Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a skilled contractor, you’ll probably need to patch wires on a regular basis to help create safe electrical connections. Some people try to repair their wires and terminals themselves because hiring a qualified electrician can be expensive, and this can seem wasteful especially if the task at hand doesn’t require a lot of expertise. And you can even do some of these more minor repairs yourself if you have a heavy-duty crimping tool.
A crimping tool uses terminals to establish a tight seal on wires, helping protect them from water and dirt. But with so many crimpers out there to choose from, it can be pretty difficult to select the ideal one for your particular needs and setup. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top crimping tools for 2022 to help you complete your DIY jobs a little easier.
If you’re a handyperson or a DIYer, your kit should probably include some good-quality electrical tools that can help you make quick fixes around the house. And a crimping tool can be one of these tools for times when a wire does not have the right connector. This buying guide should help provide you with almost all the information you’ll need to purchase the right crimping tool for your specific jobs and setup. So let’s find you a new tool!
How To Choose a Crimping Tool
Compatible wire gauges
The first thing you should check is that a wire’s size is something that your crimping tool can accommodate. This should help give you a better idea about the types of wires that a tool can crimp in terms of thickness and diameter.
Wires are typically rated in thickness using the American Wire Gauge (AWG), and most models range from 12 to 24 AWG. So, you should select a versatile tool that you can rely on for crimping wires of virtually any size.
If you are a professional contractor who frequently needs to crimp wires with different diameters, you should invest in a crimping tool with at least three crimping cavities. In other words, a crimper with more cavities should allow you to crimp wires of varying thicknesses without having to switch between crimping pliers, which can help save you time while also lightening your toolkit.
Stamped or etched markings
Some crimping tools have metric as well as imperial measurements etched onto their jaws. This helps keeps everything in your sightline as you work, helping save you time and increasing your overall productivity.
It is crucial to find a wire crimping tool with a comfortable grip. The absence of a soft-padded handle can lead to discomfort and tiredness in your hands — and nobody wants that. This is why you should search for a crimping tool with an ergonomic handle and a cushioned grip.
Make sure your use the appropriate crimper for working on insulated or non-insulated connectors. Crimping tools for insulated terminals feature rounded jaws for protecting a terminal’s insulation. Using a non-insulated crimper on an insulated terminal can damage the insulation sleeve or result in an under or over crimp.
Open or closed barrels
Terminals are classified into two types: open barrel and closed barrel. The most prevalent type used in the wire terminal industry is closed barrels. They are available in insulated and non-insulated versions, offer easy grouping, and also come in a variety of forms and sizes. For closed terminals, oval or hexagon-style crimpers are commonly used.
Open barrel designs, on the other hand, offer the highest vibration and corrosion resistance and are often used in automotive wire harnesses and high-volume applications. An “F” crimp is also the most common crimp design for open barrels.
Most terminal manufacturers specify the type of crimper that you should use, so make sure you check the manufacturer’s technical requirements. It is also very important to follow the manufacturer’s crimping tool requirements if you need to adhere to Underwriter Laboratories (UL) standards or other criteria.
How Do Crimping Tools Work?
Removing wire casings
The first step is removing a wire’s rubber housing, but if you cut it all the way through, you might harm the copper inside. Instead, just cut an even circle around the wire and then remove the case. You’ll be ready for the next step after the copper is revealed.
There are several connections available, such as an open barrel connector. You can arrange the wire inside this sort of connection before crimping it pretty easily, too. Then, use the ratcheting mechanism on your crimping tool to assist you with positioning the connection inside the jaws. Then, using the star wheel, adjust the force to get the crimp as tight as you need it. And the more tightly you crimp your wires, the less likely they’ll be to break apart over time.
The wire is then inserted into the connection, and you just have to squeeze the handle to crimp it together. This may require a little power with some crimping equipment, but it’s the best approach to get the job done. If you believe the location is incorrect, then click the quick-release button to open the jaws before the crimp is finished.
When you’re finished with this step, you should have a beautifully crimped wire in front of you.
Why Should You Use Crimping Tools?
Crimping a wire can help protect it from dust and grit, which can extend the life of your cables, and this is also a cleaner and easier technique than soldering. Plus, you shouldn’t need anyone else’s help to get a nicely crimped wire at home when you use a crimping tool.
Crimping can also be more reliable because it forces the connections firmly into a wire, creating an airtight seal. Most crimping tools are pretty expensive, but we’ve included several inexpensive and high-quality options above, so these sorts of products are definitely out there.
Types of Crimping Tools
Handheld crimping tools resemble a standard pair of pliers, but they also feature a die on the inside jaws that are used for crimping wire into a connector. And depending on the size and kind of connector used, these dies can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
For larger heavier gauge wires, bench-mounted wire crimpers are ideal. They have a significantly stronger mechanism than portable crimping tools, and they can apply greater force to wires and connections. These crimping tools also have substantially bigger and heavier-duty dies.
These crimping tools compress a connection onto a wire using hydraulic pressure, making them great for very large, heavy-gauge wires and connectors. These crimpers are often used in industrial applications and operate using hydraulic fluid.
A hammer is used to squeeze a connection onto a wire with this type of manual crimper. It is not as prevalent as other kinds, but it has some applications. Although these crimping tools can handle considerably thicker wires than other versions, they are not portable enough to transport to a job site.
Tired of spending your hard-earned money on minor repairs? With the Wirefly Crimping Tool, you can do minor electrical repairs yourself with greater precision. Whether you’re installing a wire connector or working on an already crimped wire, this tool can be your go-to solution, and you only need to press the handle to finish the job. Plus, once you’ve crimped a wire, the handle automatically releases, helping you get beautifully crimped wires.
Another great feature of this tool is the star wheel, which allows you to adjust the force. Crimping a wire can be a snap with this device because it features a quick-release lever and a non-slip rubber grip. So, whether you are a professional or an amateur, this crimper shouldn’t disappoint. And thanks to its exceptional crimping power and premium construction, we picked this tool as the best overall on this list.
This pick from Wgge can help cut through nearly anything, including copper, and it requires minimal effort to get the job done. This option is pretty simple to use too, thanks to the color-coded reference point stamped on its head. Using these color codes, you can work your way through tasks with fewer errors, and it can also help improve the overall performance. This tool also has padded and insulated ergonomic grips, which help keep your hands safe and comfy.
The handles are also well separated, making this crimping tool suitable for different hand sizes. Plus, the design of this pick offers enough leverage for successfully stripping wires. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, the carbon alloy jaws can remain intact even after cutting several hard wires. The design and construction make this crimper durable, and they also lend to its aesthetic appeal.
This high-quality, insulated option from Klein Tools can be an excellent solution for your wiring projects because it features three different-size crimping cavities, which can really help with wiring tasks around a home. And in just a few simple steps, you can safely add insulated connectors to copper cables. Plus, this pick even includes a little lever that allows you to vary the height and apply extra force while crimping.
This product also incorporates a ratcheting handle, allowing you to get more consistent results. With this handy tool, there shouldn’t be any uneven edges or fragments of wire peeking out of your terminals either. And unlike most crimping tools, this pick features a soft handle that shouldn’t hurt your hand no matter how much pressure you apply.
Right out of the box, the Qibaok Crimping Tool looks pretty chic, and it can also perform tasks efficiently, making it both attractive and functional. One great feature of this option is that the crimping die doesn’t have sharp edges, so it shouldn’t damage your heat shrink insulation or wires. And this tool’s color-coded labels for each wire size, as well as its self-release mechanism, help make this product simple to use even for beginners.
This crimping tool also features a ratcheting mechanism on the handle, allowing you to crimp with the correct amount of force. But what we like the most about this product is the twin crimping die that makes a solid crimp while also helping prevent undesired pullouts. The ergonomic and cushioned handle makes this tool easy to hold too, and it shouldn’t slip from your hands even when they’re sweaty.
This product from Haisstronica can be a great tool for attaching various types of wire terminals to copper wires. And it also has color coding, so you can sort terminals based on color. This tool even includes a little star wheel, allowing you to fine-tune the force you apply to wires to get the desired results. Although this product isn’t significantly different from its competitors, this tool does has three crimping cavities, and it operates via a mechanism. This option also has two sides — electrical wires are crimped on one side, and insulating sleeves are crimped on the other.
This pick uses a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to position a connection correctly before inserting a wire. This crimping tool includes a robust, vibrantly colored nylon handle too, making it ideal for working with wires regularly.
Indentations shouldn’t damage connectors
Color-coding for easier identification
Non-slip, ergonomic nylon handle
A little bulky
People Also Asked
Q: Should I solder a crimped wire?
A: No! There's no need to solder or use heat compression on your crimp after it's finished. This is because most crimping tools create a tight seal on a wire by pushing it into the connector.
Q: Why is there color coding on my crimping tool?
A: Some crimping tools are color-coded to help you select the correct wire size for each terminal, allowing you to almost immediately identify the required crimper. And you can do this from a distance without needing to juggle your equipment.
Q: Why should I use crimping instead of soldering?
A: When compared to soldering, crimping provides a stronger and more stable connection. The key distinction between the two is that soldering uses hot metals to join wires to connectors, which can deteriorate over time.
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