The nippers are the most suitable tools for electricity work, as well as for cutting wires and other materials such as hard plastic. Although they have a particular function, they can be used to work with various materials and in different situations.
In electronics as for crafts, for manual work or even for fishing, wire cutters are efficient and useful. In case you still don’t have this tool in the toolbox maybe it’s because you think your universal pliers are enough and they do their job well.
Contrary to your beliefs, you will certainly need a pair of wire cutters both for precision work, when cutting electrical cables, and for cutting thick and tough materials.
Here we had listed out the best models of nippers that are present below.
Buyer Guide to Choose Nippers
The primary function of the wire cutters is particular and is partly suggested by the name. However, these tools are not lacking in versatility since in addition to cutting cables and electric wires, they are also used in crafts or even in fishing. If you are thinking of purchasing nippers, you should first have solved a few questions.
What Are Nippers?
Although the answer may seem obvious, there are some differences between the wire cutters models depending on their size and shape. These are similar to those of the “brother” tool, the universal pliers, even if the head of the wire cutters is designed exclusively for cutting.
Electric cables and various types of wires are the primary “victims” of wire cutters. We speak of indispensable tools both for professional jobs with electricity and in the world of home repairs, and in fact, there are cutters of different sizes that are used to perform tasks of various levels of hardness and precision.
What Are the Nippers For?
Surprise: the wire cutters are used to cut off. In fact, it is the only thing they do, but beyond the most well-known functions (cutting cables and wires) the list of possible uses of these tools is longer than you think. Below you can see some examples of the most common methods of wire cutters.
- Electricity. Whether you are a professional or a handyman, wire cutters are essential for stripping and cutting wires.
- Electronics. As well as for electricity, they are used to cut smaller wires. In general, smaller cutters are used to work with greater precision.
- Automobiles. Cars also have an electrical part. It never hurts to bring a pair of wire cutters with you just in case.
- Crafts. In addition to cables and wires, wire cutters can cut materials of different hardness such as plastic and the like. They are also used in the production of jewelry, handicrafts, and manual precision work.
- Fishing. They are handy for cutting fishing lines and nets. This is an example of the unthinkable uses to which these tools are suitable.
What Types of Wire Cutters Are on The Market?
There are cutting pliers and cutting nippers. With the first, we refer to universal pliers, which are the most versatile and include the function of cutting, with the second to the nippers whose purpose is well defined: they perform only one function, although there are different types. Here they are below.
Type of Cut:
- Diagonal or lateral cut. The wire cutters are built with the arms arranged diagonally and are very useful for lateral cutting. In the search engines you will find results for both “diagonal cut” and “lateral cut”, but in reality, they are the same thing. The Amazon classification system includes both names within the category “diagonal cut nippers”.
- Front cut. There are also the “pincers” which often appear under the name of “front cut nippers”. Technically they are not nippers, but they are used to cut hard materials with fewer effort thanks to the better performance of the lever.
- Wire strippers. This denomination is mainly used for nippers intended for electronics, so much so that smaller nippers are often called this.
- Cutter. They are those of larger dimensions and have a more exceptional ability to exert force on wires of different hardness and size.
Other Cutting Pliers:
- Universal pliers. These tools also have a sharp part and can, therefore, perform functions similar to those of the wire cutters, albeit in a more limited way.
- Tweezers for a manicure. They are pliers and cut. These are the only two criteria that allow us to include them in this list.
What Is the Ideal Length of The Wire Cutters?
As you can see from the products on our list, the most common wire cutters are 16 centimeters (160 mm) long. This is the most versatile measure that allows us to carry out both work with electricity and to cut wires of a standard thickness.
There are also smaller ones for electronics works and other larger ones for cutting larger thicknesses.
- Standard (160 mm). For regular activities with electricity, construction, and DIY.
- Small (Less than 160mm). In our ranking, we include a model of only 13 centimeters, explicitly designed for electronics and other activities that require precision such as craftsmanship and the creation of jewelry and models.
- Large (180mm). Specific nippers for cables and wires of higher caliber or hardness.
What Should Safety Measures Be Followed when Using Wire Cutters?
In truth, the safety measures begin before purchasing these tools, since a wrong choice can cause us problems if we decide to buy a pair of wire cutters that do not have the hardness and electrical insulation necessary for the use we want to do with them.
To measure these factors that obviously affect safety, there are standard approvals.
- Hardness. There is an unappealable physical law: you cannot cut a material harder than that of the tools we use. The wire cutters are made with alloy materials used for most of the wires and cables, and the hardness of an article is measured with the standard called “Rockwell Hardness” or HRC.
- Electrical Insulation. If we consider that the nippers are mainly used in work with electricity, we understand how important it is that these tools have adequate insulation on the handle. Generally, the models meet the voltage standards typical of domestic use, but if you are an electrician, your wire cutters must have the approval mark of the German VDE Institute to meet the protection standard of at least 1000 volts.
What Are the Nippers Made Of?
Tools such as wire cutters are made with special alloys of the hardest metals and undergo a further hardening process through a specific treatment. This process includes different types of hardening (tempering or induction), a phosphate surface treatment, or a galvanic coating against corrosion.
The wire cutters manufacturers mainly use chromium and vanadium steel alloys. High carbon steels are harder, more resistant, and less ductile than the others: for example, a C60 tool steel (from its carbon content) offers a resistance of 70-95 kg per square millimeter.
What Types of Cables Do We Handle when We Use Wire Cutters?
When we start cutting cables we should know what we are doing: think about action movies and what can happen if you cut the wrong cable. For this reason, before using the wire cutters, review the types of cable, their function, and the different colors of their coating. For example:
- Green and Yellow. This is the ground wire. In the past, these cables were gray or white, and they can still be found in these colors in ancient installations.
- Blue. It is the usual neutral cable, and you will often see it in the arms of your wire cutters. It is the additional cable present in three-phase cables.
- Brown. It is the phase cable. It can also be black or gray while green was previously used.
- Black. This is also a phase cable, very common in electrical installations. Just like white, it can respond to aesthetic reasons.
- White. They can be neutral cables, but they can also be connected to the transformer and used as grounding.
- Cables with Colored Spokes. These are colored cables that include a beam or “guide” to distinguish them from other cables.