September 15

How Do PVC Cutters Work? 

If you’re thinking about undertaking your own DIY project, it may be time to consider grabbing yourself a PVC pipe cutter.

These tools are truly great for those who enjoy a hands-on approach to projects, and save a lot of time. 

PVC pipe cutters are actually fairly inexpensive, so if you can, we’d recommend picking up a pair of these.

If you want to find out more about how they work before making your purchase, take a look below as we delve into the world of the humble PVC cutter. 

What Are PVC Pipe Cutters? 

The name of this tool is quite self explanatory in nature, PVC pipe cutters are essentially what you would use for cutting PVC piping.

Plumbers usually use this tool to complete a job as quickly and efficiently as possible. Pipe cutters are a far better option than wearing yourself out by using a saw.

They are incredibly easy to use and result in a very clean cut pipe as opposed to other methods which might leave fragments and jagged edges. 

There are actually several types of pipe cutters, not just your regular old plastic pipe version. For those considering other methods, like using a hacksaw, you might find our article on can hacksaws be used to cut PVC informative. The other kinds of pipe cutters on the market include: 

  • Steel pipe cutters:

    Used for cutting large steel pipes that may be round in shape. 

  • Brass pipe cutters: 

    These help to cut brass pipes with a range of different diameters. 

  • Aluminum pipe cutters:

    These are used for cutting steels which are not as dense, such as aluminum. 

  • Copper tubing cutter:

    These cutters are used for very thick copper and metal pipes. 

As you can see, there are a range of different pipe cutters available on the market to suit your specific needs. 

How Do PVC Pipe Cutters Work? 

So how exactly do PVC pipe cutters work? They essentially use a ratchet mechanism that allows you to apply a minimal amount of motion.

For a deeper dive into the tools suitable for cutting PVC pipes, check out our detailed guide on what tool should be used to cut PVC piping.

They supply a continuous force, taking away all of the pressure from your hands and wrists. 

The PVC cutter contains an extremely sharp cutting blade that slices and works to cut through the material.

Many different factors come into play when considering how long it will take to cut the pipe.

Larger or denser pipes could take much longer to cut through because of their size, in addition, the sharpness of the blade will also determine the time spent cutting. 

It is important to note that PVC pipe cutters will only cut PVC piping to a certain size, so you have to choose one that accommodates the size of the pipe you want to cut.

Most pipe cutters can cut up to two inches of plastic tubing, this is not guaranteed though, so make sure that you check before buying. 

How Do I Use A PVC Pipe Cutter? 

How Do PVC Cutters Work? 

To find out exactly how to cut PVC pipe with a pipe cutter, we’ve put together a step by step guide to help you on your way. 

  1. First of all, engage the cutter by opening the ratchet. The blade will clamp down on the pipe when you squeeze them shut, very much like a pair of household scissors. Make sure that you’ve lined it up properly so that you’re cutting in a straight direction before you start to clamp down. 

  2. The process of cutting the pipe is very simple, you just need to squeeze the blades together using tension. You will have to squeeze and then release intermittently throughout the process. 

  3. Take care to clean your pipe cutter thoroughly before returning it to storage, making sure that there are no residual pieces of plastic left on the blades. 

How Do I Use An Adjustable Pipe Cutter? 

But what if the pipe cutter that you’re using is adjustable? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our instructions below. 

  1. First of all, we have to stress how important it is that you make sure to turn off the water supply if your pipe is connected to it. Failing to do so could result in disaster. 

  2. If the pipe cutter that you are using is adjustable, you need to make sure to fit the jaws tightly around the pipe that you want to cut. You can do this by turning the screw clockwise, making sure that the blade of the cutter meets the pipe. 

  3. In order to make sure that you are cutting the pipe correctly and in the right place, make a small indentation in the pipe by turning the cutter. Make sure that it is not clamped down all the way, so that it just brushes the edge. The groove that it makes in the plastic will indicate whether or not it is straight. 

  4. This is where we get down to business. Now that you’ve made the test groove in the material, we can get on with the cutting. Begin by tightening the screw so that the cutter fits tightly against the plastic. After this, you can begin to rotate the cutter. Continue to rotate in a continuous motion.

Make Sure That You Take The Right Safety Precautions

If you are planning on undertaking your own DIY project with a pair of pipe cutters, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions.

For those without a proper pipe cutter, our article on how to cut a PVC pipe without a proper pipe cutter offers valuable insights.

Make sure that you purchase a pair of safety goggles, so that none of the plastic gets caught in your eyes while you’re working.

In addition to this, you should also wear a mask or respirator. You don’t want any of the PVC particles to irritate your throat and lungs. 

Final Thoughts

If you have been considering purchasing a pipe cutter, we recommend that you go for it.

Otherwise, the next time when you’re arduously working away at your pipe with a saw, you’ll be sorry that you didn’t invest in one of these handy tools. 


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