I have long believed Husky to be one of the most underrated tool brands out there. They offer a range of offerings, with most perfectly hitting the sweet spot balance of quality and value.
There are plenty of great Husky tools to talk about, but today I wanted to tell you about the Husky ratcheting pipe cutters I purchased yesterday.
Note: Husky and Home Depot are a ToolGuyd sponsor.
I have gotten used to using miter saws and other types of saws for cutting plastic pipes. I loaned out the cordless PVC cutter sample I had been holding onto, and I haven’t attempted to track down the ratcheting pipe cutter I misplaced somewhere in the basement. Which means, I needed to cut a pipe, and I didn’t have an easy way to do it.
I could have used a cordless reciprocating saw, but I really just wanted the quick and clean cut a ratcheting cutter could produce.
Here’s what happened:
I was prepping an area for a raised garden, and was loosen up the base soil to help with drainage and aeration since some roots might find their way this deep.
As I moved along, I lifted a couple of stepping stones and landscaping bricks. I thought I came across more of the same. Whoops, it wasn’t!
The pipe was too close to the surface and in a very unexpected location.
I accidentally poked a hole into the irrigation tubing with a garden fork.
I took some time to quickly read up on how to repair the irrigation pipe and knew what I needed – a pipe coupler (1″), pinch clamps, and a pinch tool. I picked up the coupler and clamps, and then headed to Home Depot for the pinch tool and ratcheting pipe cutter.
Before I left for the store, I checked and couldn’t find my older ratcheting pipe cutters quickly enough. I have not worked with this material before, and they felt too rigid for tubing cutters. I considered that I could use a compact reciprocating saw, but it wouldn’t be ideal.
Why ratcheting pipe cutters? Basically, it reduces the effort required to cut through plastic pipes. You squeeze the handles, the jaws close in incremental motions, and you repeat the process until the pipe is cut.
With this Husky tool, you separate the handles to open the jaws, and a clasp at the end of the handle holds the handles closed for storage or transport.
With this cutter, there’s no noise, no debris, and you don’t need a lot of clearance around the pipe.
I cut the pipe on one side of the hole, and it was perfect. Cutting on the other side was a little more challenging. After imperfect results – which would have happened with any similar tool – I placed a piece of 3/4″ tubing into the larger 1″ pipe. Doing this helped to better support the tubing and prevented it from deforming too much during the cut.
As an aside, that I had to reinforce for the second cut was probably an indication that plastic tubing cutters might have worked equally as well if not better. Still, Husky would have been a no-brainer if I were shopping for that tool instead.
The first cut went well, it was trimming ~1/8″ to 3/16″ off the other pipe end that was tricky.
With the pipes cut, I brought out a cordless heat gun. I’m told a torch would work, but flame-free heat seemed easier to work with, and it was one less tool I needed to buy. (That said, please let me know if there’s a torch you can recommend!)
I carefully heated one side of the pipe, and inserted the barbed coupler. I repeated the same on the opposite side. I cleaned the tubing and clamps as best as I could and then pinched the clamps closed. I tested the system and there didn’t seem to be any leaks.
When at the store, I almost didn’t buy the Husky ratcheting pipe cutter. I can justify more premium tools these days, but did I need to spend 2X or 3X more (at the least) for a tool like this? No.
I saw the Husky display at the end of the plumbing fittings aisle, and then headed to the plumbing tools section. I went back and picked up the Husky.
I wanted a tool to help get the repair done fast. I didn’t want to start thinking about “hmm, would this be a good for ToolGuyd?”
I wanted a ratcheting pipe cutter that would work easily, quickly, and affordably. And that’s exactly what I got with the Husky.
There were maybe 10 ways I could have cut that pipe to do the hole repair. I bought the Husky ratcheting cutter because I knew it would get the job done.
My experiences with Husky – both personal and as a reviewer – have been great. So when I was rushing out to buy supplies, I didn’t have to think about it very much.
This is not going to be a one-project type of tool, but I also won’t use it that often. Still, with any tool that I buy, I’m looking for something that will last.
I am weeks behind on my raised garden planter projects, and the hole in the irrigation line was a pretty big setback. There are so many things this that had me stressed, but the Husky pipe cutters wasn’t one of them.
Was this the best tool for the job? It’s hard to say. Ratcheting PVC cutters excel with more rigid PVC pipes, and tubing cutters tend to work better on softer and more flexible pipes. My tubing cutter might have worked on this pipe, but given past experiences I was convinced it would be a very fatiguing experience. Maybe I was wrong.
Plus, I have some CPVC projects coming up (I use it for self-watering bucket planters), and it would be advantageous to have a ratcheting pipe cutter at my disposal since I cannot find my old one. I usually use a miter saw or cordless cutters, but one idea I have will involve trimming watering tubes and piping multiple planters together to be filled from a single fill pipe. Work like that will require a portable pipe cutter.
In hindsight, I probably should have tried my tubing cutter first, as the pipe wasn’t as hard and rigid as I expected. Maybe the puncture hole could have clued me on this, but I was too frazzled to realize it. I also didn’t want to attempt the repair and then go out and buy another tool. Even if I would have had to bust out a reciprocating saw, I knew the Husky cutter would be a good buy.
After the repair, I used the pipe cutter on a couple of test cuts.
It’s too soon to tell, but I think it can handle a good amount of use. Should I wear the blade down, Husky has replacement blades available, and that’s always a good sign. Too often, many other brands don’t offer replacement blades, making theirs throwaway tools.
I don’t doubt that there are better tools out there, but for the money?
Key Features & Specs
- Cuts PVC pipe up to 1-1/4″ (1-5/8″ OD)
- Replacement blade: 1003002896
- Can cut PVC, CPVC, PP, PEX, PE pipe
(I believe the irrigation pipe is PE pipe.)
When I started putting this post together, I discovered that Husky has a special set that comes with the same ratcheting PVC cutter, tubing cutter, replacement blades, and a storage pouch.
The ratcheting cutter is priced at $14 by itself, and the flexible tubing cutter (thank you Husky and Home Depot for not describing this as a PVC cutter without qualifications as some other brands do) is priced at $11.42. This means you’re getting the two cutters at a discounted bundle price, plus replacement blades and the foldable case.
If I had a time machine, I’d go back 24 hours and get this set instead, as it looks to be an incredibly good value for $20. Wait – if I had a time machine, I’d go back and not punch a hole into the irrigation line, and I would still pick up this Husky pipe cutter set.
Since I didn’t see this set in-store, I’d save myself the trouble and order it for pickup.
I’ve had them for a while, they work great. The 2 tool bundle is a sweet value, wish they had that when I bought mine.
I’ve never used the Husky but I have used many others, and I’ve gotten plenty of use out of them for things beyond PVC pipe. They’re also great for many sorts of soft hose or tubing, as well as fairly soft rod-shaped materials. The opposite is also true: if you have a good sharp garden lopper it works great on PVC as well. I prefer cutting to using saws because there’s no deburring to fool with afterward and no worries about getting little bits of sawdust inside the pipe where they could cause clogs downstream. Yeah you could have used a recip saw for your irrigation tube, but wouldn’t it have been a huge pain if some of the shavings ended up remaining inside the pipe and then clogging a valve or sprinkler?
I really don’t care for the non-ratcheting cutter. I find it’s basically a less capable, redundant, version of the ratcheting tool. Admittedly the ratchet can be annoying if you’re cutting a very springy tube and it doesn’t quite “catch” the next tooth in the ratchet when you go to move the handle, but that’s easily fixed by using your off hand to hold the blade down when you ratchet the handle. Maybe if you have to cut a LOT of soft tubing it might make sense but otherwise I don’t find it all that useful.
It absolutely would have been a pain to use a recip saw, even a one-handed one. I would have had to debur the edges and also vacuum out the lines, other wise the debris would clog a sprinkler head.
Your hesitation about single-stroke cutters is one I shared and why I didn’t even try. I tend to use those tools for soft tubing. This tubing is hard but semi-flexible, but not rigid, and so it *might* have worked.
I mentioned this in the post in case anyone thought I wasn’t aware this might not have been the perfect hand tool for the job.
That does look like a good choice. I especially like Husky for tools like this where it’s something I’ll use, but perhaps not terribly often. Good value and the tools work.
If I had a complaint with Husky, it’s that they mix in some lousy stuff once in awhile – especially seasonal promotion items. It’s usually easy enough to figure out what’s a gimmick or especially low-grade to meet a price point, but I think it cheapens the brand. I suppose one could argue the lifetime warranty makes some of those concerns moot – but I want a solid tool when I make a purchase. Over at Home Depot they should save the cheap stuff for HDX.
I don’t want to sound like I’m taking a dig at Husky though – I too think they are largely underrated. I dipped my toes into swivel-head ratchets by buying 1/4″ and 3/8″ versions from Husky. They are pretty good! They are not the best – but they weren’t priced like it. I quite like using them and appreciate the rubber grip. The rubber grip did come loose on the 1/4″ while using in “screwdriver” mode – but I could have returned it if I wanted. Instead I put some glue in the handle, popped it back on and have used it for another year now without issue.
A manager for a different brand once described their 4th quarter offerings as being partially intended for building brand familiarity.
There are occasionally more value-oriented offerings, but I don’t recall seeing any Husky products that I wouldn’t brand as such if I were in the shoes of a Home Depot decision maker.
Need something unimportant once: harbor freight
Need something all day, every day: get the name brand for the comfort and longevity
Everything in-between: husky is awesome
Side note: their color scheme is the same as milwaukee – although more black/white/red than red/black/white, but it fits nice.
I have a number of their hand tools, straps, and tool bags. In the battle of diminishing returns on price point vs utility, I’d say husky is pretty much top dog
How well did the cordless heat gun work? I’ve used a corded heat gun on poly pipe repairs. It might be overkill but heating the pipe does make it easier to insert fittings and the pipe sort of molds around the barbs, which I think gives a much better seal.
It worked well. I should have been a little more generous with the heat, but everything seated properly (or so I believe).
Warm water wouldn’t have been enough to get the barbed coupler into this pipe.
And especially, it’s a smooth pipe with not much grip. Forcing everything together wouldn’t have been easy.
The cordless heat gun was quick to start up and made quick work of things. I probably would have had to order other fittings online and put the project on holes for a few days if I didn’t have a cordless or corded eat gun.
There are some easy-twist couplers, but I read that they’re really only good at initial installations due to thread directions. I’m not sure if that’s true, but this wasn’t a very difficult repair with the right tools.
Learning what I needed for the repair and sourcing the coupler was the biggest challenge. I also tried my best to dig around the pipe to ensure there were secondary punctures anywhere.
There are tools for pressing hoses and various fittings together. Mostly used in hydraulic fluid applications one of these might have worked – but would have been way overkill. I’m familiar with ones from Aeroquip – but here are 2 for larger sizes:
Those are neat. I laughed at the thought of spending $900 to assemble my garden hoses – but I found the concept interesting.
The second option looks like something I could fab up for about $20 and 30 minutes of my time with an Irwin clamp. That almost makes me want to try…
I believe that Ronan Tools (UPC’s starting 695501) may be the OEM for this tool.
The cutter combo kit was 14.97 online and in store when I bought one this afternoon. That was a great deal for me. Thanks Stuart for mentioning this set.
Dave the tool
Same here. Purchased the set for in store pickup immediately as it’s a great deal!
The combo kit for 15?? Shoot, I bought the ratcheting one a while ago, but I’d pick that up for the case and blades. Still $20 in my store, great find though.
I only have a few Husky tools, but ‘Ive had positive experiences with those that I’ve bought. I think you are right on with the assessment of them- they seem to be especially good when you really need something in a pinch. I expect it to work and hold up for the next time I’ll need it, but they aren’t too pricey where I’ll second guess the purchase for an infrequently needed tool.
I feel like there is some variation of the phrase, “I couldn’t locate…” in numerous posts. I’d be curious to see a walkthrough of your various workspaces and oodles of tools. It’s interesting to see different people’s setups.
It has been years since I’ve used the older ratcheting cutter I’m referring to. I had planned to dig it out, but I had burned through daylight and still had a lot of work to do.
Keep in mind that I don’t just have a personal setup, I have a mix of personal tools, ToolGuyd-purchased samples, long-term samples, and unsolicited samples. Things aren’t presentable right now. It’d take me maybe 2 weeks of uninterrupted time, or 6 months of “at my convenience” time. I haven’t had “convenience time” since Feb 2020.
You referenced the fact that you consider some tools personal and others as samples or ToolGuyd purchases. I also recall that you’ve mentioned having different workspaces which piqued my interest in Eventually seeing the various setups.
I’ve seen a number of people on Instagram posting about Levracks which seem very cool, efficient, and likely pricey. My impression is that these people didn’t pay for theirs, though…
Maybe eventually. It’s a work in progress.
I don’t know anyone that actually purchased a Levrack. It seems like a good idea, but 1) it requires a level concrete slab, and 2) it’s not very flexible or adaptable.
I set up wire shelving in a similar configuration before I even heard of Levrack, aiming to mimic the motion of moveable library/filing/archive shelving. But, it wasn’t ideal. I have been moving away from wire shelving and plan to build cabinets and shelves.
Husky has actually been helping a lot with getting my storage situation under control. As a reminder, Husky and Home Depot are sponsors. It’s little things, such as having shelving racks that actually fit my space, and different styles of garage cabinets, have helped me chip away at the organizational nightmare.
The Ronan 3 piece set looks way better in quality, so thanks fred, but I just ordered the Husky set because. It’s cheap. It’s adequate. And it’s small with spare blades and a nice little case.
Nearly sold out in my area but I snagged one for pickup tomorrow.
Didn’t know I needed either today. But hey.
I’ve seen this larger cutter too at my local HD – but it gets very mixed reviews:
Milwaukee and Ryobi also make cordless powered ones.
fred. I ordered last night and picked up the little Husky two cutter set today.
The four spare blades plus the best designed and organized “kit” pouch I think I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of German versions.
So it’s way more then just a price point value. All made in the PRC…. Just like this iPhone. Grrr.
I have two of the earlier version of this Harbor freight gem. Works like a champ and I think I paid 3.99 with coupon. It was an impulse buy with I was looking for something else. This version looks like it would be easier to use than the one I have
I bought this 2 piece set a few weeks ago when my sump pump gave out and flooded my basement. I knew I couldn’t use either of them for the job because they aren’t meant to cut that large of PVC pipe, but I had to have those anyway for the awesome price. My old wire saw for cutting PVC had too many kinks in it, So I tried my Milwaukee 12 V cut off tool. It worked OK but couldn’t really get a very straight cut. I ended up buying a Kobalt 13” pvc saw…….works like a charm.
We used PVC hand saws on the job. My old inventory says we had both Ridgid and Lenox ones. They both use a 10TPI 18 inch long blade. Cable or wire saws were often favored for slicing through PVC pipe in impossibly tight spots. But for most tight spots under the sink – the guys came to like the Milwaukee Hackzall.
I was surprised how fast the hand saw cut through the pipe. My first choice was the Lenox but couldn’t find one locally on the fly. I’m sure a reciprocating saw, like the Hackzall would work great….. if you were able to secure the pipe some. Otherwise I would think the vibration would be crazy.
Dave the tool
Husky tools are definitely worth a look especially in hand tools. While many other manufacturers are cheapening their production quality to cut costs I believe Husky is actually bringing out better quality stuff and I have invested in their hand tools somewhat in the last year or so…more than previously. I am glad Home Depot dumped their cheap type items into the HDX lineup as some of the Older Husky tools were cheap and gimmicky, especially during the Holiday Season. If Home Depot keeps improving their Husky quality they have a serious chance of capturing the previous Craftsman Tool buyers like myself, especially with the no questions asked, in store tool exchange warranty replacement!
+1, I have the same ratchet cutter and it’s indispensable. For years I was cutting with a hacksaw or Hackzall or pull chain (for in-ground stuff). Once you use a ratchet cutter you’ll never want to cut PVC or plastic with anything else. The Husky one has never left me wanting anything more. All I cut is 1″ and smaller, anything bigger I don’t mind using a saw.