Milwaukee 1-Inch Mini Copper Tubing Cutter
Copper tubing has been used in plumbing applications for millennia. Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt had copper plumbing in palaces and temples. I’m not sure how installs were done back then, but now you don’t often have the luxury of space when cutting copper tubing. Sometimes you may not even be able to fully see the work area even if your arm and hand can fit. Water takes it’s toll on tools and can corrode a cutter’s moving parts. Even if the cutter is in good working order, water makes it slippery and difficult to tighten. The new Milwaukee 1-inch mini copper tubing cutter promises to let us cut pipes with fewer headaches. I put it to the test as I repaired leaks under slabs and performed installations including water heaters. Take that, Tutankhamun.
I first noticed the large, black grip knob on Milwaukee’s signature red cutter. It has two protrusions for the thumb and index finger to hold and turn securely. The 1/8″ – 1-1/8″ cut capacity cutter is only 3″ x 1″ x 2.25″ and weighs 0.4 pounds. This will make it easy to fit in tight spaces and simple to use. Milwaukee really nailed it with chrome rollers – these resist the corrosion that other cutters develop. Milwaukee claims the proprietary adjustment mechanism gives the mini 5x the life of its competitors. That longevity is beyond the scope of this review, but it’s certainly plausible with this design and these materials.
Cut’s Like a Knife, But it Feels Alright
You can’t practically cut tubing with any more accuracy and precision than with a cutter. In a pinch you may be able use a hacksaw, but it’s not the best tool for the job even if you had the space for the saw and sawing motion. Very often you won’t. That’s why cutters that spin around the pipe are an essential tool for the job.
Using the cutter is pretty straightforward. Place the jaws around the pipe, gently snug the the cutting wheel and rollers around it with the large knob, and then spin it. As the cutting wheel scores the pipe, tighten the knob. Soon, a clean cut will emerge when the pipe is severed. As expected, the Milwaukee 1-inch mini copper tubing cutter did an excellent job of fitting in the tight spaces that I needed to work. The large knob is easy to grab and allows you to use just one hand to tighten. This certainly helped when my hands were wet.
Milwaukee 1-inch Mini Copper Tubing Cutter Features
- 1/8″ to 1-1/8″ Cut Capacity
- Proprietary Adjustment Mechanism
- Chrome Rollers
- Easy Grip Knob
- Extra Blade Included
Milwaukee 1-inch Mini Copper Tubing Cutter Specifications
- Length: 3 in.
- Width: 1 in.
- Height: 2.25 in.
- Weight: 0.4 lbs
- Sign: Sagittarius
You can use this kind of cutter incorrectly by tightening it too much. Gently snug it up but let the cutting wheels do the work. Too tight and the pipe may deform into an oval, especially if the copper is older or if it’s thinner pipe. Copper pipe is typified by M, L, K types, which refer to the wall thicknesses. M is the thinnest and K is the thickest.
The easy, tool-free blade change mechanism is another great feature. It’s a simple push-pin verses screws that I’ve seen on other cutters. Pop it out, switch the cutting wheel, and get back to work. The Milwaukee comes with an extra blade, too.
The Bottom Line
Everything about the Milwaukee 1-inch mini copper tubing cutter makes the job easier. It fits in tight spaces, is easy to adjust, is easy to spin around the pipe, and it uses materials and a design that is sure to last longer than its competitors. At about $23, it’s a great value and I certainly recommend it to other professionals.