What To Look For When Purchasing Steel Pipe

steel pipesAt Metro Steel we process, fabricate, and sell a wide variety of steel products including steel pipe. At first glance, you might think that purchasing steel pipe is relatively straight forward – just state the length you want and hey presto – 1 steel pipe delivered to you. However it isn’t always that simple as there are certain nuances to purchasing steel pipework that you really need to know. Let’s take a closer look.

Determining the grade of steel

The first thing you’ll need to get to grips with is determining the grade of steel you require. There are in essence two main groups.

  • Steel graded for use and its mechanical properties
  • Steel marked by chemical make-up

However, to make it more specific, there are a multitude of sub groups in each of the two main categories, each one preceded by a letter category. For example take steel piping used for railings. This is usually preceded by the letter ‘R’. Alternatively in the second category group (chemical compositions) high speed cutting steel is characterised by the letters HS.

Size of the pipe

Once you understand the grade of steel you need the next step you need to think about is the pipe size. The rule of thumb that most novices find confusing is that the pipe size is measured by the inner and not the outer diameter. For example if you require a 3.5 inch pipe you’ll actually be purchasing a pipe that’s 4inches in total. There is however a caveat to this and it’s quite an important one. Once a pipe reaches 14 inches in diameter, then anything above this is measured using the outer diameter.

Seamless or welded

Now you’ve got to decide whether you want seamless or welded steel pipe. Welded pipes are more cost-effective and often more readily available. Conversely, seamless pipes have better aesthetics and also prevent the possibility of any weak spots. It might be worth doing some further research on the pros and cons of both before making a decision.

Pipe ends

Don’t forget your pipe ends. They can also be adapted to suit. As an example you might need a pipe that has either a bevelled end or threaded end. That said there are also a variety of other pipe ends that can be fashioned to suit your purpose, so if you have any special requirements, don’t forget to mention them when ordering


Finally fabricators will need to know the length of the pipe you require. Don’t forget to mention this as part of your overall quote.

A a recap, here’s a quick overview of what you need to remember…

  • Steel grade
  • Pipe diameter
  • Steel type, welded or seamless
  • Pipe end requirements
  • length

At Metro steel we have the ability to fabricate just about any type of piping all within quick turnaround times so if you’re in a hurry and you have a specific project that you need steel piping for, then contact us on 07 3204 1000 for a competitive quote today!