Best Way to Cut Vinyl Siding – Which Tool to Use? – Reviews & Buying Guide

a tool cutter for vinyl siding

Vinyl siding is flexible and thin, so it doesn’t require much effort to cut. That doesn’t mean you can attack it with any tool, though. A tool that requires too much sawing motion will chew up the ends of the siding. Plus, you’ll need a flat workspace to secure the lightweight sheets before you begin. While options abound, we’ve narrowed the search down to the top 4 ways to cut vinyl siding, whether you’re putting it up or sawing through an existing setup for an installation. We’ve also provided our top product reviews for the best tools to get the job done right. Read on to learn how you can get started cutting vinyl.

Comparison of our Favorite Methods (Last updated: 2019)

RankModelOur Favorite Product
#1An Electric Shears
DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear(Our Preferred Method)
DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear

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#2A Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw
Makita LS1018 10″ Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw
Makita LS1018 10″ Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw

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#3A Tin Snips
DeWalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set 3 pack
DeWalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set 3 pack

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#4A Utility Knife
MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy Loading Retractable Razor Utility Knife
MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy Loading Retractable Razor Utility Knife

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The 4 Best Tools for Cutting Vinyl Siding

1. Electric Shears – Our Preferred Method

Let’s face it, for a big project you don’t want to do a lot of manual cutting. While a plain pair of shears can slide right through vinyl siding, a pair of electric shears will get the job done twice as fast. That makes it our top pick for vinyl cutting, hands down. When you’re ready to get to work, place your siding on a firm base and secure it (you don’t want it to slide around while you’re cutting). Don some goggles, too, to keep bits of vinyl shrapnel out of your eyes. A word to the wise, as well: you’ll want to leave about a quarter-inch of extra space on your ends to allow for expansion. Vinyl siding is malleable stuff and summer heat can make it spread. Check out our top recommendation below to find the perfect pair of electric shears. And don’t worry too much about the blade. You won’t need anything fancy for these cuts.

We recommend DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear:

Sale
DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear
36 Customer Reviews
DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear
  • The product is highly durable
  • The product is easy to use
  • Manufactured in China
Pros
  • Swivel head for easy angle-cutting
  • 5 amps of power
  • Quickest way to get the job done
Cons
  • Less economical than manual shears

2. Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw

A miter saw is not as flexible or portable as a pair of electric shears, but the dual slide miter saw runs at a close second place for the best way to slice that vinyl. Simply secure your vinyl sheet over the saw’s base, pull down the blade and slide for a precision cut. For best results, go for a blade with the most teeth for a smooth edge. The only real downside to this method is that it won’t work for cutting vinyl if it’s already on the house. You’ll want to reserve the miter saw for new projects. Don’t forget to wear goggles when using power tools, as well, to keep vinyl shrapnel out of your eyes.  Below is our top pick from the market of dual slide compound miter saws.

We recommend the  Makita LS1018 10″ Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw:

Sale
Makita LS1018 10-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter...
108 Customer Reviews
Makita LS1018 10-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter...
  • Powerful 13.0 AMP direct drive motor requires less maintenance and delivers 4,300 RPM
  • Miters 0° - 47° left and 0° - 60° right, with positive stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°...
  • Cuts up to 12" at 90° and 8-1/2" at 45°, Arbor 5/8 inch, linear ball bearing system for accurate...
Pros
  • Convenient sliding action for precision cuts
  • 13 amps of power
  • Versatile for bevel cuts and angles
Cons
  • Not as portable as electric shears
  • High price point

3. Tin Snips

If you want to get the job done simply, quickly, and economically, a pair of tin snips (or aviator snips) will work fine. We don’t need to go into a lot of mechanical details here. We all know a pair of snips are easy to use, free of toxic smoke or shrapnel, and great for portability. One tip to get you started, however, is to avoid closing the snips completely as you cut. To keep your lines straight, only close them about two-thirds of the way. Use the color-coding to help you, as well. Yellow is for straight cuts, green for cutting to the right, and red for left. Make sure you secure your sheets before you start so your lines don’t veer off course. While you may already have a good pair of tin snips lying around, we recommend the product below to get the best performance.

We recommend the DeWalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set 3 pack:

DeWalt DWHT14676 3-piece ERGO Aviation Snips Set...
2 Customer Reviews
DeWalt DWHT14676 3-piece ERGO Aviation Snips Set...
  • Includes: Straight, Left and Right Ergonomic Aviation Snips
  • 18-22 gauge cutting capacity
  • Serrated cutting edge prevent materials from slipping
Pros
  • Durable, long cutting life
  • Clean cuts
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Time consuming method
  • Requires good grip strength and endurance

4. A Utility Knife

We’d be remiss not to mention the classic standby: a good old utility knife. Vinyl is pliable and thin enough to respond well to a knife’s sharp blades, and since they don’t require any sawing motion, you’ll still get clean cuts. This is also a great method for cutting away existing siding on your house, as you won’t have to worry about damaging the surface beneath as you would with power saw blades. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s lightweight, but it will require much more manual effort than any of the methods above. If you’re up for it, though, it’s worth the savings to get your job done simply.  While hundreds of great utility knives are out there, we recommend the snap-off blade model below for great performance and quick access to sharpened blades.

We recommend the MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy Loading Retractable Razor Utility Knife:

Sale
MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy...
104 Customer Reviews
MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy...
  • SUPREME CUTTING PERFORMANCE - The 15pcs self-loading quick change 18mm rust resistant retractable...
  • CONVENIENT BLADE CARTRIDGE - Unlike folding knifes, this self loaded large snap construction knife...
  • QUICK BLADE CHANGING - Push the slider up to the end and backwards to its original position, you...
Pros
  • Snap-off blades for quick change
  • Heavy duty for variable uses
  • Retractable
Cons
  • Requires more manual labor
  • Time consuming

Buyer’s Guide

Vinyl may be easy to cut but using the wrong tool can cause more harm than good. Stick with our recommended DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear and you’ll get the best power, portability, and economy. If a power tool just isn’t in the cards, though, go for the tin snips over the utility knife, as you’ll have a little more control over shaping and angles. If you need to snip out existing siding, steer toward the utility knife, and remember to leave yourself a quarter inch of space for expansion. Again, don’t worry about your blades if you’re cutting vinyl siding. You don’t need anything fancy.

Conclusion

The bottom line is, you’ve got options with a good economic spread when it comes to vinyl cutting. If your budget is tight, go for snips or a knife. If you’ve got the means, go for the power of those electric shears to get the job done quickly. Many options abound when it comes to simple cutting methods, so we hope our definitive guide has narrowed the playing field for you. Now get out there and cut that vinyl!