This is my first post. I need to cut 1' pieces of pvc sewer pipe for a few projects. The pipe will range from 4" to 15" diameter high density sewage (and perhaps fire-rated industrial pipe). I've researched at length all options from grinders, jigsaws, circulars, and reciprocating. I have a table saw for precision finishing at home, but I need a BATTERY POWERED option to simply chop 20-foot pipes into 1 foot cylinders to transport them from the factory yard to my house (I don't have a truck). So clean lines aren't crucial, but a tool with good battery economy and ease of use is preferable. Any input would be greatly appreciated, as I am relatively new to tools, but will be using them for this project a great deal. I would ideally like a tool that could also be used for lengthwise cuts of these 1-foot pvc cylinders, as I will need to cut all pieces into half-pipes, lengthwise. Tonight I bought this black & decker 20v lithium combo kit for $229.00 at Rona (circular saw, and reciprocating saw, with drill, two batteries, charger, work light, one circle blade, and one recip blade). Am I on the right track? I've heard mounting the circular blade backwards is better for pvc. Oh, and don't say use a hacksaw; I would be there for hours, and I only have 20 minutes in the pipe manufacturing yard, as they are kind enough to give me industrial scraps for free. THANK YOU!!!

  • Do you have a specific question besides "Is there a better way to do something?" – Damon Dec 3 '15 at 0:35

A suggestion, I don't know if this would work out or not, you'd have to experiment ... Rip the pipe lengthwise with the circular saw first, flip it over and rip it again - now you have your half pipes. Stack those, and cut them with the reciprocating saw or the hand saw. It will be easier to handle.

You'll get a lot more done if you bring something to hold the pipe while you cut it, don't forget about that.

I agree with the suggestion to use a hand saw, but get a BIG one. Even if you're not very fast with it, it will be faster than the power tools once the battery dies.


If you have limited time onsite I would not spend a lot of time making 20 cuts, regardless of the method. Just cut them into 5 foot lengths or whatever you need to get them in your car and finish up at home. I think you will be pushing the battery life of even a high-end lithium set making so many cuts through large pipes.

  • Thanks Henry, that's a good suggestion. I don't want to push their good will as it's a busy production yard, and they're not making any profit off of me being there. So even in that case, would you say that hand saw made for pvc, and save the money for the home tool, or a lithium circle saw /reciprocating? I'm just coming out of bankruptcy, so I have to invest wisely, and the patent cost of the devices in making is insane! My next post will be about cutting the pipe cleanly crosswise and lengthwise at home (a whole other ball game) – Charlie Skinner Nov 8 '15 at 4:00

I've got some good experience using reciprocating saws, and I'd like to think that I'd be able to make acceptably 'straight' cuts, but there's no way they'll all be perfect. If you are going to use a reciprocating saw, use a blade designed to cut metal, as they have smaller teeth.

Your best bet is a handsaw, not a hacksaw; the arbor won't clear. A jig made up to help you cut them with a handsaw would be ideal. The "professional tool" for cutting large plastic pipe looks a lot like a basic handsaw to me...

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20 minutes is plenty of time; handsaws are only as slow as their user. I would show up with both though, which ever one I don't plan on using is the backup option.

  • Thanks Mazura! When you said show up with both, did you mean reciprocating, and the saw in your picture? In terms of blade types, I've heard that to many teeth per inch can cause the blade to bandwidth the pipe, given the relatively low melting temp of pvc. Have you experienced this? Although I don't know if this pertains to circular blades, sabre/jig blades, or what. That's why someone had recommended a standard all-purpose woodworking blade (on a circular or table saw) mounted backwards; also to prevent chipping, though I haven't had any chipping issues thus far. Man, I wish I could afford – Charlie Skinner Nov 8 '15 at 3:53
  • Correction : I meant "bind to" the pipe, not "bandwidth" the pipe.. Damned auto correct. Not sure how to edit my own comments. – Charlie Skinner Nov 8 '15 at 4:15
  • @CharlieSkinner - That's why I began my answer with my level of experience, because yes, that can happen and a host of other problems when using power tools. If you cut too slow or let it bind, it will gall (burn). Teeth too big and it will chip (dangerous). Hold or do it wrong and you'll end up with circle-la-zoids (hard to fix w/o taking off a lot more stock). – Mazura Nov 8 '15 at 4:52
  • Thanks again; I'll take everything I've got and let you know how it goes! – Charlie Skinner Nov 8 '15 at 5:01

A 12" blade on the reciprocating saw. The blades in the link are the best blades I have used. They are strong and fast cutting. Use the wood cutting blades. The pipe will most likely be Schedule 40 which has a wall almost 1/4" thick, plenty thick enough so the tooth spacing will not rip out chunks, small chips yes, but cutting fast and quick as you said does not need to be neat this time around.


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