The single-handed pipe cutter is used with one hand, hence the name.
It can be open-ended or have a ‘gate’ which closes behind the pipe and ensures that it’s fully secure in awkward places, such as under a sink or behind a toilet.
Some single-handed pipe cutters can only be turned one way to cut and this direction will be shown on the main body of the tool. Others can be turned in both directions to create a cut.
Single-handed pipe cutters come in two materials, but the majority tend to have a steel inner framework with an ABS plastic shell. Being coated in plastic means that the tool is not cold to the touch in winter and can be held comfortably for longer.
The cutter can also be made from zinc which is stronger than ABS plastic but more expensive.
The single-handed pipe cutter is often referred to as automatic. This means that it does not need to be adjusted before or during the cut. There is a semi-automatic single-handed pipe cutter available which is adjusted to the size of the pipe, before the cut, but then does not require any further adjustment.
Which materials can it cut?
All single-handed pipe cutters are designed to cut copper piping. Some will cut other soft metals such as aluminium or brass if stated on the tool. Single-handed pipe cutters are not, however, designed to cut steel.
The single-handed pipe cutter is available in four sizes: 12mm (0.47″), 15mm (0.6″), 22mm (0.8″) and 28mm (1.1″). This is to match the standard pipe tubing sizes. The term ‘size’ refers to the distance between the jaws of the cutter, the space where the pipe will sit.
What attachments are available?
The single-handed pipe cutter can come with a ratchet handle, but this can also be bought separately. The single-handed pipe cutter slips into the ratchet handle either side and is available for 15mm (0.6″) and 22mm (0.8″) single-handed pipe cutters.
The ratchet handle aids the use of the tool in confined spaces, fitting where hands cannot and meaning that you do not need to be able to reach completely around the pipe.