Reliable wire cutters are one of the most convenient tools in your toolbox, allowing you to safely and easily cut wires with minimal effort. These compact hand tools use extremely sharp jaws combined with a high-leverage handle design to cut all types of wiring, as well as other thin metal items such as screws and nails. They are also available in a variety of sizes, with small heads to reach and manipulate tight electrical components, or larger options to provide maximum leverage to cut extra thick wire.
Make sure your potential wire cutters can handle the type and size of wire you will be using. Fortunately, most options will clearly state the range of wire sizes they can cut. This is sometimes expressed in standard AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes. If you are not sure what to cut, it may be a good idea to choose a lower AWG rating. Remember, the lower the AWG number, the thicker the wire.
You should also consider whether you will be working around any type of energized wiring. If so, be sure to use wire cutters with insulated handles to protect you from any accidental electrical shocks. These options can sometimes be more expensive than regular knives, but a few extra dollars are definitely worth the investment. The National Fire Protection Association requires the use of insulated tools when working at voltages higher than 50 volts.
We've been using wire cutters for a variety of tasks over the years and have used that experience to put together this list of useful options. In addition, while we don't have a ton of hands-on electrical experience, we understand the importance of cutting and stripping wire, which is why we offer two options that can be done simultaneously. We also did our best to exclude any unknown brands or low-quality models, because we know the frustration that comes from spending unnecessary time and effort fighting inferior tools.
The small size and narrow tips of these cutters make them ideal for approaching and cutting wires and other components in tight or awkward places, such as in craft or electronic work. The open spring also makes the handle easier and more comfortable to use than typical manual cutters, and the rubber-like covering provides a firm grip as you work.
Even if you don't have a specific task in mind for them right now, it's worth it to buy a pair at such a low price and take them with you when you need them.
If you plan on stripping wires and cutting them, this Irwin tool may be a good choice. While its layout may be confusing and intimidating at first, it's actually quite simple to use, thanks to simple instructions and labels printed directly on the blade and handle.
A series of dials make it easy to choose the right AWG size you're using, and the nose is designed to be used as a gripping and pulling pliers. These wire cutters are also capable of crimping wires and cutting small bolts, making them an extremely versatile choice for the amateur electrician.
These Klein Tools pliers strike the ideal balance between convenience and strength, making them ideal for a variety of wire cutting tasks. Their 8-inch length allows users to generate the leverage needed for heavy-duty projects, while the relatively short jaws make them equally suitable for smaller, more precise jobs. In addition, the plastic-dipped red handles make them easy to identify in a cluttered toolbox or workshop.
Klein Tools is known for the high quality of its products, and this is evident in this model of hot riveted joint, which operates smoothly without wobbly or loose handles.
These cutters offer both the precision craftsmanship of Knipex products and the safety of insulated tools. The handles are rated to withstand up to 1,000 volts and are designed with ridges near the top to prevent your hand from accidentally sliding forward during use.
Its ultra-sharp cutting edge also allows you to handle a variety of materials such as nails, piano wire and soft copper. While these cutters cost far more than comparable options, they are also extremely durable and will last a long time thanks to their chrome vanadium steel construction.
If you're serious about electrical work, then this Klein Tools cutter and its convenient stripping mechanism may be just what you're looking for. Its snug-fitting teeth and clearly marked holes let you strip wires of all sizes by simply squeezing the handles together. It can cut wire from 8 to 22 AWG and is coated to protect against damage from corrosion or rust.
While this model is very useful, it may be too complicated and unnecessary for casual users who only cut wires occasionally.
Although they are not technically "wire" cutters, we wanted to add these Klein Tools cutters for anyone who wants maximum cutting power in a relatively compact tool. These extra heavy-duty cutters use forged steel jaws to cut wire and cable, and their hooked jaw shape easily prevents anything you're working with from slipping out.
Despite their powerful cutting capabilities and ability to generate a lot of leverage, these cutters are compact in size, 13 inches long, and still easy to store in your toolbox or backpack. They are also available in insulated versions.
These Boenfu knives are designed to cut coat hangers, artificial flower stems and plastic - in addition to traditional wire - making them perfect for craft and decorating enthusiasts. Their orange handles make them easy to identify, and they also feature rubber grips that allow you to maintain maximum control while cutting.
These rubber grips combined with a manageable 7.6 oz. weight make this set suitable for all-day projects. While the 6-inch length is easy to transport and store, the set is also available in a larger size for heavier tasks.
Whether you're looking to expand your current wire cutting capabilities or want to buy a gift for someone just starting out, this set is a great choice. It includes three wire cutters in lengths of 6¼, 8 and 10 inches, so you'll be ready to handle a variety of wire sizes and settings.
These Knipex cutters all feature plastic dipped handles for a firm grip and a very durable chrome vanadium steel body. Plus, like all Knipex tools, these are backed by a limited lifetime warranty against defects.
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