Having 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.
Our Top Picks
- Knoweasy Automatic Wire Stripper and Cutter – Overall Best Wire Stripper
- MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper – Most Versatile
- IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool (2078309) – Lightest
- IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper (2078300)
- DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper
- Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055 Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper
A versatile wire stripper does more than just wire stripping. Some brands design their wire strippers and add extra features such as crimping and cutting. So, you get a tool that is useful for other purposes beyond stripping wires.
The heavier a wire stripper is in your hands, the more force you have to apply while operating it. Of course, if you have to apply so much force, you may not be able 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 cut through the wire insulation readily, 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.
Our Best Wire Strippers Review
Knoweasy Automatic Wire Stripper and Cutter
About the Product
In our review, the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter rank the best wire stripper because of their broad wire gauge range. But aside from that, it is lightweight and pretty versatile.
The Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter boasts the ability to handle wires with sizes between 7 and 32 American Wire Gauge (AWG) – the highest of any of the wire strippers we reviewed. Only the MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper comes close to all the other products.
With the broad range of the Knoweasy 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, the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter is pretty versatile. You can use it as a stripper and as a cutter. The other strippers that function as wire cutters on our list include the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, the IRWIN Vise-Grip 2078309, the Dowell Wire Stripper, and the Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055. The IRWIN Vise-Grip 2078300 does not do so well as a wire cutter.
The whole body of the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter 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, the grip it offers 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 Vise-Grip 2078309, and the Dowell Wire Stripper.
The Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter blades 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., the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter is quite light. So, handling it is not so tough. However, if you want something lighter, you should consider one of the IRWIN Vise-Grip 2078309, the Dowell Wire Stripper, and the Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055.
The self-adjusting jaw of the Knoweasy Wire Stripper and Cutter allows you to insert wires without adjusting the gauge. And this feature makes stripping wire faster.
- Wire gauge range is extensive – only the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper comes close.
- Weighs just 6.34 ounces. While this is not as light as the IRWIN 2078309, it is still pretty and easy to handle.
- It is more than just a stripping tool as 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.
MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper
About the Product
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 that aside, it works for a remarkable range of wire gauges and is easy to use.
Beyond being a wire stripping tool, the MulWark 3 in 1 Automatic Self Adjusting Wire Stripper can also serve as a wire cutter and a wire crimper. Our review’s only other stripping tools that can serve as a wire crimper are the IRWIN 2078300 and the IRWIN 2078309.
With the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, you can strip wires within an 8-30 AWG gauge. Only the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter have a wider gauge range. Besides the wire stripping range, the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper can cut 10-30 AWG wires and crimp 10-22 AWG wires – for both functions. The ranges are pretty impressive.
Like the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWark 3 in 1 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 come in handy when installing a power inverter.
Coming with handles covered in rubber, you do not have to worry about getting electrocuted if you handle the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper properly. That aside, the rubber handles offer better grip and more comfort than what the PVC handles of the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter will do for you.
Like the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper is automatic. So, you need not adjust for gauge while using it. However, you may adjust stripping length and strength.
The MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper 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 if you considered 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.
- The gauge ranges it offers for stripping, cutting, and crimping are very impressive. Only the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter offer 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 as light as the IRWIN 2078309.
IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool (2078309)
About the Product
The IRWIN Vise-Grip Wire Stripping Tool (2078309) 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 of the reviewed wire stripping tools. Only the Dowell 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper comes close to the lightweight of this product.
Considering how light the IRWIN 2078309 is, 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, the IRWIN 2078309 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 the IRWIN 2078309, you can cut and strip copper and aluminum wires over a gauge range of 10-22 AWG. While this is not as much as the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter range and the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, it is still well above average and should serve you very well.
As the name says, the handles of the IRWIN 2078309 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 that of the IRWIN 2078309 are the Dowell and the MulWork 3 in 1 wire strippers.
Unlike the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter and the MulWork 3 in 1, the IRWIN 2078309 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 the IRWIN 2078309 is designed like that of a plier. This design makes it easy to pull and loop wire with this tool.
- The gauge range on this tool is decent -but it falls short of that of the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWork 3 in 1, and the IRWIN 2078300.
- No other product in this review is as light like 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.
- Unlike the Knoweasy, MulWark, and IRWIN 2078300, the jaw does not adjust the gauge automatically. So, you have to fit the wire in the right hole yourself.
IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper (2078300)
About the Product
The IRWIN 2078300 can handle a decent range of wire sizes. But that aside, it is relatively versatile and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
With the IRWIN 2078300, you can strip wires within the range of 10 to 24 AWG. This range falls below the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter and the MulWork 3 in 1 offer, but it is still well above average. So, you will definitely enjoy using it.
The IRWIN 2078300 may not be as versatile as the IRWIN 2078309 or the MulWork 3 in 1, but it still offers versatility. It can be used to strip and crimp wire – a handy feature when dealing with 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 – same as the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter and the MulWork 3 in 1.
The IRWIN 2078300 weighs approximately 12 ounces – the second-heaviest in our best wire strippers review. Only the MulWork 3 in 1 weighs more. 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 – only the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter and the MulWork 3 in 1 have broader ranges.
- Like the Knoweasy and MulWark wire strippers, 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.
DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper
About the Product
The DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper takes the next spot 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. Apart from that, it is quite light, and the grip is good.
The DOWELL 10-22 AWG 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 Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWork 3 in 1, and the IRWIN 2078300 offers.
Still, it should offer a better-than-average experience while stripping wire. So, overall, the gauge range is satisfactory.
The DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper is more than just a pair of wire strippers. This product comes with a built-in wire cutter, so you do not have to get a cutter separately. We reviewed the other wire cutters and strippers: the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, the IRWIN 2078309, and the Klein Tools 11055KLE 11055.
The DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper is made of stainless steel, and it works so well on aluminum cables and copper wire. Then the handle is covered in thermoplastic rubber, which offers a remarkable grip while keeping your hands insulated. The thermoplastic rubber handle is also heat-resistant to a degree. So, overall, you got a durable one.
Weighing just 4.97 ounces, the DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper 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 DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper should be pretty easy to handle since it is not heavy.
Unlike the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, and the IRWIN 2078300, the DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper is not self-adjusting. It comes with 7 wire holes for each wire gauge between 10 and 22. So, while using it, you have to consciously insert the wire into the hole that corresponds with its size. Having to do this may make the wire stripping process a bit slower.
- Pretty lightweight – only the IRWIN 2078309 is lighter.
- Decent gauge range – but the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWork 3 in 1, and the IRWIN 2078300 have broader ranges.
- The grip is impressive.
- The rubber covering on the handles is pretty durable and comfortable.
- Not self-adjusting like the Knoweasy, MulWark, and IRWIN 2078300.
Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055 Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper
About the Product
Last on our list is the Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055 Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper. This product offers an okay gauge range and multiple functions.
With the Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055, you can do more than just wire stripping. You can cut with it too.
The Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055 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 the Klein Tools – 11055KLE 11055 for looping wire. This is possible because the jaw has a plier-like design – the same as that of the IRWIN 2078309.
Weighing just 5.4 ounces, the Klein – 11055KLE 11055 is one of the lightest products in our review. In fact, only the IRWIN 2078309 and the DOWELL 10-22 AWG Wire Stripper are lighter. So, handling it should be straightforward.
Unlike the Knoweasy Stripper and Cutter, the MulWark 3 in 1 Stripper, and the IRWIN 2078300, the Klein – 11055KLE 11055 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 – 11055KLE 11055 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 the Knoweasy and MulWark 3 in 1 wire strippers.
- Apart from wire cutting and stripping, the plier-like design allows wire looping.
- One of the lightest wire strippers we reviewed – only the IRWIN 2078309 and the DOWELL 10-22 AWG weigh less.
- The grip could be better.
- Unlike the Knoweasy, MulWark, and IRWIN 2078300, it is 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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