Wire strippers are an essential part of any electrician’s toolkit, they are also generally handy to have around your home, shop, or garage. It’s one of those tools where its appearance massively undermines its value – it just sort of looks like a big pair of scissors. It is easy to forget that you need a wire stripper in your kit, that is, until you face a situation where you need it.
Why You Need Wire Strippers
A wire stripper is used in removing insulation from around a wire or cable. Sure, you can do this with a normal pair of scissors, but the chance of damaging the wire is high. You can also strip wires with a razor or utility knife, but again the chance of damaging the wire is quite high. Also with this method the chance of cutting yourself is honestly quite high so just don’t do it.
Some people like to strip wires with the interior of a set of pliers. This method is safe, but not that accurate so the chance of hurting the wire ends up being surprisingly high (in my experience).
Wire strippers are one of those tools where they clearly fit a purpose and they are useful enough that you shouldn’t feel like you are buying some sort of useless one-off tool or gimmick.
What is AWG?
Before we get started, you might be wondering, what is AWG, and why is this acronym spelled out all over the place? AWG is short for American Wire Gauge. This is a gauging system that has been used since the 1850s, primarily in the United Stated (think metric vs imperial systems). It’s used for the diameter of solid wiring that is specifically used for conducting electricity. Basically, the bigger the diameter, the more amps the wire can handle, so gauge is incredibly important. This importance extends to when you your task it so strip the coating from the exterior of the wire without damaging it.
AWG is for solid wiring, but cabled, stranded wiring is part of this system as well. Stranding wires are treated by the AWG formula to determine the equivalent size solid copper wire.
Fun fact: AWG is also used to the gauge (in this case the hole size) of body piercing.
Now, on to the wire strippers! There are several wire strippers available on the market, but these three stand out for all the right reasons.
The IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078300 brings you a lifetime guarantee with the wire stripper. This tool has the ability to strip wire from 10 to 24 AWG. It is also self adjusting, which is especially useful when dealing with wires that have different thicknesses.
There is a swivel knob attached to the wire stripper. This knob helps the user to make minor and even the smallest adjustments when dealing with gauges below 20 AWG. The Irwin Vise-Grip also features a 22 AWG insulated wire crimper as well as 7-9 mm terminals. The use of the ProTouch grip in this tool ensures that the user experiences high levels of comfort and not weariness when using this tool for longer periods of time.
- Can strip wire from 10 to 24 AWG
- 22AWG insulated wire crimps
- Lifetime guarantee
This is a tool that brings together features that make it multi-utility as well as a must have for every electrician, the 2078309 mdoel Irwin Vise-Grip is a power-packed wire stripper (pictured at the top). This multi-tool combines the qualities found in wire strippers, wire cutters as well as wire crimpers. It can cut wire from 10-22 AWG.
This wire stripper is also equipped with induction hardened cutting edges. What this means is that the tool has the ability to make very accurate and measured cuts on wires. It comes with an amazing strength where it can adjust bolt sizes using lead thread. The wire cutter also comes with a ProTouch grip, so that the hand does not get fatigued after use. Additional features include a plier nose that can be used to both pull and loop the wire.
- Can strip wire from 10-22 AWG
- Induction hardened cutting edge
- ProTouch grip
- Stripper/Cutter/Crimper all-in-one multi-tool
The Zoto self-adjustable wire strippers bright and vivid range of wire cutters stand out with their colorful designs. You do not have to worry about losing or not being able to find this colorful wire cutter in your toolkit. Made using a high quality alloy of carbon steel, this wite cutter can strip copper and aluminum cables between 10-24 AWG.
The wire strippers come with jaws that can be adjusted according to the user’s requirements. There is also a swivel knob that can be manipulated by the thumb, and is effective when stripping wires below 24 AWG. The tool’s grip handles were also developed keeping in mind the need to avoid fatigue, and is cushioned as well as non-slip. The wire striper also has a multi-tool component where it has an in-built wire crimper that can deal with insulated wiring between 10-22 AWG.
- Jaws are self-adjusting
- Also doubles as a wire crimper
- Cushioned grip
- Can strip wires between 10-24 AWG