If you need to acquire steel pipe for your industrial or manufacturing operation, there are numerous factors to analyze to find the best product for your needs. You need to research and analyze your project demands carefully to find the ideal steel pipe supplier according to your project details and budget. 

The following are seven key factors to take into account when purchasing steel pipes for your industrial or manufacturing project.

Steel grade

Steel grade is one of the first factors to consider. Stainless steel pipes come in a wide variety of grades. Some common grades for pipes or tubing are T304, T316, 410, 430, and ASTM 213. In fact, there are over 3,500 steel grades to choose from. 

The grade that's best for your needs depends on the size and strength pipe you need. Determine the steel grade you need by analyzing factors like the pressure demands of your operation and the need for corrosion resistance. 

Seamless or welded pipes

Both seamless and welded steel pipes are available. While welded pipes are generally less costly than seamless pipes, seamless pipes are stronger and offer consistently smooth surfaces. 

Bulk or limited quantities

It helps to be able to buy steel pipe in bulk quantities because you'll then enjoy lower costs. You could possibly arrange to buy in bundles that don't have to contain all pipes of uniform size.

You can mix up different steels and sizes in the steel piping you order while still taking advantage of bulk discounts from some suppliers. However, buying full length pipes usually is the cheapest way to go if it suits your project. 

Steel pipe sizing

Carefully calculate the steel pipe sizing you need. Your ideal sizing depends on your application as well as the use of any fittings along with your piping. Discuss size considerations with your supplier for expert consultation on the best steel pipe product for your project. 

Location of supplier and shipping costs

Shipping costs are always a consideration when ordering heavy materials like steel pipes. You need to get a quote on shipping costs along with the costs of the pipe itself. Usually, the closest suppliers offer the lowest possible price when you combine materials and shipping costs together.


Coatings can be added to pipes to add useful qualities like corrosion resistance and greater strength. Using steel varieties like black steel that have been strengthened with coatings is often a more cost effective way to use steel piping for demanding applications like the transportation of gas. 

Used or new

You may be able to save money on your material costs if you purchase used steel piping. Therefore, consider whether used steel pipe would be adequate for your project before paying more for new materials.