Carbon Steel Tubing vs. Stainless Steel Tubing

Steel tubing and its uses are not necessarily interchangeable. Depending on the intended purpose, there are times when carbon steel tubing will be the better choice, and other instances when stainless steel tubing should be used.

Carbon steel is a steel alloy made up of iron and carbonand stainless steel is a combination of alloy steels containing chromium. Stainless steel can also contain elements such as nickel, titanium, and aluminum, depending on how it will be used.

So, how do you know which to choose? Consider these factors:

The advantages of carbon steel tubing:

  • Carbon steel tubing is safe and durable. It can withstand high stress, and is not affected by pressure fluctuation or violent weather conditions. Its shock resistance makes it a good choice for infrastructure. (It is often laid under roadways.)
  • Pests (such as termites) are no match for carbon steel tubing!
  • Carbon steel tubing can be a cost-effective choice. Because of its strength, it can be made thinner, and is able to transport higher volumes than tubes of the same diameter made of other material.
  • Carbon steel tubing is quite versatile and relatively easily manufactured. It can be bent to fit wherever needed, is easily cut, and can be made in a wide variety of thicknesses.

Where carbon steel tubing may be used:

  • The transmission of natural gases or oil
  • Households (It is highly resistant to strong weather conditions.)
  • Ships
  • Distillers
  • Chemical fertilizer equipment

The advantages of stainless steel tubing:

  • Stainless steel tubing is highly resistant to rust, corrosion, and extreme temperatures (both hot and cold).
  • Stainless steel tubing is very strong, long-lasting and easy to clean and maintain.
  • Similar to carbon steel, stainless steel tubing is easier to cut, form and weld.
  • Aesthetically, stainless steel is an attractive choice.
Where stainless steel tubing may be used:
  • Plumbing
  • Gas lines
  • Power plants
  • Industries with strict hygiene requirements (hospitals, food industry)
  • Refrigeration


Still not sure whether carbon steel tubing or stainless steel tubing is right for you?

Service Steel can help! Give us a call at (800) 275-8823.