If you’re looking to tackle a few basic electrical projects, you’re going to need a pair of reliable wire cutters. These tools are an essential part of every DIYer’s toolbox, but not all are created equal. We spend hours checking out popular models, settling on just five top performers to share with you. There’s no room for error when it comes to electrical repairs. That’s why we focused on finding wire cutters that provide precise cuts while optimizing user comfort. Stay tuned for our top products and a comprehensive buying guide.
Irwin Vise-Grip 8-inch Wire Stripping Tool – Editor’s Pick
The Irwin’s plier nose enables you to pull and loop various wire gauges. In case you were wondering, this product is covered by a lifetime guarantee.
Overall, these blue and yellow-gripped wire cutters are some of the most affordable options on the market. Still, they are comfortable enough for all-day use. We found them suitable for a wide range of applications. If you have a few electrical repairs to make, you’re sure to appreciate the help of the Irwin Vise-Grip wire strippers. You’ll love the scratch-resistant coating and high-contrast markings. You can count on these strippers to eliminate typical hand fatigue.
- Induction-hardened cutting edges stay sharp even longer
- Strips and cuts 10-22 AWG wires
- Plier nose enables users to pull and loop wire
- Bolt cutter leaves unblemished threads
- Crimps insulated and non-insulated terminals
- The action is not always smooth
Dowell Multi-Purpose Wire Stripper – Best Budget Option
The Dowell pulls and removes wires’ outer jackets with the utmost efficiency.
Despite being one of the least expensive wire cutters on the market, the Dowell is a top performer. Our only complaint is that tip-based crimper produces less than desirable results. While we like the idea of a multi-purpose tool, we wouldn’t consider the Dowell a viable dual-use tool. It has a compact and attractive design. Overall, it’s ideal for small home and automotive electrical repairs. Its wire stripper and cutting functions are enough to earn it a place on out list.
- Serves as a wire cutter and stripper for wires from 10-22 AWG
- Ideal or copper and aluminum wires
- Yellow and black grips made from PP and TPR
- Allows for one-hand maneuvers
- Safely eliminates the outer jackets of wires
- Crimping function is not amazing
WGGE WG-105 Professional Crimping Tool – Most Ergonomic Option
High-carbon alloy steel with precision cut holes ensures that each electrical job is done correctly. The PP and TPR grip offers optimal forced-transmission and enhanced user comfort.
Customers agree that the WGGE is comfortable enough for everyday use. If you are an avid DIYer looking for a professional-grade wire stripper, be sure to check out this incredible crimping tool. You’ll find it easy to find the perfect stripping setting for a wide range of wire gauges. You’ll be able to remove insulating sheaths without digging into the alloys below.
- Cuts, strips, and loops wire from 10-22 AWG
- Suitable for copper wire and aluminum cables from 0.6-2.0 millimeters
- Precise high-carbon alloy steel with precision holes
- PP and TPR grip offer enhanced ergonomics and optimal force-transmission
- Can also sheer strews
- Budget-rate option
Capri Tools 20010 Precision Wire Stripper – Best Upgrade Option
The cast alloy chassis serves as an unrelenting foundation. While we’re not huge fans of the plastic grips, there are strips of slip-resistant black rubber on the sides. Overall, the device is comfortable enough for day-long projects. The extra tension and ergonomic setup make jobs a lot easier and faster.
The one-of-a-kind prototype makes wire stripping more accessible than ever before. You’ll spend a little more to get your hands on this high-quality tool. However, you’ll reap the benefits of your investment with every job you complete.
- Settings let you strip 8-22 AWG wires with heightened precision
- Made from cast alloy
- Features a convenient recoiling spring with
- Fast, compounding wire-stripping design with tension-loaded grip
- Can be used on solid and stranded cables
- Handles are made of plastic over a steel chassis
MulWark 8-Inch Multi-Purpose Electrical Wire Stripping Tool – Best Multi-Purpose Tool
The MulWark 8-inch Wire Stripping Tool boasts a range of essential functions, including stripping, snipping, crimping, and looping wires. The tool is compatible with 8 to 22 AWG wires. It can also cut and heavy-duty electrical bolts and screws. According to the manufacturer, the crimping function works on insulated and non-insulated terminals, wire rope sleeves, and wire butt connectors, and much more. The tool is covered by a lifetime warranty.
The handles are made from durable high-carbon steel with rubber grips. The induction-hardened blades are incredibly sharp and boast high-contrast markings. A plier top makes it possible for users to pull and loop wire with the utmost efficiency. The tool comes pre-oiled. We’d recommend this budget-friendly offering to any DIYer looking to complete a few essential home improvement projects.
- Strips and cuts wires from 10-22 AWG
- Suitable on Romex and stranded wires
- High-frequency heat-treated blades stay sharp even longer
- Integrated heavy-duty screw and bolt cutter
- All-in-one wire crimper
- Cushion-grip handle
- May leave some strands uncut
Wire Stripper Buying Guide
We’ve compiled our best wire stripper buying suggestions. Follow these guideposts to land yourself a tool that will last a lifetime.
Always choose a wire stripper that is a good fit for the materials you wish to install or repair. You’ll notice that wire strippers are compatible with a range of wire gauges. Most strippers are compatible with a range of wires between 10 and 24 AWG. It’s also important to check what types of wires your stripper is compatible with. After all, it can be challenging to achieve consistent results when working with various combinations of alloys and casing materials. Finally, you must use the correct wire stripping gauge whenever cutting, crimping, stripping, or splicing wires. Accuracy is paramount when it comes to electrical work.
Most wire strippers feature a durable metal chassis with plastic or composite handles, rubber grips, and hardened alloy blades. Look for keywords such as induction-hardened alloy and precision milled holes. These details will make it much easier for you to achieve accurate wire alternations.
Whenever you’re shopping for a new tool, comfort and ergonomics should always be at the forefront of your mind. Many DIYers struggle to complete electrical repairs after finding that their wire cutters leave their hands uncomfortable and fatigued. Sometimes, wire locations leave people in vulnerable positions. As such, it’s especially important to choose a lightweight and relatively compact stripper.
Your new tool should also boast slip-resistant rubber grips and ergonomic design.
Price and Warranty
Wire cutters are relatively inexpensive tools. Many are even backed by lifetime warranties. You can make the most of your money by investing in quality, vetted products. Look for top-quality materials, extended protection plans, and positive customer reviews.
Wire Strippers FAQ:
What to consider when buying wire strippers?
Wire strippers are a pretty straightforward tool to strip the outside plastic coating of wires. They won’t cut through the wires but can help to strip them – no more, no less. You may need to use this instrument when attaching wires to a terminal, splicing them with one another, or doing rewiring for any electrical device/system.
Of course, you may replace the wire strippers with a pocketknife but the special instrument is much safer, faster and precise to use. It is hard to believe but some people still strip the wire coating with their teeth. It is definitely better to use this tool. Also, the bare wires stripped with these nippers provide a better terminal connection.
All wire strippers are manual instruments, but they can differ drastically in shape, size, function. Typically, the buyer’s choice is narrowed by 3 designs of wire nippers:
- Fully mechanical and manual, without self-adjusting; requiring additional configuration;
- Fully self-adjusting;
Most wire nippers have insulated (rubberized) handles and two cutting blades moving due to the hinge fastening them. The blades can make the holes (at the adjustable length or not) of various diameters to strip the wires accurately.
A few factors may affect your decision when choosing the professional wire strippers:
- Most tools can strip the wires in the size of 10-22 AWG. To strip thicker wires, you should use the specific tool;
- Cutting edges strongly affect the precision of stripping. They have to be durable, long and sharp. Considering using the instrument with self-adjusting cutting edges. Such tools are much easier to apply compared to manual wire strippers;
- On the other hand, if you seek accuracy or need to strip non-standard wires, consider picking manual wire nippers. Self-adjusting tools can adjust the cutting gap on the wires of standard size;
Some wire strippers are multi-purpose – for instance, they can remove any polymer casing. Some self-adjusting tools are often equipped with another small blade. It serves to cut the wire to the desired length before stripping it.
Most nippers have two sockets marked as 8P and 6P – they are designed not only for stripping but also for crimping telephone connectors.
Some manufacturers went further and equipped the tool with volumetric handles so you could use this tool as shears or a corkscrew. Of course, such a technical refinement is not necessary to look for – experienced craftsmen recommend investing in simple but reliable tools.
Also, keep in mind that such multifunctional instruments can break much faster, and most of the in-built attachments are used rarely or just useless.
There are a few popular and established brands of wire strippers: FIT, HAUPA, JTC, KING TONY, Knipex, and TOPEX.
The price for such nippers depends on the brand and specifications. The average price of a durable tool is up to $20. Keep in mind that cheap models usually have the blades that may rust or get dull easily.
Benefits of using wire strippers instead of other methods
- Accuracy – this comparatively small tool can handle any plastic coating on the wires to the exact length that you need. It can be very helpful when you do electrical work or splicing wires;
- Safety for wires – the nippers are designed to strip the plastic casing fast and safely without damaging the wire. The cutting pressure is calculated precisely when the tool is manufactured;
- Safety for your hands – you won’t cut through your fingertip when using this tool;
How should you use regular wire strippers?
Typically, wire strippers are easy to handle. The only difference comes whether they have self-adjusting blades or not:
- Use self-adjusting wire strippers by inserting the wires to the required length that you play to strip. Then clamp and pull. Such a tool itself can set the required depth for the regular wire. These nippers won’t win the prize for the best accuracy but they are definitely fast and easy to use;
- Manual wire strippers require more effort. They have pre-drilled (not adjustable) cutting holes. You should put the wire to one of these holes (corresponding to the wire’s thickness). Here is the major challenge – you should know the wire thickness before stripping. Or you should experiment. After inserting the wire to the hole just clamp down and cut until the casing is removed;
Are wire strippers good for crimping terminal connectors onto wires?
Most wire strippers can handle this task. But this is not a basic feature. That is why double-check before buying the nippers for this kind of job.
Can you strip Teflon-coated or wet wires with this tool?
Initially, most wire strippers can’t strip the Teflon coating. This tool will handle the plastic casing from the standard wires because such coating is thick and has more traction. Regular nippers will struggle with Teflon coating and thick insulation beneath it. If you have many Teflon-coated wires to strip, consider investing in another tool designed for this specific job.
Are wire strippers durable?
Just like any household instrument, any wire strippers have the lifespan affected by many factors. The material of the tool matters the most at this point. That is why consider investing in the nippers made of stainless steel or covered in the anti-rust coating. Also, look for the instrument with rubber or rubberized grips. Both materials are durable and can resist damage.
Tips for users: do not try to sharpen the cutting edges of the wire strippers if they become dull. It won’t help. Instead, prevent the dull blades by keeping the instrument in a special toolbox. Make sure the place where you store them is dry.
Video Tutorial: Which Strippers Are Worth Having?
Every DIYer can benefit from having a good set of wire strippers in their toolbox. These electrical repair essentials offer essential wire alternations without breaking the bank. We’re big fans of the Irwin Vise-Grip 8-inch Wire Stripping Tool. This 8-inch cutting tool strips and cuts wires between 10 and 22 AWG. Its proprietary rubber handles offer enhanced ergonomics for enhanced all-day comfort.
I like strippers for wires because they help me to repair almost anything. One of these smart appliances helped to fix an iPhone charger for my girlfriend. I saved one hundred dollars, at least. Make sure to read my guide before buying one of the recommended or other tools that can be found in the U.S. market. I can’t say that it’s the most essential thing for a beginner, but it actually saves a lot of time.
So, the first things first – the price. A good appliance in this niche will cost you no less than $20, though there are cheaper and more expensive tools. Besides the price, stick to such tips when buying the stripper:
- Design and total quality – choose the appliances made of aluminum, steel or other hard metals;
- Grips – rubber grips provide greater stability, according to my experience;
- Cutting terminals – pick the appliances with diverse American Wire Gauge (a.k.a. AWG) terminals, between 0-40;
- The ease of use;
The best wire strippers according to SolderingIronGuide:
- RWIN VISE-GRIP – stay sharp for a long time;
- DOWELL – perfect for stripping any aluminum or copper cables;
- WGGE Professional offers a very handy handle I like so much;
- Capri Tools can boast a convenient recoiling construction;
Essential thing you ought to remember: this tool is not the same as a cutter. But a few expensive instruments may also cut any wires. For instance, the Klein Tools 1010 stripper I included to this list can easily strip and even cut any wire – of any length, thickness, with minimum effort.
Who may benefit from using these instruments?
Actually, these tools are pretty much essential for any electrician jobs. They are great if users need to install a light fixture or a ceiling fan, replace an outlet or wire a garage door. In other words, a quite irreplaceable thing for any DIY electrician jobs.
If you have any questions left, feel free to comment. Did you like the review, my choice and the video tutorial in the end? Can’t wait for your feedback!