The Best Way to Cut PVC Piping

One of the most common conundrums faced by PVC DIY'ers both new and experienced is choosing a method to cut PVC pipe with. Taking PVC pipe to a hardware store for cutting can be very inconvenient and costs can add up if done frequently. Learning how to cut PVC pipe yourself is easy and cost-effective. When deciding on a method, keep in mind there is no "best" way to cut PVC pipe. However, there are various tools that work well and deliver consistent results for a given situation. This week's blog post covers a handful of common PVC cutting tools and method and the situations they work best in and includes explanations on how to cut PVC pipe straight and deburring. Let's get cutting!

PVC Cutterssmall pipe cutter

Using a small PVC cutter is by far the easiest and least expensive cutting method. There are no jagged edges to cut yourself on, and the tool requires minimal force to cut PVC pipe. To operate a PVC cutter, line up the blade with the desired cutting point and open and close the tool until you complete the cut. While some heavy-duty PVC cutters can cut up to 2" pipe, regular ones can typically only cut pipe that is 1" or less in thickness. So these tools are best used on projects with relatively small pipe sizes.

A heavy-duty PVC cutter is another great option for cutting PVC pipe. It is quite similar in design and operation to the smaller PVC cutter. However, its larger size and longer handles allow it to create more force in each cut. These tools are best used to cut pipe that is 1"-2" thick and are heavy pipe cutterextremely useful in sturdier-built DIY projects. While they can cut thinner PVC pipe, the size mismatch often results in sloppier cuts. These tools are more expensive and require more force to use than a standard PVC cutter, so keep that in mind when selecting the type of pipe for your DIY project.



A standard hacksaw is the most popular and versatile way to cut PVC pipe. Hacksaws can hacksaweffectively cut pipe of any thickness, and they are the best method for straight cutting PVC pipe. They also work well if you are making a large amount of small, precise cuts. Hacksaws are best used in tandem with a vise, but any type of clamp that keeps the pipe locked in place while you cut will also work. When operating a hacksaw, make sure to use caution; the sharp teeth on the blade can easily cut you. Hacksaws are more time consuming to use than a PVC cutter, but they can be cheaper than a ratcheting cutter and deliver more straight, precise cuts.


Cable Saw

The cable saw is a relatively little-known method for cutting PVC pipe. The cable saw is unlike cable sawthe other listed methods in that it is not used to prep PVC pipe for a project. Instead, the cable saw shines when making cuts on already-completed projects. To use a cable saw,  wrap the cable around the pipe you want to cut in a "U" shape and alternate pulling up on the left and right ends of the cable until the cut is finished. Cable saws are extremely useful for making cuts in hard to reach places, making them useful for plumbing projects.



Last but not least, deburring is a process that is optional but very useful. PVC pipe cuts often leave behind small burs on the inside and outside edges of the pipe. These burs can interfere with liquid flow and weaken pipe connections. Removing them is beneficial and simple. To deburr a pipe, run a utility knife over the burred areas until they are relatively smooth. You can insert paper towels into the pipe if you want to keep plastic bits from falling into the pipe. After you are done with the knife, use sandpaper to finish smoothing out the edges. Deburring is not necessary for recreational PVC projects, but it is standard fare for industrious projects. If you find yourself deburring often, you can purchase deburring tools of varying sizes to speed up the process.


Remember to always use caution when handling PVC cutting tools. Careless operation can quickly result in injury. When choosing a method for cutting your PVC pipe, remember that there is no right or wrong answer. The choice you make should come down to the type of pipe being cut and, ultimately, personal preference. Make sure to check out our store for the best deals on PVC pipe, fittings, and cutting tools!