Reviews

LAST UPDATED: October 5, 2019

Best Wire Cutters: Increase Your Cutting Strength

Make continuous precise cuts with these wire cutters

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    18 Products

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  • Reviews

    12 Reviews

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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 Overall
    Klein Tools Wire Cutter
    Summary
    Summary
    A pair of heavy-duty, glow-in-the-dark wire cutters with serrated jaws that can cut, strip, and loop wires.
    Pros
    Pros
    Lightweight 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.
    Cons
    Cons
    The jaws may not fully close when locked. May slide over soft insulation. The handles get scratch marks easily.
  • Best Overall
    Klein Tools Wire Cutter
  • Best Value
    IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Cutter 
    Summary
    Summary
    An affordable 6-inch wire cutter with spring-loaded handles that increase comfort during repetitive jobs.
    Pros
    Pros
    Nice 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.
    Cons
    Cons
    The spring may break with frequent use. The jaws chip easily. Doesn’t make smooth cuts.
  • Best Value
    IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Cutter 
  • Honorable Mention
    Channellock Wire Stripper and Cutter
    Summary
    Summary
    A 6.25-inch wire cutter and stripper that makes clean wire cuts and strips insulation without damaging the wire.
    Pros
    Pros
    Durable 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.
    Cons
    Cons
    The cutting edge may dull with continued use. Jaws may go out of alignment with thick wires.
  • Honorable Mention
    Channellock Wire Stripper and Cutter

    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 Wire Cutters Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This versatile wire cutter has a serrated nose and two pairs of precision-ground stripping holes. These features allow it to easily bend, shape, and loop wires in addition to cutting them. The clear markings on the cutter easily guide any newbies using it. It provides a good grip to make your job easier.


    The cutter’s built-in spring keeps the jaws open so they can quickly be used after the first cut. This, together with the design, makes repetitive work quicker and less tiring. The handles ensure your hands stay comfortable, eliminating cramps. The blades are designed for durability and are hardened.


    This wire cutter glows in the dark, making it possible for you to work late at night. It shears 8-32 and 6-32 screws perfectly, leaving edges smooth. Unfortunately, the cutter’s handles can easily get scratch marks. In addition, when the jaws are locked, they may not fully close.

    Best Value

    If you’re in the market for a six-inch wire cutter that can strip, bend, and cut wires, your search may stop here. This cutter is designed to strip 10-24 AWG wire and can also shear bolts and screws. A well-priced tool, it is intricately designed and has blue and yellow handles that draw attention. ProTouch grips eliminate hand fatigue and offer comfort.


    The cutter meets ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements. It also comes in varying sizes to fit different hands. It is specifically designed for extended use and stays sharper for longer. You can feel confident about your purchase thanks to the VISE-GRIP Lifetime Guarantee from IRWIN. 


    If you’re an electrician, get it for electrical work. You can use it to crimp cables and assemble spliced wires. However, if you use the cutter frequently, the handles’ spring may break. It also doesn't cut wires smoothly.

    Honorable Mention

    Channellock has been manufacturing hand tools for years, and this cutter is a testament to its passion for quality. The 8.5-inch cutter can cut, strip, and crimp wires. It quickly strips 10-20 AWG wire and insulation without damaging wires. The wire cutter has a lean nose and precision holes that can pull, loop and bend wires—even in tight spaces. 


    The wire gauge sizes are embossed in the metal and then painted over to make them highly visible. You won’t have to guess which wires go where. The jaws require minimal effort and are made of steel for enhanced durability. Hand strain is not something you’ll have to deal with as this wire cutter has comfortable Channellock blue grips.


    The scissor-type blades have undergone heat and precision-ground treatment to ensure they stay sharper for longer. Channellock offers a lifetime warranty for these wire cutters. Unfortunately, they are only meant to cut copper, and their safety latch can’t withstand heavy pressure.

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    Benefits of Wire Cutters

    • Make work easier. Wire cutters make your job easy, especially when you’re cutting tough wires or wires with electrical current. They ensure you use minimal force when cutting. Even if you cut countless wires every day, you can reduce hand fatigue with a proper set of wire cutters.
    • Promote safety. Some wire cutters have insulated handles to ensure you don’t get shocked when you’re working with electrical wires.
    • Versatile. Besides cutting, wire cutters can also compress and bend wires, firmly hold objects, unscrew bolts and screws, and crimp wire connectors. They are designed to cut aluminum, copper, iron, brass, and steel wires. 

    Types of Wire Cutters

    Flush

    These are mini wire cutters with a non-slip grip that are normally used for flower arrangements, jewelry, and electrical work. They cut wires cleanly instead of causing them to split before the cut is complete. They allow you to use less force because of the decreased bevels on their clipping edges. Flush cutters are ideal for cutting 16 gauge and 1.3mm wires.  

    Diagonal

    Also called side cutters, these tools have traversing jaws that cut wires at an angle. They can grip, cut wires and pins, remove nails and other fasteners, and also strip insulation. They are the most commonly-used wire cutters for any work that requires cutting soft, pliable wire. But since their jaws force wires to break, they leave a sharp spike after cutting. 

    Needle-Nose

    These are mostly used by electricians because they have a long reach and sharply-tapered jaws. They can easily insert wires into electrical panels. Since space is usually limited in electrical applications, other types of wire cutters cannot be used. Their biggest shortcoming is that they can’t be used to snip cable ties since their long nose gets in the way. 

    End

    Mainly used for cutting nails, wires, screws, and rivets, end cutters have jaws shaped like half-circles. Their cutting edges are set at right angles for easier access to tight areas. They cut very close against the surface without damaging it. These cutters can also extract screws and nails from wood using the jaws’ radius as a fulcrum.

    Top Brands

    Klein Tools

    Established in 1857, this American company is located in Lincolnshire, Illinois. It manufactures numerous hand tools under its Journeyman brand. The company produces almost every major type of hand tool used in the electronics, construction, mining, telecommunications, and electrical industries. Its products include snips, scissors, shears, screw and nut drivers, and tool bags. To understand why Klein has become a generic trademark, try the Klein Tools Wire Cutter

    Irwin

    Charles Irwin, a pharmacist, established the Irwin Auger Bit Company in 1885 in Martinsville, Ohio. The company is best known for creating Vise-Grip locking pliers. It is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker. Irwin’s hand tools and power tool accessories are very popular with artisans. The company prides itself on fulfilling the needs of handicraftsmen, its main clients. 

    Stanley

    Initially a bolt and door hardware company, Stanley Works was established in 1843 by Frederick T. Stanley. In March 2010, the company merged with Black & Decker to form Stanley Black & Decker, a Fortune 500 company. It’s based in New Britain, Connecticut. It manufactures household hardware, industrial tools, security products, and locks. The Stanley 6-1/2-Inch FatMax Long Nose Plier with Cutter is one of its top creations.

    Tekton

    Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tekton is a family-owned company that produces hand tools. The company’s name is derived from an ancient Greek word “Tektōn,'' which means an artisan or craftsman. Tekton’s mission is to ensure the finest hand tools are accessible to everyone. It mostly focuses on tools used for mechanical and assembly work. One of its best-selling wire cutters is the TEKTON 7-Inch Wire Cutter

    Wire Cutters Pricing

    • Below $10: These are simple, affordable wire cutters. Their quality is not the best and their hinges may quickly become loose or jam, making them impossible to use. Their blades also may get dull quickly. 
    • $10-$30: These are high-quality wire cutters that may serve different purposes: cutting, crimping, and stripping. Most are made by big brands such as Klein, Capri Tools, and Irwin.

    Key Features

    Safety

    This should be a top priority when buying wire cutters. Insulated wire cutters guarantee safety because they effectively prevent electrical shocks. Purchase wire cutters made by a reputable brand as they will have clear safety descriptions and labels. A safety latch or lock keeps the tool closed when it's not in use. Markings on the handles and jaws can specify the safety standards the cutter complies with. 

    Cutting Capacity

    Wire cutters are not multipurpose and cannot be used for diverse tasks—except those that are specially designed to be multifunctional. Determine why you need the wire cutters, and then choose a pair that easily cuts the material you intend to work with. This is the best way to avoid buyer’s remorse. If you work with different wires and cables, you’ll need different wire cutters.

    Material

    The best wire cutters are solidly built and are made with materials that are resistant to rust and corrosion. High-quality wire cutters are made with tool steel, high-speed steel, or steel plate. Tool steel provides increased flexibility, while high-speed steel retains sharpness for a longer period of time. Wirecutter handles are typically covered in rubber. Steer clear of wire cutters with blades that chip easily. 

    Rust affects a wire cutter’s ability to cut precisely. Alloy steel, carbon steel, and chromium-vanadium steel are the most reliable materials for corrosion resistance. They usually undergo laser or heat treatment for enhanced durability. A special coating may be added to prevent glare.

    Other Considerations

    • Size and Weight: These two features determine how long you can comfortably use the wire cutters. Cutters with long handles are easier to use because they demand less force. On the other hand, those with short handles are portable and easy to store. Heavier cutters may offer more power, but they can strain your hand. It’s best to balance size, weight, and comfort. 
    • Ease of Use: Hand fatigue is a common problem for people who work with their hands. Wire cutters should be easy to use. The best wire cutters have handles covered with a rubber coating to protect your hands from fatigue. Cutters with a spring to keep the jaws open make repetitive work easier and eliminate hand cramps. 

    Best Wire Cutters Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This versatile wire cutter has a serrated nose and two pairs of precision-ground stripping holes. These features allow it to easily bend, shape, and loop wires in addition to cutting them. The clear markings on the cutter easily guide any newbies using it. It provides a good grip to make your job easier.


    The cutter’s built-in spring keeps the jaws open so they can quickly be used after the first cut. This, together with the design, makes repetitive work quicker and less tiring. The handles ensure your hands stay comfortable, eliminating cramps. The blades are designed for durability and are hardened.


    This wire cutter glows in the dark, making it possible for you to work late at night. It shears 8-32 and 6-32 screws perfectly, leaving edges smooth. Unfortunately, the cutter’s handles can easily get scratch marks. In addition, when the jaws are locked, they may not fully close.

    Klein Tools Wire Cutter}
    Amazon

    This versatile wire cutter has a serrated nose and two pairs of precision-ground stripping holes. These features allow it to easily bend, shape, and loop wires in addition to cutting them. The clear markings on the cutter easily guide any newbies using it. It provides a good grip to make your job easier.


    The cutter’s built-in spring keeps the jaws open so they can quickly be used after the first cut. This, together with the design, makes repetitive work quicker and less tiring. The handles ensure your hands stay comfortable, eliminating cramps. The blades are designed for durability and are hardened.


    This wire cutter glows in the dark, making it possible for you to work late at night. It shears 8-32 and 6-32 screws perfectly, leaving edges smooth. Unfortunately, the cutter’s handles can easily get scratch marks. In addition, when the jaws are locked, they may not fully close.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    If you’re in the market for a six-inch wire cutter that can strip, bend, and cut wires, your search may stop here. This cutter is designed to strip 10-24 AWG wire and can also shear bolts and screws. A well-priced tool, it is intricately designed and has blue and yellow handles that draw attention. ProTouch grips eliminate hand fatigue and offer comfort.


    The cutter meets ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements. It also comes in varying sizes to fit different hands. It is specifically designed for extended use and stays sharper for longer. You can feel confident about your purchase thanks to the VISE-GRIP Lifetime Guarantee from IRWIN. 


    If you’re an electrician, get it for electrical work. You can use it to crimp cables and assemble spliced wires. However, if you use the cutter frequently, the handles’ spring may break. It also doesn't cut wires smoothly.

    IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Cutter}
    Amazon

    If you’re in the market for a six-inch wire cutter that can strip, bend, and cut wires, your search may stop here. This cutter is designed to strip 10-24 AWG wire and can also shear bolts and screws. A well-priced tool, it is intricately designed and has blue and yellow handles that draw attention. ProTouch grips eliminate hand fatigue and offer comfort.


    The cutter meets ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements. It also comes in varying sizes to fit different hands. It is specifically designed for extended use and stays sharper for longer. You can feel confident about your purchase thanks to the VISE-GRIP Lifetime Guarantee from IRWIN. 


    If you’re an electrician, get it for electrical work. You can use it to crimp cables and assemble spliced wires. However, if you use the cutter frequently, the handles’ spring may break. It also doesn't cut wires smoothly.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    Channellock has been manufacturing hand tools for years, and this cutter is a testament to its passion for quality. The 8.5-inch cutter can cut, strip, and crimp wires. It quickly strips 10-20 AWG wire and insulation without damaging wires. The wire cutter has a lean nose and precision holes that can pull, loop and bend wires—even in tight spaces. 


    The wire gauge sizes are embossed in the metal and then painted over to make them highly visible. You won’t have to guess which wires go where. The jaws require minimal effort and are made of steel for enhanced durability. Hand strain is not something you’ll have to deal with as this wire cutter has comfortable Channellock blue grips.


    The scissor-type blades have undergone heat and precision-ground treatment to ensure they stay sharper for longer. Channellock offers a lifetime warranty for these wire cutters. Unfortunately, they are only meant to cut copper, and their safety latch can’t withstand heavy pressure.

    <strong>Channellock Wire Stripper and Crimper</strong>}
    Amazon

    Channellock has been manufacturing hand tools for years, and this cutter is a testament to its passion for quality. The 8.5-inch cutter can cut, strip, and crimp wires. It quickly strips 10-20 AWG wire and insulation without damaging wires. The wire cutter has a lean nose and precision holes that can pull, loop and bend wires—even in tight spaces. 


    The wire gauge sizes are embossed in the metal and then painted over to make them highly visible. You won’t have to guess which wires go where. The jaws require minimal effort and are made of steel for enhanced durability. Hand strain is not something you’ll have to deal with as this wire cutter has comfortable Channellock blue grips.


    The scissor-type blades have undergone heat and precision-ground treatment to ensure they stay sharper for longer. Channellock offers a lifetime warranty for these wire cutters. Unfortunately, they are only meant to cut copper, and their safety latch can’t withstand heavy pressure.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Tips

    • 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. 

    FAQs

    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.

    Final Thoughts

    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.