Based on the NPS and schedule of a pipe, the pipe outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness can be obtained from reference tables such as those below, which are based on ASME standards B36.10M and B36.19M. For example, NPS 14 Sch 40 has an OD of 14 inches and a wall thickness of 0.437 inches. However the NPS and OD values are not always equal, which can create confusion.

  • For NPS ⅛ to 12, the NPS and OD values are different. For example, the OD of an NPS 12 pipe is actually 12.75 inches. To find the actual OD for each NPS value, refer to the tables below. (Note that for tubing, the size indicates actual dimensions, not nominal.)
  • For NPS 14 and up, the NPS and OD values are equal. In other words, an NPS 14 pipe is actually 14 inches OD.

The reason for the discrepancy for NPS ⅛ to 12 inches is that these NPS values were originally set to give the same inside diameter (ID) based on wall thicknesses standard at the time. However, as the set of available wall thicknesses evolved, the ID changed and NPS became only indirectly related to ID and OD.

For a given NPS, the OD stays fixed and the wall thickness increases with schedule. For a given schedule, the OD increases with NPS while the wall thickness stays constant or increases. Using equations and rules in ASME B31.3 Process Piping, it can be shown that pressure rating decreases with increasing NPS and constant schedule.

Some specifications use pipe schedules called standard wall (STD), extra strong (XS), and double extra strong (XXS), although these actually belong to an older system called iron pipe size (IPS). The IPS number is the same as the NPS number. STD is identical to SCH 40S, and 40S is identical to 40 for NPS 1/8 to NPS 10, inclusive. XS is identical to SCH 80S, and 80S is identical to 80 for NPS 1/8 to NPS 8, inclusive. XXS wall is thicker than schedule 160 from NPS 1/8 in to NPS 6 in inclusive, and schedule 160 is thicker than XXS wall for NPS 8 in and larger.

Nominal Pipe Size Chart