- 1 Top 6 Best Wire Stripper
- 2 Wire Stripper Buying Guide
To determine the best wire stripper we considered a range of features, in particular — wire gauge range, design, handles, and additional features. Wire gauge will determine whether your wire stripper is compatible with the wires you need to adjust. The design is important because, in addition to choosing between self-adjusting versus manual options, you also want to confirm that the handle is comfortable enough to use with an ergonomic grip that will help to reduce fatigue. And additionally, added features such as crimping, cutting, and bolt cutting will ensure that you don’t have to carry a wide range of tools with you to complete a simple task.
Because of the above, we’ve selected the Irwin Vise-Grip Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper as our Top Pick. This option supports a wide gauge range (10 to 22 AWG), features an ergonomic grip to prevent fatigue, and includes a crimper too. Keep reading to read more about our top picks.
Top 6 Best Wire Stripper
#1 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: A self-adjusting wire stripper that supports a wide 10 to 24 AWG range for stripping and can also crimp from 10 to 22 AWG, plus an adjustable stopper make this the perfect routine use tool.
When you’re constantly stripping wires, anything that helps to speed up each step makes it an invaluable tool. The Irwin Vise-Grip Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper is the perfect choice for that job. We’ve selected it as the Top Pick because it offers a larger gauge range, supporting 10 to 24 AWG for stripping, and comes with an ergonomic handle to help cut down on fatigue.
We also liked that this model includes a crimper — helping to reduce the total number of tools you need for a wiring job. And that crimper can support 10 to 22 AWG for insulated and non-insulated wires, as well as seven to nine millimeters for ignition terminals. And you’ll like that the built-in swivel knob allows you to make micro-adjustments for wires smaller than 20 AWG. Make sure you also check out our guide on the best hacksaw if you’re thinking about any level of home improvement.
#2 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: A cheaper manual wire stripper that’s ideal for the occasional user thanks to its three in one design that features a standard gauge range support of 10 to 22 AWG, ergonomic handles, and an included bolt cutter and crimper.
When you only need to occasionally tackle specific DIY projects, it doesn’t make sense to spend an arm and a leg on the top of the line tools. This is why we think the Irwin Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool is a smart choice. Whether you’re attempting to manage an at-home wiring project or are just beginning to get into the world of electric work, this is a great way to get started from a quality brand.
We like that this model supports 10 to 22 AWG for wire stripping. And the built-in bolt cutter is a great way to minimize excess thread on any project. You’ll also appreciate that just like our Top Pick from the same brand, this model also features a built-in crimper even though it is a manual wire stripper. But what’s more, this model features a wire cutter too — turning this into a three in one style tool. This and the best corded drill could make a great gift.
#3 Klein Tools Electric Wire Cutter and Stripper
Award: Best Precision Wire Stripper
WHY WE LIKE IT: A specialized wire cutter designed with electrical work in mind, that specifies the AWG based on the wire type and features an ergonomic tension loaded wire-grip for enhanced precision.
If you require a strong tension grip because you consistently strip wires, then the Klein Tools Electric Wire Cutter and Stripper is a great solution for you. This wire stripper is ideal for precision work as it can remove up to one inch of the jacket (insulation layer) in a single step. Meanwhile, you’ll like that the tension loaded grip is padded for your comfort but also holds the wire steady.
This Wire Stripper Klein is rated to be compatible with an eight to 20 AWG for solid wires and 10 to 22 AWG for stranded wires. We also liked that this model also comes with a wire cutter — which helps you to streamline your wiring tasks. As can the best disc sander, especially if you work at a profressional level.
#4 DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: A wallet-friendly multi-functional wire stripper with a small footprint makes this a great choice for the wiring aficionado who’s limited on tool space but still needs to be able to tackle a standard 10 to 22 AWG range.
We have yet another budget-friendly option for the cost-conscious shopper. The Dowell 10 – 22 AWG Wire stripper is a multi-functional tool — one of the main selling points that caught our eye. In addition to stripping wires, this tool also comes standard with a wire crimper and cutter to help reduce the total number of tools you need for any wiring task.
While this specific manual wire stripper didn’t score as well for work with live voltage because of the metal interior, we still like the ergonomic handles and the fact that you can tackle a range of projects thanks to the standard supported wire gauges (10 to 22 AWG). We also liked that this model features high-quality springs to prolong the overall life of the tool.
#5 Greenlee Hand Tools Stainless Steel Wire Stripper Pro
Award: Best Stainless Steel
WHY WE LIKE IT: A straightforward manual wire stripper and cutter with a 10 – 20 AWG compatibility, and a small design that makes this perfect for storage in your tool drawer.
Sometimes you just need a simple tool — regardless of whether you use them daily or occasionally. The Greenlee Hand Tools Stainless Steel Wire Stripper Pro manages to marry a simple design with sturdy materials without breaking the bank. We like the stainless steel design of this wire stripper’s jaws that are rated to work with 10 to 18 AWG for solid wires and 12 to 20 AWG for stranded wires.
Additionally, we like that this option is also a multifunctional tool, giving you stripping, crimping and cutting capability in one device. The spring helps to enhance the pressure placed on wires without damaging them. And you’ll like the ergonomic handle that makes this wire stripper easier to use.
#6 Knipex Wire Stripper
Award: Best for Large Jobs
WHY WE LIKE IT: A German crafted self-adjusting wire stripper with a solid ergonomic handle that cuts any job down to size for the power user, and features a wide AWG support range and a wire cutter to speed up your productivity.
Some people often work with wiring, and some qualify as power users. In this scenario, a power user would be an electrician. If you qualify as a power user, then you know that the wrong wire stripper can lead to hand fatigue which will make your job more difficult than it already is.
The Knipex Wire Stripper is our Best Value choice because although it is more expensive than most of the other options in our roundup, it features an improved ergonomic grip and a design that makes it easy to effectively strip and cut a wider range of wires even in confined spaces. You’ll like that this self-adjusting wire stripper gives you the freedom to work with single, multiple, and fine stranded cables that are between 10 to 24 AWG. Plus this wire cutter is compatible with copper and aluminum wires.
How We Decided
Most likely if you’re going to tackle a wiring project whether around the home or commercially, you’ll need to do some type of stripping. So, finding the right wire stripper is essential if you want the job to be completed properly and without sending you to the emergency room. To narrow down the wide range of choices, we considered the following — wire gauge range, design, handles, and additional features.
By far, the supported wire gauges on a wire stripper will be the biggest filter you use to find the right quality wire stripper for your needs. We found a few common ranges that you’ll encounter as you shop for a wire stripper. The most prevalent option was 10 to 22 AWG, as seen with our Honorable Mention, #3 and Best Budget choices. However, it’s important to note that the gauge can be further clarified into solid versus stranded wires. So, where available, we outlined those specifications to help streamline your search. Our Top Pick and Best Value featured the widest AWG gauge support, with a compatibility range of (10 to 24) 10-24 AWG.
Next, we considered the design. Design is going to matter because it not only impacts how easily you can use a wire stripping tool but whether it’s compatible with your needs. You’ll note that some of the wire strippers in our guide aren’t ideal for use with live wires (Best Budget and #5). And some are specifically highlighted as ergonomic (Top Pick, Honorable Mention, #3 and Best Value). If you’re concerned about hand fatigue, focus on those ergonomic picks.
Finally, we looked at any additional features that would turn these wire strippers into multifunctional or multipurpose options. Every option on our list is a multifunctional tool. However, if you prefer a truly robust tool with at least three functions (stripping, cutting, crimping and/or bolt cutting), focus on our Honorable Mention and Best Budget as these are the only two options that combine three features in one tool.
Another great pick that just missed our list is the Capri Tools 20011 Automatic Wire Stripper and Cutter. This automatic wire stripper can cut strip and grip wire with a built-in wire cutter and stripping blades that automatically self-adjust to different gauges. You could also check out the Capri Tools Cast Alloy Precision Wire Stripper that strips wire from 22-8 AWG with ease.
To compare pricing, specs, and customer reviews, search our Top Picks and other popular brands on Amazon.com. At Gadget Review, we realize it’s never a question of one product or one review. We review and compare thousands of products so our readers can confidently make a well-informed decision. You can check out our last updated reviews and posts on the latest tech, gadgets, and software by following us on Facebook.
Wire Stripper Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Wire Gauge Range
The first aspect to consider when shopping for a wire stripper is whether the tool you’re purchasing will work with the wire gauge you have. Wire strippers are typically sold with the ability to work on a range of wire gauges. But always confirm that your intended tool is compatible with the wire gauge you use most frequently.
- Cutting Edge
If you’re going to strip a wire, you need your tool to feature sharp cutting edges. This will be a critical feature — especially if wire stripping is a routine part of your activities.
Wire strippers are usually available in two styles, self-adjusting or manual (automatic wire strippers). Self-adjusting/automatic wire strippers are generally easier to use since all that is required is inserting the wire, clamping the tool and pulling out the wire. They’re ideal for jobs that rely on frequent wire stripping but at times can lack precision — especially if the blades become dull. In contrast, a manual wire stripper will only work with a specific wire gauge because of the preset cutting holes.
- Handle & Weight
Especially for manual wire strippers, you’re going to want to find a tool with a comfortable grip. This will help to reduce the chance of experiencing hand fatigue. Likewise, a tool that’s too heavy will add to your exhaustion over time. So look for models that are effective with a good grip, and aren’t weighty.
- Additional Features
Some wire strippers also feature other valuable tools such as a crimper or wire cutter. This can come in handy by helping to streamline your workflow while also minimizing the total amount of tools you need to have on hand for any job you face.
Wire Strippers FAQs
How do I determine the wire gauge?
If you’re working with newly purchased wire, the packaging will list the width either as American Wire Gauge (AWG) in the United States or Metric Wire Gauge (MWG) for metric wire gauge. But if you’re faced with MWG or AWG insulated wire and you don’t know the gauge, a manual wire stripper features multiple preset cutting holes. So, it’s a matter of determining which hole corresponds with the wire you’re using.
What are the biggest benefits of using a wire stripper?
One of the biggest benefits is accuracy. But aside from that, wire strippers are a much safer way to work with wires — both for you and the wires. Trying to use a knife or some other object to strip wires can potentially lead to damaging the wires. And likewise, you could end up cutting yourself in the process.
Are there any wires a wire stripper can’t be used on?
While wire strippers can work their magic on a wide range of wires, there can be limitations. Often Teflon-coated wires aren’t compatible with wire strippers because the coating can impede the tool’s grip. If you know your work requires tackling more troublesome wire styles, be sure to specifically look for wire stripper models designed for those wire types.
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