Pipes and tubes define objects that are fairly similar, however, they have enough difference to be used in different situations. Pipes are usually rigid hollow cylindrical constructions made of metal, concrete, plastic or other materials. They are usually used to transport large amounts of liquids/gasses over a great distance. Pipes (especially public service ones) often run underground, therefore they are manufactured from materials that are very resistant to inside and outside pressure or any type of damage. However, pipes are not limited to public services, and may be used in other applications as well.

The word "tubes" can sometimes be used as a synonym to "pipes", but there is a minor, yet important disparity. Pipes have different engineering requirements, they are produced from lighter and more flexible materials. There are bendable and non-bendable tubes, and they are often used as supplementary utilities in devices and small systems, however the usage in large systems is also possible.