Copper v Stainless Steel in Hot Water Cylinders

Copper v Stainless Steel are the two most common materials used for hot water cylinders.

Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Copper is a good conductor of heat, so it can heat water quickly.

It is also a relatively soft metal, which makes it easy to work with. However, copper is more expensive than stainless steel and it can corrode over time.

Stainless steel is a strong and durable material that is resistant to corrosion.

It is also less expensive than copper. However, stainless steel is not as good a conductor of heat as copper, so it takes longer to heat water.

Stainless steel is, on average, 2.5 times stronger than copper and performs much better on the strain and stress tests. 316 Stainless steel tube has a tensile strength in the range of 570 – 620Mpa, approximately 3 times that of copper, and can withstand high pressures and temperatures without any issue.

Here is a table comparing the two materials:

Feature Copper Stainless Steel
Conductivity Good Poor
Durability Good Excellent
Corrosion resistance Good Excellent
Cost High Low
Weight Light Heavy

Ultimately, the best material for you will depend on your individual needs and budget. If you are looking for a material that heats water quickly and is easy to work with, then copper is a good option. If you are looking for a material that is strong, durable, and resistant to corrosion, then stainless steel is a good option.

Here are some additional things to consider when choosing between copper v stainless steel tanks:

  • Size: Copper tanks are typically smaller than stainless steel tanks. This is because copper is a better conductor of heat, so it does not need to be as large to store the same amount of water.
  • Shape: Copper tanks are typically cylindrical, while stainless steel tanks can be cylindrical or rectangular. This is because copper is a more malleable material, so it can be easily shaped into different forms.
  • Finish: Copper tanks can be left uncoated or coated with a clear lacquer to protect them from corrosion. Stainless steel tanks are typically coated with a clear lacquer or a white enamel to protect them from corrosion and make them more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cost: Copper tanks are typically more expensive than stainless steel tanks. This is because copper is a more expensive material.

Is copper more expensive than stainless steel?

While copper may be slightly cheaper in terms of cost per square foot, stainless steel offers superior durability and resistance to corrosion which may make it the better choice for certain projects. Ultimately, the best option will depend on your budget and the specific application you need for the material.

If you are still unsure which material is right for you copper v stainless steel, it is always a good idea to consult with a qualified plumber or heating engineer. They can help you assess your needs and make the best choice for your home.


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