Wire cutters are every electrician’s master tool. It can cut, strip, and crimp wires on the fly without using any bulky tools. And with the proliferation of DIY guides online, wire cutters just got more useful for every DIY handyman. But to make the most out of your purchase, you must get the best wire cutters for electricians made to last long.
Aside from power drills and whatnots, you should also get one of these cutters:
|WIRE CUTTER||BRAND||EXPERT RATING||CHECK PRICE|
| Our Top Pick! |
|KNIPEX Tools Compact |
Bolt & Wire Cutter
|Klein Tools Wire Cutter |
w/ Crimper & Stripper
|Greenlee Wire Rope |
and Wire Cutter
|Southwire ROMEX |
BOXJaw Wire Cutter
Types of wire cutters
If you’re looking for the best wire cutters for electricians, you should know that it comes in different types. Each one has unique functions and suits a variety of wire types and applications. Here are the most common types you can find in the market:
✔️Lineman’s wire cutter
Also known as the lineman’s pliers, lineman wire cutters are the most common tools that an electrician uses. It’s very versatile and can be used in bending, cutting, straightening, and twisting electrical wires. You can use this if you need to make accurate right angle bends for wiring jobs.
Moreover, lineman’s wire cutters can be found in locking versions with a knob that allows you to adjust its grip.
Take note that this type of cutter isn’t meant for turning knobs or screws. If used as such, its sharpened edge will only damage the material.
✔️Needle nose wire cutter
On the other hand, a needle nose wire cutter is called as such due to its shape. It has sharp edges that are narrow and thin. However, it’s not usually used by electricians. Carpenters are the ones who often use the needle nose wire cutter to cut fine wires when doing woodwork in a house and other places.
✔️Round nose wire cutter
The round nose wire cutter is widely used to bend wires, thanks to its round and sharp edges. Both carpenters and electricians use this type of wire cutter. Aside from cutting and bending wires, this tool can also bend metal strips needed to secure wirings and other materials.
✔️Diagonal cutting wire cutter
Diagonal cutting wire cutters, as it’s called, is equipped with sharp and beveled edges. It usually comes with insulated handles as protection at the workplace. Both electricians and carpenters use it.
✔️Wire rope cutters
Meanwhile, wire rope cutters are not your typical wire cutters. It has a massive cutting head, similar to gardening pruners. It’s thicker, heavier, bigger, and more expensive than typical wire cutters. This is used to cut wire ropes, which can be as thick as half an inch in diameter.
Flush vs. side wire cutters
Wire cutters are also classified in two types based on how it cuts: flush and side wire cutters. Below are the differences between the two:
Flush wire cutters cut the wire at a straight manner while side cutters cut at a beveled angle. Both are useful for electricians and DIY work, but the choice is truly up to the user. For example, it’s best to use flush cutters when making jump ring cuts.
How do you use a wire cutter?
Since wire cutters can be used on live wires, you have to practice caution at all times. For your safety, you must keep the following points in mind:
- Do not use the wire cutter in high heat. It will melt the insulation and affect the form of the blades.
- Use a wire cutter designed to cut specific types of wire. This will prevent damages to the cutting edge while making your job more efficient and quicker.
- Do not cut or work on live wires if you are drunk or feeling sick. Doing so will expose you to fatal risks of being electrocuted.
- Never extend the wire cutter by welding a longer handle. It may give off and cause injuries.
- Wear gloves when dealing with thick wires and live wires. Make sure that it has the proper insulation to prevent electric shock.
- Always use a plier belt when working with several cutters so you won’t lose any. Also, it will prevent the cutters from falling to someone else’s foot.
How to choose a wire cutter?
If you want to get the best wire cutters for electricians, you have to be meticulous. Whether you’re a professional electrician or a DIY enthusiast, a trusty pair of wire cutters will make a difference. Instead of buying cheap and dud ones, you should consider these points:
Each wire cutter is rated for specific maximum wire diameter. You should never push a wire cutter past its cutting capacity since it will only damage the tool. Worse, it may result in injury if the wire or the cutter itself snaps to pieces.
Aside from the diameter of the wire itself, you should also factor in the thickness of the insulation and how stiff the insulation is.
Next, you have to check the wire material that you’ll work on. The most common are copper wires, which can be cut with a sharp cutter, given the standard thickness. On the other hand, the likes of aluminum have a stiff oxide that coats its surface, making it difficult to cut. With this, you must get a bigger and thicker wire cutter rated for such thickness.
✔️Grip and handle
One of the most important aspects of a wire cutter is how comfortable it is to hold. You should get one with insulated handles with textured grip. This will ensure that the tool will remain comfortable to use even if you’re handling wires for extended periods. For heavier operations, you must opt for a wire cutter with longer handles and thicker material.
Another thing you should look for is insulation. This is a very important and life-saving feature for electricians working on live wires.
The blade material of the wire cutters refers to its cutting edge. It’s made of different materials designed to cut a variety of wires. For example, many wire cutters in the market are made for copper wires. However, if you need to cut steel or aluminum wires, you should look for a blade material that can endure a tougher load. Forged carbon steel is one of the durable options.
✔️Length and size
The size and length of the wire cutter matter a lot since it affects its cutting capacity. Small wire cutters are suitable for fine wires used on house wirings and electronic devices. However, if you’ll work on tougher and thicker wires, you must invest for a longer cutter.
✔️Insulated vs. non-insulated
This part can be tricky since all wire cutters have insulation. However, the difference is that insulated wire cutters have an extra insulation layer that allows it to be used on live wires. As for non-insulated types, it only has a small layer of insulation that protects from heat, but it’s not safe to use on live wires.
✔️Crimping and stripping feature
Although it’s a not a requirement, it’s always useful to have crimping and stripping features on your wire cutter. Crimping is the process of affixing a connector to the end of another wire. It requires a special tool to make sure that the two wires will be joined properly. Also, a crimper will prevent the wires from being damaged.
On the other hand, a stripping feature is important since electricians always have to remove a length of the wire’s insulation. These two features can be found built into a wire cutter like the one from Klein Tools I reviewed below.
Lastly, consider the price of the wire cutter you’re going to buy. I’m not against cheap options, but if you want a pair that will last for years, you should consider investing your money in a durable unit. If you’re an avid DIYer, quality should be your paramount concern. In the end, cheap cutters will only cost more due to replacements.
5 Best Wire Cutters for Electricians
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Cutter
Product Name: IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Cutter
Product Description: If you’re looking for a wire cutter with measurement guides, you should get the IRWIN VISE-GRIP. This is an 8-inch wire cutter that also works as a stripping tool. This is a multi-tool that every electrical work with an induction-hardened cutting edge that provides reliable performance. Aside from that, it works as a wire stripper, crimper, and cutter in one so you no longer have to purchase such tools individually. Overall, it can cut wires between 10 and 22 AWG (American Wire Gauge). The bonus part is it can also cut bolts to size it up with a good lead thread. Moreover, it has a pliers nose that allows you to loop and pull the wires. And to ensure that your hands will not get strained, this is fitted with ProTouch grips that reduce fatigue. It works for both insulated and non-insulated wires.
Offer price: $$$
Ease of Use
Value for Money
The best thing about this wire cutter is it comes with markers and guides to make it easy for you to work on your electrical tasks. And based on my experience, the stripper function of this cutter is way sharper than the others I’ve tried before.
As for the crimper, reserve it for nuts, wires, splitters, and the likes. It’s not the perfect choice for tie-downs, and steel barrel ends. It doesn’t crimp coaxial cables either. Nevertheless, it’s still a great buy since it cut 14-gauge power cords swiftly.
The only gripe I have with this cutter is it doesn’t suit tight spaces. Anyway, it’s not a major deal-breaker for me since this wire cutter is solid.
Cuts 10 to 22 AWG
Induction-hardened cutting edge
Not for crimping coaxial cables
KNIPEX Tools Compact Bolt & Wire Cutter
For those who are also working on cutting bolts, you can also get the KNIPEX 8-inch wire cutter. It’s made to endure the toughest wires that you may encounter on your DIY project. This has a lever-action that makes cutting faster and with less strain on the hand.
Its precise cutting blade can cut soft, hard, and even piano wires. This has a tough cutting edge that can also cut rivets, nails, and similar fasteners of up to 5.2 mm in diameter. Its induction-hardened cutting edge has a 64 HRC hardness level. It’s made of tempered and oil-hardened Chrome Vanadium steel.
Whether you’re working on a DIY project or the wiring of your ranch, this bad boy is a must-have. It’s a workhorse and not like cheap options that get chipped too easily. The best part is its compact size of just 8 inches that can easily fit on your pocket.
For its price point, I was surprised by its stellar quality. I’ve had this for months now in regular use, but it still cuts as new. If you’re looking for a wire cutter that will last a lifetime under proper care, this is the one to get.
I also like its insulated and long handles that make it easy to use. The handles are also contoured to reduce the strain on your hand. Overall, this wire cutter reduces effort by up to 61%, thanks to its dual-hinge points and lever-action design.
Klein Tools Wire Cutter w/ Crimper & Stripper
Another multi-tool wire cutter that I recommend is the one from Klein Tools. It’s a crimper, stripper, and cutter in one so you can work on your wires with ease. It has knurled jaws and a high-leverage design, so you will experience 46% less strain while working.
Moreover, this is made of induction-hardened blades that last longer than its counterpart tools. It can strip 10 to 12 solid insulation and 12 to 14 stranded types. Meanwhile, the crimper works for non-insulated connectors, terminals, and lugs.
Another thing that I like about this wire cutter is its hot-riveted smooth action that doesn’t wobble even after months of regular use. Its sure-gripping jaws also ensure a lifetime of performance.
Aside from that, its handles are fitted with the Journeyman grips so you will have a comfortable experience while using this tool. This is well insulated and can be used on live wires. To prove that this wire cutter is reliable, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty.
The only thing I noticed here is that this tool is suitable for those with above-average hands. Also, it’s on the heavier side, which is reasonable since this is a solid tool. Other than that, I love the performance of this wire cutter. It’s a little sticky to open at first, but after you break it in, the cutter will be much easier to use. I can say that it has good maneuverability, even if you’re not a professional electrician.
Greenlee Wire Rope and Wire Cutter
The Greenlee Wire Rope and Wire Cutter is the best choice for those who are working on thick wires for their projects. It can cut soft wire ropes that are a quarter of an inch thick. On thinner wires, it can cut 2.4 mm steel wire without any hassle. It also cuts bike cables like butter, which is proof of how sharp this is.
This wire cutter is made of heavy-duty forged steel blades that are precision ground and heat treated. It also has a shear action mechanism for efficient cutting. Aside from that, it has cushioned handles that also serve as insulation.
Meanwhile, the tip of the handle has a clip that lets you lock the cutter in place. Overall, this is 7 7/8 inches long and weighs 0.750 pounds, which is considerably lightweight for its performance.
This cutter is so far impressive, especially if you are working on wire ropes regularly. Just note that its jaw doesn’t open too wide, which isn’t a problem since it’s only meant for specific wire diameters. And even if you’re dealing with tough wires, this cutter remains easy on the hands. My favorite part is it can cut anything as long as it fits the jaw. With that being said, be careful with your fingers!
Southwire ROMEX BOXJaw Wire Cutter
Last but not the least, I recommend the Southwire ROMEX BOXJaw Wire Cutter. This sports a box jaw that can cut both 12/2 and 14/2 ROMEX NBM jackets. Aside from that, it has a curved cutting blade that lets your cut wires between 12 and 14 AWG. There’s also single conductor stripping holes so you can finish your wiring tasks in a breeze.
What I like the most this wire cutter is its patent-pending 90-degree angled head design. It allows you to cut in-line wires inside boxes. This is certainly made for electricians who are dealing with control boxes and the likes. The handles are well-insulated too, to protect you from electric shock.
There’s also a wire looping hole on this cutter that lets you fit 6-32 and 8-32 wires. Overall, this wire cutter can put up on daily use without losing its edge and stability. However, since it has a unique blade design, you must pay attention while working on the box so you won’t cut things you don’t mean to cut.
Also, this tool is small enough for you to carry around without compromising the performance. Those who are new to wire cutters may find its design overwhelming, which is why some users wish that the features should’ve been split into two separate tools.
But for its price and function, I have no major complaints. It’s value for money right here for box gangs who are always tasked to work on in-line and live wires.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you cut wire without wire cutters?
A: While you can improvise with a knife or saw, having a dedicated wire cutter is safer and more efficient. Aside from cutting, many cutters electricians use have built-in crimpers and stripping tool. Such wire cutting tools are easy to hold and will not damage the wires.
Q: Do pliers cut wires?
A: Some pliers are made with a cutting edge, but some are just reserved for gripping, stripping, and twisting wires. If you need a wire cutter, you should purchase one that’s made for such purpose. Above, I reviewed five of the best options, both for professional electricians and DIYers.
Q: Can needle nose pliers cut wires?
A: Aside from gripping and stripping thin wires, needle nose pliers can be used to snip thin wires. It’s widely used by artisans, electricians, network engineers, and other industries. However, needle nose pliers can’t put up with very thick wires, much so wire ropes.
Q: Will I get electrocuted if I cut a wire?
A: If you’re dealing with a live wire, you must use a wire cutter with thickly insulated handles. Aside from that, you must wear insulated gloves to prevent electric shock. Otherwise, you will definitely get electrocuted. Remember that live wires will make the metal parts of your cutter instantly live as well. The higher the power in the circuit is, the more insulation you’ll need.
Q: Can you sharpen wire cutters?
A: Yes, you can sharpen wire cutters using hand files. However, you should get a filer with the right grit that matches the material of the cutter. This is to prevent damages to the wire cutter and to ensure that it will become sharp. Also, getting the right grit will make sharpening much faster and easier.
With the best wire cutters for electricians, you can work on both live and non-live lines safely. It’s a great investment for electricians and those who are avid DIY workers. Just make sure that you get one with a sharp blade, features that suit your needs, and materials that will last for years.
What do you think of the wire cutters I reviewed here? Let us know below!