The Difference Between Tubes and Hoses

While many people think of tubes and hoses as different words for the same thing, there is an important distinction between the two. It could even be the difference between a project assembled correctly and one that fails. Here are the three main factors that set tubes and hoses apart:


Tubes are used for structural purposes which means that they can come in different shapes. You can find rectangular tubing and even irregular, customized shapes. Tubing also comes with a global standardization set by the ISO and ASTM International.

Hoses on the other hand can be used in a variety of situations like transporting liquids, and don’t have the same standards set for them. Hoses are also usually made with nylon or rubber, making them more flexible.


Tubes and hoses also differ in the way they are measured. The outside diameter (OD), inside diameter (ID), and wall thickness (WT) must be provided when trying to determine the tube’s correct size. 

Measurements for hoses are calculated by focusing on the inside diameter (ID) since they deal more with flow rates. They also use a dash system when referencing the diameter in 1/16” increments.


Tubes and hoses also use different materials. Tubes are usually made from steel and have stricter requirements for thickness, straightness, and roundness. This also means that tubing is tested to a higher degree compared to piping. Hoses however are made from rubber or PTFE, so they go through a completely different manufacturing process. 

Here at Harrison Hose and Tubing, our knowledgeable staff can help answer any questions you might have on hose, tubing, and their applications. Contact us today!

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