September 23

How To Cut A PVC Pipe Without A Proper Pipe Cutter

DIY can be a fulfilling experience, and it can also be a complete nightmare at the same time.

Constructing and building a labor of love in your home requires time, patience, diligence, preparation, and the right tools for the job.

Without any of these things, you are doomed to fail before you start.

Even doing simple projects involving cutting PVC pipe can come to grinding halt when you simply do not have one or two of the things that you need.

One of the things that people often find themselves without is a proper PVC pipe cutter.

This is not some negligence, it more falls in the realm of we never needed it before, so we don’t have one now.

It’s not exactly something you want to go miles for, either. So, what can you do? How can you cut a PVC pipe without a proper pipe cutter?

If you’re also struggling with cutting PVC piping without accurate measurements, there are alternative strategies you might find helpful.

Luckily, there are a range of pvc cutting tools that you can use that will easily go through the pipe surface.


A PVC cutter is a great choice, but not every one has them to hand. Almost every person who owns a home has a hacksaw or a handsaw of some description.

If you have a hacksaw in your tool collection, then you are already well on your way to cutting a PVC pipe.

This is a manual saw that uses pressure you put on the handle to move the hacksaw blade back and forth in order to cut the pipe.

A hacksaw is the first piece of equipment that people reach for when they find themselves without a pipe cutter.

It can be a good replacement, but it takes some time and a little bit of effort.

Not only that, but it is very easy to make a mistake and injure yourself. due to the fine toothed blade. That being said, it is a free option if you have one at home that works moderately well.

All you have to do is to secure the PVC pipe at the end of a cutting table, with the part you want to cut hanging free over the side.

You can secure it with a clamp or a very firm grip with your hand. Make a notch in the pipe where you are going to cut before placing your hacksaw in the notch and beginning to cut.

Hacksaws can do the job in a bind, but they can also create quite a bit of mess, so make sure you have a bucket or a waste bin underneath when you are cutting, so you don’t have to sweep up the mess later.

In addition, the sawing motion can be tiresome, so we have another option for you.

For situations where you have no tools at all, there’s a creative way to cut PVC piping using items you might already have at home.

Cable Saw Or A Metal Wire For PVC Pipe

A cable saw is a type of manual saw that is designed specifically for cutting circular pipes.

Unlike a hacksaw, professional-grade cable saws are designed to properly cut PVC pipes without damaging the pipe as they fit perfectly around the diameter.

Cutting PVC pipes with a cable saw is much faster than with a hacksaw and usually results in a cleaner cut.

So, what a cable saw basically is a durable metal wire with two handles at either end.

You wrap the wire around the pipe on the line you want to cut, then you tighten it until it will not move from the line.

Alternatively, you could use nylon string if you’re cutting the pipe inside a tight spot.

If you haven’t used one before for your DIY projects, then it can be a bit tricky.

So, begin by pulling one handle horizontally out with either your left or right hand, allowing the wire to move along the line while maintaining pressure.

Once you have pulled a few inches, pull back with your other hand in the other direction, thus creating a back and forth motion.

This will allow the wire to slowly wear away at the diameter of the pipe and cut through it.

If you do not have a cable saw, you can make do with a strong metal wire which is a much more cost effective option.

You can get around not having handles but using heavy-duty gloves, either gardening or otherwise, to hold the ends of the wire before cutting with it.

This is an excellent and efficient way to cut pvc.

Electric Miter Saw

How To Cut A PVC Pipe Without A Proper Pipe Cutter (1)

An electric miter saw is a type of power saw that can be used for a wide variety of applications.

They are ideal for cutting PVC pipes because they are designed with a specific cutting table that supports PVC pipe while cutting.

A Miter saw is also designed to cut through hard objects with ease, so you won’t have to worry about extended periods of hard graft to get through the pipe.

A miter is also designed to make smooth, clean cuts with very few burrs or hard edges.

However, the miter saw is an expensive option and the only reason a person would buy one is if they use them regularly.

If you have no other use for a miter saw, but to cut a small batch of piping, then it probably isn’t worth getting one.

All you have to do with a miter saw is mark the pipe where you want to cut, clamp in the pipe through the throat plate, secure the pipe, put all your extremities in a safe position, and cut straight down.

Make sure that you always wear eye protection around any sort of power tools like a miter as the plastic bits could come flying off and cause serious harm.

It should take no more than a few seconds to cut through the pipe as power miter saws are incredibly effective.

Electric Drill And A Utility Knife

If you don’t have a miter saw, then you can try an electric drill along with a utility knife. Of all the solutions to having no pipe cutter today, this is probably the most homemade and DIY.

All you need is an electric drill with small drill heads, a utility knife, and some sandpaper – if you have it.

Using a tape measure to find the correct length, get a pen and mark a line all the way around the pipe, making sure the line is obvious, straight, and wide.

Then, secure the pipe to a surface with the marked area hanging just an inch over the edge of the table. You can do this with a pipe clamp.

Your pipe needs to be totally secure for this method to work, so an iron clamp is probably your best option.

Take your electric drill and slowly bring it down to drill small holes along the line at between a few millimeters and a quarter of a centimeter apart on the plastic pipe.

Do this along the entire line, then grab your knife. Cut slowly any remaining plastic in between the holes created, and the excess piping should fall off.

Once you have cut off the pipe, take your knife and make the line as straight as possible, cutting off any divots caused by the drill.

You may also need a deburring tool to de burr the edges of the pipe for softer results.

However, this will be far more efficient that just using the utility knife to cut off edges, as this can be time consuming.

Finally, grab your sandpaper and sand the whole affair down until it is completely smooth and ready for use for more clean cut lines.


To conclude, there are so many pvc accessories and tools on the market.

Therefore, you may need to try out different tools to see what works for you. The tool of choice is often a pipe cutter, but you may not have this at home.

It can be annoying not having the right cutting equipment for a piece of piping, however with a bit of creativity and some persistence you can easily cut your pipe to suit your needs.

Once you’ve cut your PVC pipe, you might want to know how to smooth out the edges for a perfect finish.

Luckily, you don’t have to head to the local hardware store, as we’ve offered you a range of methods to cut through plastic pipe.


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