picking cross-linked polyethylene pipes will reduce the risks of pinholes and last long also.
  • But for higher water flow applications, you should go with the CTS pipes even if the price is high. Also, here, you will get more options for pipe sizes than PEX pipes.
  • When you need a pipe for high-temperature applications, a copper CTS pipe can serve the purpose well.
  • But if the surrounding temperature is below freezing point, choose PEX instead to avoid additional insulation.
  • However, in case you are concerned about the environment, CTS pipes are a better option as you can recycle and reuse them.

You can check this YouTube video to clarify the idea of which one is preferable between these two pipe types:


In this FAQs section, we will answer several most familiar questions about the CTS pipes And PEX.

Q: Are CTS And PEX Pipes Durable?

Yes. These pipes are extremely durable and can last up to 50 years. Also, if you follow proper installation and maintenance ways, these pipes can be even longer than 50 years.

Q: What Are The Sizing System In CTS And PEX Pipes?

The diameter of CTS pipes refers to their nominal diameter instead of their inner or outer diameter. But in PEX pipes, the diameter is usually their outer diameter.

Q: Whether PEX Pipes Or CTS Are Easier To Handle?

The first ones are more lightweight than the second ones. That’s why it’s also easier to transport, handle and install the PEX pipes.


It’s tough to decide which one is better as both CTS pipe and PEX have their advantages and drawbacks. That’s why we provided a detailed CTS pipe vs. PEX comparison for your convenience. The latter pipe type will come in cheaper but compromise the water flow rate.

Moreover, this pipe will have much freezing and corrosive resistance and excellent bending property. Hence, buying the CTS pipe will be better for using in high temperatures and meeting high flow rate requirements.