Best Wire Cutters: Increase Your Cutting Strength
Make continuous precise cuts with these wire cutters
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PUBLISHED ON October 5, 2019
If you are a mechanic, an electrical technician, or an engineer, then a wire cutter is a useful tool that should always be included in your toolbox. It makes wire cutting jobs easier and faster. If you are looking to replace your damaged wire cutter or want to upgrade to a better one, consider using any of the options in our buying guide below.
- Best OverallKlein Tools Wire CutterSummarySummaryA pair of heavy-duty, glow-in-the-dark wire cutters with serrated jaws that can cut, strip, and loop wires.ProsProsLightweight design. Comfortable hand grips. Strong serrated jaws. Easy-to-read markings. It has a hardened and durable cutting surface. Features coil springs for fast opening action.ConsConsThe jaws may not fully close when locked. May slide over soft insulation. The handles get scratch marks easily.
- Best ValueIRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire CutterSummarySummaryAn affordable 6-inch wire cutter with spring-loaded handles that increase comfort during repetitive jobs.ProsProsNice blue and yellow design. Feels comfortable on the hands. Meets ANSI specifications. It comes in different sizes. Remains sharper for longer compared to most conventional wire cutters.ConsConsThe spring may break with frequent use. The jaws chip easily. Doesn’t make smooth cuts.
- Honorable MentionChannellock Wire Stripper and CutterSummarySummaryA 6.25-inch wire cutter and stripper that makes clean wire cuts and strips insulation without damaging the wire.ProsProsDurable steel jaws. Comfortable blue grips. Requires less cutting effort. Available in a variety of sizes. The jaws have a lean-nose design that can fit in tight spaces. Laser-etched markings.ConsConsThe cutting edge may dull with continued use. Jaws may go out of alignment with thick wires.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- Always wear eye goggles to protect yourself from small pieces of metal that may fly towards your face.
- Do not move the blades back and forth to force it to make a cut. This may dull the blades or bend them. Consider using a larger and sharper wire cutter for the job.
- Be sure to disconnect all electrical cables before cutting them. The insulated handles may not protect you from an electric shock.
- Perform routine maintenance on the wire cutter by oiling the hinges and tightening the spring. This will extend the life of the tool.
- Hold the cutter at a safe distance from the jaws to avoid pinching yourself. The handle is designed to mold into the shape of your hand and if you are too close to the jaws, your hand may slip and you might be pinched.
Q: Can I sharpen a blunt wire cutter?
A: Yes, it’s possible to sharpen a standard wire cutter with a diamond hone or a smooth file. However, it requires much precision and skill to sharpen the blades to get an even edge and avoid injuring yourself. It’s difficult to sharpen most premium wire cutters that come with narrow jaws if you aren’t a professional.
Q: What are ESD-safe wire cutters?
A: Electrostatic Discharge, or ESD wire cutters, are designed to prevent damage to sensitive electronic circuits. They are typically small and also protect the user from electrical shock by allowing the charge to flow out through the handles.
Q: What’s the difference between a wire cutter and a wire stripper?
A: A wire stripper looks like scissors with a hole in the middle, and is typically used to remove insulation on electrical wires. They eliminate the need for using your teeth to remove the insulation. A wire cutter has sharp jaws, a flat tip, and scissor-style handles. It’s typically used to make clean cuts on aluminum, iron, copper, and steel wires. It can also be used as a wire stripper but only if you know how to angle the cut.
The Klein Tools Wire Cutter is our top pick because it has a distinctive look and jaw design that’s designed to handle heavy-duty cutting jobs that other wire cutters can’t.
Alternatively, you could opt for our value pick, the IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Cutter. It’s an affordable wire cutter that excels at cutting and stripping electric wires.