RATCHETING PIPE CUTTER
- Easy to use for beginners
- Quiet as a mouse
- Acute arthritis
- Best for projects with less than 10 cuts
Plastic Pipe Cutters are a straightforward and clean way to cut PVC pipe. They are typically very inexpensive tools ($5-12 each) that you can get from your local hardware store.
The ratcheting pipe cutter uses a ratchet mechanism that repeatedly applies pressure on the blade against the plastic. Simply place your mark where you want to cut the pipe against the blade of the cutter, then squeeze until it comes into contact with the pipe wall. Release the mechanism, squeeze again, and repeat until the blade is all the way through the pipe.
The only drawback to cutting with a ratcheting pipe cutter is the aching hand pain since you are constantly squeezing the cutter handles together. It is recommended that you only use plastic pipe cutters for smaller projects with less than ten cuts. Any more than that, and a handshake will be challenging to perform.
- You probably already have one!
- Very easy to use
- It can be messy and leaves little snowflakes everywhere
- Rougher cuts due to the sawing motion
A hand saw is the most common way to cut PVC pipe, but it can be a little messy. You can use almost any kind of saw, but a hacksaw is best as it gives you much more flexibility. To use a handsaw to cut the pipe, hold or clamp the pipe over the edge of a counter or workbench and use the saw on the mark where you want to cut. Saw in a back-and-forth motion all the way through the pipe.
Since using a hacksaw or other hand saw is essentially ‘hacking’ the pipe, you will often be left with ‘burrs’ on the end of the pipe (and everywhere else). These are rough bits that need to be knocked off in order to make the end of the pipe clean. You can use a butter knife to remove these by running it along the end of the pipe to knock them off.
POWER MITER SAW
- Incredibly fast
- Clean cuts with no burrs on the pipe
- Expensive if you don't have one already
- Will remove limbs and other parts if you are not careful (no joke)
An electric miter saw is the best solution to cut PVC pipe if you have a lot to cut. You have to seriously pay attention and understand how your miter saw works so that you don't hurt yourself. Once you are past that, you can cut a lot of PVC pipe really fast and quite accurately.
To cut PVC with a miter saw, you have to have a method to clamp the pipe to the miter saw base. Otherwise, it will come loose and cause havoc. Once clamped, make sure that the blade of the saw is aligned with the mark on your PVC pipe(s), and then activate the saw blade and plunge the saw slowly down onto the pipe until all the way cut. Once all the way through, release the button and let the blade stop before lifting the saw head back up.