What Size Poly Pipe is Best for Irrigation?

May 26th 2022

When it comes to transporting water to plants and crops, many folks opt for Polyethylene Tubing. This kind of piping is flexible and affordable, giving you lots of latitude for your irrigation layout.

Unlike with metal pipes, you don’t have to worry about corrosion with poly pipes. Poly tubing also is very durable and weather resistant. In addition, poly pipes are lightweight and easy to work with.

Many gardeners, especially those setting up their first watering system, wonder what size poly pipe is best for irrigation. DripWorks is here to help with a quick guide to the most popular sizes of poly tubing for irrigation. Because drip irrigation can help you conserve water, save money and boost your plants’ health, we will focus on poly pipes for drip irrigation.

Keep in mind that there is no industry standard for tubing sizes. To find the exact size of pipes to ensure fittings and components will fit right, make sure to check the interior diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD).

Larger Tubing and Pipes

Probably the most popular size is 1/2” Poly Tubing, since this is the most commonly used size for drip systems. Often, it serves as a mainline in small- and medium-size gardens. It can also be used as a header or branch line off a bigger mainline for larger growing operations.

Although 1/2” tubing is great for small and medium gardens, those with more irrigation demands will likely want something bigger. That’s where 3/4” Poly Tubing comes in. This size is ideal for large gardens and small-scale farming. Just like its smaller cousin, this size can be used as a mainline or as a header or branch line from a bigger mainline.

Smaller Tubing

Smaller sizes of poly tubing are also available. Among the most popular sizes are 1/4” Poly Tubing and 1/8” Poly Tubing.

Commonly referred to as micro tubing, these pipes will help carry water to exactly where it’s needed in its end use. For connecting drip irrigation systems to Pot Drippers and Spot Spitters, 1/8” poly tubing is ideal. Pot drippers deliver water to plants in small- and medium-size containers, while spot spitters are used by commercial growers for balled rootstock and containers and by home gardeners for large potted plants.

All of these kinds of tubing are typically sold in a variety of lengths, letting you purchase just what you need with little or no waste. Micro tubing is available in vinyl as well as poly, while the 1/2” and 3/4” tubing is only available in poly.