I used to use the clear vinyl tubing also. The pros for this kind of tubing are
- it's transparent, so you can see the contents clearly
- it's relatively inexpensive
- it's food safe at room temperature
But there are some significant cons also
- at typical mash temperatures, the tubing becomes soft, and doesn't support the weight of the wort, so it collapses and kinks, sometimes cutting off flow
- it's not food safe above 135F, since there is risk of leeching plastic into the wort. Also the pressure tolerance drops with higher temperature.
So, pvc tubing is recommended for cold wort transfers only, such as when racking.
For hot transfers, there are a couple of alternatives
- Highly temperature resilient, up to 480F,250C. Can be put in the oven at 350F to sterilize.
- Semi transparent - you can see the presence of liquid and/or air bubbles
- Fairly rigid, doesn't kink under typical brewing use.
- Flexible, has a bend radius of a couple of inches
- Little absorbtion and cross contamination
- No "memory" effects - can take on any shape after being coiled
- Max pressure is 30 psi. Fine for pumps, but will balloon if connected to water mains.
- Can be split/shred by sharp objects, such as the hose barb and worm clamp - special worm clamps can be used to avoid this.
- Can be expensive - look around for good deals.
- temperature resillient, up to 275F, 135C
- very thick walled, rugged, does not collapse or kink
- retail price cheaper than silicone
- completely opaque, not possible to see the contents
- inflexible - has a minimum bend radius of around a foot - coiling smaller than that restricts the flow even though it doesn't kink.
- memory effects - after being coiled for storage, it will want to stay in a coil
- difficult to clean and sanitize without a pump. The rigidity made it difficult to put this in a bucket of PBW or sanitizer.
There is also norprene tubing, although this is more expensive than both of the other tubing types, and also fully opaque, so it's seldom used in brewing, other than for peristaltic pumps.
I've upgraded my brewery twice from the original PVC hoses, and over the years have used all 3 hose types. None of these hoses are completely ideal, but I have settled for silicone for most of the brewery since it was the easiest to work with - mash recirc, transfers between kettles, dumping to fermentor. I use braided vinyl for water supply and the water out side of the wort chiller since it can withstand mains water pressure, and regular garden hose isn't food safe.