Stripping off wires is an essential part of DIY electrical work. This task sees you removing the protective covering over a wire so you can connect its live component to another wire or terminal. While you can use a lighter or knife for this purpose, there is a safer and more efficient way to go about this. Say hello to the top-rated wire strippers of 2023.
This mid-range tool can help you simplify wire stripping tasks with precise results, and they’re easy to use with top-notch versatility. You can select from different types, like gauged strippers and self-adjusting strippers, depending on the nature of your work, but knowing what kind to pick can be a little overwhelming. This buying guide will help simplify this selection process and help you buy a high-quality wire stripper for your DIY electrical tool kit.
Stripping a wire can be difficult if the tool is challenging to hold or has a non-ergonomic design. — you might even end up with achy hands or sores. So, it’s important to buy a stripper with rubberized handles as they offer a tight grip. Also, such tools provide added cushioning for finishing wire-stripping tasks comfortably.
If you have a considerable budget, consider buying a stripper with a few added features like a cutter or crimper. A cutter will let you cut the wire without damaging it, while a crimper will allow seamless connections. Multi-purpose tools offer great value for your money and also save a lot of space in your toolbox.
Wire strippers are available in various sizes. For household work, you can buy strippers with gauge measurements of 10 to 22 AWG. But for bigger projects, you’ll need tools with gauge dimensions of up to 30 AWG for precise results.
Types of Wire Strippers
This type of wire stripper has a simple design comprising only a notch, blade, and stop screw. With this tool, you can manually adjust the settings according to the wire’s thickness. Unfortunately, many individuals — especially beginners — may need help to adjust it precisely.
Compared to an adjustable stripper, this type is simpler to operate. Its blade has various-sized holes depending upon the wires’ gauge. Also, adjusting the tool is not required, which can save a lot of your time. That said, you can’t strip all wires with a gauged stripper because the holes are limited to a few gauges.
This is the modern type of stripper that does all the work by itself. Using this tool, you will not have to adjust the thickness level beforehand as it does it automatically. You can also opt for one with a crimper and cutter to make your work more manageable.
The Correct Way of Using a Wire Stripper
First, you must know the correct gauge of the wire you wish to strip. It’s located on the external side of the non-metallic sheath of the cable. This figure will appear in a specific format, such as “12/2”, where the top number indicates the wire gauge.
Now that you know the wire gauge, finding the correct hole in the stripping tool is easier. Selecting the correct measurements is crucial, as too large or too small of a hole could lead to improper stripping.
Next, you have to open the wire stripper and insert the cable into the hole’s one side. Now press the handles as much as you can. The insulation will finally be cut off the wire.
Now move the wire stripper along the insulation cover until the end. You must have the proper grip on the handle to pull off this step quickly.
Tips for Maintaining Wire Strippers
If you use a wire stripper daily, you must take proper care to ensure its longevity. So, we have listed a few guidelines that you must follow to keep your wire stripper in top condition.
Use a commercial rust-removing agent as soon as you see signs of corrosion. It’s important to counter it initially, as rust can spread quickly.
If the pliers of the tools aren’t functioning smoothly, use lubrication oil to decrease the friction.
In case of any major damage, you must immediately take your wire stripper for repair. If the problem is detected earlier, it’d be easier and cheaper to resolve.
You must also look for iron filing wounds on the tool’s handles. Remove them as soon as possible for the stripper to deliver quick performance.
The CREWORKS Automatic Wire Stripper requires no extraordinary manual effort to remove the outer covering of any cable, irrespective of its type. This machine can efficiently strip off any material, whether plastic or rubber, in a few seconds. Thanks to the speed, which can go as fast as 0.25 meters per second, you can quickly finish even the most complicated wire stripping job without any hassle. A heavy-duty motor also plays a vital role in its functionality, and you can also use this wire stripper on 7 to 15-gauge wires with the help of the four different-sized holes.
You will be happy investing your money in this machine as it’ll stay functional for a long time if you maintain it properly. Even better, the steel blade is quite durable, with an edge that remains sharp to deliver precise cutting every time. Besides a sturdy structure, the operating mechanism of this tool is also straightforward. You simply have to set the right thickness level with a knob and push the power button to start. Keep introducing the wire slowly in the correct hole and your job will be done in no time. Overall, this wire stripper tops our list for its heavy-duty aluminum body that ensures zero damage to both external and internal parts.
The IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripper is a simple yet functional tool for removing the insulation of wires for repair and other electrical work. This wire stripper isn’t expensive like the ones with automatic functionality, but if you think there’d be a compromise on its performance considering the lower price, you’d be wrong. This cutter’s edge is hardened with induction to maintain the sharpness for years and the gauge size of this stripper is also extensive. With this pick, you can easily strip the insulation coat of 10 to 22-gauge wires.
These wire strippers have a sleek design that helps simplify the pulling and looping of a wire while stripping. With this easy functionality, you don’t have to worry about getting hand aches after long-term use. Even more, the ProTouch grip handles are comfortable to control and use — you can finally say goodbye to hand fatigue by bringing home this exceptional wire stripping tool. For added convenience, this stripper is multi-purpose; you can also use it as a cutter and crimper, which can be of great help if you want to maintain a perfect thread after cutting bolts, nuts, and screws. At the same time, the crimper has two types of terminals to allow easy and fast wire-to-wire and wire-to-connector attachments.
If you’re looking for a versatile cable insulation removal tool, the Knoweasy Automatic Wire Stripper is perfect. Its stripping size range is comprehensive, as you can cut all the wires with gauges of 7 to 32 AWG. You can also adjust the stripping length of the wire accordingly from 0.25 to 0.75 inches. There are even other styles available that accommodate other gauges to suit your needs.
Whether handling solid or stranded cables, this stripper’s functionality remains superior — you can also use it to strip hard-coated speaker wires effectively. But, keep in mind that it’s better to opt for a suitable alternative in the case of steel cables as this wire stripper is not safe for this specific material. Other than that, you can use it on every type of wire, including copper, aluminum, and more.
Steel strips make this tool durable enough to last for extended periods with sharp edges, while the handle’s material has polyvinyl chloride and nylon for better grip. Since the texture is thick, you can comfortably hold the tool to do the job without worry. That said, the best aspect of this tool is its self-adjusting mechanism. You don’t have to adjust the settings of wire thickness now and then, as it’s done automatically depending on the wire type.
The StripMeister Drill-Powered Wire Stripper is a great way to reduce your workload as an electrician. Since it comprises modern ultra-grip feeder technology, you don’t have to worry about untangling the wires and there are minimal chances of slippage while feeding the wire into the machine. This industry-rated tool is highly innovative, as you can combine it with a hand drill to provide more powerful performance. When combined, this pick can easily strip off the wires of various gauges ranging from 18 to 25 AWG. Besides that, you can also use it effortlessly on almost all types of cables, whether Romex, solid, or stranded. So, it’s time to say goodbye to wasting wires and recycle them using this exceptional technology.
This wire stripper’s entire structure is aluminum-built, meaning you don’t have to worry about early cracks or breakages. While plier-like strippers are easily portable and you generally can’t carry around the automatic machines, this one is an exception. You can take this machine conveniently to your workplace without stressing about carrying an extra heavy load. It’s lightweight and easily portable, and fitting it inside a bag or the back of your vehicle is simple as it takes up little space.
The Klein Tools 11063W Wire Stripper is a two-in-one tool that can also function as a cutter. Its holes are of basic dimensions that range from 18 to 200 wire gauge. What really makes this unique is its way of functioning — you can remove almost 1 inch of a wire’s outer jacket in only a few seconds by squeezing the handles once. Also, the handle boasts plastic-based construction, making it easier to maintain a tight grip on the tool. Overall, its heavy-duty construction makes it one of the most durable tools to own; thanks to the Ecoat finish and cast alloy body, this wire stripper won’t rust, bend, or break down for several years.
Overall, this tool is a premium quality product that’ll be an ideal addition to your toolbox. All the holes in this stripper are grounded precisely for accurate removal of the outer jacket, and you can conveniently use it for an HVAC system as it’s easy to strip thermal wires. It also features an adjustable stopper that allows you to manage the strip’s length effortlessly. Whether it’s the build quality, ease of use, or performance, this tool will prove to be a top-notch choice in almost all areas.
Easy to use
Offers quick, precise results
Heavy duty and robust body
Jaws may slip
People Also Asked
Q: Is it worth buying a wire stripper?
A: It depends on how often you strip wires. If this is a regular demand in your profession, you must not think twice before buying this wire stripper. It can simplify your work by quickly removing the insulation, and the other ways to carry out this task are risky and complex. Such methods include using a lighter, a standard cutter, or a knife. So, it's better to purchase a wire stripper to stay on the safer side. Also, this tool lasts for several years, making it a long-term and worthwhile investment.
Q: Is a wire cutter the same as a wire stripper?
A: No, it is not. With a wire cutter, you can only break a wire from a point, but it won’t help strip off the insulation cover. On the other hand, a wire stripper is strong enough to take off the insulation jacket in a few minutes without damaging the wire components beneath. Overall, both tools have different functionality.
Q: Is it safe to use a wire stripper?
A: Wire strippers are 100% safe, even if you're a beginner. Their design offers exceptional security to their users.
Q: Is a self-adjusting wire stripper more expensive than the standard one?
A: With a self-adjusting wire stripper, you'll get more convenience and ease of use, so its price range is slightly higher than standard wire strippers — that said, its extraordinary benefits make the price worth it. You can get the work done super quickly using this tool and you don't have to waste hours adjusting the thickness of the wire because it can automatically set the proper dimensions accordingly. The best part is that almost all self-adjusting wire strippers are multi-purpose, as an in-built crimper or cutter often accompanies it.
Q: Can a wire stripper cut every type of wire insulation?
A: Yes, a wire stripper is that it can cut any type of wire insulation. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the cable type, but the gauge size may vary according to the model. Besides that, you can use a wire stripper to cut almost any household or commercial wire, including copper, thermal, coaxial, non-metallic, metal clad, and ethernet, effectively.
Q: Which type of wire stripper is the easiest to use?
A: On the market, you have a big scope of wire strippers to choose from. The easiest wire stripper to use is a gauged automatic wire stripper. This stripper does not require any self-adjustment. Instead, it has many holes, so you simply have to select the desired size and cut.
Q: Can I cut a live electrical wire from a wire stripper?
A: Working on a live electrical wire is no less than putting yourself at risk of death. Whether working on the electric wire of a power plant or at home, it is suggested not to use a wire stripper on a live electric supply. You will not find any brand that claims to produce a wire stripper that can work on live electrical wiring in the first place.
Q: How long should a wire stripper be so I can easily keep it in my toolbox?
A: A wire stripper is a tool you might frequently need, especially if you’re an electrician. As such, it’d be best if you bought a wire stripper that doesn’t occupy much space in your toolbox. In that case, buying an 8-inch long wire stripper would be ideal. It will occupy less space, enabling you to keep some other equipment as well. Additionally, if you buy a three-in-one tool that can strip, cut, and crimp, you can save even more space.
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