Q: What is the difference between vinyl and poly irrigation tubing?

A: Vinyl irrigation tubing is made from flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Poly irrigation tubing is made from polyethylene. They perform the exact same function. The inside and outside diameter of the tubing can vary slightly, but it is usually not visible with the naked eye and has no bearing on usability. Poly irrigation tubing tends to have a slightly longer lifespan than its vinyl counterpart. The primary difference between the two is that vinyl tubing tends to be more flexible than poly tubing. This can be either good or bad depending on your needs. Vinyl tubing can make tighter turns without kinking, but it can sometimes be more difficult to insert barbed fittings into it; opinions vary. At Drip Depot, we choose to use poly irrigation tubing for all our kits and applications. First, we feel that poly irrigation tubing is easier to work with, especially if you let it lay in the hot sun for a while before working with it. Second, we feel that polyethylene is a more stable polymer and, as such, is less likely to break down and enter the water stream. In the end, you should use whatever you feel comfortable with.