Mini breaker pliers are simple handheld tools that help DIY homeowners cut wires, bolts, and other materials. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team outlines five of the best mini wire breakers on Amazon and our experience using each product during our in-depth testing.
Wire cutters are available in a variety of sizes to meet different needs and materials that need to be cut. Typically about 8 inches long, the mini wire breaker is a compact tool for snapping bolts, chains and wires up to 3/16 of an inch in diameter.
To help you find the right mini-breakout pliers, the This Old House Reviews team has tested five of the best mini-breakout pliers on Amazon and rated their effectiveness based on a series of rigorous tests. Here are our top picks and our thoughts on how each pair performed during testing.
This mini wire cutter from Capri Tools features high-quality steel blades and rubber grips to cut rods, bolts, chains and wires. The cutter comes with a comfortable molded handle that provides extra leverage to help you cut materials with ease. Plus, with its unique blue and black design, this product is easy to find in your toolkit.
What customers are saying
Positive reviews focus on the quality construction of the product, with many reviewers stating that these cutters can effectively cut thin wires and cables. Other positive reviews praise the product's affordable price. Negative reviews complain about the inability of the wire cutters to cut thicker bolts and wires.
This product from Capri Tools performed best in our series of tests. On average, it required minimal force and cut through every material with ease. Even when tested on thicker materials such as 3/16-inch elbow bolts and 0.063-inch piano wire, its ergonomic grip adds the extra force needed to cut through the material.
This mini wire breaker makes quality cuts on thicker items such as 0.031-inch and 0.063-inch piano wire. However, when tested with finer wire, its cut quality decreased, which may indicate that the blades are not sharp enough.
This mini wire cutter from TEKTON features powerful alloy steel jaws that cut bolts, chains, rods and wires up to 3/16 inch in diameter. To control its powerful jaws, the breaker is equipped with ribbed handles to provide extra grip. The product also includes an easy-to-use locking mechanism that keeps its tubular steel handle closed.
What customers are saying
Satisfied customers highlighted the product's effectiveness at cutting thin materials, with many reviewers praising its ability to cut fence lines and ¼-inch bolts. Negative reviews highlight customer concerns about the product's inability to cut thick items such as padlocks, with one reviewer complaining that the jaws of their wire breakers were damaged after attempting to cut thick materials.
This mini wire breaker is average in terms of the force required and overall grip. However, what sets this product apart from others is its clean cut, as this model offers polished cuts for piano lines of all sizes. Although its performance declined when cutting the thickest and third-thickest piano wire, this mini breaker still ranked second in average cut quality across all materials tested, behind the highest-ranking Capri Tools 8-inch Klinge mini breaker.
While the Mini Guillotine provided a clean cut, its hardened, ribbed handles caused some discomfort during testing, especially when cutting large 3/16-inch elbow bolts.
This KNIPEX mini wire cutter is equipped with steel jaws strong enough to cut any wire up to ¼ inch in diameter. To help the user control its sturdy steel frame, the product has plastic coated handles that are easy to grip. In addition, the mini breakers are equipped with unique jaws that help you pull out small nails and wires while working.
What Customers Are Saying
Positive customer reviews revolve around the performance and high quality of the Mini Wire Breaker, with one customer praising the tool for producing high power cuts with its compact size. Other positive reviews focused on the product's leverage, with many customers explaining that it helped them cut thicker wires and bolts.
This mini wire cutter demonstrated its ability to provide a clean cut in our series of tests. The cutter's plastic coated handle adds control and comfort to the tool as it cuts a variety of piano wire and elbow bolts.
Despite requiring the greatest force of any miniature wire cutter tested, the product was able to make clean cuts in every material tested. Although its cutting quality steadily decreases as the diameter of the piano wire increases, this product does not have the sporadic cutting quality found in other models.
A quality addition to any toolkit, this mini wire breaker from ARES has hardened cutting blades to cut through heavy wire, bolts and nails. It has a rust-resistant frame covered with ergonomic handles for added control and comfort. To help you cut thicker materials, the Mini Wire Cutter is equipped with a spring-assisted handle to increase your leverage.
What customers are saying
Satisfied customers rave about the compact breaker's leverage, with one customer highlighting its ability to cut off small nail tips sticking out of the wall. Negative comments highlight customer frustration with the tool's inability to effectively cut through thick bolts.
The spring-assisted and molded handles of this ARES mini breaker give the product a perfect score for gripping comfort and control, tying it for first place with the top-of-the-line Capri Tools 8-inch Klinge mini breaker. Despite the comfortable grip of the Mini Guillotine, the product did show a steady decline in cut quality when tested with increasingly thicker piano wire.
These mini wire breakers from GreatNeck feature thin vinyl grips with ribbing for added control. In addition to easy-to-grip grips, it has a 3/16-inch capacity for cutting wire, chain links and small bolts. In addition, this product is available in sizes up to 36 inches, giving you the option of choosing a long breaker for heavy-duty projects.
What customers are saying
Since this product is available in larger sizes, its reviews cover the range of its available breakers, from 8-inch to 36-inch models. Regardless of size, many satisfied customers praise the quality of the product and its affordable price. Negative reviews contradict the positive reviews claiming high product quality, with some customers complaining that the product is unable to cut thin steel.
Although the GreatNeck Wire Cutter is our lowest rated product, the tool is tied for second place with the TEKTON and ARES Wire Cutters because it requires the least amount of force to cut test materials. Although its stiff grip can cause discomfort during use, its ribbed construction improves overall control during each test.
As this breaker cut through each test material, it was at or tied for last in terms of the quality of cut delivered for each piano wire tested. In addition, its small jaws had a difficult time gripping each material during our testing.
Before purchasing mini wire cutters, it is important to understand how the design and specifications of each product affect its performance. Here are four factors to consider before purchasing mini wire cutters
Cutting metal with a wire breaker requires a lot of grip and force. To help reduce the strain on your hands, ergonomic handles are a necessity for mini wire cutters. Quality knives will feature a comfortable and functional design that minimizes workload and reduces stress. In addition, mini wire cutters should have non-slip grips to prevent injury.
While most mini-breakout pliers weigh less than a pound, the handheld nature of this tool makes weight a usability factor. If the product is too heavy, your hands will get fatigued after constant use. If the tool is too light, it will not provide enough force to effectively cut a variety of materials.
Adjustability is important because it allows you to cut various sizes of materials effectively. Wire cutters with adjustable blades provide more control during use and can cut wider materials. Miniature wire breakers are typically adjusted with screws located on the front of each product blade.
The width of material cut with each miniature wire breaker is limited, with most models limited to wires, bolts and rods up to 3/16 inch. Typically, the size of the diameter the tool can cut is equal to the width of the blade when fully open. For example, a blade that can be opened ⅛ inch can cut the same size material.
The jaw capacity of the tool is more important than the length when determining the size of the breaker needed to cut a padlock. Most padlocks are between 3/16 and 7/16 of an inch in diameter, which means that the breaker needs to have at least the same jaw capacity to cut the material. Most 8" mini-breakers can pierce up to 3/16" in diameter, so a larger jaw capacity breaker is needed to cut most padlocks.
Yes. Wire cutters are designed to cut a variety of materials and items, including screws. It is important to know the material to be cut before purchasing a breaker to ensure the tool has sufficient jaw capacity.
Mini wire cutters are used to cut thin wires, bolts and nails. Typically, mini wire cutters can effectively cut materials up to 3/16 inches in diameter.
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