Ways to Cut Rebar

By David Sandoval

Rebar is a type of steel bar that is used in reinforcing concrete. Rebar is often sold in long rods and must be cut to size. Rebar is made of carbon steel and is thicker than most electrical wire; therefore, cutting rebar requires a tool that is both hard enough to cut steel and large enough to accommodate the increased thickness (when compared to wire) of the rebar.

Rebar Considerations

Since rebar may be used in building applications ranging from a home concrete patio to a skyscraper, different rebar sizes are available. Diameters of rebar sold in the United States commonly range from 3/8 of an inch to 2 1/4 inches. Rebar thickness is an important factor to consider when attempting to cut a piece of rebar; this is because tools that may be used cutting for a small-diameter piece of rebar may not be appropriate for use when cutting a large-diameter piece of rebar.

Manual Cutting Tools

Many smaller-diameter rebar sizes are similar in diameter to common steel and brass bolts. Some hand tools, such as hacksaws and bolt cutters, may be used to cut smaller-diameter rebar sizes. However, a bolt cutter may not be large enough to accommodate medium- and large-diameter pieces of rebar; similarly, it would take a long time and great physical effort to cut a larger-diameter piece of rebar with a hacksaw.

Powered Cutting Tools

A powered cutting tool, such as a handheld rotary tool, chop saw, electric rebar cutting tool or angle grinder may be used to cut rebar. A handheld rotary tool with a metal-cutting accessory can cut cleanly through a small-diameter piece of rebar, whereas a chop saw with a carbide blade may be used to cut larger-diameter pieces with ease. Angle grinders and electric rebar cutting tools are the most versatile of these tools in that both tools are capable of cutting small-, medium- and large-diameter pieces while remaining portable.


Plasma and oxyacetylene torches may also be used to cut rebar; however, since these torches operate by melting metal, the cut edges will not be as straight as a cut made by a mechanical or electromechanical tool. Using a torch to cut rebar can be time-consuming and may not be cost-effective when compared to using a mechanical or electromechanical tool to complete the task.

© Demand Media 2011