ABS vs. PVC Plastic | Preferred Plastics

ABS vs. PVC Plastic

Plastics are vital to just about all aspects of society, from consumer products and transportation to heavy manufacturing and infrastructure. Two of the most widely used thermoplastics are Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or ABS, and Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC.

While ABS and PVC can improve just about any application, each plastic type has unique performance characteristics. Preferred Plastics recognizes that a product’s success hinges on the performance of its components. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between ABS and PVC, and how these plastic types can strengthen your application.

ABS plastic extrusion

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

PVC plastic extrusion

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

ABS Characteristics

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or ABS, is a terpolymer consisting of acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. It’s a lightweight, strong, rigid, and resilient thermoplastic material that offers the following characteristics:

  • Mechanically strong
  • High impact resistance
  • Good insulating properties
  • Strong weldability
  • Superior moisture resistance
  • High abrasion resistance
  • Good strain resistance
  • Robust dimensional stability
  • Excellent electrical properties

Also, ABS resists an assortment of acids, alkalis, oils, and salts. It can be manufactured in different formulations to suit an array of applications, which include:

  • Construction
  • Refrigeration
  • Pipes
  • Fittings
  • Plumbing
  • Marine
  • Furniture

PVC Characteristics

Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is a durable thermoplastic material that exhibits strong chemical and biological resistance. While it’s an inflexible plastic, the addition of plasticizers improves its malleability. This enables PVC to be available in rigid and flexible forms.

PVC is cheaper to manufacture than other thermoplastics. Its characteristics include:

  • Chemically resistant
  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Extremely durable
  • Non-toxic
  • Low cost
  • Flame retardant

Because PVC is available in both rigid and plastic forms, the thermoplastic is ideal for a range of applications. Examples include:

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Plumbing
  • Marine
  • Furniture
  • Farm and garden
  • Doors and windows


When compared to other plastics, both ABS and PVC offer myriad benefits. These advantages include increased strength to weight ratios, enhanced durability, excellent insulation qualities, and low overall costs. However, there are distinct differences between ABS and PVC.

When it comes to longevity, if they are installed correctly and used in the right environments, both ABS and PVC will stay in service for many years. ABS, however, is a little easier to work with in many situations. It’s quicker to install because it adheres together in one step with a cement compound. PVC, on the other hand, must be primed before the cement application.

A significant benefit of PVC over ABS is flexibility. PVC has some give, making it easier to install in tight spaces or around curves and corners. ABS, however, is stronger and more durable than PVC.

When it comes to noise reduction, PVC is superior to ABS. PVC is better at muffling the sound of running water.

Your Thermoplastics Solutions Provider

The thermoplastics experts at Preferred Plastics can help you decide which type of plastic is ideal for your application. As an industry-leading custom plastics extruder offering turnkey extrusion and finishing services, we are passionate about the innovative uses of PVC and ABS.

Our team can work with yours to develop thermoplastic solutions for challenging applications. Whether you have an idea but no drawing in hand or an established design that can be optimized, Preferred Plastics is in your corner.

Contact us for more information about ABS and PVC.

Plainwell, MI

800 E Bridge St
Plainwell, MI 49080

(269) 685-5873

Louisville, KY

8301 Cane Run Rd
Louisville, KY 40258

(502) 935-3070