It may be obvious from the name, but there’s nothing like wire cutters for cutting wires. Yet some people, if they don’t have a good pair at hand, will resort to anything that might do the trick. Pliers. A hacksaw. Their teeth.
Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or the person who takes on household repairs only if you have to, sooner or later you’re going to have to cut some wires. Maybe you have a tool lying around. Maybe you have several. At some point, you’re likely to discover the pair you have isn’t tough enough, doesn’t cut straight enough, or won’t fit into small spaces.
It would be nice to buy the best tool available and never worry about it again. Unfortunately, there isn’t any one best tool. Those heavy-duty cutters that are strong enough to sever steel wire are too big to reach into an enclosed nest of wires and clip just one electric lead. That all-purpose wire and stripper cutter may be great for stripping but only so-so for snipping.
Here’s a list of 10 popular wire cutters with their strengths and weaknesses and what they’re most useful for.
|Top Top||Channellock E337CB E Series 7-Inch Diagonal Cutting Plier with Lap XLT Joint and Code Blue Grips||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top Top||Klein Tools 11055 Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper, Stranded Wire Cutter, Solid Wire Cutter, Cuts Copper Wire||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Channellock 958 6-1/4-Inch Wire Stripper and Cutter, Blue||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Klein Tools D275-5 Lightweight Flush Cutter, Up to 16 AWG, Grips Designed for Tool Control and Heat Treated For Durability||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Kaisi KA05 Micro Wire Cutter 5-inch Diagonal Wire Cutting Pliers Precision Flush Cutters Side Pliers for Cut Electronics, Wires, Jewelry, DIY and More||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||IRWIN VISE-GRIP Diagonal Cutting Pliers, 6-Inch (2078306)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||IGAN-330 Wire Flush Cutters, Electronic Model Sprue Wire Clippers, Ultra Sharp and Powerful CR-V Side Cutting nippers, Ideal for Clean Cut and Precision Cutting Needs||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Micro Cutter||Prime||Buy Now|
|BOENFU Wire Cutter - Precision Side Cutter 6 Inch Cutting Pliers||Prime||Buy Now|
|DOWELL Micro Cutter Flush Cutter Electronics Soft Wire Cutter Professional Cutting Copper And Aluminum Wire Cables||Prime||Buy Now|
These cutting pliers are the champion among wire cutters. It eats up the tough jobs that other wire cutters shy away from. It boasts wide, comfortable padded handles and outstanding durability. Available in 7 and 8-inch sizes.
- The cutting edge is a knife and handle style that allows perfect blade mating and prolongs cutting edge life.
- XLT Xtreme Technology allows cutting with less effort and less hand fatigue.
- Cuts any kind of wire material.
- The large size isn’t best for cutting in tight places.
- High cost. For some, the extra cutting power isn’t worth it.
- More reports of defects than you’d expect from a product at this price.
If you want a tool that can take on the toughest jobs and you’re willing to pay for it, this may the wire cutter for you.
This multi-purpose tool not only cuts but bends, pulls, strip, and shapes wire as well. It comes in four sizes of stripping holes, cuts 6-12 AWG stranded copper wire and shears 6-32 and 8-32 screws.
- A versatile, top-quality tool that’s built to last.
- Curved handles make it easier to reach into tight areas.
- Fast self-opening coil spring.
- Double-dipped handles mean easy grip.
- Toward the upper end of the price range for this kind of tool.
- Some complaints of the lock loosening.
Klein has been making tools in America for over 160 years. If you want a combination cutter/stripper tool for your workbench, this is a reliable, durable choice.
This is another combination tool that will strip wire as well as cut it. The blades are good for copper wire gauges from AWG 10 to AWG 22. They’re heat treated and will last a long time. The Channellock 900 series also features strippers, cutters, and crimpers up to 9 ½ inches.
- Precise, reliable cutter.
- Comfortable padded grip.
- The fact that it’s also a stripper requires a wider nose, and it can be hard to cut in tight spaces.
- There have been complaints about the safety lock and the tool not staying closed when the tool’s not in use.
This is a good combination tool, but its size and shape are not optimum for making hard-to-reach cuts.
This Klein tool is a cutter only. It’s 5 inches long and lightweight with a slim shape built to work in tight spaces. It cuts soft wire up to 16 AWG. The blades are heat treated, the grips are cushioned and the steel spring return is designed to relieve hand fatigue with repetitive use.
- Size and weight are ideal for tight cutting quarters.
- Pinch cutting minimizes effort and reduces fly-off.
- Good for soft copper wire and zip ties but not built for heavier wire such as steel.
- Blade alignment is not ideal on some of the cutters.
The thing that it does – cutting soft wire in hard-to-reach spots – it does very well. This serves as a specialty cutter but is not made for the toughest materials.
These 5-inch cutting pliers are manufactured to cut electronics, wires, and jewelry. It’s designed to bite through soft copper wire up to 2.0 mm, soft iron wire to 1.6 mm and steel wire to 0.7 mm. The tool is also built to cut phone screws and screen covers and to trim plastic parts.
- A lightweight maneuverable tool with a lot of uses.
- Carbon steel and chrome vanadium steel construction.
- Anti-slip handle and comfortable hand feel.
- The handle padding could be thicker.
- Some units have a bevel on the cutting edge that prevents true flush cuts.
This is a good cutter for the price, although its questionable ability to make flush cuts may limit its versatility.
These 6-inch cutting pliers are made with nickel chromium steel and feature induction hardened cutting edges. There are thick blue and yellow ProTouch grips with the Vise-Grip logo. They carry the Irwin lifetime guarantee. They cut copper, aluminum, and light-gauged steel wire.
- These versatile cutters have been used for diverse jobs such as cutting fish hooks and wire fencing.
- Cleanly cuts wire wrapped in electrical tape.
- The cutting edge may be better at the base than the tip, limiting the thickness and strength in tight spaces.
- Handles may be more comfortable for a small hand than a large one.
These are shaped more like pliers than some of the other cutting pliers. An effective, versatile cutter for wires that are easy to get to but less useful for hard-to-reach spots.
These lightweight, maneuverable 5-inch cutters feature a 13 mm jaw and are effective on soft wire up to 12 AWG. They’re good for soft wires, jewelry, zip ties, and plastic model sprue. Also available in a 7-inch length.
- Makes a good flush cut.
- Convenient compact size.
- Won’t cut anything too hard.
- Blades sometimes not properly aligned across the entire length of the jaws.
Like most of the compact tools that are cutters only, these are a specialty tool best for work that’s detailed but doesn’t require much cutting strength.
This cute little red cutter with the dolphin-style hand grips will handle soft wires up to 16 gauge. Surfaces are Parkerized to resist corrosion and reduce glare.
- Small, comfortable, and maneuverable.
- Not at all heavy duty. They cut soft wires only.
- Parkerization on the cutting edge makes flush cuts difficult.
- Blades may be skewed and not quite parallel.
An inexpensive cutter that will perform adequately for small work, jewelry or separating model parts. Even though it calls itself the micro cutter there are others smaller.
A 6-inch cutter that claims to be harder than most other cutters and able to cut hard things. User experience shows that to be a dubious claim. Designed to be good for wires of “all kinds” up to 1.8 mm. Also comes in a super-compact 3.5-inch length.
- Inexpensive and compact.
- Useful for a variety of light work such as 3D print filament, zipper pulls, and soft copper and brass wire.
- Won’t cut anything really hard.
- Numerous quality complaints such a poor alignment, easily dented blades, and low durability.
The most appealing thing about this cutter is its price. It is adequate for light work.
This 5-inch soft wire cutter is the lowest priced cutter on the list. It’s capable of snipping wires up to 16 AWG. It has a more realistic opinion of its abilities that some other products and warns customers not to try cutting hard metal wire or chicken wire.
- Small and inexpensive.
- Ergonomically easy to hold and grip.
- Difficulty making clean cuts even with thin metal.
- Many complaints about durability issues.
If you want to spend only a few dollars for a cutter you’re going to use for occasional light jobs, this one performs adequately.