Rigid ducting VS Flex ducting

Flexible vs Rigid Ducting

The air supply & exhaust in HVAC systems through your facility is made via ductwork. Ducts are made from many different materials, each suiting specific needs and regulations. We mainly divide ductwork into two main categories, flexible ducting and rigid ducting. Many buildings will use a combination of the two types to suit. In this blog we are going to compare rigid ducting vs. flex ducting.

Rigid ducting

Rigid ducting is more often used in commercial facilities. When a building is being constructed, the ducting system to be installed will have already been carefully planned out and is usually present in the blueprints. This ensures a quality installation and limits the chances of error. Installation of rigid metal ducting must be completed by an experienced, skilled professional and is often more complicated to be installed than flexible ducting. This is due to the heavy planning it requires, and if something is not well thought through, it is normal for the technicians to come into a bit of a situation. On top of that, the weight of rigid ducting requires more mounting points, which again makes installation a harder task.

What is rigid ducting made out of:

  • Galvanized steel;
  • Stainless steel;
  • PVC plastic

*Those are the materials mostly used in the production of rigid ducting pipes.

Pros and Cons of Rigid Ducting


  • Sustainable to weather conditions;
  • Durability;
  • Lower resistance to airflow.


  • Expensive;
  • Harder to install.

Flexible ducting

Flexible ducting is more often used in domestic HVAC systems. Flexible ducting is an ideal solution for short duct runs. Some flexible ducting options are used on a commercial scale in office buildings, small shopping centres and others. They are often used to connect outlets and vents to existing rigid ductwork via a long zip tie or Jubilee clip. Some variants show high resistance to toxic liquids and even acids, which could be of a major perk in some commercial scenarios. The most notorious feature of those pipes is their flexibility, making them ideal for installation in tight spaces. The downside is that flexible ducting is not as durable as its rigid counterpart, and could easily be punctured somewhere along the trace. Those punctures cause leaks, making the system underperforming. Those leaks in the system could lead to power losses and inefficient work of the system.

What is flexible ducting made out of:

  • Aluminium;
  • Polyurethane;
  • PVC;
  • Silicone;
  • Galvanised steel;
  • Neoprene-coated cotton fabric

Some flexible ducts are made out of stainless steel. Your kitchen extractor is most likely connected to your ducting via a flex pipe made out of stainless steel.

Pros and cons of flexible ducting


  • Often cheaper;
  • Flexible;
  • Easy to install.


  • Not suitable for external mounting;
  • Higher airflow drag;
  • Can be noisy;
  • Could be damaged easily (depending on the type of flexible ducting being used)

Rigid ducting vs. Flex ducting

Those are just the main differences between both categories of ducting. There are many different options on the market that have specific qualities. Some of those products are designed to fulfil one purpose and will do that better than any other product. We simply can’t crown one over the other as a better product. Both have their perks and cons and it’s best to consult an experienced company before choosing a specific option for your ducts.

At Ducting Express we provide a large number of different ducting solutions from both rigid ducting and flexible ducting types. You can take a look at the products we offer on our website and compare the options available. Furthermore, our customer care team is well familiar with the qualities and downsides of each product available and will be able to give you some advice to help you choose a product that will fulfil your needs. Call our representatives at 01455 616444, share your situation with them and then make an informed decision that won’t end up costing you more than it needs to.

* This information is based upon ducting being used for HVAC systems.