Tool Makes Cutting Pipe Easier, Cleaner for Plumbing Contractor

Cordless plastic-pipe shear from Milwaukee Tool saves time and keeps customers happy

Tool Makes Cutting Pipe Easier, Cleaner for Plumbing Contractor

The M12 plastic-pipe shear from Milwaukee Tool can do fast, burr-free cuts of up to 2 inches in diameter on plastic pipes. The tool, which is 14 2/8 inches longer, weighs roughly 4 pounds and has a rust-free, stainless steel cutting blade. (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Tool)

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At Bill the Plumber, a residential-service plumbing company in Sarasota, Florida, Tim Donohue, service manager, constantly stresses efficiency, safety and professionalism. That explains why the cordless M12 plastic-pipe shear from Milwaukee Tool is a popular tool among the company’s four technicians.

Powered by a 12-volt lithium-ion battery, the tool is designed to quickly cut through up to 2-inch-diameter plastic pipe in just three seconds. But the tool also earns its keep by making straight, burr-free cuts, Donohue says.

That may sound like a minor thing, given that it doesn’t take that long to deburr a pipe. But in the long haul, minutes add up to hours. Furthermore, when technicians constantly have to make more than one cut with, say, a Sawzall or a hacksaw, they go through blades faster and waste more pipe, he notes.

“Sure we’re talking about seconds here and there,” Donohue says. “But the less steps you have while cutting, cleaning and prepping pipe, the more efficient you are at putting things together.

“With the M12 shear, you’d have to try pretty hard to get a crooked cut,” he adds. “Cutting quicker and straighter saves us money compared to always recutting pipe. You add up all those little ½-inch pieces you miscut with a hacksaw or a Sawzall and at the end of a year, you’ve maybe wasted 20 feet of pipe.”


Another benefit: No deburring means no PVC shavings littering a job site. So job sites stay cleaner with less effort. That’s important at Bill the Plumber, where clean job sites are a top priority in terms of customer satisfaction, Donohue says.

A reputation for cleanliness is a differentiating factor in the marketplace that can lead to word-of-mouth referrals for the company, which was established in 1980 and has eight employees, Donohue says.

The company, which serves customers within about a 50-mile radius around Sarasota, strongly emphasizes safety for technicians. The M12 pipe shear comes into play here because it doesn’t use a moving blade to cut pipe, Donohue notes.

Instead, a rust-resistant, stainless steel blade cuts the pipe while it’s held in an aluminum jaw; the blade applies 1,900 in-lbs of torque. The blade is activated by squeezing a trigger. Furthermore, the tool grips pipe while it cuts, which allows technicians to keep their hands away from the blade and minimizes the odds of getting cut, he notes.

“That’s huge because someone could miss several days of work if they cut a finger,” Donohue says. “And the blade pops back up when you finish the cut, so it’s easy to get right to the next cut.”

Designed for one-handed operation, the low-profile cutting jaw is designed to work in tight quarters, such as pipes that run next to a wall or near a stud. And the battery can power up to 200 cuts per charge. The tool also offers a variable-speed feature for more controlled cuts, as well as a battery-power indicator that displays remaining runtime.

“It’s really simple to operate,” Donohue says. “Just measure and mark the pipe, open up the blade, stick the pipe in there, press the trigger and get a smooth cut.”


The pipe-shear tool also provides a less-tangible, but equally important, benefit: A professional image created by using timesaving, advanced technology. “A nice tool that works quickly and efficiently and protects peoples’ homes from getting messy tells customers that you’re a professional,” he says.

“When we pull out professional tools instead of an old bucket stuffed with rusty tools, they see a big difference compared to other plumbers,” he continues. “We want to be better at on-the-job cleanliness and presentation, so having tools that make jobs easier and allow us to work cleaner are very beneficial to us.”

The company’s professional image is also enhanced by its four Chevrolet 3500 Express cutaway vans outfitted with Knapheide bodies. The trucks carry drain cleaning equipment from RIDGID and inspection cameras made by EasyCAM.

Would Donohue recommend the M12 pipe shear to other plumbers? “Absolutely,” he says. “You’re talking to a guy who used to use a Sawzall all the time to cut pipe. But as soon as I saw this tool, I said to myself, ‘I’m buying one.’ Any tool that helps me do my job better and helps me make money is a tool I want to have.”  


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