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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.