PVC Conduit Cutting Tools

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Plastic sometimes gets a bad rap, especially in the organic gardening world, but plastic PVC pipe is versatile, strong, readily available, and inexpensive. It's also easy to work with as long as you have the correct tools to cut the pipe. Hacksaws, ratchet cutters, and tubing cutters are a few of the tools that make cutting PVC pipe quick and easy. The image below shows the PVC cutting tools:

conduit cutting tools


Of all the options, the hacksaw is probably the most versatile because it can be used to cut PVC, rebar, wire mesh (think tomato cages), and other metals. It can also cut wood if you get the proper blade, but that's not the hacksaw's strong point and you'd be much better off getting a regular handsaw for cutting wood. Hacksaws do make a very small mess due to the plastic or metal shavings, but that's what they make whisk brooms for. The hacksaw in the photo below is a Lenox and I've had it at least eleven years. I don't think they make that exact model anymore but this Lenox hacksaw on Amazon looks pretty close (currently around $24).

lenox hacksaw

Ratcheting cutters:

Ratcheting cutters would be my next choice for cutting PVC pipe, but they need to commercial quality ratchet cutters - the lightweight cutters won't hold up to repeated cuts. The cutters shown in the photo below is an old Carlon ratcheting cutter and it still works well. The ratchet cutters cut clean and straight and don't leave plastic shreds as the hacksaw does, but they're considerably more expensive than a hacksaw. The Carlon cutter isn't always available so try the Ridgid or Greenlee brands on Amazon instead.

ratcheting conduit cutters

Pipe tubing cutter:

The final conduit cutting tool is the tubing cutter. They're made more for cutting copper pipe, but can be used for PVC in a pinch. It's harder to get a clean, straight cut as there's a bit of a knack to getting the spin and tighten motion of the pipe cutter down pat. Check that the jaws will open to the width you need. The one pictured below is a Superior Tool model which opens to 1 1/8" measured to the outside diameter (o.d.) of the pipe.

screw type tubing cutters

When shopping, hacksaws are hacksaws but the cutters have various names, so try several different search terms to find the best selection and price. Try duct cutters, conduit cutters, tubing cutters, screw-feed tubing cutter, PEX cutting tool, PVC pipe cutting tool, etc.