We’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the best methods to cut copper pipe. Whether you’re a plumber or a DIY enthusiast, it’s essential to know the various techniques available and consider factors such as budget, convenience, and ergonomics for the job. In this article, we will explore four proven methods that ensure precise cuts without compromising the integrity of the pipe.
Table of Contents
- Method 1: Cutting Copper Pipe with a Copper Pipe Cutter
- Method 2: Using a Hacksaw
- Method 3: Cutting Copper Pipe with an Oscillating Multi-Tool
- Method 4: Battery-Powered Copper Tube Cutter
Method 1: Cutting Copper Pipe with a Copper Pipe Cutter
Copper pipe cutters, also known as self-cutting pipe cutters, offer an excellent solution for close work. These tools ensure straight, even cuts without distorting the pipe’s shape. They come in various sizes and designs, from compact options like the Milwaukee 1-Inch Copper Pipe Cutter to models with handles like the Lenox Pipe Cutter.
When selecting a copper pipe cutter, ensure it can accommodate pipes ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter. It’s advisable to have multiple styles and sizes on hand, especially for tight or hard-to-reach areas. Investing in a high-quality tool is essential, as it guarantees longevity and satisfactory performance.
Cutting copper pipe using these tools has been a reliable practice among plumbers for decades. While they may need frequent wheel replacements, some models offer replaceable internal mechanisms. Many professionals consider them a necessary expense and a worthwhile investment in their trade.
Method 2: Using a Hacksaw
If a copper pipe cutter is not readily available, a hacksaw can serve as a viable alternative. While a hacksaw may result in a jagged edge that requires further cleaning, it gets the job done, especially for pipes that don’t need to be cut in place or under sinks. Before soldering or using the pipe, remember to file or sand the cut edge to ensure a smooth finish.
Method 3: Cutting Copper Pipe with an Oscillating Multi-Tool
Oscillating multi-tools have gained popularity due to their versatility and precision. Equipped with vibration controls and often battery-operated, these tools have become go-to options for cutting copper pipe. When using an oscillating multi-tool, it’s best to employ fine-toothed metal blades for optimal results. Their design allows for close or even flush cuts, making them ideal for various applications.
Method 4: Battery-Powered Copper Tube Cutter
The Milwaukee M12 Copper Tube Cutter stands out as one of the most innovative tools available. This $199 kit offers a convenient and effortless way to cut copper piping. Designed for use with cordless power tools, it allows for quick and precise cuts with minimal effort. Clearance is important when using a battery-powered tool, but once ensured, the cutter effortlessly handles 3/8″ to 1″ copper tubing. With an M12 battery, you can expect around 200 cuts, while a 3Ah battery pack can provide over 400 cuts.
Before concluding, it’s important to mention tools that are not recommended for cutting copper pipe. Reciprocating saws, despite having blades suitable for metal cutting, often result in slanted and messy cuts. If using power saws becomes necessary, using a multitool with swing control offers greater ease and precision. Circular or miter saws are ill-suited for this type of cut and should be avoided. Instead, opt for specialized tools like the Milwaukee M12 Pipe Cutter for superior performance.
In conclusion, cutting copper pipe requires the right tools and techniques. By selecting the appropriate method based on your specific requirements and considering the factors mentioned, you can achieve precise and clean cuts for your plumbing projects.