Best Wire Strippers: Tackle Electrical Jobs With Ease
These top wire strippers are a necessary addition to any toolbox
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PUBLISHED ON October 4, 2019
Wire strippers are specifically designed to do one job: remove the insulation and plastic casing from wires. The tool makes electrical work easy and simple to complete as long as you have the right pair for the job. Our buying guide will help you find the best wire strippers for your toolbox, so you won’t get stuck when you need them the most.
- Best OverallKlein Tools Wire Cutter and Wire StripperSummarySummaryThis tool cuts, strips, and loops 10-18 AWG solid and 12-20 AWG stranded wire. It cleanly shears 6-32 and 8-32 screws.ProsProsIt features a strong-gripping serrated nose to easily bend, shape, and pull wire. It's particularly good for small wires and overall makes stripping and cutting a breeze.ConsConsThe strippers may not stay fully closed when you lock them. There may be a tiny gap between the blades, which can make cutting single strands of wire difficult.
- Best ValueIRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool/Wire CutterSummarySummaryThis tool strips and cuts 10-22 AWG. It crimps insulated and non-insulated terminals and its pliers-style nose allow the stripper to pull and loop in the wire.ProsProsThis stripper feels good in your hand, its hinge is a perfect tension, and it is a lot sharper than many of its competitors. Overall, it's a great stripper for the price.ConsConsIt may be hard to use. It is not spring-loaded, so you constantly have to move it back and forth, which can be painful.
- Honorable MentionIRWIN VISE-GRIP Self-Adjusting Wire StripperSummarySummaryThis self-adjusting stripper has a 2-inch jaw width and strips wire from 10 to 24 AWG. It crimps 10-22 AWG insulated, 10-22 AWG noninsulated, and 7-9mm ignition terminals.ProsProsThe grip is rubber, and the metal is heavy and durable. It is sturdy and reliable, and you can control the length of the core strip with the built-in adjustable stopper.ConsConsIt may struggle to strip small-gauge wire. The sharp metal jaws on the side may pinch or tear your skin.
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- Choose a wire stripper that is compatible with the size wires you typically work with. Most will cut wires that are 10 to 22 AWG (American Wire Gauge). However, some tools can handle larger-sized wire as well.
- Do not remove wire casings with your teeth or a knife, as you could damage the wires (and your chompers). These methods are not nearly as effective as using a good pair of wire strippers.
- Some wire strippers grips that are more comfortable than others. To prevent hand fatigue, choose wire strippers that have a plastic handle. Lighter tools also cause less strain.
Q: How long will a pair of wire strippers last?
A: It depends on the material and durability of the tool. It's really not possible to sharpen the cutting edges, which can rust if you don't properly take care of the tool. A wire stripper will last longer if you store in properly in a dry toolbox or drawer.
Q: Can I use wire strippers on wires that are covered in Teflon?
A: You can, but only if the brand is specifically designed to do so. It's very difficult to strip Teflon-coated wires using an average pair of wire strippers.
Q: Can I use wire strippers to crimp terminal connectors on the wires?
A: Several brands of wire strippers can do this task, but not every pair has the ability. If the strippers have slots for crimping wires then you're all set.
Our pick for the best wire stripper is the Klein Tools Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper. It easily bends, shapes, and manipulates wires of a variety of sizes.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool/Wire Cutter.