Pipe Ends: Explained

Ensuring your piping and the connections in your processing systems are compatible for safe, effective, long-lasting performance.

While size is an important factor when choosing flanges, elbows, and other components of your piping process, pipe ends are a critical consideration to ensure a proper fit, a tight seal, and optimal performance.

In this guide, we will look at the various pipe end configurations available, the scenarios they’re most often used in, and factors you should consider when choosing a specific pipe end.

Common Pipe Ends

The type of pipe end chosen will determine how it connects to other components and which applications and components the pipe is best suited for.

Pipe ends typically fall into one of four categories:

  • Plain Ends (PE)
  • Threaded Ends (TE)
  • Bevelled Ends (BW)
  • Grooved Mechanical Joints or Grooved Ends

A single pipe can also have multiple end types. This is often designated in the pipe description or label.

For example, a 3/4-inch SMLS Schedule 80s A/SA312-TP316L TOE pipe has threads on one end (TOE) and is plain on the other. 

In contrast, a 3/4-inch SMLS Schedule 80s A/SA312-TP316L TBE pipe has threads on both ends (TBE).

Plain End (PE) Pipe Uses and Considerations

PE pipes feature ends typically cut at a 90-degree angle to the pipe run for a flat, even termination.

In most cases, plain end pipes are used in combination with slip-on flanges and socket weld fittings and flanges. 

Both styles require fillet welding on either one or both sides of the fitting or flange and at the base of the fitting or flange.

Where applicable, the plain end will be placed typically ⅛” from where the pipe rests to allow for thermal expansion during welding.

This makes them ideal for small diameter piping systems.

Threaded End (TE) Pipe Uses and Considerations


Typically used for pipes with a nominal size of three-inch or smaller, TE pipes allow for an excellent seal. 

Most pipes use the National Pipe Thread (NPT) standard which describes the tapered threads used on the pipe with the most common taper measuring 3/4-inch per foot. 

This taper allows the threads to pull tight and create a more effective seal.

However, connecting the threads on a TE pipe properly is essential to avoid damaging pipes, fittings, or flanges

Improper assembly or disassembly may lead to galling or seizing. 

Once unseized, damage to the threads or pipe could further reduce corrosion resistance and hygienic properties -- two popular reasons for choosing stainless steel pipe.

Fortunately, avoiding these concerns is often as simple as preparing the threads before assembly. 

We recommend and sell Unasco stainless steel thread sealing tape. 

Impregnated with nickel powder, the tape keeps the surface of male and female thread ends separately while also lubricating the connection for easier assembly and disassembly.

Bevelled End (BW) Pipe Uses and Considerations

Used with buttwelding, BW pipe fittings commonly feature a 37.5-degree bevel. 

These bevels are often applied by fabricators by hand or through automated processes to ensure consistency. 

This allows for a perfect match with BW pipe fittings and flanges and easier welding

Grooved End Pipe Uses and Considerations

Grooved mechanical joints or grooved end pipes use a formed or machined groove at the end of the pipe to seat a gasket. 

A housing around the gasket is then tightened to secure the connection and ensure optimal seal and performance.

The design allows for easier disassembly with a reduced risk of damaging piping components.

Common Pipe End Abbreviations and Standards

Pipe end connections typically used for pipe nipples -- are often denoted using abbreviations. 

In most cases, the first letter denotes the type of end used while the following letters let you know which ends are finished.

Common abbreviations include:

  • BE: Bevel End
  • BBE: Bevel Both Ends
  • BLE: Bevel Large End
  • BOE: Bevel One End
  • BSE: Bevel Small End
  • BW: Buttweld End
  • PE: Plain End
  • PBE: Plain Both Ends
  • POE: Plain One End
  • TE: Thread End
  • TBE: Thread Both Ends
  • TLE: Thread Large End
  • TOE: Thread One End
  • TSE: Thread Small End

If you’d like to know more about common pipe end standards, you can find information from ASME below:

This guide covers the essentials to matching pipe ends and connections to suit your intended function or piping system.

However, you must also ensure proper pipe sizing and pipe materials

Combine this with the sheer number of different parts and configurations available and finding the perfect option might seem intimidating.

The technical sales experts at Unified Alloys have helped industries across North America and Canada with their alloy piping needs for more than four decades. Call us today for additional information and to find high-quality stainless steel piping and components with the end requirements your process or design requires.

Unified Alloys will not be responsible for the accuracy or currency of any of the information contained herein. The specifications and information contained in the brochures are subject to change without notice.
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