When installing water supply, sewage, and heating pipelines for building inside the house, PEX pipes have to be cut in large quantities. The use of available tools for this is not recommended due to the many potential problems in the future.
For cutting, you need a professional tool. And it is better to take a special pipe cutter for high-density polyethylene pipes, the use of which guarantees a smooth cut without burrs(ridges).
The Tools Are Needed to Cut PEX Tubing
The tool for cutting pipes made of Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is offered in shops. These are both manual mechanical and electrical devices.
Each of them has its own merits. Choosing the most suitable equipment should be based on the volume of work and their complexity.
PEX pipes can be cut with scissors or roller tools – the first option is cheaper, and the second is more efficient.
When choosing equipment for cutting Cross-linked polyethylene pipes, the main attention should be paid to two points:
– The blade must be made of alloy steel.
– Each pipe cutter model has two indicators – the minimum and maximum pipe size. This range should be selected so that it is enough for the job.
Body material of such equipment is usually made of some type of metal. In this case, it is made from the best metal of all, steel. Contrary to what most would think, these steel tools are still light in weight, so working them takes less power to use them efficiently.
Although PEX is tough, cutting the pipes do not require too much effort, the steel PEX cutter will cope with any arising difficulty without problems.
Guide To Cut PEX Pipe with PEX Cutter
The procedure is quite simple. All you need is PEX tube, cutter, measuring tape and marker. Now jump into the procedure.
1. Straighten out the PEX pipe and measure it properly. After measuring the length, add extra 1 inch to expand and contract.
2. Mark the cutting line using a permanent marker.
3. Open the PEX cutter blades and insert the cutting line of the PEX pipe into the open mouth of it.
4. Squeeze the cutter handle several times to cut the pipe until the blade passes through.
The Best Tools To Cut PEX Tubing
If you look closely, your pipe cutter may have replaceable or non-replaceable cutters. That’s for a good reason, sooner or later they will wear out.
In the second case, the tools will have to be bought again. However, if the cutting apparatus is needed for one-off work, then it is better to take a cheaper model with an irremovable blade.
Option # 1: Guillotine
Probably the simplest in construction and accurate in quality of the pipe-cutting equipment is the guillotine shear. They can be manual and electrically operated. Structurally, it is a blade that descends on a PEX pipe, which makes an even and strictly perpendicular cut to the longitudinal line.
In the simplest and cheapest version, the guillotine pipe cutter resembles a small classical guillotine with a blade, a handle with a rod to increase the pressure force and a pipe clip opening from below.
Most of the hand guillotines are designed for cutting pipe products with a cross-section of up to 70 mm. But some models are subject to diameters of 100-150 mm. This is quite enough to perform installation work at home. All that is higher applies to industrial equipment.
As knife pressure is applied to the polyethylene, it easily unpacks it. The deformation of the pipe does not occur due to the sharpness of the Teflon-coated tool and the smoothness of its movement. After cutting the Cross-link, additional processing is no longer required. The pipe is completely ready for butt-welding and using fittings.
The only drawback of guillotines, which is worthy of mention, is the low speed of work. Each time the blade must be returned to its original position by prolonged unscrewing of the stem.
But on the other hand, the cut is ideally even, and for this, you can twist the handle. However, if you plan to cut PEX pipes a lot, then it is better to choose a different type of pipe cutter.
Option # 2: Ratchet
This class of pipe cutting tools is shaped like ordinary scissors with two handles. Only the blade is on one side. The second half is made in the form of The ratchet mechanisms are equipped to move the knife smoothly, and at the same time reduce efforts to a minimum.
Ratchet pipe cutters are designed for cutting thin pipes with a cross-section of 15–30 mm, with a blunt tool or sharp pressure, Cross-linked polyethylene pipe walls with this tool are simply crushed.
The main disadvantages of this cutting equipment are the high probabilities of getting an oblique cut and the possible collapse of the pipe. In fact, this resembles a large manual pair of scissors, use them skillfully.
Please learn how to cut pex pipe correctly, due to inexperience, the slightest tilt of the hands can lead to the formation of a curved end, which then has to be eroded. Then if the pipe is still crumpled, then it will need to be straightened from the inside with a calibrator.
This type includes pistol pipe cutters with a ratchet mechanism. They work much easier. Efforts to cut have to make very little, and the cut is evener. The return of the knife to their original position occurs entirely as a result of pressing the button due to the spring. This is the best option for cutting polyethylene with thicker and more solid walls.
Option # 3: Roller
The next type of pipe cutter is a roller. This tool looks like a hook. Inside this hook are movable wheels on which the pipe being cut is supported. The cut itself is produced by another already cutting roller knife, which is extended from the handle on the telescopic extension.
Due to the telescopically extendable cutter in the construction of the roller pipe cutter, it can cut pipes of different diameters – they should only be of sufficient section to fit in the hook.
The cutting of the PEX pipe occurs as a result of the rotation of the roller pipe cutter around the pipe clamped in it. It is important to turn it so that the cutting line in the plastic does not go away from the starting point.
The cutting roller should end the circle in the same place where it began. If the tube walls have to be cut thick, then you need to do a turn around the tube several times, gradually pressing the cutter deeper into the plastic by turning the screw on the handle.
This type of pipe cutter also includes a roller rotary tool with several cutting rollers on a circular clamp, but it is more intended for cutting steel and cast iron products.
How to cut pex tubing straight?
With proper use and accurate retention of the knife along the cutting line as a result of using a roller pipe cutter, it turns out to be perfectly smooth. According to this indicator, it is comparable with the guillotine. The pipe cuts much faster, but it is more expensive. Plus, the slightest inadvertent shift of the knife to the side leads to the appearance of burrs at the cut point, which must be removed later.
Can you Reuse PEX pipe?
You have to admit, buying extra PEX after making the cuts with the tools mentioned earlier, is a little inconvenient. The good news is that according to experts, It turns out that reusing PEX tubes is perfectly fine and best of all, it’s really simple. Cutting off the fittings can help you to salvage the remaining pipe.
Can you cut PEX pipe without the cutter?
When first learning how to cut pex tubing, you may not have a roller cutter, ratchet, or guillotine. That’s okay. You do not necessarily need these tools, you can use something as ominous as a utility knife or even an old plant pruner. The difference is, the ordeal may require a little more effort.