One of the best and most accurate tools for cutting PVC is a PVC pipe cutter. Polyvinyl chloride is plastic tubing that is commonly used nowadays typically for installing or repairing drains.

Polyvinyl chloride is plastic tubing store the ground

If you have a DIY sink, shower, toilet, or drain home plumbing repair job to get done, PVC is a dependable alternative to more expensive types of pipes. Here are our easy-to-follow step-by-step guides for cutting PVC. 

How do you cut PVC pipes?

The real challenge when working with PVC is when it’s time to cut the pipe. You will need to cut your PVC tubing to size before you can install it during your repair project. If there is any difficulty in working with PVC, the cutting will be it. 

The real challenge when working with PVC is when it’s time to cut the pipe

If a pipe end is off square or has burrs on the end from an uneven cut, it can complicate your project. Both fittings and cement can easily be found for binding PVC piping together, but a poor cutting technique can literally interrupt your work schedule. While there are a variety of tools that can cut through PVC, you want a tool that will guarantee you a smooth square result. 

What do you use to cut PVC pipes?

Your goal is to achieve a smooth square cut for a tight seal when installing pipes. There are several tools that will ensure this when using the proper method:

  • PVC pipe cutter
  • Miter saw
  • Handsaw

Which tool you decide to use can depend on a number of factors

  • Which tools you may already own
  • Your skill level with the tools
  • How much space do you have to work in

Once you have determined which cutting tool you feel most comfortable using, follow our easy step-by-step guides to successfully cutting PVC pipes

How to Use a PVC Pipe Cutter?

This is one of the most convenient methods for cutting PVC pipes. A PVC pipe cutter resembles scissors only there is just one cutting blade. It is often the tool of choice if you have a pipe that is no larger than 1.25 inches in diameter and you have very little space to move in while cutting.

Necessary Tools

  • PPE
  • PVC Pipe
  • PVC Pipe Cutter
  • Workbench 
  • Marker or crayon
  • Measuring tool

Step 1:  Measure 

Position the PVC tubing on your worktable. Measure the pipe to the correct length necessary for your project.

Step 2: Mark

Using a marker or a crayon, mark where you need to cut.

Step 3: Position the PVC Pipe within the Pipe Cutter

Open the pipe cutter. Position the PVC pipe you intend to cut by positioning the blade with your cut mark. Check to make sure that the PVC pipe’s bottom is flush with the base of the cutter.

pipe cutter is on the table

Step 4: Cut 

Squeeze the handles and rotate the cutter slicing into the pipe. Continue rotating the cutter until you have completely cut through your PVC pipe.

Tip: PVC pipe cutters are generally used to cut smaller-width PVC tubing. A PVC ratcheting cutter will be able to cut larger diameter tubes, however, should you purchase a pipe cutter, check the maximum pipe diameter that the tool can cut.

How to Use a Ratcheting PVC Pipe Cutter

A PVC pipe cutter looks like a pair of oversized pliers with a sharp cutting blade on one half. Using this tool is incredibly easy when cutting PVC tubing. It involves little or no hassle.

Necessary Tools

  • PPE
  • PVC Pipe
  • Ratcheting PVC Pipe Cutter
  • Workbench or similar
  • Silicone-based Lubricant or cooking oil
  • Marker or crayon
  • Measuring tool

Step 1:  Measure 

Position the PVC tubing on your worktable. Measure the pipe to the correct length necessary for your project.

Step 2: Mark

Using a marker or a crayon, mark where you need to cut.

Step 3: Lubricate

A silicone-based spray lubricant can be used to facilitate cutting on the pipe. One short spray should be sufficient. Limit the spray as this will avoid messy excess when working. A lubricant helps minimize cutting friction and dust emission from the cut. 

Tip: No spray lubricant? Use spray cooking oil. It’s safe for use on plastics for food. 

Step 4: Position the Pipe within the Pipe Cutter

Open the ratchet pipe cutter to a position that is completely open by pulling the moveable lever-handle outward toward you and the cutter’s jaws should just pop open. Position the PVC pipe you intend to cut. Position the tubing in the cutter’s jaws. Some PVC pipe cutters have slight indentations to help position the pipe.

Step 5: Prepare to Cut

Using the movable cutter handle, ratchet the cutter’s jaws to meet the side of the PVC tubing. This is done by continuously squeezing the moveable handle until the blade meets the piping.

Step 6: Cut

Continue ratcheting by squeezing the handle lever until cutting through the pipe is completed.

What can I use to cut PVC pipe without a pipe cutter?

If you do not have a pipe cutter and perhaps are doing a one-time project, hence the purchase isn’t warranted, there are alternatives as we stated at the beginning of this article. Here are guides for using other tools to cut your PVC pipes.

How to Use a Miter Saw to Cut PVC Pipe

A good quality miter saw can easily cut PVC pipes smoothly and accurately. If you own a miter saw or have access to one, consider this alternative. Because miter saws will lock into position at angles that are preset including a 90° angle, their cuts will be square. 

Necessary Tools

  • PPE
  • PVC Pipe
  • Miter saw with a fine-toothed blade
  • Marker or crayon
  • Measuring tool
  • Clamps

Step 1:  Measure 

Position the PVC tubing on your worktable. Measure the pipe to the correct length necessary for your project.

Step 2: Mark

Using a marker or a crayon, mark where you need to cut.

Step 3: Position the Pipe

Place the pipe up against the miter saw’s fence in such a way that the cutting mark can be seen clearly. Clamp the PVC pipe to the miter saw’s base, to avoid pipe coming loose during cutting and creating problems. Now line the saw blade with your cutting line.

Step 4: Prepare the Miter Saw to Engage

Lift up the saw and turn on the blade.

Step 5: Cut

Lower the rotating saw blade onto the PVC pipe and cut until the pipe has been cut completely through. Release the saw button and wait for the blade to completely stop before you raise the saw in an upward direction.

Tip: Should the Miter saw not complete the cut on the first try following Step 6.

Step 6: Completing an Unfinished Cut

If the cut has not been completed on the first try, allow the Miter saw blade to come to a complete stop. Lift the saw blade. Turn the PVC pipe so the uncut part is showing. Turn on the miter saw blade and lower it to complete the cut.

Tip: You cannot attempt to turn the pipe for a complete cutting while the blade is running.

How to Use a Handsaw to Cut PVC Pipe

Almost every toolbox whether it belongs to a pro or a DIYer has a common handsaw or hacksaw. The challenge will be to cut your pipe squarely using either of these saws. A miter box can resolve this as it features a square angle that is built-in to guide your saw for the cut.

Necessary Tools

  • PPE
  • PVC Pipe
  • Handsaw or Hacksaw
  • Marker or crayon
  • Measuring tool
  • Clamps or Miter Box 

Step 1:  Measure 

Position the PVC tubing on your worktable. Measure the pipe to the correct length necessary for your project.

Step 2: Mark

Using a marker or a crayon, mark where you need to cut.

Step 3: Position the pipe

Using clamps or a miter box, secure the pipe you wish to cut.

Step 4: Cut

Place the blade on the cut line and slowly begin to saw. Do not push or press. Merely guide the saw back and forth until it has completely cut through the pipe.

Tip: After cutting with a handsaw, you will need to clean any burrs on the cut edge.

Deburring

Tiny pieces of material that remain on the pipe’s edge once you have finished cutting are called burrs. These can prevent a perfect fit and eventually contribute to clogging your pipe. There are two methods used for deburring:

• Utility knife

• Sanding

To deburr with a utility knife, make sure the blade is sharp and run it at an angle on the outer rim and the inner rim of the cut pipe edge. This should remove tiny burrs.

You can also sand the inner and outer edges of a cut pipe with a plumber’s cloth or fine sandpaper, Rub gently only to smooth the edges.

Conclusion

Cutting PVC pipes is relatively quick and easy with the right tools and methods. Always consider the diameter width of the PVC piping you need to cut as this will influence the tool and method you select.

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