January 15

How To Cut PVC Piping Without Proper Measurements

DIY is tough if you don’t have the correct tools. Unfortunately, gathering all of the tools for a DIY job can be a nuisance, as you will have to spend time and money on all of this equipment.

Plus, if you don’t get involved in DIY regularly, you may only end up using pieces of kit once.

A measuring tape, also known as a tape measure, is an essential tool in the world of DIY. These nifty tools allow you to accurately measure surfaces.

So if you don’t own a high-quality tape measure, you may struggle to get certain tasks done.

This includes cutting PVC piping. If you don’t have a tape measure but need to cut a PVC pipe, here are some of the alternative strategies that you can try.

What Is PVC Piping?

PVC means polyvinyl chloride. This synthetic plastic is widely used across the globe. One of its main uses is to construct PVC pipes.

These sturdy pipes are commonly used in irrigation and sewage, as they allow liquids and gases to get to where they need to be.

Cutting PVC Pipe Without Proper Measurements

How To Cut PVC Piping Without Proper Measurements

Measuring Tape

The most obvious way of getting accurate measurements is through a measuring tape. This is easily the best tool for the job.

However, if you are asking this question, you most likely won’t have access to this handy gadget. So let’s explore some of the other options.

By Eye

If you lack a measuring tape, the next obvious solution may be to cut a PVC pipe by eye.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to get precise cuts when judging the size of the PVC pipe by appearance alone.

Even if the measurements are only slightly off, you could cause serious harm through leaks.

For more on cutting PVC pipes without a proper pipe cutter, check out How To Cut A PVC Pipe Without A Proper Pipe Cutter.

A Ruler

This is a great way of ensuring that your pipes are sized correctly. Most people will have a ruler in their home, particularly if they have an office.

The longer the ruler, the better. After all, measuring these pipes with a 6-inch ruler may be a little tedious.

If you don’t have a ruler on hand, you can print one off. There are plenty of ruler guides online, so all you will need is a printer, ink, and a sheet of paper.

Laser Measuring Devices

Essentially, these laser measuring devices are high-tech versions of a ruler or measuring tape. They take all of the hard work out of obtaining accurate measurements.

These devices work by emitting lasers to measure distances. They can cover large distances, so measuring a PVC pipe should prove quite simple.

As you can imagine, these products are quite expensive. So unless you get stuck into DIY projects frequently, this tool might not be worth it.


The idea of using cash to measure a PVC pipe might sound a little ludicrous. But trust us, it can work. In the US, bank notes are always 6.14 x 2.61 inches.

So if you have a dollar bill in your pocket, you will know that its length is always 6.14 inches.

Using this as a guide, you can calculate how long a pipe needs to be by seeing how many times the length of a dollar bill can fit into this distance.

If you need tips on precisely shaving down PVC piping, be sure to read How To Shave Down PVC Piping.

Why Is It Important To Measure Your PVC Piping?

To ensure that your DIY project is a success, you must ensure that you have the correct size PVC pipe. A small mistake in these measurements could be enough to cause a leak.

A leak could also go undetected for a while, meaning that the damage can be even worse. A pipe leak could result in damp spots, which could result in black mold.

Not to mention, the water quality in a property could decline because of the leak.

Without accurate measurements, you will either cut the PVC pipe too long or too short.

In many ways, it is preferable for the pipe to be too long, as you can easily cut it so that it’s shorter.

How To Cut PVC Pipes

Now that you know the best ways to measure a PVC pipe without a tape, let’s discuss the best PVC cutting tools that you can utilize.

Use whichever way to cut PVC pipe that works best for you:

Miter saws: A miter saw is an excellent PVC cutting tool. The saw blade can accurately cut a wide variety of materials.

Just remember to use a proper PVC cutter and miter box to secure the pipe. Power miter saws are powerful cutting tools that are perfect for this DIY project.

Pipe cutter: You can either opt for ratcheting style or scissor style PVC cutters. Just make sure that you have a PVC pipe cutter that is large enough for the diameter of the pipe.

Hacksaw blade: a hacksaw is excellent for cutting metal. As a result, the blade is more than enough to cut through a plastic pipe.

Use a vise or pipe clamp to keep the pipe steady. Otherwise, it may move when you attempt to cut into the pipe surface. Ensure that you use a sawing motion to cut the pipe.

Utility knife: a utility knife is a useful tool that can be used in an assortment of DIY projects. Just bear in mind that a utility knife will be sharp enough to cut through small pipes.

They will also be useful to make a cut mark on the pipe, allowing you to know the best place to cut through it.

Table saws: commonly used for more sophisticated DIY tasks, such as making furniture, these saws have sharp teeth.

Closing Remarks

Ideally, if you wish to cut PVC pipe, you would wait until you have accurate measurements. However, if these cannot be obtained, you can utilize some of the aforementioned methods.

For an in-depth look at cutting PVC pipes lengthwise, don’t miss How To Cut Straight Down The Middle Of A PVC Pipe.

Though these techniques may not be as optimal as using a measuring tape, you can use them if you’re in a pinch.


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