Reviews

The Best Wire Crimping Tools (Review & Buying Guide) 2021

Working on an electrical project? These wire crimping tools can help.

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BY Miguel de Guzman / LAST UPDATED ON December 9, 2020

Ask professionals about the tools they use, and you’re bound to get opinions about the equipment they work with. A professional in any field needs the right tools to get the job done. Having the wrong tools—or no tools at all—can cause delays, frustration, and botched work that needs to be fixed again later. For IT professionals, work is often split between hardware and software. In addition to your digital toolbox, you’ll also need a physical toolbox to get the job done when you need to install and upgrade devices.

 

You’ll be assembling desktop systems, servers, and replacing worn components with regularity. You’ll also be running miles and miles of cable, regardless of the size of the company you work for. Having a high-quality, reliable crimping tool is as important to an IT professional as a carpenter’s hammer or a plumber’s pipe wrench. We’ve tracked down the best CAT5 crimping tools available right now, from bare-bones to big-budget options. All of them will get the job done with ease.

Best Overall
Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit Set
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Summary
Summary

It’s a comprehensive tool kit that includes everything you need in a convenient zip case.

Pros
Pros
  • Respected manufacturer
  • Package includes more than just the tool
Cons
Cons
  • Compression connectors are of questionable quality 
Best Overall
Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit Set
Best Value
Trendnet Crimping Tool
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Summary
Summary

This is a very inexpensive wire crimping tool that works practically just as well as the best of them.

Pros
Pros
  • Sturdy and works efficiently for its price
  • For light tasks, it’s all one will need
Cons
Cons
  • Stripping feature works on flat cables only
Best Value
Trendnet Crimping Tool
Honorable Mention
UbiGear Professional Cable Tester and Crimper
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Summary
Summary

This tool kit comes from a respected manufacturer of network tools, and the package includes more than just an excellent performing wire crimper.

Pros
Pros
  • Comes with crimper, compression connectors, and cable testers
Cons
Cons
  • Wire stripping feature of the tool isn’t the best
Honorable Mention
UbiGear Professional Cable Tester and Crimper
The Best Wire Crimping Tool
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Best Wire Crimping Tool Buying Guide

A wire crimping tool's purpose is pretty straightforward. They're used to "crimp" terminals and connectors on electrical wires, or connect two pieces of material together to form an electrical connection. An electrician, for instance, will need the use of a crimping tool to connect wires or replace cables. Likewise, homeowners should have a good crimping tool in their toolbox in case they might need to install a fixture or hook up an electronic system.

There are many kinds of crimping tools available in the market, with some being more suited for certain jobs than others. Ultimately, you want the right tool that can get the job done fast and easy. And in this article, we'll discuss the things you need to consider before picking up a crimping tool. 

Benefits of a Wire Crimping Tool 

There are, of course, many benefits to having a crimping tool on hand when doing electronic projects. After all, projects of this kind (depending on their size) will require one or more wires to be conjoined. Indeed, if you're an electrician, or worked in a field where handling and connecting wires were a regular occurrence, then you definitely need a crimping tool in your toolbox.

Using a crimping tool to deform a metal sleeve around the end of a wire to create a secure connection is, to be sure, among the fastest and easiest ways to form a cold weld joint. So if one needs to do projects that require a lot of wires to be connected to each other, then one will need the use of a crimping tool. A good, heavy-duty crimping tool will not only make the job easier, but it will also make those wire connections more secure and reliable. 

  • It’s the fastest way to create a cold weld joint between two wires.
  • Wire connections done with a good crimping tool are secure and reliable.
  • Unlike soldering, crimping doesn’t require training and the use of hazardous materials.  

Types of Wire Crimping Tools

There are different types of crimping tools, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. While smaller wires won't require much pressing force to crimp, thicker wires will, and might require the use of a hydraulic crimper. Below are the three most common kinds of wire crimping tools one can readily find available in the market.

Handheld

These are the most common wire crimping tools available in the market, and they are the simplest. They are manually operated and are typically used for small wires. They are very portable and basically resemble conventional pliers. Some handheld wire crimping tools are multi-purpose and can be used as a wire stripper or wire cutter. Some can even double as pliers and be used to grip, pull, or loop wires together. 

Hydraulic

A hydraulic wire crimping tool, which can apply more pressure than a handheld crimper because of its use of hydraulic fluid, is typically used for thicker wires and industrial applications. One downside to hydraulic wire crimpers is that they require hydraulic fluid, as well as regular oil maintenance to avoid clogging.

Hammer

Hammer crimpers are very affordable and generally work the same way handheld and hydraulic crimpers do, except that you’ll need to place them on a flat surface and use a hammer. Basically, the end of the wire is placed between a die and an anvil and is struck by a hammer to form the crimp. So while hammer crimpers are effective and will be able to handle wires much thicker than what handheld crimpers can handle, it’s not really something that’s portable enough to be brought to just any job site. 

How We Tested Wire Crimping Tools

We've considered quite a few criteria when assessing the best wire crimping tools available in the market. Firstly was the ease of use. A wire crimping tool is supposed to be convenient, after all. The tools in our list that got the highest honors were all easy to use and made the job of wire crimping faster and more reliable. 

The next thing we considered was each tool's list of features. Some tools were multi-purpose and therefore had broader use beyond mere wire crimping, while others could handle a broader range of wires. Of course, if you need a dedicated wire-stripping tool, you can check out our roundup of the best wire strippers.

The last consideration was the price. Naturally, price is — and always will be — a big consideration for buyers when deciding on what tool to invest in. 

Features of Wire Crimping Tools 

The wire crimping tools available in the market vary wildly in terms of quality, functionality, and feature set. Each brand and model has its strengths and weaknesses, and below are a few of the features you need to consider before deciding on what crimping tool to keep in your toolbox.

Jaw Opening

Naturally, the measurement between a crimp tool's jaws when they are fully opened should be wide enough to fit both the wire and connector. The crimp tool's jaws should also be able to hold both the wire and connector in place before crimping to assure consistency. 

If the size of the tool's jaws are too small, or the wire being crimped is too big for the tool, then the result will be an improper crimp, which will cause corrosion, overheating, voltage drops, or just a general loss of connection. So before purchasing a wire crimping tool, it's always best to know the type of wires you'll be working with.

Build Quality

Another crucial factor to consider when buying tools such as wire crimpers is construction quality. After all, you want something durable that will last for a long time — and you want something that can withstand a ton of abuse. 

High-end wire crimping tools are typically made from hardened steel, and will typically be coated in a substance that will seal out moisture and protect the tool from rust and corrosion. 

So if you're in the market for a good-quality wire crimping tool, we suggest that you do your due diligence and find out the type of material that was used in its construction.

Grip Handle

If you need to be crimping a lot of wires and connectors, then a flimsy handle that offers suboptimal traction and grip simply will not do. After all, crimping requires a fair amount of precision, which only a crimping tool with a handle encased in nice, grippy, rubber-like materials can provide. A handle with a good grip will allow you to hold the tool securely and with confidence, making it definitely one of the things you need to consider before making a purchase. And not only will a well-designed, ergonomic handle result in better-quality crimps, it will also reduce hand fatigue. 

Care and Maintenance for Wire Crimping Tools 

Although wire crimping tools are basic and simple tools that will last a long time with minimal maintenance, caring for your tool, and following safety precautions is always advisable to keep them in good working condition. Needless to say, the lifespan of your wire crimping tool will largely depend on factors like frequency of use, working environment, and the type of work for which it's being used. 

It's advisable to regularly inspect your wire crimping tool for any damage, especially if the quality of your crimps is noticeably degrading. When inspecting, see to it that no spring, screw, or moving part is missing and that each lever, if any, is operational.

  • Only use your wire crimping tool for its intended purpose.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners on the tool.
  • Keep it away from dust and moisture as much as possible.
  • Keep your tool’s joints, bearings, and pivot points well lubricated.

Best Wire Crimping Tools Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall
Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit Set

The inexpensive, comprehensive Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit includes everything you need in a convenient zip case. The kit includes several different types of wire strippers as well as a wire punch impact tool. You’ll also find a pair of screwdrivers—Phillips and flathead, naturally—both with ergonomic rubber grips. There’s even a spot to keep a snap case with some spare CAT5 cable ends, a few of which are included. It’s a nice touch. Of course, a crimping tool is also in this kit, along with a 9-volt battery-powered cable tester. It’s a great way to check your work before walking all the way back to your office and discovering that things aren’t working quite right. Even if you’re new to the IT game, this kit will have you looking like a pro in no time.


While the crimpers are excellent, the quality of the compression connectors included in the kit is not.

Best Budget
Trendnet Crimping Tool

Unlike many inexpensive crimping tools, the Trendnet Crimping Tool works the first time. And it doesn’t bend pins. After all, if you have to spend time crimping over and over again, are you really saving any money? If your budget is limited, or you have to pay out of pocket for your tools, we’ve got you covered. This crimping tool may be a budget item, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap or works poorly. It’s comfortable and easy to use, and it crimps CAT5 connections with the best of them. It works for any ethernet or telephone cable, actually. The light blue handle has us calling this one “The Little Crimper That Could.” And it’s surprisingly sturdy. You may never feel the need to upgrade.


One thing buyers need to be aware of, however, is that the stripping feature of this tool works on flat cables only.

Best Midrange
UbiGear Professional Cable Tester and Crimper

If you’re ready to spend a bit more, the UbiGear Professional Cable Tester and Crimper includes a slightly heavier duty CAT5 crimping tool as well as some nice extras. The crimper works great for terminating cable ends. This kit includes a bag of push-type CAT5 connectors as well as a cable tester that can test up to eight double-twisted cables, plus Ground. The tester can even find wrong connections, short circuits, and open circuits. A robust crimping tool and a cable tester are the ideal one-two punch that will get most IT professionals through their workday. UbiGear is a well-respected name in the world of network tools. It’s easy to see why.


Unfortunately, the wire stripping feature of this tool isn’t the best, and you’re probably better off getting a dedicated wire stripper if you intend to work with a lot of cables.

Best for Professionals
Klein Ratcheting Data Cable Crimper

Remember that feeling you got as a kid looking over the specs of the hottest new gaming system? That’s us, checking out this Klein Tools VDV226-110 Ratcheting Modular Cable Crimper/Wire Stripper/Wire Cutter. This is a pricey wire crimper. But if you spend your days running cable, and lots of it, it’s definitely worth the investment. Like any high-quality tool, it has a good weight and a premium feel to it. Its all-metal construction conveys quality, while the rubberized grip makes it comfortable to use over long periods. Another nice feature is the full-color wiring diagrams. It’s a clever feature that we wish more of these tools had.


Unfortunately, while this tool is an excellent crimper, its stripping feature leaves a lot to be desired.

Honorable Mention
Titan Ratcheting Wire Terminal Crimper Tool

The Titan 11477 wire crimper, with its steel construction and ergonomic design, is both built tough and easy to use. It pretty much has all the features one needs to crimp wires fast and easily, including color-coded wire size markings as well as a ratcheting mechanism and an adjustable compression wheel that allows clamp force to be adjusted for more precise crimps. It has a quick-release lever between the handles for loosening the tool's jaws once crimping is complete, and this same lever can also prove handy should the tool get stuck or jammed.


One drawback to this overall fantastic crimping tool is its relatively large size, which makes it more difficult to use in tight spaces. Another is that the release lever between the handles could have been put in a more accessible location.

Honorable Mention
Irwin Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool

The Irwin Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool is more than just a wire crimper. It's a wire stripper and a bolt cutter too, which means you can get more done with just this single tool. It features an ergonomic design as well as a patented vise-grip design that both work to make this tool very comfortable to use. Indeed, very little force is needed to crimp wires, thanks to its ProTouch grips. It comes with easy-to-read markings etched into the metal part of its jaws to ensure visibility for years, and its pliers-shaped head is convenient and useful for all kinds of wire-based work.


If there is one thing we didn't like about this handy tool, it's the wide grip, which we imagine can be a problem for those with smaller hands.

Honorable Mention
Neiko 4-in-1 Multi-Purpose Wire Service Tool

The Neiko 4-in-1 Multi-Purpose Wire Service Tool is advertised as a gripper, cutter, crimper, and stripper, which means it's a tool that can accomplish a lot. And if ease of use is a feature that you require in a tool, then this one won't disappoint. Indeed, the long handles on this tool itself, which provides a good amount of leverage for doing all kinds of wire-based work, greatly contribute to its ease of use. The markings are etched into the metal jaws to ensure maximum visibility even after years of use, and the pliers-style head design provides additional functionality, enabling users to bend, pull, and hold wires as needed.


For all this tool's functionality, however, we have to say it doesn't have the best design. And for some hands, it won't have a comfortable grip.

Honorable Mention
 Klein Wire Crimper Tool

The Klein 3005CR Wire Crimper Tool is a great tool to use if you need to crimp as many wires in as little time as possible. This tool feels very durable and premium to the touch. It works fast, and the results are consistent. It has a compound action feature that increases crimping force with minimal squeezing effort, which basically means you won't have to exert all that much energy to crimping wires. It has an adjustable compression wheel that allows users to adjust clamping force and a ratcheting mechanism to ensure that each crimp is uniform and consistent.


One issue we found with this crimping tool is that it lacks a quick-release lever, which means there will be moments when getting the jaws to release might be difficult.

Honorable Mention
Wirefy Ratcheting Wire Crimper

If you need a feature-rich wire crimper that can work with a broad range of wires, then the Wirefy Ratcheting Wire Crimper deserves your attention. Its well-built ratcheting mechanism ensures uniform and consistent crimps, and it has a dial for adjusting crimp force. A quick-release lever between the handles makes the occasional jamming of the tool's jaws easy to resolve, and its soft, non-slip handles mean less hand fatigue even after hours of use. Lastly, another thing we liked about this tool is that it comes with a lifetime warranty, which is an indication of the manufacturer's confidence in the tool's quality.


If we had to nitpick, one flaw of this tool is that the jaws don't easily release when they're ratcheted closed. The quick-release lever is helpful in this regard, but getting to it after every jam can be time-consuming.

Honorable Mention
MulWark Heavy Duty Electrical Wire Stripping Tool

The MulWark Heavy Duty Electrical Wire Stripping Tool is a tool that serves more than a few purposes. It is a wire stripper, a crimping tool, a screw cutter, and a multi-purpose set of pliers. This tool is durable and is made from heat-treated, high carbon steel. It has extra-long, soft, and non-slip handles to provide maximum comfort when working with wires. The high-contrast markings printed onto its metal jaws eliminate all the guesswork. Additionally, the tool is coated with a baked enamel finish to prevent rust and corrosion, and MulWark backs this product with a lifetime warranty.


Because of its design, larger wires will require more force to cut, which can result in hand fatigue if you're working with large batches of wires.

Best Wire Crimping Tools FAQ:

If you're still scratching your head and wondering about what wire crimping tool you should go out and purchase, then check out this roundup below of the most common questions new buyers have about the product. Hopefully, any lingering questions you might have about wire crimping tools get expressly addressed so you can finally make a decision.

Q. What is wire crimping?

It is when a connector is joined to a cable through the use of a crimping tool.

Q. Is crimping better than soldering?

Crimping is typically better than soldering when it comes to conjoining wires because it provides a more air-tight seal that protects against moisture and debris.

Q. How do I choose a crimping tool?

You must first know the wire gauge you’ll be working with because crimping tools are sized based on the wire gauge they can accept.

Our Top Pick

The Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit gets our pick for Best Overall Wire Crimping Tool because it has everything one needs to go right ahead and start working. 

This tool doesn't just work, it works exceptionally well. Additionally, we also appreciate that the whole package includes more than just a wire crimper. 

Final Thoughts

All the wire crimping tools here are great, some more so than others. But if you want the best bang for your buck, get the Gaobige Network Cable Repair Maintenance Tool Kit. If you need something more affordable yet feature-rich, then check out the Trendnet Crimping Tool.