The Best Wire Strippers for Electrical Projects
We strip back the details about this tool so you can choose the best one for your needs.
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- BEST OVERALLKlein Tools 11055 Wire Cutter and StripperCheck Latest Price
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKIRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping ToolCheck Latest Price
- UPGRADE PICKKNIPEX Tools Automatic Wire StripperCheck Latest Price
A wire stripper boosts productivity for professional electricians, budding apprentices, and DIYers. Most people think of this device as a way to cut and remove the rubber coating that encases wire, but some of the best ones slice thick cable, cut screws to size, and crimp terminals onto the end of thick cables or wires. Whether you need a basic or professional-grade wirecutter, there is an array from which to choose.
Our Top Picks
Consider some of the top wire strippers, and choose the one that best suits your needs.
BEST OVERALL: Klein Tools 11055 Wire Cutter and Stripper
Top electrical tool manufacturer Klein produces the 11055 Wire Cutter and Stripper with spring-loaded action and a cushioned, ergonomic grip—comfortable for all-day use. It features precision ground cutting holes, which make consistently clean cuts every time a piece of wire is stripped. The 11055 is designed for stripping and looping 10-18 gauge wires and can cut 6-32 and 8-32 screws to size.
The only real shortcoming of this tool is that it doesn’t include crimpers, which are often needed for automotive and computer work.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool
The modestly priced VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper and Cutter from IRWIN includes handy features such as hardened cutting teeth and electrical screw shears. Of course, this plier-style stripper also handles the basics. Use it to cut and strip wires in the 10- to 22-gauge range and crimp cable-ends.
UPGRADE PICK: KNIPEX Tools Automatic Wire Stripper
The KNIPEX Tools Automatic Wire Stripper is ideal for use on computers, electrical box retrofits, and other jobs in tight spaces. A squeeze on the grip makes accurate strips on wires from 10- to 24-gauge. Even better, the tool automatically adjusts to the wire, drops the blade, and removes the jacket, with just a squeeze of the handle.
One caveat: This cutter does not cut cable or wire.
BEST FOR PROS: Klein Tools High Leverage Pliers
Electrical professionals have used the Klein side cutters, also known as linesman pliers, for decades. Although this device doesn’t feature any cut-outs for specifically-sized wires, these pliers, in the hands of professionals, are as capable as any feature-rich tool on this list. This tool’s hardened cutting blades will cleanly cut through wire with ease, without the time-consuming wire and tooth alignment. In fact, the user only needs to exert a light grip on the handle to produce the cut. Plus, the knurled plier jaws will twist several wires together at the same time.
While any toolbox benefits from a pair of linesman pliers, they require some practice to correctly use. Inexperienced homeowners are likely to find them heavy and unwieldy.
BEST FEATURES: Klein Tools K12055 Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper
The Klein K12055 has the strength and heft of a pair of linesman pliers and the specificity of a classic wire stripper. This rugged stripper can cut heavy wires and accurately strip them. Once stripped, several wires can be twisted at the same time with these knurled linesman-style plier jaws. The size of the K12055 falls somewhere between a pair of linesman pliers and a pair of standard wire strippers. It handles wires in the 10-18 gauge range and features a spring-loaded handle.
The K12055 does not excel in one area: wire crimping. Experienced pros may be able to use it for reliable crimps, but homeowners and DIYers are likely to struggle at first.
BEST AUTOMATIC: IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper, Self-Adjusting, 8-Inch
Professionals and DIYers can easily use the IRWIN VISE-GRIP, even with just one hand. Simply slide the wire through the jaws, squeeze the handle, and produce a perfectly stripped wire. The device works on wires between 10- and 24-gauge, features an adjustable stop, and provides consistently accurate stripping with every squeeze of the handle. These strippers also feature built-in crimpers. If only these strippers could cut wire, then they’d be moved to the best option on our list.
ALSO CONSIDER: Greenlee Hand Tools Stainless Steel Wire Stripper Pro
Typical pliers without spring-loaded handles require a perfectly orchestrated finger grip for one-handed opening and closing. Most DIYer’s need time to develop that expertise. Greenlee’s wire stripper has spring-loaded handles to overcome this learning curve. The stripper works with 10- to 20-gauge wire, ideal for most homeowner applications. Plus, the Greenlee sheers 6-32 and 8-32 screws. The slide-on grips are also very comfortable, even when the tool bears down on tough screws and wires.
While these Greenlee’s can crimp (a nice feature not seen in most spring-loaded strippers), it may feel awkward when splicing wires together, unless the spring is removed.
ALSO CONSIDER: >Klein Tools 53725 BX and Armored Cable Cutter
Homeowners and DIYers that work with metal-clad, BX, and armored cables will find the 53725 BX and Armored Cable Cutter from Klein quickly and accurately strips armor. This model fits 3/8-inch metal-clad cable, in both standard and small size, and uses a hand crank and rotary wheel to slice the armored jacket quickly. Once cut through, the metal jacket removes easily.