Plumbing Projects Made Easy: Essential Pipe Cutters Reviewed

What type of tool is used by plumbers to cut pipe

Pipe cutting is a fundamental skill for any DIY enthusiast or homeowner tackling plumbing projects. Whether you’re replacing a section of pipe, installing a new fixture, or simply making repairs, having the right pipe cutter can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of pipe cutters, exploring their types, uses, and essential features to help you choose the perfect tool for your needs.

Understanding Pipe Cutters: Why They Matter

Pipe cutters offer several advantages over other cutting tools like saws:

  • Clean Cuts: They create precise, burr-free cuts, ensuring proper pipe connections and reducing the risk of leaks.
  • Ease of Use: Designed for simplicity, pipe cutters require minimal effort to operate, making them accessible for beginners.
  • Versatility: Various types of cutters cater to different pipe materials and sizes, offering flexibility for various projects.

Types of Cutters: Finding Your Fit

  1. Plastic Pipe Cutters: Ideal for cutting PVC, CPVC, and PEX pipes commonly used in residential plumbing. They feature a sharp blade and a ratcheting mechanism for easy cutting.
  2. Copper Pipe Cutters: Designed specifically for copper pipes, these cutters have a cutting wheel and rollers that adjust to the pipe’s diameter.
  3. Tubing Cutters: Similar to copper cutters, but often smaller and more compact, making them suitable for tight spaces and thinner-walled tubing.
  4. Chain Pipe Cutters: These heavy-duty cutters use a chain wrapped around the pipe and a cutting wheel to cut through larger-diameter pipes made of various materials.
  5. Ratchet Cutters: Similar to copper pipe cutters but with a ratchet mechanism that allows for easier cutting with less hand strength.

Essential Features to Look For

How many types of pipe cutters are there

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  • Material: Choose a pipe cutter made of durable materials like steel or cast iron for longevity.
  • Cutting Wheel: High-quality steel or carbide cutting wheels ensure clean cuts and longer tool life.
  • Replaceable Parts: Opt for cutters with replaceable cutting wheels and rollers to extend their lifespan.
  • Comfort: Look for ergonomic handles and features like ratcheting mechanisms to reduce hand fatigue.

Safety First: Mastering the Electric Pipe Cutter

Top Pipe Cutter Recommendations

Pipe Cutter Material Type Best For
RIDGID Model 15 Cast iron Copper pipe cutter DIYers and professionals working with copper pipes
REED PC12 Plastic Pipe Cutter Steel Plastic pipe cutter Cutting PVC, CPVC, and PEX pipes
Wheeler-Rex 590 Tubing Cutter Steel Tubing cutter Thin-walled copper, brass, and aluminum tubing
Klein Tools 63050 Chain Pipe Cutter Steel Chain pipe cutter Large-diameter pipes of various materials
Milwaukee 48-22-4019 Metal Ratchet pipe cutter Copper and stainless steel pipes offer extra leverage

Tips for Using a Pipe Cutter

  1. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Ensure accurate measurements before cutting.
  2. Deburr: Remove any burrs from the inside and outside of the pipe after cutting.
  3. Lubricate: Apply a cutting oil or lubricant to the pipe for smoother cuts and to extend the cutter’s life.
  4. Safety First: Always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with pipe cutters.

Maintenance and Care

  • Clean: Wipe down the cutter after each use to remove debris and moisture.
  • Sharpen/Replace: Replace dull or damaged cutting wheels for optimal performance.
  • Store Properly: Store the pipe cutter in a dry place to prevent rust and corrosion.


Having the right pipe cutter in your toolkit empowers you to tackle a wide range of DIY plumbing projects with confidence. By understanding the different types of cutters, their essential features, and how to use them effectively, you’ll be well-equipped to make clean, precise cuts, ensuring successful plumbing installations and repairs.

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Rylee McGlothin
Rylee McGlothin
Hey, I'm Rylee McGlothin! If you're tired of sifting through endless options for tools, you're in the right place. I'm a self-proclaimed tool geek who loves discovering hidden gems that make life easier. Join me as I test, review, and recommend the tools that actually make a difference.

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