Best Wire Stripping Tool – Reviews (Professional & Amateur Choices)

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Working with any sort of electrical wiring can be stressful and frustrating, but having a pair of best wire strippers that are functional and easy to use can make the work go so much faster.

Best Wire Strippers

This article walks through the top ten list for wire cutters, speaking to the features and main selling points of each, as well as recommending whether you should buy them or not.

There’s a buyer’s guide at the end that will give you general guidelines of what to look for when you buy a pair of wire strippers for yourself. Lastly, we’ll examine the growing trends in the market, and what we think will become popular in the future.

Best Wire Strippers of 2018

ImageNameDimensionsWire sizePrice 
IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078300
(Editors' Choice)
4 x 2 x 11 in10-24 AWG$$
Klein Tools 110574.5 x 12 x 4.5 in20-30 AWG Solid, 22-32 AWG Stranded$$
Neiko 01924A1 x 10 x 4 in10-24 AWG$
Knipex 12621807.6 x 4.7 x 1 in10 - 24 AWG$$$
Klein Tools 11063W4 x 6.63 x 1.2 in8-22 AWG$$
Ethernet Crimping Tool RJ45 and RJ12, RJ1111 x 1.5 x 4 inRJ45 and RJ12, RJ11; Cat5, Cat6 Cables$$
Capri Tools 200104.5 x 9.25 x 1.5 in8-22 AWG$$
Jonard JIC-3750.2 x 3.8 x 1.4 inch$$
Ideal Industries Kinetic Reflex T-Stripper3.94 x 7.87 x 3.94 in10-18 AWG Solid Wire, 12-20 AWG Stranded Wire$$
Hardin WS-12707.75 x 7.75 x 2 infrom 0.51mm to 17mm$$$

IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078300 Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper, 8″ – Best Self Adjusting Wire Stripping Tool

best self adjusting wire stripping toolThe Irwin 2078300 is an eight-inch stripper tool that’s self-adjusting, meaning that it can strip anything from 10 to 24 AWG wiring.

It also comes with a crimping feature, which is good from 10 to 22 AWG. The wire can be insulated or non-insulated for this feature, which is useful for a variety of projects or wiring issues. You can also crimp ignition terminals that range from seven to nine millimeters.

The Irwin also comes with a stopper that you can adjust, meaning that you can decide how much of the wire you want to be stripped, and then stop that motion once you reach the end. This is a useful feature and should make stripping one smooth motion since you can move with confidence that you won’t strip something you need to keep whole.

Irwin guarantees its strippers with a lifetime warranty as well, so you can have peace of mind that your investment in this tool will be protected. The Irwin is generally well reviewed, with some reviewers commenting that the tension on the tool is difficult to manage, and has to be turned up often. Others feel that the measurement gauge is more of a hindrance than a help.

The Irwin is recommended for casual users who need a good reliable wire stripper, and don’t mind having to mess with the tension every once and a while. The self-adjustment is a useful feature for less experienced craftsman, and the auto-stop will no doubt be a godsend to those who don’t want to deal with the frustration of having to strip and restrip wires to get the right measurements.
Pros
  • Self adjusting gauge
  • Auto-stop
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • Tension has to be adjusted/played with
  • Measurement gauge can be a little frustrating

Klein Tools 11057 Wire Stripper and Cutter – Best Small Wire Strippers

KleinTools 11057

The Klein 11057 is a wire stripper that comes with multiple options as far as wire sizes. The 11057 focuses on 10 – 30 AWG that’s solid, with a slightly larger range (12-32 AWG) for it’s stranded counterpart.

The Klien comes with no less than nine sperate size and type options for this tool, so there should be no problem finding a model that will meet your needs. The Klein comes with an adjustable head, so it can scale down to almost any size wire, though the main sizes listed above are what it’s rated for.

It’s also capable of some Romex wire, with sizes 12/2 and 14/2. A small wheel allows you to adjust the tension yourself, meaning that smaller strip jobs might be possible.

The handle on the Klein doubles as a wire cutter, and it also features grooved grips to make holding it for long periods of time easier. Overall, the Klein is rated highly, with it being best for use with smaller wires. The very top of the range, 32 AWG stranded, means that you have to separate the tool to fit that gauge. This can cause some separation in the wire cutters, which may or may not be a big deal, depending on how often you need to cut wires as well, or how attached you are to your current cutter.

The Klien is recommended for anyone spending a lot of time stripping and preparing wires. The tension adjusting wheel and automatic stop make stripping a simple and precise process. While these tools seem more suited for the smaller gauges, with an occasional foray into the heavier gauge, many commenters expressed happiness that it could strip higher gauges at all and that it can work on Romex wires as well. Its versatility makes this tool truly valuable.
Pros
  • Large range of wires to strip
  • Auto-stop feature
  • Tension wheel you can adjust yourself
Cons
  • Some struggle with 32 gauge
  • Wire cutter in handles can break/stretch out

Neiko 01924A Ultimate Self-Adjusting Wire and Cable Stripper – Best Automatic Wire Stripper

large wire strippers

The Neiko 01924A is a self-adjusting stripper, with a range of 10 – 24 AWG. The stripper can be operated one-handed, with the jaws gripping in such a way that it removes the insulation easily, even with only one hand. The Neiko also comes with a tension wheel to adjust the tension yourself for smaller wires.

And auto-stop has lengths from 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch.
The Neiko also has a built-in wire cutter in the handle, and crimpers as well. The crimpers work on 10-22 AWG that’s insulated, and 4-22 AWG that isn’t.

IT’s also good for auto-ignited terminals that are seven to eight millimeters. The Neiko is fairly highly reviewed. Customers are impressed with its auto-adjust features, though it does seem to work better on smaller wires, and some struggled with getting exactly the right grip on the handle for one smooth pull.

The Neiko is recommended for anyone who does a lot of work with smaller wires and feels up to the challenge of mastering the correct grip to make the process easy and seamless. The built-in cutters seem to work well and experience few issues, and the built-in crimper alongside makes it a dream tool for busy multi-taskers. The few extra functions will free up some room in your toolbox.
Pros
  • Auto-adjust function
  • Auto-stop to two seperate lengths
  • Built in crimper and cutters
  • Specially designed teeth for one handed operation
Cons
  • Auto-adjust tension can be frustrating
  • Learning curve for one handed operaion

Knipex 1262180 Self Adjusting Insulation Strippers – Best Professional Large Wire Stripper

tool for stripping wire

The Knipex 1262180 can be used on cables with any cross-sections or types of insulation. The Knipex can be used on cable sizes from 10 AWG to 24 AWG with standard insulation.

It adjusts automatically to the cable size and has an attached wire cutter that’s good for wires up to 2.5 millimeters. It also has an adjustable stop with a range from six to eighteen millimeters.
The Knipex is made up of hardened steel and has a limited lifetime warranty as well.

It’s fairly highly reviewed and works well with larger gauges of wire, which is something that differentiates it from the other tools we have on this list.

Some report that the tension is a little off for smaller wires, meaning you’ll have to do some fine-tuning to get it to perform reliably. The tool feels sturdy and durable and is used in both professional and hobbyist settings. The main feature that everyone seems to appreciate is the auto-stop that allows you to set the length of your strip before you begin.

The Knipex is recommended for anyone, but especially for people who need to strip larger gauge wires. The tool is comfortable and easy to use in the long term and can be tweaked to operate with smaller gauges as well, but the larger wires, (twenty AWG and over) seems to be where it really hits its stride.
Pros
  • Auto-adjust feature
  • Auto-stop feature
  • Works well on larger gauges
Cons
  • Tension is off for smaller gauges

Klein Tools 11063W Katapult Wire Stripper, 8-22 AWG – Precise and consistent

klein wire stripping toolThe Klein tools 11063W can strip wire as small as 8 AWG, with a top range of 22 AWG. It’s designed to make stripping an easier and more fluid motion, with an auto-stop of up to one inch.

There’s a wire-cutter built in as well, to take this even farther into do-it-all territory. The Klein is designed so that it won’t damage wires when it removes the insulation, and it’s specially designed to be able to grip onto wires without warping or bending them.

Klein also offers a limited warranty on their tools, ensuring that the craftsmanship and build quality of their strippers remain consistent. The Klein is fairly highly reviewed, with many customers loving the katapult style of stripper, as opposed to the plier version that’s become more popular in recent years. It’s a sturdy tool, and the quality of construction means that it’s easy and fast to use.

The Klein is recommended for anyone who needs a simple, easy to use wire stripping tool. It works well on all the gauges it’s listed for, and the ability to grip-and-strip wires in one easy motion means that it’s great for people who are working in awkward positions or with only one hand.
Pros
  • One handed use
  • Wire cutter built in to add more functionality
  • Auto-stop up to one inch
Cons
  • Does not auto adjust
  • Might need replacement blades

Ethernet Crimping Tool RJ45 and RJ12, RJ11 Crimper, Cutter, Stripper – Networking must have

Ethernet Crimping ToolThe Crimpswell is a crimping tool first and foremost, with a wire stripper and cutter also included in the tool.

It’s capable of crimping eight, six and four P connectors, as well as RJ45 up to eight wires, RJ12 up to six wires, and RJ11 plugs up to four wires. It can also strip cat5 and cat6 cables, both round and flat.

The Crimpswell is a great multi-use tool, and its handle is specially designed to allow for comfortable use to prevent hand cramping or fatigue. It comes with an infographic and full instructions as well, so you can see just how many different things you can use this tool for.

The Crimpswell is well reviewed, with some people saying that it’s better at crimping (which is its primary function) than stripping or cutting. Some people are happy just to have a high-quality crimper in their tool line up, but if you’re looking something just for more general use, you might want to look at something else on our list.

The Crimpswell is really a specialty tool, so for anyone who’s looking for something for network cables, it’s definitely recommended. The average user might not get enough mileage out of the crimping features to make the rest of the multitool a good investment though.
Pros
  • Good for networking
  • Multiple uses
  • Built in crimper and cutter
Cons
  • Specialty tool
  • Cutter and Stripper don’t always worr as well as crimper

Capri Tools 20010 Precision Wire Stripper – Good All around Wire-Stripper.

good wire strippersThe Capri has a range from eight AWG to twenty-two AWG. It can strip both solid and stranded types of wire. The Capri’s steel and plastic make-up make it lighter than many of the other strippers of its type, to prevent hand and arm fatigue.

The tool isn’t an auto-adjust, but the holes are provided to help you choose your sizes precisely. The holes themselves are machined and checked thoroughly so that you can strip just the insulation, without damaging the wires.

The stripper itself has to prongs that move outward, meaning that you can strip wires one-handed, and the action itself makes stripping wires faster and easier. It also includes a stop gauge so that you won’t strip off more wire than you need to.

This feature was sort of hit or miss with many customers, with some saying that there were no instructions for how to install it. Other than that, this is well reviewed, with people appreciating it’s ease of operation and the one-handed motion needed to strip wires.

The Capri is recommended for anyone who’s looking for a good all around wire-stripper. There isn’t a built-in cutter or any other additional extras, this tool just performs it’s one function very well. For people who spend a lot of time working with wiring and needing something that performs well, this is a good, solid tool to buy.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use one-handed
  • Auto-stop
Cons
  • No auto-adjust
  • Auto-stop can be difficult to install/use

Jonard JIC-375 Three Hole Fiber Optic Stripper – Fiber Optic Specialty Tool

best wire crimpersThe Jonard JIC-375 is a fiber optic stripping cable with three separate settings. The first will strip the outer jacket off of the cable. The next level down removes the 600 – 900-micron coating and the third removes the 250-micron coating.

You can choose which depth you want to go to depending on your specific project. The Jonard is obviously a specialty tool and is not meant for anything other than fiberglass cable, which means that it won’t work for AWG or Romax.

The Jonard has had a few customers complain that they needed to adjust their screws set into the stripper before everything worked properly. This extra step is frustrating, and for someone who’s less experienced, might lead to the tool not working. Other than this, however, the Jonard is highly reviewed, with many people pleased with their purchase.

The Jonard is a great recommendation for anyone who works with fiberglass cables and is comfortable doing a little tweaking to get the tool to work for themselves. The fact that it’s capable of stripping fiberglass cable all the way down makes this a useful tool, along with the fact that users can choose their depth to remove, leaving some of the buffer coatings if they so chose.
Pros
  • Variable depths
  • Will strip fiberglass cable completely
Cons
  • Specialty tool
  • Needs initial adjustment

Ideal Industries Kinetic Reflex T-Stripper

Wire Stripper

 – Good for righties and lefties

ideal automatic wire stripper

This Ideal stripper is good for solid wire from 10 – 18 AWG, and stranded wire from 12 – 20 AWG. The Ideal has a nose that can be used to twist wires as well as hold them, and the mechanism locks for added security.

The Ideal also contains a pair of bolt cutters as well. The handle has a Santoprene coating and added texture for more traction when you’re using the tool, and the extra gap for your fingers and thumb to rest gives you more control over the process. It’s also something that works well for both righties and lefties, something to think about if you have the less popular dominant hand.

The Ideal is well reviewed, with customers enjoying the insulation and the shorter length of the tool, which grants more leverage. T-Stripper does not have an auto-stop, which is a failure for some people since you’ll have to guesstimate a little bit on the final length.

The Ideal Industries Wire Stripper is recommended for anyone who wants something with a little bit more leverage than the longer strippers that are becoming the norm. With a shorter body and the textured grip, this is a perfect tool for everyday use, and for people who have to strip a lot of wires, very often.
Pros
  • Textured grip for more traction
  • Easier to grab and pull wires with more leverage
  • Works for both right and left handed
Cons
  • No auto-stop
  • Locking mechanism can malfunction

Hardin WS-1270 Manual Cable and Wire Stripper – Large gauge stripper

Manual Cable and Wire Stripper

The WS-1270 is a countertop or workbench mounted model. It needs to be on a flat surface to work, but it will strip almost any shaped wire or cable. The wires can be anywhere from 24 AWG to 7/8 of an inch, and the stripper also works on Romex wires as well. The blade itself is adjustable as well, as it’s independent of the mechanism. This means that it should be able to work on many different sizes and shapes of wire.

In theory, the WS-1270 should work by placing the wire between two rollers. The blade then comes down as far as you need it to, and you pull the wires through the rest of the machine to strip the insulation off.

The WS-1270 is a good idea in theory, but it has several people who say that theirs came badly machined or assembled. Others say that the wheels on the side that are supposed to guide the wire are difficult to keep straight and that the entire set up itself is crooked.

The WS-1270 is not recommended, because of the machining and installation issues. Many customers reported that they couldn’t get the machine to work on smaller gauges, and others had so many issues with setting up that they couldn’t get it to work at all.
Pros
  • Works on a variety of shapes and sizes
Cons
  • Poorly machined and assembled
  • Will not work on smaller wires
  • In come cases can’t be used at all.

Best Wire Strippers – Buyer’s Guide

Now we will take a look at the overall components you should consider before you purchase a pair of wire strippers. Each list will have the quality you might find important, with the strippers on our list that meet those criteria.

Easy on the Hands/Ergonomic

Also, doubles as a crimper or cutter

Performs well on larger wires

Performs well on smaller wires

Allows for one-handed or one step operation

Specialty tools

Conclusion

The basic idea of a wire stripper is something that hasn’t changed over the years, but as machining gets more precise and customer’s needs become more and more versatile, more than one style is beginning to rise to prominence.

The auto-adjusting tool is great for DIYers or home hobbyists but might become frustrating for seasoned craftsman or contractors. Thankfully, there are still plenty of traditional wire strippers in the market.

Best wire strippers

Becoming more prominent is the one-handed, or one-step stripper, which makes the process easier for people in odd positions, or trying to do more than one thing at once. This idea is becoming more and more popular with professional electricians and people who use the tool daily. Along with one-handed operation, ergonomic handles and tools that take more advantage of leverage are becoming more popular, as workers try to find tools that take some of the day to day strain off of their hands.

This means the plier’s shape is rising to prominence, as well as the katapult variance; though some still prefer the more “old-fashioned” staple shape that allows you to grip with one hand and pull with the other.

Multitools have always been popular, and the idea of having a wire crimper or cutter in the base is just as appealing these days, and no doubt will be more so in the future. Wire cutters seem to be more common currently, but crimpers are becoming more prominent as well, as DIYers and do-it-all craftsman who love their multitools take more prominence in the market.

Related: See Our reviews of the best tool chests on the market


Mark

Mark

Hi, I am the main redactor of ToolsDuty. I hope my guides will help you to choose the best tools for your purposes.