Pipe cutting is a process of cutting to needed length that also includes removing material to make saddle and midsection holes, etc (wiki). The main factors important when choosing best pipe cutter are material of the tube wall, thickness of the material, end-conditioning requirements, and process efficiency.
When working with a tube cutter, you have to make sure you use a quality product for the job. Due to the fact that there are different materials you will have to cut on the job, different widths and sizes, and various materials you are going to be working with on any job site, it is important to make sure you are using a great quality cutter to get the jobs you are working on done.
So, taking some time to find a quality cutter, that can handle any material, is something you have to do.
When deciding on the cutter you are going to work with, it is important to find something that is durable, can cut through many materials, and different sizes. So, taking the time to compare a few tools, their power and precision, and how well they are going to cut through the different materials, will help you in deciding on the one you will work with on different jobs.
Spoiler Table – Best Products
Regardless of the size of the tube cutter you choose, you have to make sure it is powerful enough to get through any material. When working on a job site, you have to find something that can cut through the toughest and strongest materials, the thicker materials, and any items you are working with, in order to ensure you are able to get the job done. No matter where or what you are working on, with a quality cutter you will get the job done in a much shorter period of time.
The price you are going to be paying for the cutter is also going to depend on where you buy it, what kind of materials it can work through, and the budget you have set. Of course with a high budget you can buy the best products, but if you are on a tighter budget, you do have to take the time to shop around in order to find something that can handle any material you are working with, and any job you have to get completed.
Taking the time to shop and to compare a few retailers, and home improvement stores, is the easiest way to find the perfect tube cutter to do any job, and to get through any materials you are going to be working with when you are on a job site. Rather than buy the cheapest one you can find, it is best to find the top quality cutter, as it will last much longer, will get the job done quickly, and will work through any material with the slightest of ease on any job site you are working on.
With various tools, you do have to take some time to find the right ones to work with. If you shop around and compare before you choose the tools, not only will you find the best, you will also find cheaper prices on the new tube cutter you will purchase.
PVC Pipe Cutter Reviews
XOOL Ratcheting PVC Tube Cutter
The cutter is designed for cutting plastic (PVC, PP, CPVC, PE, PEX), rubber and multilayer tubing up to 1-1/4″ outer diameter. The cutter is made of manganese steel, blade is imported from Japan. Ratchet drive auto-locks in the process of cutting which prevents the blade from bouncing back. Fish handle is pretty comfort, allows one-hand using, you can easily cut a pipe within 5 to 20 seconds.
You can also easily replace the blade.
Not for cutting metal pipes or cable wire.
Weight is about 1 pound, package dimensions 9″ x 3.9″ x 1.4″.
The tool makes quick and clean cuts in in about 5 squeezes. I like the ratcheting motion, the cutting is easy, but some of my colleagues prefer a more swift and scissors like cut. The mechanism is a little finicky to begin with, especially at the end. At the beginning, the cuts are slightly, you need to practice with it to get straight ends. Be careful not to pinch your skin between the handles on the last squeeze.
Don’t even try to cut wiring and be careful when cutting bigger diameters tubing, the blade chirps easily and finding a replace is not so easy.
- The cuts are a little angled
- Brittle blade cutting edge
- The ratcheting feature helps to cut
- Sharp blade
Just an inexpensive all-metal tool that gets the job done well for DIY user. It is not reliable enough for professional user, especially the blade
RIDGID 23498 RC-1625 Ratcheting PVC Pipe Cutter
Designed for cutting rubber, PVC and CPVC, PP and PE, PEX, and multilayer tubes. Replaceable quick change blade, burr-less cutting with a square cut. Outer diameter of the tubes is in a range from 1/8″ to 1-5/8″ (3-42 mm). Comes with usual Ridgid lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
With a cheap cutters you should really try hard to get straight cuts, but the Ridgid easily makes very clean and straight cuts. The ratcheting action is smooth and works great. The tool is feels very solid and well made. Spring-loaded return is awesome feature if you need to make a lot of cuts.
It is hard to imagine cutting pipes larger than 1 1/4″. The jaw doesn’t seem that large.
- Cutting tubes more than 1″ diameter require a lot of force
- A little pricey
- The blade costs more than some cheap pipe cutters
- Makes straight cuts
- Cuts without burrs and flush cuts
- Easy to change and available blades
- We buy replacement blades. These handles will last forever.
It is high-quality product, if you want the the best (or use the tool every day), this is your choice. However in general I can’t justify the much higher cost for time-to-time use.
SharkBite PEX Tube Cutter
PEX tubing is a cutting tool for use with 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″3/4″ and 1″ pipes, part numbers U701Z or U701A (similar). Warranty – 2 year limited. Weight – 5.1 ounces.
SharkBite is a world leader and hallmark of push-to-connect plumbing solutions. But the tool is not good. The blade itself is metal (pretty roughly sharpened), the rest is plastic and not very durable.
Like many cheap tools, you get angle cuts even when cutting 1/2″ simple plumbing pipe. I guess it is because of the blade design and the fact that the small indent on the other side fails to secure pipe.
- Only for plastic tubing
- The blade twist & deform with thicker material
- The cuts are slightly angled
- Makes quick cuts of PEX pipes
- Light weight
For the price it is nice tool and necessary if you are installing PEX only. Good buy for the DIY’er. But if you are professional and work with CPVC and multilayer tubes, the SharkBite is not for you.
TEKTON PVC Pipe Cutter
Tekton pipe cutter is universal tool for polybutylene, polyethylene, rubber hose, PEX, PVC, CPVC, and most non-metallic tubing. It is equipped with high-leverage ratcheting mechanism to work with minimal effort. A chrome-molybdenum steel blade is replaceable and precision-grounded. Cuts tubes up to 1 1/2″.
The manufacturer mentions the inside diameter of PVC as being their guide. If you need to cut 1 1/2″ PVC the cutter is not for you, it doesn’t open up to take 1 1/2″ PVC.
Works great with I got this to cut PETG tubing
- Does not cut straight
- Overtightened pivot point and improperly installed blade are common out-of-the box problems
- The blade is sharp and durable
- Great manufacturer customer service
This tool is acceptable for those who want to cut a few pieces of any plastic tubes. Cutter will suffice for the average homeowner repairing a PVC sprinkler line or AC condensate line. If you’re doing more than that, it is recommended to try another tool.
General Tools PVC Pipe, Tubing, and Hose Cable Saw
24″ serrated stainless steel cutting cable cuts pipes up to 8″ diameter without any special adjustment. Works with PE and ABS, PVC, Polyethylene pipe, flexible rubber. Allows to can cut pipes in tight spaces: pipes against walls, between rafters, etc.
The saw looks great – perfect utilitarian design. But it cuts PVC with significant efforts, slow, and cuts are far from ideal. The cutter tends to slide on the slick PVC surface when making the initial cutting. Looks like the cable is too smooth and does not have enough bite to begin a cut and remain in place while attempting to saw.
- It is hard to cut, especially at the beginning
- The cuts are not straight
- Lightweight and compact
- Can cut up to 8″ pipes
It is not a blade like with serrations or something, it is a wire. The saw becomes even worse out after a uses, but it does the job in tight corners where you can’t use any other tool.
Choosing Copper Pipe Cutter
MAGBIT MAG801 Copper Tube Cutter
Size cut – 1/8-Inch to 1-1/4-Inch. Designed for cutting copper/EMT, steel (including stainless) and PVC. Twisted knob is easy to use with gloves, wheels in handles. Weight – 9.6 ounces.
MAG801 uses a standard size cutting wheel and comes with one extra.
The tool cuts brass, aluminum, and copper, with ease. It is made of steel and has rugged jaw area. It features a pop up tube reamer and there is a spare cutting wheel.
The tool is equipped with both sides angled cutting blade. Therefore the cutter slightly flare the edges of pipe on right and left sides. I think, the blade that has one side flat blade is better. That will leave you with a straight cut on one side and a flared cut on the other, the other piece may not use. On the other hand, double-sided blade helps MAG801 to make perfectly perpendicular cuts almost without any external burrs. The cuts are clean and you have no chips or burs to clog tubing or faucets.
Internal rollers help rotating the tool around the tube and get a cut without spiraling. The rollers are made with a slot into them for cutting off the end of a flared tube and minimizing the loss of the length.
The MAG801 really can cut galvanized and stainless steel pipes, but the life of the cutting wheel and the amount of adjustment for each turn a proportionate to the hardness of the material being cut. For PVC a few turns penetrate any tube. Brass, black iron and steell need much more turns with slight adds of cutting pressure.
When cutting black and stainless steel follow some recommendations:
– draw a full circle of the cutting place with a marker, this will help you to prevent the cutter from spiraling
– go slow with patience to cut right above the line. If it starts to spiral, correct it immediately
– the initial scoring by the cutting wheel is the most important
– make a few initial thin cuts before really going deep with the cut to prevent the pipe from bending a bit.
- The description is incorrect – 1-1/4 outside diameter tubing will not fit this, the largest tubing that will fit looks to be about 1″
- The cutting wheel is brittle – great for copper and aluminum (if not overtighten), but steel will chipe it out quick
- Both sides of the cutting blade are angled
- The reamer could be a little bigger and more stable
- Really durable and solidly made
- The large knob gives great leverage and makes a nice handle for spinning around the pipe
- The cutting wheel is sharp and stay in its groove without any wander
This is a strong and well-made professional cutting tool for brass, copper and milder materials. It will speed up your plumbing work as it’s perfectly cut tubes are ready for sanding and soldering or flaring. It feels much more solid than something from a big box store and handles pretty much every pipe diameter the average homeowner is likely to encounter. Perfect for a DIY’er.
You can cut stainless steel from time to time, but the blade dulls and chirps pretty fast. You need a heavier tool to work with steel everyday.
RIDGID 32975 Pipe Cutter
The cutter is made for aluminum, brass, copper, and all types of plastic tubing. Specifically designed for use in restricted spaces on small diameter tubing. Cutting capacity is in a 1/8″ – 5/8″ range. Covered with a lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
Weight -1.1 pounds, dimensions – 5.9″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″
Ridgid 32975 cuts polycarbonate pipe extremely nicely. It is a high quality, very small pipe cutter. The slide action is excellent and the overall cutting action is smooth and consistent. Works with copper and NiCopper with ease. For steel tubing it’s slow to cut. I personally rather use a bigger one if I can. But for limited space, especially in small areas that you can’t swing around to cut the tube this is a savior. Somewhat hard to spin on straight tube unless gripping with a pliers of some sort.
- One complaint is that the main screw could stand to be a little bit larger, or at least have more surface texture to it
- This is a small device not so convenient for larger diameter tubing
- Lightweight, compact
- Great for restricted areas
It is the best compact pipe cutter, convenient and small enough to fit in tight spaces for easy maneuvering and simple operation when working in those ultra tight places.
Best Copper Tube Cutter from Ridgid – 40617 Model 101
Ridgid model 101 copper tube cutter has a 1/4″ to 1-1/8″ cutting capacity. It is great for use in restricted spaces a small diameter pipes made of soft and hard copper, brass, aluminum, and plastic tubing. The tool is great for working in tight and cramped spaces don’t spend much place is your toolbox.
You can buy replacement cutting wheels: 40617 (aluminum), Ridgid 33185 (copper), and Ridgid 33200 (plastic).
Ridgid copper tube cutter is one of the best tools on the market. It makes nice clean cuts with just a few rotations. The inner burrs are minor and can be easily removed with a utility or Exacto knife. It works great, cuts cleanly without crushing the tubing and is easy to use in a very small space. The tool last long and even comes with a free extra cutting wheel mounted neatly in the knurled feed screw knob.
One of the rollers has a squared notched cut into it. In the case of having to cut off a flared pipe the flare fits into the squared notch and you can make your cut right next to the flare for minimal waste. This can be a great if you haven’t got much length to spare as you can cut off just the flared section. In the case of a damaged flare with no pipe length to spare this is a must have feature.
- Round handle is not so good when you are sweating and your fingers are slippery
- It you have plenty of room, larger cutter will provide more leverage and less fatigue for your hands
- The model 101 is not so good for continuous cutting. If you plan to do many cuts try Ridgid model 20, it has a reamer and works faster.
- Especially helpful in tight spaces
- Rugged design, long lasting cutting wheel and one spare in a knob
- Makes clean cuts, didn’t walk off the cut
- “Close-to-flare cuts” feature
In my opinion, Rigid is by far the best copper tube cutter on the market. It is lightweight and compact, reliable and durable, simple and reasonably-priced tool.
GoChange Copper Tube Cutter
It is a compact and lightweight copper tube cutter that also slice aluminum, brass and plastic tubing with a 1/8″-7/8″ outer diameter.
GoChange cutter is a simple and cheap device, useful to make few cuts of small diameter pipes in tight places. It has no large handle. and will tire your hand quick.
The cutting wheel is much worse than Rigid’s one. There is a trick to using this cutter. Align the pipe on the device, turn the knob to apply a light pressure on the tube then turn the cutter around the pipe. The goal of the first turn is to simply make a light score around the pipe. The light score will be enough to guide the cutting wheel under higher pressure. When you have this guide path, put higher pressure to start cutting actually. Without this guide, you will end up making spirals along the pipe.
- The blade is not fully covered and it would be possible to cut yourself
- Didn’t come with any instructions on how to use it
- Too small for convenient work
- Compact enough to work with small tubing in a projects like cutting brake lines under the car
- Becomes dull pretty quick
It is a cheap copper tube cutter for occasional use in home and small DIY project. It works well for cutting small pipes, fuel and brake lines, aluminum ski poles, arrow shafts, etc. But I don’t sure it can survive the first large project.
Klein Tools Copper Tube Cutter
Klein tools 88904 is a tube cutter with a 1/8″ to 1-3/8″ steel and copper tubing. It has four roller tracking system which prevents spiraling.
The tool comes with extra cutting wheel included. It is in a handle, you need to remove the screw in the back to get the access to the wheel.
The cutter has a big handle comfortable to use and easy to turn. Klein Tools warranty covers any defects in quality or workmanship.
Klein tools cutter is significantly bigger than Ridgid one and can cut steel tubing. The design is pretty sturdy and the handle gives a more leverage and allows operating with less efforts. The tool cuts pretty easy, tracks very straight and true, with no “threading” tendencies. It also seems well made, judging by its rigidity, heft and how it holds up to being dropped.
But over all, in my opinion, the Ridgid make higher quality cuts. Deburring tool could be a bit nice. Make sure you tighten the blade down slowly. At first just tighten it to where its just touching the pipe and score it by rotating around a couple times, then tighten it a half turn for every rotation around the pipe. It cuts through much faster than you would expect. Also very compact, which is great.
- A bigger size is convenient in open space, but in tight places you need a compact tool
- Cuts are not so clean as made by Ridgid tools (in my subjective opinion)
- Four roller tracking system
- Nice solid design, great handle
- Spare wheel
- Easy slide adjustment
It is high quality, well-made tool. Great both for DIY and professional use. I would consider this tool to be the best, but I am a Ridgid cutters fan.
How to Choose Cast Iron Pipe Cutter
RIDGID 238-P Powered Soil Pipe Cast Iron Cutter
The tool operates with a 1/2″ impact driver (square drive) or ratchet.
Cuts up to 4-inch pipe manually with the included ratchet. With a 200-ft-lbs impact driver (not included) the tool can cut up to 8-inch cast iron pipe. Also features two directional operation that allows scoring of the pipe. The weight is about 13-1/2 pounds
- 1 1/2″ – 4″ No-Hub Soil Pipe
- 2″ – 4″ Service Weight Soil Pipe
- 2″ – 4″ Clay Pipe
- 4″ Concrete Pipe
- 1 1/2″ – 8″ No-Hub Soil Pipe
- 2″ – 8″ Service Weight Soil Pipe
- 2″ – 8″ Clay Pipe
- 4″ – 6″ Concrete Pipe
The tool effectively cuts cast iron, concrete, and clay pipe. It features a removable handle, low profile cutter wheels, and an 11-1/2-inch chain. Ridgid 238-P also has a torque limiter that helps protect the tool from overloading. Ridgid covers the product with a limited lifetime warranty.
The cutter is compact and lightweight, fits into tight places in overhead and below grade applications and easily mount in difficult places. It is easy to set up, the articulating outward facing chain hooks lay on the pipe to simplify latching. You can use it in combination with a Milwaukee medium duty impact and couldn’t be happier with the performance. Just make sure not to impact after the cut is made as it will loosen the top nut that holds it together.
- If you use heavy torque impact, it will strip out the internals of the tool.
- You need to be careful not to over tighten or over loosen with an impact or it breaks and will need to be sent out for repair
- Compact, lightweight and powerful tool
Did not purchase this cutter from Amazon but my company uses them. Best close quarters cast iron snaps I’ve ever used, especially when you use them with a 1/2″ cordless impact wrench. Just make sure not to impact after the cut is made as it will loosen the top nut that holds it together.
Ridgid Model 226 Chain Cast Iron Pipe Cutter
It is 17-inch tool to cut hub and no hub cast iron, cement and clay pipe in tight quarters. Equipped with rotating hooks for easy latching.
Pipe capacity is in a range from 1-1/2″ to 6″ (40 – 150 mm).
At 17″ long, it’s the smallest in-place soil pipe cutter available. Patented hooking mechanism with rotating hooks allows fast, safe and easy latching. A multiple action feedscrew equipped with a 15″ long 1/2″ drive ratchet. It can also be operated with any 1/2″ ratchet or 15/16″.
The design is simple yet sturdy and the too delivers maximum life with minimal maintenance.
Pipe capacity is in a range from 1-1/2″ to 6″. You can also buy a chain extension to cut pipes up to 8″ nominal diameter, you can extend the chain up to 15-inch (only for clay pipes).
Lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
- It is pretty expencive
- Simple, convenient and sturdy design
- U-shape handle is convenient, you may twist it with a 90 degrees step or even remove if you have no place for it
- Great feature – you can use 1/2″ ratchet or 15/16″ wrench
Great tool for professional use. Yes, it isn’t cheap, but the cast iron is not cheap too, so it pays off.
Best Exhaust Pipe Cutter
GearWrench 2031DD Exhaust Pipe Cutter
The tool is designed to to cut pipes 3/4″ – 3″ outside diameter, it has
15 blades to cut pipe in a quarter turn – great to use in hard to reach areas. It won’t cut double wall and stainless steel pipes
With a tailpipes you often can’t use single-blade pipe cutters and hacksaws, that is where this tool comes in very handy. It works good for thin-walled tubing: exhaust pipes, electrical metallic tubing (EMT), etc. The blades are sharp and it cut a nice track.
You really can cut stainless tubing with lots of patience required. Although it technically isn’t meant for stainless steel, but it will work few times before the blades become dull. Before cutting spray it with WD40 as cutting oil. Near the end of the cut it gets rougher, once the metal is thin enough you might just want to try twisting the pipe.
- The tool is sensitive to handle pressure
- It doesn’t have constant tension system. Zip ties around the handles add constant pressure and helps tremendously.
- A little hard on the hands when squeezing the handles (could use better cushion grips)
- Does not cut double wall tubing, becomes dull after few cuts when working with stainless steel
- When cutting larger diameter handle opens up so much you can’t grip well enough with enough constant pressure to cut through the pipe.
- Works well in tight spaces
- Makes great cuts on most exhaust pipes
How well the tool cuts really depends on how hard the metal is. You can cut Walker aluminized exhaust in a couple of passes, but some Summit Racing pipe was thicker walled and took a lot more effort. Follow instructions and keep the chain cutters oiled.
The blades dull proportionally to pipe hardness and thickness. You have to be patient when cutting steel pipes, especially thick-walled, and take care initially to lay out a good track.
OEMTOOLS 27045 Tailpipe Cutter
The tool cuts tailpipe and exhaust pipes with a diameter in a range: 3/4″ to 3-1/4″. Each roller has a cutting wheel.
The tool is very similar to GearWrench one. Cuts exhaust pipes with softer steel well and dulls quickly on stainless tailpipes. OEMtools works good on straight pipe, but on an elbow it’s difficult to start.
The cuts are clean, very little clearance is needed, so no need to drop the exhaust off the hanger. The cutter leaves a nice finished edge and there is no danger of the tool getting away from you, generating a lot of sparks or leaving a ragged edge. If you are in an awkward position or can’t get a good grip, be patient, the tool works fine. Use zip ties on the handles.
I think it’s important to realize that it’ll take awhile for it to cut through the pipe you’re working on and you need to slowly apply more and more pressure as you go, but it’ll make a clean cut every time.
- I’ve had good luck with the few OEMtools items I have bought before, but this one is a dud. No instructions, but it’s not hard to figure out, and other reviews give the procedure. Did not work for me, did not cut pipe no matter how hard I tried. Hardly even scratched the surface, literally. A dull tool is useless. Other reviews suggest your success may vary.
- Red handle covers/cushions slide off as you are using the tool
- Doesn’t last long on stainless steel tubes
- Works great on soft-steel exhaust tubes
- If used properly, it can made dozens of cuts
- Made in USA
It is designed for thin wall tubing only, so don’t expect it to cut through thicker gauge steel. It might, didn’t try that. You might consider getting a tailpipe expander or that steel cone tool to fix any imperfections in your cut.
Grip-On GR18210BK 10-Inch Exhaust Pipe Cutter
Up to 3″ cutting capacity, cuts thin stainless steel, copper, and PVC tubing. The chain is heat treated and durable, handles are covered with spatter resistant orange epoxy coating.
The tool has more durable cutting blades and cuts stainless exhaust pipes too. Just remember, that stainless tubes are pretty hard, the tool cuts it slowly. Be careful to not over-tighten the grip while cutting. You may have some trouble getting a groove started, which is a function of how square the chain is looped around the pipe, and how uniform and round the pipe is. It is not a high production tool for heavy duty use or rapid setup.
A tool leaves a small amount of material along the edge. Cleaned up the edges with grinder. Used lots of cutting fluid.
- Works slow on hard materials
- Leave sharp edges
- Great handles
- Sharp and durable cutting disks
- The grip lock is easy on the hands
It is high-quality tool made in Spain. Grip-On works OK, even with stainless steel, but you should remember, that it is not a high production tool. It is just a cutter that works where the space is limited.
Cutting Processes – Pipe and Tubes
It is a basic method of manual cutting for any alloy and wall thickness. The saw performs cuts with a circular abrasive blade that grinds through the product. Some machines can handle a solid round up to 4″ outside diameter. This tools are pretty simple, inexpensive, quick, and useful for small workshops. Disadvantages are: significant kerf and a heavy burr; the technique cannot provide tight tolerances and high quality square cuts. Cutting thick-walled pipes is pretty slow and leave a large heat-affected zone that can be harmful to secondary processing.
Band Saw Pipe Cutters
Band saw cutting is the most common and easy to automate method for large-volume cutting. The blade is a continuous band of metal, may be vertical or horizontal. Cutting with a band saw works great for cutting a squares, I beams, rectangles, etc. Band saw cutters are less efficient process for cutting thin-walled tubes produce a burrs and does not achieve tight tolerances.
Cold sawing is a technique of choice for precise cutting of small diameter tubing with thin walls. A cold saw is a circular device with a wheel blade which produces perpendicular or square cuts with no (or minimal) burrs. In automated devices the length tolerance is ±0.004″, and products don’t have heat-affected zone. Cold sawing is the most effective for cutting pipes with outside diameter less than 1.75″. Some machines works with diameters up to 3.5″.
The process has a high capital cost, it is precision, easily automated and allows to cut and deburr material with a narrow kerfs, tight tolerances, and minimal heat affected zones. Lasers can work with hard stainless nickel and titanium alloys. The best and the most economically effective is using laser cutters as a contouring tool to make small holes, cutting difficult-to-reach areas, etc.
Lathe-cutting machines are single-spindle devices designed for efficient cutting. The machines are great for tubes with thin walls, produces square cut ends almost with no burr. Lathe cutters work with pipes in a range 0.25 – 8″ diameter. Standard lathe cutting shuttle is about 24″. The smallest kerf is about 0.125″ and depends on cutting tool used.
A tube shear is a high-speed machine with shearing plates inner diameter punches cutting tubing. This operation can make up to 7,000 pieces per hour for an eight-hour shift. Shearing works without loss, it makes significant material savings for smaller outside diameter products.Sheared tubing is a little out-of-round. The setup needs using custom dies and long time (more than 2 hours), therefore, the process is not cost-effective for small runs.
A pipe cutter used for manual cutting of small outer diameter tube produces a clean, fast, and convenient cut than using a hacksaw. There are two main types of the devices: cutters for plastic pipes, which look like a pair of pruning shears. To cut thicker pipes you need a tool with a cutting wheel and adjustable jaw grips. You need to tighten it and rotate the cutter around the tube, repeat until cutting all the way through.