While you can sometimes get away with using utility knives and scissors to cut tubing for air and water lines, most fittings – especially push-in ones – work best when the tubing is cut cleanly with perfectly perpendicular ends.
There are two types of cutters that I typically use and can definitely recommend.
Mini Tubing Cutters
Mini tubing cutters are meant for use on smaller diameter tubing and are extremely compact and user-friendly. They have spring-loaded jaws, a v-groove that holds tubing centered and in place, and a sharp angled blade.
Squeeze the handles at the back to open the jaws, and then squeeze down at the front to make the cut. Tubing capacity is typically 1/8″ to 3/4″.
These cutters typically cost between $5 and $10, and you can replace the blade once it dulls. Some versions come with coiled tethers for a few bucks more.
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Milwaukee Tubing Cutter
A few months ago I spotted Milwaukee’s tubing cutter at the local Home Depot and gleefully bought one. This is embarrassing, but I had completely forgotten that Milwaukee had introduced the cutter along with the new pliers and snips that came out 2-1/2 years ago!
I had been using a Ridgid pipe cutter (via Amazon/Home Depot) – which actually sucks at cutting PVC pipes – to cut larger tubing, but the Milwaukee works substantially better. Like the mini tubing cutter, it doesn’t squeeze and distort tubing, it simple slices right through.
There are large similar-styled bench-mountable industrial tubing cutters that are available for over $50, but I find the Milwaukee to be a nice alternative for hand-held use. It works well and is relatively affordable at ~$25.
While strongly aimed for use on ProPex tubing, the Milwaukee 48-22-4200 cutter works on soft tubing up to 1″ in diameter. Replacement blades are available for $8 each.
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