I needed to make two cuts in a length of 1″ Schedule 40 galvanized steel pipe, and did not have the tools available to do so. There are many hand and power tools that would have been appropriate for a job like this: an angle grinder, chop saw, metal cutting circular saw, snap pipe cutters, rotary pipe cutters, and so forth. Given that I only needed to make two cuts in (relatively) small diameter pipe (1.32″ OD), I opted for the affordable Superior Tool ST-2000 model 36978 rotary pipe cutter.
The Superior Tool ST-2000 can handle tubing and conduit from 5/8″ to 2-1/8″ in diamater, and 3/8″ to 1″ iron pipe. Given that the specs say 1″ iron pipe and not 1″ OD iron pipe, I determined that it should be suitable for my purposes. These cutters are strong and lightweight, and appear to be very well built. The product description also mentions a comfortable non-slip polymer grip, but the coating feels like a hard epoxy which is still very easy on the hands.
Using these Superior Tool cutters on 1″ pipe was quite frustrating, but not moreso than had been anticipated. This was also not a fault of the tool itself as I had been using the tool at the far range of its rated capacity. I used a liberal amount of cutting fluid lubrication, and tightened the jaws by about 1/8″ of a turn at a time. To be fair, these cutters fared far better than expected, but at the same time I cannot say that they are a pleasure to use on 1″ pipe.
When cutting pipe, the larger the hand tool or higher rated power tool, the better. However, with size and power come cost. This was not a task suitable for rented or borrowed snap soil pipe cutters (also since many are sized for 1-1/2″ pipe minimum), nor did it make sense to spend a lot for a tool that may or may not be used much in the near future. For $30, these Superior Tool cutters fit the bill, and will probably see much more use on tubing than pipes in the foreseeable future.
After this very limited two-cut experience, I would definitely recommend Superior Tool’s ST-2000 pipe cutters (model 36878). However, if you find yourself needing to make more than a few cuts in 1″ pipe, you would be much better off either opting for larger cutters, or having the pipe cut to size via your local store or online supplier.
You can probably find similarly sized import tools for less, but we like the fact that the Superior Tool was made in the USA and carries a lifetime guarantee. That, and $30 for the tool from Amazon was not too hard on my wallet.
Superior Tool ST-2000 Model 36878 Tubing & Pipe Cutter (Amazon)
Product Info (Superior Tool)
For many or frequent cuts in iron pipe, instead consider one of Ridgid’s Heavy Duty Pipe Cutters.