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Pipe Cutter vs Hacksaw: Which One Works Better for Cutting Pipes?

Pipe cutting is a job that is required across many fields of work, from construction to plumbing. Two of the most common ways of cutting pipes are using a pipe cutter and using a hacksaw.

While the hacksaw is a more traditional approach, a pipe cutter is obviously specialized for the job of cutting pipes. However, that is not to say that a pipe cutter is always the go-to option for this task.

The following article will be detailing the differences between the two and trying to settle the pipe cutter vs hacksaw debate, once and for all.

An Overview of Pipe Cutters and Hacksaws

Before jumping into the differences between the two devices in the context of pipe-cutting, let us first get to know the basics of each of these.

Pipe Cutters

Obviously, a pipe cutter’s primary purpose is to cut pipes. Because of this, it is highly accurate and provides a clean cut. However, there does remain some unevenness on the inside of the pipe, which needs to be smoothed out later.

A pipe cutter is also relatively easy to use. With powered pipe cutters, all you need to do is fit it around the pipe properly by measuring and marking it, and then tighten the cutter using either a manual or electrical driver. Other types of pipe cutters can be used like pliers or scissors to cut pipes.

Pipe cutters also minimize the number of metal shavings resulting from the cutting, making your workspace cleaner.

However, that is about all a pipe cutter does. You can almost exclusively use it for cutting pipes of varying diameters. It is also sometimes limiting in terms of which materials you can cut using it.

This is why some may feel hesitant about investing in a pipe cutter if it is not used frequently.

Hacksaws

Hacksaws are said to be suitable for cutting any material besides wood. Its short and sharp teeth allow it to be precise when cutting through objects. It is also quite lightweight because of how minimal its parts are. A hacksaw essentially has a blade and a handle to match.

When it comes to cutting pipes, a hacksaw’s small and short teeth are able to slice right through. The blade of the hacksaw is also replaceable and can be sharpened.

You can also get different classes of blades, based on their teeth count. For instance, a very fine blade will have 32 teeth on every inch, while a coarser one will have fewer teeth per inch (TPI) and also cut through materials faster.

That said, cutting pipes with a hacksaw can be tricky as you would have to maintain accuracy and make sure it is a clean cut. In order to cut straight, you need to get a feel for the blade’s tension.

Pipe Cutter vs Hacksaw: Key Differences 

Some of the differences between pipe cutters and hacksaws have already been discussed above, but let us look at a few primary and specific differences so that you can make a more informed decision between the two.

Functionality

As we can already tell, the hacksaw takes the cake for being more multi-functional over the pipe cutter.

A pipe cutter is specialized and very necessary equipment that saves time when cutting pipes. However, that is also all it does.

Before investing in a pipe cutter, you need to be sure that you will be using it regularly and that it will not just sit in your toolbox, untouched, and wearing down over the years.

On the other hand, a hacksaw is an essential tool that can cut through not only most sizes of pipes but also cut many types of metals and plastics. Its multi-functionality makes it a must-have tool.

Pipe Material

Though pipe cutters can cut through most materials of pipes (from plastic to aluminum), they may leave a different finish on each one.

Whereas with hacksaws, you can expect pretty similar results no matter the material of the pipe being cut, and it is almost always a clean-cut if you know what you are doing.

A pipe cutter is a better option for amateurs, though, as it is very unlikely that you will go wrong, no matter what the material of your pipe is.

Options Available

A hacksaw is of one type only, and while it is very multi-functional, it may not always be the perfect tool for cutting certain types of pipes.

Whereas, with pipe cutters, there is a different type that you can get based on the material, diameter, and other characteristics of your pipe.

Ease of Use

One thing pipe cutters definitely deliver over hacksaws is the ease of use and accuracy. With a hacksaw, depending on the material of the pipe, you may be sawing away at a pipe for a good while. This also means you get tired and lose accuracy when cutting.

A pipe cutter, on the other hand, makes cutting pipes easy, accurate, and very fast. Even with pipes measuring a few inches in diameter, you can expect to cut it off in a few seconds with the right pipe cutter.

Pipe Cutter vs Hacksaw: Which Is Better?

As we can see, both pipe cutters and hacksaws are suitable for cutting pipes. However, when we go into more detail, such as the type of material, the type of the pipe, and its size, it can get a bit complicated.

Before buying or using either of these two tools for cutting your pipes, you should evaluate your specific needs through our pipe cutter vs hacksaw guide. For instance, if you have a plastic pipe with a small diameter, you should be fine using a hacksaw.

But if your pipe is made of steel and has a larger diameter, you may want to consider getting a suitable type of pipe cutter in order to cut it down.

Both tools are fully capable of giving you clean and accurate cuts, though a hacksaw requires some practice on your part.

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