Cordless Copper Tubing Cutter

A cordless copper tubing cutter is a tool that eliminates the wrist bending required with traditional tube cutters.


The cordless copper tubing cutter is an engineering control that may help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity and stooped postures. A cordless cutter automatically adjusts to piping size and cuts through the pipe using battery power.

A cordless copper tubing cutter can reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) from repetitive spinning to cut tubing (Figure 1).  The cordless cutter automatically adjusts to piping size and cuts through the pipe at 500 revolutions per minute with the press of a button. The cutter uses 12V lithium ion batteries and can easily be carried around a job site. The cordless tubing cutter also has an extended handle that allows the tool to fit into spaces with as little as 1 ½” clearance. The cutter automatically adjusts diameter to cut through 3/8" - 1" copper tubing.

Figure 1. Milwaukee cordless copper tubing cutter (Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Tool)

Risks Addressed:

Stressful hand and wrist activity can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of elbow and wrist tendons; or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength.  The cordless copper tubing cutter can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by using battery power to cut through copper tubing.   

Stooped postures can cause low back disorders, such as muscle strain or a disc herniation (“slipped disc”), which is bulging of disc material possibly pressing on the spinal cord or nerves that go into the leg.  The cordless copper tubing cutter can help reduce stooped by allowing workers to move freely into ergonomically safe positions rather than being restricted by a cord. 

How Risks are Reduced:

Cutting copper tubing requires reaching with awkward wrist postures. The cordless copper tubing cutter allows the user to keep a neutral wrist position while cutting tubing. Repetitive wrist motions are also reduced when cutting copper pipe because the cordless copper tubing cutter has a revolving head that spins without the need for hand movement.

Repairing copper tubing in confined spaces also requires excessive stooping of the low back. Working repeatedly in these positions can cause fatigue, pain, and injury. The cordless cutter reduces the time spent stooping since it is faster than traditional cutters. 

Manufacturers say the design of cordless copper tubing cutters offers greater reach and reduced wrist strain when working in confined spaces.

Safety and health experts believe that it is important to avoid prolonged and repeated forward bending of the back (stooping) even in the absence of other risk factors for low back disorders.
Awkward and forceful hand exertions are associated with MSDs of the upper extremity such as carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist tendonitis (Bernard et al., 1997; Thomsen et al. 2007). Reducing the frequency of awkward and repetitive hand, wrist, and elbow motions may reduce the risk of developing upper extremity MSDs.
There are no published independent studies examining the effect of cordless tubing cutter use on the prevalence or incidence of MSDS.  However, Seidler et al., 2001 observed associations between prolonged stooped postures and certain low back MSDs.

Effects on Productivity:

Cordless copper tubing cutters may increase productivity by allowing workers to cut tubing faster than they would otherwise be able to cut manually. 

Additional Considerations:

Recently, tool manufacturers have been making spring loaded copper tube cutters that automatically adjust and easily clamp onto copper tubing. These cutters offer a quicker option to traditional cutters but still require repetitive hand and wrist motions to use. 

photo taken from:


Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC and Zack Sinner, SPT – Eastern Washington University

Hazards Addressed:


Milwaukee M12 Cordless LITHIUM-ION Copper Tubing Cutter
To obtain information, visit or contact 1-800-729-3878

Return on Investment

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