How to Cut PVC Pipe

[Cover] How to Cut PVC Pipe

PVC is the abbreviation of ‘polyvinyl chloride’. Like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride), PVC pipe is that common white plastic pipe used in plumbing and drainage systems. It’s easy and simple to install. Thanks to its recognized rigidity, permanence, and resilience, it has replaced metal piping to become the most frequently used material all around the world. PVC is thermoplastic and may take a wide variety of shapes to fabricate different liquid handling items. So, how to cut PVC pipe?

Cutting pipes does not require using one specific tool. It’s up to you to choose whatever tool you want, which renders the task relatively easy. You don’t need sophisticated tools either. Hacksaws, miter cut, and pipe cutters are sufficient.

PVC Pipes Benefits

They are beneficial at many levels. As they have low in carbon, they prove to be not harmful to the environment. Their fabrication doesn’t deplete resources, as few resources and energy are sufficient. They also reduce water loss thanks to their leak-free fittings.

Most importantly, they’re recyclable. They can even be recycled repeatedly without hampering their qualities and properties. Also, they’re rank as the best and safest choice for water transportation. They’re not subject to bio-film contamination, which makes them bacteria resistant. In this term, they help provide clean and healthy water.

Sizes of PVC Pipes

Pipes come in common sizes between half an inch and two inches. Mind your pipe’s size and the number of cuts you’ll make.

-½ inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 0.840 inches
  • Inner diameter: 0.622 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.109 inches

-¾ inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 1.050 inches
  • Inner diameter: 0.428 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.113 inches

-1 inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 1.315 inches
  • Inner diameter: 1.049 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.133 inches

-1 ¼ inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 1.660 inches
  • Inner diameter: 1.380 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.140 inches

-1 ½ inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 1.900 inches
  • Inner diameter: 1.610 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.145 inches

-2 inch PVC pipe size:

  • Outer diameter: 2.375inches
  • Inner diameter: 2.047 inches
  • Wall thickness: 0.154 inches

How to Cut PVC Pipe Using Hacksaw?

  1. Clamping: The first step would be to fix the pipe in the appropriate place using a vise. This step is highly important, for it prevents the PVC from sliding, protecting you from any possible accident. Make sure to clamp it few inches afar from the target cut line.
  2. Marking: Using a permanent pencil or highlighter, point out the place wherein you’re going to make the cut on the pipe.
  3. Placement: with a firm hold, position the hacksaw in line with the mark. With the other hand, push down on the top of the saw and lay the teeth onto the pipe.
  4. Sawing: speed is required. Saw fast and firmly.

Recommended Hacksaw for the job:

AIRAJ 12 in Hacksaw Frame Adjusts Tension,Two Sawing Angles(45°/90°) Saws,One-key Replacement of 7 Reciprocating Saw Blades for Hacksaw Sets.
  • [High-Quality Hacksaw] AIRAJ focuses on creating the most efficient hacksaw frame.It is made of high-quality steel with...
  • [Multi-Angle Cutting] The metal hacksaw has two cutting angles (45°and 90°).
  • [Slip-Resistant Handle] The hack saw is ergonomically designed,non-slip and wear-resistant, and it is more labor-saving...
Cutting PVC Pipe with a Pruning Saw

How to Cut PVC Pipe with a Pipe Cutter?

Pipe cutters are categorized into scissor shaped and ratcheting style. Scissor style pipe cutters are suitable for half an inch, and an inch sized PVC pipe, but they’re hard to use. Ratcheting plastic pipe cutter; however, is easier, safer, and more convenient to both large and small PVC pipes. It helps you maintain constant force without excessive effort and motion.

Using scissor-style:

  1. Pull the cutter’s handles apart in order to pull out the blade. With each squeeze, you push the blade further.
  2. Put pressure on the handles and slowly turn the cutter around the pipe. Make sure to maintain the cut straight.

Using Ratchet-style

Mark the place of the cut, then seat the pipe into the opening -the two rounded jaws of the cutter- and start cutting. With a little more force, ratchet, and pull. Squeeze the hand-grip trigger to pull out the blade. When you’re about to finish, slow down gradually in order to have a clean cut.

Recommended PVC Pipe Cutter:

Zantlea Pipe and Tube Cutter, Ratcheting Hose Cutter One-hand Fast Pipe Cutting Tool with Ratchet Drive for Cutting Less Than 1-1/4" O.D. PEX,...
  • 【High Quality and Safety】The durable tube cutter are made of manganese steel that is high hardness, good toughness,...
  • 【Ergonomics Design】 The professional tube cutter adopts ratchet drive technology to greatly save your strength....
  • 【EASY TO OPERATE】Tubing cutter built with comfortable, ergonomic, textured handles that provide a reliable grip....
How to Use PVC Pipe Cutters

How to cut PVC Pipe with a Miter Saw?

Miter saws are used for when you’re about to make several specific and detailed cuts.

With miter boxes, you have the cut lines already marked for you, which makes the task even easier. Put the PVC pipe under the blade. Protect your pipe using a work clamp. Then, at medium speed, start cutting. You can add as many cuts as you want.

Recommended Miter Saw for PVC Pipes:

Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10" Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
  • Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT. Same great tools, with only a new name.
  • 0 to 52 degree miter angle range to the right and left for increased flexibility , Motor Horsepower 2.57 hp
  • 0 to 45 degree bevel range to the left to provide clean and accurate bevel cuts.Thumb actuated positive stops for quick...
How to cut PVC piping using a miter saw

After Cutting

When you finish cutting, you need to refine the pipe, as it may have burns, shaving, or ragged edges. Use some deburring materials to neaten, smooth, and perfect the edges.

When cementing the pipe, you need to apply a primer to help smooth the plastic and enhance the adhesion.

Use a dauber to apply an even amount of primer on both, the inside of the fitting and the ends of the pipe.

When cementing, use another dauber.

After cementing the inside of the fitting and the end of the pipe, connect the pipes.

Extra Tips:

  • Being round in shape, PVC pipes are prone to roll. That’s why it’s necessary to protect them using a vise. Another alternative is clamping the tube to your countertop in a V-shaped channel, known as a V block.
  • Never hold the pipe by hand while cutting.
  • Scissor shaped cutters require much strength. Opting for a ratchet-style cutter would be better.
  • In case you don’t have either tool, you can wrap a piece of string around the pipe, then with each handhold an end. As if sawing, pull the ends back and forth until it is cut.
  • PVC ratchet cutters are most suitable for small-sized pipes, that is 1 ½” or less. And they are also more precise than scissor-type.
  • Hacksaws are useful when making a few cuts.
  • Some tools are not advisable when cutting PVC pipes among these tools we list:
    • Table saws: because of their flat, slippery surface, they’re inconvenient for PVC pipes, which are curved.
    • Band saws: this type has a very slow blade, which would result in cracking and damaging the pipe.
    • Common wood saws: the problem with this kind resides in the teeth. In fact, they’re too far apart to cut the pipe properly.

PS: don’t forget to check our tutorials and buying guides, in which we review various tools; from battery trimmers and gas leaf blowers to mini lathes, plasma cutters, and work pants.


Jeffrey Alfaro

Jeffrey is a craftsman and writer who specializes in testing tools and covering the tool industry for construction and woodworking professionals.

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