Expand the sections below for information on choosing the right bender for your next project.
The difference is the material being cut. Rent a pipe bender to bend pipes, which are round and rigid and have thicker walls than tubes. Rent a tube bender to bend tubes, which can take a variety of shapes and are often less rigid than pipe.
The two benders work the same way and can be used interchangeably except when you need to bend very large or very small pipes or tubes. To get an accurate bend, remember that pipes and tubes are not measured the same way. Pipe is measured by the inside diameter. Tube is measured by the outside diameter.
Rent a conduit bender to bend angles in conduit, the rigid or flexible tube made of metal or other materials that protects electrical wiring.
The four main types of benders are manual, electric, hydraulic and mechanical. Pipe, tube and conduit benders can be driven by any of these mechanisms. For example, conduit benders are typically manual or mechanical, but powered models, such as this powered conduit bender, offer versatility and speed.
A manual bender, also known as a hand bender, is cheap, easy to use, easy to transport and suitable for many bending jobs, given enough elbow grease. Manual tube, pipe or conduit bending requires some skill, but it’s a good way to fabricate custom shapes. A lever tube bender lets you easily bend copper or aluminum conduit or tubes.
There are limits on what a manual bender can bend, with most models maxing out at 1.5-inch diameter pipe, tube or conduit.
An electric bender features an electric gear drive and is often programmable, making it ideal for quickly producing the same bends over and over. It is the best option for high-speed operations.
A hydraulic bender is sturdy and powerful. It can create precise angles in pipes and tubes as large as 4 inches in diameter or in pipes with thicker walls. A hydraulic pipe bender rental can be used to craft handrails, vehicle chassis and roll cages and can be used in other automotive and mechanical applications. Electricians use hydraulic benders to bend rigid conduit or conduit that's too large for an electric bender.
A mechanical bender falls in between a hydraulic bender and a manual bender in terms of what it can bend. It relies on manual force, but a ratcheting mechanism increases the force you can apply. Most models can bend ½-inch to 2-inch piping or PVC conduit. (If you're using PVC conduit, you may want a bender with a heating component to soften the plastic.) Mechanical benders typically have wheels.