How to Cut PVC Pipe | A Complete Tutorial

Hello People; I hope you’re doing fabulous. Today, I’m going to share an excellent guide on cutting PVC pipe and cutting PVC pipe efficiently without making any mistakes.

How to Cut PVC Pipe 

PVC pipes are used in all the applications where you imagine pipes being present. These are white pipes with purple primer often seen in residential basements. PVC plastic know-how is a must when you want to work with PVC, let alone cutting PVC pipes.

All the motivated DIYers attempting a bathroom or kitchen renovation and those who prefer doing their plumbing repairs on their own will have to make their hands dirty working with a PVC pipe. Something as simple as moving a sheer sink or toilet, even replacing a sinking tank, will need some PVC-related expert knowledge.

Although working with PVC isn’t a piece of cake, things like gluing are easy. Even the necessary fittings and cement is easy to find without breaking a sweat. However, when it comes to cutting PVC pipes, things can be a bit more challenging.

Not using proper tools and poor technique can result in the cut ends off square with irksome burrs to hamper a would-be plumber’s progress. However, there is a piece of good news. With proper tools, methods, and some effort, cutting PVC pipes into a square the smooth shape will become easy.

Three tools will let you cut PVC pipe with enough accuracy to ensure a tight seal – a PVC cutter, a handsaw, and a miter saw. Which tool will be best suitable for you depends on the space you’re working in and your comfort level with the tools you’re using. One might suit you great, and the others might not be compatible with you at all.

Interesting Read – How to Glue PVC Pipe | The Definitive Guide

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Cut 

Using a pencil and a tape measure or any other writing instrument, mark the pipe surface you want to cut. Holding the pipe while cutting isn’t exactly the safest and the most accurate method (although, if you’re confident, then there’s no harm in doing that). Whenever possible, station the pipe using a clamp or milter box, or even duct tape to keep it from shifting from its place while cutting.

Adding lubrication to the mix can reduce your effort. Lubricants will reduce the friction and assist the blade in gliding better while cutting PVC, and keep dust particles from getting into the air.

While cutting PVC pipe, don’t hesitate before using any water-resistant silicone lubricant or food-grade lubricant like cooking oil. These lubricants are 100% safe for your PVC pipe as they won’t damage the material like other solvents.

Before you cut PVC pipe, a quick spray of the lubricant is all you need. Anything more than a short spray will make your job messier than usual.

Cutting PVC Pipe with a PVC Cutter or Ratchet Cutter 

Using a PVC cutter, also known as a ratchet cutter, is one of the simplest ways to cut PVC pipe. Usually more compatible with 1⅝-inch pipe, a PVC cutter looks like pliers with a very thick, sharp blade equipped on one side.

Here, to make a clean and accurate cut, you have to follow a straightforward procedure:

Place the pipe inside the cutter’s jaws (for better grip, you first place the pipe on a stable surface like a sawhorse or workbench). Line the blade upon the cut mark, hold the instrument for sure, and push the handles together, and the blade will go through the PVC.

Salient Tip – Keep your PVC cutter blades sharp and use them in temperatures above 50 degrees if possible. Below that, PVC can become brittle, and a blunt blade can damage or crack the pipe.

A PVC cutter is good at cutting pipes with a diameter of 1⅝. PVC pipes thicker than 2 inches in diameter should be cut by a rotary-style cutter (a far more expensive option).

Engaging Read – What is PVC Fittings? | What is PVC Connection? | The Definitive Guide

Cutting PVC Pipe With a Hacksaw 

A handsaw or hacksaw is something to be found in a DIYer’s garage. That handsaw is very useful in making clean cuts into PVC pipes.

Station the pipe in a secure position and slowly draw the hacksaw blade back and forth. Make sure that the blade remains perfectly on course; any slight deviation (although rare) would make your cut look bad. Don’t stick the tool into the pipe; keep guiding it back and forth. Slow down just before completion to make the cut straight and clean.

Cutting PVC Pipe with a Milter Saw 

A good quality milter saw nearly guarantees clean and square cuts with accuracy. The cuts are always square because the milter saws lock into place with predefined angles. Station the pipe against the fence of the milter, saw aligning the mark under the saw blade at the workbench so you can easily see the cut marks, lift the saw up, start the blade, and slowly bring it down until it severs the pipe. Turn the saw and wait till the blade stops spinning before removing the pipe.

How to Cut PVC Pipe: Cleaning the Annoying Burrs

Let’s face it; after cutting PVC pipe, the burrs can be a mess, even for the best DIYers. It doesn’t matter which tool you use and how careful you are; burrs are always left behind. These tiny wandering bits can hinder your perfect fit, and later, I’m not even exaggerating, can potentially clog up the pipe, thereby reducing the water flow speed.

Below are a couple of fast ways to reduce the burrs:

  1. Run a sharp utility knife around the inner and outer sides of the cut. The key here is to hold the knife at a slight angle so it can quickly run smoothly along the rim and cut off the burrs.
  2. Sand the inner and outer rim slightly utilizing 120-grit sandpaper or a cotton cloth. Don’t overdo it with sandpaper, or it will do more damage than good.

Fascinating Read – PVC Pipes: Schedule 40 VS 80

How to Apply Primer and Cement?

Cementing the PVC requires the application primer, which will soften the surface of the PVC and make it more compatible with cementing and adhesion.

  • Utilize a dauber to apply an even coat of primer at the end of the piece and the inside of the fitting.
  • Don’t use the same dauber on the cement that you used in the primer.
  • Apply cement which is the best for the material, and flow the instructions carefully. Apply adhesive to the end of the pipe and inside the fitting.
  • Once the cement is applied, quickly join the connectors together with a twist until adequately stuck.
  • Hold the cemented pipes together for 30 seconds until it is sealed perfectly.
  • Any excess cement should be shed using a rag.

PVC Pipe Sizes

Below are the PVC pipes sizes for schedule 40 pipes to have a better idea about pipe diameters and make a better decision when the time comes.

Nominal Pipe Size Outside diameter Average I.D. Min. Wall Nominal wt./ft. Maximum W.P PSI
1/8″ 0.405 0.249 0.068 0.051 810
1/4″ 0.54 0.344 0.088 0.086 780
3/8″ 0.675 0.473 0.091 0.115 620
1/2″ 0.84 0.602 0.109 0.17 600
3/4″ 1.05 0.804 0.113 0.226 480
1″ 1.315 1.029 0.133 0.333 450
1-1/4″ 1.66 1.36 0.14 0.45 370
1-1/2″ 1.9 1.59 0.145 0.537 330
2″ 2.375 2.047 0.154 0.72 280
2-1/2″ 2.875 2.445 0.203 1.136 300
3″ 3.5 3.042 0.216 1.488 260
3-1/2″ 4 3.521 0.226 1.789 240
4″ 4.5 3.998 0.237 2.188 220
5″ 5.563 5.016 0.258 2.874 190
6″ 6.625 6.031 0.28 3.733 180
8″ 8.625 7.942 0.322 5.619 160
10″ 10.75 9.976 0.365 7.966 140
12″ 12.75 11.889 ..406 10.534 130
14″ 14 13.073 0.437 12.462 130
16″ 16 14.94 0.5 16.286 130
18″ 18 16.809 0.562 20.587 130
20″ 20 18.743 0.593 24.183 120
24″ 24 22.544 0.687 33.652 120


Below are the frequently asked questions on the best way to cut PVC pipe. Let’s dig deep to know more.

What saw blade cuts PVC?

To cut PVC pipe efficiently, utilize a combination of wood/metal blades with a 10/14 TPI configuration. There is no specialty PVC Sawzall blade, and neither is necessary.

Is Schedule 40 PVC pipe strong?

Schedule 40 PVC pipes are strong, rigid, and can handle a good amount of pressure, specifically in household applications. However, in applications where more pressure and heat are involved, Schedule 80 pipes will prove to be a better choice. In addition, most PVC pipes have a maximum pressure rating listed on them to make it easier for the users.

Which Pipe is stronger, PVC or ABS? 

Ans. ABS pipes are more robust than PVC pipes if you’re talking about brute strength and shock resistance. However, PVC steals the show for flexibility. ABS is a better fit for underground applications as it can handle extreme cold and warp if exposed to direct sunlight. For home applications, PVC is a better choice as it is soundproof and muffles the sound of water.

How do you cut PVC pipes without tools?

Ans. Although using this method should not be your first choice, if you’re not able to find any cutting tools, not even a hacksaw (which is rare), then and then only you follow the following method:

Wrap the cotton string halfway around your PVC pipe, and lurch the ends back and forth in a sawing motion. The friction of the cotton string against the PVC pipe will cut right through it.

How long is a standard PVC pipe?

All the PVC pipes sold are within 10 to 20 feet long.

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The Conclusion 

That was all I had to say about how to cut PVC pipe thoroughly and efficiently. Cutting PVC pipes can be an easy task with the right tools and techniques. It’s important to choose the appropriate cutting tool and ensure that the pipe is securely clamped before cutting.

Always measure and mark the pipe accurately before making the cut to avoid mistakes. Remember to wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, to avoid injury. With these tips in mind, anyone can successfully cut PVC pipe for their plumbing or DIY projects.

I’ll conclude by saying Keep DIYing like a pro.

Thanks for reading. Kindly share your thoughts and questions in the comment section.

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