PVC Pipe Dimensions, Size Charts, and Applications: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)

In the realm of plumbing and drainage systems, PVC pipe stands as a versatile and widely-used material, offering a compelling alternative to traditional metal options. Polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, has gained popularity due to its strength, durability, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness. This comprehensive guide delves into the dimensions, size charts, and applications of PVC pipes, shedding light on schedules 20, 40, 80, and 120.

Understanding PVC Pipe Schedules

PVC Pipe Nominal System

The nominal system, the standard for PVC pipe measurement, relies on component types rather than specific measurements. For instance, a one-inch line is defined as 0.84 inches. The PVC pipe size charts provide dimensions for schedules 20, 40, 80, and 120, offering insights into outside diameter, wall thickness, and applications.

Schedule 10 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart

  • Nominal Size [inches]: 1/8"
  • Outside Diameter [mm]: 10.3
  • Outside Diameter [inches]: 0.41
  • Wall Thickness [mm]: 1.24
  • Wall Thickness [inches]: 0.049
  • Weight [kg/m]: 0.28
  • Weight [lb/ft]: 0.19

Similar detailed information is provided for various sizes in the Schedule 10 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart.

PVC Pipe Schedules Comparison

Schedule 20 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart

Schedule 20 pipes, known for low resistance, find use in gravity-fed septic systems and drainage. Key dimensions include outside diameter, wall thickness, and weight. It's crucial to note their interchangeability with SDR 35 fittings.

Schedule 40 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart

Designed for drainage and low-pressure water flow, Schedule 40 pipes can withstand temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The chart details dimensions for various nominal sizes, providing information on outside diameter, wall thickness, and weight.

Schedule 80 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart

Characterized by ultimate strength, Schedule 80 pipes are ideal for high-traffic locations and pump stations. With a thicker wall than Schedule 40, they offer increased pressure resistance. The chart outlines dimensions for different nominal sizes.

Schedule 120 PVC Pipe Dimensions Chart

With an outer diameter reaching up to 24 inches, Schedule 120 pipes cater to applications with varying pressure requirements. The chart specifies dimensions, including outside diameter, wall thickness, and weight, offering a comprehensive guide for diverse uses.

Schedule 20 vs. Schedule 40 PVC: Main Differences


The primary distinction lies in thickness, with Schedule 40 having thicker walls, providing greater structural integrity and pressure resistance.


Schedule 80, with its thicker walls, is better suited for applications requiring higher pressure handling, while Schedule 40 remains suitable for standard pressure ranges.

NPS and Outer, Inner Diameter

Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) dimensions remain consistent across schedules 40 and 80, but the inner diameter differs due to the varying wall thickness.


Schedule 80 pipes come at a higher cost compared to Schedule 40, attributed to the additional material and colorant used.


Distinguishable by color, Schedule 40 is typically white, while Schedule 80 is commonly grey, aiding easy identification.


Both schedules are installed in the same manner, following ASTM standards for compatibility with fittings and joining methods.

PVC Pipe Applications and Recommendations

Schedule 20 PVC Pipe

Ideal for plumbing and drainage systems, Schedule 20 pipes offer good corrosion resistance. With a pressure rating of up to 200psi, they find applications in residential and commercial water transportation.

Schedule 40 PVC Pipe

Catering to drainage and low-pressure water flow, Schedule 40 pipes are suitable for various applications, including sewage systems and irrigation. Their robustness and stiffness make them resistant to pressure.

Schedule 80 PVC Pipe

Best suited for high-pressure applications, Schedule 80 pipes excel in pump stations and locations with heavy traffic. Their compatibility with Schedule 40 fittings adds to their versatility.

Schedule 120 PVC Pipe

Capable of handling varying pressure requirements, Schedule 120 pipes with different grades of carbon steel are used in sectors requiring robustness, such as gas and liquid transportation.

PVC Pipe: A Historical Perspective

Discovery of Polyvinyl Chloride

Polyvinyl chloride was discovered in the late 19th century when vinyl chloride underwent a chemical reaction, resulting in the formation of this versatile polymer.

Evolution and Usage

With over 80 years of usage, PVC pipes have become a staple in plumbing, water mains, irrigation systems, and other applications. Their durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of installation contribute to their widespread adoption.

PVC Pipe Manufacturing Process

Extrusion Process

PVC pipes are manufactured through extrusion, involving the supply of PVC pellets/powder to a twin-screw extruder, melting, heating, polymerization through a die, cooling, and finally, cutting into desired lengths.

PVC Variants: PVC, CPVC, and UPVC


Rigid and brittle in its original form, PVC becomes flexible with the addition of plasticizers. Heat stabilizers enhance its resistance to high temperatures.


With a higher chlorine content, CPVC exhibits increased heat tolerance, making it suitable for hot water applications in HVAC systems.


The original form of PVC, UPVC lacks softening additives, rendering it rigid and ideal for construction purposes.


In conclusion, understanding PVC pipe dimensions, schedules, and applications is crucial for making informed choices in plumbing and construction. Whether it's the affordability of Schedule 40, the strength of Schedule 80, or the specific requirements of Schedule 20 and 120, this comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for professionals and enthusiasts in the field. Stay informed, choose wisely, and ensure the longevity and efficiency of your piping systems.

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