8 Best Wire Strippers in 2023
A lightweight, versatile wire stripper with a sharp cutting edge and a solid grip is great. However, the best wire strippers stand out largely because of their broad wire gauge range.
A versatile wire stripper does more than just wire stripping. Some brands design wire strippers and add extra features such as crimping and cutting. So, you get a useful tool for other purposes beyond stripping wires.
The heavier a wire stripper is in your hands, the more force you must apply while operating it. Of course, if you have to apply so much force, you may be unable to operate the wire stripper effectively, and your hands may get sore quickly.
The effectiveness of wire strippers depends partly on how sharp their cutting edge is. If the edge is not sharp enough, the blade will not easily cut through the wire insulation, and you will find it hard to strip the wire. Contrarily, with a sharp cutting edge, wire stripping is much easier.
Beyond the safety they offer, rubber handles contribute to the grip of wire strippers. And if the grip is good, you will be able to strip wires with ease.
Wire strippers are built to handle specific wire gauge ranges. The broader the range of gauge a wire stripper can handle, the more useful it is for you as a wire stripping tool. A wire stripper with a broad wire gauge range will handle many wires of small and large diameters. So, you will not need multiple wire strippers to handle various wire sizes.
Best Wire Strippers at a Glance
- Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter – Our Top Choice
- MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper – Most Versatile
- IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool – Lightest
- IRWIN 2078300 – Broad Wire Size Range
- DOWELL Wire Stripper – Impressive Gauge Range
- Klein Tools Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper – Multiple Functions
- ORS Nasco Stanley 5 in Wire Stripper/Cutter – Joint-Lightest
- Sea-Dog 429900-1 Coated Steel Wire Strip – Easy to Use
Our Best Wire Strippers Review
In our review, the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter rank as the best wire stripper because of its broad wire gauge range. But aside from that, it is lightweight and pretty versatile.
The Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter can handle wires with sizes between 7 and 32 American Wire Gauge (AWG) – the highest of any of the wire strippers we reviewed.
With the broad range of this stripper and cutter, installations involving various wire sizes, such as installing solar panels to RV batteries, are made easy.
Like most wire strippers on our list, this one is pretty versatile. You can use it as a stripper and as a cutter. The other strippers on our list that function as wire cutters include the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, the IRWIN, the Dowell Wire Stripper, and the Klein Tools. The IRWIN does not do so well as a wire cutter.
Its whole body is made of plastic and glass fiber – 2 shock-resistant materials. Then the handles are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. While the said material will insulate you from electrocution, its grip could be better.
A PVC handle will not be as comfortable as one made with rubber. So, for better grip, you may consider the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, the IRWIN, and the Dowell Wire Stripper.
The blades of this tool are made of steel strips, which offer enough force to cut through copper and aluminum cables. It can also handle single-stranded and multi-stranded conductors and various types of insulation, including PVC.
So, whether you are working on DIY cable projects such as a DIY solar generator or just fulfilling your role as a professional installer, this tool would be precious to you.
Weighing just around 6.34 oz., this product is quite light. So, handling it is not so tough. However, if you want something lighter, consider one of the IRWINs, the Dowell Wire Stripper, and the ORS Nasco.
Its self-adjusting jaw allows you to insert wires without adjusting the gauge. And this feature makes stripping wire faster.
- The wire gauge range is extensive.
- Weighs just 6.34 ounces. While this is not as light as the IRWIN, it is still pretty and easy to handle.
- It is more than just a stripping tool; it can also cut wires.
- The materials used in making this wire cutter and stripper are all shock-resistant. So you are safe from electrocution while handling them.
- The grip could be better.
We rated the MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper as the most versatile product in our review because it offers 2 other functions apart from stripping wires. But aside, it works for a remarkable range of wire gauges and is easy to use.
Beyond being a wire stripping tool, this automatic self-adjusting wire stripper can also serve as a wire cutter and crimper. Our review’s only stripping tools that can serve as a wire crimper are the IRWIN 2078300 and the IRWIN 2078309.
With this Stripper, you can strip wires within an 8-30 AWG gauge. Only our top choice has a wider gauge range. Besides the wire stripping range, it can cut 10-30 AWG wires and crimp 10-22 AWG wires – for both functions. The ranges are pretty impressive.
This 3 in 1 stripper is ideal for working on installations featuring various wire sizes. For instance, if you are a camper trying to generate camping electricity, this tool will be useful when installing a power inverter.
Coming with handles covered in rubber, you do not have to worry about getting electrocuted if you handle this tool properly. That aside, the rubber handles offer better grip and more comfort than what the PVC handles of the previous wire stripper will do for you.
This 3 in 1 Stripper is automatic. So, you need not adjust for gauge while using it. However, you may adjust stripping length and strength.
It weighs 14.99 oz. – the heaviest of any of the products in our best wire strippers review. Without a doubt, this is pretty heavy. But considering a broader picture of wire strippers, it should still be relatively easy to handle.
If the blades of the wire cutter on the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper ever go dull, you need not worry too much. The pack comes with 2 replacement blades that you can fix yourself. Then if the spring ever loses its elasticity, there are 2 replacement springs in the pack to take its place.
- With 3 functions, including a built-in wire cutter and a crimper, this product is more versatile than any product in our review.
- Its gauge ranges for stripping, cutting, and crimping are impressive. Only the top choice offers a better wire stripping gauge range.
- Coming with handles covered in rubber, this adjustable wire stripper offers a good grip. Aside from that, handling is relatively more comfortable.
- Handling would be easier if it were lighter.
3. IRWIN (2078309)
The IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool ranks the lightest among the best wire strippers we reviewed. But apart from its lightweight, it is pretty versatile, the grip is good, and the gauge range is decent.
The IRWIN Vise-Grip 2078309 weighs just around 3.04 ounces – the lightest of any reviewed wire stripping tools alongside the ORS Nasco.
Considering its light, it will apply less counter-pressure on your hands while you handle it. And this will contribute to overall comfort while you work with it.
Apart from being super light, it serves multiple functions. It can be used for cutting/splicing wires and stripping wires. Plus, you can use it to crimp insulated and non-insulated terminals. The only other tool in our review with similar versatility is the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper.
With this wire stripper, you can cut and strip copper and aluminum wires over a 10-22 AWG gauge range. While this is not as much as the previous two products, it is still above average and should serve you well.
As the name says, the handles of this product offer a vise grip. So you can hold them firmly and securely while working. But beyond that, the said handles are covered in rubber, so you should not get electrocuted from just handling the wire stripper.
Other products with a grip as firm as the IRWIN 2078309 are the Dowell and the MulWark 3 in 1 wire strippers.
Unlike our top two, this one is not automatic. Instead, it is a gauged manual wire stripper. It features a jaw that contains 6 notches, one for each wire size between 10 and 22 AWG.
The jaw of this tool is designed like that of a plier. This makes it easy to pull and loop wire with this tool.
- The gauge range on this tool is decent.
- No other product in this review is as light as this, making it the easiest to handle.
- The grip is firm, secure, and well-insulated.
- The plier-like design of the jaw makes pulling and looping wires easy.
- The jaw does not adjust the gauge automatically. So, you have to fit the wire in the right hole yourself.
4. IRWIN (2078300)
The IRWIN 2078300 can handle a decent range of wire sizes. But that aside, it is relatively versatile and has a lifetime guarantee.
With the IRWIN 2078300, you can strip wires within the 10 to 24 AWG range. This range falls below our top two options but is still above average. So, you will enjoy using it.
The IRWIN 2078300 may not be the most versatile, but it still has a lot of functions. It can strip and crimp wire – a handy feature for solar wires. But it appears not to be a good option for cutting wires.
With the IRWIN 2078300, you can crimp 10-22 AWG insulated & non-insulated terminals – pretty impressive.
The IRWIN 2078300 is a vise-grip self-adjusting tool. In other words, you can hold the handles firmly and securely, just like the IRWIN 2078309. Then since it is self-adjusting, you never have to adjust for each wire gauge.
The IRWIN 2078300 weighs approximately 12 ounces – the second-heaviest in our best wire strippers review. Of course, this weight will affect how well you can handle this wire stripper while you use it. But overall, handling should still be okay.
- The gauge range is decent.
- It is self-adjusting. So you never have to adjust for different wire gauges.
- The grip is firm and secure, and then the handles are well-insulated.
- It could be lighter for easier handling.
The DOWELL Wire Stripper is next on our best wire strippers review. It may not have the broadest gauge range on our list, but its gauge range is pretty impressive at the price it goes for. It is also quite light, and the grip is good.
The DOWELL Wire Stripper can handle wires with sizes between 10 and 22 AWG. This is the same as what the IRWIN 2078309 offers. However, it is less than the remaining previously reviewed products.
Still, it should offer a better-than-average experience while stripping wire. So, overall, the gauge range is satisfactory.
This product is more than just a pair of wire strippers. It has a built-in wire cutter, so you do not have to get one separately.
Since it is made of stainless steel, it works well on aluminum cables and copper wire. Then the handle is covered in thermoplastic rubber, offering a remarkable grip while insulating your hands. The thermoplastic rubber handle is also heat-resistant to a degree. So, overall, you got a durable one.
Weighing just 4.97 ounces, this is the second-lightest wire stripping tool we reviewed. The only product that is lighter than it is the IRWIN 2078309, which weighs just 3.04 ounces.
Like the IRWIN 2078309, the DOWELLWire Stripper should be easy to handle since it is not heavy.
This wire stripper is not self-adjusting. It has 7 wire holes for each wire gauge between 10 and 22. So, while using it, you must consciously insert the wire into the hole corresponding to its size. Having to do this may make the wire stripping process a bit slower.
- Pretty lightweight
- Decent gauge range
- The grip is impressive.
- The rubber covering on the handles is pretty durable and comfortable.
- Not self-adjusting.
6. Klein Tools
Next on our list is the Klein Tools Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper. This product offers an okay gauge range and multiple functions.
With the Klein Tools Wire Cutter, you can do more than just wire stripping. You can cut with it too.
This tool can handle cut and strip solid wires within the range of 10 to 18 AWG. Then for stranded wire, the range covered is 12 to 20 AWG.
Beyond cutting and stripping, you can also use it for looping wire. This is possible because the jaw has a plier-like design – the same as that of the IRWIN.
Weighing just 5.4 ounces, this product is one of the midweight/lightest products in our review. So, handling it should be straightforward.
This tool is not self-adjusting. Instead, it is gauged. It comes with 5 holes for each wire size between 12 and 20 AWG. So, you have to place the wire in the corresponding hole each time you use this tool.
The Klein is made of metal. However, its handles are covered in dipped plastic, which offers protection against electrocution. This safety cover is particularly vital when working on high-voltage mains power installations, such as converting your outdoor lights to solar.
While the plastic covering of the handles offers safety, the grip could be better.
- The gauge range is okay – but you can get a broader range with some other options.
- Apart from wire cutting and stripping, the plier-like design allows wire looping.
- One of the lightest wire strippers we reviewed.
- The grip could be better.
- It is not self-adjusting.
7. ORS Nasco
The ORS Nasco Stanley 5 in Wire Stripper/Cutter is the joint-lightest wire stripper amongst the ones we reviewed. Beyond that, it packs a wide range of functions and is quite sturdy.
One feature we appreciated so much in this product was the grip. The design of the vinyl grip was made to allow easy handling, no matter the wetness or slipperiness of your palms.
Apart from stripping wires with it, you can also cut, bend, and loop wires. The inclusion of a slide-and-stop mechanism makes looping and bending a tad more accurate and flexible.
Weighing in at just 0.19 pounds, the ORS Nasco is as light as the IRWIN Vise-Grip. This makes it the joint-lightest wire stripper on the list. So, you have two options to choose from when you need a lightweight wire stripper/cutter.
This product works for wire sizes between 26 AWG and 10 AWG – not the widest range. But even with that range, this would be a very useful tool in your hands.
Unlike some other options on the list, it does not come with holes designated to each wire size. So, you’d just have to adjust the blades accordingly.
Made with forged steel, this tool is pretty solid. Most of the steel part of the wire stripper is covered in rust-resistant finish. Then the handles are vinyl. So, overall, there’s only a little chance of rust or similar damages.
Besides its impressive grip, the vinyl grip is crack-resistant. Its insulation is also excellent. So, you can expect a fair level of heat resistance.
- It is very light.
- The grip is comfortable and flexible.
- Overall durable build
- Fair wire gauge range
- Doesn’t come with crimp holes for different wire sizes.
8. Sea-Dog 429900-1
The Sea-Dog 429900-1 Coated Steel Wire Strip is designed for easy use. It comes in at one of the best prices, making it a great deal.
The Sea-Dog is not adjustable like the ORS Nasco and some others. Instead, it comes with holes for different wire sizes. Of course, this makes it easy to use. But then, it doesn’t leave room for flexibility.
With this, you’re not getting only a wire stripper, you’re also getting a crimp tool. Like the wire stripper part of the tool, the crimp comes with holes for different wire sizes. This also makes for easy and simple use.
It can handle wire sizes between 22 AWG and 10 AWG. For the price, that wire gauge range is more than good enough. Like we said earlier, you’re getting a good deal here.
We liked the bow shape of the handle as it made the tool fit better in our hands. Then since it is made with steel, it is pretty solid. Also, there’s the powder coating, which makes for rust resistance.
As mentioned before, this product comes in at a fair price. In fact, only one other wire stripper in this review comes in at a cheaper price. So, if you are on a budget and looking to get quality, you should consider this.
- Easy to use
- Features a crimp tool
- Ergonomic handle
- Durable body
- Not self-adjusting
What to Look Out for in a Wire Stripper
Wire Gauge Range
Wire gauge is basically a measure of the diameter of wires. It may be measured in American Wire Gauge (AWG), Birmingham Gauge (BWG), or Standard Wire Gauge (SWG).
More commonly, the gauge of wires is measured in AWG. So, you will find that the gauge range of most wire strippers is expressed in AWG. The higher the AWG of a wire, the lower its diameter, and the lower the AWG, the higher the wire diameter.
When buying wire strippers, opt for those with a broad gauge range because they can strip various wire sizes. Therefore, they would be useful to you during various types of wire installations.
One such situation where a broad gauge range would be useful is installing a solar combiner box. Solar combiner boxes typically contain wires of different sizes, and if your wire stripping tool covers a broad gauge range, it will make the installation process easier for you.
The heavier your wire stripper is, the more pressure it exerts on your hand as you press it. As the wire stripper exerts more pressure on your hand, it will become harder to handle. Consequently, you will not enjoy the experience.
So, when buying wire strippers, opt for the lighter ones. But be sure that the manufacturer did not sacrifice durability for lightweight.
Besides weight, another feature of wire strippers that aids easy handling is the grip. With a secure and firm grip, you can assuredly apply pressure to the handles of wire strippers while using them. This makes for better precision while stripping wires.
Generally, wire strippers with rubber handles offer better grip than those without them. But this is not to say some wire strippers without rubber handles do not have a superb grip.
You will certainly need a cutter when doing wire works, and occasionally, you may need a crimper. Instead of carrying a tool around for each function, you can just buy a wire stripper that can serve those other purposes.
This will make packing your utility box or belt easier for you. Also, opting for a versatile wire stripper is more economical than buying a cutter and crimper separately.
What Wire Stripper Do Electricians Use?
Old school electricians typically use lineman’s pliers (also known as combination pliers) for wire stripping. While the cutting edge of these pliers is meant for cutting wires to length, electricians use them to score wire insulation by applying light pressure.
Once the insulation is scored, the electrician may then strip the wire by pulling the insulation off.
Using lineman’s plier in place of actual wire strippers is not ideal, but some electricians do it anyway. Still, you will find those who use actual wire strippers.
When electricians do use wire strippers, they typically opt for the manual types because of their versatility.
What Is the Fastest Way to Strip Scrap Wire?
The fastest way to strip scrap wire is to work with an automatic wire stripper.
With an automatic wire stripper, you do not have to measure the stripping length or wire gauge. The device does it for you. All you have to do is place the wire in the stripper and pull it.
Types of Wire Strippers
Manual Wire Stripper
To strip wire with manual wire strippers, you have to rotate the stripper around the wire protection/insulation manually while applying some pressure.
Manual wire strippers are relatively more versatile than automatic wire strippers, and they are usually less expensive.
A manual wire stripping tool can either be gauged or adjustable. The gauged types come with multiple wire holes for different wire gauges. So, you never have to set the gauge for each wire. All you have to do is place the wire in the corresponding notch and pull. This makes the wire stripping process relatively faster than that of the adjustable types.
The adjustable types come with a jaw with a blade that can be adjusted to the required wire gauge. While they are pretty easy to use, there is the risk of cutting the wire if the blade is in the wrong setting.
Automatic Wire Stripper
Unlike a manual wire stripper, an automatic wire stripper comes with an indentation that automatically adjusts itself according to the gauge of the wire inserted in it. So, you never have to worry about accidentally cutting the wire instead of stripping it.
You also do not have to try to figure out the gauge of the wire with you. And in some brands of automatic wire strippers, you can strip multiple wires at the same time.
The ease and speed automatic wire strippers offer come at a price. Generally, automatic strippers are more expensive than manual ones. Besides, some of them are usually bulky, so you may not be able to carry one in your utility belt.
If you desire efficiency and flexibility while working on wire installations, your best bet is a wire stripper with a broad gauge range.
But while having a broad gauge range is vital, you cannot rule out the benefits of having a lightweight, versatile wire stripper with a superb grip.
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