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Maybe I’m missing something — I don’t do much plumbing work, but this seems over-specialized to me. I know that, at least for residential, most pipe at this point is PVC, but I’ve always used a plain old pipe cutter regardless of what kind of pipe I’m working with.

I like specialty tools, because when they’re not too expensive they save my butt. This Black Rhino PVC cutter comes up at about $13, so it’s not too expensive, but do I need it? It seems to me this is like my left-handed board-stretcher — it’s the same as the right-handed one, and only worth a good laugh.

Is a PVC-only pipe cutter a hot item, or is this a board-stretcher? Let us know in comments.

PVC Cutter [Black Rhino]
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22 Responses to Hot or Not? PVC Cutter

  1. Joe says:

    The difference is speed. I just ran a bunch of 1/2″ cpvc last weekend. Once I picked up a PVC cutter (instead of the pipe cutter I’d been using) the job went a lot quicker.

  2. Greg Smith says:

    These are not only faster, they cut a lot cleaner than a hack saw. I’ve also been able to get these down in a hole and cut pipe.

  3. Electron says:

    I’ve owned and happily used one of these for years. It obviously doesn’t replace a standard pipe cutter, but for PVC (at least in smaller diameters) it can’t be beat. Like Joe said, the difference is the speed. They’re also useful for rubber and plastic hoses, and I’ve even used mine for heavier pruning branches where I can’t easily fit a full-sized pair of loppers.

    Is it a necessary tool? Hardly, but I’m keeping mine.

  4. Scott says:

    Hot. If you’ve ever had to install a sprinkler system (or build an armory of marshmallow guns), they are a life saver.

  5. John says:

    I have a different brand (Orbit) and find that it angles the cut slightly no mater how carefully I support or align the pipe. It will not cut the schedule 20 PVC that my #$%^#%^ irrigation system is plumbed with, just crushes it. It claims to cut 1/2″ to 1″ but it really only cuts 1/2″ and 3/4″.

    Board-stretcher

  6. Zach says:

    Certainly a specialty tool, but so fast and clean. If you are running PVC all day these can save a lot of time. Beware – the cheapo ones sometime don’t make a square cut. Not too big a deal, but it bugged me until I got a nicer pair…

    Also, if you are cutting flexible plastic tubing there are much better options out there…

  7. Kevin says:

    Hot- Maybe not for plumbing so much, but if you’re like me and like to use PVC as grown up tinker toys, these things are essential. For a single marshmallow gun, there can be fifteen cuts, and that’s a little toy. I can’t imagine trying to build a greenhouse or any other large, complex PVC structure without a cutter.

  8. Ryan says:

    Hot, as an electrician in NZ, I use them nearly everday installing electrical PVC conduits. They are a huge time-saver compared to a hacksaw, and leave a clean edge that doesn’t damage cabling run through the conduit.
    A must have tool.

  9. fred says:

    Hot

    We’ve used variants of these for years – have 1 or more on each truck.
    They’re great for schedule 40 – but can’t be pushed for thicker wall – and can crush thinner wall.

    We use the Wheeler Rex brand

    http://www.wheelerrex.com/catalog/Wheeler_Rex_2008_Catalog_33.htm

    We also are doing a lot of PEX recently for radiant heating – similar shears are the way to cut this too – but with the UPONOR products that we use – we take the added step of re-rounding before we expand.

  10. Kyle says:

    Definitely hot. This tool is much faster than a pipe cutter or hacksaw, makes clean cuts with smaller (3/4″ and under) PVC as well as irrigation pipe, PEX, etc. It’s true that some of the cuts which are made quickly can come out slightly out-of-square, I’ve never had a problem as PVC slide-on/glued fittings, irrigation pipe barb fittings, and PEX ribbed fittings all compensate for the slight slant you can possible get with one of these tools. A very small price to pay for such a great and useful tool.

  11. thedcdude says:

    They’re also great when you have to cut existing PVC lines inside walls.

  12. TL says:

    Very hot. Use a good pair and there is no quicker or more accurate way to get a clean cut.

  13. Rogue says:

    Hot,
    I have property & trying to do irrigation without this would be a nightmare. If a horse breaks a tap I can dig a hole down cut out the bad section & fix the problem in couple of hours before I got the cutters it took closer to 4 as the hole had to be larger enough to get a saw in & use it.

  14. Mel E. says:

    HOT, this former plumber used this all day to cut cpvc. Cuts fast and probably caused my huge forearm and tennis elbow. not so hot for pvc because it is to brittle for a anvil cutter.

  15. Fred the Fourth says:

    This one appears to be missing a feature of mine: a flip-out reamer. If you are laying Sch 40 irrigation pipe, a cutter is indispensable.

  16. Harley130 says:

    HOT!!!! Greatest thing since sliced bread. I used my cutters now for several years doing general plumbing and then installing an irrigation system last summer. However, they do not work worth a crap if the pvc pipe is cold. On cold days a pipe cutter or pvc saw is required. My cutter goes up to an 1-1/4″ but I know Ridgid makes a set that goes larger.

  17. Pencilneck says:

    HOT. I did a cat perch project made out of PVC and used a hand saw to do all the cut… sucked. Then when I made some marsh mellow guns out of PVC I also purchased a cuter for maybe $8. What would of taken me an hour by hand saw took 5 minutes with the cutter and the cuts were MUCH cleaner which was important for the gun project.

  18. Frank Townend says:

    OK Hot too. I like it because it is a lot faster and cleaner than a hacksaw. With a hacksaw you need a stable place to cut with these you just need the pipe.

  19. fred says:

    re Harley130 Says:

    Quite a few folks make ones that can handle larger sizes – we use Wheeler Rex and Reed – but your probably correct thet Ridgid makes a larger size.

    I’ve also heard good things about the Flex brand
    http://www.flexpvc.com/cart/agora.cgi?product=PVC-Pipe-Cutters

  20. o1d_dude says:

    Hot. Definitely a time saver.

    Anyone who works with sprinkler pipe or PVC conduit needs these.

    I have three pairs with idea being I always be able to find one when I need it. Hasn’t worked out so well in practice, tho.

  21. dave says:

    Definitely hot. I get called to do a lot of plumbing repair on vandalized houses – people come in to abandoned houses and tear out the copper plumbing, sometimes including heat exchangers in HVAC systems.

    Because of this, all new, all rehab, and most repair jobs call for new cpvc plumbing, rather than copper.

    I only carry a miniature pipe cutter anymore, to clean up the remnants of the existing copper pipe that was lopped off with what appear to be bypass pruning shears. Without this tool, a typical job might take 3 hours, including sawing, reaming, and sweeping up the dust. With this tool, I save at least an hour.

    Since I’m paid by the job and not for my time, it adds up.

  22. Donny B says:

    All i can say is

    PEX….. the best invention since copper piping…..

    you can even get it with toolless connections but a clean smooth cut is always needed..

    Def HOT

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