You want to finish that job you were in the middle of, but you cannot figure out how to use your wire cutter. The wire cutter looks just like a pair of pliers to you. Your inability to use the wire cutter may be the only thing preventing you from finishing the job you set out to complete.
From basic electrical maintenance to DIY projects to cutting excess slack on a bicycle brake cable, there are many tasks that wire cutters excel at that you wouldn’t want to do with scissors (or even worse, a kitchen knife).
But similar to how wires vary tremendously in material, thickness and function, the best wire cutters do as well.
Variation in wire cutters mostly comes down to the shape of the edges. As the name suggests, a flush cutter makes the end of a wire clean and flush. Beveled edges can add a spike or an uneven and pointy surface. This is perfectly fine in a lot of situations.
But, if you’re working with more delicate wiring, you may want a flush cutter, which reduces the spike and the amount of force that must be exerted. The tradeoff with flush cutters is durability. They’re less durable and can dull more quickly than bevel cutters.
Shear cutters can create an even smoother cut than flush-cutters, but they wear out even more rapidly. In general, the more flush the cutter, the more it will need to be sharpened.
- The Tool
- The Cutting
- Wire Cutter Uses
- Different Types Of Best Wire Cutters
Designed much like scissors, wire cutters use two levers attached at a fulcrum that, when pinched together, pierce a piece of wire. The amount of force necessary depends on the width of the wire. Using the levels and the specialized blades, wire cutters allow greater strength to be applied in a precise area.
There are three main types of wire cutters: beveled edge, semi-flush, and flush. Beveled edge wire cutters are more durable and sever the wires so that each end has a pointed face. Semi-flush wire cutters are designed to cut fine wires to an almost flat face.
Though this is preferable to a chisel-like point, they can easily be damaged and are not intended for steel wire. Flush cutters can provide a sheer-faced cut but are often highly expensive and provide a level of precision that is usually unnecessary.
Use wire cutters with a grip span of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches to avoid pinching palms or fingers. To prevent pinching or unnecessary injury, it is also essential that all fingers are kept around the handle grips of the wire cutters and not placed in between the handles.
Make sure the cutting edges on the wire cutters are sharp, clean, and not oily. Dull and dirty blades can result in much more force being needed to cut and hold the workpiece in place. In such situations, muscle fatigue and repetitive strain injury can result.
Always wear safety goggles when cutting wires to protect your eyes from little pieces of wire or insulation debris.
Before any wire cutting is done to existing wiring, make sure the electronics are either unplugged or the breaker is flipped. Cutting into live wires can result in fire, electrocution, and blown circuits. The cushion grips on wire cutters are not intended to prevent electrical shock. Specifically, insulated wire cutters can be purchased.
Make sure you are cutting the right angles. Rocking the wire cutters or bending the wires back and forth over the cutting tool can cause frayed edges in the wire. Not only are these frayed edges sharp, but they also minimize the conductivity of the wire. Minimize shorts, shocks, and other electrical problems by making swift, firm cuts at right angles.
When cutting, pull on the wire cutters. By pushing away from the body when applying pressure to the wire cutters, the body’s gravity center is disrupted. If the tool or workbench unexpectedly slips, balance is jeopardized and can injure the hand or body.
Wire Cutter Uses
When it comes to cable and wire cutters, any hardware professional will tell you there’s nothing quite like having the right tool for swift & efficient cutting of wires, metal, and aircraft cables of varying diameters. These essential tools are commonly used by hardware enthusiasts, contractors, and engineers in the construction, marine, telecommunications, aerospace, and locomotive industries. The range in types is vast, with each having its advantages and disadvantages specific to your task.
Different Types Of Best Wire Cutters
Hakko CHP170 Flush Cutter
It is a mini wire cutter, best for cutting wire up to 16 gauges (1.3mm). The nonslip grip makes this cutter a perfect DIY tool for electronics and jewelry work.
In an application such as jewelry making, flower arrangement, and electronic work, having a spike on the wire is not desirable. In these cases, the best option would be to use a flush-cutter with reduced bevels. It helps cut the edges cleanly instead of forcing the wire to break at the site of the cut before the cut is
Xuron Micro Shear Cutter
Shear cutters require the least force of all side-cutters to cut, and they make the smoothest cut possible. However, one must take great care when making cuts, as pressing too hard can dull the blades when the cut is completed.
This type’s high-quality tools are fitted with adjustment or set screws that prevent the cutting edges from touching each other after a cut. And this feature should be the first item to look for when you are shopping for shear cutters.
Whizzotech Diagonal Pliers (Side Cutter)
As the name suggests, these cutters deliver a diagonal cut and are the most common type in use by tradesmen worldwide. They are known by several different names, such as side-cutters, diagonal cutters, “dikes,” or even “diags.”
In the electrical trade, these cutters are used for cutting soft copper or aluminum electrical conductors. But side-cutters are used everywhere globally and in every trade or profession that requires soft, pliable wire to be cut.
End Cutting Pliers
The end cutting pliers have jaws shaped like half-circles, with the cutting edges at right angles to the tool’s body. This makes it possible to cut nails, screws, and rivets close to the workpiece’s surface without marring the surface.
The jaws’ rounded shape also makes it possible to extract nails and screws from wood by using the jaws’ radius as a fulcrum.
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 usual 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.
Lineman’s Wire Cutters
Also known as a combination cutter, 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.
They can cut steel fencing wire, thick nails, or even steel screws with no trouble at all, thanks to the extended handles’ levering action.
Needle-Nose Wire Cutters
Electricians often use Needle-nose wire cutters because the sharply tapered jaws make it easy to bend and insert the wire into a switch-gear in electrical panels. There is often not enough space to use any other type of pliers or cutters.
These cutters have almost no bevels on the cutting edges and 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 cut a regular flush cutter, its blades are very fragile, and great care must be taken to protect the blades by only using it for cutting the material it is designed to cut, such as soft copper or aluminum conductors.
XURON 2175 Maxi Shear Flush Cutter
One of the best wire cutters for jeweler making and wire wrapping is this one. You can flush cut fine silver, bronze, gold, and platinum wire. This cutter is not designed for titanium, steel, or memory wire cutting.
Never attempt to cut iron, steel, or other hard wires unless the wire cutters are specifically manufactured for that purpose. Similarly, do no use a hammer or other object to pound on wire cutters to sever a wire. If or when the wire breaks, harmful debris can be scattered from the force or the wire cutters breaking.