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How to Measure Copper Tubing for Your Industrial Needs

Various pipe measuring tools and components laid out over a blue print

Copper tubing is a versatile and widely-used material in various industries, from plumbing and HVAC systems to electrical applications and industrial processes. When purchasing copper tubing in large quantities, it's crucial to ensure accurate measurements to meet the specific requirements of your projects. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to measure copper tubing correctly, helping you make informed decisions when purchasing from our website that specializes in supplying copper tubing in large quantities.

1. Understand Copper Tubing Dimensions

Before diving into the measuring process, it's essential to grasp the basic concepts of copper tubing dimensions. Copper tubing is typically measured based on its outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness. The most common types of copper tubing include Type K, Type L, and Type M, with varying wall thicknesses. Type K has the thickest walls, while Type M has the thinnest.

2. Gather Essential Tools

To ensure accurate measurements, gather the necessary tools before starting the process. You will need a measuring tape or ruler, calipers (for precise measurements), and a pen and paper to record the measurements.

3. Measure Outside Diameter (OD)

To measure the outside diameter (OD) of copper tubing, place one end of the measuring tape or ruler at the outer edge of the tubing and measure straight across to the opposite outer edge. Make sure to measure at a point that appears undamaged and free from dents. Record this measurement in inches or millimeters.

4. Calculate Inside Diameter (ID)

To determine the inside diameter (ID), you need to consider the wall thickness of the copper tubing. Subtract twice the wall thickness from the outside diameter measurement:

Inside Diameter (ID) = Outside Diameter (OD) - 2 * Wall Thickness

5. Measure Wall Thickness

If you need to measure the wall thickness separately, use calipers for precision. Place the calipers perpendicular to the tubing's axis and close them gently until you get a precise reading. Ensure that you measure the thickest point of the tubing's wall, as thickness may vary slightly along the length.

6. Account for Bend Radius

In some applications, it's crucial to consider the bend radius of copper tubing to ensure proper installation. The bend radius refers to the minimum radius a tubing can safely bend without causing damage or deformation. Measure the bend radius from the center of the tubing to the innermost point of the bend.

7. Calculate Length

To determine the length of copper tubing needed for your project, measure from one end to the other using the measuring tape or ruler. If the tubing is coiled, measure the length of the entire coil for bulk orders.

8. Check for Imperfections

Inspect the copper tubing for any imperfections, such as dents, kinks, or cracks, as these can affect the tubing's performance. For large orders, it's essential to perform quality checks to ensure that the tubing meets your specifications.

9. Consider Tolerance Levels

Keep in mind that copper tubing may have tolerance levels that allow for slight variations in dimensions. Consult with the manufacturer or supplier to understand the acceptable tolerance range for the tubing you're purchasing.


Accurate measurements of copper tubing are paramount when purchasing in large quantities for industrial applications. Understanding the outside diameter, inside diameter, wall thickness, and bend radius will help you make informed decisions based on your project requirements. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently order copper tubing from our website, knowing that you have chosen the perfect fit for your industrial needs. Whether it's for plumbing, HVAC, electrical, or other industrial purposes, precise measurements ensure seamless installation and optimal performance for your projects.

If you need guidance when measuring, or are unsure what length, OD measurement, or type of copper it right for your product, please do not hesitate to reach out to our tubing specialists. At GLA Sales Inc, we want to make sure you get the perfect product for your project the first time.

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