There are probably as many types of wire cutters available, as there are types of wire and there is hardly a trade or profession in the world today that do not use some form of wire cutters.
Jewelers, doctors, electricians, auto mechanics, florists, and even firemen depend on the quality of their wire cutters to deliver professional results. Although most specialized wire cutters have no application in the DIY market, there are nevertheless several types of wire cutters that should be in every handyman’s toolbox.
Below is a selection of different types of best wire cutters that can make every DIY project a breeze.
Best Flush cutters:
Hakko CHP170 Flush Cutter A mini wire cutter, best for cutting wire up to 16 gauge(1.3mm). Non slip grip makes this cutter a perfect DIY tool for electronics and jewelry works.
XURON 2175 Maxi Shear flush cutter: One of the best wire cutter for jeweler making and wire wrapping. You can flush cut fine silver, bronze, Gold and platinum wire. This cutter is not designed for titanium, steel or memory wire cutting.
In applications such as jewelry making,flower arrangement and electronics works , having a spike on the wire at the site of a cut is not desirable. In these cases, the best option would be to use a flush-cutter with reduced bevels on the cutting edges to slice through the wire cleanly, instead of forcing the wire to break at the site of the cut before the cut is complete.
While the cut faces of the wire may not be perfectly flush, the reduced bevels on the cutting edges means that less force is required to cut through the wire, which is a definite bonus for persons who have to make hundreds of cuts a day that can lead to fatigue, and a serious medical condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which often requires surgery to repair.
These cutters have almost no bevels on the cutting edges, and thus make perfectly flush cuts, which is particularly important in jewelry making and electronics. However, while a cutter of this type requires even less force to make a cut than an normal flush cutter, their blades are very fragile, and great care must be taken to protect the blades by only using these cutters to cut the material the tool was designed to cut, such as soft copper or aluminum conductors.
Diagonal Pliers (Side cutter)
As the name suggests, these cutters deliver a diagonal cut, and the most common type in use by tradesmen all over the world are known by several different names, such as side-cutters, diagonal cutters, “dikes”, or even “diags”.
In the electrical trade, these cutters are used to cut soft copper or aluminum electrical conductors, but side-cutters are in use everywhere in the world, and in every trade or profession that requires soft, pliable wire to be cut. However, side-cutters leave a sharp spike on the wire after cutting, which is the result of the jaws forcing the wire to break, rather than cutting through it cleanly. In cases where the resulting spike is not an issue, normal side-cutters are the best option since they are relatively cheap, and a good quality tool can last for many years.
Side-cutters should never be used to cut steel wire, nails, screws, fencing wire, or anything harder than copper or aluminum wire, since doing so can damage their jaws to the point of uselessness for any sort of cutting.
Side-cutters are also available for precision cutting that leaves the edges of the cuts smooth, or flush, and without any spikes on the cut faces. Below are three other types of side-cutters that are designed for precision cutting.
Needle-nose wire cutters
Needle-nose wire cutters are often used by electricians because the sharply tapered jaws make it easy to bend, and insert wire into a switch gear in electrical panels, where there is often not enough space to use any other type of pliers or cutters.
Shear cutters require the least force of all side-cutters make a cut, and they make the smoothest cut, It is possible to make with a side-cutter. However, this comes at the price of having to exercise great care when making cuts, as pressing too hard can dull the blades when the cut is completed. High quality tools of this type are fitted with adjustment, or setting screws that prevent the cutting edges touching each other after a cut, and this feature should be the first item to look for when you are shopping for shear cutters.
End cutting pliers.
The end cutting pliers have jaws that are shaped like half-circles, with the cutting edges at right angles to the body of the tool. This makes it possible to cut nails, screws, and rivets close to the surface of the workpiece without marring the surface.
The rounded shape of the jaws also makes it possible to extract nails and screws from wood by using the radius of the jaws as a fulcrum. When shopping for end cutting pliers, the first thing to look for should be the alignment of the jaws, which should close on one another with no light visible between them, meaning that there should be full contact between the cutting edges over the full width of the jaws. There should also be no free play in the pivot point between the two handles.
Lineman’s wire cutters.
Also known as combination cutters, this is the workhorse of the wire cutting family of tools. Apart from having wide, flat jaws for gripping objects, these tools also incorporate cutting edges similar to those on side-cutters just forward of the pivot point, which can cut steel fencing wire, thick nails, or even steel screws with no trouble at all, thanks to the levering action of the long handles.
In addition, these pliers also often incorporate a guillotine-like cutting action by means of a groove in each handle very close to the pivot point. Opening the handle aligns the two grooves, and by closing the handles, the cutting edges on the inner edges of the grooves perform a shearing action that can cut through almost any nail, screw, or even small-diameter steel rod.
Insulated wire cutters.
Almost all types of wire cutters are available in insulated versions to prevent electrical shocks. However, care must be taken not to confuse the plastic or rubber coating on the handles of the normal tools with proper electrical insulation. Most wire cutters are supplied with soft-grip handles to make them more comfortable to use, but these coatings offer no protection against accidental electrocution.
If you need properly insulated wire cutters, only buy a pair from a reputable dealer in tools that are rated for use with electricity, and avoid the cheap, substandard tools that are sold in auto parts stores, and other non-specialist dealers. These tools may look safe to use, but suffering an electric shock is no time to discover that the thick plastic coating on your new wire cutter is not rated for use with high-voltage electricity.
Multipurpose Stripper, Cutter and crimper:
This type of cutter also called wire stripper. They not only strip and cut, but also helps in pulling and looping the wire due to it’s pliers like nose.
How NOT to use wire cutters.
- Do not cut material the tool is not designed to cut. This is a sure-fire way to destroy the cutting edges. Only cut hard material with cutters that are specifically designed for the purpose.
- Do not expose any wire cutter to high heat- this will destroy the temper of the blades, and render the tool useless.
- Do not allow any wire cutter to come into contact with water- if it does, dry it off immediately to prevent rust damaging it.
- Do not use a wire cutter as a hammer- use a hammer instead.
- Do not bend hard steel wire with cutters that are not designed for the purpose- doing so will force the jaws out of alignment by bending them, or damaging the pivot point.
- Never extend the length of wire cutters to increase leverage. Instead, use a larger pair that is designed to cut material that lighter, or smaller tools cannot cut.